In a promotion event for his new one-man documentary, Michael Moore in Trumpland, the Fahrenheit 9/11 director outlined what he saw as the grim reality of Trump’s eventual victory.
The director recounted an incident where the Republican presidential nominee addressed the Detroit Economic Club. In no uncertain terms, Trump told the Ford Motor executives that if they relocate their car factories to Mexico, he was going to put a 35 per cent tariff on them, rendering them too expensive for US consumers.
Moore went on to say why ‘disenfranchised’ Americans would vote for him:
“He is saying the things to people who are hurting. It’s why every beaten down, forgotten, nameless stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump.”
“He is the human Molotov Cocktail they’ve been waiting for. The human hand grenade they can legally throw at the system which stole their lives from them. On November 8, the dispossessed will walk into the voting booth, be handed a ballot, close the curtain and take that lever and put a big fucking ‘X’ in the box by the name of the man who has threatened to up-end and overturn the very system that has ruined their lives: Donald J Trump.”
“Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘fuck you’ ever recorded in human history. And it will feel good.”
Michael Moore caused a stir on Sunday when he Tweeted his negative opinion of snipers, seemingly in response to the release of American Sniper.
In a Facebook post later that day, the director, 60, defended his statements about snipers – but also attempted to distance the Tweets from the the Oscar-nominated film about real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle….(blah blah blah) (read more)
The 31-year-old Stanford business grad explains how he outmaneuvered GOP leaders and why he thinks House Republicans can defund ObamaCare.
Stephen Moore writes:
“I really believe we are in a great position right now,” says Michael Needham, the 31-year-old president of Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the nation’s largest conservative think tank. By “we” he means the Republican Party and the conservative movement; their “great position” refers to the potential to win the political battle over the government shutdown.
Though Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the public face of the high-risk strategy to “defund” ObamaCare, the masterminds behind it are a new generation of young conservatives, chief among them Mr. Needham. From a tactical view, the strategy has been deployed with precision. In August, only Mr. Cruz and a band of renegade tea-party Republicans in the House favored this approach, and the media collectively scoffed. But by September, House Republicans couldn’t pass a budget without attaching the defunding rider that has grounded much of government.
Director James Toback told women that he could put them in movies. But then, they say, he sexually harassed them.
Glenn Whipp reports: He prowled the streets of Manhattan looking for attractive young women, usually in their early 20s, sometimes college students, on occasion a high schooler. He approached them in Central Park, standing in line at a bank or drug store or at a copy center while they worked on their resumes.
His opening line had a few variations. One went: “My name’s James Toback. I’m a movie director. Have you ever seen ‘Black and White’ or ‘Two Girls and a Guy’?”
Probably not. So he’d start to drop names. He had an Oscar nomination for writing the Warren Beatty movie “Bugsy.” He directed Robert Downey Jr., in three movies. The actor, Toback claimed, was a close friend; he had “invented him.” If you didn’t believe him, he would pull out a business card or an article that had been written about him to prove he had some juice in Hollywood. That he could make you a star.
But first, he’d need to get to know you. Intimately. Trust him, he’d say. It’s all part of his process.
Then, in a hotel room, a movie trailer, a public park, meetings framed as interviews or auditions quickly turned sexual, according to 38 women who, in separate interviews told the Los Angeles Times of similar encounters they had with Toback.
During these meetings, many of the women said, Toback boasted of sexual conquests with the famous and then asked humiliating personal questions. How often do you masturbate? How much pubic hair do you have? He’d tell them, they said, that he couldn’t properly function unless he “jerked off” several times a day. And then he’d dry-hump them or masturbate in front of them, ejaculating into his pants or onto their bodies and then walk away. Meeting over.
The women’s accounts portray James Toback as a man who, for decades, sexually harassed women he hired, women looking for work and women he just saw on the street. The vast majority of these women — 31 of the 38 interviewed — spoke on the record. The Times also interviewed people that the women informed of the incidents when they occurred.
As is often the case, none of them contacted the police at the time. When contacted by The Times, Toback denied the allegations, saying that he had never met any of these women or, if he did, it “was for five minutes and have no recollection.” He also repeatedly claimed that for the last 22 years, it had been “biologically impossible” for him to engage in the behavior described by the women in this story, saying he had diabetes and a heart condition that required medication. Toback declined to offer further details.
The women interviewed during The Times’ investigation offered accounts that differed from Toback’s recollections.
“The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done,’” actress Adrienne LaValley said of a 2008 hotel room encounter that ended with Toback trying to rub his crotch against her leg. When she recoiled, he stood up and ejaculated in his pants. “I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends. And I deserved not to tell anyone.”
“In a weird sense, I thought, ‘This is a test of whether I’m a real artist and serious about acting,’” remembered Starr Rinaldi, who was an aspiring actress when Toback approached her in Central Park about 15 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger writes that Abbie Hoffman wrote ‘Steal This Book.’ Democrats are doing the 2016 update.
Daniel Henninger writes: A serious person might ask: Why did John Podesta, the Democratic Party, and various of its media affiliates head into the fever swamps after Donald Trump won the election?
“Something in the post-1968 Democratic genetic code is always on the brink of tipping into anarchy. Most American voters become uncomfortable when they see an Abbie Hoffman or Michael Moore cavorting in the streets with the country’s politics. Almost always, voters make Democrats pay a price for conducting politics by extra-political means.”
