Tag Archives: Iran

President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 11/28/09

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WhiteHouse.gov—Happy Thanksgiving!

Given the holiday, we are releasing the President’s weekly address today. In this video, President Obama calls to our attention the men and women in uniform who are away from home sacrificing time with family to protect our safety and freedom. He also talks about the progress of health care reform, the Recovery Act, and job creation to ensure that next Thanksgiving will be a brighter day.

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President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 11/21/09

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WhiteHouse.gov—In an address recorded in Seoul, South Korea, the President discusses his trip to Asia. He talks about his push to stop nuclear proliferation in North Korea, Iran, and around the world. He talks about promoting America’s principles for an open society in China while making progress on joint efforts to combat climate change. And talks in-depth about the primary objective of his trip: engaging in new markets that hold tremendous potential to spur job creation here at home.

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Filed under Barack Obama, China, Climate Change, Green, Iran, Jobs, North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, South Korea, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Weekly YouTube Address

Shut Up, “Neo-Progressives!” You’re more like neo-cons than you think.

_______________blogpost by  Ogenec________________

Despite their fevered protestations, the two are like peas in a pod. And their disease is contagious.

In popular discourse, there is a pitched fight between “progressives” and “conservatives.” On just about every issue, you see signs of the partisan sniping: health care, the economy, foreign policy, etc. But as I’ve watched the spittle fly and the rhetoric spiral ever downward, I’ve reached two conclusions. First, the fight is not between progressives and conservatives; it’s between “neo-progressives” and “neo-conservatives.” Second, neo-progressives and neo-conservatives are much closer in thinking than they care to admit.

The Neo-con lineup

The Neo-con lineup

Right now you’re probably scratching your head in abject puzzlement. So let me try to explain. First up, what is a neo-progressive, anyway ? Well, we all know what a neo-con is, right? A neo-con is a person who wraps himself in the mantle of conservatism to advance policy goals — such as the “pre-emptive” war in Iraq — that are a complete perversion of conservatism. That same reasoning applies to neo-progressives: they wrap themselves in the mantle of the progressive moment to advance policy goals that are anything but. And, to the extent their goals are in fact progressive, the means by which they attempt to secure them are positively Roveian.

Let me illustrate the “similarity” point, which will also shed additional light on the first point. Take the inveighing against Wall Street and its bonus payouts.

Both Sides Against The Middle

Both Sides Against The Middle

I’m not so much focusing on the merits of the issue. But only pointing out that factions on both the left and the right share an extreme distaste for the bailouts. How they get there may be substantively different — the Extreme Left is anti Big Business, and the Extreme Right is anti government meddling in Big Business — but the result is the same. Both sides hate it, and both sides resort to the worst kind of economic populism to make their criticism heard. Both are holding the pitchforks. Or instigating others to do so.

How about foreign policy as another example? It’s a matter of record that neo-cons were instrumental in launching the war in Iraq. Progressives opposed that war, and rightly so. However, a more recent incident — the voting irregularities in Iran — shows just how closely aligned the neo-cons and the neo-progressives can be.

iranprotestpictures.com

iranprotestpictures.com

As is their wont, neo-conservatives argued for muscular rhetoric and saber-rattling against the Iranian government. That all-too-familiar drumbeat for “intervention” started up again. See, for example: “Her Name was Neda”. No surprise there, you say. But what was surprising was how closely this rhetoric was mirrored by some on the Left. They argued, just as the neo-conservatives did, that it was time for Obama to toughen his stance.
Neda Protest Sign

Neda Protest Sign


For example: Neda’s Martyrdom and the Pitfalls of Obama’s Chronic Pragmatism
Again, I’m not opining as to whether the Neda incident required greater intervention than the United States government provided. Only that conservatives and progressives found themselves in much the same place on this issue. This op-ed from June by E.J. Dionne makes the point:
The Liberals’ Iran Dilemma.

The last example is the most important one, as it pertains to the process of governing. As such, it pervades every issue.

