By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — My grown son and I have a tradition where each year we go see all the Oscar nominated movies: at least those in the main categories.  We don’t always master this completely.  Last year I don’t think there were any we wanted to see, but Usually we see most of them before Oscar night.

Hollywood has become so politicized and everyone has an agenda so I don’t usually even watch the awards ceremony itself.  I can’t stomach watching the Hollywood elite lecturing to me.  But I do enjoy watching movies, so there’s that.

Anyway, we haven’t seen too many yet this year.  So far we’ve seen Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, Star Wars: the Last Jedi (is that even nominated for anything?  I have no idea…), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Regardless of how the movie is, the point of this, and the fun of it, is that my grown kid and I get to spend the afternoon together doing something we both enjoy.

The first movie we saw in our quest this year was Darkest Hour.  I thought Gary Oldman was fabulous as Churchill and as soon as we walked out of the theater I looked at John and asked, “How is that not an Oscar winning performance?!”

He look at me as if I had two heads, blinked, and said, “Because Daniel Day Lewis.”

So the next movie we saw was Phantom Thread and I understood what he meant.  But my heart is still with Oldman.

Phantom Thread was lush; the costumes were beautiful, the settings elegant, and the story engaging.  And no question that Daniel Day Lewis was totally immersed in his character.

Our most recent film was Three Billboards and here I found my favorite.  Frances McDormand is simply an amazing actress and while I wanted her on screen every single frame, Woody Harrelson and Sam Parkman were terrific.  Parkman absolutely must win his category as supporting actor.  The movie is very dark but there are comic moments; the main reason to see this one is McDormand.  It’s definitely her best role since Fargo.

Next on our list is I, Tonya.  We are watching these in no order whatsoever; our decisions are based primarily on what is showing where and when.

After each movie we linger over a long lunch and share our thoughts and revise our predictions.

In the end, it doesn’t matter who wins what; I’ve already won by getting to spend a few hours each week with my grown kid and I’ve seen some great movies as well.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Linus Larrabee: This, this is my home, no wife would ever understand it.
David Larrabee:  Well neither can I You’ve got all the money is the world.
Linus Larrabee:  Well what’s money got to do with it? If making money were all there was to business it hardly be worthwhile going into the office. Money is a byproduct.
David Larrabee:   But what’s the main objective, power?
Linus Larrabee:  Ah, that’s become a dirty word.
David Larrabee:  Well then What’s the urge, you’re going into plastics now, what will that prove?

Sabrina 1954

A while back I was visiting a friend at his employment (he was a golf pro at a country club) when his daughter who was in college at the time, walked in.  I asked her about her major and what she was doing and she answered she was doing economic and already had a part time job at a brokerage, however she said it with some guilt as her classmate derided her job choice, one of the horrible side effects of the current socialist higher education system filled with liberals who decry Western Civilization, Christianity and Capitalism.  Personally I think they were jealous of the money she was already making to pay back student loans, but nevertheless I told her she should be proud of her job, because if she did it well, people who saved money their entire lives would be able to live a comfortable retirement, and if she did it really well people would have money to invest in companies that produce the jobs that feed families.

I must have done a good job explaining it because she immediately lit up and told me that she never thought of that, nobody had ever explained it to her that way before, which means that obviously she had never seen the 1954 movie Sabrina staring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden about a chauffeur’s daughter (Hepburn) who falls in love with the playboy son (Holden) of her father’s employer who doesn’t notice her until she returns from cooking school in Paris just in time to throw a wrench into the plans of his older serious brother (Bogart) who has plans to use his brother upcoming 4th marriage to secure a business deal.

The movie also features both Raymond Bailey and Nancy Culp just under a decade before they would become the comedy team of Mr. Drysdale and Miss Jane on the Beverley Hillbillies, but I digress. Hidden within the 113 minutes about love, life and personal growth is a speech by Bogart’s character Linus Larrabee that perfectly describes what Capitalism is and what it does.  It’s a speech that every college student in America should be required to watch.

For those who don’t have the patience to sit through the full minute here is the key quote.

A new product has been found, something of use to the world, so a new industry moves into an undeveloped area. Factories go up, machines are brought in, a harbor is dug, and you’re in business. It’s purely coincidental of course that people who never saw a dime before suddenly have a dollar, and barefooted kids wear shoes and have their teeth fixed and their faces washed. What’s wrong with the kind of an urge that gives people libraries, hospitals, baseball diamonds and, uh, movies on a Saturday night?

Back in 1954 when this picture was made when the ruins of the 2nd World War were still visible,  25 year olds could remember the great depression, the devastation of flu pandemics, life before electricity, movies, radio, phones and even ravages the Civil War were still in living memory, Americans knew and understood this facts of life explained in this speech and were pleased to gift their children and grandchildren a Pax Americana and a booming building economy to escape these pains.

