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Morsi And Ahmadinejad Speak

The U.N. spotlight for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Iran’s Ahmadinejad.  We’ll probe the latest messages from a region on the edge.

President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006.(AP)

President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006.(AP)

From Cairo to Tehran and beyond, a great region of the world is churning.  In New York yesterday at the UN, Egypt’s first-ever democratically-elected leader spoke.  Mohammed Morsi.  In a history as long as Egypt’s, a “first-ever” is a big deal.

Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was there speaking, too.  His last address to the U.N. after years of flame-throwing.  Today, Israel’s Netanyahu and the Palestinian’s Abbas speak.  We’re checking in, on Arab spring, Iran and nukes, red lines, war threats and an arc of change.

This hour, On Point:  we’re listening to a region on edge.

-Tom Ashbrook


Jay Solomon, foreign affairs correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, an independent, pan-Arab daily newspaper.

Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs.

Aaron David Miller, public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

From Tom’s Reading List

CBS News “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a rambling but relatively toned-down speech at the United Nations Wednesday in which he called the Sept. 11 terror attacks “tragic” but also said that humanity’s lives would be “beautiful and pleasant” had U.S. forces not thrown Osama bin Laden’s corpse into the sea.”

New York Times “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Irangave a subdued speech at the United Nations on Wednesday, sticking largely to spiritual and moral themes, rather than his usual annual broadside lambasting Israel, the lack of peace in the Middle East conflict and international efforts to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program.”

Foreign Policy “History is rich with memorable orations delivered by the world’s leaders as nations convene to discuss the critical issues of the day. From the impassioned to the provocative to the truly bizarre, here are the 10 most unforgettable remarks to come out of the United Nations general assembly speeches in the last sixty years.”

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  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The world is a dangerous place.

    I thought the Cairo speech was going to fix all this nonsense but it appears even worse.

    • Mouse_2012

      Concern trolling 

      • Jasoturner

        Trolling is relaxing.  As long as somebody else is driving the boat…

    • anamaria23

      You really thought a speech could fix “all this nonsense”?
      It is an evolutionary process by people crawling out of generations of oppression.  It is the yearning of the human spirit to be free confronted with all the obstacles fledgling nations must endure and overcome.
      It is fragile.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         anamaria, I agree with you.

        However, by the President’s actions and inactions, the only conclusion I can reach is HE believed the speech  would change the world.  Maybe he still does.  He still seems to blame the video.

        The chants in Egypt: “Obama, we are all Osama” put that one to bed.  We are still the great Satan in their minds.

        • Don_B1

          And you chose to believe that because that is what you WANT to believe. You lack of objectivity is palpable!

          The first observers noted that there were people at the Benghazi Consulate protesting the video. The initial response was to say that all that was certain was that people were protesting the video, but that it was being investigated by Libyans and our F.B.I. Every bit of wording by all the different people, while slightly different in emphasis, basically took that position. The one thing foreign policy experts on both sides agree is that you don’t make comments with judgments until the real facts have been investigated and verified.

          As the facts have been verified by the F.B.I. agents in Libya, the statements have reflected the growing certainty of one or more Islamic militias being involved. We probably do not yet know for certain some of the relevant facts.

          Everyone can speculate, but they have to accept the consequences when they are wrong. Obama rightly did not want to make an erroneous accusation as that in itself could further inflame the situation.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Please get caught up.

            The administration knew this was a premeditated terrorist attack within the 1st 24 hours with probably ties to Al Qaeda.

            They pushed the spontaneous protest video meme for at least 10 days.

            It smells like a cover up.  When the cables from the ambassador are released what will we find?  We already know he was concerned that he was a target for assignation.

          • anamaria23

            Please offer reference that that the admisistration knew in the 1st 24 hours.             “it smells like a cover up” 

          • Don_B1

            Unfortunately, “WorriedfortheCountry” is not in the business of explaining any of his comments: they are (Gingrich-style) “bombs” he throws out to distract and deceive people in his effort to hide the problems the Republicans have caused and push his ideology which cannot stand on empirical facts.

            Don’t hold your breath waiting for a cogent explanation with supporting data.

        • anamaria23

          How did you reach that conclusion?

          “He still seems to blame the video”?
          YOu mean it is really Barack Obama that the extremists are  enraged at.  They are just pretending it is the video. 
          Actually, only  a very small portion of Muslims are offended by the death of Osama.

    • Jasoturner

      I wonder where we’d be today if McCain/Palin had won.  Same place, or someplace different?

      • Don_B1

        Undoubtedly in quite a different place, economically as well as foreign policy wise:

        1) Taking the economy first, I would have said the Republicans would not have done nearly enough on stimulus, until I read Michael Grunwald’s book, “The New New Deal,” where I learned that in late December 2008 and maybe the first days of January 2009 the Republicans were actually working on an “alternative” STIMULUS bill of somewhere around $790 billion. I don’t know the particulars but it was probably mostly tax cuts with little direct aid to states and extension of unemployment and thus would have been much LESS effective (see economists valuations of different types of spending) so we would have unemployment of 9 to 10% today unless they had “panicked” and adopted the G.W. Bush strong spending Keynesian approach. Listen to Paul Ryan at the 1 hour 27 minute 27 second mark of the C-SPAN video of the 14 February 2002 House session:


        What an education one can get by listening to this version of Paul Ryan!

