Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
Obama and the FBI blame the hacking attacks against Sony Pictures on North Korea. Who knew the DPRK regime was capable? The hacks were triggered by the The Interview, in which two American journalists played by James Franco and Seth Rogen set out to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Amid threats of movie theater terrorism, Sony pulled the film from its Christmas Day release.
Reactions have been many:
The whole Sony story has a certain twisted dark comedy flavor with CEO Michael Lynton bickering with Obama over the release of what is said to be an unwatchable movie. It sure looks that way from the trailers. If the NORKS had any brains, they should just have let the film be released and it would have sunk like a stone. But perhaps they had other intentions — or someone did — beyond making fun of inane Hollywood studio executives or even silencing a movie.
The cyber attack on the studio has a serious side and it’s not really about North Korea. It’s about who helped North Korea, the assumption being that the NORKS don’t quite have the technical expertise to pull this off by themselves. Russia, China and Iran are the three candidates whose names have been thrown into the hopper as possible co-perps — maybe more than one of them.
Hollywood came to the Rev. Al Thursday as embattled Sony exec Amy Pascal met privately with the black leader for 90 minutes in a bid to fix the fallout from the cyberhacking leak of embarrassing, racially charged emails.
Pascal agreed to let Sharpton have a say in how Sony makes motion pictures, in an effort to combat what he called “inflexible and immovable racial exclusion in Hollywood.”
“We have agreed to having a working group deal with the racial bias and lack of diversity in Hollywood,” said Sharpton.
One important point in the President’s remarks today: a potentially ominous nod to the need for more regulation and control over the internet. The internet now is like “the Wild West,” he said, “We need more rules about how the internet should operate.” Cybersecurity is an urgent issue, and the Sony hacks underscore that, said the president. But when heads of state talk about more state control over the internet, rarely does greater freedom of speech result.
The only problem: At least one cable company preemptively surrendered to North Korean intimidation, too, reportedly saying it would not air the film. Now, even if Sony had a backbone transplant, it couldn’t release the movie.
Sony could still dump it on the Internet and let it spread virally. It would lose ticket sales, but the company would strike a defiant blow nonetheless.
Don’t hold your breath. Sony would rather go the way of appeasement. And so would everyone else, it seems.
For Pascal, 56, and Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, 54, the damage has gotten far worse as the flood of stolen material — including both of their email inboxes — keeps coming, and on Dec. 16, the hackers, dubbed Guardians of Peace, threatened a 9/11-style attack on theaters that show Seth Rogen’s North Korea assassination comedy The Interview. Pascal, the lead creative executive on Interview, tells THR she believes she has the backing of her Tokyo-based employers. But by now, high-level insiders have moved from speculating about whether she will be replaced to asking when and by whom.
The James Flacco Name Generator
At a press conference on Friday, President Obama said Sony made “a mistake” by canceling the release of The Interview. He also praised the film’s stars Seth Rogen and James … Flacco? If, like actor James Franco, you want a new last name—one you can share with an NFL quarterback—then use our name generator below.
What I wonder is why people aren’t a little more put off by a form of censorship that is more insidious, and will likely affect far more movies in the long run: the soft censorship of appealing to the Chinese government in order to reap the Chinese box office. There have been widespread claims that recent blockbuster movies like the latest Transformers have been written so as to appease Chinese censors. There’s nothing wrong with writing movies to reach out to a particularly huge foreign box office– why wouldn’t you want your movie to play to Chinese moviegoers?– but appealing to the Chinese government is a whole other ball of wax. That’s where you can see genuine self-censorship coming in. And while I imagine that this whole thing will blow over before long, without a great deal of long-term damage, I think the urge to play in China -and for the Chinese government — will only grow over time.
