Black Panther

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Black Panther



I had no interest in watching “Black Panther.” Normally, I don’t see Hollywood superhero movies. It has been a long time since I really liked one. (“Spider-Man 2,” 2004).

My best friend saw “Black Panther” last week and told me it is worth seeing. My wife saw it and told me that I’d find it interesting.

So, I gave in and watched “Black Panther.” I was right the first time when I had no interest.

I feel old and out of touch saying this, but I doubt that I’ll ever understand the appeal of 21st Century action flicks.

When I was a kid, action movies were fairly lousy, but at least they took place in the real world: with real cars, real fists, and real stuntmen performing real acts of heroism that are at least slightly plausible.

Now action flicks are nothing more than cartoons: computer-generated images of masked comic book characters performing impossible feats of acrobatics. And I’m supposed to care? About what? A bunch of 0s and 1s?

The last time “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler and co-star Michael B. Jordan teamed up, they made the 2015 Rocky sequel “Creed.”

“Creed” had characters I deeply cared about and the fight scenes took place on real sets with real human beings. “Creed” is an emotionally powerful four-star classic. “Black Panther” can’t come close.


“Black Panther” is about the fantastic fictional country of Wakanda. Wakanda is the only African country that has never been colonized. Coogler’s point that colonization is always bad for those being colonized is well-taken.

In addition to being inventive and industrious, Wakandans have the good fortune of living in a region rich in the rare metal Vibranium. Vibranium is used in their infrastructure, weapons, and even medicine.

The hero of “Black Panther” is new King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). He is an enlightened, restrained monarch. He resists pressure from humanitarians to allow refugees into Wakanda. And he resists pressure from expansionists to use Wakanda’s superior weaponry to dictate how other countries behave.

The villain of “Black Panther” is rival Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). He is driven by righteous fury to use Wakandan power to overthrow white empires and create a new world run by dark-skinned peoples.

The first three quarters of “Black Panther” is pretty solid. I absolutely hate the final act.

The climactic one on one battle between T’Challa and Erik is just plain boring. To my eyes, it looked like a pair of poorly-lit cat cartoons flying all over the place and preposterously punching in midair.

It wasn’t even good by cartoon fighting standards. I was more emotionally invested when Popeye fought Bluto. I was more emotionally invested when Peter Griffin fought that big chicken.

The ending of “Black Panther” is infuriating and depressing. I was rooting for King T’Challa because he was humble and anti-colonialism. Then, suddenly, he pulls an ugly 180 and sets up shop in Oakland, California – with a new mission to help African-Americans be more like Wakandans.

Wait…what?! Wakanda was blessed with a magical metal and it just had a hideous civil war. Meanwhile, American blacks have been dealt a horrible hand by history and they have made immense contributions to world culture and art. Wakandans should be learning from Americans, it seems to me; not the other way around.

The heroic king suddenly transformed into T’Challa Kipling: a cultural colonizer suffering from Non-White Man’s Burden. Is self-righteous paternalism less obnoxious when it is coming from people who share your skin color? Ryan Coogler thinks so. To me, it was a sad ending to a mediocre movie.

“Black Panther” is just another Hollywood superhero movie. I don’t understand who would rather see average “Black Panther” than amazing “Creed.”

According to the box office, 9 out of 10 people would rather see “Black Panther.”

Oh, well. I’m the 10th. And I’m right.


The Post

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The Post



After the indefensible disaster of the Iraq War, we are not as quick to trust politicians when they try to get involved in foreign conflicts.

In 2013, President Obama tried his best to rally our support for war when Syrian President Assad defied Obama’s Line in the Sand. We were just about to go to war against Damascus and possibly Russia when the American people resoundingly and smartly rose up against it.

So… what is a militarist regime to do when its people don’t trust it and are sick of war? Battle secretly, of course!

The US is still actively involved in Libya. Our bombing raids destroyed a stable, anti-Islamist, pro-minority regime and replaced it with chaos, Al-Qaeda, and a return to the slave trade. And we’re still there finding new ways to mess the place up.

