Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dunkirk IMAX review

There's an expression, "live to fight another day." Throughout history, armies have retreated or "strategically redeployed" and survived to fight another day. It is a viable tactic. Look at our American history. George Washington at New York. Now comes a British tale of retreat. It is director and writer Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk.

It's 1940, World War II. Nazi Germany has routed the British and French. What's left of their troops are now surrounded in a French seaside town called Dunkirk. If the British army is destroyed, it's over for the allies and Nazi Germany dominates Europe and perhaps wins the war. The United States at that time has not entered the war. The allies must escape across the English Channel or be destroyed.

Nolan's film follows three arenas of the battle of Dunkirk. First, we meet an English private named Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who is seen literally running for his life through streets to the beach. Then there is Dawson. (Mark Rylance) He's an English civilian with a motorized yacht. With his son and a teenage friend, they take off for Dunkirk to help rescue soldiers trapped on the beach. The third part of the battle followed is in the air. A squadron of RAF Spitfires is deployed to protect the evacuation of troops. One of the pilots is Farrier. (Tom Hardy) Other actors Kenneth Branagh and James D'Arcy play British officers and provide exposition.

The movie tells the tale of the three in a non-linear fashion, i.e. the story threads intertwine. It also makes the conscious decision to keep its characters somewhat nameless. You won't hear a lot of other soldiers calling each other by their names. Perhaps, that's to demonstrate that the battle was a group effort of the British to prevail.

Performances are all excellent. Fionn Whitehead's Tommy is a scared soldier trying to survive as he's constantly bombed or fired upon. Mark Rylance shows us what the "stiff upper lip" of the English is all about. He's all about his mission to rescue soldiers in the face of trauma of war. I'm a fan of Tom Hardy. (Star Trek: Nemesis). His performance is handicapped by the fact that he must wear a flight mask during most of the movie. Hardy's brilliance is to show his emotions of desperation and determination without seeing three quarters of his face. You get it from his eyes, forehead, and body movement. And listen carefully. There's Michael Caine as one of the pilots. It's honoring Caine's appearance in The Battle of Britain. (1969)

Christopher Nolan has made a taut and riveting film about survival. Dunkirk is more about the individual stories than about big armies facing off with each other. You won't get huge shots of CGI ships and troops. What Nolan does show is that death comes from a faceless Nazi army. He accurately depicts German Stuka dive bombers with their shrill air sirens. When you see and hear them coming at the English soldiers, even being a filmgoer in the theater one is terrified. And that's the point of a Stuka's siren. Not only does it announce the coming of death, it also terrorizes and demoralizes surviving troops. While watching this movie, I never assumed that a character in the movie will live.

Dunkirk is a movie that looks gorgeous and epic on the screen. Fist, Nolan loves shooting on film versus digital video. I am not a disciple of either but film does have more warmth perhaps due to the imperfections whereas video tends to capture more detail. Anyway, Dunkirk radiates that warmth. And by not cramming the screen with thousands of CGI troops and ships, Nolan gives the picture wide open spaces.

There are minor flaws in Dunkirk. For the most part, Nolan stays away from sappy sentimentality, he does engage in a moment of Hollywood hype. I'm talking about a scene where a RAF pilot attacks a Stuka while gliding. Another thing is the overlapping story threads tend to interrupt each other.

Nolan tasks Hans Zimmer to compose the score. Zimmer who has worked on Nolan films (Inception, Interstellar etc.) before. He has a style that emphasizes atmosphere over melody. For the most part, Zimmer's dissonant score for Dunkirk works. This is a reflection of twentieth century conflict versus nineteenth century romanticism. But then he overdoes it with strange instrument combinations such as using electric stings, pulsating rhythms, dissonance and turning up the volume to disturbing levels. It can be overkill.

As far as seeing this movie in regular IMAX, let me point out that Nolan shot Dunkirk with 65 mm IMAX film. (Video belwo.) It was released in regular IMAX or what I call for my viewing digital IMAX. Nolan's preferred viewing is 70 mm film and IMAX film. (Variety)



Good luck finding a theater with a 70 mm projector. According to the article only about 125 exist nationwide. You see movie theaters have moved away from using projectors that use film to ones that use digital hard drives. So you are more than likely going to see Dunkirk on a digital print or regular IMAX, i.e. not IMAX Film. I do recommend IMAX regardless of version. IMAX always gives you better resolution. Add to that the gigantic screen. What you get with Dunkirk is a feeling as if you are there. You are present in a living painting. This is especially prevalent with the first person flying scenes.

Dunkirk is a stunning epic. Scary and thrilling. I can only hope that Christopher Nolan follows it up with a Battle of Britain movie. The grade is A.





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery trailer

Here's the Star Trek: Discovery TV show trailer. Star Trek belongs on TV. Let's hope it's true to Gene Roddenberry's vision. I love Alexander Courage's Trek fanfare at the end.

Trump wants Obamacare to fail which will cause people to suffer

Yesterday, conservative President Trump said, "We just let Obamacare fail... We're not going to own it, I'm not going to own it." (at the 25 second mark of the video below)


Now it's my turn. Hey Trump, "Bleep you. You piece of bleep." Millions of people will suffer and thousands will die if Obamacare fails. There are millions of people who depend on the healthcare provided by Obamacare. Trump you are a sadistic, selfish man.

