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June 21, 2009


Not only is Sen. John McCain a "senior WH advisor", conspiring with Soros, but Gene Sharp -- Gene Sharp for fuck's sake! -- is a CIA agent.

Not sure who Bill Smith is -- probably a fictional character.

Er, this is clearly not claymation. It's entirely obviously CGI.

Machinima, to be slightly more specific.

It's pretty fiendish of the CIA to use an officer named "Bill Smith."

But the colloboration of John McCain, high "White House official" with George Soros is well-known, indeed.

Ok, maybe not machinima, come to think of it. But obviously CGI.

Computer generated animation, that is.

Aside from the live action stuff. :-)

It seems a tad confused: if the evil spy kids are getting emails, why do they need to get instructions from satellite tv? And why do they need guns in bags? And is it really a good idea to portray your good guys as folks who turn in their own family, and governmental employees who search databases for info about you and then "tail" you "all the time"?

It's certainly very Soviet.

I'm just sorry that the little old lady in the wheel chair won't get to party in America. I bet she'd have a great time with the decadence, and all.

So this must mean John McCain is Jewish, right?

Who knew?

More seriously.

Was this video widely shown? If so, it probably gave a million Iranians the idea of conspiring against their government.

It's comforting to know that George Soros can bring together Iranian mullahs and American rightwingers to agree on his evil.

Whoa, who knew the US could be so subtle, planning regime change through cultural exchanges, intellectual activity and all? Last I heard, we were more the "Bombs Away!" types.

Over at balloon juice it's all great fun. See my cat, taunt Sully's green font, won't you all feel stupid when the revolution fails, going to mom's bbq now. Vanity of vanity, all is vanity. Nothing is new under the sun.

Thanks folks - glad to see the world hasn't yet crushed your collarbones.

Iran is a dictatorship, but it's not a totalitarian police state. Those cops are real cops, who walk beats and direct traffic and investigate burglaries. And now they're being thrown in as shock troops against an uprising, and they're not KGB-style party thugs.

Where is master list of what every single blog should be writing about? Do you keep one list per blog, or are all blogs supposed to work off the same list? How often do you update it? Let us know, because we're all worried sick about offending you again.

Dude, why can't American propaganda be this awesome? If they'd had CGI bin Laden plotting with his buddies in a cave instead of all this crap with rehashed 9/11 footage set to ominous music over a black background, I would totally have voted for McCain.

That Gene Sharp looks more like Bill O'Reilly.
And where the hell is Emmanuel Goldstein (his attributes are given to Soros here)?
And I agree with Gary, there is high similarity to the Soviet* style (but also to some anti-communist US propaganda from the early Cold War).

*I know similar stuff from Eastern Germany. They kept it up until the very end.

Guardian Council:

'There was not an over-vote in 80 cities; it was only 50 cities. We're still trying to determine if this should invalidate the election.'

Ha. What elephant in the room?

It was 50 cities, and THREE MILLION VOTES. That's just what the Council has admitted to.

Still waiting for a Fox Headline: "ACORN active in Iran?" ;-(
What's the bet that Ahmadinejad's camp will claim that those overvotes are proof of election fraud by the opposition (supported by UK/US, who allegedly have been working for two years to rig this election*)?

*actual claim by Iranian high official

Iran is a dictatorship, but it's not a totalitarian police state.

It's also not quite as simple as a dictatorship, or the rifts appearing in the clerical establishment wouldn't be occurring, or relevant. Despite the glamor of the title "Supreme Leader," fake Ayatollah Khamenei's authority isn't absolute. And his (unearned) marja mojo is bound to have been bruised by all this. A Grand Ayatollah is meant to be an exemplar of the faith, a role model of Islam. Being perceived as tampering with constitutional practice out of petty vindictiveness works against that.

"Still waiting for a Fox Headline: "ACORN active in Iran?""

Sorry, don't mean to post to just say "LOL", but LOL.

But what I want to know is: are John McCain, George Soros etc speaking Persian with an appalling accent so that the audience realise they are wicked foreigners? Because a film in which the rulers of America are all shown to have a good command of any foreign langauge seems to me a major propaganda coup for the US.