Our military has been working hand in hand with Saudi Arabia to decimate Yemen since 2015. It never bothered to tell us why.

There are US boots in Pakistan even though it is not even clear whether the regime in Islamabad is our ally or a pro-Taliban, pro-terrorism arch enemy.

There is an enduring military and CIA presence in Chad, Congo, Ethiopia and Somalia. They figure that you don’t know where those countries are and don’t care how many people we kill there.

Oh, by the way, the military is still meddling in Syria, too, even though we told them not to.

THE story of the Obama years was how the War on Terror went underground. But it wasn’t covered because the Establishment Media is shameless and terrible.


Apparently, that was not always the case.

Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” tells the semi-gripping story of how the feisty editor (Tom Hanks) and the brave publisher (Meryl Streep) of the Washington Post defied the Nixon Administration and published the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

The Pentagon Papers were a secret report by then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara that explored the consequences of American actions in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967.

The two most damning aspects of the Pentagon Papers was the revelation that Presidents Kennedy and Johnson actively lied to the American people about what was really happening in Vietnam. And the upsetting fact that the military agreed that the war was unwinnable as early as 1965 but sent two million more men there, anyway.

We are supposed to feel like the Washington Post reporters were brave to publish the Pentagon Papers because the Nixon White House had filed a court injunction trying to criminalize the publication of military secrets.

Spielberg tried to spin this into a life and death battle for the free press. It wasn’t. It was little more than an ill-conceived dirty trick by the White House against hostile newspapers that Nixon feared were working to destroy him. He was dead right, by the way.

The more compelling drama comes from publisher Kay Graham’s difficult decision to betray her close friends Lady Bird Johnson and Robert McNamara by making them look bad in her newspaper.

“The Post” is an awkward failure by an aging director who may be losing his edge for good. Every conclusion that Spielberg makes is either childishly obvious or completely wrong.

His primary argument is that the Pentagon Papers marks the end of the era where newspaper bigwigs befriended and protected politicians.

The last decade proves that this is total hogwash. The press kept silent about the secret wars of the Obama years because it adored the President.

And if American reporters ever decide to shine a spotlight on the lies and abuses of our military and CIA, it will not be because they care about the lives of brown and black people. It will be because they want to destroy a President who refuses to be friends with them.

    State of Marriage

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Vermont Movie on Netflix

State of Marriage



It’s amazing how quickly and completely the Gay Marriage movement conquered the Western World.

Gay marriage activists went from a disdained minority around the turn of the century to undisputed champions by 2015.

The Gay Marriage lobby is the NRA of the Left. Like the NRA, the Gay Marriage lobby won legislative and court victories. And more importantly, they changed people’s minds. There are plenty of Democrats who quietly accept the fact that guns are legal. And there are millions of Republicans now who would be delighted to attend a gay wedding.


Like most people at the turn of the century, I was opposed to the State granting marriage licenses to gay people. Not for the reasons that you think, though.

Firstly, more legal marriages inevitably leads to more divorces. And I’m against anything that further enriches divorce lawyers.

I don’t think that the government should be involved in marriages at all. A marriage should be a non-legal agreement based on love, not money. It should be a vow between two people and their close friends and family. Uncle Sam should have no say in it.

I am 100% pro-gay. But, at least back in 2000, I was 101% anti-government. And I was opposed to anything that gives the government more knowledge of us and power over us.

It always seemed odd to me that the very people who usually say “stay out of our bedroom” were suddenly demanding that Uncle Sam saunter in and sanctify what they are doing in their bedroom with moderately priced legal documents.


With so many different groups of people opposed to gay marriage, it is astounding that change won out. ‘Change’ is easy to say but hard to accomplish. Gay Rights advocates were able to fundamentally change the definition of marriage that had existed since the beginning of recorded history. It’s an epic accomplishment.

“State of Marriage” chronicles the handful of lawyers and activists who took on the Status Quo and won. It all started right here in Vermont.


The undisputed heroes of this story are Vermont lawyer couple Beth Robinson and Susan Murray.

