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Senators and Kerry battle over who’s on the phone to Israel

Israel/Palestine
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Kerry in GenevaThe Obama administration’s effort to save its talks with Iran has turned into a craven game of Israel outreach. John Kerry, Joe Biden and a top Treasury official had to placate Israel’s friends on the Hill yesterday, but these powerful friends, including Democrats, repeatedly cited Israeli officials’ concerns. “I’m dubious,” Chuck Schumer said of the administration’s talks; and on MSNBC this morning Kerry was reduced to bragging about how often he was on the phone with “Bibi,” the Israeli prime minister. I just got off the phone with him now, he said.

The whole exercise is a demonstration of the centrality of Israel and its lobby inside the American discourse. What about America’s interests? And why isn’t our press making more of this question?

Here is Chemi Shalev at Haaretz, describing Israel’s reach in the Senate: “Republicans blast Kerry’s ‘anti-Israeli’ Senate briefing against new Iran sanctions: Harsh rhetoric between Jerusalem and Washington continues, with the U.S. blasting Israel’s ‘unreal’ evaluations of Iran accord and Netanyahu warning that the ‘bad deal’ could lead to war.”

Some choice excerpts (thanks to Pamela Olson):

Accompanied by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, top U.S. nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman and other officials, Kerry tried to convince Senators to refrain from approving new sanctions against Iran, with saying that such a move would “destroy the ability to be able to get agreement.” Kerry told skeptical lawmakers that they needed to “calm down” and to give the negotiations a chance to succeed…

Speaking to reporters after the briefing before the Senate Banking Committee, [Illinois Senator Mark] Kirk described it as “fairly anti-Israeli” and seemed to put more trust in intelligence assessments apparently given to him by Israeli officials than in Kerry’s official presentation.

“I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service,” Kirk said. He revealed that the Israelis had told him that the “total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days.”

According to the Buzzfeed news site, a Senate aide familiar with the meeting said that “every time anybody would say anything about ‘what would the Israelis say,’ they’d get cut off and Kerry would say, ‘You have to ignore what they’re telling you, stop listening to the Israelis on this.’”…

Earlier, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki used unusually blunt and undiplomatic language to dismiss claims made on Wednesday by Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz that the proposed deal with Iran would cut 40% of the value of the current sanctions regime and would give Tehran a $40 billion benefit.

“Without going into specifics about what we’re considering, that number, I can assure you, is inaccurate, exaggerated, and not based in reality,” she said.

The New York Times notes that several powerful Democrats also criticize the negotiations, and they’ve been on the phone to Israel too.

[T]he skepticism is bipartisan. [Senate majority leader Harry] Reid, a Democrat, said, “I hope we can work something out with Iran, but I am a person who really believes in the state of Israel.”

“Our concern over here in dealing with the nuclear capability of Iran is one thing,” he continued. “Put your mind-set that you’re in Israel. There are not thousands of miles separating you. It’s scores of miles. What we do has to be done right.”

After meeting with top administration officials, including Mr. Biden and Mr. Kerry, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the third-ranking Democrat, said: “I am dubious of the proportionality of the deal. While I am exploring further details, I am worried that we are reducing sanctions while Iran is not reducing its nuclear capabilities.”

John Kerry was on Morning Joe today. You’d think they might have asked about Netanyahu playing Congress. No, it was all about Israel and Bibi– Bibi Netanyahu. Note that Kerry begins to state forthrightly the disagreement between the U.S. and Israel and then checks himself.

KERRY: The President’s plan on Iran would actually expand the current breakout time. If we don’t negotiate and we don’t get this agreement, the exact opposite happens. … a standoff in this circumstance which becomes far more dangerous for Israel – our ally and friend – far more dangerous for the region, may even push other countries to nuclearize, and could result in the requirement that we have to, rather than have a negotiated, peaceful resolution of this, take military action in order to secure our goals.

ROBERT GIBBS: … I’m interested in how do you talk to and what do you say to Prime Minister Netanyahu between now and the beginning of those talks next week that the path that you’re pursuing is best for them and what do you say specifically around Iran’s continued enrichment abilities or continue to build a nuclear reactor for plutonium enrichment?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’re not going to let them do that, first of all. I mean, we’ve made it clear to our friends up on the Hill that each of those critical enrichment facilities are part of this agreement, and none of them will be able to progress further if we get this first step. That’s how we begin to roll back the program and hold it where it is. So that’s an essential component of this.

But I’ve had several conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu this week. In fact, literally just before coming here, I hung up the phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu. And we’re having a very friendly and civil conversation about this. I respect completely his deep concerns as a Prime Minister of Israel should have about the existential nature of this threat to Israel. We understand that, which is why President Obama has made this firm commitment that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon.

Now what we agree on – what we disagree on is not the goal. We all agree on the goal; we disagree on a tactic. We believe that you need to take this first step and that you will not get Iran to simply surrender and believe you’re dealing in good faith if after two years of negotiating you don’t follow through on what’s on the table. But Bibi, the Prime Minister – Netanyahu believes that you can increase the sanctions, put the pressure on even further, and that somehow that’s going to force them to do what they haven’t been willing to do at any time previously. We just don’t agree with that as a – but I don’t want to go into the – I mean, what’s important here is we stand with Israel firmly – 100 percent. There’s no distance between us about the danger of this program, and the end game for us is exactly the same. Iran cannot have a peaceful nuclear program that is, in fact, a deceptive program or a program geared to allow them breakout…

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Yeah. Mr. Secretary, Steve Rattner has a question for you.

MR. RATTNER: Quick last question, I think, Mr. Secretary. Sir, you laid out your case very unemotionally, very clearly, very logically. Why are you having so much trouble with so many of your former colleagues, including Senator Corker, the ranking minority, Senator Schumer the number three Democrat, and so forth.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, there are a lot of reasons for that, Steve. I’m not going to enumerate all of them now except to say that every senator is entitled to be skeptical, entitled to ask tough questions. They did yesterday and they will – and we’ll answer them. And we’ll answer their questions. I’m going to continue to talk to senators in the next days. I believe that what we are doing is – and the President believes this very deeply – is the best first step that will actually make Israel safer.