Oh, by the way Obamacare is not a failure. Listen to Senator Cory Booker. (D-NJ) (Video below at 2 minute mark.) People with pre-existing conditions are covered. People are not suffering from bankruptuies because their medical bills are covered. More people are covered now than before. Yes, it's not perfect. But it can be tweeked and fixed. Booker calls Trump's comments sinister.


Sen. Bernie Sanders says letting Obamacare fail will cause people to suffer. He also wants a public option as a fix. He also argues for an eventual single payer plan. Video.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stephen Colbert on the people who were at the Trump Jr.-Russian meeting

It's Russia week at Late Night with Stephen Colbert. He's going to show footage from his trip to Russia. Check out the opening monologue about Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russians. And if you're curious here's the list of the eight people in the meeting courtesy of Vox. Funny stuff.



Conservative Republicans really don't care about your healthcare

Well, conservative President Trump let the cat out of the bag. He tweeted that conservative Republicans should just repeal Obamacare without any replacement plan. He's not the only conservative that wants to do that. Furthermore, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price yearns for bad old days of pre-Obama care. It is obvious that repealing without a plan will leave much more people without healthcare than the 22 million under the current proposed 'healthcare' plan. How many thousands of people will die because conservative Republicans believe government assisted healthcare is some form of evil welfare?



To show how much the blond, orange skin billionaire cares about you. He wants Obamacare to fail and thus hurt more people so he can score a political victory.



I have always argued that conservative Republicans hate government assisted healthcare plans because this goes back to their god, Ronald Reagan who thought it was evil. Conservative Republicans don't care about the people. They want to move money from the working people to the big rich. That's why the House plan has those gigantic tax cuts. If the conservatives really cared they would take private insurance out or the picture and pass a single payer plan. To them, it's help corporations and the big rich first. Trickle down just the way Reagan liked it.

But the people have spoken. Through protest. They have defeated the conservative Senate "healthcare" plan. Rachel Maddows documents the voices of the people who oppose the conservative Republicans plans to kick people off healthcare. They include the voices of children.


Keep fighting people. Viva La Resistance.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The people in the Trump Campaign's meeting with the Russians

Here's Rachel Maddow's piece on the people who were present at the meeting between the Russians and the Trump Campaign. And yes, Rachel is correct. Don't believe the Trump people as they've been disassembling the truth every day.

Who is the Russian lawyer in the Trump Jr. meeting and why do Russians really want to allow Americans to adopt their orphans

Julia Ioffe of the Atlantic has done an excellent profile of the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. She's at the center of the June 2016 meeting with Trump Jr. where he wanted to get dirt on Hilary Clinton from the Russian government. Here's Ioffe's article. Note she has Kremlin connections and sides with conservative American views. She has also advocated the repeal of the Magnitsky Act. Trump Jr initially indicated that the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children.

So, note this. When a Russian comes here to try to end the ban on adoptions of Russian children by American couples, there's a catch. The ban was implemented by Russian president Vladimir Putin in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act which imposed sanctions on Putin's oligarch buddies for the death of Putin critic, Sergei Magnitisky. So, any Russian here is likely going to advocate the repeal of the sanctions and of course, do Putin's bidding.

War for the Planet of the Apes review

Studios love movie franchises. They have name recognition and they bring in the money. But exploiting a franchise is not always artistically or commercially successful. Sometimes the studio's greed will fail both.

Twentieth Century Fox has had successes in some of its franchises. Star Wars. The X-Men. Others not so much. Aliens 3-4. The original Planet of the Apes sequels, 3-5. And the anemic Fantastic Four movies. As for the Planet of the Apes movies, I believed Fox should have stopped after the second one of the original series which was Beneath The Planet of the Apes. (1970) After all, earth was destroyed. Yeah, that was artistic chutzpah. Well after the original Apes movies petered out, Fox tried again in 2001 with the silly Tim Burton reboot. Finally in 2011, Fox replaced the premise that man destroys his society with nuclear war with a weaker premise that man destroys society with a virus that also raises ape intelligence. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. (2011) Since that was a success, they followed that with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. (2014) Yeah, I thought these last two Apes movies were needless but that being said, I concede they were both well made.

That brings us to War for the Planet of the Apes. This movie starts with where "Rise" left off. War has started between humans and apes. Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads an intelligent ape colony. They are getting attacked by a military human army led by Colonel Kurtz (Woody Harrlson) who wants to merciless slaughter Viet Cong and mumble his lines. Um... okay that's Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now. But honestly the Colonel character is inspired by Brando. Right down to Harrelson's shaved head and the graffiti on a pipe that says Ape-calypse Now. Hollywood Reporter. Anyway, the soldiers kill one of Caesar's sons and his wife. Hey guess which son survives. No surprise. It's Cornelius, a name from the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie. There are many references to the original Apes movies. By the way, I say no surprise because this is going to leave room for a sequel to this movie. You can easily conclude Cornelius is going to be the top ape in a future Apes movie.

Anyway, Caesar sends the colony away to find a safer home while he goes after the Colonel with his band of brothers. There was a priest, a rabbi and... Sorry, that's a lawyer joke. No, he toes off with three other apes. Caesar kills a man in self defense and find his mute daughter (Amiah Miller) whom they name Nova. Again, another name from the original movie. She is raised by the apes and learns how to summon the creatures of the forest and swing on vines. Okay, that last part is Tarzan. But seriously, the filmmakers took inspiration from many movies.

