Bill Maher Shows True Colors

Unsurprising, really, as Maher also defended Bibi’s slaughter of civilians last summer (oh, and he does so again in this clip, claiming those civilians were actually attacking Israel at the time they were bombed taking shelter in schools).

“If America was a country that was surrounded by 12 or 13 completely black nations who had militarily attacked us many times, including as recently as last year…Would…

THINKPROGRESS.ORG

This is ugly.

Completely and utterly racist.

Which, I guess is fine….

Wait, no it’s not. It’s horrid. Then, later, Maher pats Israel on the back for being such a great democracy where the Prime Minister makes racist comments about minorities voting…

huH?

Maher’s not right, he’s racist.

And claiming that Israel killing 1,000 civilians was some kind of self-defense? What the hell. People taking shelter in school are not attacking Israel.

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The Panderific Rand “Pander” Paul Gears up for 2016

January 6, 2015   Rand Paul is working hard to polish his pro-Israel credentials.

Hours before meeting on Tuesday with some of the nation’s most influential and well-heeled Jewish GOP donors—including billionaire Sheldon Adelson—Paul introduced his second bill in as many years to cut off American foreign aid to the Palestinian government.

The “Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015” would cut off funding for the Palestinian government so long as it seeks recognition in the International Criminal Court, according to a Paul aide. The measure comes in addition to Paul’s “Stand with Israel Act,” introduced last year, which would end U.S. aid until the Palestinian Authority agreed to a cease-fire and recognized the state of Israel.

via Rand Paul Offers Another Pro-Israel Bill to Cut Palestinian Aid – NationalJournal.com.

It would be harder to find a more disingenuous  politicians than Rand Paul. Not only has he been busted for plagiarizing, he’s been busted for pandering before too.

His dad was crazy and had ideas that had already been tried and failed spectacularly, but at least he had some integrity (well, outside the whole denying the newsletters with his name and signature on them).  Hrrm…on second thought, he is a fitting son.

I don’t think he’ll do much in the 2016 primaries, there are faaar too many issues where he panders the wrong way for the Teahadi base.   As a matter of fact, I kind of wonder why he’s even mentioned in the Presidential discussions.   I guess it’s a holdover from his dad running for like 20 years.

Iran, Oil, Israel, the NDAA, and the 2012 Election : A Primer

Let’s start this off with a curious conjunction of news articles as presented by the Google News algorithm.

That's why they do it

That's why they do it

And I also ran across this article over on Juan Cole’s site.

Will his New Sanctions on Iran Cost Obama the Presidency?

Posted on 01/03/2012 by Juan

A sharp drop in the value of the Iranian currency as a result of new American sanctions may sound like good news to hawks in the US. But actually this development may signal ways in which Americans will also be harmed, and Obama may have put a second term in jeopardy, cutting off his nose to spite his face.

An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Obama this past weekend will seek to slap third party sanctions on countries and enterprises that deal with Iran’s central bank. It will go into effect this summer. In effect, the law says that if you buy Iranian petroleum, you cannot do business with American financial institutions. Since the United States is still over a fifth of the world economy, and most institutions with capital need to deal with it, the hope of Congress is that Iran will be left without customers.

The measure, pushed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on behalf of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, might well be a trap for Obama. In an election year, he could not refuse to endorse new sanctions against Iran (the Republican candidates in Iowa are practically running on promising that if elected they will launch a war on Iran; and they are lambasting the president as weak on this issue).

[full story]

There’s a couple of interesting things about this line of thinking and Cole explores the direct results on this in his post.

Those two factors, the likelihood of rising Asian demand for petroleum in 2012, and investor nervousness about how tensions with Iran will play out, will probably keep petroleum prices at historically high levels in 2012, and some analysts believe that there could be a return to the overheated pricing of 2008 before the crash.

It would be much better for the American economy if prices sank back down to the levels of only a few years ago, of $50 a barrel or less.