The problem of willingly selling out to the Chinese reminded me of Ayn Rand, whose bracing moral lessons I’m sure Freddie had in the back of his mind. Rand’s finest novel,The Fountainhead, is an anti-capitalist screed about the spiritual and cultural evil of catering to market demand. Forget the problem of giving the commie censors what they want. It’s wrong to give the free market what it wants, when what it wants is aesthetically debased, which it always is. The architect hero of The Fountainhead, Howard Roark, is the ultimate in spine, the patron saint of never selling out. When one of his perfect, austere modernist buildings is bowdlerized the better to suit the public taste, he blows it up. That’s right, Howard Roark is a terrorist, a jihadi for artistic integrity. Maybe Howard Roark is the answer. Maybe can show us the way. Maybe Sony needs to feel that it is unsafe not to release The Interview. Maybe Seth Rogen needs to blow something up! Or maybe Brian Beutler is on to something, and the best we can do is call on Anonymous to steal the movie and make sure that, in this case at least, market-based American spinelessness can’t put a gag on our precious stoner auteurs.
Sony is a for-profit entity, and not even an American one, that effectively has important influence over American culture. We don’t entrust for-profit entities with the common defense. And recognizing that the threat to a Sony picture is actually a threat to the freedom of American culture ought to lead us to a public rather than a private solution.
The federal government should take financial responsibility. Either Washington should guarantee Sony’s financial liability in the event of an attack, or it should directly reimburse the studio’s projected losses so it can release the movie online for free. The latter solution has the attractive benefit of ensuring a far wider audience for the film than it would otherwise have attracted.
After Sony Pictures announced yesterday that it was pulling the release of The Interview, a film about two American journalists sent to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, from its scheduled Christmas Day release after threats of movie theater terrorism, several theaters across the U.S. said that they would show Team America: World Police instead.
The basic idea was to replace one movie mocking the North Korean regime with another. Team America, an all-puppet comedy from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, pits its heroes against a sad-sack version of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. At the end of the movie, he’s impaled on a giant spike, and it’s revealed that he’s actually an alien cockroach. Fitting!..
The Daily Beastreports that theaters in Cleveland and Atlanta that had planned to make the switch say that Paramount, the studio behind Team America, has ordered them to stop. The Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, which also planned to show the puppet comedy, announced on Twitter this afternoon that due to “circumstances beyond our control” its Team America screening has been cancelled…. blocking replacement screenings of Team America can really only be described as next-level cowardly bullshit.
Sony was just the latest – Janice Turner:
Not only has Paramount pulled Team America, a decade-old puppet comedy parodying Kim Jong Un’s father, but a Steve Carell movie based upon the graphic novel Pyongyang. This is no comic, but an account by Guy Delisle of his time as an animator in a North Korean studio, constantly monitored by minders yet getting glimpses of the regime in all its absurdity and horror. This is a film that needed to be made.
And when the Sony cave-in was announced, Carell tweeted a still from The Great Dictator. It is an apt comparison: Charlie Chaplin’s devastating and humane 1940 parody did not bring down Hitler but it gave succour to those who were trying. Such was its propaganda value that while it was in production and Britain was still pursuing appeasement, the government planned to ban it for fear of riling the Führer. It was inspired by Chaplin watching Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will: while other anti-Nazis were awed and dismayed by its grandiosity, Chaplin fell about laughing…
…too often, the response to any threat has been cowardice and complicity. Hollywood just behaved like the entire British establishment which dropped Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses rather than turning on his illiberal persecutors. And even now Newsnight refuses to show an affectionate Jesus and Mo cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad, siding with Salafist extremists rather than moderate Muslims who argued the image was inoffensive.
What if one of America’s violent anti-choice groups threatens cinemas showing a film in which a woman has abortion? Will we capitulate every time the lawyers get nervous? Because Sony Pictures just put artistic freedom in turnaround. And this is no joke.
Free speech has been under attack for an age. North Korea was just picking up the vibe…
You won’t see Louis, Alex, Carolyne and Andrew Michael on Channel 4’s Gogglebox because dad is standing as a UKIP candidate.
Channel 4 told BBC’s Newsbeat:
Mr Michael has confirmed his proposed candidacy as a UKIP MP in Hastings and Rye. Sadly any Gogglebox cast member who becomes a candidate for a political party will have to step down from their involvement in Gogglebox. It’s with great regreat that the Michaels are no longer in the show. They have been excellent contributors to Gogglebox, and we are very grateful for all they have given to the show.
