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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Two Book Ends: Paris 1919 and The Looming Tower

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Some people say history ended on November 9, 1989 with the Fall of the Berlin Wall; Others say history just re-started, the Cold War only providing a pause in history. I've just read two books that show history went beyond World War II and the Cold War.

The first book is: Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan about the end of World War I, Wilsonianism and the creation of the League of Nations.

The second book is: The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright about the creation Al-Queda and the planning towards 9/11.

In an earlier post, Jason, of Washington Interns Gone Bad, and I are discussing whether, in a uni-polar world, can America really turn a blind eye towards dictatorships? Here is why I say why not.

After WWI, during those months of diplomacy in Paris, many questions remained unasked:

A) Do ethnic cultures deserve self rule? (This question applied to the Slavs, Africa, Asia and the Middle east) Not until 1960 was that question answered.

B) Does it matter what happens in colonial societies? Because all the Major Powers were involved in a land grab, the indigenous societies of those nations did not have a voice.

Fast forward to 1950 and the beginning of The Looming Tower. In a dictatorship in Egypt, an organization was birthed: The Muslim Brotherhood. Nasser gave the Muslim Brotherhood legitimacy, and after 1979, Iran gave them funds, but OBL gave sponsorship and re-built the organization in his image; A Muslim Comintern. However, the end of OBL will not mean the end of Al-Queda.

Because of the racism of the early 20th Century, tribal questions of many nations were pushed away towards later generations (i.e. Yugoslavia). Because of the blindness of today's Generations, those chafing under dictatorships today can give birth to tomorrow's terrorists.

To quell Al-Queda in the Middle East, Wilsonianism must flourish. Don't like what is going on in Pakistan? Don't want to re-create another Yugoslav war somewhere else?

Support Democracy movements overseas. It shouldn't matter who is President to do that.

Surprisingly, it does.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The most Surreal movie you won't see

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Hollywood is in the midst of a writer's strike (A post on that later), but the writer/director of Donnie Darko made a political/sci-fi/apocalyptic movie called Southland Tales. I saw it at the Arclight last Sunday. By this Sunday, it's gone from all the first run theatres. Rather than letting it grow into cult status by keeping it in the theatres for a fiscal quarter (The studios should do that for all movies they release, they would get their money back faster), it's gone.

First, since this is a political Blog, let me tackle the political aspects of Richard Kelly's Tales. Like most folks who work above-the-line (i.e. Directors, Actors, Writers), they do not know any elected Republicans because it would be career suicide to do so. Modern Hollywood is McCarthyism in reverse. The Republicans in this movie do not exist in real life. The mad scientist who supports the neo-Marxists would not invite a Republican Vice-Presidential candidate aboard his Mega-Blimp. The cells of Neo-Marxists sound real, but the Republicans (and their families) sound staged. If I wasn't politically inclined, I would not have noticed it.

The Republican characters in Donnie Darko existed and life was breathed into them, here the Republicans are stereotyped.

In the sci-fi aspect, I like the concept of Alternative History. Wallace Shawn's mad scientist creating "Liquid karma" and discussing knowledge of the space/time rift fascinated me. Like a Robert Altman movie, the multitude of characters all have a purpose that all meets the night of July 4, 2008. Kelly makes it interesting how the space/time rift, "Liquid karma" a mega blimp, and a Presidential election all ties in with an actor, a porn star and a policeman.

What was cool was the sights of Venice, Santa Monica and Downtown onscreen. All I ask is, where was the Valley and Hollywood?

And the Apocalypse? The best part as the neo-Marxists and the mad scientist and the policeman's actions all tie into one another. Visually, a stunning movie. Watch it in the theatres if you can.

Questions for Hillary supporters

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Simply this:

If she is "the smartest woman in America," I'm dying to know the answer to these questions:

1) If she was "the smartest women in America," how did her husband fool her regarding fooling around with Monica Lewinsky?

2) If she was "the smartest woman in America," how did she get fooled by someone you consider dumb, President George W. Bush, regarding her vote on Iraq and Iran?

3) Why doesn't Senator Clinton allow real questions, not staged questions, from any audience?

4) What does Hillary Clinton actually believe in? What is her foreign policy views and what does she want to achieve domestically? No parsing allowed.

I also want to know why you are a Hillary supporter. I want to know why she inspires passion for your vote.

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

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Happy Thanksgiving! Here is a history of the first Thanksgiving. Every year I post, I will find a picture of a President pardoning a Turkey. Some of what I wrote below came from last year, some are different. I hope you enjoy reading this.

What am I thankful for in the Year of Our Lord, 2007:

1) My Family. After my Dad's death in 2003, my Mom, sister and I might not have a lot of money, but we did have a lot of love. And I want to congratulate my sister and her fiancee on their upcoming wedding. They are two great people who deserve years of happiness. Thank you.

2) My friends. I can't ask for any more loyal friends. You guys put up with my change of plans (Instead of Burbank to DC it is Burbank to the Valley). Thank you for being there.

3) My friends in DC. It is a rough time for the Republicans and Conservatives, don't worry. There is a longer game than just one election; I'm playing the Long Game on winning majorities and keeping them. The book is slowly being written. Thank you.

4) My Blog friends. Aurora, Jason, Chess, and Malcot. Your comments breathe life into these staid posts. Argue, discuss, and hopefully we will all share a beer together. Also, I want to thank Ann Althouse and Michelle Malkin to linking to two posts here in the Valley. Thank you.

5) The readers of this Blog. Without you, I would not be here. Also, props to Blogger, Blogspot, Google, and AdSense. Stay with me, it will grow some more. Thank you.

6) The USA and Israel. Two democracies standing firm in this world. I grew up in the greatest country on earth, with the greatest political, economic, and social system on earth. The best flattery is imitation and who better then the Jewish state? Sh'ma Yishrael and God Bless America.

7) And thank you for reading this.

Monday, November 19, 2007

$20 and International Game Theory

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No matter how you slice it, Senator Clinton should have left no doubt on leaving a $20.00 tip for a working single mother; The fact that is was disputed, shows how weak she is in personal affairs.

Let me highlight something else, Democrats (and Hillary Clinton in particular) are weak in foreign affairs too. I will not go into another explanation of A) Wilsonianism, B) Nixonianism and C) isolationism. When you are President, you can only choose one of those theories to base your foreign policy. Today's Democrats have chosen chose C. But then again, so has Ron Paul. It is the company you keep.

Senator Clinton tries to pass herself off as a "Strong" woman candidate; But she is not standing up like Benezhir Bhutto against a dictatorship; she does not argue her point in a Prime Ministers Questions (Best half hour on C-Span) like Thatcher or fight against an unrelenting force on one of the holiest of days like Golda Meir. Instead she has CNN tap partisans in a rigged debate; Senator Clinton never has to answer a hard question or deal with the public. So much for being tough.

Now if Senator Clinton (or any Democrat can get into the fray) can answer these questions, maybe I can have an understanding of her (or any Democrat's) foreign policy. Ready?

+ If you dispute President Musharraef's State of Emergency (rising Nixonianism), than you have to support Bush's purpose in Iraq (Wilsonianism).

+ If you dispute Pakistan, you cannot support Venezuela's President-for-Life Chevez trying to change the Constitution. If you accept Venezuela and not Pakistan, than you are a hypocrite. If you dislike Venezuela and Pakistan, than you have to accept the goals in Iraq.

In these questions, saying, "Don't hit me, I'm a girl," does not work. President Chavez and President Ahmadinijad can squeeze oil profits, what will you do? You can only thread the needle so much, before it breaks.

So, my Democratic readers, where do you stand on International Game Theory? Wouldn't it have been easier for Senator Clinton to come up with $20 than answer these questions?

Miss me?

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Sorry for the lost days, but at work, we are down a person, that means twice as much work during the Oscar Pre-season. This week I'll be able to catch up on a few posts -- Hillary Clinton and Game theory, Which American Presidential candidate is equivalent to Prime Minister Harold Saxon?, Presidential endorsements, more California Encyclicals, and a review of Southland Tales.

In the meantime, don't forget to read Aurora's Blog,; Congratulate Chessnovice on his engagement, wish Jason's wife a speedy recovery and support Malcot in her renewal.

In the meantime, I hope to have a new apartment in the San Fernando Valley by my birthday (December 16). Meantime, I have ordered a Gateway laptop. I should get it soon. When I have it, I will post: The Valley, unwired. Also, keep your eye on my picture. I will soon be working with a digital camara.

Until then, keep your eye on the next post!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remember the Veterans!

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This picture was taken on the Western Front at the end of World War One. At the end of "The War to end all Wars," on November 11, 1918 at 11:11AM, WWI was declared finished.

After November 11, after the treaty with German Troops was signed, the major powers de-mobilized their forces and every soldier went home.

Wherever our military is, support them and respect them. On the home front, or away on the battlefield, these American men (and women) and giving back to their country; Fisher House is a charity where you can give back to them. Please Donate.