Alas having been delivered from these horrors the children and grandchildren of those in the west who endured them in the west in general and of America in particular decided they knew better than those who overcame them and instead of embracing the lessons of that generation enrolled in the Kindergarten of Eden where they were taught that peace and prosperity were a birthright and that anything society that didn’t produce their heart’s desire was oppressive and evil.

As Robert Heinlein once wrote:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

“This is known as ‘bad luck.’”

This “bad luck” is what is affecting the Venezuelan people and it’s origin was the same socialism that the academics teaching our children uniformly cheered when it was implemented and then when this happened…

 As The New York Times reported, “Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.”

“But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.”

Now, in their absence, things have gotten worse, and it’s poorer Venezuelans — the very ones that Chavez’s revolution was allegedly intended to help — who are starving. Many are even taking to boats, echoing, as the Times notes, “an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.” 

Well, Venezuela was once rich. But mismanagement and kleptocracy can make any country poor and Venezuela — as is typical with countries whose leaders promise to soak the rich for the benefit of the poor — has had plenty of both. And now, though Hugo Chavez’s family has grown fabulously wealthy, the poor have nothing.

…denied that it was actual socialism.

This is what half of our society has forgotten to our determent as a whole.

Update:  In comments Stephen hands notes ” most rich men are not selfless, celibate vocationers like Bogie’s character but covetous idolaters and warmongers”, however I note that the jobs and economic prospects created by industry are the same regardless of the virtue or lack thereof of the person advancing them.  Of course Milton Friedman said it much better.


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Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

By John Ruberry

I was out of town in July when Detroit, the movie about the destructive 1967 riot and a police attack on a small group of guests at the Algiers Motel, hit the theaters. Directed by Kathryrn Bigelow, who is best known for Zero Dark Thirty and the Academy Award-winning The Hurt Locker, is again teamed with scriptwriter Mark Boal. It stars John Borega, renowned for his role in the Star Wars reboot, as a torn African-American, who despite good intentions gets pulled into the carnage and the aftermath of the upheaval.

But by the time I got back home and found the time to see Detroit it was gone from theaters. Even before the Harvey Weinstein-ignited sex scandals, 2017 was an annus horribilis for Hollywood. Yes, Wonder Woman and Beauty and the Beast were tremendous hits, there were many notable flops, and among them was Detroit. That’s a pity because it is a masterful piece of filmmaking.

Last night I watched it by way of OnDemand on Xfinity.

The 1967 Detroit Riot is the demarcation line in history for that city, just as the Potato Famine is for Ireland and the defeat of the Armada is for Spain. It’s the Motor City’s before-and-after moment. “Ah, but that was before the riot,” or “riots,” sometimes the plural form is used, is something all Detroiters of a certain age say. Prior to the riot Detroit was America’s fifth-largest city, but now, for the first time since 1850, Detroit is not among America’s twenty-most populous cities. In 1950 Detroit was America’s most prosperous municipality, now it is one of its poorest. True, Detroit’s problems were evident in the 1950s and early 1960s, but at the time the few people paying attention to such things viewed that period as a rough patch or perhaps nothing more than a modest transitional period.

Fox Theatre one month ago

The world premiere of Detroit took place at the Fox Theatre two days after the 50th anniversary of the start of the riot, the old movie palace is the setting of one of the scenes in the movie. The film begins with an undermanned police raid of a black-run speakeasy–called a “blind pig” in Detroit–that quickly turns into a widespread tumult of looting, arson, and death. Archival news footage shows the devestation followed by a clip of Governor George Romney, Mitt’s father, announcing that the Michigan National Guard has been called out. By the end of the five-day riot Michigan state troopers and federal troops had been dispatched to Detroit as well.

Among the riot scenes is one with now-disgraced US Rep. John Conyers (Laz Alonso) urging a crowd for calm–they ignore him. Five months ago Conyers was still a civil rights icon. Now Conyers is shunned.

But most of the movie is centered on police tormenting suspects and witnesses at the Algiers, the reputed site of a sniper attack. After a performance by the Dramatics–who later gained fame for the hit “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get,” one of the group’s members, Larry Reid (Algee Smith), along with his personal assistant, take refuge at the Algiers, which is located just outside of the Virginia Park neighborhood, the heart of the riot zone. For a while it seems that despite the haze of the smoke from the arson fires and the constant sirens, the Algiers is the smart choice to have a party while Detroit burns. That is until an evil Detroit police officer, Philip Krauss (Will Poulter), his two racist partners, troops from the National Guard, and Melvin Dismukes (Borega), a security guard, storm the Algiers in search of a sniper, who we know is Carl Cooper (Jason Mitchell), who simply but recklessly fired a track and field starting pistol. What follows is a series of intense torture-filled series of interrogations. Two young white prostitutes, one of them is portrayed by Hannah Murphy, who plays Gilly in Game of Thrones, are among those brutalized.

