By John Ruberry

Much well-deserved criticism has been leveled at the BBC for compelling Doctor Who to go transgender by having, after 41 years, a woman take the lead role. Not because, as DaTechGuy himself noted two months ago, the best performer was hired, but because the Doctor Who franchise apparently needs more diversity.

Keep in mind that the most recent companion of the Doctor was a black lesbian with a Colin Kaepernick-style afro. Oh, I am not automatically opposed to a female Doctor. Let’s say Judi Dench wanted the role. Would I watch? Sure, I would. It would be the same for me if Meryl Streep grabbed the controls of the TARDIS. But that last one can never happen. An American playing the Doctor? And one from New Jersey? Imagine the uproar!

But I’m here to review a different TV show.

Y Gwyll, which is Welsh for The Dusk, is called Hinterland in English. It’s a production of S4C, a Welsh-language public television network in Britain. So far three seasons have been released. Hinterland is also broadcast on BBC Wales–which ironically produces Doctor Whoas part of its commitment to provide more Welsh cultural offerings there. And BBC One offers the show too.

So does a political agenda and enjoyable television viewing mix? In this case, yes, they do.

Hinterland is a noir crime drama, a genre that is very popular in Scandinavia, where some of the funding for the program comes from. It’s an expensive series to shoot as every scene with dialogue is filmed twice, once in Welsh and then in English. And there is much outdoor filming which costs more than controlled studio shots.

After ten years working for the London Metropolitan Police, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington) relocates to the coastal town of Aberystwyth in western Wales after a family tragedy. The laconic and brooding character lives in a caravan, what the Brits call a trailer home, in front of the stone ruins of presumably an old farmhouse. Does this symbolism mean that Mathias cannot rebuild his life?

In the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, which is set in Cardiff, we see a gleaming modern city, which is not surprising as the Torchwood alien-hunting team is led by a post-American time traveler from the 51st century. The Wales of Hinterland is one of collapsing old homes, crumbling walls, and failing farms. Yes, I love the cinematography here, but remember, I’m someone vacationed in Detroit two years ago to snap urban exploration photos. And in every Hinterland episode it seems to be early March–a stillborn spring. The countryside is gorgeous, reminiscent, to me at least, of the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Detective Inspector Mared Rhys (Mali Harries), a single mother is also burdened by a complicated past, is Mathias’ primary assistant; he is also ably aided by Siân Owens (Hannah Daniel) and Lloyd Elis (Alex Harris).

Hinterland is a slow-moving program–if car chases and gun battles are your Jones, then move along, there is little here for you. And it takes a while for the series plot to play out as a murder in the first episode of season one doesn’t begin to expand into other crimes until the end of that season. It builds from there as Mathias confronts Iwan Thomas (Geraint Morgan) who used to hold his job in Aberystwyth and whose past is as troubled as his own. Chief Superintendent Brian Prosser (Aneirin Hughes), Mathias’ recondite boss, discourages him from pursuing the Thomas angle in his investigations.

Season three was my favorite, as many loose ends are tied up. There are no plans for a fourth Hinterland batch–but the series hasn’t been cancelled either. But as Hinterland also receives funding from the European Union, politics could push the show out of its stillborn spring and into permanent winter.

Ah, politics. It really does ruin everything.

All three seasons of Hinterland are available on Netflix in the United States and in DVD form on Amazon.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

forwardBy John Ruberry

There are thousands–maybe hundreds of thousands–of explanations about why Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton last week that you can find online and in print, as well as why the Republicans maintained control of Congress and gained governorships.

Here’s another one, although this discussion confronts one angle, what I call “inevitable leftism.” Barack Obama was the “Hope and Change” candidate for president in 2008; four years later, “Forward” was his rallying cry. Some conservative pundits noticed that “Forward” has a long history as a communist and socialist slogan.

Leftists, Obama is one, firmly believe that their cause is one of inevitable success, that humanity is headed towards–choose your term–a collectivist, socialist, or communist utopia. They view popular leaders such as Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan, as atavistic aberrations, mere potholes that can be paved over when the time is right, sooner, as opposed to later.