        2) On foreign policy, it is a bit more speculative, but it is highly likely that (thankfully not) President John McCain would still have American Armed Forces in Iraq and the same number or more in Afghanistan, would have troops in Libya and would have begun a six- to twenty-year occupation of Syria following the Arab Spring and would be pushing for conscription to enable his imminent attack on Iran. Whether he would have recognized, and what his response would have been to, the rising belligerence of China toward its neighbors is unknown.

    • StilllHere

      Peace Prize do your stuff! (Sort of like “Wondertwins activate.”)

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    I would like to know, what this man thinks the world would be like without the US or Israel ? Does he think that Asians would embrace his world view ? Does he actually believe that he and his country could use a weapon of mass destruction and not pay the ultimate price ? Do these people not understand that even without any other culture in the world, other than Islamic, some internal faction or country would still seek to dominate and destroy by force if necessary ? Does anyone ?

  • Ed75

    The Islamic world sees itself as becoming the new world view, the new leading civilization, and a putting down of the West. Our immoral civilization has perhaps led to an enemy being raised up against us.

    • J__o__h__n

      We never should have stopped burning witches. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        But it’s so hard to get ducks to sit on the scale across from witches. Y’know, for scientific determination purposes.

    • Mouse_2012

      What year was it the U.S. was moral? Was it after we stop supporting the south african apartheid? or after Southern could no longer lynch blacks? Maybe after the Slaverly days? After Jim Crow?

      Please provide a date when the U.S. was moral?

      • Acnestes

        Sometime before we gave smallpox infected blankets to the natives, anyway.

        • Steve__T

           What about buying Manhattan for a hand full of beads?

      • sickofthechit

         Sometime prior to 1620 I believe….

        • Acnestes

          Well, technically we weren’t the US before 1776, but I’m with you in principle.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Well if you’re asking at what point the United States became moral in its own view I would say that in the minds of most American Citizens it always has been. This of course is how hypocrisy works, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In practice I would say that true morality has never been a primary motivator of Our Great Nation’s actions and policies.

  • margbi

    Generally, the comments about a possible action against Iran have taken on a surreal air. Do any of these people really believe they could begin a war which could go nuclear AND control the outcome? They are dreaming.

    • Mouse_2012

      The goal is for Israel P.M. and Foreign Agents in the U.S. to get the U.S. government to now commit to “capacity” (which 20 other countries have) for it’s redline than say Iran has passed the Redline and therefore the U.S. must attack it or look weak against it’s enemies, if Hamas or anyone on the West Bank attacks Israel the Rightwing(reporting love to leave this part out) government can solve it’s demographic issue by cleansing the Palestinian in the name of self-defense.

      Also Bibi is seeking the blessing of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef who said 

      “Said the Nazi Holocaust was God’s retribution against Jewish sinners”


      “On Arabs: “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.””

      “Rabbi Yosef expressed the wish that “all the nasty people who hate Israel, like Abu Mazen (Abbas), vanish from our world”.

      He went on to say: “May God strike them down with the plague along with all the nasty Palestinians who persecute Israel.””
      Of course when the U.S. press covered this they just happen to omit this stuff. There’s far more btw. 

  • Mouse_2012

    Morsi speech was actually pretty good, didn’t agree with everything he said but it was good, Carmon speech was equally as good. 

  • Mouse_2012

    Gotta love the U.S. Media, never would you see such openly partisan and unprofessional attacks on someone other than  Ahmadinejad, NPR even had the top 10 crazy things Ahmadinejad said, Would NPR do the same for Nutty yahoo? of course not that would be unprofessional. 

    The media can’t even praise anything the guy says even if some is valid (like Israel threatening it and getting the U.S. to kill Iranians). 

    What’s interesting is the U.S. not attending his speech while the U.S. is all over the media talking about his speech. Sounds kind of childish to walk or or not attend, sounds unprofessional for major media coverage of this.


    “rambling ” “subdued ” “lambasting ” “truly bizarre” “10 most unforgettable remarks”

    I look forward to the Media equally covering Netanyahu’s rambling, lambasting, truly bizarre 10 most unforgettable remarks after he speaks.oh wait never mind 

  • Mouse_2012

    People should be fired for saying this without saying Iran has the legal right to do this and the CIA says Iran is not seeking the bomb. This is the main reason why people changed the wording to “Capacity” from getting. 

    “the lack of peace in the Middle East conflict and international efforts to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program.”