The Iranians aren’t happy. From the State Department briefing yesterday:

Do you have any chance to see the tweets of the Foreign Minister of Iran and part of the tweet diplomacy? Because he is arguing about this P5+1 stand.

MS. PSAKI: The tweets from this weekend?

QUESTION: Yes. I mean, it was reported today in New York Times regarding – I mean, criticizing or some kind of criticizing the Secretary regarding his blame, blaming Iran.

MS. PSAKI: I think I talked about this already yesterday, so I would point you to the comments I made yesterday about it, the tweets.

About the tweets, yesterday:

Is the Secretary upset by this? Is the Secretary upset by the tweeting that’s going on, or does he think it’s just for Iranian domestic audiences?

MS. PSAKI: The Secretary doesn’t have any particular analysis of the tweeting. He feels that this is an issue where we came very close to – as you heard him say – to making a deal.

Here are a couple of the tweets:

And here the Iranians brag on their cooperation with international inspection protocol:

 

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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71 Responses

  1. just
    just
    November 14, 2013, 2:11 pm

    I want Israel and her minions in our Congress to keep their grubby hands off our nascent foreign policy.

    It’s a real threat to our National Security and they need to stfu now. All conversations should cease between us and Israel. Some ‘friends’– both here and abroad.

    Enough! Iran is a great and ancient nation with wonderful people who deserve much more than what we have delivered in the form of sanctions , punishment, and threats on behalf of the nuclear- weapon- armed Apartheid upstart Israel.

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      November 14, 2013, 3:51 pm

      well said, just!

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        November 14, 2013, 7:54 pm

        Obama just needs to arrest a handful of dual citizens in DOD/State and announce an ongoing investigation into espionage and non compliance with the FARA, not to mention inside the US Congress.

        But he cant. They’ve got the dirt on him from way back. Something worse than the Beverly Hills Lewinskys.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 14, 2013, 10:04 pm

        “Obama just needs to arrest a handful of dual citizens.”
        bilal- I attribute Obama’s caving in to the Israel lobby based upon threats to Democratic Party legal campaign funding and not to your “They’ve got dirt on him from way back.”

        But your cheap accusations are beside the point. The point is that the way forward, if by some miracle the need for campaign funds were to disappear from American politics, should be based on current law and lawful changes of those laws and lawful application of the new standards. If there are dual citizens in DOD/State, the first step would be to fire them and not to arrest them, the next step would be to publicize and only then enforce a new (new/old, if you prefer) conception of FARA. Your fantasies about arresting people for whatever good reason smacks of an unconstitutional image of how to go from the current situation to the preferred situation. May your fantasies conform to the constitution and fairness before the law rather than just your raw emotions.

      • Egbert
        Egbert
        November 15, 2013, 5:38 am

        “Dual citizens” aren’t the problem. The trouble lies with those of single loyalty – loyalty to a foreign state which has no interest in the welfare of the US and its citizens.

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        November 15, 2013, 6:25 am

        absolutely, dual citizenship is legal, espionage and FARA violations are not Prosecute the fifth column and implement bans on security clearances to those with affiliations to a foreign state, in accordance with existing law.

        That would of course also include the agents of Saudi Aramco and BP Shell.

  2. American
    American
    November 14, 2013, 2:48 pm

    ”[Senate majority leader Harry] Reid, a Democrat, said, “I hope we can work something out with Iran, but I am a person who really believes in the state of Israel”

    Then move to Israel work in their senate. Oh wait!…you’re not Jewish..sorry, you cant get citizenship there so no political office for you.
    Where would all the gentile I-Firsters go if we deported them?
    Think Israel would make an exception for them?

  3. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    November 14, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Dont american government understand how stupid they have become where they are taking orders from this israeli regime?!

    Wake up Americans for crying out loud!

  4. Krauss
    Krauss
    November 14, 2013, 3:19 pm

    If the lobby wins this battle – and it is very likely considering all the (remaining) political capital that Obamacare is currently draining from the administration – then how long will their victory be?

    Their endgame can at best be “no sanctions relief”. Okay. But there’s no way in hell Obama’s going to order a war on Iran with approval ratings in the upper 30s and a domestic agenda in tatters. Arak will be done by April. And even beyond Arak, Israel has been reduced to goading the U.S. into war. The problem? It doesn’t work anymore.

    Even liberal Zionists like David Aaron Miller or Rothkopf of the Foreign Policy magazine is taking Obama’s line on the negotiations. People are just tired of the moochers in Judea who never want to fight their own wars(bombing a civilian population in Gaza does not count), because the last time they tried, they left with their tails between their legs, Lebanon.

    Finally, how long will China accept Iran’s economy and, by extention, oil output potential to be as subdued? They need the oil. China can unilaterially break the sanctions regime if they want to. Right now, as U.S. domestic crude is rising, America imports less from the Middle East. This slack is taken up by the Chinese. But they may outgrow the stuff America is leaving behind and then Iran will be necessary. Even beyond that, a strike on Iran would tank the world economy and the Chinese economy, too. The Chinese communist party isn’t going to allow it. In even just 5 years, China’s voice is much more powerful.

    If Israel is trying to cozy up to China, which they are, attacking Iran is the worst way possible.