If the Congressional sanctions actually worked, and took Iran’s roughly 2.5 million barrels a day in exports off the world market, that would take out 80% of Iran’s export income and deeply hurt the regime. But it would also send world petroleum prices through the stratosphere, deeply harming Western economies already teetering on the edge.

The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012) which has people all a-twitter about the AUMF made real, also includes the language that essentially declares economic warfare with Iran.  You know how all those little dollars say “Federal Reserve Note”…well…when it comes to being the one that redeems property, one tends to have some control over who gets to officially use it for business.   The NDAA (of FY 2012) essentially says that anyone who uses our money, can’t use it to buy their oil (or anything else they sell).

This was added to the NDAA by a flake.  Literally, Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

Washington, D.C., Dec 9, 2011 – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today along with 22 House Members sent a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R, CA) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D, WA) urging them to retain during conference negotiations with the Senate provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would levy sanctions on the Iranian financial sector, including the Central Bank of Iran, in an effort to severely limit the funding sources available to the Iranian regime for use in developing nuclear weapons.

You will be unsurprised to find out that Flake was one of the 81 Congressmen (only 21%) who did, in fact, take an all expense paid weeklong [edit 9 day] vacation to calm and relaxing Israel during the summer break.

Don’t worry though, no taxpayer money was (directly) used to pay for this.  Lobbyists covered the whole thing.

Sponsor(s) – American Israel Education Foundation
Dates – August 18, 2001 – August 26, 2001 (9 days)
Location(s) – Israel 

Purpose – Educational mission
Notes – Spouse Cheryl Flake accompanied. Other costs not specified.

Travel Cost – $7,183.20
Lodging Cost – $2,023.70
Meal Cost – $1,391.30
Other Cost – $986.00
Total Cost – $11,584.20

Additional family members – Yes

[full data on the Flake]

And just so you get an idea of how much of a flake this Flake guy is…

Flake was first elected to what was then Arizona’s 1st congressional district in 2000, after Republican incumbent Matt Salmon stepped down in honor of a self-imposed term limit. The district was then renumbered to the 6th district as Arizona gained two Congressional seats due to the results of the 2000 census.

In his campaign in 2000, Flake had pledged to serve no more than three terms in Congress, leaving no later than January 2007, but in early 2005, shortly after being elected for a third time, Flake announced that he had changed his mind and would in fact run for re-election in 2006. “It was a mistake to limit my own terms,” Flake said.

[from the wiki]

So…long story short…get ready for much higher gas prices this summer and the Republicans constantly blaming Obama for it.   There’s a decent chance that the actual reason for the rise in prices will not be a constraint in supply, but instead an increase in middleman costs caused by the sanctions leading to a run-up in the price of oil…if not a full-on closing of the Straight of Hormuz by Iran (if the sanctions work too well  and they realize they are fucked either way.)

Whatever the reason, higher oil prices (even if only caused by the threat of increased hostilities…raising risks raises prices) will slow the already crawling economic recovery in the U.S., leaving it, most likely, continuing to sputter along like an old car running low on…well…gas.

What I find really funny here (funny in an ironic way), is that while Obama will be in actuality taking a political hit from the slowing economy from increased oil prices, he’s also going to continue to be hit for “throwing Israel under the bus” even while taking the economic hit that comes with directly targeting the money supply of Iran.

Pretty funny, if you think about it.

I still don’t think it’s going to be enough to convince more Americans to vote for Romney than Obama, however.

The election is going to be literally a Wall Street Tycoon vs a Community Organizer.

Ask your average Tea Party member which one of those they support (using those labels), and do it while they are community organizing for even greater lulz.

7,000,000,000th Person Joins Earth, RPN gets older (link dump)

37 times around the Sun, now with 7,000,000,000 of my closest friends.   Thus we mark the year.

October 31, 2011

The U.N. estimates that the world’s population will pass the 7 billion mark on Monday.