While they search for the Colonel, he captures the colony. He uses the apes to build a wall and then gets them to pay for it. Trump gives this movie two thumbs up. Yeah, I'm joking about making the apes pay for it. I mean with what? Bananas? However, the Colonel is really using the apes to build a wall. Geez, I thought Fox owner Rupert Murdoch was a friend of the Dear Leader. With Logan and now this movie we're getting two metaphorical films that are critical of the blonde hair, orange skin conservative president.

As I pointed out, I thought rebooting the Apes franchise with a virus was weak. The theme in the 1968 original of man's hatred leading to his self-destruction was powerful. So I admit, I'm not a fan of the recent Apes movies. The objective question is with the first two films in this recent series being of high quality would the third be just as good? The answer is "yes."


War for the Plane of the Apes
works on many levels. Director Matt Reeves and Mark Bomback have used their affinity of other movies to guide them in making a pretty good tale of revenge, hatred, kindness and love. Reeves is excellent at staging exciting action and beautiful shots evocative of westerns. The CGI of the apes is Oscar worthy. I forgot that they were generated by a computer and believed them to be real. Finally, Andy Serkis' performance here is also Oscar worthy. I've said that acting starts with the face. It's the ability to see in a face the emotion the character is feeling without dialogue. And you can certainly see that in Serkis' face even through the CGI motion capture. Anger. Hatred. Uncertainty. Conflict. Compassion. Serkis' Caesar drives the film.

There are just a few problems with this movie. First, the filmmakers want us to believe that Nova just accepts the fact that Caesar kills her father and she feels nothing. Of course, this is moot if the guy wasn't her father. But none of this is explained. Caesar doesn't apologize by saying, "I'm sorry but it was in self-defense." Nova seems to be happy with her big hairy friends. Then there is the long stretch where the ape colony is imprisoned. Yeah, you get the impression that this was inspired by The Great Escape or should I say, "The Great Ape-scape." There definitely needed some pruning here as it slowed down the narrative.

War for the Planet of the Apes is a satisfying conclusion to this Apes trilogy. And no surprise here, you will probably get more Planet of the Apes movies in the future. We seem to be going in the direction of the weak Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) rather than original 1968 film where the apes are the villains and dominate mankind. i can't dislike new Apes movies if they're made well. The grade for War for the Planet of the Apes is B.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Conservative Republicans never really believed in helping Americans get healthcare

I've previously argued that conservative Republicans never wanted a healthcare plan to help Americans get medical treatment. It stems from their god, Ronald Reagan who believed that socialized medicine was evil.

Well, today, Health and Human Services Tom Price let the cat out of the bag. In support of the current Senate "healthcare" plan which would gut coverage of pre-existent conditions, Price said " “It’s really perplexing, especially from the insurance companies, because all they have to do is dust off how they did business before Obamacare." ABC "This Week." Yep, you heard that right. Conservative Price of the conservative Trump administration wants to go back to pre-Obama care days. Which means nothing for working people.

Come on my fellow Americans. If you are a working person and voted for conservative Republicans, stop it. They don't represent your welfare. They represent the big rich. Why do you think they endorse trickle down economics?

Working with Russians is not a crime according to Trump lawyer

Conservative President Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow has been running around the Sunday morning talk shows to argue that Trumps's campaign meeting with Russian government agents wasn't illegal. Maybe Sekulow should got to the law library and check out these Federal statutes. 52 USC 30121, 36 USC 510. You can't solicit or accept things of value from foreign nationals in a campaign. And if Trump's legal team is going to argue that opposition research or dirt is not a thing of value in an election, then they should be prepared to be laughed out of court. Opposition research or dirt is very valuable in that it allows you to inform voters why the other candidate should not be elected. Sekulow is becoming this decade's Baghdad Bob.

Keith Olbermann was prescient two weeks ago when he posted this video. In it, he notes that conservative operatives at Fox News like Sean Hannity were floating trial balloons that the Trump Campaign could have colluded with the Russians. "It's not illegal," the conservatives would say. They seize on the word collusion. Yeah, collusion is not a crime, however conspiracy is. And conspiracy to commit a crime is illegal. Anyway check out his video. Note at the five minute mark, Olbermann cites some of the crimes. Fraud. Public corruption violations. Conspiracy. Campaign contribution violations. Oh, we have not even gotten to violations of the Espionage Act.

Viva La Resistance.

{Two weeks ago, Keith Olbermannn predicted the Trump defense against collusion with the Russians.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trump in Paris and his misappropriation of Les Miserables.

Conservative President Donald Trump aka Dear Leader is in Paris to help celebrate Bastille Day. He's the guest of French President Emanuel Macron as France is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of American Troops to arrive for World War I. Trump has already embarrassed the United States by hitting on Macron's wife by stating how good shape she is in. I hope Americans there and liberal French give Trump a welcome with peaceful protests. Just remember my French friends, he's a climate change denier. I hear that French of good conscience are already planning to protest. NBC News. I say to our progressive French friends, "Dieu vous bénisse. "

While we're thinking about the French. I remember that during the campaign, Trump's team misappropriated Les Miserables. They used from that musical the song, "Do You Hear the People Sing." Totally wrong for the right-wing billionaire conservative Trump. The musical is about the Paris Uprising of 1832 where working people sought to rebel against the monarchy and establish a republic. It was a leftist revolt. L.A. Times. "Do You Hear the People Sing" is about the poor and downtrodden coming together to fight their oppressors. It is not about right-wing billionaires who plan to step on the backs of working people to become richer and more powerful.

