Another Iranian peaceful nuclear facility goes *BOOM!*

**Posted by Phineas

Once is an accident. Twice may just be a coincidence. But when bad things happen over and over?

Someone’s gunning for you. Someone who plays for keeps:

AN IRANIAN nuclear facility has been hit by a huge explosion, the second such blast in a month, prompting speculation that Tehran’s military and atomic sites are under attack.

Satellite imagery seen by The Times confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran.

The images clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction, negating Iranian claims yesterday that no such explosion had taken place. Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was “no doubt” that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was “no accident”.

The explosion at Iran’s third-largest city came as satellite images emerged of the damage caused by one at a military base outside Tehran two weeks ago that killed about 30 members of the Revolutionary Guard, including General Hassan Moghaddam, the head of the Iranian missile defence program.

Iran claimed that the Tehran explosion occurred during testing on a new weapons system designed to strike at Israel. But several Israeli officials have confirmed that the blast was intentional and part of an effort to target Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Gee, I wonder how the Israelis would know it was intentional and part of a larger plot? They couldn’t have anything to do with it, maybe by helping internal resistance groups, could they? Just because someone’s also been whacking Iranian atomic scientists and unleashing targeted computer viruses at the Mullah’s pet weapons program, and now has escalated to blowing up their missile bases just when the program chief and his North Korean advisers were visiting? And just because Iran has frequently threatened to rain nuclear fire on Israel? Surely it’s a coincidence.

As I like to say, “Oh, those wacky Jews.”

Go, Mossad!

PS: a word of caution about the source from Michael Totten.

A source I trust just told me that the journalist who broke this story has a dubious track record. That doesn’t necessarily mean the story is wrong, but these kinds of stories are sometimes goofed at the outset even by journalists with good records, so we shouldn’t assume we have this all figured out yet.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Like: In new Rick Perry ad, candidate pokes light fun at “brain freeze” moment

You don’t see political ads this one often:

Politico’s Maggie Haberman describes it, and speculates on the main reason for it being released today:

Rick Perry is heading to Jay Leno’s couch tonight, and he’s making the most of it – airing this campaign ad in Iowa, in which he takes on his own “oops” moment from the CNBC debate in which he couldn’t remember the third agency he’d cut (it was the Dept. of Energy, as he notes in the ad).

The spot itself opens with the brain freeze, and then pivots to Perry poking fun at his own gaffe, noting it happens to everyone, but not quite on that scale. He then ends by pretending to forget the disclosure signoff of “I’m Rick Perry and I approved this message.”

[…]

But the clear goal of the spot is to show Perry not taking himself too seriously, and with an ability to demonstrate an ability to take blows and keep fighting, at a time when the rest of the GOP field is either battling fresh allegations related to sex, or battling each other over who is the least consistent candidate in the field.

Ads are not the primary, or even secondary reasons I vote for or against a candidate, but they are part of the “total package”, so to speak (the awesome Reagan ads from his two successful Presidential runs come to mind) and I have to give the Perry campaign some clever points on this one. That brain freeze moment was widely regarded as the death of Perry’s campaign for the presidency, yet his ad people are turning it around and trying to paint it as a positive. Can you imagine our “perfect” celebrity President ever doing something like this with, say, his “corpsman” gaffe?

In other GOP candidate news, Newt’s arrogantly declared himself the nominee already. Seriously. The Bachmann campaign is under fire for allegedly gaining access to a homeschool email database in Iowa and using it to send campaign information. Meanwhile, Herman Cain told the NH Union Leader paper that his wife did not know about his “friendship” and financial aid to Ginger White, who has alleged a 13 year affair with Mr. Cain. Cain also said in the interview that dropping out of the race “is an option.”

As they say, stay tuned …

America’s fork in the road: the Tea Party vs. the Occupy Movement

**Posted by Phineas

Here’s a good video from Encounter Books and narrated by Bill Whittle on the choice the US faces in 2012 between two populist movements: the largely classical-liberal Tea Party and the progressive-and-further-Left Occupy movement (1). The video provides a clear and succinct summary of the deep philosophical differences between the two groups, and I think you’ll find the five or so minutes it takes to watch is time well-spent:

Every four years it seems people call the approaching election “the most important in our history,” and I admit I’ve become somewhat jaded to those claims. But there’s no doubting that the sequence of elections beginning in 2008 and perhaps climaxing in 2012 is very significant. In a process that began in 1980 with Reagan’s election and that continues to this day, the two parties are developing genuine (2) and serious ideological differences, as illustrated in the video.

It may not be the “most important election in our history,” but the choice is real and the repercussions will last for a long time.

Footnotes:
(1) Although I kind of hesitate to call Occupy “genuinely populist,” given the heavy backing from Big Labor.
(2) And, in the interests of authenticity, may I suggest the Democrat Party stop holding their Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners? You’ve gone so far down the Social-Democratic road that Presidents Jefferson and Jackson would run screaming in horror. (Well, Jackson might draw a sword, instead…)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)