We knew months ago that the Trump phenomenon could drive women mad and make grown men weep, but how to explain the adoption of a Tom Clancy conspiracy, to wit: Vladimir Putin, using hacker slaves in a Kremlin basement, stole the election for Mr. Trump? Therefore let’s sequester the 538 folks from the Electoral College in a safe house for a CIA briefing before they vote to validate the results of the 2016 election.
“For Democrats of that generation—which is the Podesta and Hillary and Bernie generation—Abbie Hoffman was their Michael Moore. Abbie summed up his view of politics with a book titled, “Steal This Book.” Many did.”
Several explanations press into view, the simplest being . . . embarrassment.
Mr. Podesta and his associates lost the election, or at least the one that has been deciding U.S. presidential results since George Washington carried the Electoral College vote in 1789. (Gen. Washington got 69 votes, John Adams 34.)
“Now Michael Moore is exhorting thousands of bereaved and angry Democrats to descend on Washington next month to ‘disrupt the Inauguration.’ All I can say is: Do it!”
This year’s loss happened in large part because the Hillary campaign ignored Bill Clinton’s advice to pursue the blue-collar vote that won him the presidency. The Clinton campaign thought Barack Obama’s “coalition of the ascendant” would win a third straight time. Staring out across the U.S. political map today, they look now like the coalition of the descendant.
Why this? Why are the Democrats resorting to the goofball gambit of asking Electoral College electors to steal the election for Hillary Clinton? The answer is because that’s how this wing of the Democratic Party does politics.
Little surprise that the people responsible for this debacle are filling the skies with Putin-elected-Trump flak to divert eyes from why they lost states they should have won.
“The progressive Democratic demonstrators that filled Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower after they lost is the same party wing that rioted in 1968 in Chicago outside their own party’s convention.”
Another, more plausible explanation would be the belief among Democrats that the Trump victory is a temporary political bubble.
Mr. Trump won by gaining the support of les deplorables who formerly voted Democrat or who had stopped voting altogether after losing faith in the system. That is a thin, volatile presidential base.
“If Mr. Trump consolidates his election support with material progress, Republicans could have a governing coalition for many election cycles. One of the election’s most intriguing footnotes is that Mr. Trump increased support among blacks and Hispanics over the 2012 result by 2% each. That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
If President Trump doesn’t deliver prosperity that satisfies these new voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, they’ll abandon the Trump Republicans. Then, like Silly Putty, the Democrats’ Blue Wall of electoral-vote states will reform in 2020. Read the rest of this entry »
Brendan O’Neill continues:
…By the Cult of Hillary Clinton, I don’t mean the nearly 62 million Americans who voted for her. I have not one doubt that they are as mixed and normal a bag of people as the Trumpites are. No, I mean the Hillary machine—the celebs and activists and hacks who were so devoted to getting her elected and who have spent the past week sobbing and moaning over her loss. These people exhibit cult-like behavior far more than any Trump cheerer I’ve come across.
“Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself…Hillary is Athena,” Heffernan continued, adding that “Hillary did everything right in this campaign… She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second.”
— Virginia Heffernan
Trump supporters view their man as a leader “fused with the idea of the nation”? Perhaps some do, but at least they don’t see him as “light itself.” That’s how Clinton was described in the subhead of a piece for Lena Dunham‘s Lenny Letter. “Maybe [Clinton] is more than a president,” gushed writer Virginia Heffernan. “Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself,” Nothing this nutty has been said by any of Trump’s media fanboys.
“Hillary is Athena,” Heffernan continued, adding that “Hillary did everything right in this campaign… She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second.”
That’s a key cry of the Cult of Hillary (as it is among followers of L. Ron Hubbard or devotees of Christ): our gal is beyond criticism, beyond the sober and technical analysis of mere humans. Michael Moore, in his movie Trumpland, looked out at his audience and, with voice breaking, said: “Maybe Hillary could be our Pope Francis.”
Or consider Kate McKinnon‘s post-election opening bit on SNL, in which she played Clinton as a pantsuited angel at a piano singing Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah,” her voice almost cracking as she sang: “I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya.” Read the rest of this entry »
‘After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?’Posted: February 4, 2015
Vindicating Chris Kyle
Islamic State proves Kyle was right about the ‘savage’ enemy
“Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq.” Those were among the words the late Chris Kyle, of “American Sniper” fame, used to describe the enemy he and fellow veterans of the Iraq war faced. After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?
“The kidnappers then tied the Egyptian’s hands behind his back and asked him to state his name. . . . After complying, he was about to apologize for his acts, but a man gave a sign to the ‘executioner’ standing behind the hostage, who grabbed the man’s tongue and cut it off, stating that the time for excuses was past.”
We say this as a corner of liberal America has fallen over itself denouncing Clint Eastwood ’s blockbuster biopic of Kyle, who was killed in 2013 by a deranged Marine veteran. HBO’s Bill Maher called him a “psychopath patriot,” and other Hollywood action heroes like Michael Moore have weighed in similarly. Their view is that Kyle must have been inhumane since he killed scores of enemy fighters without being burdened by a guilty conscience.
