Tag Archives: iran

Happy Birthday, Ronnie!


In celebration of the 100th birthday of former President Ronald Reagan, he who hath sowed so much love amongst todays conservatives Think Progress has presented a little expose’ of the Great Communicator’s heritage. Funny thing is these facts have been common knowledge among those of us intelligent enough to realize it. So…to refresh our conservative and teabagger friend’s here’s a history lesson:

“Tomorrow will mark the 100th anniversary of President Reagan’s birth, and all week, conservatives have been trying to outdo each others’ remembrances of the great conservative icon. Senate Republicans spent much of Thursday singing Reagan’s praise from the Senate floor, while conservative publications have been running non-stop commemorations. Meanwhile the Republican National Committee and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich are hoping to make few bucks off the Gipper’s centennial.

But Reagan was not the man conservatives claim he was. This image of Reagan as a conservative superhero is myth, created to untie the various factions of the right behind a common leader. In reality, Reagan was no conservative ideologue or flawless commander-in-chief. Reagan regularly strayed from conservative dogma — he raised taxes eleven times as president while tripling the deficit — and he often ended up on the wrong side of history, like when he vetoed an Anti-Apartheid bill.”

1. Reagan was a serial tax raiser. As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then.” Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan “raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office,” including four times in just two years. As former GOP Senator Alan Simpson, who called Reagan “a dear friend,” told NPR, “Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration — I was there.” “Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes,” said historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan’s memoir. Reagan the anti-tax zealot is “false mythology,” Brinkley said.

2. Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, “roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether.” Reagan enacted a major tax cut his first year in office and government revenue dropped off precipitously. Despite the conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, the government went deeper into debt and Reagan had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. Despite ten more tax hikes on everything from gasoline to corporate income, Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control.

3. Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded. Despite the myth that Reagan presided over an era of unmatched economic boom for all Americans, Reagan disproportionately taxed the poor and middle class, but the economic growth of the 1980′s did little help them. “Since 1980, median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled or quadrupled,” the New York Times’ David Leonhardt noted.

4. Reagan grew the size of the federal government tremendously. Reagan promised “to move boldly, decisively, and quickly to control the runaway growth of federal spending,” but federal spending “ballooned” under Reagan. He bailed out Social Security in 1983 after attempting to privatize it, and set up a progressive taxation system to keep it funded into the future. He promised to cut government agencies like the Department of Energy and Education but ended up adding one of the largest — the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which today has a budget of nearly $90 billion and close to 300,000 employees. He also hiked defense spending by over $100 billion a year to a level not seen since the height of the Vietnam war.

5. Reagan did little to fight a woman’s right to chose. As governor of California in 1967, Reagan signed a bill to liberalize the state’s abortion laws that “resulted in more than a million abortions.” When Reagan ran for president, he advocated a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, but once in office, he “never seriously pursued” curbing choice.

6. Reagan was a “bellicose peacenik.” He wrote in his memoirs that “[m]y dream…became a world free of nuclear weapons.” “This vision stemmed from the president’s belief that the biblical account of Armageddon prophesied nuclear war — and that apocalypse could be averted if everyone, especially the Soviets, eliminated nuclear weapons,” the Washington Monthly noted. And Reagan’s military buildup was meant to crush the Soviet Union, but “also to put the United States in a stronger position from which to establish effective arms control” for the the entire world — a vision acted out by Regean’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, when he became president.

7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants. Reagan signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty. The bill was sold as a crackdown, but its tough sanctions on employers who hired undocumented immigrants were removed before final passage. The bill helped 3 million people and millions more family members gain American residency. It has since become a source of major embarrassment for conservatives.

8. Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran. Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly sold arms to officials in Iran, which was subject to a an arms embargo at the time, in exchange for American hostages. Some funds from the illegal arms sales also went to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua — something Congress had already prohibited the administration from doing. When the deals went public, the Iran-Contra Affair, as it came to be know, was an enormous political scandal that forced several senior administration officials to resign.

9. Reagan vetoed a comprehensive anti-Apartheid act. which placed sanctions on South Africa and cut off all American trade with the country. Reagan’s veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled Senate. Reagan responded by saying “I deeply regret that Congress has seen fit to override my veto,” saying that the law “will not solve the serious problems that plague that country.”

10. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Talbian and Osama Bin Laden — a prominent mujahidin commander — emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services’ close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan’s decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden’s ascendency.

“Conservatives seem to be in such denial about the less flattering aspects of Reagan; it sometimes appears as if they genuinely don’t know the truth of his legacy. Yesterday, when liberal activist Mike Stark challenged hate radio host Rush Limbaugh on why Reagan remains a conservative hero despite raising taxes so many times, Limbaugh flew into a tirade and demanded, Where did you get this silly notion that Reagan raised taxes?

