What You Need to Know About Iran





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I'm going to start today with a little pop quiz: What did Iran do this week?

You might have answered that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Iran will deliver a "telling blow" to global powers on February 11 (the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution). Yes, he did do that. But that's not the latest.

This week Iran successfully launched a rocket into space. The media yawned. The only thing they found interesting about the launch was that the rocket had a rat, two turtles and a worm on board. But they don't look any further than that.

But technically, if Iran can send a missile up into space and have it explode, it could shut down our electronics; that would do more damage to us than any conventional bomb ever could. Imagine the chaos if an EMP bomb took all of our computers, phones, TVs, lights and flipped them off? America would be out of business.

Look, they don't have the power to do this yet, but why would Iran want to do that? Hasn't President Obama's new approach to foreign policy mended all the wounds?

In March of last year, Obama called for "engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect" with Iran.

Mutual respect? Really?

The only reason you would even consider talking to Ahmadinejad is because you don't understand who he really is. He's called America the "Great Satan" and also said our friends in Israel must be "wiped off the map."

The media yawns when Ahmadinejad runs off with the mouth because — so far — that's all he's done; talk. They've been trained to ignore him: He's the boy who cried wolf. They don't think he's serious. But that's because they haven't bothered to look into what he believes.

There's another thing that Ahmadinejad says that no one pays attention to. I mean, how many times have you heard the media say: Aren't you concerned about Glenn Beck's language? That you with your tea party sign might cause some kind of global catastrophe. But the guy that wants to vaporize Israel, they don't put any importance on that — you need to watch this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (through translator): Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, and peace and blessings upon our masters and prophet Mohammed and his pure household and his noble companions. Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory, and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

"Hasten the return of Imam al-Mahdi." What's he talking about? He's talking about the 12th Imam. He's a "12er." What is that? If journalists weren't so busy trying to land jobs with the Obama administration (14 to be exact), they'd look into that.

The "12ers" believe that the Mahdi, or 12th Imam, will soon return. This is end times, stuff. They are different than most Muslims because they believe that the return needs to be hastened. It's not a good idea to hasten the return of the Chosen One, because to do that, the world has to be in chaos, carnage and even genocide — so the Messiah comes and brings peace.

"12ers" are so dangerous that at one point the Ayatollah Khomeini banned them.

So when President Ahmadinejad says he wants to vaporize Israel, he's not just trying to trick people; it's not a power bluff. He thinks he's fulfilling prophesy by doing that. He thinks he's the John the Baptist for the coming of the Messiah.

Christians believe that the antichrist is a person; "12ers" believe we — the U.S. — are the antichrist. The "12ers" believe they have to wash the world in blood to hasten the return of the promised one. And when the Mahdi comes, he will set up a global government in Babylon with one religion and they will kill non-believers.

Let's try reversing it: Think of Christians how Rosie O'Donnell thinks of Christians. Abortion doctor killing nut-jobs who think the antichrist is roaming the Earth right now — "radical" Christians. Let's let her explain:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O'DONNELL: Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Got it? Dangerous! Now, imagine those crazy Christians are running a country and think the antichrist is alive. And they are sure of who he is and they want to hasten the return of Jesus. And they are currently engaged in a new nuclear program and they are launching missiles every other month; do you think Rosie might be worried?

The other volatile piece of this puzzle is Israel. Think of this if you are a leader in Israel. Iran wants to wipe you off the map. Can you blame Israel for being a little sensitive on rhetoric like this? I mean, they literally had a regime try to kill every single Jewish person on the planet. It's not exactly a far fetched idea.

Now you have some guy, who not only believes in the Mahdi but he believes there will be a global government and he has to destroy America and Israel.

To that, add this: Whose side were the Iranians on back in World War II? Oh, the right, Germany's side.

Did you know that one of guys who helped mold Ahmadinejad's beliefs was German philosopher Martin Heidegger who was a big intellectual and also an anti-Semite and anti-American.

Ahmadinejad predicted a telling blow on February 11. Will anything happen? I don't know. He's made a lot of threats. But the launch of the latest rocket should be a huge concern, because it is another stepping stone.

Do you believe Ahmadinejad? And do you believe Obama understands Ahmadinejad? And do you believe that Israel is willing to roll the dice that this time Iran doesn't really mean it?

By the way, do you know what "Iran" means in Farsi? Aryan.

— Watch Glenn Beck weekdays at 5p & 2a ET on Fox News Channel

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?