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The MeToo tidal wave and backlash in South Korea

A long litany of scandals, that has so far claimed at least one life, has enveloped the entertainment and political landscape of South Korea

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Although the #MeToo movement was born out of Hollywood, it quickly became international in scope. And while some of its biggest headlines have aired on this side of the pond, it has been highly controversial wherever it has been felt, with predictable results not so different from those realized in the West.

A long litany of scandals, that has so far claimed at least one life, has enveloped the entertainment and political landscape of South Korea, which began with allegations of a female prosecutor alleging that she was groped by a male colleague, the calculation of which allegations appearing in solidarity with the Hollywood movement.

Popular Scandals

In late February, on the 19th, an anonymous allegation was released to an online community against one of South Korea’s leading award winning actors, Jo Min Ki, alleging that he had been sexually harassing some of his female students in the course of his role as a professor at Cheongju University.

The allegations, which eventually mounted to allegations from over a dozen women including actress Song Ha Neul, who took to Facebook to publish her testimony, led to the loss of his professorship at the University, the cancellation of his contract with his agency, Will Entertainment, after it had initially issued a statement on his behalf, and being edited out of a role on a television show which was soon to air. Less than two weeks later, Min-ki’s wife discovered that he had hung himself in the storage room adjacent to the parking garage to his apartment. Min-Ki had composed and released a letter containing his apology for his actions just before his death, the full contents of which have not yet been released by the authorities.

While the Min-Ki scandal was in full bloom, hit star Oh Dal Soo faced an anonymous allegation of sexual harassment, which didn’t make it too far. But when a second round of allegations came out, this time the accuser being Uhm Ji Young openly positioned her grievances with the star on JTBC’s ‘News Room’. After initially denying the accusations, Oh later publicly issued an apology for his actions.

Additionally, actor Jo Jae Hyun faced allegations of sexual harassment by actress Choi Yul, who pointed to him out as the aggressor via an Instagram post saying

“I was wondering when this would bust. Happened earlier than I thought. It’s now just the beginning. There are still many more trash out there. I can’t say much because I have a lot to lose but till the day where there are no perverts #metoo #withyou.”

Jo later issued an apology to his alleged victims. Jo was removed from the upcoming drama “Cross”.

Playwright and producer Lee Youn Taek faced allegations of sexual assault and abuse by multiple women, including actresses Kim Su Hee and Lee Seung Bi who published their allegations against the playwright onto Facebook. Other women also came forward to call out the popular artist for multiple accusations of rape anonymously via the internet. Lee issued an apology for his actions, but maintains his innocence of the accusations of rape and forcing his victim to procure an abortion.

Kim Tae Hoon, an actor known for numerous major roles, also faces accusations of sexual assault, also anonymous, and also through the medium of Facebook. Hoon has also issued a public apology, and has stepped down from his professorship at Sejong University, in addition to each of his other professional roles.

World renowned film director Kim Ki Duk is facing multiple anonymous allegations of rape and sexual assault by several actresses, one of which has resulted in a fine levied as settlement for violence, although the charge of rape was dismissed due to lack of evidence. Kim rejects the allegations against him.

Cho Jae-hyeon has apologized to his alleged victims, also actresses, who have anonymously accused him of multiple counts of rape and sexual molestation.

The South Korean music industry is also realizing its own share of MeToo accusations, as one member of the popular girl band f(x) took to social media via Twitter to decry instances of sexual harassment and assault, saying

“It happens everywhere, even here. I want to add my voice as well. Not only from what I have experienced but also from what I have seen my friends and loved ones have to go through… And because it’s so common, I hate to say it…the feelings become so numb and we all felt that we just had to ‘deal with it.'”

South Korean Poet, Nobel Prize front runner, former Buddhist monk, eighty four year old Ko Un faces allegations of sexual misconduct under the present mood of the MeToo movement. The scandal coming off of this story has led to his poems being erased from school texts and a library which bears his name being shuttered, as his rival, Choi Young-mi, accuses him of groping young women. Ko denies the allegations and waits to be exonerated through the passage of time.

Political Carnage

But the entertainment industry isn’t the only one being plagued by allegations of sexual misconduct as the MeToo tsunami overtakes the Asian nation which recently hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics. South Korea’s political sector is also getting its own fair share of the carnage.

Former Governor of the South Chungcheong Province, Ahn Hee Jung, who was aspiring after the Presidency, had his political aspirations fall victim to charges of sexual misconduct in the form of two charges of raping his own staff members, including his own secretary.

