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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

In the morning, I will be voting for Barack Obama.

I won’t go over all the specific policies and reasons why, if you read this blog you already know them.

But there are two things I’d like to bring up. This won’t be a particularly well written piece because its late and I’m tired, but I want to toss it out there before the polls open.

First, the issue of foreign policy and civil liberties. This is where I think the strongest case against Obama can be made, and so I’d like to take a brief second to refute it somewhat. Obama’s record in this area has been dismal, but I do not think this is a reason to vote against him. Mitt Romney would be far, far worse.

Obama’s policy towards Iran has been about as measured and calm as can be expected. Were Mitt Romney president right now, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we would be in a full scale war with Iran.

While he has not held anyone accountable for the US torture regime, Barack Obama has ended it. Mitt Romney would not only re-instate it, but expand it! When asked if he considered water boarding torture, he indicated that he did not, and that he would seek to increase the list of techniques used by interrogators. Barack Obama attempted to close Guantanamo Bay and hold actual trials for detainees, but was stymied by congress. Mitt Romney wants to double Guantanamo. You may not like Obama’s record on these issues, but Mitt Romney would be so much worse. If you truly think there is no difference between them on these issues, you’re fooling yourself.

Secondly, and more importantly, I will be voting for Barack Obama because we absolutely must take a stand against the GOP of the past four years. If they win, it will be an affirmation of their tactics. It will show that the public is accepting of putting party before country. It will vindicate the strategy of rank, baseless obstructionism. The GOP has not been even remotely interested in actual governing, except where they see an opportunity to score partisan points. From day one, their primary goal has been to make Barack Obama a one term president. If Mitt Romney wins, they will have been proven right. We will be telling them that their irresponsible, reprehensible strategy was correct, effective, and acceptable.

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In an otherwise good article on how unacceptable it should be for Israel to try to bully us into attacking Iran, Joe Klein writes a ridiculoisly offensive group of sentences:

Iran is not Afghanistan or Libya. It is not a bunch of tents in the desert. It is also not Iraq or Pakistan, clumsy collections of tribes and ethnicities cobbled together by Europeans a century ago. It is an actual place, a real country with real borders.

That a self professed expert on the middle east would write that drivel is astonishing. Its worthy of Limbaugh. I understand this was a throwaway line to set the stage for a piece about the Israel/Iran conflict, but the sheer contempt it shows for these people is remarkable.

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An Iranian nuclear scientist is reporting that a new Stuxnet-like virus has popped up on computers in the same facility that Stuxnet originally targeted.

This new virus targets the plant’s automated systems, purportedly shutting them down. More interestingly, the virus causes the infected computers to play AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” at maximum volume in the middle of the night. Really. 

Presumably, this dirty deed was dirt cheap to pull off. With only a flick of the switch, this new virus will shake the foundations of Iran’s nuclear program, putting costly, high voltage equipment directly on a highway to hell. 

OK, maybe that last bit was a touch too much, but in the brave new world of rock related cyber attacks, anything goes. Are you ready?

And yes, I just managed to use 9 AC/DC song titles in a post about a computer virus. You should be impressed. I challenge you to exceed that amount in the comments. The game is afoot!

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I read the transcript, for some reason. Here are some excerpts, and my comments about them.

And, perhaps most importantly, has the most severe security threat facing America and our friends, a nuclear-armed Iran, become more or less likely?

Seriously? An Iranian nuke is our biggest threat? CNN helpfully informed us recently that Iran now has missiles that can hit the continental US if they are deployed 600 miles from the coast. Or to put it another way, Iran’s best missiles can travel only 600 miles. Tehran is a little over 6,000 miles from New York City. It’s less than 1,000 miles to Jerusalem. So when Romney says “America and our friends”, he means “Israel”. Got it?

From Berlin to Cairo to the United Nations, President Obama has shared his view of America and its place among nations. I have come here today to share mine. I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of this country. I am not ashamed of American power.

Romney is right. Obama obviously is ashamed of American Power. Which is why he mercilessly blows up terrorists from the sky with secret flying death robots. 

A healthy American economy is what underwrites American power. When growth is missing, government revenue falls, social spending rises, and many in Washington look to cut defense spending as an easy out.

You know what else causes government revenue to fall? Cutting taxes. Which Mitt Romney pledges to do. 

Today, we are just months away from an arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would saddle the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink our force structure, and impair our ability to meet and deter threats. Don’t bother trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of this, unless that rationale is wishful thinking. Strategy is not driving President Obama’s massive defense cuts. In fact, his own Secretary of Defense warned that these reductions would be “devastating.” And he is right.

Need I even point out that by “President Obama’s massive defense cuts” Romney means “tiny defense cuts agreed to by a majority of the Congress of the United States”?

Lives of American servicemen and women are at stake. But astonishingly, the administration failed to change its ways. More top-secret operations were leaked, even some involving covert action in Iran… Whoever provided classified information to the media, seeking political advantage for the administration, must be exposed, dismissed, and punished. The time for stonewalling is over.

Need I point out that this administration has been more pro-active at cracking down on leaks and whistle blowers than any other administration in the nation’s history? I’m not saying that’s a good thing, just that Romney is lying. Also known as speaking, for him. 

If the President believes – as he said last week – that the buck stops with him, then he owes all Americans a full and prompt accounting of the facts.

And if Mitt Romney believes that the buck stops with the President, he may want to explain what Bain Capital was doing while he was its President. 

What kind of White House would reveal classified material for political gain? I’ll tell you right now: Mine won’t.

Bullshit. I don’t believe that for a minute. Every White House basically ever has done this.

The operating principle of American foreign policy has been to work with our allies so that we can deter aggression before it breaks out into open conflict. That policy depends on nurturing our alliances and standing up for our common values.