  • Mouse_2012

    Also Aaron David Miller, is a AIPAC troll so don’t expert too much from him part of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy which is a arm of the Likud Lobby


  • Mouse_2012

    Found this, doubt the media would take this on 

    by  Grant Smith, 

    The U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 [.pdf]forces Americans to fork hard-earned tax dollars over to Israel’s coffers on the pretext that it is in imminent danger. Yet declassified documents reveal that even the current prime minister once worked inside the state’s clandestine nuclear arms smuggling rings. Transferring foreign aid to the Middle East’s sole nuclear weapons state — which can obviously take care of itself — is not just unseemly and unnecessary. It is illegal.AIPAC’s publicly available tax return [.pdf] reveals it has now become as seamlessly linked to its foreign principal as its parent organization — the American Zionist Council — was when it was finally ordered by the Kennedy administration to openly register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962. AIPAC spent $1,541,572 maintaining its Jerusalem office. The office, led by Wendy Senor Singer, is described as the official locationfor daily meetings with senior Israeli government officials. It is also used to coordinate the visits of supplicant U.S. politicians with funding from a mysterious captive charity of no employees claiming to be aneducational organization [.pdf]. The Israeli government’s desires are seamlessly www.sourcewatch.org/index.phptranscribed into legislation at AIPAC’s headquarters in Washington — raising the perennial question why AIPAC is not registering as Israel’s foreign agent.

    • Mouse_2012

      To add

      The AIPAC-sponsored U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, signed into law by President Obama on July 27, 2012, makes unprecedented demands on U.S. taxpayers and diplomats. It mandates American economic largess to Israel via high technology, agriculture, medicine, health, pharmaceutical, and energy transfers. It demands funding for Israel Aerospace Industries (a corporation only recently linked to Israeli espionage activities against the U.S.) missile-defense programs and air-refueling tankers and munitions Israel could use to unilaterally set off a wider war with Iran. Israel even won a detour of used weapons from U.S. forces departing Iraq. The aid law extends already generous loan guarantees to Israel.

  • Mouse_2012

    Since it always comes up, the use was Cancer, now if someone has a problem with this and think the U.S. should go to war with Iran because of that than the U.S. should go to war with Israel when Likud(the governing body of Israel) called Africans Cancers and called for lynching. Plus the fact there’s more attacks in Southern Israel on africans than in Iran on Jews.

    “Al Jazeera’s Teymoor Nabili talks to Dan Meridor, Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy and deputy prime minister, about this and questions him over Israeli politicians’ claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, said Iran would ‘wipe Israel out’.”They [Iranian leaders] all come basically ideologically, religiously with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive,” Meridor says. “They didn’t say ‘we’ll wipe it out’, you are right, but ‘it will not survive, it is a cancerous tumour, it should be removed’. They repeatedly said ‘Israel is not legitimate, it should not exist’.”


    Dan Meridor is part of Likud and you can watch him say the above. 

  • Jasoturner

    Ahmadinejad’s presidency ends next year, so he probably toned it down a whisker in hopes of securing some sort of political role in the future.  No reason to risk offending your next, unknown patron too much.

    The Iran thing is way tough.  I think part of the problem is that “the West” simply refuses to put itself in their shoes.  You’ve got the United States with a declared policy of regime change, you’ve got Israel bristling with state of the art (and unacknowledged) nukes, you see North Korea basically able to flip the bird to the world because they’ve got the bomb.  You see India and Pakistan build up nuclear stockpiles without sanction or serious critique.  And you’re supposed to think it rational that you don’t pursue nukes?  You’re supposed to believe that your nation is not entitled to what these other, sometimes hostile nations have?  C’mon man, get real.  I want me a nuke.  Keep those Americans and Israelis at bay.

    Part of the problem, obviously, is that I might put away my gun if my neighbor is an acquaintance, a partner.  But if he is openly hostile to me, if he makes veiled threats and takes steps to make my life miserable, there’s no hope.  Hell, I’m buying *another* gun.  We are currently like the bad, openly hostile neighbor.  To think you cut a deal under those conditions seems pretty unrealistic.  And no Muslim country (especially) want’s to knuckle under to pressure from the West.  It just can’t be done.

    When Hillary talked about “resetting” the dialogue with Russia, she should have included Iran, too.  Probably time to encourage more cultural and educational exchange and to win the war of ideas, and to stop with the dictates and start with honest dialogue.  I really don’t think Iran believes it can trust the U.S. right now, even if we Americans think the idea of doing anything to a confirmed nuke-free Iran preposterous.

    Israel, of course, remains a wild card.  I have a very bad feeling about precipitate actions on their part.  The certainly seem to have have little interest in a “reset”.  Indeed, their overwrought (to me) deployment of the word “existential” when describing the Iranian threat seems intended to maximize Israeli agitation and fear, laying the groundwork for future acts.

    We live in interesting times.  Let’s hope some global leadership emerges that is adequate to deal effectively with them.  The status quo seems to have us on a very unfavorable glide path.

