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.

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.

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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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.

Red Oak MosqueBy John Ruberry

Belgium–part French and part Dutch–has been a schizophrenic nation since its founding in 1830. But after last month’s deadly terror attacks in Brussels–which is one-quarter Muslim–the country may be coming together under “European values.”

The Belgian secretary of state for asylum and migration, Theo Francken, is proposing the what is being called “a newcomer’s statement,”  which covers non-European Union migrants who stay more than three months.

The plan is expected to become law later this year.  Migrants covered by the law will be forced to sign a pledge to not only to uphold European values, but to oppose terrorism and to report any possible terror attacks.

Those not integrating properly will be kicked out of Belgium.

Despite groups such as CAIR claiming that Islam and the West have shared values, the reality is much different.

Here is just a partial list of the cultural contrasts: Europeans usually marry whoever they want–and that includes members of the same gender–whereas Muslims often rely upon arranged marriages. Religion–if they have one–is a private affair for most Europeans, Muslims follow an absolutist faith that governs all segments of their lives; in fact many Muslims favor eschewing what they dismiss as “man-made law” for sharia, that is, Islamic law, which includes the amputation of hands for thieves and the stoning of people who have extra-marital affairs. Feminists may disagree but men and women enjoy equal rights in Europe. Muslim women are subservient to men as a rule.

Europeans for the most part like the continent the way it is–many Muslims want to culturally annihilate it and make it as Islamic as the Middle East.

If the Euro-Muslims win out it is their values that will be European ones.

Europe is in for a rough ride no matter what the outcome of this clash of civilizations.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Riga's Old City
Riga’s Old City

By John Ruberry

Although there is no love lost between the two groups, contemporary Latvia is result of ethnic Latvians and ethnic Russians living together in the middle Baltic State.

When independence was achieved from the Soviet Union in 1991, only a slight majority of the nation was comprised of ethnic Latvians. Now they make up over a little more than sixty percent of the nation. Russians make up slightly more than one-quarter of the population.

Ethnic Latvians listen consume their media, Russian consume their media. Many young Russians attend Russian language schools. Older Russians for the most part aren’t citizens of Latvia–after independence, most of them did not qualify for citizenship and now they are unable or unwilling to learn Latvian–a requirement to become a citizen of the Republic of Latvia.

Politico reported last week that the two ethnic groups have found something they agree on–they don’t want any Middle Eastern refugees among their birch trees. Last week a rally was held in Riga, the capital, in which protesters who were largely ethnic Latvians proclaimed their opposition to accepting any Middle Eastern refugees.

Russians go home
Graffiti in Riga

Latvia is a member of the European Union and has agreed to accept 531 refugees. Right, that’s not very many. The mayor of Riga, an ethnic Russian who is a member of a party that is widely seen as the voice of other Russians, opposes accepting any asylum seekers from the Middle East. Yes, his party agrees with him.

Opinion polls show that two-thirds of Latvians oppose participating in the EU refugee resettlement plan.

But Latvia’s two largest ethnic blocs finally agree on something.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. He has visited Latvia twice. John’s wife was born in Latvia. 

By John Ruberry

The clearest example of President Obama’s pusillanimous presidency is his approach to the continuing crisis in Syria.

Three years ago Obama warned Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, that if chemical weapons were used by the brute’s forces in his nation’s civil war, it would cross “a red line.”

Assad’s thugs responded by using chemical weapons in fatal attacks–and Obama did nothing.

A year earlier Obama declared, “The time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

Assad is still in office and it appears likely that the despot will still head Syria’s government after Obama returns to Chicago in sixteen months.

In 2013 France was within hours of leading a military strike against Syria–but Obama backed off when he told his French counterpart that he wanted to get congressional approval before permitting American participation. Obama knew what he was doing–no president can get authorization from Congress for a military attack in a few hours unless there is an amphibious assault on our eastern seaboard.

Oddly enough Obama did not request approval from Congress for American forces to participate in multi-national attack on Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya.

Where are we three years after Assad crossed Obama’s red line?

At least 300,000 Syrians have been killed in the civil war and over four million refugees have left Syria. Over 12 million Syrians need humanitarian help and over seven million Syrians have been uprooted but remain in that unhappy nation. These are huge numbers–and keep in mind that there are only 17 million Syrians.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

The Syrian crisis has spread beyond the Middle East. Scenes of Syrians camping out in Hungary and Austria are a prelude of what will soon be common throughout the European Union. The ultimate goal of many Syrian refugees is not Muslim Turkey or Arabic Jordan or Lebanon, but the social welfare benefits of the most generous EU states such as Sweden and Germany.

Will the Syrian influx snap the European Union safety net?

We will find out–but by then Obama won’t be president and that red line might have arrived on America’s shores.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.