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Iran & OPEC
By Micah Halpern

Friday December 7, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

OPEC is asking their members to reduce output.

Iran is saying no. No, they will not reduce their output.

"It's a red line for Iran to reduce its production, to contribute to a new cut in production. Iran hasn't produced any more oil in the previous months and it's not Iran's responsibility to manage the situation," Bijan Zanganeh, Iran's oil minister said on CNBC.

"It's the responsibility of the countries that have produced more and more and have collapsed the market with more oil and extra oil and Iran has no responsibility for this situation," he added.

He repeated, "It's a red line for Iran not to cut one barrel ... Iran should be excluded from any decision."

Did anyone really expect any other response from Iran?

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Collecting $ for Syria
By Micah Halpern

Thursday December 6, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

The US has collected $325 million from allied countries to help rebuild Syria. In the big picture, $325 million is not even close to the sum of money needed to rebuild Syria.

$100 million came from Saudi Arabia.

This funding move refers directly to rebuilding Syria from the destruction caused by battling ISIS. The money will be used to stabilize the northern areas in Syria.

The United States is trying to re-establish the coalition they built to wipe out ISIS. This is one step in the process.

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Chess Fed Stands Up Against Israel Boycotts
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday December 4, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

It's finally happening.

The international Chess Federation (FIDE) put their foot down and punished Saudi Arabia for not issuing Israelis visas to compete in a world championship that they were hosting.

The FIDE warned Saudi Arabia to permit Israelis and when the Saudis did not bow to the pressure, FIDE moved the championship to Russia.

It would be wonderful if other international sports organizations followed this example and showed the leadership that FIDE has just shown.

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98 Iranian Fake News Sites
By Micah Halpern

Sunday December 2, 2108

I've Been Thinking:

A cyber investigative report was just issued by ClearSky, a cybertech security firm in Tel Aviv.

The results should not surprise you.

The details are very telling.

Iran is operating fake news sites around the world and funneling news and information through those sites to influence opinion. Many of the sites have names that include the words "Times", "Journal" and "News".
ClearSky discovered 98 such Iranian fronts, in 29 languages, in 28 different countries.

They were easy to discover because the registration information and contact information on many of the sites were Iranian. The obvious targets of the Iranian ploy were the Middle East and Asia. But they also have sites that target the US and Europe. They even have a site in Hebrew targeting Israelis. The Israeli site is called the Tel Aviv Times.

The sites often rewrite real news and portray Iran positively. They also include cultural and other sections with less propaganda and spin.
This is taking fake news to an entirely different level. This is propaganda masquerading as news.

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A/S at Columbia
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 30, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

A Columbia University professor's office was sprayed with swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols. At 11:30 in the morning she walked into her office with a group of students about to begin their psych lab and they were stunned and shaken.

The professor, Elizabeth Midlarsky, is a professor at Teachers College at Columbia. She is a psychology professor who also writes about the Holocaust.

The images were sprayed in red spray paint. Two were swastikas and one was the word "Yid" which is a derogatory word for Jew.

Columbia is an Ivy League school. It is on the Upper West Side of Manhattan a haven of Jewish life. Hardly a place where one might expect this. But it is also a bastion of anti-Semitism.

Universities are supposed to be place where ideas are freely debated. However, this kind of vandalism and defacing property as well as writing anti-Semitic graffiti is frightening.

They scrawl this images in order to instill fear.

Hopefully they will find the people who did this and punish them.

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