Reality TV star enters Westminster. It’s a reversal of the usual process…
Ed Miliband has been eating. at the Red Lion Inn, in Hognaston, Derbyshire. It’s news in the Derby Telegraph:
He was with a party of around 12 – and they booked a table in one of the more private areas of the pub, where Mr Miliband enjoyed a roast turkey dinner.
“It was only a couple of waitresses who knew he was here, which is what they wanted,” says Tony Waterall, the owner of the pub. “He didn’t want people looking at him or for there to be any confrontation.”
Wonder why Ed never wanted anyone to look at him eating?
Tony Blair and Cherie’s Christmas card is not a paropdy. When Anorak first saw it we thought it had been mocked up by one of the godless anti-faith healers who would do down the world’s foremost doer of selfless things.
Either that or it’s a bad album cover.
Is Cherie working Tony, as a ventriloquist would work a dummy?
"Merry Christmas, now feed 'em to the pigs…" pic.twitter.com/P5Yrx4yANq
— The Media Blog (@TheMediaTweets) December 1, 2014
Jane Collins, a UKIP MEP (@JaneCollinsMEP), has added her intellect to the debate on a photograph of Westminster MPs at work. She notes:
“One is a debate on children being raped & murdered & one is a debate on payrise – can you guess which is which”
Her tweet gets appoving replies:
Only, a few words are required.
Andrew Whickey writes them:
The debate on welfare reform was a pro forma one because of an epetition, with no prospect of actually causing action to be taken, so a waste of the time of everyone there.
Most MPs, most of the time, aren’t in the chamber, but are still listening to the debates in their offices (which have a live feed), This is because a lot of the time MPs have to fit in the correspondence from their constituents (who are more concerned, in a lot of cases, that MPs act like supercouncillors than that they scrutinise legislation) into the same time as their legislative work, as they’re often working sixty or seventy hour weeks.
Most MPs were actually against the 11% pay-rise, which was awarded against the wishes of most MPs and the leaders of all three main parties, by the independent commission which took control of MPs’ pay after the expenses scandal.
The pay rise in question was actually revenue-neutral, as it involved less money going to various other benefits, such as pensions, that MPs receive.
And finally, that photo isn’t actually from the debate over the pay-rise, because there was no such debate, because MPs don’t get to set their own pay any more. In fact it’s a stock photo of PM’s question time.
Yes, there are bad MPs, MPs who only want to line their own pockets, and all the rest, but this photo plays into the hands of the stupid anti-politics “they’re all the same” nonsense, which is fundamentally against the idea of government at all — and not in a good way, but in a right-wing Grover Norquist kind of way.
Don’t fall for their lies.
Less than 1000 words and the UKIP expert might be better informed.
The UKIP MEP’s haste to damn the MPs can be linked to memes, such as this photo posted on Facebook:
Isabel Hardman has few words to add:
The bottom image claims to be from 11 July 2013. There was no debate on pay that day, which was a Thursday. There are often fewer MPs in the House on a Thursday. So this image is from the wrong day. I’ve combed the PA images archive and, surprise, surprise, it’s not from a debate about pay in 2013. It’s from Prime Minister’s Questions on 5 September 2012. Here’s that picture in slightly better quality…
Good, grief, look at how many MPs are debating their expenses! That image on the bottom left struck me as a bit strange when I zoomed in. When you’re used to looking down on the tops of MPs’ heads from the Commons press gallery, you get quite used to what Parliament looks like from above. And I didn’t recognise that Parliament. The hair looked different, frankly. I was right not to recognise it: when this debate took place, I was preparing to take my A-levels. It was 27 January 2004, when MPs voted on the Second Reading of the Higher Education Bill to introduce top-up fees.
You believe what you want to believe.
Quite a week for former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell. The man at the centre of Pleb-gate – calling a copper guarding Downing street a ‘fu**ing pleb’ – is broken.