This is correctly read as “Attack Iran now, before it can attack Israel”. 

After all, this is the president who faltered when the Iranian people were looking for support in their struggle against the ayatollahs. That uprising was treated as an inconvenient problem for the President’s policy of engagement, instead of as a moral and strategic opportunity. That terrible misjudgment should never be repeated. When unarmed women and men in Tehran find the courage to confront their oppressors, at risk of torture and death, they should hear the unequivocal voice of an American president affirming their right to be free.

Actually, the Green Movement unequivocally asked the President to shut the hell up about them. The fastest way for something to lose legitimacy in Iran is for America to support it. He wisely stayed silent. 

I will leave Reno this evening on a trip abroad that will take me to England, Poland, and Israel. And since I wouldn’t venture into another country to question American foreign policy, I will tell you right here – before I leave – what I think of this administration’s shabby treatment of one of our finest friends. President Obama is fond of lecturing Israel’s leaders. He was even caught by a microphone deriding them. He has undermined their position, which was tough enough as it was. And even at the United Nations, to the enthusiastic applause of Israel’s enemies, he spoke as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem. The people of Israel deserve better than what they have received from the leader of the free world. And the chorus of accusations, threats, and insults at the United Nations should never again include the voice of the President of the United States.

This is correctly read as “The President should never, ever, say anything mean about Israel, and should absolutely never question them or their actions”.

As president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014

This is precisely the President’s plan, too! Glad to see they agree on something. 

There is no greater danger in the world today than the prospect of the ayatollahs in Tehran possessing nuclear weapons capability.

Here we go again on our own! Goin’ down the only road we’ve ever known!

What? Who says Whitesnake has no place in foreign policy discussions?

The same ayatollahs who each year mark a holiday by leading chants of “Death to America” are not going to be talked out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons. What’s needed is all the firmness, clarity, and moral courage that we and our allies can gather. Sanctions must be enforced without exception, cutting off the regime’s sources of wealth. Negotiations must secure full and unhindered access for inspections. As it is, the Iranian regime claims the right to enrich nuclear material for supposedly peaceful purposes. This claim is discredited by years of deception. A clear line must be drawn: There must be a full suspension of any enrichment, period.

Again, this really is no different from Obama.

The 21st century can and must be an American Century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.

…which is why I support Paul Ryan’s budget which will increase the size of our military, explode our deficit, and decimate the economy because austerity fucking rocks!

We must now seize the torch they carried so gallantly and at such sacrifice. It is an eternal torch of decency, freedom and hope. It is not America’s torch alone. But it is America’s duty – and honor – to hold it high enough so that all the world can see its light.

…which is why we should resume torturing people and why we should “double Guantanamo”. To show all the world how decent we are. 

So, to sum it up, Mitt Romney’s foreign policy is basically this:

Everything Obama does is wrong.Israel is the boss. Iran is the devil and we’re all gonna die. China is scary and mean. Also, too, Russia. Did I mention Israel? Let’s go buy cruise missiles!

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The Gravel Kraken highlights a Fox News article about Obama’s recent nothing-burger of an executive order:

What are your thoughts regarding Obama’s recent executive order? I read it this past weekend and didn’t think much of it, but I’m noticing that a lot of people, particularly those are on the far right, expressing concern. I’m honestly not sure I understand why.

My thoughts? I don’t understand it either. But its amazing the things the far right can make up to whip themselves into a frenzy. There’s really not much more to it than that. So now, if you’ll be so kind as to indulge me in one of my favorite pass times, I’m gonna mock Fox News for awhile.

In the Fox piece, Fox tries to drum up a controversy over the President’s alleged new powers to conscript you and your livestock in an emergency. Or something. Here are the bits where they talk to lawyers:

“There is enough that Obama actually does wrong without creating claims which do not hold up to scrutiny,” wrote William Jacobson, associate clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School and blogger for the Legal Insurrection blog.

“I’m not ruling out the possibility that this is more than it seems, but unless and until someone does more than merely state that martial law is coming, I’ll consider this to be routine,” he wrote.

Ed Morrisey of HotAir blog explained his take on the document dump that occurred late Friday night before St. Patrick’s Day.

“Why the update? If one takes a look at EO 12919 (the previous executive order), the big change is in the Cabinet itself. In 1994, we didn’t have a Department of Homeland Security, for instance, and some of these functions would naturally fall to DHS,” he wrote. “Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of changes between the two EOs, which looks mainly like boilerplate. In fact, that’s almost entirely what it is.”

One person steeped in the legal basis said the document is pretty standard fare — presidents have been preparing for the possibility of a national emergency since before World War II, when the government ordered the private sector to shift from making cars and refrigerators to making airplanes, boats and other items.

“What he is saying is this one is a new one, this incorporates all the old provisions and this is the one that will control,” said Paul Rothstein, a professor at Georgetown Law School. “And that’s not unusual in this kind of implementing presidential orders, and I emphasize that is implementing powers that Congress over the years has given the president and have been used repeatedly.

And here’s the… fair and balanced part?

But suspicions about the Obama administration spilled over as a result of the Friday document dump, lighting up the blogosphere with phrases like “terrifying” and “martial law” and pointing out potentially big changes in the order.

So, Fox quotes a bunch of actual, identifiable people as saying that there’s nothing there, but keeps that hope alive by quoting “the blogosphere”.

Gotta love ’em.

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Good Thing it Wasn’t Raining

Iran has reenacted the return of the Ayatollah from exile, with a gigantic cardboard cut out.

In other news, I will now begin planning a recreation of Washington crossing the Deleware. I plan to fold a cardboard George into a large paper airplane, and fly him across. Who’s with me? Anyone? Bueller?

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