The film also confirms the basic truth applicable to at least three-quarters of all cultures: don't mess with the matriarchs, young man, or you're going to regret it.

The rulers in Iran have clearly been concerned about 'color' revolutions for a while now. Something as seemingly harmless as the green theme of uprising of support for Mousavi could have been the sufficient condition for the stealing of the election. The Guardian Counsel must have been freaked by it.

I wonder how the green theme came about????

I wonder how the green theme came about????
Unsurprisingly, it came about the same way as in several other recent "color" revolutions, in that it was the color used by the opposition party in their campaign, and was adopted in the public protests to signify their adherents.

More broadly, green is the color of political Islam. How Mousavi's party managed to make it the color of their party given its significance to the other parties that were all (by requirement) just as Islamic, I have no idea.

But I think you're making a mistake in focusing on the actual color: when people refer to "color revolutions", they don't mean the actual use of color, they are referring to the widely acknowledged heavy logistical backing given by Western pro-Democracy organizations to the Orange and Rose revolutions. And, in addition, the widespread rumors and insinuations about involvement of Western governments, not to mention that the Russian government backed backed the other side in the Orange Revolution at least equally strongly. This is all from memory, so I don't know what foreign groups if any backed the Government in the Rose Revolution, nor do I know what sort of foreign support was actually given in Lebanon - at least to the pro-Western side, as the support given to the more pro-Syrian and pro-Iranian side was fairly well known.

"Still waiting for a Fox Headline: "ACORN active in Iran?""

wingnut bloggers are already on it: though only facetiously so far.

Nice! Even with " ... " there are almost 3000 hits (without: 1.2E6). Some seem actually to imply that the US did meddle in the Iranian election that way. But still having Ahmadinejad win with 2/3 majority must mean that he has at least 100% of the population behind him [/sarcasm].

"I think you're making a mistake in focusing on the actual color"

I wasn't - I was trying to focus on the idea that the uprising has been 'themed' in the first place. Clearly there's a lot of room for speculation here. Did the enthemement (forgive) arise organically out of the turmoil of events or did one of the many sides consciously push for it. And if so, to what end? Especially when seen in the light of the current regime's ongoing concern with Velvet/Color/Western backed revolutions.

@OOTB: The 'enthemement' was natural enough because the massive rallies of the Moussavi campaign in the last two weeks of the campaign were fresh in peoples' minds when the election results were announced (much more quickly than normal and with implausible results).

It would be ridiculously naive to assume than none of the millions of U.S. destabilization dollars disbursed under Bush found their way to organizations and networks participating in the campaign and in the post-election response. Those dollars are still being put out, unless there've been some Obama orders I don't know about (and given that some of the spending was Congressionally mandated, I'm not sure what kind of ground he'd be on to shut it off until the fiscal year expires).

But to take the stance that that fact means the CIA is pulling the strings or in control of anything in Iran at this point is also ridiculous. The broad mass of Iranians are the motor force now.

I think that Moussavi used the color from the start (before the trouble began) as an identifier while Ahmadinejad used the national flag (don't know about the other 2 candidates). When the large demonstrations started 'green' became a symbol of the movement* (an easy way to make a statement, cf. the wristbands of the national soccer team that were understood immediately).
The other 'natural' Islamic colour would have been black and that was both already taken (Khamenei, the establishment) and is not sticking out in any way (the women have to wear black in any case**).
Therefore I think that green was something highly likely even without anyone thinking about coloured revolutions otherwere. I would even go further: If I were looking for a 'natural sign', green in an Islamic context looks somehow inevitable while I do not actually know why other revolutions got their specific uni-colour (except for communist red). Islam is also poorer in graphic symbols due to the much stricter ban on images than in other societies.

*independent of Moussavi
**OK, that's a bit oversimplified

Right, mds. "Dictatorship" implies a concentration of power in a single dictator.

I merely meant "undemocratic, oppressive state."

"Tyranny" perhaps?

In our time, anyway, no uprising of this kind can succeed unless it gets at least part of the security apparatus on its side. Otherwise, the guns win.

