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Last night, Jon Stewart returned from a week off after the conventions, and blasted Fox News for hypocritically suddenly being against what Obama's trying to do in the Middle East, and for the Arab Spring, when they cheered on the same things under George W. Bush.

It's a little bit naïve, I mean, think of the blowback.
SEAN HANNITY (9/13/2012): Egyptians elected a Muslim Brotherhood member to head their country.  And let's not forget, this is the very first place in the Middle East that President Obama promised to bring "democracy" to.
Ah, I see.  So you, Sean Hannity, believe through the prism of history, people will look back on Obama, and this shift of freedom, liberty, and democracy in the Middle East, and he'll be viewed as myopic and naïve.  Would anyone disagree with that position?
SEAN HANNITY (1/31/2006): I believe through the prism of history, we're going to look back on George W. Bush, and we're going to see this shift towards freedom, liberty, and democracy in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world, and he will be viewed as a great visionary.
Ah!  Full-throated defense of the value of democracy!
SEAN HANNITY (9/13/2012): The media, and our government — democracy!  This is a good thing.  And I'm sitting here saying, well, all right, what's going to take over?  It was obvious the Muslim Brotherhood was the only group that had any political clout.
But....  Young, not-as-fat you... he....  But, all right, I guess you can't just let people depose their own dictators in the name of democracy.
SEAN HANNITY (4/7/2008): We have at least some hope for peace in the Middle East and democracy in a republic.  Um, certainly better than what they have.
I gotta tell ya something.  I love it when that conservative patriot guy tools on that naïve leftist douchebag.  What's the name of that show?  Hannity & Takes the Opposite Position When It's Convenient, Slightly Younger Hannity?

That's a great show.  It's great television.  (wild audience applause)

Now listen to me, listen!  We could go all night bringing up examples of pundits and bloviators on the right who couldn't do enough to promote democracy in the Middle East, as long as it was done at the end of George Bush's gun.  But as Middle Eastern countries choose leaders for themselves — (in Southern accent) lordy lord, the pearls can't be clutched enough!

Also, Jon's conversation with John Oliver about the state of Islam is well worth watching.
JOHN OLIVER: Have you been hear a fucking television recently?  Things are pretty en fuego around here!  But look, I think it's important for us to pause, and note that it is clearly not the majority of Muslims who are protesting in the streets.  And it's not even the majority of protestors who are getting violent.  And, to put this in context, we should really remember Islam's young age.

JON STEWART: What... it's young...?  Islam is 1,400 years old!

JOHN OLIVER: Yeah, exactly, Jon.  In religious years, Islam is still just a teenager.  And put it in context.  Think what Christianity was doing when it was only 1,400 years old.

JON STEWART: Oh, no, that's not... (ponders, to audience applause)  Yeah... I guess....

JOHN OLIVER: Exactly.  Bloody Crusades, the Inquisition, execution of heretics.  Christianity's frankly just lucky there weren't cell phones around then to film that shit.  (audience applause)

....

JOHN OLIVER: The point, Jon, is that we need to be patient with Islam.  They do not have it easy.  Remember, most teenagers have some means of escape from their insecurities.  They smoke pot, they experiment with sex, all-night bacon parties, Reformation.  Muslims can't do any of that stuff right now.

JON STEWART: So you're saying, if we just wait 3 or 400 years....

JOHN OLIVER: Oh, yeah, half a millennium at most.

JON STEWART: And then there'll be peace.

JOHN OLIVER: Peace?!?  What??  Fuck no, Jon!  But if we're lucky, we will finally stop fighting over real or imagined insults to our religions, and go back to fighting over what really matters — natural resources and arbitrary lines on maps!  (wild audience applause)

Videos and full transcripts below the fold.

Now, as we've been seeing, a lot of anger and unrest in the Middle East.  And the political right in this country has been swift and furious in their condemnation of... Obama.
STEPHEN HAYES (9/16/2012): This leading from behind Obama doctrine is up in flames.

LIZ CHENEY (9/16/2012): Terrorists believe they can attack our embassy with impunity, they believe they can kill our ambassador, and there will be no response.

SARAH PALIN (9/13/2012): How much longer can we afford to spill our blood and treasure trying to quote-unquote "promote democracy" in places that do not have any values for civilized society?

