Archive for the ‘Iran’ Tag

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John Fugelsang:

Every year on Ronald Reagan’s birthday there’s always so much pressure about how to best celebrate.

Should I declare ketchup is a vegetable for all those overfunded public school kids or shut down all those defunded mental hospitals so those nice folks can get some fresh air? Or just never mention AIDS? Oh, too late, I just mentioned AIDS. Well, maybe I should just bake a big expensive cake that most Americans will never get a piece of and then make your grandkids pay for it.

The point is, there are so many ways to honor Reagan’s achievements.

Achievements like vetoing any sanctions against South African apartheid while talking a lot about freedom. Or union-busting the air traffic controllers even though he used to run a union and all. Or signing California’s Therapeutic Abortion Act of 1967 into law. Just Google that. He really did that.

How about running for president promising to never negotiate with terrorists, then secretly selling arms and weapons to the same Iranian terrorists who helped kill our Marines in Beirut while already arming the Iraqis that they’re at war with — arming both sides in the same war — using that money to illegally fund the contras in Central America after Congress passed a stuffy old law saying he couldn’t, lying about the size and amount of shipments, saying he forgot he did all that stuff, and then helping his VP become president, who then pardoned everyone convicted so they could all walk away clean?

Pretty impressive when you consider Bill Clinton couldn’t even pull off one lousy Hummer.

Now, some of our conservative brothers and sisters might think this is mean, my reciting several actual things Reagan actually, really did. But Reagan always seemed like a nice guy. I don’t want want to be mean to him. If I was gonna be mean, I’d mention how he tried really hard to keep Martin Luther King Day from ever becoming a national holiday — because he did.

So what about the positives?

Like raising the debt limit 17 times. Or raising taxes 11 times because the economy needed it. Giving amnesty to 10 million undocumented immigrants. Obama’s only offered the Dream Act, which makes them actually work for it.

Reagan talked to our enemies, dreamed of a world with no nukes, he grew government by 61,000 jobs — he did, Department of Veterans Affairs. Ronald Reagan banned all torture and did all kinds of other stuff Fox News really wants you to forget. Reagan even defunded the public school system, which wasn’t a good thing, but it probably led directly to MTV picking up “Jersey Shore.”

Look, I’m gonna celebrate by remembering the young president of my union, the Screen Actors Guild, the young Ronald Reagan who once said, “One of the most elemental human rights is the right to belong to a free trade union.”

And I’m gonna wish peace on his soul, and I’m gonna support an assault weapons ban — just like gun violence victim President Ronald Reagan did in 1994.

http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/john-fugelsang-celebrates-reagans-birthday-by-remembering-what-fox-news-wants-you-to-forget/

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Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take. Yasser Arafat’s body has been exhumed for investigation, bringing back memories of the unpredictable Palestinian leader and the Middle East in which he operated.

The news broke at a time when a conventional wisdom began to take hold that the Middle East today is much more dangerous, unstable, violent and anti-American than before. So let’s take a look at the facts.

In the 1980s, the newly empowered, radical Islamic Republic of Iran unsettled the region with its promise to spread its revolution elsewhere. Lebanon was in the midst of a bloody civil war that engulfed not only itself but also the Palestinians and Israel.

Iran and Iraq fought a gruesome war with over 1 million casualties. Hezbollah attacked U.S. armed forces directly, forcing a humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon. A CIA station chief was tortured and killed, and U.S. secrets and interests compromised. And that was just in one decade.

Or consider those days from Israel’s point of view. During the 1980s, Jerusalem faced well-armed regimes in Iraq and Syria, leading members of the so-called rejectionist camp that urged permanent hostilities against Israel. No Arab regime other than Egypt would dare speak openly of peace with Israel. The official charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization called for the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state. Arafat’s chief tactic was terrorism against Israelis, Europeans and Americans.

Today the Soviet Union has collapsed, Saddam Hussein is gone, the Syrian regime is tottering. Israel, on the other hand, has grown to become a regional military superpower.

Its defense budget is larger now than that of all its neighbors put together. Its technological advantages put it in another league. The Palestinian Authority affirms Israel’s existence and works with it regularly.

Iran remains a real threat, but it is isolated, sanctioned and contained like few other countries in history. It is also roiled by discontent at home and facing the combined opposition of the secular Arab states, Israel and the Western powers.

Amidst the disorder, there is a broader contest for regional power. Israel has by far the most powerful economy and military, but it lacks political power for obvious reasons. Turkey has economic and military power as well, and it also has growing regional clout.