“After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?”
Yet the kind of butchery that Islamic State likes to advertise via YouTube was the reality Iraqis routinely faced when the Islamic State’s forbear, al Qaeda in Iraq, terrorized entire cities and towns during the height of the Iraq war. Read the rest of this entry »
‘I lost track of how many soldiers and Marines told me of their frustration with an American media that so often describes them as either nuts or victims’
Michael J. Totten writes: Clint Eastwood’s new film, American Sniper, is a blisteringly accurate portrayal of the American war in Iraq. Unlike most films in the genre, it sidesteps the politics and focuses on an individual: the late, small-town Texan, Chris Kyle, who joined the Navy SEALs after 9/11 and did four tours of duty in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Baghdad. He is formally recognized as the deadliest sniper in American history, and the film, based on his bestselling memoir, dramatizes the war he felt duty-bound to fight and his emotionally wrenching return home, with post-traumatic stress.
“All psychologically normal people feel at least some hatred for the enemy in a war zone. It’s not humanly possible to like or feel neutral toward people who are trying to kill you. Race hasn’t the faintest thing to do with it.”
The movie has become a flashpoint for liberal critics. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore dismissed the film out-of-hand because snipers, he says, are “cowards.” “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds,” comic actor Seth Rogen tweeted, referring to a fake Hitler propaganda film about a Nazi sniper, though he backtracked and said he actually liked the film, that it only reminded him of Nazi propaganda. Writing for the Guardian, Lindy West is fair to Eastwood and the film but cruel to its subject. Kyle, she says, was “a hate-filled killer” and “a racist who took pleasure in dehumanizing and killing brown people.”
The Navy confirms that Kyle shot and killed 160 combatants, most of whom indeed had brown skin. While he was alive, he said that he enjoyed his job. In one scene in the movie, Kyle, played by a bulked-up Bradley Cooper, refers to “savages,” and it’s not clear if he means Iraqis in general or just the enemies he’s fighting.
“What would you think of a man who kills a kid with a power drill right in front of you? Would you moderate your language so that no one at a Manhattan dinner party would gasp? Maybe you would, but Kyle wasn’t at a Manhattan dinner party.”
But let’s take a step back and leave the politics aside. All psychologically normal people feel at least some hatred for the enemy in a war zone. This is true whether they’re on the “right” side or the “wrong” side. It’s not humanly possible to like or feel neutral toward people who are trying to kill you. Race hasn’t the faintest thing to do with it.
“Here’s a medical fact: psychopaths don’t suffer from post-traumatic stress or any other kind of anxiety disorder. And cowards don’t volunteer for four tours of duty in war-torn Iraq.”
Does anyone seriously believe Kyle would have felt differently if white Russians or Serbs, rather than “brown” Arabs, were shooting at him? How many residents of New York’s Upper West Side had a sympathetic or nuanced view of al-Qaida on September 11, 2001? Some did—inappropriately, in my view—but how many would have been able to keep it up if bombs exploded in New York City every day, year after year?
Kyle had other reasons to hate his enemies, aside from their desire to kill him. In American Sniper, we see him in Fallujah and Ramadi fighting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq, the bloody precursor to ISIS. Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew Braun: ‘Unlike the War Films of Generations Past, ‘American Sniper’ Actually Has to Explain Onscreen That al Qaeda Insurgents Were (and Still Are) Bad’Posted: January 29, 2015
What ‘American Sniper’ Tells You About Its Critics
A veteran reviews ‘American Sniper’
Matthew Braun writes: I am not at all surprised that Michael Moore and Seth Rogen don’t like American Sniper . For them, the idea of military sacrifice is absurd. We get an idea of how badly they understand the motivation of the modern American fighting man and woman when they can’t tell the difference between someone like me, with 15 years of experience in law enforcement, military intelligence, and counterterrorism, and a Nazi. No. Seriously.
American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 18, 2015
My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 18, 2015
“The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism.”
He later said, implausibly, he just happened to tweet this while “American Sniper ” was pulling in a massive $105 million opening weekend box-office haul and wasn’t talking at all about “American Sniper .”
“Where John Ford and Frank Capra once did propaganda films during World War II, Hollywood today is irredeemably corrupted by a worldview that blames America for all the ills of the world.”
Moore’s experience with martial matters is exactly zero, and his understanding of snipers is based on a tragic anecdote from World War II. Moore never allows for the possibility that Nazi snipers might have been cowards, and that American snipers might be saving lives.
Newsflash: Like the Nazis, Al Qaeda Is Bad
War movies have changed a lot since the 1940s. War movies in the 1940s didn’t have to explain that the Nazis were bad. We take Nazis as evil for granted now; with 65 years of hindsight there are far more people around now who were never alive for Hitler’s Reich, but all of us understand that Nazis are bad.
“The American Left can’t imagine a person who actually fights to protect other Americans, who actually believes America is the greatest country on Earth, and who does it all with a Bible in his pocket. That’s a farce to them.”
Film has been, perhaps, the best teacher of this simple truth. Nazis were just Nazis in movies, even when their evil was supernatural or no longer based in reality.
“…It’s too far off from the people they have known and deal with every day to be real, so they think it’s propaganda for the Right, for America, for war.”