Fueled by passion and Pixy Stix, Robinson worked in her private practice by day and spent most every night putting together a case against the State of Vermont.

In Baker v Vermont (1999), Beth Robinson hardly mentioned her homosexual clients at all. Instead, she told a story of when – not too many generations ago – interracial marriage was illegal everywhere and frowned upon by all. She praised the courts of the mid-20th Century for changing America’s marriage rules for the better.

Robinson’s analogy was perfect and her legal argument was splendid. The Court sided with the Plaintiffs. (Robinson herself was appointed to the Vermont Supreme Court in 2011).

From there, Robinson, Murray, and their team successfully lobbied the Vermont Legislature to legalize Civil Unions – which gave gay couples all the rights of married couples.

Some were disappointed that the new law stopped short of granting full marriage equality. But they couldn’t see the big picture. The tide of history had turned in their favor. And there was no going back.


I am not opposed to gay marriage anymore. Is anyone?

Director Jeff Kaufman makes it seem like the legal and legislative victories were the only story; he ignores the victory that social justice warriors had over our hearts and minds. He interviewed too many people who were believers all along. But he didn’t interview any of the 50 million Americans who had their mind changed.

In less than a generation, gay marriage went from a fringe issue to the agreed upon standard of the Western World. I would like to see a great movie about how this revolution came to pass. Sadly, “State of Marriage” isn’t it.

Emmanuel Macron: Behind the Rise

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Emmanuel Macron: Behind the Rise



President Obama’s legacy has been hopelessly distorted by partisanship.

The American Right has spun Obama into something that he never was or tried to be: a Progressive.

Ask a Republican, and he will tell you that the President was an anti-American Socialist Peacenik.

Amusingly, the American Left has decided to defend this Funhouse Mirror version of Obama that never really existed. Ask a Democrat, and she will try to defend his foreign policy on humanitarian grounds and defend his health care plan on Progressive grounds.

The reality is that Barak Obama was as moderate as a leader can be. Every action existed to maintain continuity.

During the heart of the banking crisis, he let political donors at Citigroup choose his cabinet. Sorry, Obama fans, but you can read it for yourself in the leaked email from Citi to John Podesta on Oct 8, 2008. The Obama team was tightly allied with Wall Street from day one.

Obama’s foreign policy was a clever continuation of Bush’s War on Terror. Using drone strikes and covert actions, Obama kept his foot on the pedal of relentless Middle East murder and meddling while reducing the number of American body bags to a more tolerable level.

The Affordable Care Act is little more than a scheme to try to keep the current for-profit system going a few more years by extorting money from young, healthy people who need cash way more than health insurance.

In the end, Obama achieved minimal change. The only question is whether his campaign slogan “Change” was always intended as a cynical irony.


Now France has its own Barak Obama. His name is Emmanuel Macron. Macron is young, good-looking, smart, and charismatic. And he’s the living embodiment of the status quo.

“Behind the Rise” is a worshipful documentary that follows his successful candidacy for President. The documentary urges us to fall in love with the man. And urges us not to think too much about what he represents.

Emmanuel Macron is the insider’s insider. First he was an investment banker at Rothschild & Co. More recently, he was Deputy Secretary-General under President Francois Hollande.

Last year, Macron bolted from Hollande’s Party and formed his own Party: En Marche! (which means Onward!). See what he did there? Macron fights tooth and nail to defend the status quo, but he does it under the slick banner of Progressivism.

While Marine Le Pen relentlessly focused on France’s need to leave the EU and reclaim its borders, Macron felt no need to discuss issues at all. Throughout the movie, he mostly just smiles, tries to look dashing, and accuses his opponent of bigotry.

Apparently, Macron was right. He beat Ms. Le Pen in a landslide. Le Pen is the better person, but she was not a great candidate. She did a lousy job of reaching out to France’s growing minority population.

The winner of the France’s next election will be the one who communicates that the choice is not between Christianity and Islam; it’s between the Globalists and the people.