Except when they are wrong.

The French Revolution, still idealized by the Left, deposed a king and disestablished the Roman Catholic church, and replaced the Ancien Régime with an atheist republic that executed thousands, which was quickly transformed into a dictatorship led by an Italian. Along the way the days and months were renamed in a new decimal calendar–hours and minutes were divided by ten too, as were weights and measures. A couple of decades later there was a king again in France, the Catholic church was the state religion–but the metric system survived, yet strangely enough, it still hasn’t completely caught on in the United States.

Maximilien Robespierre, the guiding force of the French Revolution, and his inner circle were certain they were guiding the world on the right path. He may have even held on to that belief as he walked up to the guillotine, two years after Louis XVI after made the same, final stroll.

The Russian Revolution’s state, the Soviet Union, was similarly hailed by the Left as a societal inevitably, it also led to regicide, and tens of millions were killed. Because the USSR survived much longer than the French Republic, it succeeded in shattering Russian culture. But the surviving Russian nation is a South American-style sham democracy run by a thug, not a nation consisting of a populace that lives “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

Barack Obama is not a psychopath or a murderer. But he’s a leftist, albeit one along the lines of French President François Hollande. Obama decided that America needs government-run health care in 2009 but he knew that what the Democrats euphemistically call single-payer would be unpopular, so a hybrid program, quickly dubbed ObamaCare, was developed as a bridge to that health care utopia. ObamaCare is deeply unpopular, and it was one reason for Trump’s win. The president-elect says he will repeal most of ObamaCare. The Democrats’ push for gay marriage is another page from the book of Dem inevitability, but only 21 nations allow same-sex marriages, none of them are in Asia, and South Africa is the only country in Africa that allows it.

It was the Democrats who, through their many friends in the judiciary, that created the so-called crisis surrounding the minuscule segment of the population who feel compelled to use the washrooms and the locker rooms–even in high school–of the opposite gender. They view choose-your-own-bathroom as their next social inevitability. The Democrats are the party of the confused horny teenage boy who wants to shower with girls.

Next year France will hold a presidential election. Marine Le Pen, a far-right politician with a fierce anti-immigrant stance, whose election as president last year ago seemed as likely as Trump moving in to the White House was, is confident of her chances. Hollande hasn’t declared himself as a candidate. Is Le Pen, another atavistic aberration, the inevitability of France?

France is ten percent Muslim. With the higher birth rates of its Muslim citizens a majority Muslim France could be possible by the end of the century. Gay marriage has been legal in France since 2013. Will it be in 2113?

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

The policy of open borders is also viewed as the next level of human achievement by the Left. It has worked well for the European Union, but there’s a big difference between thousands Germans buying homes in Italy and thousands of Middle Eastern migrants arriving in ramshackle boats there. Democrats, and even some Republicans, have been ignoring calls from ordinary citizens, now dubbed “the Forgotten Man,” to secure the southern border for decades. Opposition to open borders was the main reason why British voters voted to leave the EU.

Of course no one can predict the future. Not even leftists, even though they never tire in telling you how smart they are.

In the United States the hubris of inevitability led to the defeat of the Left last week.

Forward was the wrong way.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

This year could end up being the most tumultuous year since 1968. During that year there was of course a heated presidential election, the Democrats nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who represented the status quo, one that was not especially popular. The Republicans chose a former vice president, Richard Nixon, whose critics decried as someone who presented a dark vision of America. Sound familiar?Chicago Police SUV

Missing of course in 2016 is a third-party presidential candidate who can win electoral votes; in 1968 avowed segregationist and renegade Democrat George Wallace fed on racial discord–and there is plenty of that this year, most of it brought on by leftist groups such as Black Lives Matter, which seems very keen on protesting the rare shootings of African-American criminal suspects but is largely on silent on the daily carnage in cities such as Chicago, where so far this weekend over thirty people, most of them black, have been shot. In most of these shootings it’s very likely that other blacks pulled the trigger.

What is largely forgotten about the 1968 election is that it was the first presidential contest since Reconstruction in which a southern blacks voted in large numbers.

We’ve progressed far.

