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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,209

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Why didn't Zimmer turn immediately to the U.S. Attorney for NJ? Well, who used to hold that job?

Oh yeah, Chris Christie, from 2002 to 2008. He was the guy who Zimmer originally went out on a limb for, giving him cross party praise for helping clean up corruption inside New Jersey. Christie helped bust Democrats who abused state power when he was the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. Then Zimmer discovered that Christie was abusing it himself. Why on earth would she trust anyone to be honest given the evidence of long term endemic serial political corruption in New Jersey? How far did the power of money in New Jersey penetrate? I sure as hell would have been asking myself that question back in July if I were Mayor Zimmer.

Back in July the entire national media was having a love fest over Chris Christie because of his image as a straight shooter that they all swallowed hook line and sinker. Christie was riding high in New Jersey running away with his bid for reelection. He was being praised for being above politics when it came to Sandy relief. Had Zimmer come out against Christie then he and his media friends would have immediately pounced on her for being politically motivated. They would have spread rumors that key Democrats had gotten to her, that there would likely be some pay off for Zimmer if her charges against Christie derailed his expected victory in November. That would have been a plausible line of attack against her back in July.

What supporting evidence did Mayor Zimmer have to make her case against Christie back then? Her diary would have been worthless as evidence in July since clearly she could have fabricated journal entries against Christie concurrent with her going public against him if her accusations were false. Back in July there was no way Zimmer could have known that Christie would become embroiled in a national scandal stemming from a bridge related traffic jam that hadn't happened yet. She had every reason to expect that Christie would be a national darling after sweeping to reelection in November; it makes zero sense that she would have plotted against Christie in July expecting to take him down in December. Had Zimmer moved to expose the Governor's corruption in July she could only expect to be swept aside, she had to feel alone back then not knowing if there was anyone she could trust to not do Christie's bidding. Why would she trust the U.S. Attorney for NJ in that political climate? Just because he was appointed by a Democrat this time? Corruption in New Jersey has long been a bipartisan affair.

The fate of these 2 issues will likely be determined in the next 6 months. Which is more critical?

One issue centers on domestic politics, and all of the implications that may hold for us as a nation moving forward. The other centers on international relations, and all of the repercussions that may hold for us as a nation moving forward.

One involves Chris Christie, the other involves Iran. Which outcome will have the most far reaching consequences?

How Hardliners Pull Nations Into War

Iran nuclear deal comes into force as US sanctions loom

"In line with the implementation of the Geneva joint plan of action, Iran suspended the production of 20 percent enriched uranium in the presence of UN nuclear watchdog inspectors at Natanz and Fordo sites," Mohammad Amiri, director general for safeguards at Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, told the official IRNA news agency.

UN inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that the freeze had begun, diplomats said in Vienna, headquarters of the watchdog...

Iran's conservative newspapers on Monday came out strongly against the implementation of the deal.

Under the headline, "Nuclear holocaust', Vatan-e Emrooz paper said that the Geneva deal will see most of the country's nuclear activities come to a halt.

Threatening to scupper the process is a push by US lawmakers -- including some from Obama's own party -- to slap new sanctions on the Islamic republic, even though this would contravene the November deal.

Where do your U.S. Senators stand on scuttling negotiations with Iran?

Something no one has yet said about Christie's "hardball" handling of political "enemies".

No one in either the media or politics is foolish enough to try to defend what happened to the general public in Fort Lee when George Washington Bridge access lanes were closed for indefensible reasons. But turn on Morning Joe for example and you will witness a wink wink nod nod acceptance of "hardball politics" in New Jersey as something only to be expected. The inference is that successful politicians, at least those in New Jersey, know how to reward their friends and punish their enemies. True, in this particular instance some red line was crossed when the lives of the public were put at risk while some form of as yet murky retribution was exacted by the Christie administration against presumed political enemies. But If you keep the general public out of the direct line of fire, this line of reasoning goes, why shouldn't a politician reward his or her political friends and punish his or her political enemies? That's how things get done in the real world, or so some say.