Click for more information

Click for more information

Neo-conservatives in the Bush era, led by Cheney and David Addington, were fierce advocates of the “Unitary Executive” theory: that every ounce of legislative, political, and policy power should flow from the White House. That position, and the zeal with which Cheney and his underlings acted on it, led directly to such outrages as the doctoring of intelligence for the Iraq war; the shameful outing of Valerie Plame; the Justice Department firings; and the politicization of science education. Given its shameful provenance, you would think that progressives would be the first to disavow such an approach. And, in fact, real progressives do.

But not neo-progressives. They want Obama to act just as high-handedly as Bush-Cheney did. They want all power to flow through the White House, and for Obama to ramrod through their preferred policy prescriptions already. The problem with Bush, it turns out, is not how he implemented policy but the actual policies themselves: if you just changed the policy preferences but kept the Bush method, we’d be golden!!! Oh, they don’t say it quite so blatantly, of course. They hide behind codewords like “spineless” and “gutless,” and they bemoan things like bipartisanship, a word they can barely bring themselves to say without a lip-curling sneer. But that’s what they mean.

So the next time some “progressive” says Obama needs to steamroll the conservatives already, you turn around and say “shut the f**k up, you stupid neo-progressives. We’ve had quite enough of that take-no-prisoners approach, and the adults are back in charge.” And point ’em to this excellent Dkos diary by AZDem, which makes the point that true liberals display “Niebuhrian humility”: “The Myth of Certainty” Certainty, that’s for neo-conservatives. And neo-progressives. Despite their fevered protestations, the two are like peas in a pod. And their disease is contagious, so it’s best to stay away from both types altogether. Especially during flu season.

Related article: Obama and the Left’s Old Schism

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Filed under Bailout, Banking, Civil Protest, Elections, Middle East, Partisan Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized, War

X-Border Incursions: Pakistan arrests 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guards

posted by GeoT

QUETTA, Pakistan – Pakistani police arrested 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers Monday for illegally entering the country, amid tensions over a recent suicide attack that Tehran alleges was carried out by militants backed by Pakistani intelligence officials.
The 11 officers were taken into custody in Mashkel, close to the countries’ border in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, police officer Dadur Raman said. He said officers were interrogating the men and had seized two vehicles.
Another security official said the guards had no travel documents.
“We need to probe that,” said Murtaza Baig, a spokesman for the paramilitary border force.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Iranian Revolutionary Guard


Ties between Pakistan and Iran have been strained since an Oct. 18 suicide attack killed 15 members of the powerful Revolutionary Guard, including five senior commanders, and at least 27 others in the town of Pishin on the Iranian side of the border.
Iranian officials blamed the Sunni rebel group known as Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, in the attack. Iran’s president and the Guard chief have since publicly accused Pakistan’s intelligence service of supporting Jundallah.
Pakistan’s president met with Iran’s interior minister in Islamabad on Sunday to discuss the attack.
President Asif Ali Zardar

President Asif Ali Zardar

President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to cooperate in capturing any attackers and said those behind the blasts “were the enemies of both countries.”
Other Pakistani officials have denied Iranian charges that the leader of Jundallah, Abdulmalik Rigi, is in Pakistan, saying he is in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has been accused of past and ongoing support of militant activities in two of its other neighboring countries, Afghanistan and India, greatly complicating relations with both of them. Tensions with another regional power would only add to the problems facing the country as it battles al-Qaida and the Taliban within its borders.

Cont’d Here:

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Diplomats say that Iran agrees to draft deal on uranium

“Everybody who participated at the meeting was trying to look to the future not the past, trying to heal the wounds,”

VIENNA – Iranian negotiators on Wednesday agreed to consider a draft deal that — if accepted by the Tehran leadership — would delay its ability to make nuclear weapons by sending most of the material it would need to Russia for processing, diplomats said Wednesday.

