What if $400 Million Iranian Payment Was Ransom?

In January of this year (2016), the United States paid $400 Million dollars to Iran. The Obama Administration asserts that the payment was the result of a decades old dispute between Iran and the United States, stemming from some sort of arms deal the two countries had during the disastrous run of the former Shah of Iran. President Obama recently explained that the United States was being sued for the return of that money and faced exposure of billions of dollars should America lose the case. In short, it was better for America to settle out of court. So, we did.

Of course in the world of politics, nothing is better. On the same day that the money was released, American hostages were also released. So of course, the appearance was that the United States paid a ransom for the release of the hostages. I don’t believe that was the case. For a more accurate case that the money wasn’t a ransom payment I direct you to an article in Fortune magazine written by Shawn Tully, http://fortune.com/2016/08/05/money-america-iran/. Mr. Tully doesn’t make a call one way or the other, he just lays out the facts of the transaction as known and lets the reader make the call. Read his article and draw your own conclusions. I won’t do that here.

My question here is what if the payment had been a ransom payment, or at least a form of ransom payment? What if our government had decided that since we owed Iran the money anyway, lets give it to them and get some returned hostages tossed in as well. Oh no, the critics cry. We paid for hostages. No, no our government maintains; We didn’t! Oh yes you did pay a ransom, the critics insist.

But what’s to be gained by that insistence? No criminal charges will be filed. President Obama is not up for reelection. Hillary Clinton wasn’t tied to the transaction in any way shape or form. So why the insistence? To further some narrative that the our president is weak? That our government is weak? What’s to be gained in that assertion? Let me tell you…absolutely nothing. There is nothing to be gained by insisting that the Obama Administration is lying about the payment. What will happen though. What runs the risk of happening is more Americans being kidnapped and more kidnappers insisting that ransoms be paid or hostages will be killed despite what our official stance is. Please Republicans! In one instance, put the country ahead of politics. Our stance is we don’t pay ransoms. Despite any political point you wish to make, please resist the temptation to do so. There is nothing to win by making it. Please think of Americans who must travel in hostile countries or near hostile countries now. Please don’t encourage future kidnappers to snatch these Americans because the kidnappers think we pay ransoms. Our country’s official stance is that we don’t. Get it?

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Our Country Tis of Thee

I’ve been watching presidential elections since I was eight years old. Crazy, right? I know. But there was always something fascinating about presidential elections to me. My first one was Gerald Ford vs. Jimmy Carter. I was raised in a Democratic household so my preference was for Jimmy Carter. And ole Jimmy won. Four years later, he lost to Ronald Reagan. I was twelve years old when Reagan won his first election and I was bummed out too.Mainly because in the black community, there was talk that since Ronald Wilson Reagan had six letters in each of his names that meant that Reagan was the Antichrist. Of course that turned out to be untrue and in 1984, my step-father even voted for Reagan’s re-election. Yes, politics makes for strange bedfellows. But today’s politics is really frustrating. The extreme left, but more specifically the extreme right has made the country so volatile. The hatred out there is so so vile and disgusting that I don’t even like talking politics in mixed company. By mixed I mean an assortment of Democrats and Republicans. People just aren’t civil anymore. America is a great country. It has never stopped being great. We’ve been through a lot as a nation. And we’ll go through more as time wears on. But America’s people, our collective heart and strength is what’s keeps us moving forward. We shouldn’t let the extreme part of any party convince us that we’re heading for doom and gloom. If we survived being a part of England, being a slave-owning nation, States vs. States, Prohibition, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, the Cold War, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, Desegregation, Disco, Howard the Duck, and 9/11, we can and will survive anything. Believe that!!

Morning in America

It’s morning in America, people! I’m tired of seeing all the polls of people claiming to be upset with the direction of America and all the people who claim that the country is in dire straits. First some facts, unemployment is down. The stock market is up. Home values are rising again. Interest rates are still low. Gas prices are stable. The world is our oyster Americans. The only thing that needs adjusting is your attitude. Don’t let a few politicians with agendas of their own convince you that you should be sad when you should actually be optimistic and anxious, prepared, and ready to get your piece of the pie. You don’t like the current commander in chief? Fine, Get off your can and work for the candidate of your choice. But don’t try to convince yourself and others that things are worse than they really are. You’re lying to yourself and others and missing out on an opportunity to enjoy the coming boom times. You owe yourself and your country better than that!