The penultimate year of the turbulent 1960s also brought us the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War, North Korea’s seizure of the USS Pueblo, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King–the anger from the latter caused dozens of deadly riots in American cities–the May Insurrection in France, and the turmoil of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

I’m sure I overlooked something.

This year has seen several deadly Islamist terrorist attacks, including last month’s Orlando night club shooting and the Nice, France truck killings, two assassination tragedies–one in Dallas and the other in Louisiana–where multiple police officers were killed, “Brexit,” Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the attempted coup in Turkey, and of course the frenzied US presidential campaign.

Remember: We still have five more months in 2016.

On the positive end, the Apollo 8 mission brought the moon within reach at the end of 1968.

Let’s hope 2016 ends with good news.

Oh, it was also in late 1968 when Star Trek’s “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode aired. Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura delivered American television’s first kiss between a black and a white, and this embrace was not an innocent peck on the cheek.

As Mitch Albom wrote in Tuesdays With Morrie, “Love wins. Always.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. And yes, he was alive in 1968.

USA-UK flagsBy John Ruberry

“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing, 1964.

If you substitute “Great Britain” for “American revolution,” this could have been something UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said during his victory speech early Wednesday morning after United Kingdom voters voted to leave the European Union.

Great Britain is having a Reagan moment–and to be fair to the UK you can argue it had a Reagan moment before we did nationally. After all, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister a year before the Gipper’s election.

Is Britain having a Trump moment before America does?

In his victory speech, Farage called his Brexit win, “A victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people.”

That sounds like Trump.

“We have fought against multinationals,” Farage added, “we have fought against the big merchant banks, we have fought against big politics, we fought against the big merchant banks, we fought against lies, corruption, and deceit.”

That sounds like Trump too.

The driving force in Brexit referendum of course was unfettered immigration of Syrian migrants, refugees some say are fleeing war. Yes, some are. But curiously, many of these refugees are males of military age.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Few of these migrants show any desire in assimilating into Western Civilization. But no one dares call the migrants “nativists.” That would be racist.

Other EU nations, such as France, Italy, the Netherlands, are considering their own vote to bail out. Mrs. Marathon Pundit, who grew up in tiny Latvia, tells me that there was even talk of a “LatExit” last year when Brussels bureaucrats, yes that “little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital,” told them they had to accept some of these unskilled migrants, even though Latvia, one of the poorer EU nations, has benefited greatly since joining.

When the bureaucrats don’t listen, “the decent people” do the expected thing and throw the bums out.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

wedding jack 025 Yesterday I found myself at the wedding of one of my wife’s co-workers that took place in a backyard. As I sat there I noticed two doors down a Union Jack flying in the wind.

As the neighborhood was curiously devoid of fences I walked over and asked permission to take a photo of the flag flying as if from the stern of HMS Victory. They owners graciously consented and we started talking.

They had come from the south of England 25 years ago and talked of their joy at the result of the Brexit vote. I asked them about age gap between those who voted to stay and those who voted to go, and they talked of their memories of joining the common market and the time before it and quoted Churchill about the lessons of history.

That was the key factor, like the elderly WW 2 vet I wrote about and unlike the panicked youths they had no fear of life without the EU because they had lived it and had been just fine.

My only regret was that they didn’t wish to be interviewed on camera but I thanked them and returned to the wedding wondering if the angry youth signing petitions had thought about this, if they hadn’t they would be well advised to read this tweet from The House of Savoy:

If only the youth who are terrified of other opinions and of chalk had the courage and confidence of their elders. If they can learn such courage then they would have nothing to fear, after all they are not much older than the were the Few who saved the country just a few generations ago.

Jim Hacker:  I understand that one of your officials spends all his time paying farmers to produce masses of surplus food while someone in the next office pays people to destroy the surplus.

Maurice:  That’s not True!

Sir Humphrey Appleby:  No?

Maurice:  He’s not in the same office, he’s not even on the same floor!

Yes Minister Party Games 1984

Earlier today I had a post up noting a WW 2 vet talking about his decision vote for Brexit.