The funny thing is that as paranoid fear mongering goes, I can't really see much to disagree with here. Does anyone doubt that high ranking US officials are having closed door meetings where they discuss using cultural outreach and covert operations to undermine the Iranian regime? Take out the Zionist angle and I'm pretty sure they nailed this one right on the head.

I merely meant "undemocratic, oppressive state."

"Tyranny" perhaps?

Hmm, this is getting somewhat abstracted, but what does best pithily describe the non-monarchic Iranian system of government? Most of the repressive regimes we're familiar with usually have a single boss. "Theocratic republic" doesn't have a lot of descriptive power. You've got the Supreme Leader, with an Assembly of Experts that chooses him and can remove him, you've got the Guardian Council, the Expediency Council, the popularly-elected president and members of the Majlis, the first vice president... Sheesh, you'd think they could've found a way to shoehorn some tribunes and grand dukes in there, too.

but what does best pithily describe the non-monarchic Iranian system of government?

theocratic oligarchy.

Thanks, cleek. That would seem to be the logical fit. The Roman oligarchy, with its accretion of crude checks and balances, and popular vote only allowed under specific circumstances, is a fair comparison. Only religious status stands in for wealth and social position. (Honestly, I was blanking on the word "oligarchy" for some reason. Maybe the struggle against timocracy and plutocracy in recent comment threads made me repress the general term.)

"Most of the repressive regimes we're familiar with usually have a single boss."

The Soviet Union never had a true single boss post-Stalin. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev came closest, but he was a long long way from being the single boss (though the U.S. press tended to simplify him in that fashion). He was somewhat more than first among equals from 1958 to October, 1964, but was in no way absolute master over the Politburo (aka "Presidium from of the Central Committee" during Krushchev's primacy, not to be confused with the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet). Thus their removing him in 1964. After Krushchev, the Soviet leadership was always more collective than residing in one individual.

The absolute power of Stalin tends to be somewhat exaggerated to a degree, as well. When you're running a large empire, a lot of delegation is always necessary, and thus there are always a considerable variety of subordinate bodies and individuals that tend to increase power; thus the need for recurring purges, show trials, etc. Hitler had to deal with the same phenomena.

Though it's certainly fair to call, at the peak of their power, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, "dictators," as well as Mussolini, Mao, and various others, despite my observation.

Mao's grip on power was quite unsteady during much of the Sixties, after the failure of the Great Leap Forward; the inauguration of the Cultural Revolution was arranged by Mao to regain his leadership and put down Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping increasingly threatening rival power base. Mao subsequently killed off Lin Biao as another growing rival. But, to be sure, Mao was singularly powerful in China during his reign in a way no one in the Soviet Union was post-Stalin.

"theocratic oligarchy."

I think "oligarchic theocracy" is slightly closer.

I'm going to assert without evidence that while I was typing that, I did briefly think about the Soviet system and the Politburo. But that seemed based on all those ad hoc arrangements within the Party that made the Union's official electoral structures irrelevant. A de facto oligarchy if you will. Which meant one held on to power as long as one was able to hold on to power, if that makes any sense. (Hey, did anyone else ever play Kremlin, where the goal was to be able to "wave from the balcony" enough times?) Meanwhile, the Supreme Leader is an official constitutional role, with constitutional means of installing him and removing him from power.

So, er, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Various public players who have (complicated) defined constitutional powers and limitations vs. General Secretary of the Communist Party. Then again, what the hell do I know?

"So, er, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it."

I wasn't saying you were wrong; I was just, as is my wont, going into more detail.

"Hey, did anyone else ever play Kremlin"

The board game, no. But back in my Mac SE days, I played Crisis In The Kremlin.

And, of course, Chris Crawford's Balance Of Power. (Both editions.)

I was just, as is my wont, going into more detail.

You? A tendency to go into more detail? Since when?

At the time, I wasn't able to afford Balance of Power for my IIc. On the other hand, later on I did lose Balance of the Planet a number of times. Ah, the state of the art.

"Ah, the state of the art."

Yes, Balance of Power had outline drawings of the borders of countries! Way more than PCs of the time could do.