Unlike the war films of generations past, ‘American Sniper’ actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad.
The Left continues to think of the American military and foreign illegal fighters as basically being two sides of the same coin. Worse, they can’t seem to tell the difference between American service members and al Qaeda. Unlike the war films of generations past, “American Sniper” actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad. In explaining, and in depicting, Kyle’s firm and unflinching lack of remorse or understanding for the plight of the torturing, ambushing, child-murdering insurgent, we see a fun word on Twitter: Jingoistic.
The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism. Read the rest of this entry »
Rorke Denver: ‘Liberals’ Criticism of My SEAL Teammate Chris Kyle Has Had the Ironic Effect of Honoring Him’Posted: January 26, 2015
The United States of ‘American Sniper’
Rorke Denver writes: ‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.
“The very term ‘sniper’ seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage.”
The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.
My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.
“Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.”
The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.
“My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. “
I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Tuttle: American Sniper Backlash Exposes ‘Bush Derangement’ Syndrome Hasn’t Gone into Remission, Still MalignantPosted: January 22, 2015
Chris Kyle Complicates the Narrative
National Review Buckley fellow Ian Tuttle addressed the seething discontent on the American left over the popular success of American Sniper, saying the backlash against the story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle represents continuing “derangement” over the Bush years and the Iraq War.
“One of the reasons that Chris Kyle has garnered so much animus is because there remains a derangement when it comes to Iraq and the Bush years, against which Chris Kyle stood…”
Tuttle spoke with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday about the vitriolic outpouring against Kyle by left-wing bloggers and pundits like Michael Moore and Max Blumenthal, who accused the sniper of being a coward and a mass murderer. Read the rest of this entry »
“The ideal thing would be if I knew the number of lives I saved, because that’s something I’d love to be known for. But you can’t calculate that.”
Michael Moore called him a “coward.” Peter Mass of Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept slammed him for calling Iraqis “savages.” Former Daily Beast reporter Max Blumenthal described him as a “mass murderer” — a sentiment later echoed on a defaced billboard that’s advertising the most popular movie in America.
Murdered by a mentally ill veteran he was counseling in February 2013, Kyle is no longer here to defend himself. But a C-SPAN video from April 2012 does a pretty good job of putting the lie to the Left’s portrait of a remorseless sociopathic killer. Read the rest of this entry »
David Boaz writes: Not long ago a journalist asked me what freedoms we take for granted in America. Now, I spend most of my time sounding the alarm about the freedoms we’re losing. But this was a good opportunity to step back and consider how America is different from much of world history — and why immigrants still flock here.
[Check out David Boaz‘s book “The Politics of Freedom: Taking on The Left, The Right and Threats to Our Liberties” at Amazon]
Rule of law. Perhaps the greatest achievement in history is the subordination of power to law. That is, in modern America we have created structures that limit and control the arbitrary power of government. No longer can one man — a king, a priest, a communist party boss — take another person’s life or property at the ruler’s whim. Citizens can go about their business, generally confident that they won’t be dragged off the streets to disappear forever, and confident that their hard-earned property won’t be confiscated without warning. We may take the rule of law for granted, but immigrants from China, Haiti, Syria, and other parts of the world know how rare it is.
Equality. For most of history people were firmly assigned to a particular status — clergy, nobility, and peasants. Kings and lords and serfs. Brahmans, other castes, and untouchables in India. If your father was a noble or a peasant, so would you be. The American Revolution swept away such distinctions. In America all men were created equal. Thomas Jefferson declared “that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” In America some people may be smarter, richer, stronger, or more beautiful than others, but “I’m as good as you” is our national creed. We are all citizens, equal before the law, free to rise as far as our talents will take us.
Equality for women. Throughout much of history women were the property of their fathers or their husbands. They were often barred from owning property, testifying in court, signing contracts, or participating in government. Equality for women took longer than equality for men, but today in America and other civilized parts of the world women have the same legal rights as men. Read the rest of this entry »
Mollie Hemingway writes: The movie begins in Bricksburg, where all media, business, and government are controlled by the Octan Energy Corporation. The Bricksburgers are all rule-followers who love “President Business,” the embodiment of crony capitalism who runs the whole show. Under his iron-fist rule, everyone follows the instructions at home and work, enforced by cheery “I’ve got my eye on you!” advertisements and surveillance cameras.
“The LEGO Movie” isn’t just pro-business. There might not be a more classically liberal film in the history of film-making”
The world’s free thinkers — known as master builders — are President Business’ greatest threat. These are the mini-figurines who reject the cultural and legal norms enforced by President Business. They are caught via a massive surveillance and military system and locked up against their will. One of the rule-following citizens is a perfectly boring chap named “Emmet,” a construction worker on a team that destroys interesting and unique buildings and replaces them with brutal and uniform office structures.
One day Emmet spies free-thinking hipster “WyldStyle” breaking some rules and digging through some bricks. Following her, he ends up discovering an important item that might be able to thwart President Business’ evil plans. The movie has easily one of the most palatable dystopian settings ever presented to children, made more accessible by its fidelity to LEGO limitations and style.