“I’m just gonna assume you’re all criminals,” Krauss tells them. One of those “criminals” is Robert Greene (Anthony Mackie), a Vietnam veteran who came to Detroit like hundreds of thousand of others before him–he is simply looking for work. Don’t forget, the blind pig raid busted up a party welcoming two other Vietnam vets home. Krauss denigrates Greene, says he “probably just drove a supply truck” while serving and accuses of him of being the pimp for the prostitutes.

Later Krauss asks the women, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves, having sex with n*ggers?” The other prostitute replies, “It’s 1967, a**hole.” But the mixing of blacks and whites was still a problem for many 50 years ago.

Blogger at the site of where the riot started

Finally and tragically the Algiers incident ends but the legal ramifications please few. Conyers appears again. And one of the characters finds deliverance.

Like Zero Dark Thirty, the feeling of Detroit is claustrophobic, which of course is intentional. The lighting isn’t perfect, that approach undoubtedly was chosen to enmesh Bigelow’s scenes with the archive footage.

Understandably Detroit is still coming to terms with the ’67 riot. I visited Virginia Park last month, while there are still many abandoned homes–this is Detroit after all–there are some new ones too. The site of the long-ago razed blind pig and the neighboring stores where the riot broke out is now a park–albeit one that no children were playing in. To be fair it was a chilly autumn afternoon. In July a Michigan historical marker was erected at that site. On the flipside, sandwiched between New Center and the mansions of Boston-Edison, where Henry Ford, Ty Cobb, Joe Louis, and Berry Gordy once lived, Virginia Park’s future appears bright. Deliverance may be coming there soon too.

Besides Xfinity OnDemand, Detroit is also available on DVD. The trailer is viewable here.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

If you know a millennial who craves communism, then I suggest that you sit that person down to watch the documentary Karl Marx City by Petra Epperlein and her husband, Michael Tucker, which was released last year. Epperlein was born in 1966 in Karl-Marx-Stadt, East Germany, which is now, as it was before, the city of Chemnitz.

And as it is was when she was a child, the most noticeable feature of her hometown is the giant bust of Karl Marx, which looks over the dwindling population of Chemnitz. Its bulk makes it too expensive to remove from its perch on the former Karl-Marx-Street.

The Marx monument is the ideal metaphor for the former East Germany. Just as Big Brother is always watching in George Orwell’s 1984, the Ministry for State Security, colloquially known as the Stasi, was watching too. Cameras were seemingly in every public space, as were Stasi agents and informants. In a nation of 17 million people, there were an astounding 90,000 Stasi agents aided by 200,000 informants. In contrast, the FBI employs a paltry 35,000.

What was the Stasi looking for? Everything. Just grab whatever information that can be found and use it for a case later. Because not only was everyone a suspect in this worker’s paradise, everyone was probably guilty. And if they weren’t guilty they likely would be soon.

Early in Karl Marx City Eppelein tells us that her father, 57, committed suicide in 1999 after washing his company car and burning his personal papers. Afterwards her family discovers cryptic typed letters anonymously mailed to her father that accused him of being a Stasi informant.

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

Shot in black and white, perfect grim communist hues, Epperlein, looking similar to Liv Ullmann’s mute character in Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, in a bit of twisted humor wanders the decrepit and mostly empty streets of the former Karl Marx namesake town holding a massive boom microphone and wearing vintage headphones while we listen to her voiceovers–in contrast to the clandestine recording done by the Stasi.

Epperlein visits the Stasi archives in Chemnitz and Berlin where we see file after file on multiple floors. She’s looking for her father’s file, but we learn that the German Democratic Republic didn’t organize its files in the manner that Google stores information on mainframes where we can instantly retrieve volumes of information on just about anything. Instead there’s something here, there’s something there.

We see a grainy Stasi film of a couple walking on sidewalk. The man picks up an object. Then he puts it down. Why did he do that? Another man picks it up. The object turns out to be a knife. He keeps it. Why?

Epperlein tracks down a childhood friend who was a true-believer in communism. Now she worships trees. Her father, a retired Stasi agent, recounts his regular break-ins at apartments. What was his most common discovery? Handwritten schedules of West German TV shows and small bags containing a tooth brush and other personal hygiene items, just in case the occupants are arrested–or forced to escape to the West.

Many political prisoners were indeed locked up for subversion. Many ended up in the West, but rather than this being an innocent Cold War liberation, we learn they were sold by the workers’ paradise for ransom to the West for much needed hard currency.

The suicide of Epperlein’s father was hardly an anomaly, taking one’s own life in the GDR was common after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Recently Chemnitz had the lowest birthrate of any city in the world.