But is he? And what did the court case cost him?
Today the Times says:
He faces a legal bill of more than £1 million after losing the libel battle against The Sun for calling Downing Street police officers “f***ing plebs” who should “know their place”.
The Guardian ups that to £1.5m.
The Daily Mail sees that £1.5m and raises it to £2m.
The Sun gloats and says the bill is…£3m.
And as for being a broken man whose career is over, well, the Times has more on Mitchell:
“I’m planning to stand again [for Parliament] . We are faced with a substantial cost, which has yet to be determined, we’ll deal with that when we know what it amounts to.”
In addition to his £3 million townhouse in Islington, north London, he and his wife, Sharon Bennett, a GP, own a £500,000 house in Sutton Coldfield and a farmhouse of the same value in Nottinghamshire. They also own a chalet in the French ski resort of Val d’Isère. Mr Mitchell has pursued other jobs while serving as an MP. In the past year he almost tripled his basic salary of £67,000 by earning £118,400 from consultancy roles.
Westminster paedophiles: A look at the story of politicians abusing child in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Daily Mail has a question:
Did PM’s adviser try to stop MP linking Brittan to claims of child sex abuse?
Anorak ‘s rule is that when a headline is phrased as a question the answer is always ‘no’.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is addressing an international women’s justice summit. He tells the women that gender equality is against nature and God:
Certain work, Erdogan said, goes against women’s “delicate nature,” and “their characters, habits, and physiques are different” from men’s. “Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women: motherhood,” he said. He then went on to blast feminists, accusing them of not understanding their role in society. “Some people can understand this, while others can’t,” he said. “You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”
Erdogan tried using the Quran to advance his point, saying, “Paradise lies at the feet of mothers,” which ended up just turning into an awkward reflection on the role of his mother in his own family. “I would kiss my mother’s feet because they smelled of paradise,” he said. “She would glance coyly and cry sometimes.”
That’s how Manhunter got started…
Westminster Peadophiles: Anorak’s at-a-glance look at the story of child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s in the media.
The Times: “Paedophile ring may have killed boy, 15″
Or to turn that headline around: “Paedophile ring may not have killed boy, 15.”
Georgia Keate writes:
Police investigating an alleged paedophile ring at Westminster have told the family of a missing boy that he may be one of the three children claimed to have been murdered by establishment figures. Martin Allen, the son of the Australian high commissioner’s chauffeur, went missing in 1979, aged 15. His brother, Kevin, 51, has said he was called by Detective Chief Inspector Diane Tudway of the Metropolitan police on Friday, who said she was investigating whether Martin’s disappearance was linked to an alleged VIP ring.
Celebrity chef Jack Monroe’s most recent story for The Guardian tells readers:
pizza with kale pesto recipe – I make a lot of pizza for the kids as a treat – and don’t feel at all guilty about sneaking wholemeal flour into the base and vegetables on top.
If the woman who cooks to a budget (one that’s getting bigger) doesn’t feel guilty about wholemeal flour in a child’s pizza (has she no conscience?), maybe her tweets with prick her into mental unrest.
A recent one opines:
Because he [David Cameron] uses stories about his dead son as misty-eyed rhetoric to legitimise selling our NHS to his friends: #CameronMustGo
In 2009, Mr Cameron’s six-year-old son Ivan, who suffered from cerebral Palsy and epilepsy, died.
We don’t know what young Ivan would have made of Monroe’s charm, but maybe she can create a Twitter account in the child’s name and use it to contact David Cameron and get her views across in a more sensitive manner?
Tweet 1: “@IvanCam: I never knew wholemeal pizza could taste so good. Thanks Jack Monroe”
Labour MP Emily Thornberry’s tweet from Rochester made a the story of the by-election about Labour’s attitude to the working class.
Thornberry resigned her post in the shadow cabinet, thus setting the bar horrible low for future departures.
The Sun then did what it does best. It introduced us to White Van Dan, whose home Thornberry had presented to her twitter followers in the manner of a Victorian prude showing off a cultural artefact from darkest Africa.