    To summarize: At this stage its all political theater but the lobby lost the war, even if they can win this tactical battle.
    There will be no major attack on Iran. That’s why Abe Foxman is boiling with rage. He’s been humiliated.
    Now it’s all about saving face. Obama’s 2nd term looks like a total disaster. His only signature policy is in tatters, immigration is dead, the I/P is going nowhere, and now Iran is being sagotaged from within.
    At least he can comfort himself with taking down the lobby with him and denying them a war, just like Bush did. Only this time there won’t be a second chance for his successor.
    It’s gone too far.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      November 14, 2013, 9:24 pm

      Don’t discount Hillary Clinton if she gets in. She is one of the Israeli lobbies lady warmongers looking to be chief warmonger

    • braciole
      braciole
      November 14, 2013, 9:53 pm

      You do realise that the United States is unilaterally imposing these sanctions on the world, so if the rest of the world tells the US congress to STFU what is the US Congress going to do? Declare war on the rest of the world? Refuse to do business with the rest of the world? Throw its rattle out of its pram more likely. The sooner the rest of the world gets some balls the better and I hope it’ll not be too long before that happens.

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        November 15, 2013, 10:00 am

        I’m not sure if that comment is directed at me or Kathleen, braciole.
        But if it’s at my comment, then I suggest you re-read it, as I wrote quite clearly that the sanctions only work as long as China wants them to work and to a lesser extent Russia and India.

        This is why an attack on Iran will never happen. They need Iran’s oil and they both cannot afford a recession, least of which China.

        The lobby just saberrattles at this stage. The key point is now to save face and blame it on Obama, but they lost their objective.

  5. James Canning
    James Canning
    November 14, 2013, 3:21 pm

    Good question: why does the American press say so little about all the pandering to the Israel lobby that is demanded of American leaders?

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      November 14, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Because they want to keep their jobs. Just like the critters in Congress.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        November 14, 2013, 5:41 pm

        Bingo Ellen. Or like David Gregory, Terri Gross, Rachel Maddow they repeat Israel and the I lobbies unsubstantiated claims about Iran. They purposely fuel the deceptions.

        Although then you have to ask why Chris Hayes who has stepped out further than most of the mainstreamers on this issue still has his job

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        November 14, 2013, 6:25 pm

        Chris Hayes is still a minor MSM player. They allow him to test the fringes, to see where the tide might be going for future ratings with the younger crowd. As long as he does not offend any significant paymaster he is safe.

        He used to work on Maddow’s staff (note the parlance of his speech). He knows his limits.

        You might see Occupy Wall Streeters and a few “Parlor Acceptable” Arabs, but you will never see a even MJ Rosenberg on his site, and surely not Max Blumenthal or even see Rashid Khalid from Columbia University-

        Chris Hayes stepped a little further to distinguish himself from vanilla, but never too far to kill his show. He added a swirl, but never more.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        November 14, 2013, 9:25 pm

        Noura Erakat on his program. Not really vanilla

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        November 15, 2013, 5:08 am

        Kathleen, yes, Noura Erakat and others have distinguished his show from the vanilla nothingness of the rest of the MSN. It makes his show interesting. Not a part of the Fox TV fight fest. But his show is still a very small part of that universe.

        It is a great start and I hope his show and others like it grow in significance, but I fear not. Younger people do not watch TV in the numbers that the over 45-group does — especially early in the evening.

        I think if they took him off the 8:PM slot and put his show on later — when his audience may have the TV on — his show would do MUCH better.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        November 15, 2013, 11:59 pm

        It’s a start

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        November 14, 2013, 6:11 pm

        Good deal of truth in this comment. Sadly.

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        November 14, 2013, 7:58 pm

        I’ve noticed an overlap with gender activism and pro Palestine efforts. Let the criticism flow into the gender identity debate in order to immunize middle america from its spread.

        Once Gleen Beck started talking about bankers , soros, and the federal reserve, he was gone quickly.

    • annie
      annie
      November 14, 2013, 4:39 pm

      why does the American press say so little about all the pandering to the Israel lobby…?

      because the israel lobby has their hands as far up the arse of the media as they do in congress!

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    November 14, 2013, 4:01 pm

    Great post Phil, great overview. Demonstrating once again Israel and the I lobby have harassed, threatened Reps from both parties long and hard enough that they know they need to tow the Israeli line no if and or buts. Bi partisan support no matter what. As many of us know the so called liberal Dems are as big of ass kissers or bigger Israel ass kissers than Republican Reps on this issue.
    Netanyahu
    Netanyahu ‘America Won’t Get in Our Way…It’s Easily Moved’
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9dLTOd3V-Y

    Call your Reps let them know we are out here. No new sanctions on Iran. Support the negotiations.

  7. Walid
    Walid
    November 14, 2013, 4:05 pm

    A couple of days back, someone here asked what being said in France. Today’s Nouvel Observateur reported that historically, this is the first time a Western ally of the US has criticized it as strongly as Fabius has done. That publication has somewhat of an inside track with the French Foreign Ministry since this week it co-sponsored a seminar on foreign affairs with it at the Grande Bibliothèque where Fabius spoke his mind about the US.

    The points raised by Fabius at the seminar on Wednesday:

    “The US is no longer willing to take part in another crisis that doesn’t correspond to its new vision of its national interests. In Washington, the proponents of withdrawing from non strategic zones are making themselves heard.”

    The minister said that this became evident by recent political events when it was decided to not attack after the Syrian regime used chemical weapons. Asked what was behind the US pulling back, Fabius said he believed the US wanted to redirect its efforts towards Asia where its interests are now present, especially economic ones, that the US is about to become an exporter of hydrocarbons, that because of the very serious traumatism it is feeling from its involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, and because of the current tendencies of public opinion towards isolationism.

    Fabius also said that the US is going to be a big loser in all of this, it will create uncertitudes, destabilize the fractured Lebanon and Iraq, and create suspicion and conspiracy theories among Western nations about the Americans’ real intentions.

    http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20131114.OBS5520/fabius-redoute-un-retrait-americain-du-moyen-orient.html

    Not very flattering what Fabius said about the US after the wekend fiasco on Iran. It’s all about doom and gloom for the US.