While everyone rightly talks about immigration people might not realize the old gentleman might have decided it was time to leave, because of stuff like this:

The EU is poised to ban high-powered appliances such as kettles, toasters, hair-dryers within months of Britain’s referendum vote, despite senior officials admitting the plan has brought them “ridicule”.

and this

A sales ban on high-powered vacuum cleaners and inefficient electric ovens in 2014 sparked a public outcry in Britain. 

Oh and one interesting note to this story

The plans have been ready for many months, but were shelved for fear of undermining the referendum campaign if they were perceived as an assault on the British staples of tea and toast.

You know I thought young people didn’t like folks telling them what to do.


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via Tim Blair:

UPDATE III. Reader Steve emails:
I phoned my Uncle Johnny (WWII Parachute Regiment) last night to wish him a happy 90th birthday. He was putting on his overcoat and heading into the rain to his polling station in West Yorkshire. I asked which way he was planning to vote.

“When I was 20 I dropped into France to stop the Germans taking over my country,” he replied, “so I thought I’d better have another go at stopping them now.”

It’s also worth noting that unlike the youth of England who voted to stay folks like Uncle Johnny here remember an England that did just fine without an EU to give them orders and thus weren’t afraid of it.

Because I’m working tonight I only have time for three quick thoughts on the Brexit vote before I crash:

MSM in Mourning:

The first I heard of the result of the Brexit vote was as I left work & turned on EWTN radio morning to hear Morning Glory radio announce the improbable win.  By the time I got through the Holy Doors and home and turned on the TV it was clear that the only thing missing from the MSM was black armbands.  I haven’t seen such gloom since the Scott Brown win in 2010.  What was most amazing was the attempt to spin the results, particularly by Katty Kay, as if the voters really didn’t mean it. (six hours later MSNBC is still playing this card big).

Nothing scares the elites like the will of the people.

 

Scotland the tame:

Thanks to movies like Braveheart and the past history of Scots in America many Americans have an image of Scotland not consistent with today’s reality.  The overwhelming STAY vote in Scotland  (Not even London gave a higher percentage for the status quo) suggests a reality that the region doesn’t mind being told what to do by nameless bureaucrats as long as it means subsidies keep heading their way, and as long as said bureaucrat isn’t an Englishman.

Of course other than the symbolic nature the real question is:  By the time a new Scottish referendum rolls around will Brussels decide Scotland is a net plus or minus and will the Scots decide the costs of leaving Great Britain (as comically illustrated here) be worth the price.

I’ll tell you when it’s time to panic 

When I started this post story after story talked about both stock markets and the pound tanking I literally crashed in the middle of the last paragraph and waking up five hours later and turning on CNBC that the markets have continued to go down.  The reality is this reaction is less about the actual companies having weakness and more about the elites being in panic as not only has their ability to soak the British Taxpayer to finance the European bureaucracy that they are heavily invested been hit, but pet companies that live off of said bureaucracy, which said elites are also highly invested in are too

In the long run Britain will do quite well without the EU and the EU knows it. It’s that reality that panics Brussels more than anything else.

Look in the Mirror:

The media the elites and Brussels are now all pointing fingers over the result in Britain, blaming people’s “ignorance” for the result.  But while Brussels and said elites are rushing to head off other countries from following Britain’s lead, the dirty little secret is that if the folks in Brussels had not attempted to micromanage every aspect of people’s lives and the political class in Britain took care of their people this vote would have never even taken place let alone go against them.


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Today’s headlines: Britain voted to leave the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron tended his resignation.

Two older headlines that went mostly ignored: Last week, Switzerland withdrew its application to join the EU. Last year, Iceland dropped its application to the EU,

Thomas Minder, counsellor for the state of Schaffhausen and an active promoter of the concept of “Swissness,” said he was eager to “close the topic fast and painlessly” as only “a few lunatics” may want to join the EU now, he told the newspaper.

Hannes Germann, also representing Schaffhausen, highlighted the symbolic importance of the vote, comparing it to Iceland’s decision to drop its membership bid in 2015.

