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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This, that and the other thing

This. Nate Silver asks if Jeb Bush is too liberal to win the Republican nomination. Silver has devised a conservatism scale, which you can study if you follow the link.
Bush scores at a 37 on this scale, similar to Romney and McCain, each of whom scored a 39. He’s much more conservative than Huntsman, who rates at a 17.

Still, Bush is more like his father, George H.W. Bush, who rates as a 33, than his brother George W. Bush, who scores a 46. And the Republican Party has moved to the right since both Poppy and Dubya were elected. The average Republican member in the 2013-14 Congress rated a 51 on this scale, more in line with potential candidates Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee.

So, would you rather see a 30-something Republican or a 50-something Republican win the nomination? Remember, the 30-something stands a greater chance of winning in the general, but if the 50-something sneaks in a win, he is much more likely to start Total Thermonuclear War Against Everything Everywhere because Jesus told him to.

If Jeb is considered too liberal for his party and Hillary is considered too conservative for her party, is that a good thing or a bad thing? More importantly: In a match-up between the more-liberal-than-Hillary candidate and the more-conservative-than-Jeb candidate, who would win?

That. Sony pictures made a comedy called The Interview, which apparently makes fun of Kim Jong-un. In apparent retaliation, hackers targeted Sony's head honchos and revealed some embarrassing emails. (There was some shit about Angelina Jolie. I haven't really followed that stuff. Not my bag.)

Then things got serious. The same hackers (allegedly) issued threats of 9/11-style retaliation against any theater showing The Interview. Cowed theater owners now say they won't show the movie.

It gets weirder.
The Daily Beast has unearthed several emails that reveal at least two U.S. government officials screened a rough cut of the Kim Jong Un assassination comedy The Interview in late June and gave the film—including a final scene that sees the dictator’s head explode—their blessing.
No, I am not quoting The Onion.
The claim that the State Department played an active role in the decision to include the film’s gruesome death scene is likely to cause fury in Pyongyang. Emails between the Sony CEO and a security consultant even appear to suggest the U.S. government may support the notion that The Interview would be useful propaganda against the North Korean regime.
A series of leaked emails reveal that Sony enlisted the services of Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation who specializes in North Korea, to consult with them on The Interview. After he saw the film, including the gruesome ending where a giant missile hits Kim Jong Un’s helicopter in slow-mo as Katy Perry’s “Firework” plays, and Kim’s head catches on fire and explodes, Bennett gave his assessment of it in a June 25 email to Lynton.

“The North has never executed an artillery attack against the balloon launching areas. So it is very hard to tell what is pure bluster from North Korea, since they use the term ‘act of war’ so commonly,” wrote Bennett. “I also thought a bunch more about the ending. I have to admit that the only resolution I can see to the North Korean nuclear and other threats is for the North Korean regime to eventually go away.”

He added, “In fact, when I have briefed my book on ‘preparing for the possibility of a North Korean collapse’ [Sept 2013], I have been clear that the assassination of Kim Jong-un is the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government. Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will). So from a personal perspective, I would personally prefer to leave the ending alone.”

That same day, Lynton responded saying that a U.S. government official completely backed Bennett’s assessment of the film.
Wow. Where to start?

In the first place, we must always keep in mind the possibility that at least some of what we are seeing may be nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Second: Any theater that backs down due to a threat from North Korea is acting in a very cowardly fashion.

Third: Any secret interaction between a big movie studio and The Gummint is very, very troubling.

Yes, I know that the target here is Kim Jong-Un, who is universally unloved outside of North Korea. Kim is genuinely unhinged, genuinely dangerous and genuinely ludicrous. I can think of no-one more deserving of a place in the annals of dark humor. If film-makers want to blow raspberries at the guy -- great.

But they should not do so with the secret assistance of anyone in the State Department, the intelligence agencies, or Rand.

No. That shit is out. Under all circumstances. No matter what the purpose or who the target might be.