Another politician, Min Byung-doo, of the Democratic Party of Korea, faced the claim that he had forcibly kissed her following a dinner back in 2010, following which allegations, Min has since stepped down from his position.

The Minjoo party, which was aligned with Ahn, is being extra careful with what they say and do, and are looking to implement stricter profiling procedures in order to help protect themselves from any further political damage that could be wrought through further allegations against party members.

Even the President’s administration is concerned about the possibility of a member being accused, as such a thing occurring during the course of the present political and social climate could be politically devastating.

Backlash
The funeral for Jo Min Ki took place five days ago, leading up to which, an online petition submitted to the President’s website calling for Moon to attend the funeral, given that he had publicly supported the #MeToo movement and assigning partial blame to him for promoting it, with the movement being seen as the reason why the popular film star took his own life.

The actress who accused Jo Min Ki of sexual assault on Facebook, Song Ha Neul, has seen her Facebook page become inundated with “malicious comments”, where commenters have asserted that she is also to blame for the actor’s death by taking her allegations to social media rather than filing legal charges against him for his actions.

One of the more predictable results of the movement in South Korea, much like in the West, is an increasing climate of ostracism where women are being excluded from social gatherings and business trips as well as generally avoided by men in the work environment.

In some cases, even managers are putting distance between themselves and the female members of their staff for fear that she may introduce a MeToo moment in the form of an accusation that could destroy men’s careers as the allegation alone can utterly ruin a reputation and career, with no investigation being necessary for that result.

While the MeToo movement might in some cases draw necessary attention to some real issues that are increasingly prevalent in some industries, it has an unforseen effect of leaving women utterly abandoned and on their own in the professional world.

When someone’s accusation can be a permanent life changing, reputation destroying issue, men become wary of being in close proximity with, and, most especially, being alone with a woman. This iteration of feminism, rather than empowering women and propelling them further in society is producing a backlash that does anything but that, leaving them, in many cases, to fend for themselves.

In a society which boasts sexual liberation, promiscuity is viewed as a form of empowerment in many parts of the West, where frequent, unscrupulous sexual intercourse is par for the course, it can seem somewhat hypocritical of such a society, especially its cultural fountain in the modern entertainment industries, to decry the effects of a culture which they, themselves, tirelessly promote.

It can seem confusing for gender relations when for decades women have opened themselves up to intercourse with people they meet over a few drinks, and how this has come to be viewed as normal, the idea that the person who hits on her is guilty of sexual assault accusations, especially when she doesn’t reject him, possibly introduces a certain friction. In the climate of the MeToo movement, a man can find himself on the receiving end of sexual misconduct allegations for something that, when it happened, could have seemed entirely consensual.

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Liberal Hollywood caught in sexual feeding frenzy

Asia Argento called out by a man SHE sexually abused, revealing the true nature of Hollywood’s “moral cause”.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The #MeToo phenomenon looked to the first glance a bit like a “moral snapback” in Hollywood, as it appeared that the years of hidden sexual perversity and predatory behavior was being revealed so that it might be stopped.

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However, a slightly more serious look at this began to reveal that it was far less upstanding than Hollywood’s elite wanted the adoring public to believe. Swiftly, the movement became the feminist movement’s latest salvo against men, because it provided women accusers with virtually unlimited power to defame any man – all that was needed was for her to say that man X made an unwanted advance and that man’s life would be mired in the mud of slander.

In some cases, of course the presence of sexual abuse was real, and tragic. However, as with many attacks from the dark side, a little truth mixed with the lie makes the lie much stronger, and this recipe proved a huge success for the #MeToo movement. The viral spread of this hashtag and the social “outrage” associated with it turned the lives of many people completely upside down.

However, now the truth begins to show. And what’s more, it begins to show how utterly rotten and, honestly, evil this group of people can be.

Asia Argento is an actress who was one of the early accusers of the producing mogul Harvey Weinstein, arguably the “Wanted” poster child of #MeToo. This woman is physically very beautiful, which makes her someone easy to believe by the elite and by the foolish who take her appearance as somehow proof that she is good. So, her accusations against Mr. Weinstein held, despite the fact that she continued having sexual relations with him for years afterward. She blamed Weinstein for this situation saying about this, “after the rape, he won.”