The film is being presented by fans and detractors as anti-business. Here’s FOX Business:
If you don’t want to watch, a few highlights from the panel discussion:
“The LEGO Movie” is latest example of Hollywood’s anti-business agenda …. It feels a little bit more threatening when they start to push this out to our kids … the Head of a corporation is an easy target … embed anti-capitalist messages … Hollywood has been long dominated by far left, very anti-capitalist.”
Paul Bond writes: The filmmakers behind Dinesh D’Souza‘s upcoming doc have vowed to press on while their star defends himself after his indictment on federal charges that he violated campaign finance laws in 2012. On Sunday, they released a trailer for the movie, America, that is set for release on July 4.
“I want to take this progressive, leftist critique head on”
America is the follow-up to the surprise hit 2016: Obama’s America, which earned $33 million in 2012 and became the second most popular political documentary in history, behind Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, which earned $119 million in 2004.
In America, D’Souza — who wrote and produced the film — makes the claim that 1960s radical leftism is more or less indistinguishable from current mainstream liberalism, a doctrine that he says preaches the United States is the product of “stealing and plunder” from Native Americans, Mexicans and African-American slaves.
“I want to take this progressive, leftist critique head on,” D’Souza says in the trailer. The movie will include re-creations of some of the major events in American history.
America is directed by John Sullivan and co-produced by Gray Frederickson, who won an Oscar for producing The Godfather Part II, and Gerald Molen, who won an Oscar for Schindler’s List. D’Souza and Sullivan co-directed 2016: Obama’s America.
“…I had one tell me they couldn’t stand the sight of the people in (‘Caucus’)”
By contrast, “2016: Obama’s America” co-directors Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan avoided the U.S. fest circuit altogether — and it doesn’t seem to have hurt the film in the slightest. “2016” earned more than $33 million, making it the second-highest-grossing political doc after “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
“…I actually get a lot more of what I describe as left-wing propaganda films.”
For most nonfiction pics, however, the fest circuit is a vital component of a film’s life cycle, which is why businessman-turned-documaker Dennis Michael Lynch submitted his “They Come to America” to nearly 30 U.S. festivals, to no avail. He contends the film was rejected on the basis of his conservative stance on immigration, as opposed to the film’s quality. Lynch went on to self-distribute and decided not to “waste a dime on festivals” for the sequel.
The Examiner‘s Gene Healy‘s list is good, but he mentions briefly at the top, but doesn’t include in his final top five, what I would personally crown as the number one worst op-ed of the year–the New York Times piece arguing that conservative Dallas ”willed the death” of JFK (by getting a communist to shoot him?) But not just that NYTimes item, variations on that same malignant fantasy polluted op-ed pages from coast to coast, for weeks.
For readers who saw our JFK 50th anniversary coverage here at punditfromanotherplanet during November, I hammered this leftist “Dallas-did-it” myth nonstop, including savage pieces by George Will, and others. While my personal choice doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of number one worst op-ed, I’m glad to see that it at least got an honorable mention.
Gene Healy writes: Picking the year’s worst op-eds — an annual tradition in this space — wasn’t easy in 2013. There’s the Slate writer who announced you’re “a bad person if you send your children to private school”; the New York Times piece arguing that conservative Dallas ”willed the death” of JFK (by getting a communist to shoot him?); and the fellow who worried that allowing more high-skilled immigration would exacerbate “America’s Genius Glut.”
If you’ve been losing sleep over the genius glut in American punditry, rest easy. That threat’s a long way off.
To narrow the choices and give this pudding a theme, I’ve decided that 2013’s malicious listicle will focus on the perverse affinity for executive power of our alleged “Thought Leaders.” In a year when presidential incompetence and power lust ruled the headlines — when record numbers of Americans feared big government — the leading lights of the American commentariat clamored for more presidential power. Go figure.
Early on in President Obama’s summer of scandal eruptions, communitarian honcho Amitai Etzioni was incensed that anyone dared invoke the I-word. After all, the president likely “did not know diddly squat” about IRS harassment of the Tea Party.
Only a constitutional amendment making it harder for Congress to impeach the president could save us, Etzioni insisted. But since we manage fewer than onepresidential impeachment per century, how much harder could it be?
In this column, Dowd’s father figure disappoints her once again. Instead of “hurl[ing] a few missiles, Zeus like,” at Syria, Obama had been contemptibly weak: “When it came time to act as commander in chief, he choked,” reverting to “Barry, president of the Harvard Law Review.” Apparently, only a legalistic sissy would ask Congress to authorize a war.
It wasn’t exactly the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, but 10 years ago this week, Washington was consumed with another scandal, dubbed by one CNN newscaster as “Turkey-gate”: Was that a fake turkey President George W. Bush was photographed with during his first surprise visit with troops in Iraq?
The photo resulting from the visit was iconic — possibly history’s most famous picture of a cooked turkey. It’s certainly the most misunderstood. Despite being a real turkey, meant as a decoration for the chow line, Mr. Bush’s political opponents seized on it, erroneously claiming it was plastic.
In the years since, the bogus “fake turkey” story keeps churning, including slipping into 2004 New York Times and Boston Globe articles, making it into talk radio shows in 2005 and popping up in Washington Post and London Telegraph stories in 2006. To this day, it still creeps into print in letters to the editor in newspapers around the country.
Author Humberto Fontova says you don’t know squat about Cuba.
