The hatred of Israel by many in Iran and its government may be stronger than any negotiating power the United Nations puts onto the country to dissuade them from building nuclear weapons. This hatred is represented in stark virtual clarity in the latest video simulating a counter-attack by Iran following a hypothetical preemptive strike by Israel and the United States.
It’s a simple answer to an extremely complex situation. The world in general wants Iran to come to the table and truly negotiate to rejoin the world and cease their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that this can really happen.
While President Hassan Rouhani is making positive overtures towards the west, even accepting a call from US President Barack Obama, the real seat of power lies with the Ayatollah Khamenei. The man that continues to call America the “great satan” and Israel the “little satan” has been hoping for all of his 24 years as Supreme Leader of Iran to have access to nuclear weapons. As close as he finally is to realizing his dream, it is hard to believe that this could possibly end well.
Even in light of the positives associated with the new president, the Ayatollah was still not pleased with the situation with America.
“We are pessimistic about Americans and have no trust in them. The American government is untrustworthy, disloyal, considers itself superior and breaks its promises,” he said.
The upcoming talks are a way to try to make just enough promises in order to have sanctions lifted. That’s it. Regardless of what is promised, they will not abandon their nuclear weapon project. They will just do what they can to make it harder to find. They know that the United States will not act in a military manner and they know that it will be hard for Israel to act alone. Knowing this, they have nothing to lose. The worst that they can perceive happening if they go back on whatever agreement they make concerning these weapons is that the sanctions will be imposed again.
Here’s my commentary on the situation:
It’s taboo to discuss the use of torture in a positive light. The movie Zero Dark Thirty learned that at the Academy Awards after getting thoroughly snubbed across the board over the horrific (but unfortunately truthful) concept that torture played a major role in helping the US government find Osama bin Laden. The opposite side of the coin does not seem to be nearly as taboo.
The wildly popular game, Grand Theft Auto V, opened to a huge launch, selling over a billion dollars worth of the game in less than three days while only launching on two consoles. It depicts three main characters who travel a vast virtual landscape committing crimes, helping the FIB (their fictional version of the FBI), and generally terrorizing the city in order to earn money to buy tattoos, cool cars, and nice clothes. That’s the game in a nutshell.
Throughout, there are various attempts at social commentary. The one that’s getting the most attention is the use of terror as a portion of the game. Unlike Zero Dark Thirty, the torture isn’t seen in the past as an attempt to accurately depict the actions taken to find the world’s most wanted man. In the game, it’s all part of the fun. In the game, the player commits the torture.
That alone is appalling enough, but they take their social commentary a step further by torturing a man for fun. He’s willing to talk the entire time. He claims that he was willing to talk when they kidnapped him 6 days earlier. He answers their questions before the torture begins. It even appears that the torturing is hampering his ability to answer their questions. The social commentary – torture isn’t necessary to get information.
While we do not condone the use of torture, those who question its effectiveness are ignorant. The sadness of this evil is that it works. Does that classify it as a “necessary evil”? That’s definitely up for debate, but to make torturing someone in the middle of a game a requirement in order to proceed is not simply irresponsible. It’s counterproductive. They wanted to use a satirical demonstration of torture to get controversy (got it), make a political statement about the use of torture (poor execution but the point was made), and to “educate” players about the lack of necessity of torture. It’s in this last goal that they failed miserable.
This portion of the game can have one of two effects on players. In the best case scenario, they play through and either dismiss it as another violent portion of an extremely violent game or make their way through it begrudgingly. In the worst case scenario, it may touch on a sadistic nature within players that they might actually like.
In other words, the fact that the player’s character and the FIB puppetmaster seem to be doing the torturing because they enjoy it cannot lead to anything positive. If they wanted to make a social commentary, they should have written an article, made a video, or marched with Ed Asner in Washington. There is absolutely no good that can come from this. It wasn’t fun. It made most players uncomfortable.
For the players that were not made uncomfortable or actually enjoyed this gameplay, well, that’s another depth of psychosis that we’re not qualified to explore.
Here’s the video. Be warned – it is video game gruesome.
We have been critical of the FCC from time to time, but for once we have to commend them. There are times when politics and the rulebook must be put aside to allow the emotional healing to proceed across the nation. David Ortiz‘s televised F-bomb during a short speech prior to their first game following the Boston Marathon bombing was one such moment.
The game and Big Papi’s speech was televised nationally and broadcast on local radio stations. The FCC could have fined the player for his outburst but chose to support him instead. In a Tweet, FCC Chairman Juluis Genachowski said, “David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston – Julius”.
It was a classy move and one that was appreciated by the nation with over 6,000 retweets and nearly 2,000 favorites.
David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston – Julius
— The FCC (@FCC) April 20, 2013
As the people of the world continue to ask questions, point fingers, and search for closure, it’s refreshing to see the response. They could have easily said nothing or even scolded the slugger but instead stood with him in his sentiment. In times like these, politicians often seize on the circumstances to push their agenda or grab the spotlight. In this case, Genachowski did the right thing.