White Van Dan – Dan Ware – was invited to share his vision for the United Kingdom with the paper’s readership:
As @MichaelPDeacon tweeted:
White Van Man confounds the sneering stereotypes. By writing a manifesto containing the phrase “send them back”
Poor old Emily Thornberry. She’s the Labour MP who mocked Dan Ware’s home in Rochester. Dan lives in home that displays flags supporting his country and West Ham United FC. He drives a white van. Intrepid Emily, who had journeyed from Islington to a neat road in Kent where working people live, thought it a hoot to show this cultural oddity to her Twitter followers.
We say poor Emily becuase having resigned her job in the shadow cabinet, Emily could argue she was only giving Labour suppoters what they wanted.
Mocking the white working class is ok, you see. Sure, the Daily Mirror today asks:
What does shadow Labour minister Emily Thornberry mean by this photo?
The Mirror quotes other Labour MPs, keen to show that not all the Party’s MPs are possess the Victorian colonial spirit:
Labour MP Simon Danczuk saying: “We all know what she was trying to imply. I’ve talked about this previously. It’s like the Labour party has been hijacked by the North London liberal elite and it’s comments like that which reinforce that view.”
Labour colleague Chris Bryant said: “The Labour Party was founded on the basis that everybody should be treated equally and that’s why Emily herself has said it’s a bit of an own goal.”
But Anorak readers will recall that its not just the London Labour elite who think white van man is a national embarrassment.
Mirror columnsit Brian Reade, a Liverpudlian, once journeyed to south-east London. In light of the murder of black teeanger Stephen Lawrence by a gang of white racists, Eltham was in the news. What he wrote was truly appalling:
Welcome to the Brook Estate in Eltham, south east London. The breeding ground of four of the five men accused of stabbing Stephen Lawrence to death as he waited for a bus a short walk away on the eve of St George’s Day six years ago.
Five products of a twisted philosophy drummed into them from birth. “If they’re black, stab ‘em in the back.”…
A way of life passed down from father to son. You see the link emerge in the fading white graffiti sprayed 30 years ago on the walls of the old railway bridges around the estate, written by the last generation of Eltham Boyz. In three feet high letters: “SKINHEADS.”…
Give me the father and I’ll give you the son who will give you the son who will abuse, persecute and even kill another human being for committing the heinous crime of not being born white.
Racism was inherited. Get the killers and purge the land.
This is White Man’s Gulch… This is E-reg Escort-land.
So much for anti-discrimination, eh. When did the entire white working class become pariahs?
GK Chesterton put it well:
“We are always ready to make a saint or prophet of the educated man who goes into cottages to give a little kindly advice to the uneducated,’ he wrote. But the real saints and prophets – those of the middle ages – were uneducated men ‘who walked into grand houses to give a little kindly advice to the educated.’ The wisdom of the poor was once deployed to moralise the rich; now that of the rich is used to demoralise the poor.”
Kicking the white working class is acceptable. What began with targeting football fans with new forms of control now extends to what car you drive and your home decor.
Emily Thornberry is not a rarity. She’s typical.
EMILY Thornberry MP (Islington South) played her hand. To use the language of the anti-UKippers, the mask slipped.
Thornberry portrayed Rochester locals as working class morons, the kind of dolts who drive white vans, love football and England. On Planet Thornberry, the home she photographed and tweeted was a cultural curiosity.
Would she have pictured the home of a Pakistani mini-cab driver with a Pakistan cricket flag hanging outside in the same fashion? Of course not. She was mocking the white working class. That’s allowed.
Labour MP Emily Thornberry leaves her Islington zone and heads to Rochester in Kent. She is shocked. This is the “white man’s gulch” the Daily Mirror warned her about.
Inside a black man sips his hummus and eats his organic espresso.
Next time someone tells you they are voting Labour, ask them why?
ED Miliband is the gift that keeps on giving:
Labour leader Ed Miliband waits back stage before delivering a speech to party supporters at the University of London today.