From Armistice Day to Veterans Day, remember the fallen and remember the living.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A tale of Two Candidates, Ron and Rudy

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On Guy Fawkes day (Remember, Remember/The Fifth of November), Rep. Ron Paul raised $4.2 million dollars online. Today, Pat Robertson endorsed his Republican opposite, Rudy Giuliani; Which gave room for Laura Ingram and Hugh Hewitt room to attack Robertson and Mayor Giuliani.

Only one of these candidates can be endorsed by the Valley by December 16. The other, if he wins the Republican endorsement, will force me to step out of the 2008 election. I will still attack Democrats and Liberals, but I will not support Rep. Paul. Why?

First, let me say, I like libertarianism (yes, small "L"), the Government shouldn't be in everyone face. Federalism has it's place, as does state's rights, but not to the point of no Government and no structure. I grew up in NYC during the 70's, I saw what chaos ensues when there is no Government and too much at the same time.

Now, like I tell my Dem friends, watch who you sup with. If you sup with a Hamas loving, Anti-Israeli supporter, this Jew will tar the whole party with Anti-semitism charges and make it stick. The Paulites are former Buchaninites who ally with 9/11 Truthers. Some Truthers believe "The Jews did it," on 9/11. It is an easy slippery slope from conspiracy to anti-semitism, it is all who you sup with.

Donald Douglas has two posts on Rep. Paul and his allies. Read them both (here and here). According to Douglas, some of his allies are neo-Nazis and Andrew Sullivan. Isolationists who revel (like the Democrats) in a weak American foreign policy. Isolationism only worked during Manifest Destiny; After 1919, could America really turn away from the world? Know who else loves American isolationism? Democrats and dictators who wish to expand their borders or massacre some people. Is that who you want to join?

Rudy, for all his faults, is a New Yorker. He understands how Arafat could beget OBL. The game of politics is about trading (so is policy). Will the Republicans follow the Sazorsky model next year? Or will the Democrats follow the Argentinian model? For Christian Conservatives, do you want to sup with Hillary or Rudy?

As Conservatives and Republicans, we should ask Paul to find new allies or leave the Presidential campaign.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

In 366 Days.....

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Contrary to the 9/11 Truthers, Democratic Talk Show Hosts, and isolationists, there will be a multi-tiered election. Some Governors, some Senators, all Representatives and one President.

During his campaign, Governor Bush acknowledged America's two term support of President Clinton (even during impeachment), will any Democratic candidate acknowledge the reverse since 2000?

Will any Democratic Presidential candidate cite: Politics stops at the Waters Edge?

Given the actions of the Democrats in the last few years, I don't know if any Presidential candidate can reach a bi-partisan consensus. Republicans are skilled about crossing party lines to get things done, will the current crop of Presidential candidates prove that as well?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

American Gangster -- See it!

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Since I have a toe hold in the Movie Industry (soon to be swept up in the WGA strike), occasionally I get to screenings before a movie comes out. Last week, I saw American Gangster. Here is my review:

The movie is about the rise, fall and rise of two men from the New York/New Jersey Area in the late 60's and early 70's: Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) and Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe). Frank Lucas is a driver for a Harlem gangster (who works under the Italian mob) named Bumpy. Richie Roberts is an honest cop during a dishonest time (In the beginning, American Gangster crosses paths with two movies: The French Connection and Superfly), his honesty costs him his work and his marriage.

After Bumpy dies, Lucas engineers his rise through the Vietnam Drug Trade. I won't spoil how he does it, but he makes the most of current events. During this time, Roberts is dealing with the demons of his honesty; His partner becomes addicted to drugs and he has no backup during crimes. Lucas gains power over the White mobsters and the NYPD. Roberts learns who is distrubiting drugs through the Tri-state area as a federal agent. Each man playing chess against each other.

American Gangster wins me over by actually filming in New York/New Jersey region where the story takes place. If Hollywood did that with most of their movies, it would stop Runaway production. New York and New Jersey at the time was gritty and dirty and corrupt. The film gets this. Only in the movies, the subways were cleaner.

The most Oscar worthy part in this movie is when Lucas and Ritchie sit down and talk the first time. Both men deserve the nomination; The script focus' on Lucas is it's strength, the scripts weakness is the lack of balance in Ritchie's story. Both actors stand out. But this is not the first time they worked together.

Back in the 90's, at the rise of the Information Superhighway, a movie called Virtuosity was released with Denzel playing the hero, and Crow, the villain. When Denzel was casting for an antagonist, he lobbied the film's Producers for Crowe. This time, Crowe offered himself for American Gangster to help Denzel sell the script. Both men are professionals.

See it. Watch it. Call your friends in Hollywood to nominate it.

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