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?
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...