One of the experts interviewed for the film scorns the Oscar-winning film, The Lives of Others. While Oskar Schindler of Schindler’s List was real, there was no Stasi hero fighting back against oppression.

Near the end we learn the truth about Epperlein’s father.

Karl Marx City is available on Netflix and on Amazon.

John Ruberry, whose wife was born in the Soviet Union, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Deep in southwestern Germany in the Rhineland-Palatinate state lies the small village of Kallstadt, which has about 1,200 residents.

It is well-known for two reasons. It’s a stop on the German Wine Route and it’s the ancestral home of Henry J. Heinz, the founder of the H.J. Heinz Company, and President Donald J. Trump. In fact, Heinz and Trump’s grandfather, Kallstadt-born Friedrich Trump, were second cousins.

I was digging deep–very deep–on Netflix for something interesting to watch when I stumbled across Trump’s face on a movie poster for Kings of Kallstadt, a documentary by Simone Wendel, a Kallstadter. It was filmed in 2012 and released in 2014; her movie probably would have been forgotten outside of Rhineland-Palatinate had the Trump Train not steamrolled into Washington last year.

Much of the dialogue is in German–with subtitles of course.

There is a Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon feel within Kallstadt, because Wendel tells us that “the sun always shines and the wine never runs out.” And while Kallstadt has only 1,200 inhabitants it counts 1,600 members in its 27 clubs. “That amounts to 135 percent of love,” Wendel beams. Does Kallstadt have a Miss Kallstadt? No, it has a Wine Princess. No, make that two of them, which is a situation you might expect to find in the Andy Griffith Show’s Mayberry. Kallstadt’s culinary delicacy is saumagen, that is, stuffed sow’s stomach.

Yummy!

Trump is interviewed here, along with the family historian, Trump’s cousin John Walter. If you ever imagined what our president would be like if he was a modest accountant–that’s Walter. Because he’s a modest, albeit retired, accountant.

Fascinatingly, even before he officially entered the political world, the man who was then simply known as the King of New York felt compelled to bring up his troubled relationship with the media.

“Okay, I think (there are) a lot of misconceptions about me,” Trump explains to Wendel in a Trump Tower conference room. “I’m a lot nicer person than the press would have you think. I don’t want to ruin my image by telling you that, but I believe that.”

Not discussed in the film is what Donald and his father, Frederick, said about their heritage–the Trumps were Swedish–which the legions Trump-haters jumped on during the presidential campaign. But the Swedish fib is an understandable distortion of the truth. During World War I it was quite common for German-Americans to hide their ethnicity. I regularly run into people who tell me stories of a grandfather or great-grandfather who changed his name from say Muller, to Miller, after being hounded out of a town as Americans fought the Kaiser’s army. After World War II Trump’s grandmother, Elizabeth, and Frederick rented many apartments and sold many houses to Jewish New Yorkers, who understandably had extremely uncomfortable feelings about Germans.

“He had thought, ‘Gee whiz, I’m not going to be able to sell these homes if there are all these Jewish people,'” Walter told the now-failing New York Times last year about the dilemma of Trump’s dad.

More on Grandma Elizabeth in a bit.

“After the war, he’s still Swedish,” Walter continued. “It was just going, going, going.”

As for the Swedish tale, Donald repeated it for his best-seller, The Art Of The Deal. Frederick was still alive then. But by 1990 the Swedish stuff was dead lutefisk.

Outside Chicago’s Trump Tower in 2017

Friedrich Trump left Kallstadt at age 16 for America where he enjoyed great success in Seattle, Yukon, Alaska, and then New York. Walter tells Wendel that Grandfather Trump married Elizabeth Christ, a Kallstadter. She demanded that he sell his American properties and return to Kallstadt, which, in a story Trump confides to Walter that he never heard, Prince Leopold of Bavaria deported Friedrich. Yes, a Trump was deported! Friedrich died in 1918 in Queens, likely an early victim of that year’s flu pandemic. Elizabeth and Frederick then founded Elizabeth Trump and Son Company, now known as the Trump Organization.

Back to the almost present: a group of Kallstadters are invited as guests of New York’s German-American Steuben Parade. Trump was the parade’s grand marshal in 1999. They also visit Pittsburgh and the Heinz History Center, where amazingly, no members of the Heinz family meet them. Say what you will about Donald J. Trump, but he earnestly tries to make himself accessible except to those who are openly hostile to him. Trump could have easily dismissed Wendel’s request for an interview for her quaint little film. But Trump has alway been a salesman.

The Kallstadters attend a Pittsburgh Pirates game–big league baseball–but one cranky woman constantly complains that there is “no action” in the game.

But is there is a lot of action in a 0-0 soccer match, frau? Other than the brawls in the bleachers?