But late Sunday night on August 19th, news began to surface that Argento had herself seduced and forcibly had sexual relations with a 17 year old actor, Jimmy Bennett, when she was 37 herself. After Argento had gone public with her accusation against Weinstein, Mr. Bennett’s lawyer notified Argento of his intention to sue her for US $3.5 million for emotional distress, lost wages and assault and battery.

Asia Argento agreed to pay him off to the tune of $380,000. This was reported by The New York Times.

This is not the only damaged person in contact with Ms. Argento. Just two months ago on 7 June, her lover Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room at only 61. Mr. Bourdain reportedly suffered from severe alcoholism and its accompanying depression and suicidal tendencies.

The #MeToo movement went extremely viral in its early months, and commentator Rush Limbaugh characterized it as the latest onslaught against men by feminists:

I’m going to tell you, if you’re in politics and you’ve ever looked at a woman the wrong way, you can expect a woman at some point to go public and say so. In fact, because of the success they had with this, it’s entirely possible that men who haven’t done a single thing in terms of mistreating a woman, abusing her, or harassing her, are still, nevertheless, going to be accused of it. It has become a political tactic. We have now had — this is a point that I made yesterday — we have now had something that is a genuinely serious thing in its own right and its own contained universe. Sexual harassment, the use of sexual harassment, the treatment of women, or others, in the workplace, that’s a legitimate thing. But it’s now just been corrupted and weaponized and made to look like a political opposition research weapon, and that’s exactly what’s happened. 

And so, anybody can see, and you can see that when one of these allegations is made, the women are believed, and the men who are accused are not. Which means the men have to prove a negative and the accusers don’t have to prove anything. That is a powerful weapon the Democrats have decided to use. And believe me, as we speak, they are behind closed doors creating further strategems using this, and they are picking their targets. And you’re going to see more of it, I predict.

This present issue though with Mr. Bennett’s situation shows that this is actually much worse than just the latest outbreak of feminism.

The elite in the United States comprises the actors and musicians that have made their names everyday references in popular culture for almost the entire country. These “beautiful people” are tracked by paparazzi and now, apparently, newspapers of national and international significance. Further, the revelation of impropriety among Hollywood elite was mistakenly presented (perhaps deliberately so) as an attempt to make Hollywood look as though it were beyond reproach. The reasons for this are not clear, but speculation exists that it was a setup for an ego te absolvo moment for the Left so they could attack Trump from a “moral high ground.”

But the very prominent expression of “moral outrage” among such “leaders” in this group falls apart when one sees that this group is not at all guided by anything that is truly good. Jimmy Bennett’s case speaks most powerfully about this, because he was raped, essentially, by a woman who he had come to associate in his mind as a “mother figure.” He got a payout, but there is no outrage to speak of against Asia Argento. She made the news because of this revelation but all it appears to show is that the Hollywood elite are eating each other. This woman has some very dark liaisons, too, and the aura of death and decay surrounds her. Yet, she is still a “star.”

Perhaps a good aspect of this report is that we see it a bit more clearly for what it is.

But, that is what many of us said when Harvey Weinstein’s escapades were revealed.

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Doug Casey on Social Media: “Facebook enshrines stupidity”

“Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook.”

The Duran

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Authored by Joel Bowman via InternationalMan.com:


Joel Bowman: G’day, Doug. Thanks for speaking with us today.

Doug Casey: No problem, Joel. It’s a pleasure to hear your Australian accent come across the ether from Mexico.

Joel: Let’s dive right in. A week or two ago, Facebook registered the largest single day loss for any one company in stock market history – roughly $122 billion. CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost around $15 billion himself, as much as the annual GDP of several resource-rich, West African nations.

Looking back to 2000, during the go-go days of the dot.com boom, Intel and Microsoft both registered staggering single-day losses, too… $90 billion and $80 billion, respectively. And we know what happened next in that case…

So, investors want to know… is past prologue? What’s next for Silicon Valley’s tech darlings?

Doug: Talking about losing multiple billions in a single day, it’s really a sign of the times. I remember when the only billionaires in the world were Howard Hughes, John Paul Getty and John Beresford Tipton– the mythical billionaire on a 1950’s-era show called “The Millionaire.”

These days, however, it seems everyone’s a billionaire. In fact, there are several thousand billionaires roaming the planet today, with new ones being minted almost every day.

