Daily Archives: March 19, 2015

Obama Official: Congress Should Freeze Its Iran Penalties

ABC “News” has the AP story Obama Official: Congress Should Freeze Its Iran Penalties.

The administration argues that congressional action now would scuttle delicate international negotiations underway in Switzerland to reach an agreement that would prevent Iran from being able to develop nuclear weapons.

“If we are able to secure a comprehensive understanding, we will structure the nuclear-related sanctions relief in a way that is phased, proportionate and reversible,” said Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. “We will need to see verified steps on Iran’s part before sanctions are lifted and we believe that powerful U.S. legislative sanctions should not be terminated for years to come so that we continue to retain important leverage years into a deal.”

He said if a deal is not reached, the administration would work with Congress to ratchet up sanctions pressure on Iran.

Well, this shows that the Obama Administration is only half as insane as the Republicans (and too many Democrats) in Congress.

Iran came to the table despite sanctions, not because of them.  Do we want them to back out of the deal just to prove what I said (and Fareed Zakaria said)?

See my previous post Netanyahu enters never-never land.

Iran proposed to cap its centrifuges at very low levels, keep enrichment levels well below those that could be used for weapons and convert its existing enriched uranium into fuel rods (which could not be put to military use). Peter Jenkins, the British representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Inter Press Service , “All of us were impressed by the proposal.” But the talks collapsed because the Bush administration, acting through the British government, vetoed it. It was certain, Jenkins explained, that if the West could “scare” the Iranians, “they would give in.”

What was the result? Did Iran return to the table and capitulate? No, the country withstood the sanctions and, unimpeded by any inspections, massively expanded its nuclear infrastructure. Iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000, accumulated more than 17,000 pounds of enriched uranium gas and ramped up construction of a heavy water reactor at Arak that could be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

As I have  said before, the truth must be told at least as often (if not 10 or 100 times as often) as the lie.  I can’t do it all by myself, but I can do my share.

Iran is currently helping Iraq (and us) by fighting against ISIS in Iraq. To show our appreciation for the help, we threaten to impose tougher sanctions. If there were anything we could do to convince Iran that they needed nuclear weapons to get any respect from us, the Congress seems hellbent on doing it.

So I categorized this current post under Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior – “If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what the behavior was trying to produce.”

Perhaps a comment on the ABC story on the ABC web site has the answer:

The Republicans want to scuttle any possibility of a deal with Iran, because then they can say that Obama failed. Worse, the Millenialists and Christer nuts in the Republican Party want Iran to develop the Bomb, and use it as an excuse for Armageddon.


Do Not Sign the petition, Do Not Be a citizen co-sponsor of the People’s Budget 1

That’s right, I am asking you not to sign the petition.    The thing in the petition that really gets my goat is this excerpt:

The budget pays for these new investments by ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs and profits offshore and restoring the tax on the wealthiest to the Clinton-era rates.

I am hesitant to even post a link to it, but I can’t recommend not signing something without letting you see what it is and what my objections to it are.  You, of course, might have an entirely different opinion. Here is the link to Sign the petition: Be a citizen co-sponsor of the People’s Budget.

When I got an email asking me to sign it, this was my reply:

I will not support a plan that says “The budget pays for these new investments by ending tax breaks for companies…”

You perpetuate a misunderstanding of how the money system in our country works.  Since we are sovereign in our own currency, taxes are not needed to pay for government spending.  Taxes serve many essential purposes, but this is not one of them.

If you are even willing to entertain the idea of getting enlightened on this subject, I can provide you with the scholarly research that supports what I said above.

Whatever you do, do not play into the hands of the oligarchs by repeating their myths.

We really have to stop people from playing this game with the oligarchs of ceding the very basic premises they would like us to believe.  The financially astute ones in the oligarchy know this myth isn’t true.  However, it is mighty convenient for them if they can get us to believe it.

See my previous post The Truth About The Deficit for the simplest proof that there can be that the Republicans completely misrepresent the issue of the debt and the deficit.   What I said about taxes may be a little less obvious, but it is a corollary to what I presented in the previous post.  The connection is made in many of the posts on this blog.  If anyone wants me to make a list of posts to read, I would be happy to do so.

President Obama forces Republican politicians to eat their own words

The Daily Kos has the article President Obama forces Republican politicians to eat their own words.

Here is the video at the center of the article.

You’ll really enjoy this. Here is Obama at his best. It would be great if more naysayers were held to their own records, especially when they are telling us how to proceed into the future.

Maybe the previous post, The science of protecting people’s feelings: why we pretend all opinions are equal, explains why people can have such poor records of identifying the right answer, but people still listen to them. Even some people, who have better performance records, sometimes listen to the losers.

Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act Floor Speech

Elizabeth Warren posted a video on Facebook.

Since last year, nearly a million more people have fallen behind on their student loan payments. Young people who are working hard to build a future deserve a real opportunity to succeed, and that means letting struggling borrowers refinance their student loans to take advantage of lower interest rates. Yesterday afternoon I gave a speech reintroducing the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act to give much-needed relief to millions of borrowers, help boost our economy, and strengthen America’s middle class.

As John Oliver might ask, “Republicans: How is this still a thing?”

Has anyone noticed that the YouTube videos that people share on Facebook no longer have the link back to YouTube, let alone a credit for YouTube? This may make some perverted sense to some business type at Facebook who doesn’t want to give credit to a competitor while benefiting from the services of that competitor. Somehow, though, I think making the life of your own customers more difficult is not going to be a winning strategy. We do notice such things.

For each video, we used to have a link to one item on YouTube. Now Facebook is forcing us to go fishing in YouTube land to find the video. Does that sound like a good business decision to you?

Bernie Sanders Storms The Senate and Rips The Republican Rich Get Richer Budget

Politicus USA has the article Bernie Sanders Storms The Senate and Rips The Republican Rich Get Richer Budget.

Here is the YouTube video they feature.

The key is a full employment economy as Sanders mentions at the end of his remarks. If we have that, then the Government has done its job. The debt and deficit will be whatever they are, but, for the case of the USA, it doesn’t much matter what they are. The debt and deficit are not a measure that is related to the economic health of this country as directly as is the employment level and the living standards of the middle-class.

I am sure that with Sanders’ appointment of Stephanie Kelton as his chief economist on this committee, he is fully aware of how little importance the debt and deficit are for a country like the USA that is sovereign in its own currency. I wish he had the courage to either explain this more thoroughly or to at least stop talking as if these two measures were as important as the Republicans pretend that they are.

When the Federal government runs a deficit that is larger than our trade deficit, it is pumping net wealth into the private sector. When it runs a deficit lower than the trade deficit, it is sucking wealth out of the private sector. This is just simple arithmetic that is not changed by ones’ ideology.

When people understand this simple arithmetic, then they can decide on policy that is good for the country. If you get the arithmetic wrong, then you have no business deciding the federal government budget.

See my previous post The Truth About The Deficit for the very simple equation that cannot be denied and the one that explains my above statements about the debt and deficit. I just cannot see how people can accept the reality of these equations, but deny the logical conclusion of what they mean.