Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Deceitful Attack


The Oneonta Daily Star published the following letter that was submitted by Betsy Sywetz of Richfield Springs.
“Where’s a fact-checker when you need one?  There’s an ad appearing on local TV stations that attacks Zephyr Teachout, candidate for the 19th U.S. Congressional District.
“It’s designed to frighten you by linking Teachout to the Iran nuclear deal.  It says that the deal will give Iran access to $150 billion.  This distorts the truth because the money actually belongs to Iran and has been frozen for years in international accounts, much of it in China, Japan and South Korea.  Some of it will go to settle long-standing debts and some will actually be released to Iran.
“The voice-over claims that even John Kerry said that the money will be used to fund terrorist groups.  Politifact called this claim partly true.  Kerry did say the words, and Iran has been designated a supporter of terrorism, but it’s wrong to imply that preventing the transfer was a realistic option.  Court action was in process to force the release of that money.  The U.S. was also not in a position to unilaterally continue effective sanctions against Iran.
“Then the ad says the scariest thing: the deal gives Iran the opportunity to make nuclear weapons.  The fact is that experts were warning that Iran was already within weeks of being able to build a nuclear weapon.  The deal was negotiated by the U.S. and five other nations to stop that by shutting down Iran’s centrifuges and establishing inspections.
“If you want to vote for Zephyr Teachout, don’t be afraid.  The deal went into effect a year ago and will continue to be implemented for 10 years.  It doesn’t matter whether she supports it or not. The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee brought you that misleading advertisement.”
Actually, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee knowingly produced a very deceitful advertisement.
The payments of $400 million were announced in January.  It wasn’t a secret and it wasn’t a ransom for the release of American hostages.  The money was flown to Iran on a plane carrying wooden pallets stacked with Swiss francs, euros and other currencies.  The payment were made with Obama's approval as the first share of a $1.7 billion settlement resolving claims at an international tribunal at The Hague.  Those claims were linked to a failed arms deal, when Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi ruled Iran.  The Islamic Revolution toppled the brutal regime of the Shah of Iran in 1979.  Our country cut ties with Iran, and we were left with the disputed Iranian funds.
Iran had been seeking more than $10 billion in arbitration.  The Obama administration announced in January that it would pay $1.7 billion to Iran.  Cash was delivered in an unorthodox manner because Iran was still isolated from the international financial system due to international sanctions.
Last February, Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil producers had agreed to a tentative deal to freeze output, so that oil prices would go up.  The cash sent to Iran is being used to significantly ramp up their oil output now that sanctions have been lifted.  The addition of Iranian oil is part of the reason that oil prices have remained low. 

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