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Friday, December 19, 2014

Is it Wrong to Depict Kim Jong-un's Assassination?

      This has been argued, that yes, it was wrong what the hackers-according to the U.S. government, it was North Korea as a nation who did it-did what they did, but really, Sony was wrong to ever shoot this movie in the first place. I mean how would we feel if someone made a movie about killing President Obama?

       I have no doubt that Obama haters in the Republican party probably imagine this all the time anyway. I guess, though this might seem a fair point: why have a movie about killing Kim Jong, I mean that's not very nice is it?

      There are some murky areas here. Like here is a firebagger basically praising the attacks as they brought us some damning information about racism and sexism in Hollywood.

       http://interrogatingthereel.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/the-sony-hack-was-cool-and-good/

       I find this problematic-while it's disappointing to hear that these bigwigs see Obama as not the President of the United States but just a black guy who only watches black movies and that there is still a considerable gender pay gap, this doesn't make the hack as Ian Goodrum claims 'cool and good' because of the way it was obtained.

      http://interrogatingthereel.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/the-sony-hack-was-cool-and-good/

      I mean would Goodrum see it as 'cool and good' if U.S. police officers banged down someone's door and caught them doing some bad illegal things without a warrant or a proper legal basis? That he wouldn't shows he's a hypocrite that wants to kind of say nice thinks about Kim-Jong-most firebaggers want to say anything nice they can about Communists.

      Still why make a movie about killing another country's leader? The one thing I pointed out previously, is we tolerate it when it's done to us-and it has been. Recall there was a movie and a book in 2007 about killing George W .Bush.

      http://diaryofarepublicanhater.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-interview-threat-kim-jong-ii-vs.html

      It may not be nice but we see it as free speech. Actually, it's even worse than that. Kim Jong simply has no room to complain as he regularly shows propaganda films in his country that show NK  supposedly bombing the White House and of killing the President. He lies to his people telling them they're in constant war with us. So really he's not the one to complain on thematic grounds.

    Then again, there's our belief in artistic expression. The funny thing is when I had seen the previews before all this broke I wasn't that enthused by what I saw. It looked like it could be kind of funny-I didn't realize at the time that they would actually kill Kim Jong. My guess is they would end up not doing it: a few days ago I saw a new snippet where Seth Rogen says 'I kind of like Kim Jong'-that's kind of how I assumed the movie would end up-they would decide to disregard the CIA's demand.

    Still, now that it's been effectively banned I'm quite outraged. I'm now convinced that this movie is very important-that it must be seen. Why is Sony such a bunch of punks? President Obama and his Administration have assured us there is no credible threat. Why not show this movie? Why not at least show it online-I'd pay for it?

   I saw  Rachel Maddow on last night with a cyber expert-he's worked with the government-who seems to think there's nothing the U.S. can do about it. I don't agree: maybe the hacking is one thing, but a threat was made for terrorist acts on U.S. soil. Surely there is something there that can be used? One thing we should do is hack their system.

   UPDATE: I almost forgot. For more on Hollywood cowardice see this post about George Clooney-who tried to do something.

   https://deadline.com/2014/12/george-clooney-sony-hollywood-cowardice-north-korea-cyberattack-petition-1201329988/
     

   


Can We Stop Calling Obama the Deporter in Chief Yet?

      I was touched by the wonderful comments about him on Huff Po yesterday. So just purely to bask in it I'm going to quote a few comments they made about Obama.

       Here is Wayne Oliver:

       "IN  due time, Obama will be known as the best President that the American people elected."

         http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/18/obama-action_n_6351514.html

         I do think he's pretty great too. Now as far as 'the greatest ever'-there were a few other great ones-FDR, LBJ, Clinton. Of course, there's always Abe Lincoln. But I don't want to quibble as for years people on the Left have been scorning him as no FDR-conveniently leaving out that Obama's stimulus was actually bigger than anything FDR did. Look, I love FDR and have no interest in taking anything from him, but the reality is he was a deficit hawk. 

        Yet, I don't blame him totally-even though it was bad policy-for this because he of course was pre-Keynesian-Keynes' GT didn't come out till 1935 and wasn't so well understood by Americans until a few years later. You have to adjust some for the political times a President was in power as well.  So yes, FDR opened up so many federal agencies-but it was a different time to now. I mean listen I agree rural electrification was a great thing but you can only do it once. 

       Obama did finally give us the last leg of FDR's four-legged table-unemployment insurance, old age insurance, disability insurance-and now finally health insurance.  Of course, now the firebaggers want to whine-well it was just  a giveaway to the health insurers. See, I italicized just as it was a boon for them admittedly, but it wasn't only that. 

        Here's Stephen Stafford:

       "God Bless You, President Obama, for God has blessed us through you.

        "Continue you to do all you can for the American People and citizens of the world community."

        "Take the gloves off, let the chips fall where they may, and Act, Act, Act."

       "Thank you for your courage and perseverance in the face of unyielding nitwittery from that rabid opposition"

       I should add that there has been a vocal opposition to everything he does from firebaggers on the Left over at places like Firedoglake as well who could never give him credit for anything. There has just been a level of mindless Obama bashing totally out of touch with reality. I'm sure there still not pleased at FDL. No, they think Putin is a better man!

       http://news.firedoglake.com/2014/11/10/gorbachev-warns-of-us-triumphalism-and-new-cold-war-at-25th-anniversary-of-fall-of-soviet-union/

       As for my jibe about 'Deporter in Chief' it's just that I still find that criticism absurd. All these people look at are numbers but they don't ever admit that Obama's deportation policy has been qualitatively different than that of previous Presidents. He made a point of focusing deportations on the border-whereas before policy focused on people already here. He also focused on the kinds of people that frankly we don't want in out country-drug dealers, people with a violent history or criminal record. 

     Why this distinction is so hard to understand I don't get. However, I'm glad to see him finally getting some appreciation. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Doesn't Seem That GOP Win Has Exactly Stopped the President So Far

     Quite the opposite in fact.

      http://diaryofarepublicanhater.blogspot.com/2014/12/since-election-loss-we-have-new.html

      Big surprise-Rush Limbaugh is declaring See I Told You So. This is what he does best.

      http://www.amazon.com/See-I-Told-You-So/dp/067187120X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418928348&sr=1-1&keywords=rush+limbaugh+i+told+you+so

       Basically, he claims to have warned conservatives of what was going to happen-the latest liberal treachery-and then gloats for allegedly having foretold it where so many others failed to. Now he claims he had been warning about the evil Obama had planned-you know to 'destroy America'-but others failed to listen. 

       "Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is calling President Barack Obama’s move to normalize U.S.-Cuban relations “chump change” compared to what else the president has in store for his last two years."


       “I have warned all of you people,” Limbaugh said on his radio show on Wednesday. “I have warned you that these two years of the Obama administration are gonna actually be what he would have done if he’d had total control and did not have to worry about the Constitution for the first two years.”

       “This is just the beginning. This is just a teaser, appetizer, for what is on tap the next two years,” Limbaugh said.

        "He added, “Everything Obama thinks this country’s guilty of and needs to apologize for, he’s gonna take care of.”

        Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/rush-limbaugh-cuba-policy-113668.html#ixzz3MHDkxWM4


     The question for Rush is if he's so smart why has he been talking about how the big win Congressional wins for the GOP were with the expressed purpose of 'Stopping Obama.' 


     I mean that hasn't been happening at all. I mean I know the new, even more reactionary Congress isn't in yet. Still it's hard to know how they are going to be able to stop him then either. Although the GOP tries to pretend otherwise, there's nothing unconstitutional about executive orders and none of them had any problem with them when Bush used them-even to institute torture. 

     As we already have the government funded till next September, and there's no way to defund Obama's immigration move-as the USCIS is funded through fees-there's not much they can do to 'stop Barrack Obama'-as Rush says they were elected to do. If you're so prescient Mr. Limbaugh why did you say that the GOP Congress will stop Obama when clearly they can't stop him despite all the talk of red flags in front of bulls?

    The President really begun this post-election period the right way. Not as the Republicans and the Very Serious Media-a la David Brooks and Bob Woodward-expected: namely on bended knee to atone for his 'shellacking'-what was great is he refused to even call it a shellacking-but rather unbowed. 

    http://diaryofarepublicanhater.blogspot.com/2014/11/what-washington-post-wants-from-obama.html

    It was inspired that he didn't give them what they wanted-to approach on bended knee, maybe the GOP and lamestream press then planning to get in line for him to kiss each of their pompous asses. That was the first shot, that let them know they hadn't beaten him even if they won an election-that structurally speaking is what they should have had anyway. 

    It turns out that the President and his Administration had planned this well in advance. They foretold that the election wouldn't be good but they were prepared. 

    "The midterms are done, and Obama feels that he doesn't have to worry about being the driving factor in any other Democrat’s election. He has spent a year nudging Americans to judge him less on legislative accomplishments and more on his executive actions. And now he has a fully Republican Congress that he can alternate butting up against and making deals with — but really not thinking much about it at all."

     “We were trapped in this debate of: ‘Is Obama helping or hurting?,’ ‘Was it a mistake to say his policies were on the ballot, or was it the right thing to do?’” a senior Obama aide said this week as the final details of American Alan Gross’ release from a Cuban prison — which enabled the deal with the island country — were being worked out. “We are more the masters of our own destiny than we were before.”

       "Republicans believe Obama is either delusional or in denial about the brutal election results for Democrats. But the White House started preparing for the post-election sprint well before November.
As they headed into the final weeks before the midterms that they always knew would be rough, the mood in the West Wing was dark. But, the Obama aide said, Obama and his staff were already plotting “how we were going to win the period between the midterms and the end of the year.”

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/obama-libre-113663.html#ixzz3MHINUdOJ



     What is is that the GOP thinks is delusional? The President doesn't have to be worried about any more elections and it's liberated him. What exactly is the threat they imagine they can exact on him? 

     Maybe they from Rush on down were the delusional ones. 

     Yesterday was a proud day for our country-and Cuba. I think that Hillary Clinton gets it exactly right:

      "I support Obama’s decision to change course on Cuba policy, while keeping the focus on our principal objective — supporting the aspirations of the Cuban people for freedom….our decades-long policy of isolation has only strengthened the Castro regime’s grip on power…the best way to bring change to Cuba is to expose its people to the values, information, and material comforts of the outside world.  The goal of increased U.S. engagement in the days and years ahead should be to encourage real and lasting reforms for the Cuban people."
    
       http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/12/18/morning-plum-obama-unbound-puts-his-stamp-on-2016/

        Great point. If you don't like the Communist system in Cuba exposing it to the light of the outside-liberal-world is the better remedy. I know some feel that this means that Castro won. I mean to the extent that he looks like the winner this is due to the mistaken embargo which didn't succeed in bringing the Castro down-and provided an easy excuse for the regime's own failures-it was not the bad system of Communism but the U.S, sanctions that led to the disappointing results of the system. 

       In addition, as the embargo clearly didn't succeed in hurting Castro politically it really became a source of embarrassment to us-basically leaving us with egg on our faces. 

       Still, in the bigger picture and context, Castro has hardly won-the world of today has clearly not gone in the direction he expected 50 years ago. The Communist world he was a part of then has disintegrated. He does have Venezuela but that country now has big problems of its own with the crater in oil prices. It might be the case that with that development Raul Castro is even a little more eager to normalize relations. 

       With Cuba becoming part of the larger world more Cubans are going to want more democracy and economic opportunity. This is a much better way. We can't impose our system on the Cuban people. However, this is much more likely to lead to the outcome we would prefer. 

       Overall, though it turns out Rush was wrong. This election hasn't stopped the President. There is life after losing Congress. Who knew?

Since Election Loss We Have a New Improved Obama

     Those losses have freed him.

     http://prospect.org/article/barack-obama-set-free

     Think about just how much he has done since the November loss.

     "For years, progressives have sharply criticized President Obama for shaping major decisions around the idea that scaling back his ambitions would ultimately secure the GOP cooperation he had long sought. But the GOP takeover of Congress has effectively freed Obama from that illusion, leaving him little choice other than to be as aggressive and ambitious as possible in unilaterally pursuing his agenda wherever he can."

     "This is now setting in motion a series of arguments that will shape the next race for the presidency."
I     "n a very good piece, the New York Times’ Michael Shear reports that Obama’s decision to pursue normalized relations with Cuba is only the latest in a pattern that may characterize his last two years in office:"
The announcement…follows similar decisions by Mr. Obama in recent weeks to defy Republicans on immigration, climate change policy, the regulation of the Internet and negotiations with Iran…
Mr. Obama’s unilateral action on Cuba is part of a pattern that will define the end of his presidency. Frustrated by congressional inaction and Republican efforts to block legislation, the president has increasingly pushed the limits of his executive authority in domestic and international policy making — an approach that anticipates, and largely dismisses, angry responses from his critics…
Mr. Obama is returning to the original case he made as a presidential candidate, casting himself as a transformational leader who is eager to discard old conventions of politics and policy in ways that appeal to the sensibilities of younger people. Although the midterm elections last month were a victory for Republicans, who took control of the Senate and added to their House majority, the results seem to have only accelerated the president’s use of regulatory, diplomatic and executive authority.
     "Republicans like to say all of this unilateral action defies the will of the people as expressed in the last election. If that is so, then Republicans will surely be glad to hear that much of what Obama is setting in motion may be litigated in another electoral contest — the 2016 presidential race."
     http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/12/18/morning-plum-obama-unbound-puts-his-stamp-on-2016/
   Those who claim that American style conservatism, the conservatism of our Republicans is not simply one and the same with being reactionaries have to explain why every thing about today's Republican party is defined in terms of Obama. They're whole agenda is undoing what Obama has done. All they have really done for 6 years of his Presidency is vow to undo what he's already done. Their whole identity is in opposition to him-nothing else. They tell us what they don't want, but very little about what they do. 
    As Greg Sargent and others are arguing, 2016 is shaping up to be sudden death OT for the fight between Obama's agenda and the reactionary Congressional GOP as Hillary is embracing everything the President does while all the GOP candidates line up on reversing everything he's done.  
    The question that begs is what was so great about where this country was back in 2008 during the Bush years that makes Republicans want to return to it so badly. Most Americans don't have great memories of the Bush years. Yet, all the big money in the GOP if you can believe it are lining up behind yet another Bush. No doubt as Hillary agrees with Obama on a great deal-as she should-you're going to hear GOPers claim that she's the third Obama term. She should point out that they want to run as the third Bush term. 
      I say she should support Obama as though I supported her over Obama originally in the 2008 primary and only turned to him after she lost, I for one don't want her running against Obama the way the Allison Grimeses of the world did in 2014 as it's a strategy of losers to run against your own party, especially against such an accomplished record, or should I say consequential record? More on that below. 
    Just check the job numbers alone between the two Administrations-job creation was historically weak under Bush and historically strong-admittedly from a very low starting base thanks to Bush-under Obama. 
   Meanwhile his immigration EO has already proven to be inspired. 
   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/us/obamas-immigration-move-benefits-democrats-where-it-counts.html?abt=0002&abg=1&_r=0
    There is a suggestion that maybe the President's poll numbers are about to make a come back. To be sure the GOP always exaggerates how bad they are at present. The low to mid 40s is nothing to brag about but it's not nearly as bad as Bush was at this time of his second term after his party's election losses.
     Remember when pundits loved Barack Obama? It’s been quite a few years now. But I suspect some of the adoration is about to come back.
    "There are three reasons. The first is that politically, Obama’s immigration gamble is working. Fearful of alienating Hispanics or shutting down the government, Republican leaders have largely abandoned hope of overturning Obama’s move. What’s more, Obama’s approval ratings are up 15 points among Hispanics but have not dropped among Anglo whites. Add immigration to health-care reform and the fiscal stimulus and more commentators will start noticing that, whether you like Obama’s agenda or not, it’s been the most consequential of any Democratic president’s since Lyndon Johnson."

     "Second, and more importantly, the economy is improving. The third quarter saw the fastest job growth in three years, and the unemployment rate is now 5.8 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. Gas prices are also plunging. And there’s evidence Americans are beginning to notice. As Time recently noted, consumer confidence has just hit its highest mark in eight years. Even if the improving economy doesn’t boost Obama’s approval rating, it’s likely to improve the way he’s seen by the Beltway press. And given the role a strong economy played in buoying Bill Clinton’s approval ratings in the late 1990s, despite the Monica Lewinsky scandal, it’s quite possible that Obama’s will rise too, which will further fuel the journalistic perception that Obama is back."

      "Finally, the context in which journalists judge Obama is about to change. This year’s dominant storyline was about Obama and the midterm elections. Most key Senate races took place in red and purple states where Democratic candidates distanced themselves from Obama, thus magnifying the media’s perception that he was a political pariah."

   http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/12/here-comes-the-obama-boom/383754/
   There is a lot of talk in the media about his revival. 
    http://prospect.org/article/barack-obamas-revival-way

   I would just add one more possible reason to the three reasons listed above. I think maybe Americans in general will come to respect him more as he's standing up for what he believes. Americans don't like doormats or cowards-which is why I don't get Sony's move.  I know NK or whoever was doing this on their behalf was threatening another 9/11 but there was no intel that showed anything was on the horizon. It was a total bluff and it's pathetic that it worked. 
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/killing-the-interview-could-cost-sony-100-million/
     The Dems ran such a hangdog campaign-yeah, we kind of hate Obama too so why should you hold him against us?-they didn't deserve to win.  Obama with no more elections he has to worry about is now unleashed and I think many will respect him more for that whatever they may think of the moves. 

    UPDATE: After the November GOP wins, Rush Limbaugh insisted that the GOP was elected for 'one thing to stop Barrack Obama, what other reason could they be elected for?'

    It must be very frustrating to Rush and his friends that this is surely not what is happening. 

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/us/politics/cuba-action-is-obamas-latest-step-away-from-a-cautious-approach.html?_r=0
    
   

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obama Reopens Diplomatic Relations With Cuba after 50 Years

      Never too late to get rid of a bad policy. It sounds good to me:

     "The United States intends to open an official embassy in Cuba in the coming months, the White House announced Wednesday, part of a broader normalizing of diplomatic relations after the countries exchanged prisoners."
      "The White House said that Obama would order Secretary of State John Kerry to begin discussions with Cuban officials on re-establishing diplomatic relations and high-level discussions and visits between the countries are expected to follow. The opening of the embassy will happen "as soon as possible," an official said, noting that "the decision has been made" to normalize relations. The main issues to be resolved are logistical, the official said."

     "Other expected changes include increased travel permission for Americans to visit Cuba, an official review of Cuba's current designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and increased coordination between the United States and Cuba on issues like disaster response and drug trafficking."

     http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/obama-united-states-cuba-embassy

      Of course, even here, the GOP Congress is the fly in the ointment. 

      "As for the Cuban embargo, officials said that the White House supports efforts to end it, but knows congressional approval for lifting it is unlikely in the immediate future."

       It's funny. As Jon Stewart says, Dick Cheney's brain might just be the scariest place in the universe. Dick Cheney-aka the Hurt Liker. 

        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jon-stewart-dick-cheneys-mind-scariest-place-in-the-universe

        In the 80s he used to run simulations of a Soviet nuclear attack-where he and his buddies would hide underground in Washington, DC an simulate trying to pick back up the pieces after this nuclear attack. One of the things Cheney determined in this simulation is that the new post-nuclear attack US government wouldn't have a Congress-classic case of a feature not a bug for Cheney no doubt. Another feature not a bug of 9/11-there were many for Cheney, the Hurt Liker-is that he got to return to those old drills this time it would simulate a biological attack by Islamist terrorists rather than a nuclear attack via the Soviets. 

       Ironically, if there were no Congress today think about how much more we could get done. Of course, there's the rub-if Cheney and Bush had no Congress in their Administration it's quite sobering where that might have taken us. So I know that''s why we have to have a Congress and a Presidency even if right now all the good ideas come from the White House. 

      Paul Waldman today asks who will object to the biggest change in decades in US-Cuban relations. There are a few of course as he notes:

     Yes, the embargo "still has its advocates, few more vocal than Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (today Menendez released an angry statement condemning the deal to release Gross as a gift to the Cuban regime). Republican Senator Marco Rubio also lashed out at the news, calling it “part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established.”

     http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/12/17/who-will-object-to-the-biggest-change-in-u-s-cuba-relations-in-decades/
     
     This is all about locking up Cuban votes for the Republican party. Still has a space opened up here?

      "But in recent years political space has opened up for politicians from both parties to admit that the embargo is accomplishing nothing. The reason is the simple passage of time. That first generation of Cuban immigrants who are so fiercely anti-Castro and anti-communist — and as a consequence, fiercely loyal to the Republican party — has been growing old and dying. Their children and grandchildren don’t share their partisan loyalties or their singular focus on maintaining the embargo. All the talk of “keeping the pressure” on the Castro brothers sounds a little ridiculous to many of them — if 54 years of pressure hasn’t worked, why would the 55th or 56th year finally do the trick?"

      The GOP advantage with Cuban-Americans is also vanishing. 

       "When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, his position was that the embargo should be gradually eased, and early in his term he did loosen restrictions on travel and the transfer of money from Cuban-Americans to relatives on the island. In 2012, Obama narrowly lost Cubans in Florida — doing better than any Democrat had in decades — and a Cuban-American is now as likely to be a Democrat as a Republican (Mitt Romney supported maintaining the embargo, just as Hillary Clinton and John McCain did in 2008)."
 
       This move can at least begin to open up the Cuban regime as well, getting it as part of the Western orbit which is always a good thing. Whatever the embargo was ever meant to achieve it obviously has well worn out its usefulness.

       "This is a change that everyone has seen coming, and most Americans havefavored for some time. So it’ll be interesting to see how loudly Republicans in Congress object on an issue that would put them at odds with public opinion and make them look hidebound and out of touch."
   
      "Either way, it turns out that President Obama can get some things accomplished even with a hostile Congress."
       This has really been what's gotten to the GOP since it's big Congressional wins. Far from humbling the President, he's been a President Unleashed. He manages to keep upstaging them and being the one who makes the news not them. 

      

      

      

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Interview Threat: Kim Jong II vs. George W. Bush

      I  find the attack on Sony beyond the pale. The idea that North Korea-or whoever these hackers acting in it's behalf are-could shut down an American movie is quite chilling. I mean, we know how censorious and oppressive the NK regime is but that it can not just intimidate it's own citizens but our citizens as well is an abysmal thought.

     Yet I see that some commentators think that this is a 'false flag'-the US government did this to incriminate a nice guy Like Kim Jong.

      "Ever hear of false flag attacks? This is a government disinformation campaign designed to bastardize North Korea and build support for war against it."

       "This threat is a phony. The “GOP” group has major support here in the USA.. The “powers that be” keep saying it’s been done by N. Korea.. with absolutely no proof of that claim. This “threat” is either being done to make Americans mad at N.Korea or at the “GOP” GROUP.. IT’S SOOOO OBVIOUS."

        http://variety.com/2014/film/news/sony-hackers-threaten-911-attack-on-movie-theaters-that-screen-the-interview-1201380712/

       So it's the US government-ie, it's all Obama's fault! I don't know how people like this are so smart. I guess they can't believe that any government that calls itself Communist could ever do anything bad. If Jong didn't do this he is praising it. 


      “The world will be full of fear,” the message reads. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

      "Past messages have included budgets to Sony films, salary information of top executives, and employee medical records and social security numbers."

      "There have been suspicions that the attack may have been launched by North Korea in retaliation for “The Interview’s” depiction of an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. The country has denied involvement but praised the attacks."
     The irony is I didn't care about this movie until I heard about North Korea's campaign to stop it being shown. I had seen the previews and thought little about it. I wasn't terribly impressed. However, now that NK or some hackers acting on its behalf are trying to scare Americans from watching it, now I want to see it. 
     I've heard arguments that it's kind of not very nice making a film about killing a nation's leader-how would we feel? Surely we can empathize with NK here? Nevertheless, we've had films-and books that were about the assassination of a US President. Actually one movie and one book about killing my least favorite President, George W. Bush. 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_a_President_(2006_film)
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Assassination-George-W-Bush/dp/1430321350
    To tell the truth even I think this is getting a little carried away. Listen, don't get too self-righteous conservatives, I know many of you fantasize about harming President Obama.
     I for one don't go for talk of harming any US President. However, we believe in Freedom of Speech so even books and movies like this are available for public consumption very unlike in NK. This is why I've come to think that this movie really is important; less because of the idea of killing Kim Jong than because NK is just an incredibly closed regime with no liberty or openness and maybe this film will perform a necessary public service in opening the curtain on NK. 
    Really what this whole episode reminded me the most of was Salman Rushdie when the Ayatollah put a death sentence on his head for writing The Satanic Verses.
     http://www.amazon.com/Satanic-Verses-Salman-Rushdie-ebook/dp/B004KABDMA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418790960&sr=1-1&keywords=the+satanic+verses&pebp=1418790965536
   I think that the Ayatollah was kind of like Kim Jong-both at the heads of really reactionary, premodern regimes that resist having their regimes visible to the outside, particularly what you might call the Western roving eye. 
   Maybe it's time for a little sunlight on NK. If the film is shown anywhere-rather than all the theaters being too scared-I plan to watch it. While Sony is telling the theaters are free to choose-if they don't want to show the film they don't have to-I'm happy to see that Sony won't withdraw the film and the Feds are apparently close to finding where these 9/11 threats are coming from. Whoever sent this engaged in a terrorist act. 
   P.S. It's good to see Rushdie still at it, doing his thing, all the years after that pathetic threat on his life. 
   http://www.salman-rushdie.com/
    
     

     

Paul Waldman Likes Jeb Bush Running for President

     In my last post, I tried to warn liberals convincing themselves that Jeb is not a conservative or such a 'different type of conservative' that he might be appealing to liberal Dems like myself.