Much of that growth has happened in Asia — in India and China. Those two countries have been among the world’s most populous for centuries. But a demographic shift is taking place as the countries have modernized and lowered their fertility rates. Now, the biggest growth is taking place in sub-Saharan Africa.

For all the actual problems the world faces, this is one that I think will largely moderate itself as more and more of humanity catches up to the present (in the 21st century, unless your political climate is noxious towards women, there are ample methods for taking control of one’s reproductive life).

Wage stats for 2010.  No surprise here…

Based on data in the table below, about 66.2 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the $39,959.30 raw average wage. By definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $26,363.55 for 2010.

[full stats]

When the average is 50% higher than the  median it’s probably a situation where people are taking to the streets to protest and….oh.  And yes you read that right, half of wage earners earned less than $27K last year.  These are the folks every Republican candidate wants to *raise taxes* on (i.e. “expand the base”), while cutting them further for the wealthy.

Palestine goes for country-hood, U.S. promptly pulls funding (I hate this crap, the UN created Israel, but somehow it horrible to use the same mechanism to create Palestine).

PARIS (Reuters) – The United Nations’ cultural agency decided Monday to give the Palestinians full membership of the body, a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the United Nations.

UNESCO is the first U.N. agency the Palestinians have joined as a full member since President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on September 23.

[full story]

–followed by–

The United States has announced it will stop its financial contributions to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after the body admitted Palestine as a member on Monday.

“We were to have made a $60 million payment to UNESCO in November and we will not be making that payment,” said the US State Department’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland.

[full story]

This is another one of those things where the Obama administration is doing exactly what conservatives want them to do, but will get absolutely no credit whatsoever for doing it.   Indeed, this will likely be interpreted as “throwing Israel under the bus” when in reality what we are doing, once again, is “going to the mat for an unthankful ally who ignores our requests they stop violating the law“.

Just to get an idea of what crap goes on and gets called justice over there…

An Israeli court on Thursday threw out a lawsuit filed by a Palestinian family that lost two relatives after their home in the Gaza Strip was bombed during an Israel Defense Forces operation.

The Jerusalem District Court refused the family’s request for damages, ruling that the fatal 2006 bombing was a legitimate act of war.

Fatma Wahabe and her son Khaled were killed after a missile fire by an IDF assault helicopter hit their home in Khan Yunis, instead of the targeted vehicle carrying wanted Palestinian militants.

The court’s decision was based in part on an affidavit filed by the head of the Shin Bet security service’s department on Gaza, who defended the IDF operation as necessary “to prevent a clear, immediate, and present danger to public safety.”

“It was an initiated attack meant to strike a top terror operative based on solid intelligence, according to which he was about to attack Israeli citizens,” the judge said.

The plaintiffs were also ordered to pay NIS 25,000 in legal fees.

[full story]

I can’t imagine how someone occupying your city, killing your family, and charging you for the service could do anything but build strong bonds of fellowship.

Right Wing Pundit realizing GOP primacy choices are largely  a joke.

Great questions for anyone who wants to claim that Big Poverty caused the financial crisis of 2008.  One of the more disturbing aspects of the collapse of 2008 is that the people responsible have done a bang-up job of blaming everyone else for the collapse.   I’m guessing this is because they control most of the money and media, and therefore just get to propagate loads of self-affirming bullshit.   However, when you run into someone that claims it was the CRA (from ’94) that caused the crisis (in ’08), there’s a few good questions on that link to ask them.  (note: these are more technical economics questions, so it’s important to first ascertain if the person you are talking to has a basic understanding of how economics works.  If they are a Ron Paul supporter….just nod and back away).

Read this and then you’ll understand that cutting corporate tax rates won’t do a dang thing unless we cut them to negative numbers.   (and that’s  one of the “good” guys).  We need a corporate AMT, based on yearly reporting earnings, firm-wide.