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The Boys Who Cried Wolf


I’m no fan of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the illegally elected President of Iran, suppressor of free speech, and hater of Jews. But…

I’m also not a fan of the neocon right wing kooks like ekg’s friend LilMike over at The VSJ and others who distribute mass disinformation with the intent of stirring the pot. Over the past few months, actually years, this has been the Republican modus operandi – lie when all else fails.

This tactic has, in fact, worked well for the neocon Republican crowd that they’ve been using it in the current debate over health care. But that’s another story…

What I’d like to dismiss today is the recent internet furor regarding claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Jewish. Using another well-worn tactic of the neocon far right as taught to them by the neocon Zionist far right of Israel the answer is simple: Claim your opponent is a self-hating Jew.

In the case of Ahmadinejad this might be effective if, in fact, he is Jewish.

But he’s not. Really, he’s not Jewish!

And the investigation into this silly claim is hilarious although not uncommon given LilMike’s propensity for using scurrilous sources when making his unfounded claims.

In the case of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the source of this wild claim is a blog. Yes, a blog. Written by Mehdi Khazali in January. Who is Mehdi Khazali? He’s the son of a prominent Iranian political ally of Ahmadinejad who’s been so vocal in his hate of Ahmadinejad that his father’s disowned him. He’s claimed hero status lately as a result of his arrest during the recent political elections in Iran for (rightfully) backing Mir Hossein Mousavi and has become a frequent source to the right wing neocon Jewish Zionist internet paper, Arutz Sheva.

See where I’m going with this?

The Path to Disinformation – Neocon Style:

1. Find a blog supporting your position.

2. Publish the unsubstantiated accusations made in the blog on Radio Free Europe and Arutz Sheva; throwing it against the wall hoping it’ll stick.

3. If that doesn’t get picked up by the MSM, wait a few months and try again, this time with an article in The Telegraph, and a repeat of the original item by Arutz Sheva, albeit with a new date.

4. Stir the pot again, throw it against the wall again, and see what sticks.

Thus the problem I, and the rest of the reasonable people in this world, see:

If you cry “WOLF!” too often, how do you suspect us to believe you when the wolf actually shows upabr1163l

Iran Update…Waterboarding: Round Two


I didn’t know whether to pass this on to my friend Kelly over at The VSJ or discuss it myself. But the thought of the sham and the lies that were the Bush Administration forces me to point out a few facts here. I’m sure Kelly will discuss it in more detail on her blog later.

Waterboarding is illegal. I don’t care how many briefs filed by members of the Bush Justice Department or how many times Dick Cheney insisted it or how many times the neocons and so-called patriots interviewed on Faux News Network discuss the merits of it and the mass of information supposedly gained from it (after the 120th time, I suppose); the fact remains, pure and simple.

Waterboarding is illegal.

And, now that the upcoming Civil War in Iran continues, we have those same

idiots from the former Bush Administration (God, I love saying that!) comparing the suppression and murder of the Iranian people, the fraudulent election and other acts of tyranny Ahmadinejad has forced upon his people in his years of power to the Democratic Administration now in office.

I noted a long time ago that the Republican Party suffers from a severe case of what I like to call hypocritical transference. When something really bad is going on out there in the land of politics; say maybe spying on fellow citizens, stealing elections, or cheating on one’s wife, they all rush (hah!) to Faux News and point their fingers here and there making accusations.

Now that reports are coming out from Iran via Twitter informing us that Iranian citizens arrested in the recent crackdowns are being waterboarded to gain information, what will the defenders of Bush waterboarding say? Will they say it’s the right thing  to do?

What would be said if  Ahmadinejad or one of his deputies went on Iranian radio and announced:

“I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful and the right thing to do.

The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people.”

Worse yet, what if Ahmadinejad goes on Iranian TV or radio and justifies the waterboarding because “America did it”?

Iran Update


As I’m following news from Iran, I continue to be amazed by the idiocy of the comments regarding blogging in yesterday’s post, Wanna be Blogs as I search and find breaking news on Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube, as well as various other sources.

The impact of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in reporting the violence and suppression of freedom in Iran is historic and lends legitimacy to each and every blogger out there.