Long article by Chris Crawford on designing BoPower, btw, if anyone's interested.

I remember the game with terrific fondness; it hit the bullseye on my interests.

Say, how'd he do those awesome line drawings, anyway?

[...] Nowadays we'd just scan something in, doctor it a bit, and voila!—there's our map! Unfortunately, we didn't have scanners back then, nor did we have photo manipulation programs. Besides, I needed more than just an image; I needed a digitized map with individually addressable countries. In other words, I needed a data structure for each country that defined its boundaries. I had to have graphics of each and every country in the game.

My solution was simple and straightforward. I placed a wall map of the world onto the floor and taped semi-transparent graph paper over it. I then traced the borders of the countries onto the graph paper, conforming my tracing lines to the gridwork of the graph paper. Then I pulled out my tape recorder and set to work. "Germany," I would announce. "Starting coordinates 189 X and 118 Y." Then I would launch into a long monologue tracing the border in directional steps: "One north, two west, one north, three west, two north, one west, four north..." and so on until my tracing of the border had completed the circuit of the country. Then I would move to the next country.

When I had finished all the countries, I sat down at the computer and entered the data as strings. I'd type in the name of the country and the coordinates of the point of origin. Then I'd listen to the tape recording, typing in the steps: N2WN3W2NW4N.... As you might imagine, it was a slow and tedious process. This became the source data for my country images. During program initialization, the code read in all that data and converted it into manipulatable graphics objects. All in all, it took me about a week to create the map this way.


And the state of the art?

[...] In 1984, when I was working on Balance of Power, the Macintosh had just been released and was equipped with 128KB of RAM. This was twice what most computers had in those days, but I couldn't seem to fit the game into the available space. The graphics weren't the primary factor: they cost only about 15K. Part of the problem lay in the number of countries and the vast amounts of information I maintained about each country: the text strings for the country name, capital, leader, insurgency, and so forth. The code itself was also sizable, and of course, some of the RAM was taken up by the operating system.
A friend of mine, Ole, who worked for Adobe, actually bought a brand-new 128k Mac when it first came out; I remember the awe among our crowd when the Fat Mac, with an incredible 512k of RAM came out (and my friend got one -- I spent a lot of all-night sessions at that basement apartment (of Jane Hawkins, for the record, in the house she co-owned with Vonda McIntyre; Ole and Jane were partners for some time) playing a submarine came that also used -- *gasp* -- line drawings).

Oh and I eventually got and played Balance of the Planet, too, but never was able to get that wrapped up in it.

Hey, I didn't know about this or this! Kewl!

Well, there goes the idea I had about State working with Iran on a filmmaker exchange to foster better cultural understanding and interaction... though I guess the young protesters who might be the types you'd want to involve in artistic diplomacy aren't the sort who'd cut the video above.

On the question of general animation, any consensus on what engine was used yet? Maybe Blender or Maya?

Anyone else wondering about the accuracy of the MEMRI translators?

"Anyone else wondering about the accuracy of the MEMRI translators?"

I had the same question.

My Farsi is really, really limited, but I thought McCain, Soros, Sharp, and Smith were arguing about their lunch tab.

Noone could remember ordering a turkey club, McCain always orders off the menu which always screws things up, and Sharp is a cheap SOB who never wants to leave more than 10%, no matter how good the service is.

The other stuff sounded to me like a cheap Iranian remake of "Johnny Dangerously".

That guy who gives the other guys the bags with the money and guns looks a hell of a lot like Roman Moronie.

That guy who gives the other guys the bags with the money and guns looks a hell of a lot like Roman Moronie.

Who was still murdering the Persian language, and anyone who got in his way.

Watching the video again, I have to thank the "guardians of information" who are clearly the good guys.

And on the Chris Crowford scenarios, having played them more than i'd i'm inclined to admit, the key seems to be keeping your balance between accomplishing things via "clout" and "lprestige" aka "respect" and asking for help. I acutually won all I wanted via clout, if I didn't care about prestige. Timing is all, in either case. Also try to avoid much UN cenusre.

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