The EU is a gargantuan politico-economic structure, which dictates financial and regulatory policy to its members on everything from bananas to immigration. This, of course, led some of the Left to try to make you believe that Britain’s decision is “all about xenophobia,” because to them, everything is.

Nile Gardiner sees it differently,

The vote for Brexit (52 percent of Britons cast ballots to leave the EU) is a vote for sovereignty and self-determination. Britain will no longer be subject to European legislation, with Britain’s Parliament retaking control. British judges will no longer be overruled by the European Court of Justice, and British businesses will be liberated from mountains of EU regulations, which have undermined economic liberty.

The EU’s current president, Jean-Claude Juncker, unpopular from the start, has already told Britain to “get out as soon as possible.”

David Goldman addresses Brexit’s financial repercussions, and the political (emphasis added):

This is NOT a global financial crisis. The hissing sound you hear is the air leaving various financial bubbles, but this is not 2008 all over again.The British corporate sector has a strong balance sheet. Among the companies in the FTSE 100 equity index, net debt is only twice earnings before interest and taxes, slightly more than the S&P 500. Italian companies by contrast have net debt at nearly 8 times earnings before interest and taxes. The record fall in the pound sterling brings its exchange rate against the Euro to precisely where it was in 2014, before the pound rose against the European unit along with the US dollar. It’s a long-need correction that will benefit the British economy, which has suffered from an overvalued currency.

Financial authorities around the world warned of dire consequences were Britain to leave the Euro, but it’s hard to see what these might be. Britain’s auto industry is mostly owned by German companies, who will not stop producing or buying cars made in their British plants. The 2008 collapse had already cleaned most of the fluff out of the City of London, which shed more than 130,000 jobs in the years after the crisis. The global ambitions of European banks are long since gone and it is unlikely that a great deal of financial business will leave the already-shrunken City.

Britain contributes half a percent of its GDP to the rest of Europe each year, mostly to Eastern Europe; this drain on the British taxpayer will end. Most important, the ambitions of the European Commission to install a supranational government dictating fiscal and regulatory policy to its members have collapsed. Europe’s ambitions to field a common foreign policy also are in ruins after today’s vote.

It is a victory for democracy and national sovereignty, and a defeat for the Utopian ambitions of the European elite.

The WSJ’s editorial board sees Britain’s exit from the EU as an opportunity to make the UK a pro-growth model. The challenge is there. I am very optimistic about Britain’s prospects.

As for the EU, they will do their best to discourage other countries from leaving.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

USA-UK flagsBy John Ruberry

Colonel Ahmed: “Not the President of America, sir. The President of Earth.” Doctor Who, Death in Heaven.

Not content with “fundamentally transforming” America, Barack Obama is in Europe right now causing mischief. During a joint press conference with German Prime Minister Angela Merkel that concluded a few hours ago Obama praised her open borders policy on Syrian migrants, declaring that she “is on the right side of history on this.”

Meanwhile, fueled largely by opposition to increased immigration from the Middle East, far-right political parties are gaining strength in Europe.

While Obama was in Great Britain last week the conservative-leaning Telegraph published his op-ed where he urged the UK to reject isolationism and vote “No” on June’s referendum, dubbed “Brexit,” which will decide if Britain will remain in the European Union. Later he threatened Britons by placing their nation “at the back of the queue” in regards to any trade deals with the United States.

Michigan state police car
Why does Michigan need a state police force?

Obama is an internationalist rather than a standard American politician. He favors a much stronger United Nations, and while a senator he sponsored a bill that would impose a tax on Americans to fight poverty in other countries. Obama’s view of sovereign nations is likely that they should be administrative units along the lines of counties in US states. Not that Obama cares much for local units of American government. His administration has initiated a creeping federalization of local police departments. All of this assists in explaining Obama’s hostility to Brexit.

Look for Obama to push internationalization of governments after he leaves the White House. Of course if that push succeeds the UN will need a proper leader, not a glorified clerk like the general secretary position.

I’m sure Obama has someone in mind. Someone with a Kenyan father and a Kansas mother who grew up in multi-racial Hawaii would be perfect, he likely believes.

Obama has always viewed himself as larger than the American presidency.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.