Then comes the Steuben Parade. As the Kallstadters–two of whom are carrying a giant model of a saumagen–and Walter gather on the route, an “Obama 2012” sign is seen from a window behind them.

Blogger in Washington State last year

Late in the film Wendel asks Trump if would like to visit Kallstadt. “When I’m over there I will certainly visit,” he replies. “Absolutely.”

The president will be in Germany next week for the G20 summit. No word of a Trump homecoming yet, along the lines of his visit to the birthplace of his mother in Scotland in 2008. Although Trump isn’t very popular in Kallstadt, at least according to media reports, since his political rise.

“Believe me,” Trump just might respond to such stories, “that’s just fake news, believe me.”

In addition to Netflix, Kings of Kallstadt is also available on Amazon. It’s an enjoyable, wunderbar, and yes, big league movie. Even if you hate Trump. Believe me.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Being a Christian in Hollywood can be difficult. There aren’t a ton of movies being made today that fit in with a believing actor’s moral compass. Moreover, there’s a stigma attached to many actors who willingly profess their faith just as there’s a stigma against conservatives. As such, the average Christian-themed movie is pretty poorly done from a purely critical perspective. The messages can be great, but the delivery can be lackluster. Neither Kirk Cameron nor Nicolas Cage could make one of the most popular Christian book series of all time successful.

The Case for Christ is different. I was shocked when I saw that it received a 77% critical response on Rotten Tomatoes until I realized it was only reviewed by 13 critics. Go figure. Nonetheless, it was encouraging so I took my wife to see it last night. We were familiar with Lee Strobel’s journey from truth-seeking news reporter to truth-seeing evangelist and author, so we didn’t go for the sake of the story. As highly selective adults who have chosen to restrict our movie viewing to ones that fit our worldview (or that at least don’t attempt to trash it), we wanted to see if it was the rare “well made” Christian movie.

We were pleased with the results.

Both the acting and the cinematography were very good. They delivered 1980 about as well as big-budget films, 70s red Camaro and all. Nobody’s going to win an Oscar from this movie, but compared to the poorly crafted Christian movies of today that have good messages but are artistically weak, this was a real winner. Mike Vogel delivered the right mix of skepticism and intellect. He was believable as he struggled in a quest to debunk the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I wasn’t expecting it based upon some of his previous performances in cultural garbage flicks like Cloverfield and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but he found his groove with this role.

While far from being a critical masterpiece, this will hopefully bring more attention to the quality of Christian movies. They don’t have to look like they were made by a high school film studies class, nor does the dialogue have to sound like carefully crafted proselytizing disguised as robotic conversations. There needs to be a gelling of message and art that gets people not only interested in seeing a movie but that compels them to recommend it.

Hollywood is a cesspool of left-wing manipulation of progressive propaganda. As a society, we’ve fought through to make conservative-themed movies like American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty critical and box office successes. Now we need to do the same for Christian-themed movies.

The Case for Christ is a step in the right direction. We need more of them.

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, and I’m taking a break from politics, which always includes watching a movie.

I’ve been a Tom Hanks fan since his Bosom Buddies days (1980-1982, that’s how old I am), a series oddly prescient of some of today’s headlines,

Two young single ad men must disguise themselves as women to live in the one apartment they can afford.

Hanks went on to star in dozens of movies, many of which involve travel-related mishaps.

Hanks’s mismatched shoes at the airport get him into trouble in The Man With One Red Shoe. He goes to the boardwalk as a child and turns into a grownup in Big. He has a fateful car accident in The Bonfire of the Vanities. He and Gary Sinise nearly get blown to smithereens twice – first in battle, later in a hurricane – in Forrest Gump, and let’s not forget when he and Meg Ryan came thisclose to being human sacrifices in Joe Versus the Volcano.

As Hanks’s career took off, he starred as astronaut Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, where he said one of cinema’s  most-quoted lines, “Houston, we have a problem,” after the capsule sprung an oxygen leak and lost power following an on-board explosion:

Hanks was hounded by a cabal which counted as a member a self-flagellating albino in The Da Vinci Code. East German punks stole his coat in Bridge of Spies, and Somali pirates his ship in Captain Phillips. He even played Chesley ‘Sully‘ Sullenberger, the most-skilled pilot who landed an airplane full of passengers on the East River. Speaking of passengers, his character was stranded for months at JFK airport in The Terminal.

But Tom Hanks’s most famous movie involving disastrous travel is Cast Away (2000), where he plays Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who spends years talking to a volleyball named Wilson while stranded on an island somewhere in the Pacific:

Tom Hanks loves “you can’t get there from here” plots.

It’s all entertainment, and he does it very well. So does Denzel Washington, also in the same generation, but if I’m ever at Lowe’s and Denzel comes in followed by five Russians, I’m dropping everything and heading out the door.