Marco Rubio has been a’lyin about his origin story.  Whenever I see this guy, I always think it’s this guy.   Maybe it’s because when Rubio talks, it’s like he’s living in an imaginary Never Never Land

Canadians seems to have taking a liking to Canadians.  I can see why…who doesn’t like Canadians?

Grab Bag of Political Link Dumpings

Just a few things to get off the desktop here…organized by order of randomness…

How “For Profit” Colleges cost us all a lot of money.   I hate it when good things (higher education) get exploited for money in the wrong way.   Continuing professional education should be a means to an end (expanding skillsets leading to making more money/job satisfaction) not used as that end in and of itself.

The Reality of the last Congress.

The Big Lie that killed it.

Glenn’s attempt at the Big Lie on Net Neutrality….only partially successful.   I’ll probably do more on this after more details and analysis come out.  I am a big proponent of net neutrality.  The real kind, not the bastardized concept bouncing around the RWEC.

Fox News gives in, tells the truth, and now 9/11 Responders get federal help.   Note: Shep Smith had a previous rant about this subject that followed my guidelines in How to Make Government Look Really Bad (and Win) to the letter.   Now if we could only get Fox to stop lying about climate change we’d be that much closer to having a functioning democracy again.

 —

EU is getting sick of Israeli shennangans.  I think pretty much everyone is.   When they have the gall to blame any third party for the breakdown of peace negotiations when they pull this settlement bait and switch is somewhat galling.    Still, giving the recent string of Obama victories, maybe this SNL skit (re:Hillary) might turn out right (personally I think low expectations of a real deal increases their chances dramatically in this clusterfark).  

There will simply not be enough lawns to get off of.   I take a certain bit of guilty pleasure in reading that article.  I’ve long held that Boomers are one of the most spoiled, entitled and ultimately disastrous generations to have cursed this nation.  And now they get to start reaping their harvest.   And by “they” I meant “we”.

The grim results arrive before next month’s milestone, when the oldest baby boomers will turn 65. America’s baby boomer generation of 79 million people adds up to a little more than a quarter of the U.S. population, the center reports.

Over the next 19 years, about 10,000 people will turn 65 each day, the survey reports, resulting in a grayer America by 2030. By that year, 18% of the nation’s population will be over the age of 65, compared with 13% now.

 I just hope they come up with a good Alzheimer’s drug before the Tea Party really takes off .   I think there’s a roughly 50% chance the nation as we know it survives the Boomers.   Seriously.   By 2030 the U.S. will be 25% Young, Poor, and Hispanic and 18% Old, Rich and Racist.  If that doesn’t tear it apart, nothing will.

Link Dump….

Working…can’t write…dumping link…

This is why they should. (I got sick of this nontroversy a couple days ago)

When Pat Buchanan calls your Nazi analogy over the edge, it is.

Read the comments to see why I call them nutjobs.  (note the comment and reactions to the comment that explains this away rationally.  Rationality is like the rage virus to these people, turns them crazy).’

Thanks, Rupert, for making this so obvious.  Fox News is *directly* funding the Republicans now, and not just donating 20 hours a day to free advocacy and attack ads.

Top 10 Right Wing Conspiracy theories. With the news that 40% of Republicans and 20% of Americans think Obama is a muslim, these fit right in.

Media companies stealing customer data. More definitive proof of their hypocrisy.

The Making of a Nontroversy.

Roger Ebert continues to do good stuff.

Franklin Graham makes up stuff about the President’s Dad to explain American’s ignorance re: Obama’s religion.   For some reason I think he’s doing it wrong.

We recently gave Israel $3,000,000,000 to buy $2,7500,000,000 worth of F-35s. This would be more of an actual issue if this story (and those like it) got more play.  That’s how the Military Industrial Complex works, BTW.  We borrow from China to give to Israel to buy from Us.   And a few people make out like bandits selling stuff to kill, well, bandits.  It does keep us at #1, I guess.

RIAA wants to force electronic manufacturers to include FM radios in all phones, ipods, etc.  Yes, it is that stupid, and yes, they actually are saying this is good for you.  I side with the concept of the free market on this one.