My fellow liberals. We must reclaim this song, "Do You Hear The People Sing." Make sure those right-wingers hear our song. "It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again." We must fight against economic oppression. And tell that conservative, blonde hair, orange skin lunatic that we will not be economic slaves or slaves to his Russian masters.

Donald Trump Jr.'s emails and the irony of emails destroying a polititician

Here's the transcript of Donald Trump Jr.'s emails where he agrees to a meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. ABC News. Let's go over the stuff that is damning.

From Rob Goldstone:

"The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump - helped along by Aras and Emin."


Reply from Donald Trump Jr.:


"Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."



Conclusion.
By this way, there was a meeting between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and the Russian lawyer. This is proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. At the minimum, it shows that the Trump Campaign wanted to collude with the Russians in the 2016 campaign.

There's irony here. During the campaign, Trump Sr. hammered Hillary Clinton over her missing emails. I'll just let Trevor Noah comment on this in his funny piece below. "Oh cursed irony... The emails giveth the presidency and the emails shall taketh it away." (At the 30 second mark.)


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stephen Colbert destroys Donald Trump Jr. with hilarious monologue

Last night Stephen Colbert devoted his whole monologue to Donald Trump Jr.'s idiotic act where he released his email that shows he and the Trump Campaign sought to collude with the Russians. Colbert then uses his blackboard gag where he draws you an accurate diagram of what is really happening. Riotous stuff. Laugh your head off.



Spider-Man: Homecoming IMAX review

Spider-Man: Back to School er... Spider-Man: Homecoming is the second reboot to the Spider-Man franchise that has occurred within the last five years. Really. And this one takes the web crawler back to high school literally. Oh, oh. My movie sense is tingling. Did Sony and Marvel see all the profits from young adult fiction like the Hunger Games and mix that with the fact that summer movies are for teenagers? Well, in all fairness, the original comics had Spidey aka Peter Parker in high school.

Spider-Man: Homecoming starts where The Avengers (2012) ended. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a mischievous ghost who wants to come back to the real world. Um... that's Beetlejuice. Okay, Toomes runs a company that has been contracted to remove and salvage alien parts that occurred at the end of the battle of New York where the Avengers defeated the Chitauri. Yes, it will help if you've seen movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sigh. And that's the reason why this Spider-Man movie starts out where it does. You see Sony and Marvel have a deal that allows Spider-Man to appear in Captain America: Civil War. (2016) And yes, I've seen the Avengers and Captain America with the first two Thor movies. Okay, I'm a geek. But I'm not a Hulk person. ... yet. Geez, explaining the plot is like a Rachel Maddow piece. Anyway, Toomes is pushed out of salvaging by a Tony Stark company. Since he has to feed his family and employees, he uses the stuff he has salvaged to start a high tech crime gang. Toomes becomes The Vulture, a guy with a flying exoskeleton. The movie makes the wise decision to not give The Vulture a recognizable face which can be somewhat silly. (See the Green Goblin in the 2002 Spider-Man.) The headgear is more like a helmet. Think evil Iron Man.

Flash forward to Civil War. A young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has joined forces with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) aka Iron Man and some of the Avengers to fight Captain America. Yes, I said fight Captain America. Look, these plot threads are going to get ridiculous in the future. Anyway, that movie ends with Captain America and his allies escaping leaving Stark to be Peter's father figure?! Hold on. The late Uncle Ben Parker was Peter's father figure. He's the one that said "With great power comes great responsibility." I mean what is Stark going to teach Peter? How to be a billionaire womanizer? Peter can get that from watching Trump. Hey, Trump can teach Parker to "Grab them by the ..." er, sorry about that. This review should be PG rated. Maybe Peter can learn from Trump to "Make Russia Great Again."

But I digress. Parker has to deal with high school while balancing being your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Academic competitions. Teenage crushes. Breaking up robberies. He wants to do more as he was kind of an Avenger maybe going into space and hanging out with Groot. You see Groot is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Um.. never mind. Anyway, doing whatever a spider can has him crossing paths with The Vulture.

Tom Holland might now be a 21 year old English actor but he comes off as a 15 year old Peter Parker from New York. The Toomes character is well written and Michael Keaton understands him well. He's a working man trying to support his family and keep employees working. Toomes will generate some sympathy and he is a three dimensional villain. I love Peter's chubby Asian buddy Ned. (Jacob Batalon) Everybody, not just superheroes, needs friends. And Ned's affection, humor and enthusiasm mandates he be in the next film.

I'm not going to whine about about the casting of MJ (Zendaya) or Flash (Tony Revolari) that tuns white characters into minorities. The filmmakers were making a movie that reflects modern reality. Parker's high school is an inner city New York school. This is not making a white Johnny Storm into a black one. It's not forced. So sorry you right-wing trolls, I'm not playing your game. As for Marisa Tomei not playing a great granny type Aunt May, she is in reality 52. And in Civil War, Tony Stark finds her attractive. Look in the comics world, there are multiple versions of her, and yes, she's often portrayed old. But the fact is that she has an active romantic life even dating Dr. Octopus. So, with an active love life, I think it's okay to have a younger Aunt May. I just want her kind and caring character to be treated with intelligence and respect in light of the big surprise at the end of the movie. .

