Another Open Mic day arrives. This time I am a little bit better prepared as I actually have time to add some thoughts to the contributions that I am presenting. I have been trying to take more time lately and dedicate it to writing here at SUFA. I know that it may not seem to be so to everyone, but I am trying to make the articles appear on a more regular schedule, similar to what used to happen at SUFA. I still haven’t gotten to the point where I have time to write more than twice per week, so unless we have regular contributions from others, we aren’t going to get to the point of having new articles every day for a while. For today’s topics I have offered up an opinion piece written by James Zogby over at the Huffington Post, touching on Iran’s image within the Middle East, and a debate over what is “free speech” and what isn’t during a political campaign…
USWeapon Topic #1
Iran’s favorable ratings are in a “freefall” across the Arab World, with Iran’s behavior in Iraq, Bahrain and the Arab Gulf region being viewed negatively by most Arabs. These are a few of the key findings of an Arab American Institute poll conducted by Zogby International during the first three weeks of June, 2011.
The poll surveyed over 4,000 Arabs from Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent (in Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) and 4.5 percent (in Lebanon, Jordan, and the U.A.E.).
Back in 2006, Iran was viewed favorably in every one of these Arab countries — and in five of the six Iran received a greater than 80 percent positive rating. Since then, the decline has been steady and sharp. For example, in 2006, Iran was rated favorably by 85 percent of Saudis and 82 percent of Moroccans. By 2008, that had dropped to 72 percent in Saudi Arabia and 65 percent in Morocco. By 2009, only 35 percent of Saudis and 57 percent of Moroccans had a favorable view of Iran. And in our 2011 poll, positive views of Iran have plummeted further to a scant 6 percent in Saudi Arabia and 14 percent in Morocco.
The poll further demonstrates widespread Arab concern with Iran’s behavior in the region, with strong majorities in every country but Lebanon saying that Iran threatens the peace and stability of the Arab world. Special concern is expressed for Iran’s role in Iraq and Bahrain, and with Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
In most Arab countries (again, all but Lebanon) the overwhelming preference is for the Middle East to be a nuclear free zone. But when asked “if they had to choose one country, other than Israel, to be a nuclear power in the Middle East,” the preferred choice, by a wide margin, is Egypt. Turkey is a distant second, followed by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. Iran is dead last, receiving little or no support from the publics in almost every Arab country.
Read the Rest of the Article Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-zogby/irans-freefall_b_913963.html
I found this article really interesting. We are all well aware that Iran has a less than stellar image here in the US, but for a long time, Iran enjoyed a more positive image within much of the Middle East. It allowed them to get their fingers into nearly every country in some way, including in some big ways in certain areas such as Palestine and Lebanon. It helped to make Iran a much larger threat than some would like to admit. There was a time when I personally believed that Iran had the potential of actually finding a way to bring the Middle East together as a unified front against the west.
However, it appears that their influence is flagging. It shouldn’t be surprising. After all, they are doing in the Middle East exactly what they have taken such a harsh stance against the US for doing in the Middle East: meddling in the affairs of other countries where they have no business. I always understood the general distaste Middle Eastern countries had for our constant presence in their corner of the world. The US certainly doesn’t like it when some other country tries to tell us what we should do, let alone if someone had actually attempted to subvert our government or place foreign troops against us to attempt to force us to do it. Yet I always wondered why so many Arab countries seemed to not mind other countries doing so nearly as much as they minded the Western countries.
That is apparently changing. What is most interesting to me about this particular poll result is that there isn’t any way to spin it as a result of western media brainwashing. A poll showing that 90% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Iran means nothing. Americans are led by the nose by the media, and that media goes to great lengths to portray Iran in a negative light. But the Western media doesn’t have nearly the traction in the Middle East. In fact, most there place the exact right amount of trust in the western media: None (Funny how those “uneducated desert dwellers” see right through our media’s bull while the “educated westerners” continue to eat it up without question).
I personally have never trusted the Iranian government. I don’t hold their people accountable for it. In fact I have written many times in the past of my support for Iranians while I detest their government. Their government is a serious threat to everyone, despite a certain pirate’s claims that their history shows zero aggression. I am glad to see that the rest of the Middle East, those who have the clearest view of Iran and who would be impacted the most, is finally beginning to understand what a negative influence Iran has become on the rest of the Middle East.