    Roger Cohen in an editorial repeated some of the same points, especially France’s trauma after the US abandoned it at the last moment before the planned bombing of Syria but he didn’t feel all of these will have a serious impact on the US:

    .http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/opinion/cohen-french-muscle-american-cheese.html?_r=1&

    • American
      American
      November 14, 2013, 5:43 pm

      “The US is no longer willing to take part in another crisis that doesn’t correspond to its new vision of its national interests. In Washington, the proponents of withdrawing from non strategic zones are making themselves heard.”..France

      Actually last year Stephen Walt said he believed Obama was going to quietly pursue a gradual withdrawal from the ME and redirection of the US interest. Walt has held for a long time that the ME is no longer a strategic region for the US— not one that is worth the on going US military and diplomatic expenditures.
      The Asia redirection would be of economic/ capitalist imperatives
      for the US. I hope this is true and where we’re headed—the US needs to start taking care of it’s own business.
      There has been chattering and articles lately stressing how the US is not dependent on ME oil. I think that is a message the WH wants to get out.
      I got this email today from the WH update mail :

      The White House Thursday, November 14, 2013

      ‘For the first time in nearly two decades, we’re importing less foreign oil than we’re producing domestically, and we’re using less overall. That’s a really big deal. Get the facts below, and pass them on. [ http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/two-very-important-lines?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email260-graphic&utm_campaign=energy ]

      *http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/two-very-important-lines [ http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/two-very-important-lines?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email260-graphic&utm_campaign=energy ]*

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        November 14, 2013, 7:25 pm

        Linking the success of these talks with Iran to allow the US to pivot to Asia raises some interesting questions about China’s role in these talks.

        First, it is in China’s interests to be able to freely trade with Iran. Successful peace talks will open that door.

        On the other hand it will free the US to pivot to Asia. That is not in China’s interests. When Hillary first pushed the pivot, it looked like it was an effort to build an alliance of Asian nations directed against China. This included a trans Pacific trade proposal that excluded China. Hillary made some belligerent comments about S. China Sea disputes that emboldened the Phillipines and Japan to make aggressive claims in areas significant to China. Somehow, I think it is in China’s interests to see the US bogged down in endless disputes in the ME involving Israel. After all, China was one of the major beneficiaries of the Iraq war that completly tied up the US for a decade.

        China has a very cautious foreign policy so I doubt that we will see them actively sabotage the P5+1 talks. However, if the talks collapse they are certainly big enough to unilaterally bring down the sanctions against Iran.

        Failure of the talks would also provide advantages to GB, Germany and France. If US law keeps sanctions in place but if they collapse anyway it will give Europe a competitive advantage over the US in building business with Iran.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        November 15, 2013, 1:52 pm

        “Pivot to Asia” is to some degree a PR posture. China and the US have many mutual interests.

      • American
        American
        November 15, 2013, 4:50 pm

        ”On the other hand it will free the US to pivot to Asia. That is not in China’s interests.”…….ToivoS

        I dont know,I thinks its a bit more complicated than that now. In many ways the US and China economies are dependent on each other. We are their major consumer, they are our major consumer supplier for our retail markets.
        But China is out running us because they are ‘producers’ while we have fallen behind in being a producer of hard goods and are more a service and consumer economy. They are reaching out and establishing business partnerships with other countries to cutivate them also as both producers and consumers.
        The US is not doing much of anything to re establish production industries in the US for domestic consumption or export.
        There has to be a way to balance it. Thats the challenge of global commerce now.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        November 15, 2013, 5:46 pm

        I think you fail to appreciate how belligerent the pivot to Asia looked from the Chinese side. While Bush was still President I read some essays by Ann Marie Slaughter where she was basically proposing a military alliance that would include all of the countries bordering China to its south and west. Essentially a reincarnation of SEATO. Hillary appointed Slaughter to a State Dept position where she worked when this “pivot” was dreamed up.

        China sees the US as a real military threat in spite of all of the “mutually” beneficial trade agreements.

      • Walid
        Walid
        November 15, 2013, 10:32 pm

        “The US is no longer willing to take part in another crisis …”

        There was more to the Fabius outburst than simply about the US walking away from the ME with its head down. This quote by Fabius was the launch of a 90 minute debate on Wednesday that had 2 expert geostrategists and a senior journalist debating him on this question but it wasn’t the only one. The 3 debaters, Ghassan Salameh, Kishore Mahbubani and Roger Cohen also got into the US relations with China and the need to revamp the UNSC by expanding its membership and by limiting the veto powers that 5 nations are now using as a right rather than a privilege. Listening to the full debate, it was obvious that Fabius was there to smear the US and said in so many words, that the US failed in the ME, that it was pulling out of there, pivoting towards China and that Europe is a powerful economic and military force itself that could step in, assume its responsability to protect and fill the void left by the departing Americans. It was reminiscent of the attitude of de Gaul feeling the glory of France and pulling his country out of NATO and kicking out the American bases in 1966.

        All 3 debaters disagreed with him, especially Roger Cohen that said that the US wasn’t going anywhere eventhough it was definitely not going to start another disatrous war in the ME and that the world survived well under Pax Americana. Salameh said the US will continue to be present in the ME but will be using cruise missiles, drones and special forces to do its policing.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    November 14, 2013, 4:13 pm

    RE: “Republicans blast Kerry’s ‘anti-Israeli’ Senate briefing against new Iran sanctions” ~ Chemi Shalev at Haaretz

    TAKE ACTION! TAKE ACTION! TAKE ACTION!

    Tell Your Senators: No More Sanctions

    When Iran got down to the real business of talking with the US and other countries on October 15, it was clear that they were interested in more than a ‘charm offensive.’ US diplomats optimistically noted that the tone and substance of talks had changed. There’s promise for a negotiated deal, but that good news could turn bad if the Senate isn’t careful.

    Take action before next week’s talks to help diplomacy win.

    Despite the positive signs coming out of the first round of negotiations, some Senators want to move forward with additional sanctions. The Obama administration has asked Congress to hold off, but there are loud, powerful groups pushing for Congress to play ‘bad cop’ in the game of diplomacy. Sheldon Adelson, a GOP megadonor, went so far as to suggest that the US launch a preemptive nuclear strike on Iran.

    Will Congress stand with President Obama or with extremist hawks?

    The next round of talks is happening at the beginning of November. More punishment from the US before the November talks could empower hardliners in Iran and make it harder for Iran’s president to negotiate. When you undermine diplomatic solutions, you head toward war.

    Tell your Senators not to undermine diplomacy with Iran.

    ● TO SEND AN EMAIL OPPOSING ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS DURING THE NEGOTIATIONS – http://www.winwithoutwar.org/page/speakout/no-more-sanctions

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    P.S. ALSO SIGN THE J STREET PETITION!

    TELL YOUR SENATORS: DON’T UNDERMINE IRAN NEGOTIATIONS WITH NEW SANCTIONS

    ● TO SIGN THE PETITION – http://act.jstreet.org/sign/iran_negotiations/

  9. just
    just
    November 14, 2013, 4:39 pm

    “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

    Someone please point out where loyalty or fealty to Israel is required.

    Compare and contrast to Israel: (wiki)

    Israel

    “The Israeli government agreed that a controversial draft proposal, clause 5(c) of the Law of Citizenship of 1952, be brought before the Knesset to be legislated. If passed by the Knesset a newly naturalised citizen of Israel would have to declare that he or she will be a faithful citizen of the State of Israel “as a Jewish and democratic state” and that he or she promises to keep the laws of the state.[3] This is not legislation but a government decision to enact a law (actually to amend an existing law). The proposal if legislated will apply to new Jewish citizens of Israel [4](even though according to Israeli law Jews are not considered to be naturalised citizens but citizens by birth).”

    Oily and gross as usual.

  10. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    November 14, 2013, 5:16 pm

    Phil W,

    The Haaretz article Pamela Olson directed you toward contains “According to the Buzzfeed news site……..”, followed by a long quote from the Buzzfeed article. Here’s the article itself:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/republican-senators-slam-administrations-briefing-on-iran

    Author – Rosie Gray. I wonder what job she’s going to awarded with for her journeyman efforts lately? We’ll find out in a year or so.

  11. seafoid
    seafoid
    November 14, 2013, 5:17 pm

    Powerful friends including Democrats….

    Some people still think that the next Dem in the White House is going to stand up to the corruption in the Beltway and stand up for the poor and dispossessed.

    In actual fact, the Democratic party plays wonderful whorehouse piano. So tuneful.

    • just
      just
      November 14, 2013, 5:31 pm

      They ain’t only playing the piano in that “whorehouse”.

  12. mcohen
    mcohen
    November 14, 2013, 5:24 pm

    .SECRETARY KERRY:
    I believe that what we are doing is – and the President believes this very deeply – is the best first step that will actually make Israel safer.

    the main problem with Kerry is his name……Kerry
    his best first step would be to change it to Jerry

    straightaway we have “linkage”

    to that other great comedian Jerry whatshisname
    they even look alike

    what are Kerry,s guiding principals—-this from wikipedia

    “It was discovered in 2003 by Felix Gundacker, a genealogist[5] working with The Boston Globe, that Kerry’s paternal grandparents, who had been born Jewish, as “Fritz Kohn” and “Ida Löwe”, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, changed their names to “Frederick and Ida Kerry” in 1900 and converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism in 1901[6][”

    right now in this time and place he has become an important pivot and not by accident-a counter to the other driving forces from that period

    Fourth Zionist Congress: London 13 – 16 August 1900

    http://www.herzl.org/english/Article.aspx?Item=541

    he needs to be given some leeway to solve the problem created by one world power a 113 years ago,all it needs is a very small gesture at the right moment in time

    that time is now august to december ,2013

  13. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    November 14, 2013, 5:26 pm

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov disputes that Iran was to blame for failure in Geneva.
    “This time, the P5+1 group (the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain plus Germany) did not formulate any joint document. There was an American-proposed draft. We vigorously supported this draft. If this document had been supported by all (members of the P5+1), it would have already been adopted,” Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying at a press conference in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Thursday. http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/11/14/334706/sextet-had-no-joint-document-in-geneva/ By the way Haaretz claimed that Senator Mark Kirk was [R-Illinois] when in fact it should be Mark Kirk [R-Likud].

  14. American
    American
    November 14, 2013, 6:17 pm

    Incoming!

    MJRosenberg

    Guess Who Is Stabbing Kerry In The Back

    14Nov

    The villain is…

    Easy.

    Joe Biden, the man who insists that there must be “no daylight, no daylight” between U.S.policy and Israel’s.

    Biden wants the lobby’s money for his run against Hillary. He has been a total AIPAC tool his entire career. Although Hillary is too, she cannot do anything for Netanyahu now. She is out of office.

    So Joe (“I Seen My Opportunities & I Took Em”) Biden plays the role Elliot Abrams played when George W. Bush was president. Inside man. Every time Secretary of State Colin Powell was in the Middle East trying to get a deal, Abrams was on the phone with Ariel Sharon conspiring.

    That is what Biden is doing. He is on the phone with Netanyahu and his personal AIPAC “donor” (Michael Adler of Florida) promising that he will stop Kerry, don’t you worry about it.

    Poor Kerry. He wants to keep his job but fears Netanyahu could fire him.

    What to do?

    How do I know all of this? Simple. I don’t. But when you deal with hacks like Biden, and the lobby that finances him, assume the worst. You will never be wrong.

    Kerry is a gone goose.

    As for Biden, don’t write the geezer off. When it comes to kissing the lobby’s ass and being rewarded for it, Joe Biden ain’t 75. He’s 40
    >>>>>

    He’s right about slimeball Biden. But maybe not about Kerry—Kerry could decide to thrown his hat in the ring once again. Cant imagine anything much worse then only Dem choices being Biden or Hillary.