Helen Thomas outsted for criticizing Israel

And the old lady is gone.

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2010 – Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately.

Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet.

Thomas later issued a statement: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.’’

This is largely why you don’t see any pointed criticisms of Israel in the U.S. corporate media.   Journalists like keeping their jobs too.  It is, however, perfectly legitimate to consider all Arabs terrorists, and anyone trying to bring starving people food is now a “militant”.   Those opinions tend to get you promoted.

For those that don’t catch the name, Thomas had been a White House reporter for over 40 years.

It’s time to cut off all aid to Israel (period)

U.S. Confirms Citizen Shot Dead in Gaza Flotilla Raid

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=atkYRIaRZWSw

I really don’t like the idea of foreign governments (caught spying on the U.S. repeatedly) summarily executing U.S. citizens.

So far the Obama administration’s reaction to this massacre has been pathetic. Cut off funding, totally, then talk to them again (after they stop building settlements).

Clearing off the desktop…

…sometimes I fall behind.  So to catch up, I just dump a lot of stuff with short commentary and reboot the browsers so my computer can think again.

Here goes…

First up is an acknowledgement of the change to Arizona law.  This took away the worst of it, but I’d expect the rest to be bad enough to fall on its own.

Here’s some of the local reaction to the immigration law.  The march took place before the changes.

Some Fox revisionism.  Seriously, WTF.

The smoke monster gets lose in the gulf.

They caught some guy who doesn’t know how to make a good bomb.

Who did what now?  You don’t say.

Federal money is only *sometimes* evil.  How very Hindu of you

No need for that extra $130 for a 3G iPad.  $99 3G iPhone works fine.

Some speculation by a sci-fi guy about Jobs hatred of flash.

More on the immigration law change in Arizona.

Tattle tales!  How silly.   I say let people strip in the name on art, like that.  This’ll get tossed.

The global warming witchhunt continues in VA via the Cooch.

A good Street Fighter movie? Unpossible.  Possible…

It’s like a cliche now.

The Tea Party takes the Republicans to a new dimension, and beyond.

The alternate question about who “introduced” nukes to the Middle East.

Wonderful reading about the longest living organism(s).

I Come From a City Full Of Terrorists

It turns out I have a lot closer ties to terrorism than even I thought.   You might too.

If you have ever given money to a hospital, you might be a terrorist.

If you have ever helped the poor, especially some of the poorest in the world, you might be a terrorist.

If you have ever given money, or donated services, to a school, you might be a terrorist.

Even if you have never advocated a violent action, or done one, or given money to someone who does, you STILL might be a terrorist.

And this is considered one of the greatest “victories” by Bush in the Global War on Terror.  

U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis announced the guilty verdicts on all 108 counts on the eighth day of deliberations in the retrial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity. It was the biggest terrorism financing case since the attacks of Sept. 11.

The convictions follow the collapse of Holy Land’s first trial last year and defeats in other cases the government tried to build. President George W. Bush had personally announced the freezing of Holy Land’s assets in 2001, calling the action “another step in the war on terrorism.”

Holy Land wasn’t accused of violence. Rather, the government said the Richardson, Texas-based charity financed schools, hospitals and social welfare programs controlled by Hamas in areas ravaged by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Prosecutors labeled Holy Land’s benefactors — called zakat committees — as terrorist recruiting pools. The charities, the government argued, spread Hamas’ violent ideology and generated loyalty and support among Palestinians.

Holy Land supporters told a different story. They accused the government of politicizing the case as part of its war on terrorism, while attorneys for the foundation said Holy Land’s mission was philanthropy and providing much-needed aid to the Middle East.

They reminded jurors that none of the zakat committees are designated by the U.S. as terrorist fronts, and that Holy Land also donated to causes elsewhere, including helping victims of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

[full story]

For those completely ignorant of Islam (like most of the Texas jurors in the case) “zakat” is one of the five pillars upon which the religion is based.  The word literally means “alms for the poor.”   The cultural translation to the Western world would be “tithing” (at least in those religions where tithing isn’t really optional if you want to be a member in good standing.)