The problems plaguing France are unemployment, unchecked borders, and uncontrolled terrorism. The ultimate victims are poor, peaceful young French Muslims who just want to assimilate and work. They need change more than anyone.

The same bland agreeable nature that made Macron an appealing candidate will make him entirely incapable of leading France through the tough road ahead.

America has already been through this. Even though Barak Obama remained personally popular, his party and the American Establishment itself lost their credibility during his Presidency.

Change is no longer a cynical slogan. It’s a desperate need. The Establishment won with Obama and Macron. But we won’t be fooled anymore.
Après Macron, le déluge.


Targeted: Exposing the Gun Control Agenda

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Targeted: Exposing the Gun Control Agenda



The NRA is right about gun control for the wrong reasons. And gun control advocates are wrong about gun control for all the right reasons.

Love them or loathe them, you have to hand it to them: the NRA is winning. If Tom Brady and Charlie Sheen had a baby and that baby grew up to be a lobbying group, that group would be the NRA.

The true extent of their victory was demonstrated every time President Obama made a speech about gun control. After every mass shooting – like clockwork – the President would implore America to finally crack down on legal weapons sales. Every impassioned speech had the same result: people rushed out to buy more guns.

In other words, the NRA reduced the most powerful man on earth into a mere gun-selling patsy.

How did the NRA become the Harlem Globetrotters and how did gun control advocates become the Washington Generals?

Cynical people will say that the NRA did it by paying off politicians. But that’s only half the story. The NRA needed to convince the public that gun control is bad and/or useless. And they did it using a brilliant combination of truth and lies.

“Targeted” is a big budget propaganda documentary written and directed by 22 year old Jesse Winton. He presents the topic with the wide-eyed earnestness of a college kid who just discovered politics.

I’m not saying that young Mr. Winton was paid by the NRA. But it is clear that he is a recent convert to their religion and his faith is unquestionable.

Gun control advocates have one message: restricting gun sales will save lives. Impressively, the NRA has even found a way to fight back on that seemingly unarguable point.

Jesse Winton tries to convince himself and the audience that fewer guns won’t lead to fewer shootings based on statistics from Chicago and Australia. I’m basically pro-NRA, but – good grief – this argument is absurd.

If you close every ski slope, America will have fewer broken legs. If you close every McDonald’s, America will have fewer Big Macs. And if you close every gun store, America will have fewer gun deaths and mass shootings. It IS that simple. I am sincerely impressed that the NRA has found a way to convince half of our country that 2 minus 1 equals 5.

Everyone is against mass shootings. But I came across an interesting statistic recently: 100% of people who were killed by guns were going to die of something else eventually.

Every person in human history died. Only a tiny percentage of them ever lived in freedom.

“Targeted” does a slightly better job of showing how essential gun rights are to our identity as a free people.

If you think we are such a free people that we have liberties to spare, you view the United States differently than I do. We are certainly freer than slaves, Soviets, and Saudis. But we are not as free as we should be.

The government in Washington has the power to draft a boy right out of high school, train him to kill, send him to Vietnam, and then force him to murder people based on nothing more than a Domino Theory. That is a proven fact. And gun control advocates want to give these maniacs more power over us? I do not.

I’d say that it is the feds – not the people – who have proven that they can’t be trusted with firearms. The day after the government voluntarily throws away all of its tanks and bombs and drones is the day that they have any place asking us to lay down our arms.

The NRA is full of it when it says that banning all guns wouldn’t make us a little safer.

However, I’m still on the NRA’s side.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

-Benjamin Franklin.


Do Not Resist

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Do Not Resist



Have you or anyone you’ve ever known been a victim of random street violence? I didn’t think so.

Have you or anyone you’ve ever known been beaten up or shot by a police officer for no reason? Me, neither.

The job of America’s police officers is to keep us safe without harassing us too much in the process. All things considered, they are doing an amazing job.

Meanwhile, we keep finding ways to make their job more difficult.

The misguided war on drugs forces officers to go after drug offenders rather than actual evil-doers. The misguided Police Unions waste their time defending the few bad cops instead of fighting for better pay for the many good ones. The misguided prison system continues to transform poor young men into violent, unhirable ex-cons by the millions.

