The Phony Campaign

2016-08-28 Update

PredictWise again ignores the yuge crowds at Trump rallies and continues to express 80% confidence that Hillary's gonna beat the tar out of him in November. To a pulp. Like a rented mule. Like a drum. Like swords into plowshares.

And in the phony standings, Jill Stein continues to impress:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jill Stein" phony 1,160,000 +140,000
"Donald Trump" phony 814,000 -82,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 769,000 +13,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 89,600 +45,500

  • The Democrats-with-bylines media continues to trash Jill Stein, of course. Example this week is the ultra-dependable Dana Milbank of the WaPo, who detects "From Jill Stein, disturbing echoes of Ralph Nader" The allusion being to Nader's role in the 2000 election; dejected liberals credit him with swinging the election to Dubya over Gore.

    In ordinary times, a voice such as Stein’s contributes to the national debate. But these are not ordinary times. Trump’s narrow path to the presidency requires Stein to do well in November, and polls indicate Trump does better with her in the race. But, 16 years after Ralph Nader helped swing the presidency to George W. Bush from Al Gore, liberals (including Bernie Sanders supporters) who otherwise agree with Stein are more inclined to recognize that she makes more likely the singular threat of a President Trump.

    Or: "You're cute, honey, but I've got my money on the other babe."

    At Reason, Anthony L. Fisher debunks the Nader-beat-Gore mythologizing, and notes the reason why Hillary sycophants like Milbank push it nonetheless.

  • More to my liking is Kevin D. Williamson, who's in nobody's pocket. His contribution this week is pointing out "Trump’s Unlikely Story". But what really caught my attention was the subheadline:

    This isn’t a campaign — it’s psychotherapy.

    Normally, I'd scoff. But (remember) just last week we linked to an article that was headlined "No, Jill Stein Supporters, You Are Not Crazy". Apparently that's a thing now: either (a) figuring out just what type of mental dysfunction is going on with candidates and their supporters, or (b) reassuring assertions that you're not crazy; it's those other guys.

    Kevin's in the former category:

    We should consider the possibility that Donald Trump is not really running a presidential campaign at all — that this is not politics, but psychotherapy. Trump has always been a figure of fun among those whose respect he most craves — the New York business community and the editors of the New York Times – and he obviously desires to be something more than a reality-television grotesque: a figure of significance. His presidential campaign is his bid for self-actualization, and it has taken along a great many gullible and credulous people — and a major political party — for the ride.

    That sounds unfortunately plausible.

  • Also firmly in National Review plague-on-both-houses camp is Jim I. Geraghty: "The Post-Reality Election". Many examples of candidates "insisting that the obvious truth wasn’t true". Here's one:

    Hillary Clinton [sought] to assure CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the complicated and shady financial dealings of her family foundation were on the up and up. “I know there’s a lot of smoke, and there’s no fire,” she said. This was perverse to say the least: The adage is, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” and that’s what common sense and experience tells us. But in Clinton’s telling, smoke should not be taken as evidence of fire. It’s like she’s citing an ancient proverb from her own personal alternate reality.

    One could only wish that Anderson Cooper were quick enough to follow up on the metaphor: "Wait a minute. If there's no fire, where the bleep is all the smoke coming from?"

  • I should point out the Facebook group "Libertarians Against Gary Johnson & Bill Weld". Its raison d'être:

    Gary Johnson & Bill Weld are fakes. They are big government, big spending moderates and have the record to prove it. They are as libertarian as Hillary!

    It's Facebook, so there's a lot of crap. I came away saying… "Yeah, maybe, but still better than Trump or Hillary."

  • And in the Twitter:

    A number of these signs were posted in LA to coincide with a Hillary's fundraiser (minimum admittance $33K) hosted by Justin Timberlake and that nice Jessica Biel. (The underlined "ill" in "Hillary" indicating that the perps were probably not Hillary supporters.)

Last Modified 2019-01-07 7:08 AM EDT

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Why yes, it is yet another cynical attempt by filmmakers to squeeze a few more dollars (US, Australian, and Euro) out of the rubes who loved a previous movie.

Worked for me. It's a tribute to how a bunch of extremely talented actors (and wonderful filming locations) can make a movie interesting despite a script that's at best mediocre.

It has been nearly four years since I saw the first movie, so I had only a dim recollection of the status of most of these characters when the movie opens. But it seems all the characters that survived the first movie are here. Sonny (Dev Patel) is still borderline delusional, his marriage to the beautiful Sunaina is imminent, he's insanely jealous when a suave, rich buddy shows up and starts macking on Sunaina, and he's looking to expand his hotel empire from one to … two. This requires him to travel with Muriel (Maggie Smith!) to San Diego to meet with financiers, including devilishly handsome Ty (hey, that's David Strathairn!). They'll think about it.

Evelyn (Judi Desch!) has a job offer to do something or other with fabrics, and she's nervous about her slow-motion nearly-romantic relationship with Douglas (Bill Nighy!) who's still technically married to Jean (Penelope Wilton!). Madge (Celia Imrie! Previously seen in Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace as "Fighter Pilot Bravo 5") is having a tough time deciding which Indian rich guy to marry. Norman (Ronald Pickup!) is having doubts about the fidelity of Carol (Diana Hardcastle!) and worries that he may have accidentally taken out a hit on her.

And finally, two new guests arrive at the hotel: Guy (Richard Gere!) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig!). But there's only room for one! And Guy is immediately smitten with Sonny's domineering mom (Lillete Dubey!).

Anyway, you get the point: there's a lot going on. Piles of hilarity and melodrama ensue. I said the script was mediocre, and it was, but we'll give it a thumbs for taking an unexpected turn in a couple places. (Specifically: I thought I saw things coming a mile away, but so did the scriptwriters, and they steered away from the expected paths at the last minute. Good for them.)

Don't Breathe

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

So Pun Son unexpectedly proposed that we go see a movie; this was the best choice consonant with our movie tastes. Ordinarily, I'd have waited for the DVD to show up from Netflix. In this case, the theatre was a good choice, since a small chunk of action takes place in near-total darkness, and that doesn't work well on my home setup.

Anyway, that nice Tessa from the ex-TV show Suburgatory has moved to Detroit, and fallen in with a bad boyfriend known as "Money". They have looped in Alex, a troubled youth whose father just happens to work for a home security firm. The trio uses Alex's alarm-disarming knowledge to make a modest living ripping off affluent homes for easily-fenced items.

But—of course—they are tempted by a possible big score. An elderly man living in a decayed, nearly-deserted neighborhood got a recent six-figure settlement for the wrongful death of his daughter. They speculate (on apparently flimsy grounds) that he must have that cash in his house. What's more, the old guy is blind. This should be easy, right?

Well, wrong. The victim is an Iraq vet defending his own turf, has a real mean dog, and secrets of his own. We are quickly in a edge-of-your-seat thriller.

I suggest a sequel title: Don't Fart, Either.