“[A]lmost everything most people (except Cuban exiles) think they know about Cuba isn’t just wrong — it’s almost the exact opposite of the truth,” Fontova, a refugee from Castro’s Cuba and the author of numerous books about the country, told The Daily Caller in an interview about his new book, ”The Longest Romance: The Mainstream and Fidel Castro.”
President Bush knew how to build a coalition
George W. Bush was widely mocked by the Left during the Iraq War, with liberals jeering at the “coalition of the willing,” which included in its ranks some minnows such as Moldova and Kazkhstan. Michael Moore, in his rather silly documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, went to great lengths to lampoon the Iraq War alliance. But the coalition also contained, as I pointed out in Congressional testimony back in 2007, Great Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, and 16 members of the NATO alliance, as well as Japan and South Korea. In Europe, France and Germany were the only large-scale countries that sat the war out, with 12 of the 25 members of the European Union represented. The coalition, swelled to roughly 40 countries, and was one of the largest military coalitions ever assembled.
When, at long last, will people understand that the Left is boring?
The question came to mind as I was dipping in and out of Oliver Stone’s miasmic 700-plus-page tome. I’ll never read the whole thing, and not because it’s a left-wing screed full of slimy distortions about the evils of the United States (though that doesn’t help). It’s that it’s boring.
Stone and co-author Peter Kuznick call their book “The Untold History of the United States,” except, again, it isn’t. This story has been told countless times before. As theDaily Beast’s Michael Moynihan notes in a devastating review, Stone and Kuznick offer no new research, and much of the old research they rely on has been rendered moot by more recent discoveries since the Berlin Wall came down.
Still, what vexes me about the book isn’t really the substance. What bothers me is the manufactured rebelliousness, the kitschy nostalgic play-acting of the thing. The 66-year-old Stone can be an original filmmaker, but he is a stale old Red when it comes to politics.
In a sense, that’s fine. We’re all entitled to our opinions, even to commit them to paper in book form. But spare me the radical pose. Among the hilarious blurbs is this encomium from the octogenarian radical Daniel Ellsberg. “Howard [Zinn] would have loved this ‘people’s history’ of the American Empire. It’s compulsive reading: brilliant, a masterpiece!”
Ellsberg is right about one thing: The late Howard Zinn, a wildly left-wing historian, probably would have loved it — in no small part because he wrote so much of it already in his decades-old and endlessly recycled A People’s History of the United States.
Zinn’s work, along with Noam Chomsky’s, Michael Moore’s, and, now, Stone’s, is seen as boldly transgressive and subversive. Intellectually, there’s some truth to that of course. If you’re dedicated to subverting the free-enterprise system and traditional patriotism, then you’re a subversive.
I guess what bothers me is the whole pretense that these people are bravely speaking truth to power in some way. Zinn has been on college syllabi for decades. Moore wins Academy Awards and is treated like royalty by the Democratic party (he sat in Jimmy Carter’s suite at the 2004 Democratic convention). Chomsky has been a fixture on the campus paid-lecture circuit since before I was born.
On the night John Edwards first bedded Rielle Hunter in 2006, the former vice presidential candidate, father, self-styled crusader for the poor and husband of a woman dying from breast cancer told his new mistress he had three other girlfriends in Chicago, Florida and Los Angeles, Hunter later said.
Edwards told her he needed her to be his “safe place,” then later admitted that he had fabricated the story about the three other girlfriends — to keep her from getting too attached, Hunter said.
John Edwards was a Hall of Fame-level a-hole. Who are these people? How did they get that way? And what should the rest of us do about them? In his new book, “A–holes: A Theory” (Doubleday), University of California, Irvine philosophy professor Aaron James ponders these questions.
An absurdly unjustified sense of entitlement is critical to a-holism, James points out. Edwards probably felt that he was a tireless advocate for the poor, just as Steve Jobs’ “knowledge of how much people love his gadgets could potentially explain why he felt entitled to park in handicapped spaces, skimp on philanthropic giving and intentionally hurt his associates. As Jobs’ best friend, Jony Ive, explains, ‘When he’s very frustrated . . . his way to achieve catharsis is to hurt somebody. And I think he feels he has a liberty and license to do that.’ ”
There is a shocking aspect to all this: Steve Jobs had a friend?
An a-hole is not a psychopath, but he does feel a right to do what he does — cut to the head of the line, weave in and out of traffic,
hijack the conversation — and is surprised by, or simply disregards, others’ objections to his behavior. Also, there is a pettiness to the a-hole’s deeds. And a-holism presupposes a level of intimacy and familiarity.
We don’t refer to criminals, terrorists or even people who sneak across the border as a-holes; Hitler was a monster, not an a-hole. Yet a-hole behavior is so egregious that it spurs us to vulgarity; “jerk” is too mild an epithet for the likes of Donald Trump, Simon Cowell, Nancy Pelosi, Joe “You Lie!” Wilson, Kanye West, Naomi Campbell, Michael Moore, Mel Gibson, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner and Charlie Sheen. These are a few of the A-holes flagged in Geoffrey Nunberg in his new book, “Ascent of the A-Word: A-holism, The First Sixty Years” (PublicAffairs).