    • Taxi
      Taxi
      November 15, 2013, 4:09 am

      MJ Rosenberg, savior of the jews (in his own lunchtime).

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      November 15, 2013, 4:16 am

      American- I will bet you any amount of money in the world, that Kerry does not throw his hat in the ring again. I will give you ten to one odds. You might have given yourself the name American (an insult to about 300 million people) but apparently you are unaware of American history or specifically history of the Democratic party since 1956.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        November 15, 2013, 4:26 am

        ” You might have given yourself the name American (an insult to about 300 million people)…”

        Yonah, speak for yourself dude! American’s moniker is perfect for him and it seems that you’re the only one insulted by it.

        Jealous much?

      • American
        American
        November 15, 2013, 2:09 pm

        Thanks Taxi.

        Not to go off topic but what do you make of these?….got any insight on where the Russia-Egypt overtures are headed?

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24936509
        14 November 2013 Last updated at 15:27 ET

        Russia and Egypt in ‘historic’ talks

        Also some good related reports like this one.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-echochambers-24920827

        Will Russia ‘liberate’ Egypt ‘from American stupidity’?
        snip..
        ””At last, Egypt will be somewhat liberated from American stupidity,” writes RuJamal Zaydah in Egypt’s Al-Ahram. “We want Egypt to embark on the same journey as that of China, India and some Latin American countries, which have progressed economically until they gained an excellent standing on the international arena. This is why the visit to Cairo today [13 November] by Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is important.”
        In Lebanon’s Al-Nahar, Rajih al-Khuri writes that Russia “will break this [arms] monopoly again in response to America’s silly and humiliating decision to suspend aid to Egypt following the downfall of the [Muslim] Brothers.”
        “Actual US policy is gradually withdrawing from the region,” editorializes the Saudi Al-Watan, “and this is why there is the need to create alternative strategic axes to protect the interests of Arab countries.”

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        November 16, 2013, 2:51 am

        American,

        You will recall how a couple of months ago, you and Shingo and I had very involved discussions about Egypt and Sisi et all. You will also recall how my assertions that Egypt, post Morsi, under the temporary rule of Sisi, was headed to independence and not towards deeper bondage with israel, saudi arabia or USA. You will remember that my analysis was dismissed in the most severest of ways. And You must absolutely remember how time and time again, I asked for patience regarding the final judgement on what was taking place in Egypt with the Morsi debacle. And so now, we have ‘patiently’ arrived at the first step towards Egypt’s independence and rebirth: a public declaration by both Egyptians and Russians that a new chapter in their relationship has been signed.

        I’ll try and keep it short so as not to veer off the thread’s topic.

        First, a quick summery of the history of Egypt and Russia, or the USSR, as it was known back in the 1960’s. Under Nasser, it was the Russians who helped build Egypt’s great dams, built new factories and introduced industrial agriculture to bucolic Egyptian farmers. Then, Sadat, who came in as president of Egypt after the sudden and natural death of Nasser, broke off all contracts with Russia, at the behest of America and her ‘promises of gold and peace’ – all in exchange for the signing of the Camp David Accords. I recall Kissinger, at the time of the official signing of the Accords, boasting: “We have caught the big fish”. And yes, Egypt IS the big fish in the middle east – a big fish that for thirty plus years was barely kept alive in a small israel-USA fishbowl.

        Fast forward:
        The current revived alliance between Russia and Egypt basically spells one thing: the beginning of the end of the Camp David Accords. It will be a slow process at first, but it will undoubtedly happen within a couple of years. Especially that Russia has promised to not only aid Egypt militarily, but also industrially and economically (loans, bonds etc). Russia has also stated that it’s objective is to have the middle east’s “big fish” as a strategic ally and not as a slave in bondage. Russia has offered Egypt everything it needs with the insurance that it will not ‘interfere’ in Egypt’s internal affairs – something that ALL Egyptians are insisting on.

        So where does this new Egyptian-Russian alliance leave America? On the sidelines, is the answer. Considering that Obama has stated that there will be no more new American wars in the middle east, we can safely say that USA will not be waring the Russians over Egypt. America, however, will continue to support israel diplomatically (thanks to the israel-firsters clinging to congress and senate seats), as well as (for the time being) continue to provide israel with limited military ware (marked officially at 2.3 billion’s worth). But the USA is no longer prepared to support israel’s wars of choice by using American soldiers: putting American boots on Arab ground. THIS will not be happening, guaranteed. This leaves israel in a considerably weaker position, militarily. And psychologically. Israel, predictably, has no creative plan B configured for when the Accords finally are broken. All it knows is war-planning and warmongering. And we all know what eventually happens to pathological warmongers and warmakers.

        So in answer to your question, American, simply: the ‘big fish” just got away. And it ain’t never coming back to the old turgid waters.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        November 16, 2013, 3:17 am

        “And it ain’t never coming back to the old turgid waters”.

        To the above I’ll add: never again. Will Egypt jump right back into the American-israeli fishbowl? Never again in our lifetime. And just think about the resounding implications of this… on isreal.

        Because of the historic renewed relationship between Egypt and Russia, expect major geopolitical shifts and changes to occur right across the Arab board in a gradual fashion, as opposed to ‘outbursts’ of change. I’m tempted to call this undulating, approaching sweep: Russian Dominoes. As opposed to Soviet era: Russian roulette.

        ;-)

      • Walid
        Walid
        November 16, 2013, 11:20 am

        Hey, Taxi, I don’t have faith in anything good happening to Egypt because of the Russians. Sure they came in to help on Aswan after the Americans dropped them when they didn’t bite on Nasser’s blackmailinhg them by playing them against the Russians and for having refused to shut down the communists and because Egypt wanted no part of the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact, but this help came at a great price for Egypt. It ended up with second rate arms and military expertise and having to let the communists run loose but it also put Egypt in debt with the Russians for decades to come. It was reckless of the Americans to have vengefully abandoned Egypt in building it’s much needed Aswan Dam and practically throwing Egypt into the arms of the Soviets. We saw how much good that Soviet expertise helped Egypt in the 1967 Israeli blitz.