Regardless, you can probably guess that “zakat communities” are composed of some of the poorest folks around.  And when you take the poorest people in one of the poorest “countries” in the world, you are talking fairly destitute.

One would think that it would be the “Christian” thing to do to help them.  Maybe try and build schools and hospitals?

Well, if one thought that, one would be thinking like an actual Christian, not an American one.   In the U.S. it is a terrorist act to help the poor.

At least in Bush’s America.

Note: This is the second trial for these folks.  The first was declared a mistrial.  Why?   Hmmm, how to explain this….ah here we go….23% of Texans still thought Obama was Muslim before the election.  Understand what I’m dealing with here?  Good, glad that’s clear.

Here’s some excerpts from a story about the first mistrial….

October 23, 2007

The U.S. Justice Department suffered a major setback in another high-profile terrorist prosecution Monday when its criminal case against five former officials of a now-defunct Islamic charity collapsed into a tangle of legal confusion.

U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish declared a mistrial, but not before it became clear that the government’s landmark terrorism finance case – and one of its most-costly post-9/11 prosecutions – was in serious trouble.

His decision came after jury verdicts were read to a packed courtroom indicating that none of the defendants had been found guilty on any of the 200 combined counts against them. Jurors had acquitted defendants on some counts and were deadlocked on charges ranging from tax violations to providing material support for terrorists.

However, during routine polling of the jurors to determine that their votes were accurately reflected in the findings, two said they were not. When efforts to reconcile the surprise conflict failed, Fish declared the mistrial.

The case presented to a Texas jury of eight women and four men relied heavily on Israeli intelligence and involved disputed documents and electronic surveillance gathered by federal agents over a span of nearly 15 years.

[I’m sorry, but how is foreign intelligence colllected using Mossad tactics admissable in U.S./Texas courts?  Just curious if anyone knows…]

Juror William Neal, 33, who said his father worked in military intelligence, said that the government’s case had “so many gaps” that he regarded the prosecution as “a waste of time.”

The jury forewoman, who like the other jurors was not identified, told the court she could not explain the positions of the two panelists. “When the vote was [taken]… no one spoke up” about any differences, she said. “I really don’t understand where it’s coming from… all 12 made that decision.”

The judge excused the jurors to work out the discrepancies. About 40 minutes later, they returned to court and the two female jurors both continued to maintain that their verdicts had not been tallied accurately.

As a result, Abdulqader’s acquittal on all counts was set aside, forcing him to face a potential retrial with the others.

Both women had been noted dozing off during court proceedings, and juror Neal said one of them also fell asleep during deliberations. The latter, he said, voted guilty from the beginning, was confused by the evidence and much of the time declined to participate in deliberations.

This is probably the part that kills me the most.  Some idiot racist decided by looking at the defendants they were guilty and skipped the actual trial and evidence part (and that assumption of innocence).   So the acquittal gets set aside, the government gets to play some Double Jeopardy, and do a better job picking idiots to the jury.

In 2004, the government alleged that Holy Land and its officials funneled about $12 million to Hamas through local charities called zakat committees. The government argued that from its inception Holy Land was intended to be a fundraising tool for Hamas, a contention that was never documented in court.

[full story]

So it looks like the government argument here was very similar to the Bush Administration argument for invading Iraq; “Sure, these particular people didn’t attack us and aren’t a threat to us…but they sure do look like people who are.”

It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.

On the personal note, I grew up in Richardson, Texas, THE HOTBED OF TERRORIST FINANCING IN THE U.S.

No wonder I ended up being a flippin’ RobotPirateNinja, those were some hard streets.

Should I just turn myself in now?  Or wait for them to come get me?  After all, I am now it would seem, defending terrorists convicted for helping the poor and sickly.  