Mohamed-ElBaradei

Mohamed-ElBaradei

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei confirmed that representatives of Iran and its three interlocutors — the U.S., Russia and France — had accepted the draft, which still has to be finalized by the four nations’ capitals. ElBaradei said he hoped that would occur by Friday.
“I have circulated a draft agreement that in my judgment reflects a balanced approach to how to move forward,” ElBaradei told reporters, suggesting that all four parties had worked hard to overcome differences exacerbated by suspicions that Iran may be interested in nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its activities are peaceful and meant only to generate energy.
“Everybody who participated at the meeting was trying to look at the future not at the past, trying to heal the wounds,” ElBaradei said. “I very much hope that people see the big picture, see that this agreement could open the way for a complete normalization of relations between Iran and the International community.”
Full story here:

Video: Sec. Clinton: Iran’s Nuke Program of Serious Concern

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Related story:
Top Iranian negotiator praises plan to ship uranium abroad

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ABC News: Is The U.S. Preparing To Bomb Iran? 

Is the U.S. Stepping Up Preparations for a Possible Attack?

By JONATHAN KARL

The Pentagon is always making plans, but based on a little-noticed funding request recently sent to Congress, the answer to that question appears to be yes.

Boeing Corp. Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)

Boeing Corp. Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)

Back in October 2007, ABC News reported that the Pentagon had asked Congress for $88 million in the emergency Iraq/Afghanistan war funding request to develop a gargantuan bunker-busting bomb called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP).

Now the Pentagon is shifting spending from other programs to fast forward the development and procurement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. The Pentagon comptroller sent a request to shift the funds to the House and Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees over the summer.

‘Urgent Operational Need’
The notification was tucked inside a 93-page “reprogramming” request that included a couple hundred other more mundane items.

Why now? The notification says simply, “The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON.” It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).

Full story: Here

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Fareed Zakaria: “We Must Stop Exaggerating the Iranian Threat”

Posted by Audiegrl

The Changing Face of Iran  (Photo: Paolo Pellegrin)

The Changing Face of Iran (Photo: Paolo Pellegrin)

Newsweek/Fareed Zakaria—It is time to clarify the debate over Iran and its nuclear program. It’s easy to criticize the current course adopted by the United States and its allies, to huff and puff about Iranian mendacity, to point out that Russia and China won’t agree to tougher measures against Tehran, and to detail the leaks in the sanctions already in place. But what, then, should the United States do? The critics are eager to denounce the administration from the sidelines for being weak but rarely detail what they would do to be “tough.” Would they attack Iran today? If not, then what should we do? It is time to put up or shut up on Iran.

There are three basic options that the United States and its allies have regarding Iran’s nuclear program. We can bomb Iran, engage it diplomatically, or contain and deter the threat it poses. Let me outline what each would entail and then explain why I favor containment and deterrence.

Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria

Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a problem. Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East is a danger, and the Iranian regime’s foreign policy—which has involved support for militias and terrorist groups—make it a destabilizing force in the region. The country has a right to civilian nuclear energy, as do all nations. But Tehran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, submitting itself to the jurisdiction of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA says Iran has exhibited a pattern of deception and non-cooperation involving its nuclear program for 20 years—including lying about its activities and concealing sites. In that context, it makes sense to be suspicious of Iran’s intentions and to ask that the IAEA routinely verify and inspect its facilities. Unless that can be achieved, Iran should pay the price for its actions. Washington’s current strategy is to muster international support to impose greater costs, while at the same time negotiating with Iran to find a solution that gives the world greater assurance that the Iranian program is purely civilian in nature.

It is an unsatisfying, frustrating approach. The Russians and Chinese want to trade with Iran and will not impose crippling sanctions. (Nor would India or Brazil, nor most other major developing countries.) Even if there were some resolution, it would depend on inspections in Iran, and the Iranians could probably hide things from the inspectors and cheat. They do occasionally make concessions, including significant ones last week—to open the newly revealed Qum facility to inspectors and to send uranium to Russia for enrichment (which Tehran announced just as columnists were declaring that negotiations were sure to lead to nothing). But there will be setbacks as well. The cat-and-mouse game will continue.

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