What isn't noted though is the perverse nature of the sting operation Chris Christie ran during his last election campaign. It was the political equivalent of criminal entrapment. Christie didn't merely target preexisting enemies in an attempt to take them down. He offered "deals that you can't refuse" to numerous mayors who showed up in his sights simply because they happened to have been elected as Democrats. They weren't Christie enemies, not if you take him at his word that he values governing in a bipartisan manner. These simply were mayors who held office as Democrats at a time when Christie wanted Democratic endorsements so he could demonstrate to a national audience that he had "bipartisan support" to further his personal ambitions. From what I have seen so far the mayors of Fort Lee, Jersey City and Hoboken never went out of their way to cross Chris Christie. Chris Christie went out of his way to put them on the hot seat.

When did it become a political capital offense for an elected official of one party to not endorse the head of the opposing party's state wide ticket in an election? That wasn't bare knuckled politics Chris Christie was playing in New Jersey during his last campaign for governor, whether or not he actually ordered those bridge access lanes closed. It was extortion pure and simple.

Iran in U.S. Senate Crosshairs.

NOTE: I posted this two weeks ago in Democratic Underground's General Discussion Forum. Since then the legislation spoken of has gathered steam, and now is nearing the level of support needed to over ride a presidential veto. While this OP offers little if any "new" information, I think it confronts and refutes the arguments being used by those seeking new restrictions on Iran, and exposes the actual motivations of those proposing them - along with the most likely ramifications if their efforts succeed.:

Pending legislation actively supported by a significant minority of the U.S. Senate, including 15 Democratic Senators, establishes strict economic sanctions to be imposed on Iran should it not adhere to actions demanded of it during the current interim six month negotiating window regarding it's nuclear program. The Obama Administration opposes the Senate Bill, arguing that talks with Iran are at a fragile and sensitive stage and any further talk of sanctions at this point runs the risk of scuttling them. Not surprisingly the Senate sponsors of this bill deny any desire to torpedo the current negotiations with Iran. They claim their intent is to provide incentives to Iran to negotiate in good faith. Their actions, they say, increase the likelihood of reaching a negotiated outcome with Iran consistent with long stated U.S. security concerns. They may say that, and some of them may even believe it, but their actions are far more likely to increase the chances of a war with Iran.

No knowledgeable observer can deny that powerful forces, some inside Iran, others associated with the U.S. and our allies, are unsettled if not unabashedly alarmed, at the direction the current nuclear talks have taken. That type of concern seems to flare up whenever long time adversaries show mutual signs of breaking loose from deeply entrenched opposing positions. International disputes ultimately are settled in one of two ways. Either one side essentially capitulates in the face of threats, up to and sometimes including the use of force against them, or some type of settlement of outstanding differences is negotiated. The former often leads to war. The latter almost always involves some degree of compromise, but hardliners on BOTH sides of a dispute usually oppose the granting of any real concessions to their adversaries.

The motives of those opposed to the current negotiations over Iran's nuclear program on both sides may differ wildly, but the short term tactical goal is identical; derail any real diplomacy that proposes anything other than a blueprint for the terms of the other side's surrender. When hardliners lose an internal struggle with more moderate elements to shape their nation's stance in an international dispute, they will try to inflame extremist passions on BOTH side of the dispute. They know it makes no difference which side ultimately disrupts negotiations. All that matters is the failure of the negotiating process.

No doubt opponents of the current peace process inside of the Iranian regime are doing all that they can to poison the well; to stoke up as much hatred of and suspicion toward America as possible. Opponents of the current peace process inside of America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere are counting on exactly that. There is a phrase that gets used in diplomacy that we seldom stop to ponder the meaning or implications of, and that term is “in good faith”. It's not the sort of precise criteria that is easily verifiable, but whether or not each side believes that the opposing side is negotiating in “good faith” is critical to the success of most negotiations. Another important diplomacy related concept is “trust building initiatives”. There seems to be a diplomatic consensus that trust building measures are crucial before real progress can be made resolving long standing disputes between nations with an entrenched distrust of each other.