Those numbers are quite staggering overall, aren’t they? From 86% in Saudi Arabia to 6% in just five years…
USWeapon Topic #2
Judge Allows Ex-Rep to Sue Pro-Life Group Over Campaign Season Criticism
In a case that could test the bounds of free speech, a former Democratic congressman has been allowed to proceed with his lawsuit against a prominent pro-life group that he claims contributed to his election defeat by spreading falsehoods about his record on abortion issues.
A federal judge in Ohio ruled Monday that former Rep. Steve Driehaus’ defamation suit against the Susan B. Anthony List can go forward. The former Ohio congressman claims the group “disseminated lies” about him, effectively costing him his job — as well as inflicting “reputational” and “economic” harm.
The complaint stems from statements and advertisements claiming Driehaus, who considers himself a pro-life lawmaker, voted for taxpayer-funded abortion when he backed the federal health care overhaul.
But the case raises apparent free-speech concerns, considering politicians frequently endure fierce and sustained criticism from multiple groups in the heat of a campaign and, from time to time, lose because of that criticism. Even the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed a brief on a related, but separate, case last fall arguing that “the people have an absolute right to criticize their public officials.”
Emily Buchanan, director of the Susan B. Anthony List, said the case could have a chilling effect on speech.
“The claim of defamation is outrageous. Driehaus is a public official, and we should be able to criticize him,” she told FoxNews.com. “And all of this debate should be taking place in the public square. A court or a judge should not be determining” a dispute over abortion policy.
However, the ex-congressman claims he’s going after the pro-life group because, according to him, they crossed the line and lied.
“The First Amendment is not and never has been an invitation to concoct falsehoods aimed at depriving a person of his livelihood,” his original complaint said.
His attorney, Paul De Marco, told FoxNews.com that liars can’t “hide behind the First Amendment.”
While libel and defamation law protects most speech when it comes to public officials, it does not necessarily protect false speech.
Read the Rest of the Article Here: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/02/judge-allows-ex-rep-to-sue-pro-life-group-over-campaign-season-criticism/#ixzz1TuYgPtNw
This is a case that I will be really interested in seeing how things turn out. I wonder if our resident legal eagle, Buck, can help me out here. Is there any precedent out there regarding free speech being challenged around dishonesty in a political campaign? I am sure there has been some, but is there any that is relevant to this particular case?
There is little that doubt that the defendants in this particular case denied the Congressman his ability to continue to
mooch off the public… errr, I mean, to earn a living as a civil servant. But isn’t that precisely what every political opponent is expressly attempting to do? If losing an election counts as “being denied one’s livelihood,” there could be a lawsuit for that at the end of nearly every single election. So denying one’s livelihood by defeating them in an election is a complete bullshit claim as far as I am concerned.
I am somewhat concerned that this federal judge allowed said lawsuit to continue. If there isn’t already a precedent, I would imagine that this could set a pretty rigid one. I detest the nastiness of political campaigns as much as anyone. In fact, I patently refuse to vote for a candidate that goes too far in attempting to paint a false picture of their opponent, no matter the party. But to say that one can sue based on what is stated on the campaign trail may be going a little far. It isn’t as if they didn’t qualify what they stated, as they said in the ad that he supported abortion by voting for the health care bill. It is a nuance, but one could argue that it is a true statement. I have certainly heard far worse lies spread during a campaign (such as Elizabeth Dole claiming her opponent, Kay Hagan, a Sunday school teacher, is “Godless”. Dole lost, as she should have).
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for forcing people to be honest. But there are going to be a lot of people in a whole heap of trouble if we start enforcing a crazy rule like politicians have to actually be honest in what they say. Hell, 90% of Congress and certainly this liar of a President, would be served civil lawsuit paperwork immediately. What is the proper cap on damages in a lawsuit where the plaintiff’s lies costs millions of Americans their ability to earn a living?
In fact, if we can sue politicians for the damaging effects of their lies, I am going to need Buck’s services for quite a while. Buck, we have 535 lawsuits to file immediately and we can start on Cabinet level folks after that. Geithner is going to personally fund my new island in the far east.
And for your enjoyment, the stuff regarding Kay Hagan that ran during her campaign against Dole in 2008 here in NC: