Posted: December 18, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Hacker (computer security), National Defence Commission, North Korea, Pyongyang, Republic of Korea–United States relations, SEOUL, Sony, Sony Pictures Entertainment, South Korea, United States
On Thursday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said Sony Pictures made a bad choice to scrap the release of The Interview.
“I think this is not sort of rocket science, Sony made exactly the wrong decision. What you do is…you put it out on the Internet for free. So it’s a gesture, but also it doubly screws over Pyongyang.”
Posted: December 18, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, Michelle Malkin, Michelle Obama, MSNBC, Twitter, White House
Posted: December 18, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Censorship, Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Interview (2007 film), James Franco, Kim Jong-il, Matt Stone, North Korea, Seth Rogen, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Team America: World Police, Trey Parker
Three movie theaters say Paramount Pictures has ordered them not to show Team America: World Police one day after Sony Pictures surrendered to cyberterrorists and pulled The Interview. The famous Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, Capitol Theater in Cleveland, and Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta said they would screen the movie instead of The Interview but Paramount has ordered them to stop. (No reason was apparently given and Paramount hasn’t spoken.) Team America of course features Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il, as a singing marionette.
In 2004, North Korea demanded Team America be banned in the Czech Republic….(read more)
The Daily Beast
Posted: December 18, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Breaking News, Politics, White House, U.S. News | Tags: media, news, New York City, North Korea, Sony, Havana, New York Post, Cuba, Tabloid
Posted: December 18, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Alan Phillip Gross, Barack Obama, Cuba, Cuba–United States relations, Cuban American, Cuban exile, Diplomacy, Little Havana, Miami, United States, United States embargo against Cuba
Havana (CNN) — Church bells rang out Wednesday afternoon in Havana, marking a major moment in history — Cuba and the United States are renewing diplomatic relations after decades of ice-cold tension.
Word of the massive change was met with passionate opinions and some protests in the United States. And tearful celebrations erupted in the streets of the island after President Raul Castro announced the news in a televised address.
“With the main obstacle for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations eliminated, the only unknown is the next step. Is the Cuban government planning another move to return to a position of force vis-a-vis the U.S. government? Or are all the cards on the table this time, before the weary eyes of a population that anticipates that the Castro regime will also win the next move.”
– Yoani Sanchez, a well-known Cuban blogger
But there was uncertainty and some anger amid the joy.
Dissident Cuban blogger Yusnaby Perez tweeted that his neighbor asked him whether a change in U.S.-Cuban trade relations would mean that he could finally afford to buy meat.
Other dissidents worried that their concerns will now be overlooked.
Yoani Sanchez, a well-known Cuban blogger, decried what she described as a carefully plotted victory for the Castro regime in the swap of detained U.S. contractor Alan Gross for Cuban spies imprisoned in America. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 17, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Global, Politics, White House, Diplomacy | Tags: United States, Barack Obama, White House, Havana, Cuba, Miami, Diplomacy, Cigar, Cubans, Alan Phillip Gross, United States embargo against Cuba
WASHINGTON — With President Obama announcing major shifts to diplomatic relations with the island nation of Cuba, it’s going to get easier to find the one of the country’s most renowned exports:
In the changing relations, the “number of steps to significantly increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba,” will increase, diplomatic officials told reporters Wednesday.
American citizens will be also authorized to import additional good from Cuba.
The ease of travel and commercial restrictions may soon result in more Cuban cigars in the country. Relaxed commercial restrictions may facilitate the ability to do exports by making the general process easier, as well as more travelers from Cuba bringing back the famed smoking sticks. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 16, 2014 Filed under: Politics | Tags: Mitt Romney, Florida, John McCain, President of the United States, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, George H.W. Bush, Political action committee, Republican Party (United States), Jeb Bush, Bush family
Former Florida Governor to Launch Political-Action Committee in January
Jeb Bush, the son and brother of past presidents, kick-started the 2016 presidential race Tuesday by announcing plans to “actively explore” a presidential campaign, an unexpectedly early declaration that ramps up pressure on potential rivals and reshuffles the policy debate.
The move by the 61-year-old former Florida governor essentially marks the beginning of the presidential sweepstakes. With a national profile, access to big donors and iconic status in the nation’s largest swing state, Mr. Bush ’s move puts instant pressure on a sprawling field of as many as two dozen other Republicans weighing 2016 bids.
His online announcement amounts to a pre-emptive strike against efforts by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and allies of the 2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney , to lock in major donors or at least keep them on the sidelines.
Mr. Bush’s step toward a campaign also threatens to undermine the aspirations of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio , his onetime protégé, who shares the same home state and an overlapping political network there.
“I think Jeb is trying to clear the field,” said Bobbie Kilberg, a prominent Republican donor who worked in the White House for Mr. Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush. “He’s now gotten out ahead of everyone else, and I think this may force other candidates to move earlier than they had wanted to.”
Mr. Bush’s potential candidacy also has implications for the expected Democratic front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. His younger GOP rivals could try to make the case for going in a different direction by lumping Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton together as tired figures from the past. That argument, however, would lose its potency in a general election match-up between Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 16, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Andrew C. McCarthy, Arthur J. Schwab, Barack Obama, Enforcement discretion, Executive (government), Judicial opinion, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Substantive rights, United States district court, United States federal judge
Andrew C. McCarthy writes:
“I wonder how the Republican establishment will take this: A federal court has the gumption to declare the obvious — namely, that Obama’s immigration policy is unconstitutional, just as Republican candidates argued while seeking votes during the recent midterm election campaign — only three days after 20 Republican senators astonishingly joined with the Democrats to endorse Obama’s policy as constitutionally valid.”
[Also see – Chris Christie Prediction: ‘In 2017, there won’t be an Obamacare‘]
From Jon Adler‘s analysis on Judge Schwab’s opinion at the Volokh Conspiracy…
Earlier Tuesday, a federal court in Pennsylvania declared aspects of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy unconstitutional.
According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals. As a consequence, Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.
This is the first judicial opinion to address Obama’s decision to expand deferred action for some individuals unlawfully present in the United States. [I’ve now posted the opinion here.]
The procedural background of the case is somewhat unusual. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 16, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Hospital, Lady Reading Hospital, Military academy, Pakistan, Pakistan Armed Forces, Pakistan Army, Peshawar, Security guard, Student, Taliban
A plainclothes security officer escorts students rescued from nearby school during a Taliban attack in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the worst attack to hit the country in over a year.(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Posted: December 15, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Politics, War Room | Tags: al Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency, Death of Osama bin Laden, Dianne Feinstein, Enhanced interrogation techniques, Extrajudicial prisoners of the United States, George W. Bush, Interrogation, James Elmer Mitchell, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
“It shows al Qaeda and the al Qaeda 2.0 folks, ISIL, that we’re divided and that we’re easy targets, that we don’t have the will to defeat them because that’s what they know. In fact, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told me personally, ‘Your country will turn on you, the liberal media will turn on you, the people will grow tired of this, they will turn on you, and when they do, you are going to be abandoned.”
Dr. James Mitchell, a former U.S. Navy psychologist reportedly involved in the interrogation of suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, interviewed on The Kelly File, December 15, 2014.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
Mitchell described Sheikh Mohammed in initial interrogations as “immensely arrogant” and “disdainful.”
“He had a propensity at that particular point to be confrontational without being physical,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell touched on waterboarding, telling Kelly, “Those techniques are so harsh that it’s emotionally distressing to the people who are administering them. Even though you don’t want to do it, you’re doing it in order to save lives in the country, and we would just have to man up for lack of a better term.”
Mitchell recalled how he initially did not want to do interrogations, and he remembered the instant that he decided to “pony up.”
“The 911 victims are the reason that I’m here,” he said.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is shown in this file photograph during his arrest on March 1, 2003. Accused Sept. 11 mastermind Mohammed and four suspected co-conspirators were referred to trial before a Guantanamo war crimes tribunal on charges that could carry the death penalty, the Pentagon said, April 4, 2012. REUTERS/Courtesy U.S. News & World Report
Mitchell remembered the heroes on Flight 93, telling Kelly that if ordinary people were willing to give up their lives to save the Capitol building, then he should be able to give up his moral high ground to save more lives.
“What we forget is al Qaeda tried to decapitate the United States on 9/11,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell recalled how waterboarding was not effective against Sheikh Mohammed, and he told Kelly that other enhanced interrogation techniques finally led the terrorist to divulge useful information.
He cautioned that Americans shouldn’t trust Senate Democrats who Mitchell claimed went in with an agenda on this report. Instead, they should trust the men and women of the CIA who wrote reports which were released back when ex- Vice President Dick Cheney requested them.
Mitchell told Kelly that this ordeal “is like being caught in a bad spy novel.”
He said that those who released the CIA report knew the results they wanted beforehand.
“They didn’t give us a chance to explain anything.”
Now, Mitchell said that interrogators are getting death threats, and he fears for his life.
“I do not mind giving my life for my country, but I do mind giving my life for a food fight for political reasons between two groups of people who should be able to work it out like adults.”
Mitchell alleged that no one from the Senate committee has ever asked him a single thing about the interrogations. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 15, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Buzzfeed, Fox News Channel, Lena Dunham, New York City, Oberlin College, Pseudonym, Random House, Rape, Republican Party (United States), Sexual assault, That Kind of Girl, Vale of Glamorgan
Kyle Smith writes: Bowe Bergdahl. The IRS’s missing e-mails. Lena Dunham. “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Jonathan Gruber. GM and that faulty ignition switch. Andrew Cuomo and that anti-corruption commission. The Secret Service and that White House intruder. Rachel Noerdlinger and her “disabled” son. Rolling Stone and gang rape.
2014 was the year when truth was optional. 2014 was the year when convenient fabrication was the weapon of choice for celebrities, activists, big business and politicians. 2014 was the Year of the Lie.
“In each case, the liars used their powerful positions to intimidate, harass, marginalize or just plain bilk ordinary people who lacked access to a megaphone with which to shout back.”
Mostly the liars didn’t suffer any repercussions for spreading falsehoods, and most didn’t even seem particularly embarrassed when they were exposed.
Activists told us Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9, was a “gentle giant” who had his hands in the air and was running away when he was shot.
“Feminists keep saying that there is a ‘larger truth’ here — that we are suddenly living in a rape culture’ in which this hideous crime is widely condoned, even though the rate of forcible rate is at its lowest level in 40 years.”
Video images later showed that he had robbed a convenience store shortly before the police confrontation. Then an autopsy report confirmed that Brown was so close to Officer Darren Wilson that he had gunpowder residue on his hand, and that all of the bullets that hit him came from the front, none from the back. Nor where Brown’s palms raised, according to analysis by forensic pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek.
[Read Kyle Smith’s complete article here]
Protesters shrugged at all of this, declaring they would continue to honor Brown’s memory by chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Demonstrators chant “Hands up, don’t shoot!” on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery in protest a day after the Ferguson grand jury decision to not indict officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown case Nov. 25. Photo: Getty Images
“Even if you don’t find that it’s true, it’s a valid rallying cry.”
– Ferguson protester Taylor Gruenloh
“Even if you don’t find that it’s true, it’s a valid rallying cry,” Ferguson protester Taylor Gruenloh told The Associated Press. If a few black-owned businesses get destroyed, and others are forced out of business by rising insurance costs, who cares? At least the protesters feel righteous.
Similarly, we all know rape is a rampant problem in elite-college fraternities, even if the smoking gun turned out to be a toy pistol. After Rolling Stone’s UVA rape story led to protests, vandalism and cancelled donations, the magazine appended a shrug of a disclaimer to the story and continued to publish the 8,000 word opus on its website.
“If a few black-owned businesses get destroyed, and others are forced out of business by rising insurance costs, who cares? At least the protesters feel righteous.”
Feminists keep saying that there is a “larger truth” here — that we are suddenly living in a “rape culture” in which this hideous crime is widely condoned, even though the rate of forcible rate is at its lowest level in 40 years. When such data don’t bear out the narrative, activists rely heavily on anecdotal evidence like the Rolling Stone story — then say false anecdotes don’t matter either.
“We have a society where rapists are given the benefit of the doubt, often despite overwhelming evidence,” wrote Sally Kohn of CNN, adding that “[Feminists] cannot apologize for erring on the side of a fair, compassionate and credulous hearing of a woman’s account.”
Except being “credulous” with a liar means you aren’t being fair to those she is lying about.
If rape accusations serve as a useful weapon against despised groups, it doesn’t matter whether any individual rape story is accurate. Lena Dunham, who said in her book “Not That Kind of Girl” that she was raped at Oberlin College by Barry, the campus’s “resident conservative,” let this lie simmer for months without anyone calling her on it. Then National Review’s Kevin Williamson wrote that a few seconds of Googling led directly to a prominent Republican who was at Oberlin at the same time as Dunham and has the highly unusual name Barry.
This Barry, who was getting increasingly worried that people were whispering that he was a rapist, seemingly had no recourse against Dunham’s lie. Though he has never met her, filing suit would make him a public figure, one forevermore associated with rape (albeit a false accusation thereof). It wasn’t until he began soliciting donations for a legal fund that Dunham’s publisher offered to write a check and Dunham herself finally acknowledged that no “Barry” had sexually assaulted her. She had, she said, merely picked the name as a pseudonym.
So it was just one of those unfortunate coincidences that she happened to accidentally smear an easily identifiable proponent of a political party she despises. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 15, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Self Defense, U.S. News | Tags: AR-15, Benjamin Ide Wheeler, Connecticut, Gun violence, Media bias, Mike Lupica, Newtown, Newtown Public Schools, propaganda, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Semi-automatic rifle, Victoria Leigh Soto
The facts aren’t on their side
Charles C. W. Cooke writes: Angered by the news that American voters are now more supportive of the Second Amendment than they have been in two decades, the New York Daily News’s Mike Lupica used his weekend column to vent. Over the course of 900 words, Lupica lambasted the public for continuing “to protect gun nuts,” chided the “mouth-breathing” NRA for its murderous myopia, and contended emotively that “there are no words” available to describe the horror of “a recent poll that says a majority of Americans believe it is more important to protect the right to own guns than it is for the government to limit access to guns.”
[read Charles C. W. Cooke’s complete article here]
And then, having established his moral bona fides for all to see, he tried to sneak a brazen lie past his audience:
The flyers on the table feature a picture of a beautiful, smiling girl with a pink bow in her hair, with Christmas and her whole life ahead of her until Adam Lanza walked into her school on a Friday morning with an automatic weapon — the kind of gun we are told must be protected or the Second Amendment is turned into a dishrag — and started shooting.
That Lupica would knowingly write these words should be of great concern to anybody who is concerned with the truth. There were no “automatic” weapons used at Sandy Hook. Rather, Adam Lanza used a standard semi-automatic rifle of the sort that millions upon millions of Americans have in their homes. Moreover, Mike Lupica knows this full well, for on every other occasion he has written about the AR-15, he has described it correctly. In March of 2013, Lupica called for the federal government to ban “a semiautomatic rifle called the AR-15.” A few months later, railing against the same weapon, he explained to his readers that AR-15s are “semi-automatic” — and explained not just once, but twice. Elsewhere, he has proven himself to be more than capable of identifying different gun types when it has suited him to do so. Why, then, the change?
The answer, I suspect, lies in this famously dishonest piece of advice from the Violence Policy Center’s radical founder, Josh Sugarmann:
Assault weapons – just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms – are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons – anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun – can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.
Bingo. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 15, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: design, Illustration, Obama Doctrine, Political Cartoon, satire, Twitter
Posted: December 15, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Charles Krauthammer, Deroy Murdock, Elizabeth Warren, National Review, NRO
“I think she ought to run, I’d be the No. 1 supporter, I’d love to see her run. It would be a festival if you’re a conservative or a Republican. We put up anybody sentient on the other side it’ll be a good night on Election Night.”
National Review Online
Posted: December 15, 2014 Filed under: China, Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Hong Kong, Pro-Democracy Movement, protests, Umbrella Revolution, Universal suffrage
Originally posted on TIME:
Hong Kong authorities on Monday began tearing down the last of the city’s pro-democracy camps, bringing a quiet end to two and a half months of street occupations that constituted the most significant political protest in China since 1989’s Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing.
By Tuesday, all three protest sites — in the Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay districts — will be gone. The streets will be tidied up and returned to traffic, office workers and shoppers.
The protesters are leaving the streets with few tangible results. Beijing has rejected their insistence that Hong Kongers should have the right to freely elect the head of the city’s government without a pro-establishment committee first handpicking the candidates.
The Hong Kong government has also made it clear that it sees itself as a local representative of the central government, and is unwilling to convey the democratic aspirations of many of its…
View original 378 more words
Posted: December 15, 2014 Filed under: Asia, Breaking News, China, Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Hong Kong, Pro-Democracy Movement, Protest, Umbrella Revolution, Universal suffrage
Originally posted on TIME:
The 79-day occupation of Hong Kong’s streets by pro-democracy protesters met a rather lackluster end on Monday morning, as police cleared the last of three protest sites in a matter of hours.
The clearance of the Causeway Bay camp, a small street occupation that was partly set up to accommodate the spillover from the main camp in the Admiralty district, began at around 10 a.m. with a 20-minute warning from police telling the protesters to clear out.
The authorities moved in soon after, and hurriedly cleared barricades, tents and protest artwork in a process devoid of the drama of the Admiralty clearance four days earlier or the conflict that accompanied the removal of the Mong Kok protest site across the harbor in Kowloon the week before that.
The Causeway Bay site, over the course of the past few weeks, had dwindled to a hundred-meter stretch of road held down by…
View original 219 more words
Posted: December 15, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, Politics, War Room | Tags: Australia, Bexley North, Iran, Julian Assange, Lindt & Sprüngli, Marriott International, New South Wales, New South Wales Police Force, Operation Slipper, Sexual assault, Sheikh Haron, Sydney
Sheikh Haron moved to Australia from Iran in 1996. During that time he was involved in murder, sexual assault and support for terrorism in the most blatant ways possible.
In two decades, he wasn’t expelled from the country despite a laundry list of crimes and horrible behavior like sending Jihadist letters to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
The core problem is that Haron and all the others like him should…
1. Never have been allowed into Australia
2. Should have been forcibly deported after their first crime, their first act of support for terrorism
The media’s official narrative is that Sheikh Haron is mentally ill. Just another lone wolf. Just more workplace violence. There’s no point in even wasting time debating that. Read the rest of this entry »