Spider-Man: Homecoming is an action movie with a lot of comedy. Unlike a straight comedy, this movie uses the serious situations to generate the quips and jokes. Spider-Man in the comics was known to make jokes while fighting crime. There was an army of writers on this movie, six to be exact, and that helps with the jokes since comedy is subjective. Allowing writers to bounce jokes off each other is always beneficial. The jokes work well. Director Jon Watts respects his material to keep out the camp while creating a movie that is not dark like, ahem... the DC cinematic universe. In fact, darkness is the only problem with this film at least in regards to the actual filming. Homecoming has a bit too many night scenes with confusing action. Perhaps, Watts is inspired by the old theme song's lyrics. "In the chill of night, at the scene of a crime."

And speaking of the sixties' theme song, part of it is played before all the action starts. Alas, it's only a tease. Oscar winner Michael Giacchino composes an original score and it kicks ass. Spider-Man's theme is strong and soars. I literally heard other moviegoers sing the song as they left the theater. Bravo, Michael.

I saw this movie on a regular IMAX screen without 3D. As with all IMAX movies, you get a much taller and fatter picture. IMAX always has excellent resolution. Spider-Man: Homecoming IMAX looks fantastic even if it is not in 3D. That being said remember the 3D version is a conversion from 2D. However, I don't recommend seeing this movie on IMAX. It's an excellent movie experience without a giant IMAX screen and you're watching it as a digital print anyway. The extra four to five bucks doesn't really add much. Save your money.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is fun, and exciting. You'll love the well filmed action and humor. The grade is A minus.


Andy Serkis reads Trump's Tweets as Gollum

In an interview with Stephen Colbert, actor Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) was asked to read Trump's Tweets as Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Funny stuff.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The smoking gun of Trump campaign-Russian collusion

The New York Times is reporting that Trump campaign official and son, Donald Trump Jr. received an email indicating that his meeting with Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father. Here's the quote from the report:

"Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father's candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email." Paragraph 1.

So what does this mean? We now know that Trump Jr. knew he was meeting with a Russian but not just any Russian. Ms. Veselnitskaya was an agent for the Russian government. Trump Jr. was soliciting a campaign contribution from a foreign national, specifically the Russian government. The email proves intent. I know there are conservatives who say this was not illegal. But for you right-wingers, here's the Federal statute that says it's illegal. 11 CFR 110.20 Here's also a See also CNN report.

My fellow Americans, this is likely the tip of the iceberg. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committees probably have more damning material. Regardless, we now have evidence of the Trump campaign working with the Russian government in the 2016 election. Impeach Trump before he hurts us.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Trump's plan to cooperate with Russians over a cyber-security unit is life imitating art

Conservative President Trump's idea to work with the Russians by forming an "impenetrable cyber security unit" was met with derision from Democrats and his fellow Republicans. NPR It's a true moment of idiocy by Trump or maybe he wants to betray America. After all, the Russians hacked Americans to influence the election. It's like the fox guarding the hens.

Trump's cyber security unit reminds me of this Saturday Night Live skit. Putin gives Trump a Elf on the Shelf for Christmas. It's really an electronic bug. Check it out below.

Trump campaign officials attempt to collude with the Russians

We've been hearing for weeks from conservative President Donald Trump that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. Now over the weekend there was a report that campaign official and son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer who had connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The purpose of the meeting? To see if she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

This was no mere opposition research. A foreign agent for a hostile country reached out to the Trump campaign to help influence an American election. It gets worse. According to Trump Jr., there was talk about starting up Russian adoptions. Folks, to do that, you need to repeal the Magnitsky Act unless Putin was going to unilaterally give in. Ha. Check out the videos from MSNBC's Morning Joe detailing the meeting and the possible legal jeopardy for the actors. By the way, the White House is not disputing the meeting.



Richard Engel: Putin's corrupt regime leads to the Magnitsky Act

The New York Times (CNN) is reporting that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer with Putin ties in 2016. The purpose was to see if this Russian had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Aha. Another piece of direct evidence of an American and Trump campaign official, he is the candidate's son, meeting with Russians to collude on defeating Clinton.

Anyway according to the Dear Leader's son, the Russian lawyer talked about Russian adoptions which were ended in retaliation for the American law called the Magnitsky Act.. The law was to punish corrupt Russian oligarchs who had ties to Putin for the death of another Russian lawyer Named Sergei Magnitsky, a dissident. You can get the picture from here. End the sanctions, allow American couples to adopt Russian children.

Richard Engel of MSNBC has done an excellent piece on Putin's corruption, and the deaths of prominent political opponents. Just remember that Trump felt honored to meet Putin. My fellow Americans, resist.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Conservative NRA encourages violence against liberals

There's a new NRA (National Rifle Association) ad that uses a common theme used by right-wing conservatives. Make somebody the enemy. And with conservatives, the enemy is always liberals. In the ad, Dana Loesch says "they" use their media to "assassinate real news", "use their schools to teach children that their President is another Hitler" (presumably Trump) and blames protests on Hollywood actors, Obama and comedians?! for protets against Trump and his right-wing ideas. Loesch angrily ends the ad by stating that the only way to "fight " this "violence of lies" is with the "clenched fist of truth."

First, let me say this ad is totally hypocritical. It's conservatives who lie. President Trump lies constantly. So much that the New York Times has tracked one lie for the first forty days of office. Then there's the lie that conservative Republicans care about healthcare. No. Because if they did they wouldn't be trying to transfer a 770 billion dollar cut to the wealthy in the form of a tax cut. I could go on. And I haven't started with Trump's love for Russian president Vladimir Putin. Something that I'm sure has Reagan spinning in his grave.

