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About That So-Called ‘Pallywood’ Video…

Media • Views: 48,859

This is in response to a couple of other Pages posted regarding film footage of this week’s Israeli air strikes in Gaza, both of which questioned the authenticity of several BBC video clips that at least one Israeli blog & one far-right Israeli news outlet are presenting as “Pallywood” productions.

“Don’t give anyone your eyes.” —ProverbWhile I don’t deny that there have been numerous cases of staged or distorted videos, not to mention photoshopped images, it’s a mistake to take the default position that nearly everything coming out of Gaza (or the West Bank) is distorted without having sufficient proof of that being the case. Why? Because it’s dehumanizing. To be frank, I don’t give a damn if someone has a good reason for being cynical—just because something is understandable doesn’t make it okay. There have been many, many cases of women who have lied about being raped; does that make it okay to assume by default that all or even most women who claim to have been raped are lying? Of course not, no decent, rational person would think such a thing.

A wise man by the name of Bob Levin once relayed to me a (Jewish?) proverb that I’m going to paraphrase here: Don’t give anyone your eyes. Truer words were never spoken. Never, EVER let others tell you what you’re seeing.

So while this may be too long & boring for many of you, I want to make a point by illustrating just how easily our eyes can be deceived, by both our personal biases & preconceived notions and by the speed at which visual information flies by, causing us to miss many subtle details.

Continue reading…

Photo of the Day (With Bonus #Twitchy.com Hilarity)

Not impressed
Images • Views: 38,388

From the White House’s Photostream on Flickr, here’s President Obama with Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, learning how to do her “not impressed” look.

Click to enlarge

Almost as funny, here’s the reaction of Michelle Malkin’s twitchy.com, where they saw this tweet from McKayla Maroney…

…and instantly twitched to the wrong conclusion: Gymnast McKayla Maroney Not Impressed With President Obama?

The Ludicrous Right Wing ‘Benghazi-Gate’ Fake Scandal Gets Even More Ludicrous

Cloud cuckoo land
Wingnuts • Views: 41,118

Yes, the right wing is still trying to turn the Benghazi attack into a cut-rate Watergate scandal, despite David Petraeus’s testimony backing up everything the administration said. Jennifer Rubin, the right wing hack masquerading as a Washington Post blogger, leads the charge with yet another determinedly stupid article: BREAKING: The President Knew the Truth About Benghazi - Right Turn.

For some reason, the right wing echo chamber is obsessively fixated on whether the President “knew it was a terrorist attack,” and they’re going to keep hammering away at this empty nothing-burger until it’s flatter than Mitt Romney’s approval ratings.

Solomon cautions that there were bits of evidence pointing to a spontaneous attack but, as Eli Lake of the Daily Beast and others have reported, he writes: “Among the early evidence cited in the briefings to the president and other senior officials were intercepts showing some of the participants were known members or supporters of Ansar al-Sharia — the al-Qaida-sympathizing militia in Libya — and the AQIM, which is a direct affiliate of al-Qaida in northern Africa, the officials said.”

How could the president and his senior staff then have allowed (or rather, sent) Rice to go out to tell an entirely different tale to the American people on Sept. 16 on five TV shows?

This report indicates that the president certainly knew that Benghazi wasn’t a rogue movie review gone bad. He had information that plainly spelled out what was later confirmed by additional intelligence. If this information was too confidential to share with the public, at the very least the president and others should not have mislead voters.

It’s absolutely bizarre that people like Rubin continue pushing this false dichotomy. In actual fact, there is no contradiction here. This was a terrorist attack that was motivated by the anti-Islam video. And we know this because the New York Times reported it from Benghazi on October 15.

To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck the United States Mission without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as members of a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence. …

To those on the ground, the circumstances of the attack are hardly a mystery. Most of the attackers made no effort to hide their faces or identities, and during the assault some acknowledged to a Libyan journalist working for The New York Times that they belonged to the group. And their attack drew a crowd, some of whom cheered them on, some of whom just gawked, and some of whom later looted the compound.

The fighters said at the time that they were moved to act because of the video, which had first gained attention across the region after a protest in Egypt that day. The assailants approvingly recalled a 2006 assault by local Islamists that had destroyed an Italian diplomatic mission in Benghazi over a perceived insult to the prophet. In June the group staged a similar attack against the Tunisian Consulate over a different film, according to the Congressional testimony of the American security chief at the time, Eric A. Nordstrom.

At a news conference the day after the ambassador and three other Americans were killed, a spokesman for Ansar al-Shariah praised the attack as the proper response to such an insult to Islam. ‘We are saluting our people for this zeal in protecting their religion, to grant victory to the prophet,’ the spokesman said. ‘The response has to be firm.’

The right wing is trying to fool America into jumping aboard their crazy train, pushing a false line of attack that they know is false — that the anti-Islam video was not the reason for the attack, and that President Obama, for some reason (maybe he just hates America?), deliberately lied about this in order to cover for his jihadi friends.

It’s yet another attempt to demonize President Obama and make him out to be a dangerous secret subversive radical, who sympathizes with people who kill American citizens.

Really! That’s the conspiracy theory they’re trying to push here. It’s just beyond ludicrous, and it gets stupider and more deranged every single day.

UPDATE at 11/17/12 11:48:36 am

Since Jennifer Rubin asked:

How could the president and his senior staff then have allowed (or rather, sent) Rice to go out to tell an entirely different tale to the American people on Sept. 16 on five TV shows?

I don’t expect it to make any difference to the false narrative they’re pushing, but here’s the answer. It’s really not that difficult to figure out — in fact, Petraeus actually told the hearing yesterday why the assessment was toned down: Petraeus Says U.S. Tried to Avoid Tipping Off Terrorists.

WASHINGTON — David H. Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers on Friday that classified intelligence reports revealed that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic mission in Libya was a terrorist attack, but that the administration refrained from saying it suspected that the perpetrators of the attack were Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers to avoid tipping off the groups.

Mr. Petraeus, who resigned last week after admitting to an extramarital affair, said the names of groups suspected in the attack — including Al Qaeda’s franchise in North Africa and a local Libyan group, Ansar al-Shariah — were removed from the public explanation of the attack immediately after the assault to avoiding alerting the militants that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them, lawmakers said.

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 Frank says:

Well Mike, I'm abnormal. -- When FZ appeared on the Mike Douglas show (solo, playing guitar with recorded backup), Mike said "Your latest album is called Zoot Allures. How do you come up with such names for your records?" (or something equally banal!) Frank's succinct reply is printed above.