    • Yar

      ” “the West” simply refuses to put itself in their shoes.”
      Jason you are dead on, this is at the core, and to understand, we should look at the CIA’s involvement of the overthrow of Mohammed Mosaddeq. Long forgotten in our minds, but imagine how much Mitt Romney looks like Dwight D Eisenhower to the Iranian leadership.  I have been working out in my mind just how different running a government is than managing a business.  A good business leader may make a great war leader and vice versa, but making peace is more nuanced, somewhat like raising a family.  Each child or country has specific needs and requires a different approach.  Dad may always be right, but if he wants his adult children to talk to him, he may have to apologize for mistakes of the past.
      As we should for our past involvement in Iran.
      Also, the fact we treat nuclear states differently than non-nuclear states doesn’t help.

      • Jasoturner

        Good point.  We need more than American leadership in our president, we need global leadership in our president.  And if you think about it, Romney is trying to sell only the former, even at the expense of the latter.  That seems like not so good an idea.

  • Gregg Smith

    Those are a couple of bad bad men.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Depends on your perspective.

      • Mouse_2012

        We know his pretty well. 

      • Gregg Smith

        I don’t believe evil is just a continuum of perspective.

        • Shag_Wevera

          Why is the President of Iran evil?

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             Because he speaks on behalf of the Iranian government.  Even though he has little actual power, he uses his voice to promote evil.

          • Gregg Smith

            Thank you.

      • Mouse_2012

        Once you see the other side as “Evil” any evil against them is justified as being “Good” or “Righteous”

    • anonn

      Do you mean Morsi? If so, why?

  • Shag_Wevera

    Can you imagine a government more unhinged than that of the North Koreans?  Can you fathom a more bitter political rivalry than that of North and South Korea?  North Korea has had nuclear weapons for some time now, and has yet to use them other than as a bargaining chip.

    Iran will do the same thing.  They’ll set one off in the desert to prove they can, then they will try to squeeze concessions out of us.  They, like North Korea, will never use them against another nation unless they are being conquered.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Has North Korea’s representative spoken yet?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Someone below posts that our immorality has brought on us the enmity of the Muslim world.  I believe I heard Ahmadinejad saying there were two offenses, and the second being the western obsession with sex.  I remember thinking that in a commercial capitalist world, entrepreneurs will figure out that the dynamics between the sexes is a Huge way to finagle money out of people’s pockets and derive profit, and good luck trying to suppress it.  But we manage to suppress a certain select set of four-letter words on air, so maybe we can root out of the social media and commerce all sexual innuendo and all language offensive to any religion while we’re at it.  Stick to the weather and sports, I suppose.

    • anonn

      Well, it wasn’t long ago that that was done. When I was young, we were not bombarded with even sexual innuendoes. The four-letter words were not allowed on TV, and married couples had separate beds! The obsession with sex is not a symbol of a more sophisticated culture…

  • Ellen Dibble

    Can we consider Ahmadinejad’s speech something of his own concoction?  To me, it is a compendium of what must be said to an Iranian audience — it was certainly run live on Iranian PressTV; I listened.  That, ringing the necessary bells, plus the kind of visionary speech that you can expect in a country that is partly a theocracy.   The combination, to me, was easy enough to break apart, the nods to the national public, plus the pride of Iran, which may be the creation of a rather small group, which stands apart from popular pressure in a pretty special way.  But I am only surmising.  Does anyone know?  I don’t see him as anything remotely like Clinton or Jimmy Carter; I see him as reflecting, not generating — so not leading as an individual.  I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

  • Mouse_2012

    If you really think about it, alot of the stuff he says about sex,gays is said by U.S. Politicans(some who ran for president).

    One doesn’t have to go back to far to in U.S. history to see sexual repression.

    The case against Larrry Flint is a great example of what some would do. FCC is still around

  • Ellen Dibble

    What economic policies of his own administration was Ahmadinejad was he criticizing?

    Also, the non-aligned movement — what role does that have, what does it mean, in a post-Cold War world?

    The Shiite Messiah?  Is that what he meant?  I was thinking of the empty chair at the Republican convention; open the door and let the future in.  No, it’s not Obama.  But we can make something up.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    And once all this talk shop business ends, then what?  Do we expect the United Nations to do anything?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Nu-cle-ar, not nu-cu-lar!

    • anonn

      Ans SEL-a-fi, not Sal-AH-fi!

  • Mouse_2012

    Jay S is full of it with his comment that Iran enrichment is now getting closer.



    Some of the 20 percent fuel is in a form that is extremely difficult to use in a bomb, and most of the stockpile is composed of a fuel enriched at a lower level that would take considerably longer to process for weapons use.”and “The report said Iran has 255 pounds of uranium enriched at 20 percent, up from 159 pounds in May.But the IAEA also found that Iran had converted much of the new material to metal form for use in a nuclear research reactor. Once the conversion has taken place, the uranium can’t be further enriched to weapons-grade material, Obama administration officials said.”