Just in case.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Malone: [stopping at a post office] Well, here we are.
Ness: What are we doing here?
Malone: Liquor raid.
Ness: [looking at the police station across the street] Here?
Malone: Mr. Ness, everybody knows where the booze is. The problem isn’t finding it, the problem is who wants to cross Capone.
[…Enters Post office and goes to a closed door in the back]

The Untouchables 1987

There are two scenes in the 1987 movie The Untouchables that perfectly illustrates the situation in Washington today

The first is when Officer Malone (Sean Connery) leads Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) into the post office where Capone’s booze is being distributed from and makes it clear that everything comes down to if he’s willing to go through that door or not.

the key exchange comes at 5:19 in this clip:

Malone: [With his hand on the door] If you walk through this door now, you’re walking into a world of trouble. And there’s no turning back. You understand?
Ness: Yes I do. [Pumps his shotgun]
Malone: Good.

That is pretty much what challenging the deep state means. If you are willing to keep your mouth shut and go though the motions, like say a Jeb Bush might have done if elected, you might be allowed to make minor tweaks to the system as long as the system that allows the folks to feed at the trough can continue.

But the moment you decide to shake things up The deep state fights back as illustrated by this scene where Agent Wallace is murdered.

And your friends tell you to take a few days off

Chief Mike Dorset: It’s always a crime when a young guy goes down in the line Jimmy, I hate to see it happen to someone I know. Sometimes it’s better not to get involved. Jimmy take a few days off, get out of the city, you know what I mean.

That beyond everything else is what the resignation of General Mike Flynn is about as reported by the free beacon first quoting Eli Lake:

“Michael Flynn was one of the Obama administration’s fiercest critics after he was forced out of the Defense Intelligence Agency,”

And then in their own piece proper

A third source who serves as a congressional adviser and was involved in the 2015 fight over the Iran deal told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration feared that Flynn would expose the secret agreements with Iran.

“The Obama administration knew that Flynn was going to release the secret documents around the Iran deal, which would blow up their myth that it was a good deal that rolled back Iran,” the source said. “So in December the Obama NSC started going to work with their favorite reporters, selectively leaking damaging and incomplete information about Flynn.”

“After Trump was inaugurated some of those people stayed in and some began working from the outside, and they cooperated to keep undermining Trump,” the source said, detailing a series of leaks from within the White House in the past weeks targeting Flynn. “Last night’s resignation was their first major win, but unless the Trump people get serious about cleaning house, it won’t be the last.”

Flynn was ready to help drain the swamp but when you start draining a swap the animals who live there tend to bite.

This is what Bill Kristol is saying in this disgraceful tweet.

There is a good living for everyone involved if you just keep your head down and get along to go along. Take a few days off Donnie Boy, get yourself out of town for a bit.

Now there may be more than meets the eye here but the fate of General Flynn is a reminder that the D’Sousa Rule is fully in place as I said at the time:

Did D’Sousa really think that an administration willing to use the IRS against their political enemies who are acting legally would not use the Justice Department go after a political foe who made the single most popular film against Barack Obama in 2012 in the case of an actual violation of law?

Every member of the Trump administration should take this to heart, the left is all in against you as is the media but most important of all a good chunk of the GOP establishment and their government allies would still like you to crash and burn and will have no qualms at all about making common cause with the left to do so.

The Trump administration is fighting the good fight, but they need to watch their back because both foes and supposed friends are looking to stick a knife into it.

After all you didn’t’ think they’d just roll over and die did you?

Back in December we reprinted my post from Ladd Ehlinger’s site on the movie Captains Courageous from 1937 as an appropriate repost with the election of Donald Trump because the posts in this series:

serve to explain what happened to our friends on the left who are still pulling out their hair over the events of November

If you look at that movie it’s the image of the Kindergarden of Eden I described yesterday.

At first the Captain (Lionel Barrymore) is willing to let Harvey’s attitude go and offers to make him part of the crew beside his son Dan (Mickey Rooney). He refuses to work, he starts ranting about sending the entire crew to jail unless they take him to New York, disrupting the ship.

Remind you of any group of people protesting in the streets lately? Remind you of an entire generation of children who will have what they want when they want it from their $600 iPhones to the latest video games? Our film instructor is torn seeing a mirror and not liking the reflection, and that’s where one of the pivotal moments in the film takes place.

Captain Troop, with the good of the ship and the livelihood of the entire crew to worry about, notes he can’t risk months of fishing on a boy’s yarn. When Harvey still rants Troop finally concludes: “I guess there’s nothing left for it.” He rears back and gives Harvey a slap that knocks him flat.

Now I want to remind you I wrote those words in >December of 2011 at the time when Obama’s power was still at its height and the idea of Donald Trump being president was about as remote as the odds of a kid falling in the ocean being picked up by a fisherman before he drowns.