Of course, much of this so-called wealth is just paper. It’s not real. In fact, it’s pretty clear to me that we’re in a stock market bubble. Which is being driven by the bond market hyper-bubble. And that, in turn, is fueling a real estate bubble, which I believe is just now beginning to deflate in major cities around the world.

None of this augurs well for the stock market. You’ve got bubbles all over the place. Except in the resource market. That’s the one place that hasn’t inflated. In fact, it’s been going down since it’s last peak in 2011.

Getting back to Facebook, I hope it goes bankrupt. I hate it as an institution. I hate what it does. I don’t like its policies. I don’t like its management. I don’t like the fact that it’s causing people to destroy whatever privacy they have left. While turning their brains to mush sending out selfies all day.

Joel: You’ve put a lot on the table there, Doug. Let’s unpack a bit of that, starting with the general tendency toward cerebral rot…

Many younger readers may not remember this, but there actually existed a time before everybody knew everything, when people had to read books and discuss them, engage in healthy debate and rigorous dialectic in order to learn and develop intellectually.

Now that everyone apparently has plenty of time to Instagram their kale salads and “like” one and other’s cat pictures, are we to assume mankind has finally reached the End of Learning…some new Age of Enlightenment?

Or might Facebook and its (anti)social media cousins represent – in addition to the potential fallout for investors – another, hidden cost to society?

Doug: Perhaps humanity is bifurcating into the Morlocks and the Eloi at this point. It’s true that people used to go to libraries. But even the Library of Congress has only a tiny fraction the world’s data available; libraries are quaint and delightful, but they’re dinosaurs.

All the knowledge in the world is now at our fingertips on the Internet. The Internet is one of the greatest inventions in history, on a par with moveable type and the Gutenburg printing press. A few people are using it to educate and better themselves—but relatively few.

Most people just use it for trivial amusement, as you mentioned. Facebook adds very little value to the equation. In fact, I can’t see that it does much that’s productive. It’s basically a vehicle for gossip and watching cat videos.

Joel: And it’s less than that. Aside from the general degradation of public discourse, social media also represents a kind of unalterable historical record of bad jokes and regrettable moments, accessible to anyone who may wish to besmirch one’s character or skittle one’s reputation.

We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t. To err is to be human, after all. What do you make of a world in which everyone’s worst moments are readily available to everyone else – including potential enemies – at the click of a mouse?

Doug: Facebook enshrines stupidity. A heavy Facebook user is, in effect, saying: “Look at me! I’m a thoughtless person who doesn’t have anything better to do with his time”. That’s on top of the fact that users are exposing their thoughts, actions, and whereabouts to the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and any of a hundred other nefarious agencies. In fact, there are credible allegations that Facebook, along with Google and Amazon, are willing tools of these intelligence agencies. No good can come of being a Facebookista.

But that’s about whether you should use Facebook. Whether you should own Facebook stock is a different question. Even after the recent selloff, Facebook still has a market cap of about $500 billion, which impresses me as a lot for a chat site cum advertising vehicle. Especially one where most of its growth is behind it. A lot of users are getting hip to the fact they’re not customers, they’re the product.

Facebook was a clever innovation ten years ago. But you know, there’s an old saying in the stock market: High Tech, Big Wreck!

Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook. My understanding is that kids now see Facebook as something used by old people– people over 21 years of age. So if it’s going nowhere with the younger generation, where’s it’s future? Maybe it picks up a billion new users in the Third World. Ultimately, what’s that worth?

Facebook may not be a terminal short sale, but I certainly won’t be putting any of my own money into the stock.

Joel: Assuming you’re correct and Facebook 2.0 does displace the current market leader, are you hopeful that such a platform may serve to promote a heightened level of discourse? Perhaps people might find their way into “phyles,” that is, subgroups based on commonly shared values that actually have real world meaning?

Doug: I hope that, in a year or two, International Man itself grows into a community of likeminded people with above average I.Q.s, libertarian values, and real world experience. IM might, itself, even branch off to become its own kind of Facebook. A private version.

I know there’s a lot of talk about regulating FB, or breaking it up. That’s a bad idea; the government should have zero to do with business in general—and areas related to free speech in particular. I’m disgusted by the fact FB has kicked Alex Jones and others off their platform. But they have a right to do so, as a private company. Although, on the other hand, they’re almost a creature of the State.

But that’s not an excuse for the government to “step in”. What will happen is that a newer, better Facebook lookalike—or a dozen of them—will replace them. FB will self-destruct. It’s a non-problem.