  • Ellen Dibble

    The way I see the Iran/Israel standoff?  You know how we see photos of Africans, even little children, who do not bat insects from their faces, their eyes?  And I’m thinking I would swat them.  I think there are physical vexations we learn to live with, and some we go to the doctor and demand relief.  There are vexations that are intolerable on both sides, on various sides.  And the leaders do not necessarily feel uplifted by the throngs, in the new Muslim world.  A lot that we see and hear seems to reflect the way leaders are trying to take on board their people who are indoctrinated into very different realities.  Ahmadinejad did not speak of Jews, at least not in the translation.  He spoke of Zionists, which seems to me a kind of shorthand for extremism, of which apparently all nations have a supply.  It leaves the door open for Israel to produce a leadership that is not by definition a mortal offense to Iran, however that happened.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Egypt and Turkey may be jousting for diplomatic leadership, but I’m wondering about Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, actually.

    And isn’t Russia a whole lot more concerned than the USA about a nuclear Iran? (Can’t they take responsibility for the kind of nuclear umbrella that the US was speaking of putting up on the four corners of the Arab world.) Or generalized proliferation in the Arab world, which I keep hearing is the real problem, not Iran itself, but seepage.

    • anonn

      No one is seriously concerned about a nuclear Iran, because they don’t have a weapons program and have shown no intention of developing one, they’ve signed the Nuclear Proliferation treaty and are inspected regularly, and they haven’t attacked another country in centuries. 

      The only country that claims to be concerned is the one country in the Middle East that HAS nuclear weapons, has NOT signed the treaty, HAS invaded others and IS constantly threatening to attack another country.

  • Mouse_2012

    While Obama is talking how Iran is keeping a dictator in power the U.S. is keeping a dictator in power(Saudi Arabia and mutiple others)

    Anyone see something wrong with this?

  • Ellen Dibble

    If the George W. Bush and neo-conservative world view involved a whole lot more democracy, well, we have that.  We have a whole lot more democracy.
    It seems to me necessary and automatic that in a world of democracies, the United States has the kind of role a single voter has in a state or family.  

  • Ellen Dibble

    If the United States is being marginalized, it’s awfully good.  The oil-based economies of the Near East are inevitably going to be facing marginalization of their product, an ingrained dependency, as climate change realities set in.  Egypt gets to face that sort of thing first, I suppose, if as I hear, they do not have oil resources (instead, they have the Suez Canal).  But Iran and Saudi Arabia seem to be facing up to this.  In any case, this adjustment is not something the United States can afford to do on their behalf, in a kind of dictatorial way.  It’ll be bumpy for that region, over the next century, and we can’t do it by drinking their oil and being what Ahmadinejad was referring to as hegemons — however he phrased it, at great length.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josef.schwabl.5 Josef Schwabl

    The west has lost its pro western editorialist and is down opiniated in the eyes of anti west comments. We must highten our voice positvly about us and not let us been drowned out

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Just so–we have good ideas to offer the world and still a lot of economic promise, once we climb out of our current troubles.

    • StilllHere

      That doesn’t jive with being apologists.

  • Kalaimugilan

    It is not total free speech in the West either; no flag burning, no communist party affiliations, no yelling fire in the theater, we have limitations, and if the Muslims feel like there is a need for a limitations in freee speech, I think, especially if a democratic country wants some limitations in free speech, let them have it, it is only progress either way.  Wagging our fingers at them serves no purpose, nor does it help if our true intentions are democracy. 

    This is especially crucial when the queen of England was able to censure her daughter in law’s boobs.  Much like we see the middle east as one culture, one group, so do they see us all as one Western Blob of people.

    Wagging our fingers at them serves no purpose, nor does it help if our true intentions are democracy and social progress.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       This is why a constitutional republic is better than a direct democracy.  Fundamental rights have to be held sacred, no matter what the majority or the powerful say.

    • J__o__h__n

      Flag burning is legal. 

      Yelling fire is not in a theater is not comparable to blasphemy.  A reasonable person would react by thinking there is a fire and trying to exit which could cause loss of life in a panic.  A reasonable person does not react to being offeneded by rioting, murdering, and death sentences. 

    • anonn

      Exactly. And there are many more restrictions on freedom of speech other than yelling ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater. Many are under the guise of ‘national security’. (How about the years that the press was not allowed to cover the repatriation of deceased soldiers to Dover AFB – even when the families WANTED this to be reported on?) 

      You can read Glenn Greenwald on the criminalization of free speech in the US, on the conviction and imprisonment of Tarek Mehanna for what is supposedly protected speech, etc.

      And there are many more limitations, such as not reporting the name of a victim of sexual assault, etc. Most people would agree with that, but the point is not whether or not a certain limitation makes sense; the point is that there is no absolute free speech, and that every society – including the US – does put restrictions that they see as beneficial.

  • BostonBizPerson

    -> Tom = suppose the world could through technology achieve a far greater energy indendence… how do your guests feel this would change the situation in the Middle East?