But it's the nature of this NRA ad that is reprehensible. It clearly is calling liberals as the enemy. I mean the term "they" describes liberals. It implies that all the millions of people who have protested were violent. Not true. Clearly the Woman's March was non-violent. The problem with the ad is that it calls for gun loving conservatives to commit acts of violence against liberals. Ms. Loesvh says they must fight the "violence" of lies with the "clenched fist" of truth. This sounds like a legal self defense argument that allows "violence' to be repelled by force. In NRA's ad, it means fight the "violence" with a "clenched fist" which every reasonable person knows means to hit something.

To the NRA and Ms. Loesch. Your ad uses fear and hatred. We liberals have as our allies truth, love and justice. We don't need clenched fists. That's because ...

LOVE TRUMPS HATE. And one more thing to drive you conservatives nuts because we have the people with us.

VIVA LA RESISTANCE.

CNN report on NRA ad with opposing thoughts.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Stephen Colbert on the Putin-Trump love affair

Here's the classic and hilarious bit from Stephen Colbert on the Trump-Putin love affair. Since the two presidents are going to meet and you can bet Trump is going to kiss Putin's ass, we need a laugh before Trump kills us. From last November, it's cartoon Trump and Putin.

Trump will likely betray America

Tomorrow is the big meeting between President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and American President Donald Trump. Today, Trump has already trashed our intelligence agencies by not confirming that the Russians hacked our citizens. He said, "I think it could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries." (Video at 40 seconds.) He then blasted former President Obama for not doing enough. Hold on. In one breath, he is not sure the Russiand did it then he says they did it while arguing that Obama didn't do enough. What?!

It's clear that Trump is likely to do nothing to stop Russia from hacking future elections. Don't be surprised that Trump will rescind some Russian sanctions without any significant in return. Folks, we're in trouble. Keep resisting my fellow Americans. Impeach this guy before it's too late.

Baby Driver review

Unless you're a fan of films, you may miss Baby Driver in the forest of superhero movies released in the last two months Or maybe it's the title that may put you off. It does sound like a CGI animated family movie. Is it about a cute baby driving in NASCAR? No. So, let me give you a recommendation. See this movie. It's a cool breeze in hot summer of bombastic summer films.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young twenty something getaway driver in Atlanta, Geortia. He's extremely talented at what he does. Consider him the Michael Jordan of getaway drivers. And what helps him concentrate is the music he hears through his earbuds. Baby has to listen to music to drown out the ringing from his tinnitus which he got after being in an auto accident as a child.

When we meet Baby, he's working for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a robbery kingpin. Doc is forcing Baby to drive for the robbery jobs that he sets up because he was caught stealing one of Doc's cars. While Baby is not innocent, he has trouble hurting people. Kevin Spacey is a kind of a nice and proud uncle figure to Baby. But Spacey also demonstrates a villain's cool threatening demeanor without any twirling of a mustache.

This being a movie about bank robbers, you're not going to get nice guys. Crew members include Buddy (Jon Hamm), a former stock broker, who wants the excitement of actually robbing people versus doing it on Wall Street. Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) is Buddy's sexy girlfriend. I predict we're going to see more of Gonzalez in the future. Bats (Jaime Foxx) is the loose cannon with a lunatic rationale for stealing. The victims' property is his property. He is unhinged and unpredictable. Bats doesn't hesitate to deal out death. But not everyone is a crook. Lily James (Cinderella) will make you forget she's English with her good Southern accent. She plays Deborah and for a good part of the movie, her naivete blinds her to Baby's criminal activity.

Writer and director Edgar Wright (The World's End) uses all his skill and experience as a filmmaker to construct a movie that looks to be inspired from Bullitt, Heat, Pulp Fiction, the video game Grand Theft Auto V and the genre of film noir. Yeah, you heard that right. I said Grand Theft Auto V. You have to play the game as it chock full of robberies. And let's not forget the soundtrack. Wright sets all the car chases to music everything from classic rock to blues to R & B. This fusion makes a film that has thrilling action and compelling drama. It is a movie that is near perfect. Wright's car chases feature full shots of the autos. The editing is logical. His guidance of the actors leads to some intense and realistic performances. Only one misstep occurs at the end of the third act where one character seems to have nine lives. That was over the top.

Baby Driver
is the type of heist movie that you want to see multiple times. Think Goodfellas. . This film was morally ambiguous, sometimes humorous and always exciting. It's one heck of a ride. The grade is A Minus.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A guide for liberal Democrats to return to power

I'll call these Bernie's Rules for liberal Democrats to return to power and keep power.

1. FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE.
In 1988 Governor Micheal Dukakis got slimed by George H.W. Bush with a flood of negative ads. Thankfully, in the next election the Democrats and Bill Clinton had a rapid response team. Liberal Democrats cannot let conservative Republicans lie. We must launch counterstrikes immediately.

That being said, fighting back is not the way Trump defines it. They play dirty. You got Melania Trump talk about the Dear Leader punching back ten times harder. No. That's not self defense, that's excessive. We don't need hatred and cruelty. We have two stronger and more righteous allies. They are truth and justice. .

2. MAKE THE TERM "CONSERVATIVE" A BAD WORD . Conservatives started to demonize liberals with the presidency of Republican god Ronald Reagan and reached its apex with Newt Gingrich. They made "liberal" a bad word. The liberals didn't fight back and retreated to the term "progressive." Liberal is not a bad word. We, liberals have stood for justice and equality.