“Every age,” Nunberg writes, “creates a particular social offender that it makes a collective preoccupation — the cad in Anthony Trollope’s day, the phony that Holden Caulfield was fixated on in the postwar years — and the a–hole is ours . . . It signals indignation, with an undercurrent of contempt.”
Nunberg, a Berkeley linguist, notes that the A-word dates back only to WWII, when GIs used it and many thought it meant something like nerd (just as “ass,” which formerly meant “silly person,” is now converging in meaning with the more popular epithet). Norman Mailer was a pioneer of bringing the word to print, and if you’re thinking, “It takes one to name one,” you’re onto something.
A-holism is a virus: The acts of an a-hole are so outrageous they give us cause to be a-holes right back at them.
Be honest: A postseason Sox/Yanks game wouldn’t be nearly so important if you weren’t thinking about how unhappy the other side will be in defeat.
“That’s how a lot of partisans think of themselves, as in the business of infuriating the a-holes on the other side,” says Nunberg. Notice that in the presidential debates, Obama partisans cheered when Joe Biden acted like an a-hole for precisely this reason.
Technology — hello, Twitter! — enables us rapidly to feel familiar with ideological opponents we’ve never met, and you can bet that the day after the election will break all records for public displays of a-holism on the winning side. The modern office career is another boost for a-holism; James notes that a university study found that professional stock traders were more reckless than psychopaths on a competitive test measuring willingness to cooperate and egotism. The study co-author noted, the traders “spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents.” It was as if they noticed a neighbor had a nice car so “they took after it with a baseball bat so they could look better themselves.”
In a more cooperative and trust-based job, like construction, a-holism couldn’t thrive; annoy someone too much when you’re putting up a building, and you might find yourself accidentally getting a sack of cement dropped on your toes.
You’ll notice that a lot of these trends are pushing in the same direction. A-holism is one of those things, like traffic and the cost of education, that is always bad and yet always getting worse. Modern life is a rich, fertile environment for louts, jerks and boors: It’s an a-hole jungle out there.
- Who You Callin’ A**hole? (slate.com)
- The Rise Of The Asshole (npr.org)
- “Ascent of the A-Word ” Geoffrey Nunberg’s Masterpeice (bobsutton.typepad.com)
- Rielle Hunter: Moving Closer to John Edwards? (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- Review: What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me (kassa011.wordpress.com)
- Geoffrey Nunberg’s new book: ‘The Ascent of the A-Word’ (ischool.berkeley.edu)
- Understanding Assholism (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
The Fate of Progressive Evangelicalism
Shirley Hanson had little interest in politics. The suburban Minneapolis homemaker was committed to her family, serving in her local community, and, in particular, serving in her evangelical church. Aghast at the excesses of the late 1960s and early ’70s, she voted for Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972 but then was disillusioned by the Watergate scandal. As the 1976 presidential election approached, she became intrigued with a relative new-comer to national politics, Jimmy Carter. The manner in which his faith was so much a part of his identity compelled her to think anew about her interest and possible involvement in politics.
When her three children returned to school that fall, Hanson went door-to-door in surrounding neighborhoods to generate votes for Carter. She then watched with considerable satisfaction that November as the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, was elected as the 39th President of the United States.
Fast forward four years. Hanson renounced her support for Carter and cast an impassioned vote for Ronald Reagan. She was not alone in her decision: a grinding recession, gasoline shortages, and a hostage crisis in Iran that deeply wounded American morale left Carter vulnerable.
In Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Randall Balmer, a noted commentator on America’s religious past and present who serves on the faculty at Dartmouth College, seeks to make sense of this turn of events, situating Carter in the long arc of progressive evangelicalism and in particular its vicissitudes during the ascendancy of the Religious Right, a period detailed so well by David Swartz in his recent Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism…(read more) Books and Culture
Reviewing the book “Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism”, in October 2012, For Christianity Today, Gregory Metzger writes:
In the Iowa caucuses of 1976, The New York Times reported on the surprising impact of a new force in American politics. This force propelled a relative unknown to victory in Iowa and eventually earned him the nomination of his party. The candidate was Jimmy Carter, the party Democratic, and the new political force evangelicals.
Carter’s shocking victory in Iowa would propel him to the Democratic nomination, and in the general election Carter would benefit from the active support of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Jimmy Allen, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, in his defeat of Republican Gerald Ford. Four years later evangelicals would prove to be a key plank in a Religious Right’s effort to defeat Carter and elevate Ronald Reagan to the presidency. A new book tells the dramatic story of the grassroots movements of the evangelical left that formed in the ’60s and ’70s and helped pave the way for Carter’s stunning victory, and explains the forces that would leave those movements in ideological retreat in the ’80s and ’90s. It’s a complicated story told with great skill and clarity by David R. Swartz in Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism (University of Pennsylvania Press).