  • Ellen Dibble

    The extreme views that are “spewing forth,” according to Aaron David Miller — has he noticed how the media in the United States either highlights or squelches certain truly offensive parts of our own reality?  
        (I’m remembering what you broadcast about Ahmadinejad’s head media adviser being arrested as he flew to the USA — what?  What?)  
        Media independence.  Media ownership.  Where is Fox News…

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Sensitivity be damned.  I’ll keep my rights, thanks.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I have read about how easy it is to be found to have blasphemed, simply by showing one’s shoulders.  And I notice on social media certain rather infamous mullahs apparently visiting around, and I’m not sure whether people like me might moderate those views, or whether a fatwah might come my way between now and tomorrow morning. I read this morning in a Lonely Planet book that one does NOT refer to a Muslim by the name Mohammed, which is good to know, since there seem to be a million million named that. But the name is reserved for the prophet. They don’t specify the alternative. “Hey, you.”

    • anonn

      You need to change what you’re reading, because what you’ve mentioned is very strange.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Wow, we can’t criticize religion because its absolutely true?

    • StilllHere

      It would help if you understood it.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Someone who’s been influential for fifteen hundred years?  Sounds like a lot of opportunity for insult and criticism to me.  Get over yourselves.  You don’t have the right to go through life without being offended.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    NO limits on Free Speech! It should be the responsibility of every individual to realize that no one has the right to not be offended. When you don’t like what you’re hearing or seeing you stop watching and listening. NONE have the right to go out and kill someone because something they heard pissed them off.

    • Mouse_2012

      Except, Incitement to other to commit acts of violence and threats to phyiscally harm others.

      Right now in the U.S. it’s illegal to promote peace between a terrorist group and the government/s it’s fighting/attacking/terrorizing thanks to Obama  (which is now it court)

      The PKK was the test case for this, yet the same standard was thrown out the window with the MEK(who Bush the 2nd said Saddam was backing this recently delisted terrorist group).


      The case stems from a challenge to an antiterrorism act by American advocates who say they want to support only the peaceful efforts of groups that the State Department has deemed to be terrorist organizations



       Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project,


    • Steve__T

       I agree with free speech, but we have drawn the line at hate speech. and I believe that’s a good line. I agree no one has the right to kill anyone for saying something, that you may not like. And I know any religion that truly advocates killing instead of trying to educate peacefully, Is hypocrisy, made by man not a divine power, that has placed us all here. What parent would tell one child to kill another?

      • J__o__h__n

        Who decides what is hate speech?  Where do we draw the line between art like the Satanic Verses, political commentary like the cartoon, books by Richard Dawkins, or outright crap like the video?  Incitement to immediate violence has not been given first amendment protection.

    • anonn

      There is no absolute free speech; there are all kinds of limits on speech and expression in the U.S. In Europe, there are even more; in France, for example you can go to jail for questioning the Holocaust or saying something anti-Semitic. After the juvenile magazine Charlie Hebdo published insulting cartoons about the Prophet a couple of weeks ago,  the French defended their right to free expression and then, in a supreme act of hypocrisy, banned any protests against the magazine (backed up by riot police).

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    We should not bow to fundamentalists of any stripe, over freedom of speech and discussion

    • Mouse_2012

      Just bow to Christian/Jewish ones, open season for the Muslims.

      • William

         Actually, the Muslims have declared open season on anyone that is not a Muslim.

        • Mouse_2012

          In the U.S.?

          • William

            Oh, I would say after the 1st bombing of the WTC and then number 2, then Maj. Hasan pretty much seals the deal for the Muslims.

          • Don_B1

            Like Timothy McVeigh’s actions should incriminate/speak for you?

        • anonn

          Are you serious? Do you know how many non-Muslims live (the operative word being ‘live’) in Muslim countries? Why haven’t they all been killed yet?

        • anonn

          Are you serious? Even if we just talk about Muslim-majority countries, do you know how many non-Muslims live in Muslim countries? (the operative word being ‘live’, since if what you said were true, they would be dead)

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    lay off the prophet? lay off christ? lay off the spaghetti monster?

    give us a break. A non-starter.

    • Mouse_2012

      Least from the spaghetti monster I get something to eat.

      • StilllHere

        You don’t even know for what you hunger.

        • J__o__h__n

          I’d assume spaghetti.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    We should not be ashamed to argue against Theocracy and State-enforced religion. We can’t police the world and other cultures about it and force such freedom on them, but we sure can bully pulpit loud and clear, and carry a very large stick with regards to extremist fall out against us.

  • J__o__h__n

    Prophets and gods are not above freedom of speech.  Who gets to decide who is free from being insulted or what constitutes an insult.  Happy World Blasphemy Day on Sept 30th!

  • Mouse_2012

    The Caller asked “What threat does Iran pose to the U.S.?” in a sense. He made the point of not later but now?

    Aaron David Miller didn’t answer instead going on about what Iran could do.


    No Threat pose to the U.S. and Bibi is lying about his reasoning

  • Gregg Smith

    My statement to the United Nations would have been, “The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors.  The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence… [Obama] continues to offer up apologies instead of defending our hard earned First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.  There is no message to this silly video trailer, and it is beneath the dignity and esteem of the Office of the President of the United States to mention it at all.  When tolerance becomes a one way street it leads to cultural suicide. I shall not be tolerant of the intolerant.”  -Allen West

    • Don_B1

      Really, Rep. Allen West (R-FL)?