        Now fast forward as you would say, and the Russians are back courting the Egyptians because it’s looking like the Americans are again walking away from Egypt, but I doubt they are. It’s regrettable that the US from the start has always preferred Israel over Egypt, but they should still try to improve relations with the US rather than jumping into the dark with the Russians. If the Russians do end up really getting involved in Egypt, which I also doubt and don’t think it will get beyond the petting stage, you’d have to ask at what cost.

      • American
        American
        November 16, 2013, 12:18 pm

        @ Walid

        I think it ‘depends’.
        If Russia ‘s allience with certain ME countries makes them more impervious to US “strong arming” in Israel’s behalf I think that will be a positive.
        And by strong arming I dont mean just militarily, the US has forced a lot of economic concessions out of Egypt and others for Israel.
        One of the worse that damaged Egypt’s main export industry , cotton production and cost Egyptians jobs was when the US threatened to revise Egypt’s free trade zones which would lessen their cotton exports to the US if Egypt didn’t agree to buy a percentage of their cotton goods and clothing accessories from Israel. I believe it was 10% or better that was required.
        Egypt gave into this to keep the US export market but it took a bite out of the Egyptian companies and jobs that were the makers of the button, fasteners and etc. accesories for their cotton products.
        There are many other examples of the US using it’s weight to arrange for Israel to ‘dip it’s beak’ into and take a share of another country’s business.
        If the Russian return prevents this kind of economic blackmail, which is just more stealing really, to enrich Israel’s economy at the expense of another country that the US has been doing for decades –I am all for it.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        November 16, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Walid,

        Your argument is based on the false idea that the USSR equals Russia: that communist USSR circa 1963 is exactly the same as modern Russia circa 2013. That’s why it’s pointless to get into the nitty-gritty of your argument. The way I see it is that Egypt is not “jumping into the dark”, you’re the one who’s stumbling in the dark with your analysis. Plus the ridiculous notion/conclusion that Egypt is better off remaining in bondage to a weakening USA.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        November 16, 2013, 12:42 pm

        Walid, Nasser is an important aspect from my own nitwit perspective, but I would throw in Britain and France at that point. We of course may not ever know what exactly happened and what was on “Isreal’s-Iron-wall-mind” in stopping his advances. Greater Israel? Who were the leading experts behind the decision?

        If I remember well, Yusuf al-Misry had a quite interesting historical perspective on Egypt and Nasser too which included an Israeli – Egyptian debate at one point.

        I had serious “private problems” with Pat at one point, but I still appreciate his blog, and strictly him too beyond the left – conservative left idealist perspective. Some type of Optimist-Mondoweiss antidote? Not least because of voices beyond the Western perspective. E.g. Iranians that don’t sound the ones cited here.

        Thanks a lot again, for helping me understand something I thought I couldn’t even start to understand without starting to study something that still is called “Orientalistik” over here. I guess it would be hard to sort out interested positions along the Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes lines otherwise. But I may take a look at the curricula here in Cologne. ;)

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        November 16, 2013, 12:43 pm

        What I forgot to write in the above was, can Putin really be some type of political Messiah? I am as hesitant as you seem to be.

      • Walid
        Walid
        November 16, 2013, 1:12 pm

        American, there’s nothing left in Egypt for any country to dip its beak into. Other than for the canal and the cotton, Egypt didn’t have much to offer and lately, the cotton cultivation has gone to the dogs. Last year’s cotton-growing lands in comparison to what they were 20 years ago had shrunk by 75%. As to the remaining 25% still producing cotton, most of the cotton cultivated is being stockpiled by the growers because there aren’t any takers for it. The Chinese goods are finishing off whatever textile industry had remained in Egypt. Revenues from the canal are also down and so is tourism. So other than supplying it with arms on credit, what does Russia expect to receive from Egypt?

      • Walid
        Walid
        November 16, 2013, 1:31 pm

        “… the false idea that the USSR equals Russia: that communist USSR circa 1963 is exactly the same as modern Russia circa 2013. “(Taxi)

        Taxi, what was actually the USSR without Russia? All I see that changed is that Russia is now capitalist and the people dress better and seem to be enjoying life much more. Do you think that Russia wants to help Egypt because of its benevolence? Given the choice of being in bondage by the US or the Russians, I’d take the Americans without any hestitation.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        November 16, 2013, 2:20 pm

        So there is no difference between the USSR and Russia except they now dress better? Oh come on, don’t be so daft, Walid. Not very becoming. Go research the difference for youself cuz I really can’t be bothered to respond to your sweeping and elementary statements on Russia.

        It’s also very naive to think that Russia’s interest in Egypt is due to “benevolence”, or to ‘malevolence’ – we’re talking politics and self-interest here. We will note, however, that the two countries do actually have a history of shared good will. Russia, like any other country on the planet, plays for geopolitical positioning and it’s plenty for Russia to have the Egypt feather in its cap – it’s worth mega geopolitical power to have Egypt as a major mideast ally. There is no intent to ‘milk Egypt’ as Egypt doesn’t have any milk at the moment (like you rightly said) – but with investments in industries etc, there will be plenty of milk in Egypt, for Egyptians, in due course – the potential is there and hugely so if managed right. Russia is not moving in on Egypt to enslave it to either Moscow or israel – it’s a long term Russian investment in geopolitical power, Walid, and geopolitical power is beyond currency.

        In practice, being a mideast country that’s “in bondage” to the USA means it’s in bondage to israel: same difference. And you would like to keep the status quo – you freely state – you would prefer to be in bondage to israel/USA indefinitely? Interesting. Lucky for Egypt that you’re not Egyptian.