It’s not prudent to take the threats of the North Koreans lightly as we mentioned in a previous post, but it’s hard to take them seriously when their computer generated graphics of their attack plan pinpoints Colorado Springs, the home of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), to be somewhere around the Texas/Louisiana border.
The graphic matches the map that was pictured behind leader Kim Jong-un last week in a propaganda image released to the media. At the time, it was assumed that they were targeting Texas but it is clear in the video that was released to the state-run media services that they were selecting Colorado Springs as their second target right after Washington DC. Here’s the video:
It has been widely covered already so there’s no need to rehash it too much other than to say this: what NBC has done and continues to do is bad for journalism and bad for the American people who rely on news channels to grasp what’s happening in our world.
This is nothing short of a political agenda being pushed with zero transparency or a willingness to report the news rather than manipulate it for their own goals. Fox News has done some manipulative things with the news. They all have. NBC is just much better at it and much more willing than other networks to warp the news to their liking. Check out the video from Hannity:
It came three decades later than George Orwell fictitiously predicted, but the beginning of a controlled and monitored society is seeing more roots being planted in Naperville, IL. The citizens are being forced to accept wireless smart meters installed on their homes despite a wide outcry by the residents. Those who refused to allow the installers on their property during the initial round of installations were placed on a list and were met with police-escorted installers the second time around.
The challenges facing Barack Obama were apparent before he took office. A month into his term, he acknowledged that the problems needed to be addressed immediately and stated that he wanted to halt the growth of the national debt, including reductions of the $250 billion in interest that were paid towards it the year before.
Since then, the numbers have continued to rise faster than he had hoped. Much faster.
American politicians are supposed to be guided by the will of the people through an electorate that decides who will best represent their goals and fill the needs required of office. It can be said that going with what the people want is an asset and should be considered a strength. There are times, however, when personal passion and unwavering convictions are more important than the willingness to change.
Voters know this instinctively, which is why Mitt Romney hasn’t taken the commanding lead that his money and the support he receives from the Republican Establishment should be giving him. When someone’s voiced opinions change based upon the audience at the time, it means that either the opinions their voicing are false part of the time (you can’t live on both sides of any particular fence) or that the ability of a person to form opinions that make sense to them (and therefore the electorate) is missing.
Mitt Romney’s flips and flops are well documented, but that’s politics. A candidate must often put their words through a filter to fit the situation and actions tend to speak louder than words. However, there’s a statement that should disqualify Romney from ever being able to call himself a conservative. It’s one thing to change over time and become more conservative, but to go from an independent to moderate Republican and now to a conservative as he is claiming is simply not feasible. To claim to have changed that much over the years is either a lie or alarming if it’s true. America does not need a President with such weak convictions that they are able to tumble so easily.
We don’t need Mitt Romney.
What was the biggest difference between Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush? Why did Bill Clinton pulverize Bob Dole despite having personal moral challenges in his way after his first term? How did a relative newcomer to the political stage beat a the solid track record of John McCain?
The answer to all three questions is the same. One inspired people. The other did not.
Reagan, Clinton, and Obama all had the ability to make people weep. They could move a room, get people excited, and make their opponents’ blood boil. Bush, Dole, and McCain were uninspiring, but even they got more of a rise out of people than Mitt Romney.
There’s a reason why Romney abandoned his early campaign strategy of playing like a winner and attacking Obama. It wasn’t working. The soundbites were weak and the passion seemed insincere. When it became apparent that he wasn’t gaining support, he turned to the one asset that gives him a clear edge – attack funds.
With cash in hand, Romney switched gears after the South Carolina debates and outspent the field six-fold with attack ads aimed at the previous primary winner in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich. Now, the money is shifting towards Rick Santorum after his recent victories.
Romney’s inability to gain passionate supporters who desperately want him to win is the reason that he would not be able to defeat Obama. He may end up being the choice by default if Gingrich and Santorum continue to split the conservative vote and Ron Paul is unable to advance beyond his frenzied but small base. A lukewarm choice in the primaries means a loss in November.
The Republican Establishment has made another mistake in their anointment of Romney. They saw him as the safe bet, the one who could most-likely pull moderate votes. In their eyes, Gingrich is a wild card, Santorum is too conservative to pull moderates, and Paul is insane. The reality is that any of the three would have a better shot against Obama because they have the one attribute that is absolutely required for victory. They have flavor.
Romney is vanilla. That’s not to say he’s boring. He requires a topping to taste better, and therein lies his weakness. The toppings seem to change depending on who he wants to be on a particular day. In 1994, he said he wasn’t trying to return to Reagan/Bush. Now, he’s claiming to be a Reagan conservative.
Money is the only thing he has in his arsenal. It’s the only reason he took down Gingrich in Florida and it’s the only thing that can slow down Santorum’s momentum. Unfortunately for the Republican Party, it has a good chance of working during the primaries but it won’t be enough to help him in November if he gets the nomination. Obama would use the money against him and defeat him worse than he defeated McCain.
The video below shows the most passion that can come from the man. It’s clear that he felt very strongly back then about not wanting to be associated with conservatism.