      Where did President Obama “apologize” in any way?

      And when something that we may consider trivial do we just show arrogance and ignore it when others might not agree? How are others who thing differently to understand our position if we don’t discuss it?

      • Gregg Smith

        Col. West’s approach saves more lives in the long run. The arrogance lies with those who breach our embassies and murder our diplomats.

    • roseel

      Alan West is a 21stc antisemite[against arab/muslims this time].And he’s a torturer and war criminal and should be tried as one.People have the right to offend[the video] and people have the right to react to what they find offensive by demonstrating on 9-11, hoisting alquada flags ,chanting pro osama slogans and burning US flags. That too is responding to offensive speech with offensive speech. Yes they tresspassed but west is not mad cause they tresspassed. The murders in libya were in retaliation for the US drone murders of a Libyan .The world and it’s people do not belong to us and these demonstrations expose the fact that after 10 years of war in the mid east  they are still there and rising up to yes express themselves by demontrating against us. For all our military might and billions spent in warring in their homelands and countless lives lost or maimed,they are still there  with the power to demonstrate in their streets-against us. And for that West is angry-how dare they still be there speaking against US.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    We will become energy independent — but not with shale gas and oil.  If we moved to all forms of renewable energy (wave, tidal, biomass, as well as wind and solar) then we would not need a drop of foreign oil!  Imagine that…

    On the free speech issue — we can say just about anything (hate speech and incitement to violence and the proverbial “Fire!” in a crowded theater excepted) we also need to wise up to the reactions of others.  Some will be taking it the wrong way or naively — and others will use it to stoke hatred and fear for their own purposes.


    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Neil, we know you are not in favor of energy that releases CO2.  However, you never mention nuclear energy.  Why?  It is the only scalable non-carbon technology available.  Yes, there are a few problems with waste and cost but both are solvable IF we advance the technology to solutions like LFTR.

      Also, at what cost to society for your utopian dream?

      Once Cape Wind comes on line I will be forced to pay $.18/kwh with increases of 3% every year for 10 years.  This is 3X the current market rates.

      We already have among the highest electric rates in the country.  No wonder no businesses want to move to MA with crazy policies like this.

      Alternatives are fine but they have to be cost competitive before we scale them up.

      • Don_B1

        The main reason nuclear is not being strongly pursued is cost; see:


        where the penultimate paragraph, describing the fate of reactors not built since the last one of 1973 (Three Mile Island accident occurred in March 1979), “every one after 1973 was canceled, mostly because of soaring costs.”

        The cost of electricity to generate a profit as well as safely generate electricity turns out to require customers to pay $0.25 per kilowatt rather than the $0.10 average today.

        You want to subsidize that level of many $10s to $100s of billions while not subsidizing wind and solar?

        Also the U.S. does not have an inexhaustible amount of uranium; the U.S. has about 4% of the world’s recoverable uranium while Australia has about 31%. But the total uranium is estimated to be exhausted in about 80 years. So you want to exchange oil imports for uranium imports? See:


        If you want nuclear power, write your legislators to support thorium based reactor development. They will not require the expensive containment buildings either. But that is more than a decade, maybe two decades, off.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

         Because nuclear DOES release carbon dioxide at most parts of the fuel and construction process.  And nuclear energy is incredibly dangerous at many levels.

        You should not believe the FUD about wind power.  It is quite competitive with other energy sources, especially if you remove the huge subsidies for nuclear and for oil and gas and coal.  The cost of renewable should remain very steady over the long term — because there is no fuel and no pollution.

        You know what I hate about wind turbines?

        The smokestacks.
        The smoke.
        The smog.
        The mercury pollution.
        The cooling towers.
        The explosions.
        The spills.
        The limited fuel supply.
        The other countries that control the wind.
        The military cost to defend the wind.
        The radiation.
        The death of miners.
        The fly ash.
        The tailing ponds.
        The methane gas releases.
        The huge carbon footprint.
        The increasing cost over time.
        The inefficiency.
        The pipelines.
        The contaminated water.
        The damage to our lungs and overall health done by wind turbines is horrendous.
        The acid rain is nasty.
        The mountaintop removal.
        The waste.

        I also hate the fact that they look like graceful wind sculptures, that let us see the wind.  I hate the fact that they are much quieter than a highway.  The ranchers and farmers with wind turbines hate the “mailbox money”.


        Not really…



  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    How does law enforcement factor into all this? Would self-driving cars have means that allow authorities to deactivate the vehicle or perhaps even take control of it?

    • Don_B1

      If you haven’t done so already, please repost on the “Self-Driving Car” blog thread.