To be frank, you and I don’t really have that much in common with most of the 7.3 billion people on this planet. In fact, while I like many individual humans, I despise humanity in general. The more people you put together in a group, the more they act like chimpanzees. Big groups force down the lowest common denominator.

There’s some cause for optimism, but only on a person-to-person basis. I prefer the company of people who value free minds and free markets—and I suspect most people who are reading this now feel the same way.

Joel: That’s probably a very good note to end this conversation on, Doug. Thanks, as always, for taking the time.

Doug: Meanwhile, we’ll look for something with the potential of Facebook in 2008… and stay away from Facebook today.

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Can America Ever Come Together Again?

The people who cheer Trump believe the country they inherited from their fathers was a great, good and glorious country, and that the media who detest Trump also despise them.

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


If ex-CIA Director John Brennan did to Andrew Jackson what he did to Donald Trump, he would have lost a lot more than his security clearance.

He would have been challenged to a duel and shot.

“Trump’s … performance in Helsinki,” Brennan had said, “exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was … treasonous.”

Why should the president not strip from a CIA director who calls him a traitor the honor and privilege of a security clearance? Or is a top-secret clearance an entitlement like Social Security?

CIA directors retain clearances because they are seen as national assets, individuals whose unique experience, knowledge and judgment may be called upon to assist a president in a national crisis.

Not so long ago, this was a bipartisan tradition.

Who trashed this tradition?

Was it not the former heads of the security agencies — CIA, FBI, director of national intelligence — who have been leveling the kind of savage attacks on the chief of state one might expect from antifa?

Are ex-security officials entitled to retain the high privileges of the offices they held, if they descend into cable-TV hatred and hostility?

Former CIA chief Mike Hayden, in attacking Trump for separating families of detained illegal immigrants at the border, tweeted a photo of the train tracks leading into Auschwitz.

“Other governments have separated mothers and children” was Hayden’s caption.

Is that fair criticism from an ex-CIA director?

Thursday, The New York Times decried Trump’s accusation that the media are “the enemy of the people.”

“Insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists ‘the enemy of the people’ is dangerous, period,” said the Times.

Fair enough, but is it not dangerous for a free press to be using First Amendment rights to endlessly bash a president as a racist, fascist, sexist, neo-Nazi, liar, tyrant and traitor?

The message of journalists who use such terms may be to convey their detestation of Trump. But what is the message received in the sick minds of people like that leftist who tried to massacre Republican congressmen practicing for their annual softball game with Democrats?

And does Trump not have a point when he says the Boston Globe-organized national attack on him, joined in by the Times and 300 other newspapers, was journalistic “collusion” against him?

If Trump believes that CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post are mortal enemies who want to see him ousted or impeached, is he wrong?

We are an irreconcilable us-against-them nation today, and given the rancor across the ideological, social and cultural chasm that divides us, it is hard to see how, even post-Trump, we can ever come together again.

Speaking at a New York LGBT gala in 2016, Hillary Clinton said: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic … Some of those folks … are irredeemable, but … they are not America.”

When Clinton’s reflections on Middle America made it into print, she amended her remarks. Just as Gov. Andrew Cuomo rushed to amend his comments yesterday when he blurted at a bill-signing ceremony:

“We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” America was “never that great”?

Cuomo’s press secretary hastened to explain, “When the president speaks about making America great again … he ignores the pain so many endured and that we suffered from slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions.”

Clinton and Cuomo committed gaffes of the kind Michael Kinsley described as the blurting out of truths the speaker believes but desperately does not want a wider audience to know.

In San Francisco in 2008, Barack Obama committed such a gaffe.

Asked why blue-collar workers in industrial towns decimated by job losses were not responding to his message, Obama trashed these folks as the unhappy losers of our emerging brave new world:

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

These clingers to their Bibles, bigotries and guns are the people the mainstream media, 10 years later, deride and dismiss as “Trump’s base.”

What Clinton, Cuomo and Obama spilled out reveals what is really behind the cultural and ideological wars of America today.

Most media elites accept the historic indictment — that before the Progressives came, this country was mired in racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, and that its history had been a long catalog of crimes against indigenous peoples, Africans brought here in bondage, Mexicans whose lands we stole, migrants, and women and gays who were denied equality.

The people who cheer Trump believe the country they inherited from their fathers was a great, good and glorious country, and that the media who detest Trump also despise them.

For such as these, Trump cannot scourge the media often enough.

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