It almost feels as if our streets are so safe and our police are so effective that we need to invent new diabolical schemes to challenge them.

The documentary “Do Not Resist” introduces us to the latest horrible plan to try to sabotage America’s police forces: militarizing them.

A generation ago, police officers protected our streets with sedans and pistols. And that was pretty much it.

“Do Not Resist” shows that many police forces have undergone a major weapons upgrade. Now it isn’t uncommon for even rural police departments to own an arsenal of assault weapons, sniper rifles, tear gas, gas masks, riot gear, and armored vehicles that can withstand heavy fire and land mines.

How did this happen? The War on Terror has come home.

The militarization of America’s police was virtually inevitable as soon as the public bought into the concept that 9/11 was an act of war. As soon as we gave our consent to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, we were also consenting to – and funding – the purchase of hundreds of billions of dollars of high tech military weaponry. Like the soldiers, much of that weaponry has come home.

“Do Not Resist” consists of long scenes of firsthand footage of police departments utilizing their new military toys in the field.

We see what happened on the ground during the Ferguson riots of 2014. And we follow a SWAT team on a few drug raids.

The conclusion I drew was that the police in Ferguson demonstrated an impressive amount of restraint. Using tear gas was probably unnecessary and counterproductive. But all in all it felt like the Ferguson cops resisted using deadly force at every turn. And, in the end, they pacified a town that could have unraveled into anarchy. That, to me, is the most important reason why we have a thin blue line to begin with.

The drug raids, on the other hand, are a shameful disgrace. The SWAT teams behave like a band of pillagers: busting up homes, breaking up families, and forfeiting cash just because they can.

Unlike the people who made “Do Not Resist,” though, I do not blame the cops for this. If the nincompoops in Washington and Montpelier simply legalized drugs, these awful raids would end tomorrow. Even in this wildly anti-cop documentary, it appears that the police are just doing their jobs. It is not their fault that their job is often to enforce foolish laws.

“Do Not Resist” is half right. In my estimation, America’s police were doing an outstanding job of keeping the peace before they became militarized and they are doing an outstanding job of keeping the peace since they have been militarized. So let’s just take away all of their heavy weaponry.


City 40

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City 40



Remember that time this spring when a Russian naval destroyer was patrolling the Gulf of Mexico, dangerously close to the US mainland? The Russians became furious when an American fighter pilot buzzed dangerously close to the Russian destroyer.

Of course you don’t remember it. It never happened. The real incident occurred when a Russian fighter aggressively buzzed a US naval destroyer in the Black Sea. Russia doesn’t routinely patrol in the water in our backyard. But we do it to them.

In the relationship between the United States and Russia, we are the aggressive bullies. Russia is a tireless enemy of militant Islam and it is located 5000 miles away from the continental United States. But the bone-headed Cold Warriors in the military establishment still find a way to pretend that Russia is a threat to us.

Yes, Russia still has a powerful nuclear arsenal. But that’s all the more reason to try to be friends with Vladimir Putin and let him do whatever he wants in Syria and the Ukraine. You know, the countries that are in his backyard; not ours.

Since the knuckleheads in Washington have been calling Russia our enemy for 70 straight years now, it’s hard for us to imagine that the Russian people are civilized westerners who are pretty much like us.

That’s why the documentary “City 40” is valuable for American viewers.

It shows that A. The Russians were and are deadly serious about their nuclear weapons program. And B. There is no sane reason why Russians have to be our enemies.

In the late 1940s, The Soviet Union founded its nuclear weapons program in a picturesque town in the Ural Mountains. It was simply called City 40. It wasn’t named. It wasn’t on any maps. No one was allowed to enter. And if residents left, they weren’t allowed to speak of the place.

Life for the people of City 40 was a series of huge trade-offs. On one hand, they got the pride of doing something important for their country. And Moscow made sure that City 40 had the best of everything – including sports arenas, entertainment venues, and stocked supermarket shelves. On the other hand, the residents were essentially prisoners. And the men who worked with nuclear material died young at a predictably disturbing rate.