  • Michalino

    Does Mr. Atwan consider the government-sponsored teachings to schoolchildren against Judaism and Christianity in countries such as Saudi Arabia an acceptable form of free speech while criticisms against the Prophet Mohammad an unacceptable form?  The answer will surely provide the reason free speech is described in the first amendment in the our Bill of Rights

  • Mike_Card

    Nutty Yahoo comes and begs for help; maybe that lecture to the US President while a guest at the White House didn’t work out so well.

    • Mouse_2012

      Who thought of Looney Toons with the pic he was holding up?

      And someone actually look at it and said “hey go with it”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002296415298 Ahmad Hassan

    The last time Egypt changed sides it presaged the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Is the “World Order” being restructured again?



  • anonn

    To whoever said, “If I was a woman in the Arab World, I would truly be disheartened”. 

    I AM a woman in the Arab world, and I’m very happy that Mursi was elected President of Egypt – as are all the women who voted for him. Muslim women are a big part of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and everywhere else where there are Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups. Contrary to the stereoypes you have, they are intelligent, educated, and active. (If anyone is interested, read ‘Return of the Pharaoh’, a memoir by Zaynab al-Ghazali, a woman who was involved in the Muslim Brotherhood since the beginning and was – like many others – tortured in the prisons of Abdul-Nasser.)

    Please don’t presume to speak for Muslim or Arab women!

  • Dee


    I don’t know why you keep bringing in columnists & reporters from the Wall Street Journal and other US news agency apol-ogists for the outlaw Zionist Regime in Israel today into this conflict- as I feel their corporate support is not only the root of this conflict but the financial meltdown and pollution world-wide today. (see the URLs below on this.) Thus I ask you to be mindful of keeping the Public good in Public broadcast and indeed in Middle East Affairs today asI don’t want to abandon your news source as many of my friends and colleagues on the left have today….(I believe we need to clean up that corrupt influence not abandon it.) Having said this I commend your efforts to getting to the truth, I just ask that you seek out more independent voicesrather than established views.in addition, I welcome and commend President Morsi of Egypt for calling out The West’s “double standards” in the Middle East policies & the Iranian President Ahmadinejabfor condemning the US/ Zionist entity which has not justdeprived the Palestinian people of their sovereign land and essential freedoms and Human Rights but the people of Middle East whose leaders are doing the bidding for this criminal US/Zionist entity today…And let’s make no mistake about it–this is the failed cri-minal US/ Zionist backed entity which has failed and is on the wrong side of history today. indeed, I will go one step further here and claim like many other observers – this is the criminal US/Zionist entity which has manipulated and corrupted the Syrian peoples’peaceful call for government reform instead ofRegime rechange today and has waged a war on themtoday. No one should accept this and I am not either..It is “shameful” as President Morsi said in his address. And while I commend officials in Russia and China and others for refusing to join this criminal US/Zionist pack and “Friends Of Syria” pack -I will continue to denounce US officials and their Zionist Apologists…And of course, call them out for their war crimes against the people of the Middle East and join boycotts .(i see this as my pub-lic responsibility.)  Jimmy Carter , Israel’s colonization in conflict with US policyhttp://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/03/09/colonization_of_palestine_precludes_peace.phpOccupation, Colonization, Apartheid, Human Research http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_55932.shtmlIsrael’s violation of international law since 1967 war http://mondediplo.com/2007/06/11victorySyrian, The Next Humanitarian War , Global Research http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-nato-s-next-humanitarian-war/The War on the Syrian People , Chris Marsdenhttp://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_64588.shtmlAccusing Iran, Ignoring History , Ted Sniderhttp://www.zcommunications.org/accusing-iran-ignoring-history-by-ted-sniderInventing an Iranian Threat , Stephen Lendman http://www.globalresearch.ca/inventing-an-iranian-threat/other;Investigative reporting and work of Stephen Landsman http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/testimony/374.pdfA MUST LISTEN TO…..VIDEOJFK’s speech at the University of Washington, 1963 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41xJiEPuAhg

  • Dee


    Jimmy Carter stating the American position on the settlements 

    ” For more than a quarter century, Israeli policy has been in conflict with that of the United States and the international community. Israel’s occupation of Palestine has obstructed a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land, regardless of whether Palestinians had no formalized government, one headed by Yasir Arafat or Mahmoud Abbas, or with Abbas as president and Hamas controlling the parliament and cabinet.

    The unwavering U.S. position since Dwight Eisenhower’s administration has been that Israel’s borders coincide with those established in 1949, and, since 1967, the universally adopted U.N. Resolution 242 has mandated Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories. This policy was reconfirmed even by Israel in 1978 and 1993, and emphasized by all American presidents, including George W. Bush. As part of the Quartet, including Russia, the U.N. and the European Union, he has endorsed a “Road Map” for peace. But Israel has officially rejected its basic premises with patently unacceptable caveats and prerequisites.”http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/03/09/colonization_of_palestine_precludes_peace.php

  • Stevan Pierce

    Wow Tom. This was the most erudite and informative discussion of this topic I have ever heard in the media, anywhere. Bravo for an excellent group of civil and non-dogmatic experts. Great show, possibly the best ever. . . 

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

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