The Circus

(Showtime) This documentary (more of a fly-on-the-wall ride-along) looks at the bizarre 2016 primaries and general election in the US. The access to the candidates is terrific, even better than the Pennebaker piece, but you get the sense that whilst Donald Trump kept on winning, his rivals kept attacking the Republican candidate next in line, as they clearly couldn’t accept such an outlier: denial of clear facts over bruised feelings aka derangement syndrome, replicated even after he was endorsed by the GOP and contested the election against Hillary Clinton. The footage is king here; but the analysis is also vastly…

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The Unmaking of a Mayor

All smiles; Candidates Beame, Buckley & Lindsay

By William F. Buckley, Jr (1966) New York may well be the greatest city in the world. The Varnished Culture loves it, as we have said again and again and again and again. But we are unlikely to have loved it in 1965. Then, as erudite Tory gadfly Buckley pungently puts it in his floridly verbose and fascinating account of that year’s Mayoral election, “You can’t walk from one end of New York to the other without a good chance of losing your wallet, your maidenhead, or your life; or without being told that white people are bigoted, that Negroes…

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Russian Roulette

(by Michael Isikoff and David Corn) (2018) This is an absorbing, readable and – remarkably – balanced account of the 2016 US election and the possible effect of Russian or Russian-sponsored hacking and disinformation. The existence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s apparatchiks relies on a number of guilt-by-association inferences, commercial ties with Russian oligarchs, and meetings attended by the numerous idiots connected with the campaign. Ultimately, the authors leave open the question both of direct collusion, and of the causative links of Russian meddling to Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Which is not to say there isn’t plenty…

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George H. W. Bush

December 1, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, HISTORY, POLITICS, USA History |

(12 June 1924 to 30 November 2018) Born in Massachusetts, educated at Yale, after flying for the navy in World War II, he became part of the Texas Oil industry, and a lifelong Republican. With experience in Congress, the Diplomatic Corp. and Intel, he was a steady second-in-command to the more flamboyant Reagan, and an obvious choice as his successor to the presidency. He oversaw the end of the Cold War, clipped Saddam Hussein’s wings (but crucially, drew back to allow that dictator to stay in place, ensuring an uneasy balance of power in the Middle East), and was generally…

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Chappaquiddick

(Directed by John Curran) (2018) We all know what we know of the story: in July 1969 Edward Kennedy, Senator for Massachusetts, competed in the annual Edgartown Yacht Club Regatta.  Most of the Senator’s entourage were staying at a hotel on the mainland.  A cottage on Chappaquiddick Island (near to the larger island of Martha’s Vineyard) was hired for a reunion of The Boiler Room Girls, six single women in their twenties who had worked for Robert Kennedy during his fatal presidential campaign. At sometime during the night of Friday July 18, the Senator and a secretary, Mary Jo Kopechne, left the…

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