The level of breaking news reported through these sources is incredible. Just in the past few minutes, the following has been reported, long before you’ll see it on the mainstream media:

midnightsangel: Canadian Embassy NOT treating wounded. Confirmed by FA source. please continue 2 sign petition http://bit.ly/Rge4j (expand) #canadafail #iranelection

Arminhr: Public strike from tomorrow (Monday) at 5 pm ,in central region of every city in Iran – please update #IranElection #Tehran

Cole2026: RT @StopAhmadi Ppl now chanting “Death to Khamanei (supreme leader)” #iranelection

RevolutionNo2: Many gov agents on twitter now. Look at their profiles, have few supporters and been tweeting for 2/3 days at most #iranelection

#RT @jranck: arrest of Rafsanjani kin shows split within cleric ranks #iranelection

@hoquqzan Iranian Government Media Declares Mousavi a ‘Criminal’ #iranelection

-23 journalists jailed by Iranian authorities..says journalists are primary targets #iranelection

life.com
RT @renesugar LIFE Magazine Iran pics @LIFE
We are saddened to report LIFE’s photojournalist is missing – #iranelection

MeUnAvail: RT from Iran the police / forces etc. of tehran have announced that in clashes on saturday, 475 people have been arrested #iranelection

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Yesterday I posted a video of a young woman shot by the Iranian police. Today, that video has served as a launchpad for and further moved the movement in Iran away from a mere election protest. The woman’s name is now known, Neda Salehi. Within the last few minutes her photo has been released:

nedasalehi

Here’s a new video from about ten minutes ago:

Next. I probably should file this under Stupid People, but…South Carolina State Sen. David Thomas (R) has tweeted a comparison of the Iran protests to the failed Tea Parties. Really? I mean, really??

irantea33

Finally, a picture tells a thousand words:

13106801

Iran Update


Breaking…rioters are clashing with government troops in the area surrounding Tehran University. Numbers estimated at 3000+.

From MSNBC:

Eyewitnesses described fierce clashes near Revolution Square in central Tehran after some 3,000 protesters chanted “Death to the dictator!” and “Death to dictatorship!”

Video of today’s uprising which, as I predicted, has grown to be much more than just support for Mousavi…it’s much bigger than that…it’s the birth of a new country at the hands of it’s people.

Note: Video is graphic. It shows a young woman being shot by the police in the streets of Tehran:

Here’s some home video on Facebook from Iran from a student:

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1180763437741&ref=nf

Finally, from @Mousavi1388 on Twitter:

I am prepared For martyrdom, go on strike if I am arrested

Iran Update


Update: 4:51pm

Dear Rep. Pete Hoekstra: Please don’t insult the Iranian people with your tweets:

“Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House.”

Nearly a million people showed up in the Imam Khomeini Square of Tehran yesterday in support of the civil war in Iran. Here’s a photo essay of this historic event. As I said in my original blog post, this is history in the making.

I’d like to add a few more things to my original comments, and those since. It’s obvious the United States is taking the right stance on this issue and has the support of expatriate Iranian groups, the UN, and other countries. What is missing is the support of neocon members of the Republican Party who feel President Obama should interfere with a political matter in Iran.

Sorry. This is the last thing to do. What happened the last time the US became politically involved in Iran? We don’t need that again.

That said, the US should remain cognizant of the human rights of the Iranian people and keep a keen eye on the blatant disregard of the fraudulent government over there for said human rights.

Remember again my comment in my original post:

The intelligencia of Iran, along with the educators and entrepeneurs and the university students of the country, will not let this sham go unnoticed.Why is this happening? Think back twenty-nine years ago to the year 1980 to the climate in the former USSR and twenty-three years or so to the year 1986 in Vietnam. Commercialization and the market economies of the Soviet Union and Vietnam did what the French, Americans, and other countries couldn’t do. Bring down communism.

This, my friends, is what is going on now in Iran. The people of Iran are no different than you or I. The people of Iran want change and change will happen. Unfortunately, I suspect there will be bloodshed; but I’m confident the people with overcome.

Prior to making that statement, I pointed out that the people of the Soviet Union and the people of Vietnam also managed to do what no other government was able to do…reform their own government.

Yesterday, I found the most incredulous statement through google…apparently by someone who must be a big fan of Matt Drudge and Glenn Beck. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the following words were taken from one of their websites:


This may or may not be the modern day Tiananmen square.

Without the assistance of outside power, the people of Iran will not be able to stop the government.

I’ve seen comparisons to Tiananmen Square  all over by right wing hacks. But didn’t the repression at Tiananmen Square actually produce change in China? Aren’t the people of China living a better life in a more market-based economy? Much like the people of the Soviet Union and Vietnam before them?

Above all, didn’t that change come from not outside the countries, but from within? From the people?

Yes.

May I point out three words to those who stupidly think the people of Iran cannot accomplish change in their government?

The American Revolution