If it is possible for a party to be recognized for “negotiating in good faith” it is equally possible for it to be accused of “negotiating in bad faith”. The latter is actually the more likely outcome when negotiations occur against the backdrop of deeply held suspicions. And that is precisely why trust building measures are so central to diplomacy, and why they are needed now during the standoff with Iran. Diplomacy at the highest levels has resumed between the United States and Iran. It is an historical breakthrough. Both sides are intently studying how this breakthrough is being perceived by the other, across the great divide. Is it being viewed with relief, and at least cautious optimism, or is it a cause for greater concern, with an expectation of failure and worse days to come?

Cue the United States Senate, where lobbyists representing the interests of other nations aligned with the United States are hard at work behind the scenes trying to influence U.S. policy toward Iran during the current stand off regarding Iran's nuclear program. Clearly there are honest differences of opinion over if and how to proceed with negotiations. Those differences have been at the heart of countless debates within the U.S. State Department and have been the focus of endless consultations with our allies. They were fully weighed, they were fully considered, and the current negotiations with Iran are the product of those deliberations.

Secretary of State John Kerry could not be clearer in warning that new Congressional initiatives regarding Iran policy at this point in our relationship with that nation are not only counter productive, they are dangerous and undercut the chances of successfully defusing our impasse with Iran, and significantly increase the likelihood of armed conflict with that nation. Those warnings have not deterred those who object to the diplomatic process now underway, but they have influenced the tactics that they are using to undercut those negotiations

An initial flurry of voices rose in stark opposition to the 6 month interim agreement reached with Iran when it was first announced, until the American people weighed in on the deal. Most polls have shown a clear majority of Americans supporting it. As a result, rather than directly opposing the current six month window for negotiations, opposition strategy has shifted toward more subtly undermining it. Hence the current emphasis on providing “incentives to Iran”, in the form of specifically defined threats. Yes, it is argued, they will not take effect unless the negotiations fail, but the effect of those threats is to increase the likelihood of that failure. New threats from America coincident with the first hesitant warming of relations between our nation in over 30 years, predictably play poorly inside of Iran, and that plays directly into the hands of hard line Iranian elements who thrive on opposing America.

That is the real goal of the threats the U.S. Senate is weighing against Iran. The neocons may have lost the last few Middle East rounds but they have not exited the field. They still want to topple the Iranian regime, just like they wanted to depose Saddam Hussein. They still are promising the American people that it will be a “cakewalk” to liberate Iran from oppression, just like it was supposed to be in Iraq. Just a few more hard turns of the economic screws and the regime will crumble in the face of domestic unrest, “Don't stop now, we're winning” is their mantra. And if it comes to blows there is always shock and awe.

I was reading about the weather in the NY Times & THIS jumps out at me

MINNEAPOLIS —" Hildagard Omete, 36, a mother of three who has been unemployed for a year and a half, went job hunting on Monday.

Sitting at the public library scanning help-wanted ads on a computer, Ms. Omete was wearing two hoods and a knitted hat, along with a full-length down jacket.
It was cold inside the library

Outside, the temperature was downright frigid, even by Minnesota standards. The thermometer read minus 15 to minus 20 degrees for most of the day..."


The story was titled: "Arctic Cold Blankets Midwest, Freezing Routines". Most of what followed was pure weather talk, facts and and bone chilling figures (a homeless shelter was also mentioned far down in the text). But the lead in featured the long term unemployed. Out of work for a year and a half and this woman was out there on a brutally cold Monday morning searching for job leads from a frigid public library.

The truth about this economy and the plight of those who the Republicans cut loose from the economic safety net by refusing to extend unemployment benefits is now breaking through in frigging weather coverage.

P.S. Obviously they are all lazy do nothing unemployment queens.
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