Now it's time to make the term "conservative" a bad word. By doing so, people will stay away from "conservatives" at the polling booth. If you noticed, this blog has recently placed the terms "conservative" or "Republican " next to any bad conservative idea. And while I keep an open mind to any idea conservative or progressive because that's what liberals do. There are many bad conservative policies. They favor the big rich. They want to crush the working man to benefit the big rich. They don't believe in climate change or science. They want to suppress the vote of minorities. They are the party of Donald Trump.

3. VOTE. For some reason, many of you liberals don't vote in non-presidential elections. This has led to the Republicans taking control of statehouses and gerrymandering their way to power. You've got to vote every year. One of the reasons why conservatives want to suppress the vote of the working man is because we have the votes to defeat them.

4. DON'T SUPPORT FRINGE CANDIDATES. In 2000, Ralph Nader took enough liberal votes from Al Gore to hand George W. Bush the election. And we know how that turned out. Look, I like the Green Party but they can't win. In the last election, Green Party Jill Stein hurt Hillary Clinton in some of the swing sates. The Hill.

And if you're a member of The Green Party, might I suggest you join the Democratic Party. You have a better chance to change the world from within the Democratic Party than constantly losing.

5. RUN FOR OFFICE. Run for office. Any office. If you're pretty clean as in terms of no criminal record or embarrassments, run for office. We need candidates.

6. EDUCATE BUBBA OR THE ANGRY WHITE WORKING MAN. it's clear that white working men misunderstand the liberal cause. it may sound weak to them. But it's not. they don't understand that our cause is their cause.

We, liberals stand for the working man. We support livable wages. We stand for healthcare for all. We fight against the big rich and corporate interests who want to build their wealth on the backs of the working people. Freedom to us means guarding the rights of individuals. (I've written about this in my article "Educating Bubba.")

7. STICK REPUBLICANS WITH TRUMP. President Trump is the most corrupt, hateful demagogue to ever be President of the United States. He lies virtually every day. (New York Times) He sought the presidency not to help the people but to satisfy his ego and his desire for power. There is nothing in his history to indicate he understands the working people. He inherited his great wealth. Add to that, his indifference to protecting America from Russian cyber attacks.

Yet, conservative Republicans are protecting him. And for good reason. His policies are hard right- wing. There are those conservatives who argue that Trump is not a conservative. That's nonsense as he has done noting that is moderate or liberal. That's why when truth, justice and love defeat Trump, we must stick every conservative Republican to him. So when he is defeated, conservatives policies are defeated.

It's like this bit from David Letterman where he jumps into a Velcro wall wearing a Velcro suit. In our metaphor, the wall represents Trump. Letterman represents conservative Republicans.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Despicable Me 3 review

When you are making a sequel to a movie franchise, you should adhere to story concepts. I'm not talking about repeating tropes like the way Michael Bay throws constant explosions at the audience. No I'm talking about keeping characters together for the movie like Han Solo and Chewbacca. They were always doing things together. That's the big problem with Despicable Me 3.

The movie picks up from the last one, where Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are members of the Anti-Villain League aka AVL. They're sent on a mission to stop Balthazar Bratt voiced by an underused Trey Parker from stealing a diamond. They stop him but Bratt escapes. This causes the couple to be fired from the AVL. While unemployed the majority of the Minions protest Gru's domesticated life and yearn for his old villainous ways. They leave.

Later Gru finds out he has a twin brother named Dru (also voiced by Carell) who lives on the island of Freedonia. The couple with the three girls goes to visit Dru. Gru finds out that Dru is living in a mansion with a herd of pigs. Dru slaughters all the pigs in front of the girls for ham which grosses them out and they turn into vegetarians. Okay, that thing about turning pigs into ham didn't happen. But kids, where do you think ham comes from? Anyway, Dru has a secret. Their father was a supevillain and left them some neat gadgets. They decide to bond and go on a mission to steal a diamond form Bratt.

Like the first two Despicable Me(s) , the art is extremely exaggerated. The faces and bodies will make you smile rather than laugh. Unlike the first two, where those two were mischievous to the point of being subversive this movie is more kiddie friendly. That leaves for the adults some very funny slapstick.

The problem with this film is what I said at the beginning of the review. It takes the risk of not staying true to a concept in the franchise. And that is for the Minions and Gru to be and work together. The comic havoc that Minions could unleash are kept to themselves. That's comedy without a good setup. Then there are the other plot threads. These distract from the movie. Daughter Agnes (Nev Scharrel) goes off to find a unicorn. The annoying citizens of Freedonia. The Minions adventure. Unfortunately, the movie hints at a sequel that will keep characters apart.

When Gru and Dru are on their mission against Bratt, the movie works. It's enjoyable. It just needed to stay focused. The grade is B Minus.

Educating Bubba

When you look at the 2016 presidential election, liberals must analyze why the Democrats lost the white vote. (Pew Research) In future elections, Democrats must do better with white people. But how? First, let's identify the white voter that liberal Democrats can get. He's a beer drinking, angry white working man. I call him Bubba, the guy that Democrat Bill Clinton won back in the nineties. By the way, not to be sexist here, but Bubba can also be a woman.

I understand Bubba. You see, I'm not white but am an Asian liberal. I grew up in a neighborhood of Appalachian white people in Norwood, Ohio. To win the angry white working man we must educate him. And I'm not talking about patronizing him. But he clearly doesn't know anything about the liberal cause. It's like that Saturday Night Live skit where all these Kentucky voters who love Trump but find out he doesn't represent their interests. (Video below.)



