Trump vs. Biden, October 22 [2020)

Queens.

“Scranton”.

Hard-scrabble.

Come on, man!

Surprises happen.

Laptop from hell.

Biden is a one-trick pony in a party of well-meaning morons.

No President has ever been hated so much…

…by the establishment.

Ironic.

It took one of their own to bring them to their knees.

And now the establishment has come up with an exceptionally-pathetic excuse for a candidate:

Joe Biden.

Republicans tried to elect a showroom dummy once (recently).

Mitt Romney.

Had the looks.

What could go wrong?

He came off as cold.

Plastic.

And so all the genius, conniving minds of the Democrat Party have gotten behind the person they think can Trojan their specious ideas into the realm of policy.

It is quite obvious.

Joe Biden didn’t get a big enough shot in the ass of ginkgo biloba to really stay in the ring 12 rounds with Trump.

Joe needs to be mainlining that shit by now.

If Joe Biden ate nothing but onions and drank nothing but tea, his brain would still be like a hunk of Swiss cheese.

Trump, fresh off recovering from the plague of the century (once-in-a-100-years) was cogent and articulate.

Look around.

If every media outlet, every source of information, every sports star, every celebrity is against Trump, what does that make Trump?

Anti-establishment.

So, go ahead.

Vote for Joe.

Joe couldn’t last five minutes playing Tropico (much less five minutes actually running the USA).

And he will not be running the USA (if elected).

Swiss-cheese-brain Biden has actually bought and believed the syrupy propaganda of his own party.

Which makes sense.

Because his brain has become (and will rapidly accelerate towards being) childlike.

Which doesn’t excuse Biden of being a nakedly-corrupt politician par excellence.

Joe would bring the old gang back together.

Hillary would have a chance to get her pay-to-play Clinton Foundation back up and running.

Hell, why not make her Secretary of State again?

She will be emboldened to shred every law because, even though she got caught, she paid no price (except for the nosedive in Clinton Foundation contributions).

You would have “bonesmen” like Austan Goolsbee.

[a pale imitation of an actually-competent individual (Mnuchin)]

Hell, bring ’em all back.

Comey at FBI.

Brennan at CIA.

Lynch on the Supreme Court.

Bring back Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder.

Put Bernie’s great economic theories to work at the Department of Labor.

[another guy who would crap out at Tropico within minutes]

Because it’s all one big gang.

It’s all one big, compromised gang.

And it’s all about making money OFF the people (rather than making money FOR the people).

Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Maxine Waters…

“Liberals”.

Limousine liberals (as they say).

Their respective personal worth always MAGICALLY balloons in their years of “service” to the USA.

It doesn’t take a genius to make money that way.

It takes a scumbag.

Trump didn’t need the money.

Hell, he gives away his Presidential salary checks.

But there is something.

He is GOOD AT MAKING MONEY.

So, yeah…

He didn’t fight in Vietnam.

[it’s also quite likely he never disparaged the military]

“Anonymous sources”…

Joe Biden disparaged the military ON TAPE, but never a hardball question about that:

[6’10” —> “clap for that, you stupid bastards”]

on tape.

Joe Biden has a problem with being caught on tape.

Here bragging about getting a Ukrainian prosecutor fired (while using American taxpayer dollars as leverage).  Hmmm, why would he want a UKRAINIAN prosecutor (?!?) fired?  Why would he brag about it?  What was this prosecutor investigating?  Why would we interfere in the judicial system of the Ukraine (by way of Joe Biden)?  Seems like his son Hunter had some dealings in Ukraine.  Hmmm…  Could it be, that this prosecutor was investigating his son Hunter???

But Joe Biden also has, how can I put this tactfully, other “problems” on tape.  It’s not just the hair of women he is sniffing:

Wouldn’t be so bad (?) if it was an isolated incident.  Maybe it was taken out of context?

You don’t need to watch all 17 minutes of the above clip to get the gist.  Joe Biden takes liberties with children…knowingly…on C-SPAN, etc.  What does he do behind closed doors?  The footage we’ve seen is shocking enough.

Joe Biden makes women and children (particularly Chris Coons’ daughter) feel uncomfortable.  You can see it in the body language.  Biden whispers in their ears.  And the young Coons daughter pulls away from the kiss.  Cre-epy!

But in this debate (the final of the 2020 season), Donald Trump made Joe Biden feel uncomfortable…especially when Trump brought up the “laptop from hell”.  You could see it in Joe’s body language.  

“It’s all lies,” said Joe repeatedly throughout the two debates.

Pull his string:  “It’s all lies.”

“Come on, man!”

Sometimes it’s funny.

Like the moronic George W. Bush who was part and parcel of the cabal that brought down the Twin Towers.

Bush was funny.

But scary.

Because he was so dumb.

But Joe Biden is not so completely ravaged by senile dementia not to feel the fear at even the mention of “the laptop from hell”.

But let’s hit some key points.

Joe Biden cannot consistently get his train of thought from point A to point B.  Witness this gem:

“And I don’t look at this in terms of the way he does, blue states and red states. They’re all the United States. And look at the states that are having such a spike in the coronavirus. They’re the red states, they’re the states in the Midwest, they’re the states in the upper Midwest. “

Trump knows his opponent is mentally-compromised.

But Trump also knows that his opponent is a textbook corrupt politician:

“Joe, you have raised a lot of money, tremendous amounts of money. And every time you raise money deals are made, Joe. I could raise so much more money. As President, and as somebody that knows most of those people, I could call the heads of Wall Street, the heads of every company in America. I would blow away every record. But I don’t want to do that because it puts me in a bad position.

Like with the kids, Joe just couldn’t help himself (even against the obvious preparation where his advisors explicitly told him to, under no circumstances, broach this topic) #LaptopFromHell:

“His own National Security Advisor told him that what is happening with his buddy… Well, I shouldn’t… Well, I will. His buddy Rudy Giuliani. He’s being used as a Russian pawn.”

Joe fucked up.  As Trump explains:

“Well, let me respond to the first part, as Joe answered. Joe got $3.5 million from Russia and it came through Putin, because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife. And you got $3.5 million. Your family got $3.5 million. And someday you’re going to have to explain, why did you get three and a half? I never got any money from Russia. I don’t get money from Russia.”

https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/23/hunter-biden-took-3-5-million-from-ex-moscow-mayors-wife/

#RosemontSeneca.

More booms:

“But now, with what came out today, it’s even worse. All of the emails, the emails, the horrible emails of the kind of money that you were raking in, you and your family. And Joe, you were vice-president when some of this was happening, and it should have never happened. And I think you owe an explanation to the American people. Why is it, somebody just had a news conference a little while ago who was essentially supposed to work with you and your family, but what he said was damning. And regardless of me, I think you have to clean it up and talk to the American people. Maybe you can do it right now.”

https://nypost.com/2020/10/14/email-reveals-how-hunter-biden-introduced-ukrainian-biz-man-to-dad/

Big tech scrambled to censor this ^ story.

But the follow-up story was far more damning:

https://nypost.com/2020/10/15/emails-reveal-how-hunter-biden-tried-to-cash-in-big-with-chinese-firm/

Big boom:

“…I don’t make money from China. You do. I don’t make money from Ukraine. You do. I don’t make money from Russia. You made $3.5 million, Joe, and your son gave you, they even have a statement that we have to give 10% to the big man. You’re the big man, I think. I don’t know, maybe you’re not, but you’re the big man, I think.”

#TheBigGuy.

AKA #TheBigMan.

Truth:

“I was put through a phony witch hunt for three years. It started before I even got elected. They spied of my campaign. No president should ever have to go through what I went through. Let me just say this, Mueller and 18 angry Democrats and FBI agents all over the place spent $48 million. They went through everything I had, including my tax returns, and they found absolutely no collusion and nothing wrong. $48 million. I guarantee you, if I spent $1 million on you, Joe, I could find plenty wrong because the kind of things that you’ve done and the kind of monies that your family has taken, I mean, your brother made money in Iraq…millions of dollars. Your other brother made a fortune, and it’s all through you, Joe. And they say you get some of it. And you do live very well, you have houses all over the place. You live very well.”

Fire when ready:

“His son didn’t have a job for a long time, was, sadly, no longer in the military service, I won’t get into that, and he didn’t have a job. As soon as he became vice-president, Burisma, not the best reputation in the world, I hear they paid him $183,000 a month, listen to this, $183,000, and they gave him a $3 million upfront payment, and he had no energy experience. That’s 100% dishonest.”

Trump did this same thing to Hillary.

Blew holes in her metaphorical hull.

Torpedoes.

“He is the vice-president of the United States and his son, his brother, and his other brother are getting rich. They’re like a vacuum cleaner. They’re sucking up money…”

Incoming:

“His son walked out with a billion and a half dollars from China to…after spending 10 minutes in office and being in Air Force Two. Number one. Number two, there’s a very strong email talking about your family wanting to make $10 million a year for introductions.”

Joe Biden does not understand international finance.

He does not understand the implications of Chinese currency devaluations.

He doesn’t even understand the mechanism.

Joe Biden is a (renovated) showroom dummy:

“My response is, look, there’s a reason why he’s bringing up all this malarkey. There’s a reason for it. He doesn’t want to talk about the substantive issues. It’s not about his family and my family. It’s about your family, and your family’s hurting badly. If you’re a middle-class family, you’re getting hurt badly right now. You’re sitting at the kitchen table this morning deciding, ‘Well, we can’t get new tires. They’re bald, because we have to wait another month or so.’ Or, ‘Are we going to be able to pay the mortgage?’ Or, ‘Who’s going to tell her she can’t go back to community college?’ They’re the decisions you’re making, and the middle-class families like I grew up in Scranton and Claymont, they’re in trouble. We should be talking about your families, but that’s the last thing he wants to talk about.”

Bill Clinton was persuasive when he was peddling this same shit.

Joe Biden isn’t.

And Trump calls it out:

“That is a typical statement.

[…]

That’s a typical political statement. Let’s get off this China thing, and then he looks, ‘The family around the table, everything.’ Just a typical politician when I see that. I’m not a typical politician.

[…]

That’s why I got elected. Let’s get off the subject of China. Let’s talk about sitting around the table. Come on, Joe. You could do better.”

Joe Biden’s message is hackneyed.

His delivery is maudlin.

His economic “plan” is planned economy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_economy

Lame.

Been tried.

Doesn’t work.

“Inefficient” would be too kind a descriptor.

It’s just not fair.

Joe Biden only has one “dollar word” left in his intellectual quiver:

“The public option is an option that says that if you in fact do not have the wherewithal, if you qualify for Medicaid and you do not have the wherewithal in your state to get Medicaid, you automatically are enrolled, providing competition for insurance companies.”

Twice in the same sentence?!?

Come on, man!!

Joe’s (and the Democrats’) answer for everything is “bailout”…as Trump begins to delineate:

“The bill that was passed in the House was a bailout of badly run, high crime, Democrat, all run by Democrat cities and states. It was a way of getting a lot of money, billions and billions of dollars, to these guys. It was also a way of getting a lot of money from our people’s pockets to people that come into our country illegally. We were going to take care of everything for them. And I’d love to do that. I’d love to help them. But what that does, everybody all over the world will start pouring into our country. We can’t do it. This was a way of taking care of them. This was a way of spending on things that had nothing to do with COVID, as per your question. But it was really a big bailout for badly run Democrat cities and states.”

Joe wants a planned economy (like Uncle Joe Stalin had).  Price ceilings.  Price floors.  Arbitrary values for labor (a major factor in production).  It doesn’t work.

Trump defeats this backwards economic chestnut in one sentence:

“How are you helping your small businesses when you’re forcing wages?”

Watch the price of eggs.

That’s how you will see the free market (as opposed to a planned economy) assert itself.

Supply and demand.

As simple as that.

Don’t toy with it.

Don’t stifle it.

Let it create value.

For everyone.

It may be trite, but “a rising tide lifts all ships” (as it is said).

The stock market is equivalent to the vital signs of a medical patient.

Joe may or may not understand that.

Again, he seems to have bought the “black propaganda” (total disinformation) of his own party.

What little brain Joe has left has been thoroughly washed of all real-world, economic logic.

As good as Kristen Welker was (and she was quite good [compared to the atrociously-partisan Chris Wallace]), she is still part of a profession that, when it comes to Democrat interviewees, almost always shirks its duty:

“Who built the cages? I’d love you to ask him that. Who built the cages, Joe?”

The U.S. immigration system is broken (on purpose).  And Joe should know that.  But he still blithely opines otherwise.  Trump truth:

“And then you say they come back. Less than 1% of the people come back. We have to send ICE out and Border Patrol out to find them. We would say, ‘Come back in two years, three years. We’re going to give you a court case. You did Perry Mason. We’re going to give you a court case.’ When you say they come back, they don’t come back, Joe. They never come back. Only the really… I hate to say this, but those with the lowest IQ, they might come back, but there are very, very few.”

Sure.

Trump is rough around the edges.

But he is no bullshit.

And there are a few opinion leaders (Johnny Rotten) who understand and appreciate this.

Joe steps in it again:

“My daughter is a social worker and she’s written a lot about this. She has her graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in social work.”

This daughter?

https://www.infowars.com/posts/report-diary-of-joe-bidens-daughter-alleges-years-of-sexual-molestation/

Doesn’t take a fucking genius to see that Sleepy Joe is actually Creepy Joe.

MOAB:

“You know Joe, I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama, because you did a poor job. If I thought you did a good job, I would’ve never run. I would’ve never run. I ran because of you. I’m looking at you now, you’re a politician, I ran because of you.”

And again (for good measure):

“If this stuff is true about Russia, Ukraine, China, other countries, Iraq. If this is true, then he’s a corrupt politician. So don’t give me the stuff about how you’re this innocent baby. Joe, they’re calling you a corrupt politician…They’re calling it the laptop from hell.”

Emphasis mine.

No cap:

“But, why didn’t he get it done? See, it’s all talk, no action with these politicians, why didn’t he get it? ‘That’s what I’m going to do when I become president.’ You were vice president along with Obama as your president, your leader, for eight years, why didn’t you get it done? You had eight years to get it done, now you’re saying you’re going to get it done because you’re all talking and no action, Joe.”

#AllTalkNoAction

Biden:  “I don’t know where he comes from.  I don’t know where he comes up with these numbers.”

Trump:  “Queens.”

-PD

 

The Propaganda Game [2015)

Here is a perfect documentary.

It teeters for a second.

Early.

Because it shows two of the most vile, reprehensible propagandists in the world.

Susan Rice and Barack Obama.

But it lets them speak.

The film lets Rice and Obama make fools of themselves.

[and it doesn’t take these two idiots long]

Then we are immersed in a richness of inquiry which befits the home country of our director.

Spain.

But Álvaro Longoria’s film is about a wholly different place.

North Korea.

I was lucky enough once to visit Mr. Longoria’s hometown of Santander.

Though I was not there long, I found it odd that we (me and my traveling companions) boarded our plane on the runway.

A Boeing 737, I believe it was.

So we are talking about perhaps 200 people.

On a runway in Spain.

With a little control tower.

I must admit.

The operation was not heartening.

But then again, I’ve taken a propeller plane from Sacramento to San Francisco.

The world likes to think of America as filthy rich.

But we still have propeller planes for some of our shorter routes.

Flying over San Francisco Bay in a propeller plane wasn’t exactly my idea of relaxation either.

But so then…what do we think of North Korea?

If we listen to people like Susan Rice and Barack Obama (neither of whom, categorically, can be trusted), then we are to shudder at the thought of the DPRK.

Well, our director Mr. Longoria has given the most fair, measured approach to a very controversial subject.

And his final product (the film) is so much the better for it.

To wit, Mr. Longoria does not presume to think for his viewers.

He lets you decide.

If you are looking for bias in this film, you will have to look pretty hard.

Perhaps, you will reason, Mr. Longoria is a Spanish leftist and therefore he gives North Korea the benefit of the doubt.

On the contrary, one might reason that the director is a very (VERY) savvy propagandist himself…and therefore, his documentary is largely an exercise in reverse psychology.

I must admit.

When I heard the voices of Rice and Obama, my internal monologue of opprobrium almost caused me to lose my lunch.

But I stuck with it.

And I’m so glad I did.

What is at issue in this film, and in the frozen conflict zone of which North Korea is half, is the discipline/technique/art of propaganda.

If you are very dumb (and I doubt you are, as you are reading this illustrious blog), you will believe everything you hear about North Korea.

You will believe CNN.

You will believe Martha Raddatz.

You will believe George Stephanopoulos.

To call these two “presstitutes” is really being too kind.

They make Rice and Obama look like saints.

Those of the Raddatz/Stephanopoulos ilk in the United States journalistic community are really worthless individuals.

Mostly because they have ceased to BE individuals.

They aren’t even drones.

They are more like little Lego pieces of poisonous honeycomb.

Inhuman.

But they’re not alone.

Throw in Diane Sawyer.

Actually (and I’ll throw the lefties a bone), throw in Bill O’Reilly.

All of these journalists are generally less than nothing when it comes to their global contributions.

And so it only makes the case of the DPRK stronger (for better or worse) when such née-individuals (including emasculated presstitutes) insult North Korea.

And so it is very clear that North Korea is the target of an immense amount of propaganda.

HOWEVER,

the DPRK seems itself to be quite prodigious in the art of manipulative communication.

Or, propaganda.

So our director lets the two sides go at it.

It’s almost like two Charlie Brown schoolteachers (Othmars both) having a verbal altercation.

The West:  “Blah blah blah blah HUMAN RIGHTS blah!”

North Korea:  “Blah blah blah blah IMPERIALISTS blah.”

We must credit North Korea with restraint.

The people.

Polite.

Keep in mind, this is a focus on the people.

What kind of people live in North Korea?

[well, Koreans…obviously]

Adults, children…male, female…

And so the cynic will cry “Potemkin village” very early on in this one.

But it is worth watching till the end.

Most intriguing is the figure Alejandro Cao de Benós de Les y Pérez.

Here’s an idealist if ever there was one.

But that’s what we must remember about North Korea.

It is a country of extreme idealism.

Let me frame it with slightly different diction.

It is a country of immense idealism.

[ah…we even got some alliteration there!]

Mr. Cao is, or was, Spanish.

Now he is a North Korean.

He is a spokesman for the DPRK.

As we say here in the West, he’s “all in”.

He digs their chili.

He’s drinking the Kool-Aid.

We want some of whatever he’s smoking.

[you get the picture]

But I must say…

Mr. Cao is an extremely (immensely) articulate individual.

To hear him tell it (and he does so with genuine conviction), North Korea is the last bastion of communism.

China has sold out to market forces (capitalism).

The Soviet Union sold out Stalin (Cao actually makes this claim).

[and, he asserts, China sold out Mao]

Vietnam is now thoroughly capitalist.

[that might be a direct quote]

So does Mr. Cao have a point?

Well, perhaps he does.

But there are doubtless few self-respecting communists [more to this sentence after brackets] who would hold up North Korea as a beacon of socialist governance.

Communist, socialist, Trotskyist…

It all begins to run together for us heathen imperialists.

Ah!

There’s that other buzz word.

Imperialism.

Indeed, if you look at the U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan (which this documentary illustrates as a sort of “ring of fire” [pun intended]), the imperialism charge is not without evidence.

But this is really the quintessence of what Nick Tosches calls “intellectual parlor games”.

Meaning, we could be here all day.

I’m at nearly a thousand words (and so are you, if you’re still with me) and I haven’t even begun to truly scratch the surface of the imbroglio that is the 38th parallel.

North latitude.

Simply put, the U.S. has a vested interest in creating and propagating propaganda about North Korea.

[which does not mean that all of the reportage is made-up…indeed, the best propaganda has a kernel or modicum of truth…sometimes even a heaping spoonful…North Korea certainly does not seem to have the whole “public relations” thing down yet]

And conversely, North Korea has a vested interest in creating and propagating (mostly for internal, domestic purposes) propaganda about the United States and capitalist economies in general.

[and granted…the United States has done some incredibly daft stuff…the likes of which could be spun into a thousand tales of horror for 10,000 years]

What really complicates matters are nuclear weapons.

North Korea, we are told, has twenty (OH MY GOD!  20!!!) nuclear weapons.

The United States has sixty-eight-hundred (6,800) nuclear warheads in various states of readiness.

I hate to sound like Ted Turner (and it’s sad when Mr. Turner becomes a voice of reason), but there seems to be a rather glaring discrepancy there.

Oh!

But one side is responsible (I’ll let you guess) and the other side is reckless (guess again).

Of course, nuclear weapons have never been used in war…except by the United States.

Twice.

And so every society has its propaganda.

I will never feel very good that my country nuked two Japanese cities.

Somewhere between approx. 125,000 and 250,000 Japanese people (at least half of them civilians) were vaporized and/or bombarded with lethal radiation by Fat Man and Little Boy.

I know that the U.S. Department of Defense (then known as the Department of War and Department of the Navy, respectively) isn’t selling Girl Scout cookies.

But Harry S. Truman’s “display” on live targets is a rather hard pill to swallow.

We are supposed to think statistically.

Think of how many lives we saved (by, counterintuitively, squelching perhaps a quarter million OTHER souls).

I guess maybe after six years of war, we were insane.

They say it only takes 100 days.

Of warfare.

Any man (or woman).

No matter how mentally strong.

Literally insane.

Beyond that point.

But we were talking about North Korea…

Mr. Longoria is more of a scientist than me.

Our director, Mr. Longoria.

He meditates on the problem.

He is not rash.

Granted, his access to the “hermit kingdom” compels him to be open-minded (if only for the duration of his stay [and in strictly “apparent” diplomacy]).

It seems evident to me that Álvaro Longoria is a very formidable filmmaker.

I wonder what he would have made of our recent American election?

[when Trump supporters learned to hate Hillary…and Hillary supporters learned to hate Trump]

In retrospect, the United States has just been the battlefield of an immense propaganda war.

The winner (for the time-being) was and is Donald Trump.

But the war was so ugly that things are still not back to “normal” in the USA.

Perhaps they never will be again.

And that is also the lesson of The Propaganda Game.

This substitutes for bullets when you cannot shoot.

When destruction is mutually-assured, colder, icier methods prevail.

Sneaking, surreptitious oozing of lies and falsehoods.

All’s fair in war and love, they say.

And “close enough” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

“They” say that too.

“They” say a lot of things.

Indeed, “they” are the most quotable group around.

Now, if we only knew who “they” were…

-PD

Иван Грозный Часть II: Боярский заговор [1958)

[IVAN THE TERRIBLE, PART II:  THE BOYARS’ PLOT (1958)]

заговор.

It gets many people in trouble.

In Stalinist Amerika.

We don’t know what list we’re on.

We don’t know when our identity has been appropriated.

Or misappropriated.

No man can be prepared for such a state of techno-terror.

And so we clap together our stones of flint.

We eat what we have caught.

We waste nothing.

Because we have offended the great dictator.

14 years in the desert ye must wander.

40?  No, fourteen.

This was The Empire Strikes Back.

There would be no Return of the Jedi.

[and certainly none of the other rubbish]

THis was when intercutting between BW and color was bleeding edge.

And only in the hands of Eisenstein did it work.

This was a voice crying out in the wilderness.

Eisenstein the prophet, predicting.

But a voice as cryptic as Shostakovich.

Today.

We might see the propagandists with their unenforceable contracts give the game away in little breadcrumb details.

To let us know that certain “realities” have been faked.

For our benefit.

And it was ever the same.

That Stalin needed a role to play.

That of Ivan IV.

But what he saw in the mirror displeased him.

And so he smashed that mirror.

Seven years of oprichniki.

1947.

Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.

Houellebecq.  Perec.  Borges.

Finally we get Lithuania.

And Mikhail Zharov with his Elvis eye.

Wasn’t nothing but a hound dog.

An absolutely devastating chess move.

And again.

And again.

Blitzkrieg.

Hansa.  Livonia.

And now the Poles in NATO.

Ah!  …

Always a new wrinkle of literary ingenuity.

Disruptive innovation, gentlemen.

Cheap cheap cheap (funding) ECLIPSE.

<laurels Laurel (MD) laurels CHECK MATE>

I would really like to help you out, but I fear I’m too dumb to do that.

I’m certainly too old.

Because cost accounting must be strictly observed.

And local efficiencies must trump complete conception.

I understand.

It takes many losses to understand the causal mechanism.

The unclaimed coins will indicate our casualties.

And so we finally see that, historically, the CIA has been a crystallization of class warfare.

Operatives, analysts, technicians…were not the dogs of the upper crust.

They were not slaves.

But perhaps now there is a difference.

Not all Harvard grads are created equally.

Epic breaking of the fourth wall.

Brechtian epic.

Identify, friend or foe?

I’m an American.

I like our military.

I respect them.

I like our intelligence professionals.

I look up to them.

I loathe whomever is pulling the really nasty levers.

Whomever is giving the orders.

It’s only natural to look to the top.

And over their shoulders.

Beware of the researchers.

Brothers, do not kill your own.

Sisters, we might not have your erudition and immaculate logic.

Our rhetoric may be daft.

But do not reject us.

 

-PD

Иван Грозный Часть I [1944)

[IVAN THE TERRIBLE, PART I (1944)]

Have you ever used Russian Wikipedia?

Because you can’t just type Ivan the Terrible.

You can’t even type Ivan Grozny.

Not least, you cannot type NBaH rpo3HbIN yactb I.

No, certainly not.

But by that point, you are close.

Funny thing about the Cold War was that it was cold.

No shooting.

At least the big guns.

Boom boom.

It was an economic war.

It would really be unfair to capitalism to claim that it didn’t win.

Ah, good old capitalism.

Capitalism is bad in a lot of ways, but it is an economic beast.

Communism is good in a lot of ways, but it got its butt kicked by capitalism.

But our story predates Marx and Lenin by centuries (even though it was commissioned by Stalin).

What we have here is a masterpiece of Soviet film:  Ivan the Terrible (Part I).

It’s important.  Part I.  Часть I.

Because Часть II wouldn’t appear for another 14 years (Stalin was a fickle patron).

And Часть III would never appear.  [It was destroyed after the director’s death.]

And what a director!

Sergei Eisenstein was a true auteur in every sense of the word.

When he died in 1948, Часть III more or less went with him.

Considering that, it’s amazing that Часть II itself even survived.

It was only the “Khrushchev thaw” which occasioned its eventual release in 1958.

But the year is 1944.

And the year is also 1547.

16 January 1547.

And Ivan (though he doesn’t look it in the film) is 16 years old.

It’s not Reims.

But it rhymes with…Bosco?

If it had a rhyme, Bob Dylan would have smacked it right down in the middle of The Freewheelin‘ or Another Side

Good old Moscow!  Москва́

Something like that…

And so we see a truly riveting coronation (this is not really a spoiler…1547).

We must remember what “the Terrible” meant.

Or means.

As I understand it…it’s neither good nor bad.

Terrible as in terror…but also as in “fear God”.

Perhaps I have botched it.

grozny (miniscule).  As opposed to the capital of Chechnya.

Let me just say this:

Nikolay Cherkasov (in this film) is the spitting image of Nick Cave.

[God forbid an iconoclast get ahold of a spitting image!]

Some might need a further clarification.

I mean the Nick Cave from Warracknabeal, Australia.

Not the one from Fulton, Missouri.

Clear?

“2000 years of Christian history baby/and you ain’t learned to love me yet”

Something like that.

Ivan the Terrible “read that book from back to front”.

“It made a deep impression” (on his forehead).

But they didn’t have BBC Radio 4 in Russia in 1547.

So not even a gift of a chess set could cause Queen Elizabeth to beam a broadcast of Gardeners’ Question Time over to Ivan.

Alas, he was on his own…

Boyars be boyin’ [if you know what I mean].

I must admit, I’m rather proud of myself for figuring this out.

To wit, Михаил Названов looks like Gene Wilder as Jesus.

Tsk tsk, English Wikipedia.

Which is to say, Andrey Kurbsky is played by Mikhail Nazvanov.

Every epic needs a great beauty 🙂

And Lyudmila Tselikovskaya is no exception.

She is chaste (and chased).

English Wikipedia gives no hypertext love.

But there is an article.

She was from Astrakhan.

And here she portrays Ivan’s bride Anastasia.

Such a lovely word…tsarina.

And by Astrakhan we certainly don’t mean Canadian military fur wedge cap.

Clear?

Ivan the Terrible is basically Donald Trump (for anyone needing a reference).

Which is why Stalin identified with Ivan.

Putin is another good reference point.

For that matter, Pavel Kadochnikov’s effeminate, moronic character is a good symbol for the past 16 years of American presidency.  Imagine W. as a metrosexual in 16th-century Russia.  You’ve got it!  16 & 16.

Marriage is the end of friendship (in more ways than two).

And so Philip II, Metropolitan of Moscow heads off to the monastery.

But at this time he was just Feodor Kolychev.

Family Glinski mentioned.  Family Zakharin mentioned.

But the House of Romanov takes an extra effort.

Anastasia’s side.

Do you remember Kazan from Quantum of Solace?

I never properly expressed my admiration for that film.

Tosca in Bregenz.  Exquisite!

Back to Kazan…  Poor saps vs. rich saps.

And military strategy comes to the fore.  That of Ivan.

Their strength was sapped.  One letter from tapped.

That would be Operation Gold!

There’s a Tartar sauce of brutality (?) reminiscent of ¡Que viva México! (remember the horses and the buried guys???).

Same camera angles.

En plein air version of coronation.  The doubters.  Maybe Eisenstein took a thing or two from Welles?

Because Citizen Kane was 1941.

The Soviet Union joined the Allies in June 1941.

Citizen Kane premiered the previous month and would open in theaters across the U.S. the coming September.

So we wonder whether one of the first “chess sets” of understanding was a copy of Welles’ film.

Back to these Tartars.  That’s just the Western version of Tatar.

An extra R (gratis).

You may need some tarragon as well.

It certainly wasn’t “Palisades Park” for these poor Tartars.

No Freddy Cannon sound effects to distract them before being picked off by (demonym-for-people-from-Kazan) arrows.

It’s almost a Thelonious goatee.  Pharaonic.  Sun Ra-nese.

Over and over we hear of Livonia.

Reval (which is today Tallinn, Estonia).

An iron curtain required iron men.

Oprichnina.  A policy.

Oprichnik.  Of the Oprichniki.  Political police.

Oath of allegiance (starting to sound like Dale Cooper).

But lets not get caught up in bikeshedding.

This film is a masterpiece throughout.

 

-PD

Häxan [1922)

One of my ancestors was hung for being a witch.

Susannah Martin.

1692.

When I speak of it or think of it, it gives me chills.

It.

What?

No, she.

As Danish director Benjamin Christensen makes so clear in this masterpiece.

Häxan is Swedish for “witch”.

Our film was released by Svensk Filmindustri:  a Swedish film production company which still exists to this day.

Thus the Swedish title.  And the Swedish premier(s) in 1922.  And the Swedish intertitles.

The Danish would be Heksen.

Swedish, Danish, English…

Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.

This is the horror of religion.  The horror of irrationality.  Violence against women.  Abuse of the elderly.  Mistreatment of the mentally ill.

Christensen’s film is a masterpiece precisely because it combines the clarity of modern thought with the mists of medieval superstition.

It begins almost as a documentary.

Unlike me, he lists his sources.

But then the film takes on a life of its own.

As if the director was not quite sure whether to dismiss superstition outright.

As if some dark Freudian specters were haunting his deliberate phantasmagoria.

It was meant to be a lucid montage.

But the letters became transposed.

Lucid, Lurid.  Live.  Evil.

Miles Davis had it right.  And Howlin’ Wolf (by way of Willie Dixon) [not to mention Howlin’ Pelle].

Svensk Filmindustri.  Founded a mere three years before Häxan.

Only fitting that the parent company (Bonnier Group) should have its roots in København.

Because Benjamin Christensen is brilliant as the Devil.

And now for the juicy stuff.

Not Hell, but Hellerup.  Denmark.

Birthplace of Stine Fischer Christensen (ooh la la!).

But we’re mainly interested in ASA Filmudlejning.

Or are we?

An unfinished symphony of horror.

…eine Symphonie des Grauens

1922.

Possessed by self-punishment.

“More weight!”

And even more wait.

Tom Waits for no man.

I was tricked.

Must have been needles and pins.  Voodoo.

He can’t even remember her name.

Ripped my heart from my chest.

Call it punk rock.

Moloch.  Bohemian Grove.

If it’s all a bunch of bollocks, then these blokes are just bluffing, right?

-Bechtel

-H.W.

-Warren Christopher

-George Creel (investigative journalist and propagandist)

-Harlan Crow (this guy…son of Trammell Crow…buddy of Clarence Thomas [more on him later]…Thomas, who gave Crow the Bible of Frederick Douglass [what the fuck?!?]…Crow…owns at least one painting by Hitler…Napoleon’s writing desk…the Duke of Wellington’s sword [ca. 1815]…but weirdest is his Alec Trevelyan (006) / Janus sculpture garden which includes such spoils of war as Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Marx, Mubarak, Tito, Ceausescu, and Guevara)

-Draper

-David Gergen (of course)

-Inman

-Kissinger (naturally)

-John Lehman (9/11 commission)

-Henry S. Morgan (cofounder Morgan Stanley)

-Reagan (Owl’s Nest)

-George Shultz [sick]

-Tony Snow [“]

-Caspar Weinberger

Weaving spiders come not here.

 

-PD

 

M [1931)

Perhaps we pay too much attention to the story.

We all love a good story.

But the mark of the genius filmmaker may be found in their method of narrative.  The art of how they tell their stories.

To be quite honest, I wasn’t thrilled to return to this Fritz Lang masterpiece, but I’m glad I did.

It is very much how I feel about Hitchcock’s Psycho.  It is a wonderful film, but it’s not something I want to throw on once a week during the course of kicking back.

M, like Psycho, is a supremely tense film.  Nowadays, when we think of Hitchcock, we might reflect on his tastefulness.  Think about it (says Jerry Lee).  In Hitchcock’s day (a long, productive “day”), things which are now shown with impunity were positively disallowed for a Hollywood filmmaker.  Blood and guts…no.  Hitchcock was forced to artfully suggest.

The strictures guiding Fritz Lang (29 years earlier) were even more conservative.  But even so, M is a genuinely terrifying movie.

Terrifying films are rarely relaxing.  They are not meant to be.

But as I had seen this one before, I was able to focus more on the method employed by Lang.  The truth is, M is a masterpiece.  It really is the treatment of a brute subject (murder) with incredible subtlety.

What is most radical about M is its counterintuitive take on crime.

Within this film, crime is divided into capital and noncapital offenses.

In M, a band of criminals exists which seeks to put a serial killer out of business.  It may seem a strange turn of phrase, but this killer is bad for the business of other criminals (mainly thieves and such).

A town in terrorized.  The police regularly raid establishments.  You must have your “papers” with you at all times.

And so those who survive on crime are so desperate as to adopt (temporarily) the same goal as the police:  catch the killer.

It is not giving much away to tell you that Peter Lorre is the killer.  This is not a whodunit.  It’s a “what’s gonna happen”.  That I will leave to your viewing pleasure.

While I am on the subject of Lorre, let me just say that this is one of the finest, weirdest performances in cinema history.  The final scene is one of absolutely raw nerves.  Lorre is not the cute, vaguely-foreign character he would become in The Maltese Falcon or Casablanca.  Lorre is stark-raving mad.

His attacks of psychosis are chilling to observe.  But really, it is his final outburst which tops any bit of lunacy I’ve ever seen filmed.

Today there would likely be plenty of actors ready to play such a macabre role, but in 1931 this was a potential death wish.

That Lorre put his soul into it tells us something important about him.  First, he was capable of being more than a “sidekick” (as he was in the previously-mentioned Bogart films).  Second, he was dedicated to the art of acting.  Lorre was not “mailing it in”.  Playing such a role can’t be particularly healthy for one’s mental state.

But there’s a further thing.  His final monologue is filled with such angst.  Let us consider the year:  1931.  In the midst of the Great Depression.

But also we must consider the country:  Germany.  These were the waning years of the Weimar Republic.  Three important dates would end this democratic republic:  Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor (Jan. 30, 1933), 9/11 the Reichstag fire (Feb. 27, 1933), and the Enabling Act (Mar. 23, 1933).

The era of M (1931) was the era of Heinrich Brüning’s “deflationary” monetary policy as German Chancellor.  I put deflationary in quotation marks because Wikipedia’s current description might better be termed contractionary monetary policy.

As Wikipedia would tell it, Brüning was essentially instating fiscal austerity (that hot-button term of recent times) concomitantly with the aforementioned monetary approach.  This was, of course, the failure which paved the way for Adolf Hitler to take control of Germany.

And so we find that the historian Webster Tarpley is right when he refers to certain modern-day policy makers as austerity “ghouls”.  Either conservative/fascist leaders across the globe have no grasp of history, or they are looking forward with anticipation to the next Hitler or Mussolini.

It should be noted that Tarpley is coming from a socialist perspective rooted in the Democratic Party of FDR.  His opposition, therefore, would likely brand him as liberal/communist and through slippery-slope logic see the policies he espouses as paving the way for the next Stalin or Mao.

And so goes the political circus…ad nauseam.

Returning to film, we must at least consider this situation in Germany.  The country was still paying war reparations from WWI (though this was becoming impossible because of the internal economic woes).

What is perhaps most astonishing is how much Peter Lorre’s character prefigures the Hitler caricature which has come down to us from history.

War-based societies have a compulsion to kill.  Germany found out the hard way that this is not a healthy default.  Sadly, today’s Germany has not checked the most warmongering modern country on Earth (the United States) enough to make any difference.

The United States has, for a long time now, been breathing…seething for a war.  The “masters of war” are all wearing suits.  Only suits want to go to war.  A true warrior does not want war.  Only those who will go unscathed actively invite war.

But there is an insanity in suits.  A compulsion.  Don’t let the suit fool you.  A suit is, for us grown-ups, the equivalent of a piece of candy…or an apple…or a balloon for a child.  A suit advocating war is saying, “Keep your eyes on my suit.  I know best.  Trust in me.  Look at my impressive degree.”

The suits like places such as Raven Rock Mountain.  The suits won’t be on the battlefield.  And don’t let the 10% who actually fought in a war fool you:  they were in non-combat operations.  Their daddies made sure of it.

So keep your eyes open for the M of American cinema.  Who is the next fascist to take the stage?  Hitler had a Charlie Chaplin moustache.  How dangerous could he be?  Trump has a ginger comb-over.  Surely he’s harmless, right?

 

-PD