It’s a good job the Labour Party is united behind him or else they mnight think their leader is a disaster.
A Labour party determined to win would not have chosen to be led by Ed Miliband. A Labour party truly enthused by the prospect of returning to power would not have kept Ed as leader long past the point at which it became clear he’s a gawd-help-us, what-were-we-thinking, sad-sack, head-in-hands, fingernails-on-a-blackboard atrocity never happier than when accosting innocent strangers, most of whom claim to be called “Gareth”.
ON the 11th hour of the 12 day of the 11th month the BNP* remembered to observe, well, what? The rest of us know that Remembrance Day falls on November 11th. But the BNP wants to make the 12th special.
Is it becasue on November 12 1933, the Nazis received 92% of vote in Germany. No. It’s about the British who gave their lives fighting the Nazis:
*BNP. Something that existed before the EDL and the UKIP.
VLADIMIR Putin’s Motorcade looks like a massive knob:
ON CNN – LIVE: SEAL KILLS OBAMA!
Join the club…
BARACK Obama has been corresponding with Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s leader.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Obama had secretly written Khamenei in October to discuss U.S. and Iran’s common interest in combating ISIL. According to the report, Obama said that U.S.-Iran work in the fight against ISIL relied upon Iran’s cooperation on reaching a long-term agreement on the country’s nuclear program by the Nov. 24 deadline.
The report also indicated that Obama assured Khamenei that U.S. airstrikes in Syria would not target the regime of President Bashar Assad, an important ally for Iran.
PETER Lilley, Conservative Party MP for Hitchin and Harpenden and former Government minister, says cannabis should be legalised.
Good. Agreed. It’s time for a sensible debate on the drugs. And cannabis should be legal.
Or is it. Because the local Mercury newspaper has seen fit to photoshop a rasta hat on his bonce.
Seinfeld in Parliament:
ANDREW Lawrence writes on BBC bias in comedy:
Can’t help but notice increasingly, a lot ‘political’ comedians cracking cheap and easy gags about UKIP, to the extent that it’s got hack, boring and lazy very quickly. Particularly too much moronic, liberal back-slapping on panel shows like Mock The Week where aging, balding, fat men, ethnic comedians and women-posing-as-comedians, sit congratulating themselves on how enlightened they are about the fact that UKIP are ridiculous and pathetic…
Out of touch, smug, superannuated, overpaid TV comics with their cosy lives in their west-London ivory towers taking a supercilious, moralising tone, pandering to the ever-creeping militant political correctness of the BBC with their frankly surreal diversity targets…
There is a deeply ingrained militant liberal politics at every level of the BBC, despite the fact that it’s tax-payer funded and supposed to be neutral. It’s a biased organisation and the only sorts of political comedians that are welcome within its corridors are those that reflect it’s values.
HOW’S Obama’s foreing policy on the Middle East going?
The Free Beacon:
Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice rudely mocked Israel’s ambassador during a recent meeting with an American Jewish leader.
Rice, who is known to dislike the Israeli government, was asked in a recent meeting with a top American Jewish leader why she had not taken meetings with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. “Rice responded, with her characteristic sarcasm, ‘He never asked to meet me,’” Haaretz reported Rice as saying. The president’s top aide then mocked Dermer and conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
“Besides, I understood that he’s too busy traveling to Sheldon Adelson’s events in Las Vegas,” Rice reportedly said with contempt.
Always good to keep your allies on side…
Ed Miliband was on Manchester’s Mosley Street. The Labour Party leader who bangs on about change dropped a few pence into a woman’s cup.
HOW are ISIS doing in the opinion polls? The Times:
One in seven young British adults has “warm feelings” towards Islamic State, according to a poll. Isis is riding a surge of “anti-politics” sentiment among disaffected under-35s who admire the jihadists’ courage, academics warn.
A tenth of Londoners and one in 12 Scots view Islamic State (Isis) favourably, but sympathy for the militant group reaches its highest levels among the under-25s, the Populus survey found.