So let's go over what liberals must tell Bubba or the white working man about conservatives and liberals.

1. Conservatives hate Medicaid. That's obvious with the recent attempt by Senate Republicans to gut it by reducing it by 770 billion dollars in order to give the rich a tax cut. Do white working people in Kentucky and West Virginia know this? Because if they did, I would hope they get rid of their GOP senators.

Look, Bubba. It's the liberal Democrats that created the program and want to preserve it.

2. The Democratic Party wants healthcare for all. All you need to consider is Obamacare which expanded Medicaid and whose purpose was to provide affordable healthcare for all citizens. If you want more, there' s a movement by liberal Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to adopt single payer, i.e., Medicaid for all.

3. The Democratic Party is the party of the working man. Tax cuts for the rich has been the mantra of conservative Republicans for years. See Ronald Reagan's trickle down economics. The Democratic Party is the party of labor unions and a livable wage.

4. The Democratic Party is the party that supports women. The face of the Republican Party when it comes to women is President Donald Trump. This is guy that calls women fat pigs, and with journalist Megyn Kelly, he commented that she had blood coming out of her body, a thinly veiled insult about her menstrual cycle. (Video below.) There's the famous Hollywood Access tape where Trump brags he can use is celebrity power to sexually assault women. Just recently he launched attacks against Mika Brzezinski saying she was bleeding and questioned her intelligence. And before you conservative Republicans say Trump doesn't speak for me, he is the leader of your party.



Meanwhile liberal Democrats stand for a woman's right to choose. Equal pay for woman. We respect woman by promoting them to top leaderships of our party. Cong. Nancy Pelosi. Sen. Elizabeth Warren And of course presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

5. Democrats do not want to take Bubba's guns.
I've been a liberal Democrat for over thirty years. And I have not heard one Democrat say they want to repeal the Second Amendment. There's no movement in the party to do this. Yeah, Democrats want common sense gun control. But you don't want guns in the hands of the mentally ill, or terorists, do you angry white guy? We want you to own as many guns as you like. Just no terrorists or mentally ill people.


6. People of color love their country as much as white people.
I remember recently arguing with a white woman. She shouted at me, "Go back to where you came from." And where would I go I thought. Back to Norwood, Ohio ? You see she saw me not as a citizen but an Asian.

Now not all Bubbas are racists. Some are. And to you angry white people that are racists, I know some of you can change. Realize that we people of color love America as much as you. And yes, some of you angry white racist guys think that men of color only want to impregnate white woman. (Video)


Well, angry white racist, that's not true. Because sometime during the mid-century, white people will not be the majority of the population. That's not a lot of race mixing. Regardless, if two people love each other, why should we care about race?

One more thing about the races working together. That diversity served us well in the 1996 and 2016 Olympics. The two American woman teams composed of diverse races won the team Gold in both. Diversity is our strength.

7. It's the liberal Democrats who care about Christian values. You often hear the question "What would Jesus do?" Well, would Jesus throw people off health insurance, and food stamps? Hell, no. Sorry about that cussing, God.

It's conservative Republicans who want to cut Food Stamps and Medicaid. The recent Senate healthcare proposed by the Republicans is a big tax cut for the the big rich funded by the working people. Jesus would not do this. Liberal Democrats oppose the cuts. Liberal Democrats are on the side of Jesus. I often wonder why conservative Republicans want to kill poor people. What the hell is the matter with them? Oops. Sorry God.

Conclusion

Hey, Bubba. Unless you are one of the top one percent of the country in the wealth area, voting for conservative Republicans is not in your interest. Vote for the liberal Democrat instead.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

First direct evidence of collusion between Americans and Russians in the 2016 election

Lost in the Trump Twitter war with Morning Joe was this bombshell news item. The Wall Street Journal has reported that a Republican operative contacted Russian hackers to get Hillary Clinton's deleted emails from her private server. The operative was Peter Smith who indicated that he was working with General Michael Flynn, former National Security Adviser for Trump and also part of the Trump campaign.

And remember, Trump asked the Russians to find those emails. Chris Hayes Video below at the 1:25 minute mark.


And yesterday, the Journal reported that Smith had listed in a recruitment document Trump campaign aides, Steve Bannon, Kelly Ann Conway and Sam Clovis.



No wonder why conservative Republicans have been arguing that even if Trump and the Russians colluded there was no crime. Sorry, conservatives, you are wrong. Check out this Business Insider article detailing the possible crimes. My opinion is that the leading crime committed here is a campaign contribution violation. And Republicans could we have America first over politics?

My fellow liberals and concerned Americans, viva la resistance.

Conservative Republicans real desire: Repeal Obamacare without replacement

Conservative President Donald Trump has exposed the real wishes of the Republicans. Repeal Obamacare without a replacement. This flies in the face of Trump telling CBS' news Lesley Stahl that he wanted to repeal and replace at the same time. Trump's outing of the real desire of conservative Republicans was tweeted after senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) expressed support for a straight repeal. Include conservative Rand Paul with support also. (R-Ky) This would line up with the bill passed by Republicans in 2015 and vetoed by President Obama. CNN Trump's idea of throwing Americans out into the street would lead to 26 million uninsured. Politico.

Stop this madness. America needs a single payer plan now.

Dear Leader's tweet: