8:35 AM, Dec 18, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
In October 1940, Americans flocked to movie theaters to see Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, mocking the most powerful tyrant on the globe. In December 2014, movie theaters and then the production company cancelled the release of The Interview because of threats of terror from a tinpot, though totalitarian and evil, tyrant who rules a weak and decrepit nation.
It's not that there is (unfortunately) no precedent for this: consider the Mohammed cartoons. It's not that movie theaters don't have to be attentive to the well-being of those who attend their movies. It's not that there isn't something ridiculous about the lack of Western interest in a totalitarian dictatorship's starving millions of its people, while its attempt to prevent an American movie from being shown makes the front pages.
Still. The surrender to North Korea is a historical moment. It's far more significant than President Obama's announcement the same day of his opening toward Cuba. That is merely another sign of an administration's strategically weak and morally rudderless foreign policy. The capitulation to North Korea could be—unless we reverse course in a fundamental way—a signpost in a collapse of civilizational courage.
In his 1978 Harvard speech, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn saw it all, and said it all:
“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.
“Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and in their statements, and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable, as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and with countries not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.
“Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?”
9:01 AM, Dec 15, 2014 • By ELI LEHRER
It’s easy to see how Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood—a Bible-reading, pro-gun, pro-life, Democrat—has survived in statewide office even as his already conservative state has turned a deeper shade of red. Quite simply, he’s a likeable, quotable guy who doesn’t seem to have forgotten his roots in New Houlka, Mississippi (population 626).
Valerie Jarrett retweets.3:21 PM, Nov 17, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Open enrollment for health insurance plans under Obamacare is currently underway, and some of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood and elsewhere are out there promoting it on Twitter. Furthermore, it appears there could be some coordination with the White House, with top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett retweeting a number of those celebrities, one after the other.
10:31 AM, Oct 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A new video by the Environmental Policy Alliance mocks Hollywood celebrity Leonardo DiCaprio for being "just another celebrity hypocrite" when it comes to the topic of climate change:
9:46 PM, Oct 9, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The host gushed at the sight of President Obama. The setting was a Democratic fundraiser at the home of Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow.
"You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly," Paltrow told Obama at the fundraiser in her backyard.
The Hollywood star wished the president had even more power to accomplish even more things. As the pool report phrased it:
11:43 AM, May 9, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Beverly Hills has banned fracking. Which makes it "the first municipality in California to prohibit the controversial technique for extracting natural gas and oil from underground rock deposits," according to Reuters.
'I'm a really good nag.'11:46 AM, Mar 28, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A top of advisor to President Barack Obama is in Los Angeles to try to get Obamacare written into scripts of TV shows and movies. Valerie Jarrett explained in an appearance on Top That! on PopSugar.com:
"That's the cool thing," a host said to the presidential advisor. "You've been reaching out to people that are, you know, outside of the norm of what the president might work with. Who else are you working with? Like celebrities, personalities, things like that?"
7:37 AM, Jan 10, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The federal agency that oversees the Voice of America is seeking someone to produce a TV entertainment show to be broadcast in Iran in the Farsi language that includes "Hollywood news" and "other interesting aspects of life on the West Coast of the United States." The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), whose board members include Secretary of State John Kerry, is
9:06 AM, Sep 6, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
One industry badly hit last month was "the motion picture and sound recording industry," according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. From the jobs report released this morning:
Within information, the motion picture and sound recording industry lost 22,000 jobs in August, following a gain of 8,000 in July.
11:14 AM, Jun 28, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
According to a recent Gallup poll, 42 percent of Americans believe that the Affordable Care Act will make their family's financial situation worse. Almost half of those surveyed believe that it will make the nation's overall health care situation worse.
4:58 PM, May 13, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Via the pool report:
Pool was ushered into Harvey Weinstein's 5 story West Village town home for POTUS's remarks to the assembled donors. The ground floor room contained 8 tables of 8, covered in white linen with roses as a centerpiece.
Several White House staffers were seated at the tables including Dan Pfeiffer and Jay Carney. Patrick Gaspard was standing in the right side of the room (POTUS's) right.
Will White House release guest list?7:34 AM, Apr 9, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
On Barack and Michelle Obama's schedule for today, this event is listed:
6:26 PM, Jan 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama will tomorrow host a screening of the sitcom 1600 Penn, according to the White House.
"Later in the afternoon, the President will host cast and crew members of the television show 1600 Penn for a screening at the White House," reads Obama's schedule. "This screening is closed press."