While their situation seems alien to us, their response feels very American.

There are two main characters in “City 40”: a single mother Civil Rights Lawyer who is fighting the government to open the city and acknowledge the damage that it has done to its citizens. And there’s a jolly journalist who doesn’t see what the big deal is.

“I respect her,” the journalist says. “She is tough and brave. But she asked me the other day: ‘don’t you think that the barbed wire around the city violates your rights?’” The journalist gives a big belly laugh. “’I quoted Ronald Reagan: read my lips, it doesn’t violate my rights.’”

This argument between an uptight liberal and a contrarian conservative felt distinctly American (right down to the conservative using a George Bush quote and accidentally attributing it to Ronald Reagan).

In the end, I just can’t find any sane reason why we can’t be allies with these like-minded people.

Presidential candidate Jill Stein announced that she wants to bring every American troop back to the United States, in part to stop antagonizing foreign powers. Donald Trump has taken heat for his desire to achieve détente with Russia and forge a productive friendship with Vladimir Putin.

Basically, the only people left who think Russia is our enemy are close-minded Cold Warriors who are willing to risk thermonuclear annihilation rather than turn the page of history.



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Edward Snowden is a traitor because he promised to protect government secrets but he released them instead.”


This is undeniable logic.

But it ignores the bigger question. Why does the United States government have so many secrets?

I think I could run our entire foreign policy with one major change, one honest mission statement, and zero secrets.

The major change is that I would call all American military forces in Afghanistan, S Korea, Japan, Germany home to the United States where they belong. I would turn the Department of Defense into, you know, a defensive force.

(Jill Stein has already proposed this, by the way).

And here is my mission statement to all the peoples of the world:

“Greetings to every non-American citizen of earth! Good news. We will never invade, drone strike, or spy on you again. You can do whatever you want to whomever you want outside of our borders because it is obviously none of our business. All we ask is that you stay away from us.

Anyone who breaks this one rule and enters our borders uninvited will be killed. In the very unlikely event that your country succeeds in conquering and occupying ours, you will feel the wrath of non-stop insurrection from our millions of armed private citizens. This is America. We are eager to kill for no reason; heaven help you if you give us a reason. Good luck to all of you!”

If you think that my new American mission statement is ridiculous and terrible, then you must be reasonably pleased with the current state of affairs.

Our government invades who it wants, occupies who it wants, drops death from above on whomever it wants. And it spies on everyone.

The disappointingly mediocre Oliver Stone movie “Snowden” tells the story of a military man and young Conservative – Edward Snowden – who learned the ugly truth about the United States government.

Edward Snowden was a computer genius who quit the CIA for moral reasons. He rejoined the agency in 2009.

“Why did you change your mind?” an interviewer asks Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). “Obama,” Snowden replies wistfully. “I thought that he would change things. He didn’t.”

In his second stint working with the government, Edward Snowden learned that the NSA had brazenly expanded its data collection mandate – effectively tearing up the 4th Amendment.

The NSA had forced Verizon, AT&T and others to secretly comply with its Big Brother-esque metadata collection.

The basic concept, Oliver Stone explains, is that the NSA got a secret warrant to tap the phone calls, texts, emails, and social media pages of everyone suspected of wrong-doing – and all of their contacts. And all of their contacts’ contacts. And all of THEIR contacts’ contacts. Basically, the NSA was secretly spying on every human being with a phone or computer.

Edward Snowden concluded that this wasn’t really to combat terrorism. The War on Terror was only an excuse. The real mission of the NSA was complete social control of the citizens of earth.

“Snowden” is an important movie. But it’s no fun to watch. It’s mostly just a 2+ hour drama about a CIA man who emotionally neglects his amazing girlfriend.

In the end, I respect the point of view of people who call Edward Snowden a traitor for revealing the government’s secrets. In my opinion, though, it is our government that betrayed us by keeping all of these awful secrets to begin with.