Yet here we are six years later and not only is the left still screaming but Donald Trump is smacking them by simply enforcing the law:

There’s evidence raids and/or detentions are occurring, as reports pop up throughout the country in at least eight states (California, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, New York, Virginia, South and North Carolina.) ICE insists the raids are targeted and nothing new and denies social media reports that checkpoints were set up in communities. In California, ICE now says it rounded up 160 people, targeting those with felony records or who are fugitives and called reports of widespread raids “irresponsible” and false, The Orange County Register reported. The newspaper labeled the ICE actions in California a “surge.” In George and the Carolinas, ICE picked up 200 people, reported NBC News.

Some of the scenes are growing intense, with protests in California, New York, Texas, and Arizona. In at least one case, the Mesa deportation, the person detained had a deportation order that dated to the President Obama administration.

And they’re it’s getting worse:

immigrant rights activists and Democrats are raising concerns this weekend about recent immigration enforcement actions — though immigration officials maintain that only routine actions targeting criminals were underway.

Fear is running high among immigrant communities since President Donald Trump’s inauguration — and after the recent publicized deportation of an undocumented Arizona mother of two after a routine visit with immigration officials, reports have been spreading of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepping up its actions nationwide.

And think of the people who are being picked up.

He said the operations targeted convicted criminals, gang members, individuals who re-entered the country after being deported and individuals who had final removal orders from immigration judges.

Those arrested included a citizen of El Salvador with a criminal conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and self-admitted MS-13 gang member; a citizen of Jamaica with a criminal conviction for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11; a citizen of Mexico with a criminal convicted for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11.

More than 680 people were arrested in the raids across the country, officials say. Of those arrested, 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.

Because nothing is going to win the American people over to the left’s point of view like freaking out over the deportation of people convicted of serious crimes.

Of course in Captains Courageous when Harvey gets knocked down by the Captain it begins the moment where he finally figures out what’s important in life and begins to grow, I really question if the left is capable of this.

But I’m a catholic and know that with God all things are possible

Even the left growing up.

This is the 2nd of three guest posts I did for Ladd Ehlinger’s site back in late 2011.  I’m reprinting them here (With Ladd’s permission) because I think the election of Donald Trump is a significant event in the culture wars and these posts (and the follow ups that I intend to write) serve to explain what happened to our friends on the left who are still pulling out their hair over the events of November.  While Ladd’s old blog isn’t there you can find the original piece via the wayback machine.

One of the things about the passage of time is that it changes perspective.

In the 50’s the producers of the British TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood used Ring Lardner Jr., unwelcome in the US for TV capposter1work due to his communist connections (which he stated as late as 1987 he did not regret) under an assumed name to write episodes that he gleefully described as attacks on Capitalism. When viewed today, however, these stories that supposedly celebrated collectivism instead come across as a love letter to the Catholic Church and a bastion against tyranny. A message that modern liberals, normally happy to view Lardner’s work, do not appreciate.

This dynamic comes to mind when examining the 1937 pictureCaptains Courageous starring Spencer Tracy, Freddie Bartholomew and Lionel Barrymore.

Let’s look at the IMDB summary of the plot:

Harvey Cheyne is a spoiled brat used to having his own way. When a prank goes wrong on board an ocean liner Harvey ends up overboard and nearly drowns. Fortunately he’s picked up by a fishing boat just heading out for the season. He tries to bribe the crew into returning early to collect a reward but none of them believe him. Stranded on the boat he must adapt to the ways of the fishermen and learn more about the real world.

It sounds like a liberal wet dream: A rich kid, one of the 1%, throwing his weight around and oppressing his schoolmates, made to see how the other half lives and taken off his high horse. Give that summary to a liberal film teacher who hasn’t seen it and they will book a showing in their classroom faster than you can say “racist tea party”.

Alas poor liberals, it turns out the movie is chock full of conservative themes and highlights modern liberal foibles.

You would think the early scenes showing poor little rich kid Harvey (Freddie Bartholomew) throwing his weight around in school, at the school paper and playing on other student’s fears of joblessness to be full of promise for our instructor, but unfortunately Harvey seems to resemble a Harvard yard occupod, a member of the elite, a child who has never been disciplined or told “no”. That resemblance hits too close to home for our socialist instructor, the vision of too many campus protesters come to mind.

It takes a plan gone wrong for his widower father (Melvyn Douglas) to bluntly inform Harvey that his sobbing act will no longer work. Determined to get more involved in his son’s life, he includes him on a trip to Europe by steamship where, as he hides over horseplay, he promptly falls overboard. If he had drowned our instructor could have talked about the bad karma of wealth but instead Manuel Fidello (Spencer Tracy) a fisherman from the Schooner We’re Here, out of Gloucester Massachusetts, fishes him out of the water and takes him aboard the ship and the Movie shifts.

Once again our instructor has hope, our rich kid is among the common men, the 99%.

At first the Captain (Lionel Barrymore) is willing to let Harvey’s attitude go and offers to make him part of the crew beside his son Dan (Mickey Rooney). He refuses to work, he starts ranting about sending the entire crew to jail unless they take him to New York, disrupting the ship.

Remind you of any group of people protesting in the streets lately? Remind you of an entire generation of children who will have what they want when they want it from their $600 iPhones to the latest video games? Our film instructor is torn seeing a mirror and not liking the reflection, and that’s where one of the pivotal moments in the film takes place.

Captain Troop, with the good of the ship and the livelihood of the entire crew to worry about, notes he can’t risk months of fishing on a boy’s yarn. When Harvey still rants Troop finally concludes: “I guess there’s nothing left for it.” He rears back and gives Harvey a slap that knocks him flat. Harvey for perhaps for the first time in his life doesn’t know what to say:

You HIT me!

“Now you just sit there and think about it.”

It is here, with the establishment of discipline, that the movie begins to shift. Harvey gets out of the way a bit but still refuses to work. The crew believes that Harvey is a “Jonah” because he is a passenger and not a crew member insisting Manuel do something about it as he fished him out. Manuel reluctantly takes him under his wing and slowly through trial and error begins teaching him the realities of life.

Harvey, now given direction and discipline for the first time in his life, slowly warms to Manuel as a father figure and mentor and Manuel, still missing his father, warms to him. The situation comes to a head as Manuel and Long Jack (John Carradine) get into an argument over hand lines vs. a trowel. Manuel wagers his new razor vs half a buck that that he and Harvey can out-catch LongJack and his partner Nate. When Harvey manages to catch a halibut Manuel is proud like a father, but Harvey apparently Harvey hasn’t shaken his old scheming habits.

Disappointed, Manuel brings Harvey back to the ship and finishes the day fishing alone. Easily losing his bet, he brings his razor in payment to Longjack who stayed out fishing despite injuries, and hooks in his skin from his tangled trowel. He insists someone had fouled his lines. Manuel tries to laugh it off but as Longjack gets angrier Harvey steps in, admitting what he’s done not just to Longjack and the crew. When Jack prepares to go after him Manuel is ready to throw down.

From this point he begins to earn the crew’s respect and begins to learn the ways of a fisherman. We see the boats at the final fishing area rushing to fill their holds and sail for home. Troop seemingly fills his hold first, but his arch rival Walt Cushman as we have seen a few times before, has stolen a march on him and the race for port is on. Both ships cram on all possible sail, and after a game of chicken it looks like Troop has the race won, when tragedy strikes.

Spencer Tracy death scene

Here again, we see a different set of values.

Manuel doesn’t rage against fate, he doesn’t blame Troop or the race, telling his captain that he’ll beat Walt Cushman next year. He simply accepts his fate, says goodbye to Harvey, declares that he’s going to see his father, and then drowns.

Here is a person, comfortable, well off, pampered and well educated, a person told all his life how special he is and given what he wants when he wants it. As if that isn’t enough he has just managed one of the most miraculous feats of luck that one can achieve, being rescued after falling overboard on an ocean liner in the dark in the middle of the ocean without even a life jacket. What is his response to his good fortune? Anger, indignation and demands, after all… he’s entitled.

The end is almost anti-climatic; the ship gets home, and Harvey’s father is informed by wire that he’s alive. He flies back from Europe to find a son changed and matured from hard work and discipline. After a memorial service to the sailors who did not survive the fishing season they head home.

Pity our poor liberal film teacher who can take no pleasure in this picture.

Not from the spectacular visuals of the ships and sailing nor of the performances from a fine cast such including Lionel Barrymore in one of his last roles on two legs, child Star Freddie Bartholomew, who managed a normal life when all was said and done, A young Mickey Rooney, already with ten years under his belt in film and the only actor in history to appear in movies made in 10 different decades, John Carradine, one of the most prolific actors of all time, and of course, Spencer Tracy, in the role that would earn him the first of back-to-back Academy Awards.

Even with all of this history, our instructor is stuck with a picture advancing conservative values, hard work and personal responsibility. Our instructor isn’t even able to take solace in the bringing down of a rich kid, since the catalyst of this entire process is an act that would shock the modern sensibilities of the instructor, who would have had the captain brought up on charges in an instant. In fact, the very concept of a pre- teen like Harvey doing such menial work has been a line of attack on a presidential candidate who dared suggest that those who don’t have the model of a work ethic needed such an example.

Perhaps with a different election cycle it will be less painful, but the illustration and the parallels showing that our friends on the left just are no longer connected with the common man.

That’s why in universities both history and classic film are things the left will want to keep on the shelf.