Yes!  Democracy promotion is wrong!  That's a somewhat isolationist position, ex-Governor Palin.  Does anyone see our role in the world differently?  Yes, you, 2008's still-Governor Palin?
SARAH PALIN (9/18/2008): I see our role in the world as one of being a force for good ... to help these rising, smaller democratic countries that are just, you know, putting themselves on the map right now.
What a bold freedom agenda!  It's a little bit naïve, I mean, think of the blowback.
SEAN HANNITY (9/13/2012): Egyptians elected a Muslim Brotherhood member to head their country.  And let's not forget, this is the very first place in the Middle East that President Obama promised to bring "democracy" to.
Ah, I see.  So you, Sean Hannity, believe through the prism of history, people will look back on Obama, and this shift of freedom, liberty, and democracy in the Middle East, and he'll be viewed as myopic and naïve.  Would anyone disagree with that position?
SEAN HANNITY (1/31/2006): I believe through the prism of history, we're going to look back on George W. Bush, and we're going to see this shift towards freedom, liberty, and democracy in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world, and he will be viewed as a great visionary.
Ah!  Full-throated defense of the value of democracy!
SEAN HANNITY (9/13/2012): The media, and our government — democracy!  This is a good thing.  And I'm sitting here saying, well, all right, what's going to take over?  It was obvious the Muslim Brotherhood was the only group that had any political clout.
But....  Young, not-as-fat you... he....  But, all right, I guess you can't just let people depose their own dictators in the name of democracy.
SEAN HANNITY (4/7/2008): We have at least some hope for peace in the Middle East and democracy in a republic.  Um, certainly better than what they have.
I gotta tell ya something.  I love it when that conservative patriot guy tools on that naïve leftist douchebag.  What's the name of that show?  Hannity & Takes the Opposite Position When It's Convenient, Slightly Younger Hannity?

That's a great show.  It's great television.  (wild audience applause)

Now listen to me, listen!  We could go all night bringing up examples of pundits and bloviators on the right who couldn't do enough to promote democracy in the Middle East, as long as it was done at the end of George Bush's gun.  But as Middle Eastern countries choose leaders for themselves — (in Southern accent) lordy lord, the pearls can't be clutched enough!  Why don't we talk to an actual Middle East policy expert?

DAN SENOR (9/12/2012): Americans today are seeing a mess on their television screens that is unleashing throughout the Middle East ... we've got a real mess on our hands, in part because of the policies of President Obama over the last several years in the region.
Yeah, that's foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney and Mr. Ryan, Dan Senor, decrying the Middle East's messiness.  Why don't you rebut him, chief spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, a more junior Dan Senor?
DAN SENOR (3/28/2005): It's democracy.  We often said that when we're there, democracy is messy.  If you want clean and tidy, there's dictatorship.  But right now, these Iraqi political leaders are immersed in their first sort of democratic experiment.
I get you, man!  It was the early to mid-aughts, man!  Everybody was experimenting with democracy then.  Wazzup?  You know what?  Fuck this, I'm outta here.  Just go at it, you two, settle it yourselves.
DAN SENOR (9/12/2012): You know, it's just a reminder ... of the chaos that the policies of this administration have sowed. ... Chaos in the Arab Spring, chaos for our allies in Israel.

DAN SENOR (9/8/2004): There's certainly areas that are problematic, and we certainly are having some tough days, and we'll have tough days ahead.

DAN SENOR (9/13/2012): Well, what we've seen in the last three days is a product of policies that have been building over the last three years

DAN SENOR (5/31/2006): If we are successful in building some modicum of democracy in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world ... it will be an enormous success.

DAN SENOR (9/12/2012): You think the President's policy in the Middle East has been a success?  Looks like a disaster right now to most Americans.

DAN SENOR (9/30/2004): There definitely has been significant violence in recent weeks, and certainly today's tragic death of over 30 people, but it also correlates with progress on the political track.

DAN SENOR (9/12/2012): ... chaos ... disaster ...

DAN SENOR (9/30/2004): ... progress ...

(wild audience applause)

Wow.  One man's chaos is another man's progress.  Here's the thing I find the most troubling.  How can one man's opinions shift so drastically, and yet his hairline stays exactly the same?

I can't tell if these guys are cynical, clueless, or in denial, but we will be right back.