     I read this post by Waldman with a good deal of reservation. His point if construed narrowly enough, if perhaps right, but it's important to note some necessary caveats-that he himself does a little.

    He seems to think Jeb running will be great for the immigration debate.

    "Congratulations, America: Jeb Bush is running for president! Or rather, he’s moving actively in that direction. As he announced on Facebook this morning, over Thanksgiving he spent some time with his family, eating and watching football. “We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.”

     "Roll your eyes if you will about the prospect of yet another Bush presidency — as Jeet Heer pointed out this morning, “the last time the GOP won the White House without a Bush on the ticket was 1972. The last time without a Bush or Nixon: 1928.” But Jeb’s entry could actually have a profound effect on the 2016 Republican primaries, in healthy ways."

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/12/16/jeb-bush-may-run-for-president-good/
        I will roll my eyes here as it's quite in order. I mean 1928.
        
        "Bush will immediately be in the front rank of candidates, simply by virtue of his name and the support he has within elite Republican circles. That means that he’ll get lots of press attention, and other candidates will inevitably engage him in policy arguments. And there will be arguments. The best way to understand the effect Bush will have on the primaries is to contrast him with Mitt Romney, another politician’s son and establishment favorite.

      "When Romney ran, in 2008 but especially in 2012, he dealt with his history of moderate stances by sprinting to the right, to assure base Republicans that he’d be there for them. It was awkward and uncomfortable, and hurt him in the general election. (You may remember his comment about getting undocumented immigrants to “self-deport.”) In general, Romney’s move to the right had the effect of narrowing the policy discussion within the primaries. He could, for instance, have made a detailed argument for the efficacy of the health reform he passed in Massachusetts. But since it was closely associated with the Affordable Care Act, he decided (probably correctly, as a short-term strategic matter) to join in the chorus of Obamacare condemnation. That was his approach to most issues — just say the same thing all the other GOP candidates said, as emphatically as possible. The result was a debate about who hated Barack Obama the most, which was not exactly enlightening."

     "Jeb Bush will be an enthusiastic participant in the 2016 version of that debate on many issues — don’t fool yourself into thinking he isn’t a conservative — but on a couple of key issues, it will be all but impossible for him to move to the right. One of those is Common Core education standards. Someone like Bobby Jindal can change their stance on it, now that conservatives have decided that the standards are some kind of Stalinist brainwashing scheme — Jindal was once a Common Core supporter, but now hates it with every fiber of his being. But Bush can’t. The reason is that he isn’t just a supporter of Common Core, he’s probably its single more prominent advocate. He leads not one but two organizations (see here and here) devoted to promoting it."
      "Far more importantly, there’s immigration. Bush doesn’t just support comprehensive immigration reform, he talks about the subject in a very different way from most other Republicans. In a speech earlier this year, hedescribed undocumented immigrants this way: “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family.” And there’s no question that Bush feels this sincerely. He wrote a book on immigration reform (which his opponents’ aides are no doubt scouring for quotes that can be used against him). His wife is an immigrant from Mexico. He speaks Spanish. His kids look Hispanic. He’s not going to suddenly change his position on immigration."
      "What this means is that by being one of the top-tier candidates in the race, Bush instantly changes the immigration debate in the primaries. It isn’t that any of the other candidates are going to move to the left, but the discussion will not just be about who wants to build the highest border fence. There will be at least one person talking about immigrants in human terms."
     Maybe he's right about the GOP primaries-they were pretty putrid with Mitt's self-deportation antics. Still, I want it to be clear that while maybe this will make the GOP primaries better it doesn't follow that electing Jeb Bush would be in anyway good for immigration as his party remains virulently opposed.
    Remember, his older brother W. Bush was also for it and the GOP still killed it. This is why I find Jeb's position a little dishonest. He supports immigration reform yet opposed the President for doing something he doesn't disagree with in principle.  For him to claim that he finds Obama's move a case of overreaching by the executive branch is rich considering how much he usurped judicial power in favor of the Florida governor when he was in office there. 
     http://diaryofarepublicanhater.blogspot.com/2014/12/2016-bush-30-vs-clinton-20.html