Curious world Bush gave us.

Iran, CNN, Fearmongering, and Nukes. Lots and Lots of Nukes

This was going to start off as a post about Iran’s recent test firing of some missiles.

It starts with the CNN story of the firing, was going to mention the US response to the 40-year anniversary of the ABM treaty (from a couple weeks ago) and was going to finish with a mention that Iran had photoshopped one of their released “proof” photos to add a missile.

My main point was going to be that it was simple dick-waving. I was going to mention during the ABM article dissection that Israel (which is/was mentioned in the original CNN article) didn’t sign it and has nukes and isn’t afraid to use them in defense. So, all in all, it was a stalemate and dick-waving. Not much to see here.

Then I reloaded the CNN article.

A subtext of a lot of my media coverage over the last, oh, 10 years or so, has been their penchant of blood and guts. They have a desire to forment war, at least a little bit. I’m not alleging anything more nefarious here than news sells eyeballs. So helping the news along isn’t beyond the pale, generally. There is an incentive.

It’s sometimes hard to find. Sometimes easy. This article is now going to include all of that stuff before, but since there are now two (2) different CNN articles, both with quite different tones, I’ll point that out as well.

See if you can spot the difference. These are screenshots. I’ll try and archive the originals as well. Right now this proof only exists in the memory of my computer and some others out there that have been sitting on this story for a couple weeks.

Here is the original article.

This was how the article originally appeared

This was how the article originally appeared

[full size]

Things to note here

Title:
Iran test fires missiles in riposte to U.S., Israel

Bullet Points:

  • Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards test fire nine long and medium range missiles
  • Officials say war games are in response to U.S. and Israeli threats
  • Drill conducted in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormouz

Paragraph 2 and 3:The Islamic Republic News Agency and Press TV reported that the naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Wednesday test-fired a Shahab-3 missile during war games in the Persian Gulf.

The exercises come a month after Israel conducted a military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes, and the latest Iranian activities prompted concern from Israel and condemnation from the United States.

So in this version we have a pretty simple action/reaction narrative going (bolded). We do something, they do something, etc. etc.

Now on to the updated version. This one is much punchier.

How the article looked after the update.

How the article looked after the update.

[full size]

Things to note here

Title:
Iran Gen.: Our finger is always on the trigger

Bullet Points:

  • Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards test fire long and medium range missiles
  • NEW: Iranian general: “Our finger is always on the trigger”
  • NEW: U.S.: Iran is “as serious… a problem as any we face today
  • Missile tests were part of Iranians war games in the Persian Gulf

Paragraph 2 and 3:

“We want to tell the world that those who conduct their foreign policy by using the language of threat against Iran have to know that our finger is always on the trigger and we have hundreds and even thousands of missiles ready to be fired against predetermined targets,” Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the Revolutionary Guard ground forces, said on state TV.

We will chase the enemies on the ground and in the sky and we are able react strongly to enemy’s threats in shortest possible time.”

So here we have a slightly different narrative (bolded).

Note how any mention of outside influence is relegated to a minor point of the story. This is how you war-monger in print.

————-

The articles then move a bit towards each other in content. With the updated one including the following.

There are worldwide worries that Israel, which is concerned by Iran’s plans, is pondering a unilateral strike.

Israel’s recent aerial military exercise was in part an effort to send a message that it has the capability to attack Iran’s nuclear program.

The distance involved in the exercise was roughly the same as would be involved in a possible strike on the Iranian nuclear fuel plant at Natanz, a U.S. military official said.

In 1981, Israel attacked a nuclear facility in Iraq. Israel also struck a site in Syria that some say was a nuclear reactor under construction.

One Israeli Cabinet member, Shaul Mofaz, recently said it “will attack” Iran if the nuclear program was not halted.

So that’s where we are there. This is a confrontation between Israel (not a signatory of the NPT (Nucular [sic] Non-Proliferation Treaty) and has nukes) and Iran (signatory of the NPT and has a large number conventional missiles).