Jon also covered the protests in the Middle East, and asked John Oliver when the violence would end.
JON STEWART: For more on this, I'm joined by John Oliver, live in Cairo.  John, how's everything going?

JOHN OLIVER: How're you doing?

JON STEWART: What's happening?

JOHN OLIVER: What's happening?  Oh, it's beautiful here, Jon.  A friendly people, rich history, delicious food, I'm having a fantastic time.

JON STEWART: Well, that's... I'm surprised.  That's great.

JOHN OLIVER: No, not really, Jon!  Of course not!  Have you been hear a fucking television recently?  Things are pretty en fuego around here!  But look, I think it's important for us to pause, and note that it is clearly not the majority of Muslims who are protesting in the streets.  And it's not even the majority of protestors who are getting violent.  And, to put this in context, we should really remember Islam's young age.

JON STEWART: What... it's young...?  Islam is 1,400 years old!

JOHN OLIVER: Yeah, exactly, Jon.  In religious years, Islam is still just a teenager.  And put it in context.  Think what Christianity was doing when it was only 1,400 years old.

JON STEWART: Oh, no, that's not... (ponders, to audience applause)  Yeah... I guess....

JOHN OLIVER: Exactly.  Bloody Crusades, the Inquisition, execution of heretics.  Christianity's frankly just lucky there weren't cell phones around then to film that shit.  (audience applause)

JON STEWART: I guess, you know what?  I mean, if you think about it, when Judaism was still a teenager....

JOHN OLIVER: Oh, Judaism?  Are you kidding me?  You people couldn't keep your teenage shofars in your tunics!

JON STEWART: Oh, that's true.

JOHN OLIVER: Begetting in Canaan.

JON STEWART: Begetting in Babylon.

JOHN OLIVER: Oh, begetting right here in Egypt.

JON STEWART: Hey, we were begetting it so much, we couldn't even stand on a mountain without having to hold a tablet in front of our... you know what I mean?

JOHN OLIVER: Exactly!  You people nearly begat yourselves blind!

JON STEWART: Yeah.

JOHN OLIVER: The point is, Jon, there is good news.  And that is that religions grow out of this awkward phase.  Again, look at Christianity.  We've aged into young adulthood.  And now we can all laugh about the time we used to burn young girls at the stake for being left-handed.  Or as we called it back then, witchcraft.

JON STEWART: Yeah... I don't think that's so funny.

JOHN OLIVER: Yeah, well, Jon, that's because your religion is... actually, in fact, how old are you?

JON STEWART: Well actually, we're 5773 today!

JOHN OLIVER: Honestly, you don't look a day over 5729.  That's a fact.

JON STEWART: Well, nice of you to say.  We've been jogging.

JOHN OLIVER: Well, you're glowing.  It's working, that's the point.  The point, Jon, is that we need to be patient with Islam.  They do not have it easy.  Remember, most teenagers have some means of escape from their insecurities.  They smoke pot, they experiment with sex, all-night bacon parties, Reformation.  Muslims can't do any of that stuff right now.

JON STEWART: So you're saying, if we just wait 3 or 400 years....

JOHN OLIVER: Oh, yeah, half a millennium at most.

JON STEWART: And then there'll be peace.

JOHN OLIVER: Peace?!?  What??  Fuck no, Jon!  But if we're lucky, we will finally stop fighting over real or imagined insults to our religions, and go back to fighting over what really matters — natural resources and arbitrary lines on maps!  (wild audience applause)

JON STEWART: That would be nice.

JOHN OLIVER: That would be nice.

JON STEWART: Thank you very much, John Oliver.

JOHN OLIVER: Wouldn't that be nice?

JON STEWART: John Oliver, everybody.  We'll be right back.

Meanwhile, Stephen looked at Rick Santorum's comment at the Values Voters Summit about the GOP not getting the smart people vote, and then on the Middle East protests and Mitt Romney's stupid Libya response.
And because it's Yom Kippur, Stephen's also back with his Atone Phone, with special caller Ira Glass.
Stephen talked with Harvard University President Drew Faust about the Civil War's brutal impacts, and Jon talked with Kofi Annan, which went long.  Here's the unedited interview in two parts.
Part 1
Part 2

Originally posted to BruinKid on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Electronic America: Progressives Film, music & Arts Group.

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