Egypt, meanwhile, is the natural leader of the Arab world, but at the moment is not in a position to dominate. Its economy is a shambles, its military second rate and under pressure from its people, and its democracy still very fragile.

President Mohamed Morsi’s recent power grab is worrying, but the public opposition to it has been reassuring.

So the Middle East today is mixed, complex region that is changing fast. Grand generalizations about it are likely to be undone by events. But it is a more vibrant, energetic, open, even democratic place than the Middle East of a generation ago.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1212/02/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria “Another telling indicator of dissent is the number of silent objectors in the army. According to the “New York Times,” a growing number of Syrian soldiers, many of whom lack the means to flee, are staying home. But to ensure their continued silence and neutrality, these officers continue to draw salaries and pensions. Money is the main reason to believe that Assad’s regime cannot last. Inflation is said to be as high as 30 percent, according to some reports. Assad and his cronies are freely printing money. The Syrian pound has depreciated against the dollar by more than half on the black market. Meanwhile, the regime is running out of cash. 90 percent of Syria’s oil used to go to the European Union. But sanctions have put a stop to that. Tourism and trade have, of course, plummeted, and monetary support from Iran cannot be counted on indefinitely. Tehran itself is buckling under unprecedented sanctions. And there was a report last week that Iran might be weakening in its support for Assad. An Iranian ambassador gave an interview in a Tehran paper criticizing his government’s support for the Syrian regime and saying that Assad’s days were obviously numbered.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1207/15/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria on the Bill Maher show  speaking of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi ” Look, I think this guy is a pretty hard line Muslim Brotherhood guy.  The only correction to your statement I would make is, it’s not Muslim leaders.  This guy is a political Islamist leader.  There are lots of Muslim leaders, the leader of Indonesia, the leader of, you know, Turkey, these guys are secular democratic, right?  But these people who come from parties like the brotherhood, this guy is, from what we can tell, a nasty piece of work.  But, remember though, he has never got more than 25% of the vote.  In the first round he got 25% of the vote.  The secular candidates in Egypt, which were two main ones, got 39% collectively.  In the second round the guy gets 50%, but there was 50% turnout, so still only 25% of the Egyptian electorate has ever voted for this guy.  The army is still there, and I never thought I’d be saying it, but you know, they will be a check on some of his ambitions.  There will be a certain amount of struggle.  If this guy had absolute power in Egypt, I think it would be very bad news.”

Zakaria later in the show “One Muslim country where, ironically, the population is very pro American, you know, you go to Egypt and they don’t like us, you go to Pakistan and they don’t like us.  We’re pouring money into them.  You go to Iran, I was Iran about six months ago, they love Americans.  It’s a great tragedy that’s the one country we want to bomb.”

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST:  Then “The New York Times” columnist Nicholas Kristof just took a rare journey from one side of Iran to the other without government minders to take the pulse of the people. He’s here to tell us what he learned.

ZAKARIA: So what was your dominant impression, given this access? Because you have been to Tehran, but what felt different about being outside Tehran?

KRISTOF: Well, as you know, one of the extraordinary things about Iran is how pro-American everybody seems at the grassroots. You go to Pakistan, you go to Egypt, and we pour billions into these places and everybody seems to hate us.

We go to Iran and everywhere you go, people want to buy you tea or invite you into their homes. It is — I mean, it’s just stunning, the pro-American quality of the country. I think more broadly politically, I was reminded, absolutely, there is still support for the regime, for the government in rural areas, among less educated people, people who don’t have access to satellite television.

But all of the larger social forces seem to me to be working against the government. More educated people, more urbanized people, people who do have international connections just are more and more fed up with the system. They’re upset by the economic downturn and they don’t really blame the West for sanctions. They blame their own government.

ZAKARIA: Did you get a feel for whether or not the religious nature of the regime is being questioned? In other words, they don’t like the government, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want a whole-scale regime change and a revolution.

KRISTOF: I was struck by how often I heard religious people say that their system is not really Islamic and were questioning it on religious grounds.

Many people seem to yearn for something a little more like Turkey, where there’s a strong Islamic component to the society, yet much greater democracy, warmer ties with the West, and none of this isolation that I think really leaves people embarrassed, that here you have a country with a great civilization, an extraordinary history, and whenever you travel outside the country, you’re regarded as a terrorist. I think people are, frankly, kind of fed up with the regime.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1206/24/fzgps.01.html

Posted June 25, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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