So here’s how we marked the 40 year anniversary of a treaty meant to end the spread of such things…

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States, marking the 40th anniversary of the fraying nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said on Tuesday it was concerned that countries like Iran had “violated” the pact.

Garold Larson, deputy U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, also urged the NPT’s near-global membership to deter violators from withdrawing from the treaty in the future.

Speaking to a U.N. seminar in Geneva celebrating the 40th anniversary of the NPT, which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, Larson said the past two decades had witnessed the proliferation and misuse of nuclear technology.

“The United States remains very concerned that parties like Iran have violated their commitments and thereby undermined the treaty,” he said.

Larson did not refer to U.S. intelligence findings that Syria covertly tried to build an atomic reactor with North Korean help at a site bombed by Israel last year. Syria denies the accusations.

Investigators from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said after a four-day visit to Syria last week that they had examined the site but that more checks were needed.

Unlike Syria, Israel has not signed the NPT. It is widely believed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East.

So, we take a swipe at one group and look the other way from the other

And as we look over the horizon half-way around the world…we see this…

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A photo of Iranian missiles being test-fired yesterday was “apparently digitally altered to show four missiles rising into the air instead of three,” according to Agence France-Presse.

The image, which the wire service says it obtained from a website controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, appeared in newspapers and blogs across the world, including USA TODAY and On Deadline.

The Lede blog says “the second missile from the right appears to be the sum of two other missiles in the image.”

[full post]

So the general idea here is that we are supposed to be deathly afraid, so afraid that we’ll allow for another “pre-emptive” attack, on Iran because of their fearsome arsenal.

Which has been photoshopped to look scarier.

Riiight.

I spent the vast majority of my life 15-minutes away from being vaporized by Crazy Ivan’s nukes launched from super-secret subs and tropical paradii.

Iranian editing skills don’t scare me. In the slightest.

Obvious News of the Day (Saudis, Oil, Israel)

Saudis see no reason to raise oil production now – Yahoo! News

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia’s leaders made clear Friday they see no reason to increase oil production until customers demand it, apparently rebuffing President Bush amid soaring U.S. gasoline prices.

It was Bush’s second personal appeal this year to King Abdullah, head of the monarchy that rules this desert kingdom that is a longtime prime U.S. ally and home to the world’s largest oil reserves. But Saudi officials stuck to their position that they will only pump more oil into the system when asked to by buyers, something they say is not happening now, the president’s national security adviser told reporters.

This was a big part of Bush’s mideast trip. The funny part that the other part was to go and praise Israel and everything they do.

JERUSALEM – President Bush said Wednesday that 60 years of Israel‘s existence is cause for optimism for democratic change throughout the Middle East. “What happened here is possible everywhere,” Bush said, opening a trip divided between ceremonial duties and a new push for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“I suspect if you looked back 60 years ago and tried to guess where Israel would be at that time, it would be hard to be able to project such a prosperous, hopeful land,” Bush said during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres. “No question, people would have said, ‘We’d be surrounded by hostile forces.'”

Yet Bush’s message of optimism was immediately offset by troubling realities in the region.

Israel confirmed plans to expand settlement activity in the West Bank, a development likely to undermine peace talks with Palestinians. A weakened Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert fended off corruption allegations. And another burst of violence erupted in the Gaza Strip just ahead of Bush’s arrival in Israel.

[full story]

I’m not sure if a country dominated by a particular religion, having a 40-year occupation of another religion, having secret nuclear weapons, a history of pre-emptively attacking her neighbors, and occasionally assassinating whoever they want is exactly the example we are looking for here. Yes, sure, people get to go out and party (which is a big deal), but to act like Israel is the end-all be-all of Middle Eastern civilization is a bit of stretch.

And that’s a decent part of why the Saudi’s and like “meh” when it comes to sending more oil (and they are bathing in cash right now, which tends to silence the pleas of others).