[Order the book Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism from Amazon.com]
Swartz, assistant professor of history at Asbury University, did his studies at Notre Dame under the tutelage of first George Marsden and then Mark Noll, and his writing reflects the decades of careful evangelical scholarship that those two have pioneered. Swartz has produced a must read not only for those interested in American religion and politics, but also for students of global Christianity. In relatively short order (the book’s main text comes in at 266 pages), Swartz gives a richly textured narrative of some of evangelicalism’s brightest thinkers, most creative activists, and most controversial provocateurs. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s the new trailer, first unveiled on The Kelly File: Having made the second-highest-grossing political documentary of all time, the team behind 2016: Obama’s America is now, as promised, following up with America. Sending up some fireworks of his own to rival the ones 2016 generated, producer-writer and kind-of host Dinesh D’Souza says of his new docu, “We answer the central moral challenge of America’s critics, which is that America’s greatness is based on theft, plunder and oppression.” Listen for other red-button phrases from interviewees describing the USA as “the new evil empire” and a “predatory colonial power” as well as referring to Mount Rushmore as “a symbol of oppression and genocide to our people.” Director John Sullivan’s film comes out two years after its predecessors — hitting theaters on the Fourth of July…(read more) Deadline.com
Patrick Weidinger writes: The decade after the first US airliner was hijacked and flown to Cuba may be thought of as the “golden age” of US hijackings. Anyone who remembers this era knows just how frequently planes were being hijacked. Prior to 1958 only one airplane was hijacked, per year, on average, in the entire world. The worst year was 1969 when 82 airplanes were hijacked. US airplane hijackings headed for Cuba became so common the FBI considered setting up a fake Havana airport in southern Florida to trick hijackers into thinking they had arrived in Cuba. “Take me to Cuba” became a national catchphrase.
“Prior to 1958 only one airplane was hijacked, per year, on average, in the entire world. The worst year was 1969 when 82 airplanes were hijacked.”
There was great confusion during this period of time about what to do with the hijackers – give into their demands or try to take them out (this ended on September 11, 2001, after which there was no more debate). No one was even sure who had jurisdiction. Was it the FAA or was it the FBI (J Edgar Hoover thought it was most defiantly the FBI). And so it was the hijackers managed to pull off their crimes against a confused and non-coordinated response system. By the end of 1972 over 150 American airplanes had been hijacked.
“By the ’80s, domestic hijackings seemed a thing of the past, a perception that persisted right up to the 9/11 attacks. But during the 1961-1972 skyjacking golden years, upwards of 50% of hijackers were successful.”
The number of US hijackings began to decrease in 1973 after Cuba and the US came to agreement on means to return hijackers to the US for prosecution. Also, on Jan. 5, 1973, federally mandated measures designed to tighten airline security – metal detectors, searches of carry-on luggage and passengers – went into effect for the first time. These measures would cut hijacking attempts from their peak of one every other week in 1972 to a mere three between 1973 and 1974. By the ’80s, domestic hijackings seemed a thing of the past, a perception that persisted right up to the 9/11 attacks. But during the 1961-1972 skyjacking golden years, upwards of 50% of hijackers were successful. Here are the top ten US airplane hijackings for that time period (including the start of the ’70s).
Top 10 U.S. Airline Hijackings of the Sixties
10 National Airline Convair 440
May 1, 1961 and a US Airlines Convair 440 airplane is traveling from Marathon Florida to Key West. It would become the first US airplane hijacked to Cuba. A US Korean War veteran named Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, boarded the plane with a knife and gun, demanding the pilot to divert the aircraft to Cuba, as he was seeking asylum in the country. At the time, US domestic airlines had no history of aircraft hijackings and when the airplane disappeared from its intended flight route it was assumed to be lost and missing at sea. At the time, hijacking an airplane was not even a US federal crime. After Ortiz was apprehended in Jamaica in 1975 he was only charged with assault and transportation of a stolen aircraft over state lines. Ortiz lived to regret his decision to seek asylum in Cuba as Castro thought he was a US spy and he spent years in Cuban prison. He was released and in 1972 he attempted to escape Cuba by raft, but was apprehended by Cuban officials and spent another 3 years in prison.
9 Pan Am Flight 281
On November 24, 1968, three men, (one named Castro), hijacked a Pan Am flight with 103 people on board from New York’s JFK Airport and diverted the flight to Havana, Cuba. The hijackers grabbed a stewardess and put a knife to her neck then pointed a loaded gun in the face of the flight engineer saying “Cuba, Cuba, Cuba.” Passengers were forced to leave the airplane when it landed in Havana and no one was injured. Two of the three hijackers were captured in the 1970s but a third lived as a fugitive in Cuba until 2009 when he returned to the US and surrendered. At his trial he claimed he wanted to return to the US to be with his wife who had fled Cuba in 2004. He asked for leniency and a sentence of no more than 4 years but the Judge was having none of it and on January 4, 2011 the hijacker was sentenced to 15 years in prison, without the possibility of parole. Read the rest of this entry »
MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND MINI-SERIES
The nominees for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series for 2013 are (in alphabetical order):
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (HBO)
Mr. Frears’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Managers: Scott Ferguson, Erica Kay
• First Assistant Director: Michael Steele
• Second Assistant Director: Nancy Herrmann
• Second Second Assistant Director: Ellen Parnett
This is Mr. Frears’s third DGA Award nomination. He was previously nominated in this category for Fail Safe in 2000 and for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Queen in 2006.
Mr. Mamet’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Manager: Lee R. Mayes
• First Assistant Director: Michael Hausman
• Second Assistant Director: Erica Fishman
• Second Second Assistant Director: Catherine Feeny
• Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Eddie Griffith
This is Mr. Mamet’s first DGA Award nomination.