Jim DiEugenio's Reclaiming Parkland has a chapter which details the increasingly close ties between Hollywood and the government. Remember all of those films from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s which cast a critical eye on the CIA? When was the last time you saw a movie like that? True, there was Killing the Messenger, the film about Gary Webb which you probably did not see. Most people didn't even know it was playing. The studio obviously wanted that thing to leave the theaters as quickly as possible.

The most politically radical popular film of recent times was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a movie which carefully (and colorfully) hides its message in a Marvel comics metaphor. 

If the studios are in bed with the government on any project (even a project about Kim Jong-Un), then we have to ask: What's really going on behind the scenes? How often does this sort of thing happen?

The Other Thing. Here's a test for advanced students only: How does this video clip link up to the JFK assassination? It is possible to figure out the answer without watching the video (although you really should watch it, because you'll see a remarkable performance by one of the greats). Googling may help.

I spent all of last night following the various by-ways of that particular research trail, and I have to tell you -- I went wandering into some very bizarre places. Mad Magazine. American Nazis. Sleazy paperback books of the 1960s. Hypnosis. Flying saucers. What a wild story! One of these days, I may tell you all about it.

Oh...what the hell. Let's just make things simple and embed the clip...

Heard Jeb Bush the other day, maybe last week, say that he would test the theory of losing the primary but gain the nomination. Which seems audacious at best because it means that he's depending on the Big Money donors to hand him the prize. Or the Republican party to shred itself to oblivion [one can only hope]. Tend to think a civil war might break out. But what do I know.

I have read consistently that Jeb is considered 'too liberal,' a joke and a half. This is the same Tea Party meme touted in terms of Chris Christie. Because he believes in climate change, limited gun control and doesn't believe every Muslim on earth is an enemy. Beyond that, the man is damaged goods and New Jersey will be lucky to be rid of him

Could get very interesting, particularly since Jeb has the same problem as Romney--lots of questionable financial deals and history to explain. If he survives 'immigration is an act of love,' I'll be amazed.

On NPR yesterday They mentioned Jeb saying that he was willing to take a big hit in the primaries in order to have legitimate standing in the general election, as Peggysue mentions. Jeb says that he's releasing all his emails from the last several years in the interest of transparency.

I wonder how the recent torture revelations will hurt Jeb by smearing the Bush brand name? Even the unscrupulous Karl Rove is talking dirt about GW now. But Americans have such short memories.
The outcome of presidential elections in the United States is about as random as the outcome of professional wrestling matches. The winner has been chosen by the powers-that-be long before the votes are ever cast. The sooner we all figure that out, the sooner we can go about finding a real solution.

Obama was installed because he was the candidate who could placate the nation by providing the illusion of voter control. The system still maintained a 41 seat minority for the GOP to insure that nothing productive happened and that the status quo was maintained, but that's all our elections are: an illusion.

That's how the Illuminati (or whatever you want to call our ruling class) maintain power: by always rigging the game while convincing us they haven't.
The person who may be the greatest threat maybe Rand Paul. He says one thing and then does another. With 24 ranking for Public Issue Statements and 98 ranking for Congressional Voting Record, he can easily adjust to meet the middle while still appealing to both extremes. I do not believe his Libertarian (Ayn Rand) views would be good for the country.
Greatly appreciate your opeds - reminds me of the thoughtful comments Eric Severide(Sp?) use to make during Cronkite news years...I went to my 2nd movie of the year "Interstellar" (thumbs down)and saw the review of "The OInterview" - I remember being instantly struck by the audacity of it's plot. When did it become acceptable to make fun of assassinating a foreign leader? Yeah, I agree eliminating Kim would be effective in eliminating his inhumane regime; but to juxtapose stupid slapstick comedy against the reality of the inhumanity taking place is kind of sick. Of course, our stupid populace will laugh & love it when it eventually is released. Knowing that North Koreans have been reduced to cannibalism because of famine, the whole movie seems inhumane.

"When did it become acceptable to make fun of assassinating a foreign leader?"

I dunno. I'm still trying to figure out when it became acceptable to film a comedy in which a girl uses a wad of cum as hair gel.

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