        Look around, Walid, China and Russia are going into Africa and the mideast with ideas and projects that promote and encourage local industry, productivity and trade; while America is going into countries with soldiers and drones. I can only think that you favor the country peddling war because of some sort of cold war era hangover or commie-infused flashback you experience when the name ‘Russia’ is mentioned.

        Really now, you don’t have to be a contrarian just for the sake of it – in this case, it’s just making you look like you’re out of touch and unreasonably dismissive.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        November 17, 2013, 1:56 pm

        Egypt can offer support for Russian initiative to achieve diplomatic resolution of civil war in Syria.

  15. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 14, 2013, 6:51 pm

    I join the Congress when it says (from whose mouth the actual words came doesn’t matter) “I believe in Israel”. Now that’s significant, in my case, because I no longer believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, etc. Of course, I don’t believe anything Israeli politicians say. And I wouldn’t think of supporting Israel. But it is a good deal more “real” in some important than, say, the American Congress.

    • Rusty Pipes
      Rusty Pipes
      November 14, 2013, 9:47 pm

      “I believe in Israel” But are the congresscritters competing with each other to see who can clap the loudest so that poor little Tinkerbell doesn’t die or so that their campaign warchests magically fill up with gold?

      • just
        just
        November 14, 2013, 10:08 pm

        I see Israel more as Captain Crook.

  16. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    November 14, 2013, 8:32 pm

    No where in the discussion , the wishes of the American ( 80)%) looking for god relation, negotiations or the sufferings of Iranians crop up. The discussion revolves around the placeholders ‘s collective desires to look good to the eyes of the donors ,to the moneyed men ,to the Israeli centric Anti US organizations.
    100 years ago thec3rd world countries were agitating for freedom and independence
    It is the moment for Arab and Muslim countries 100 yrs late but the similarities are there. How the super powers 5 plus. 1 will end up is something worth pondering

  17. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    November 14, 2013, 9:21 pm

    UK did same at the end of WW2 . It withdrew. The rising power was US and USSR. Both got involved diplomatically and economically with Palestine issues. Partition was secured by pressures on US by the Zionist. US exported those pressures on Liberia, France, Phillipnes, Haiti and South American countries. It is ironic how the neocons were describing the arrival of WW3 and 4 .Seems US did not win it the way they saw it would. Bititish tried to keep S Asia and African colonies by pivoting . France did same. The orientation did not end up as they thought it would. The resistance movements in those countries foiled the reincarnation of European colonial desires.
    US may not fare well either. China has its own ideas . Japan , Phillipnes, S Korea may tag along with US for a while but they would keep their national interest so will Indonesia and Malayasia. It is not going to be a pretty and smooth transition for US.

  18. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    November 14, 2013, 10:23 pm

    Take that, France: Iran has Halted Expansion of Nuclear Facilities: IAEA
    http://www.juancole.com/2013/11/expansion-nuclear-facilities.html

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      November 14, 2013, 11:15 pm

      Those fiendish, evil, Iranians! They’ll try anything, won’t they?

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 15, 2013, 7:08 am

        RoHa, you posted this a couple of days ago and I just wondered what you meant ???. I am referring to the Buggers remark.

        “One too many zeroes. There seem to have been a few Irish Monks living there around 700*, but the main settlement was the Norsemen in the late 800s/early 900s. The documents come from about 300/400 years later.

        (*Those buggers get everywhere.)”

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 16, 2013, 12:01 am

        I meant what I said.

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 16, 2013, 7:11 am

        “I meant what I said.”RoHa .

        ““One too many zeroes. There seem to have been a few Irish Monks living there around 700*, but the main settlement was the Norsemen in the late 800s/early 900s. The documents come from about 300/400 years later.

        (*Those buggers get everywhere.)”RoHa.

        So your just another run of the mill bigot stereotyping people.

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 15, 2013, 7:35 am

      >> Iran has Halted Expansion of Nuclear Facilities: IAEA

      Good gawd! This can only mean that Iran is less than six months away from acquiring a nuclear weapon with which it will wipe “the Jews” off the map and push them into the sea!

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      November 15, 2013, 1:49 pm

      France wants to force a suspension of all enrichment of uranium. Or, at least France has adopted this stance. Which would block any deal.

  19. quercus
    quercus
    November 15, 2013, 7:05 am

    What the hell does that mean “I believe in Israel”. Is Israel a rumor? Stupid politicians.

  20. Taxi
    Taxi
    November 15, 2013, 8:59 am

    Chuck Schemer.

  21. hophmi
    hophmi
    November 15, 2013, 10:16 am

    It appears that the American pro-Palestinian community are a bunch of Iran-firsters. They’ll seemingly do anything to push the point of view, promoted by their masters in the Iranian government and through the Iranian government press, that the sanctions should be lifted.

    Perhaps, if we rid ourselves of these fifth-columnists, the United States would be able to pursue its interest in keeping the pressure on this enemy of the United States, rather than appeasing a dictatorship.

  22. Taxi
    Taxi
    November 15, 2013, 10:49 am

    Chuck: I just don’t believe you’ve been fellating the donkey enough lately.
    John: But I fellated twice already today – I even spent the last hour fellating The Donk.
    Chuck: Really, you sure about that? Because I was fellating half an hour ago and didn’t see you there in the fallatio line.
    John: I swear to the almighty god I did, I was right there fellating so hard that my jaw now hurts.
    Chuck: Well if you were enjoying it then your jaw wouldn’t be hurting now, would it?
    John: I, I mean, I didn’t know I was supposed to enjoy it – but I will from here on, I swear I will.
    Chuck: I bet you didn’t even swallow like I did either huh?
    John: But I swallowed, I did, I really did… I… well, most.. of it.
    Chuck: Okay – Houston, we have a problem.

  23. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    November 15, 2013, 2:30 pm

    Contact your Reps…no more sanctions on Iran. Negotiate based on substantiated facts not Israel and the Israeli lobbies false claims.

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