The Phony Campaign

2016-07-17 Update

Another week, another atrocity, another storm of platitudes. (One difference: the preaching of the usual suspects about "gun violence" is muted.) As discussed last week, we'll continue to do our thing here.

PredictWise (unsurprisingly) claims that Trump and Clinton are the only candidates with any chance at the Oval Office. Depressing!

So we'll shake things up a bit on this end. We included Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson last month; today we'll add in the Green Party nominee, Jill Stein. I was shocked at her initial strong showing:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2016-07-10
"Donald Trump" phony 955,000 +370,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 721,000 +203,000
"Jill Stein" phony 269,000 --
"Gary Johnson" phony 24,900 0

  • Jill (I call her Jill) is not a huge Israel fan:

    She's a few meters more to the left than Bernie. So why the high phony score?

    One example: Despite her background in medicine (it's Dr. Stein, thankyouverymuch) Mike Stone at Patheos noted her answer to the straightforward question: “What is your campaign’s official stance on vaccines and homeopathic medicine?”.

    Instead of Stone's (and my) preferred answer ("Vaccines work; homeopathy is bullshit."), Jill provided (in Stone's words) "a long winded and evasive answer", and "a confused and muddled hash invoking big pharma conspiracy theory buzz: a convoluted political double-speak that would make the most jaded and cynical politician proud."

    In this, Jill is merely following the Green Party platform. Generally speaking, the Greens combine the economic ignorance you would expect from socialists with the scientific ignorance you might not.

  • And there's also: Jill Stein Pledges To Pardon Snowden and Appoint Him To Her Cabinet. My suggestion would be: Secretary of State, where odds are he's be less negligent on matters of national security than Hillary was.

  • On CNN… "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls Trump a 'faker,' he says she should resign."

    As it turns out, they were both right.

    Unfortunately, she chose to "apologize" instead. ("I regret that I revealed my complete lack of judicial temperament," or words to that effect.)

  • I call your attention to the posting Phony Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton" because I am impressed by the translated-to-French-and-back prose. Sample:

    On Tuesday, Sanders formally took off his masks to expose the phony beneath while he formally counseled Hillary to grow to be president of america. All appreciate one will have had for Bernie’s philosophical consistency has evaporated. Instead of complete-blown, card-wearing communists, the left has now not had a unmarried philosophically constant candidate of their space of playing cards. All their communicate of loose school, loose healthcare, and top source of revenue taxes has been a lie to realize and wield energy over the ignorant plenty that believed them.

    I agree! I think.

    Well, just kidding. My guess is the original version is here.

    On Tuesday, Sanders officially took off his mask to reveal the phony underneath when he officially endorsed Hillary to become president of the United States. All respect one may have had for Bernie's philosophical consistency has evaporated. Other than full-blown, card-carrying communists, the left has not had a single philosophically consistent candidate in their house of cards. All their talk of free college, free healthcare, and high income taxes has been a lie to gain and wield power over the ignorant masses that believed them.

    Yeah, well, what are you gonna do?

  • Finally, a sobering report from Kevin D. Williamson from FreedomFest in Vegas, baby: "I Told You So". Kevin was skeptical about the claim America was about to have a "libertarian moment", and one bit of confirming evidence was the flameout of Rand Paul's presidential campaign (before I even got a chance to vote for him in the New Hampshire Primary). And so…

    In the event, the two presidential candidates Americans got most excited about were Donald Trump, a nationalist, and Bernie Sanders, a socialist. Between the two of them, they make a pretty good national socialist. Trump won his party’s nomination and Sanders ceded his to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is (arguably) a little bit more of a nationalist and (arguably) a little bit less of a socialist but in many ways a much better distillation of the partnership between big government and big business that characterizes our current political moment.

    RTWT, friends. Depressing but insightful.

Into the Storm

[1.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Did you see Twister? I saw Twister. I liked Twister. And, Into the Storm, you're no Twister.

The plot is so formulaic that it might have been sketched out by algorithm. Monster tornadoes threaten Midwesterners. Documentary filmmakers are under pressure to get gripping video to please their corporate masters, and the leader is willing to risk everything to further his career. A widowed father struggles to raise his two teenage sons, one a whiner, one a troublemaker. Needless to say, the events bring them Closer Together.

It was never easier to pick out victims and survivors. The only question is: will that one guy perish in an act of (a) greed-driven stupidity or (b) redemptive courage. (Spoiler: the latter, as it turns out.)

Richard Armitage, Thorin Oakenshield himself, plays the dad. I think he may have gobbled up 80% of the acting budget. Everybody else is pretty generic. How much acting talent do you need to shout "Get down!", or mutter "Ohmigod"? Over and over. I didn't keep exact count, but I think these two lines were repeated dozens of times.

Room

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Room is, as I type #124 on IMDB's list of the top 250 movies of all time. Brie Larson won an Oscar for Best Actress, and it got nominated in three other categories, including Best Picture. And I thought it was pretty good too.

I kind of wish I'd seen it knowing even less than I did about the plot. If I'd gone in knowing nothing, there would have been a certain amount of oh-that's-what's-going-on realization.

If you think you might feel the same, I urge you to stop reading now.

Still here? Fine. Five-year-old Jake and his mother are being held prisoner by "Old Nick", limited to a few dozen square feet. The only connection to the outside world is a small skylight and a door they can't open. It becomes apparent that Jake has never, ever, been out of the space. He hides in a small closet when Old Nick comes to drop off groceries and rape mom.

I was somewhat surprised that the movie didn't end when I thought it would.

Confession: I thought there would be a Shocking Plot Twist along the lines of the "elaborate but incorrect" theories described here. (It's not really that elaborate.)