My Thoughts on Presidential Candidate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

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Although I can never forgive New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for what he did in 2012, I believe he would be a strong presidential candidate in the general election.

Chrisite’s Figurative and Literal Embrace of Barack Obama

Christie’s figurative and literal embrace of President Barack Obama just a few weeks out from the 2012 presidential election was a shameful act. Christie had to have been aware that putting his arm around Obama and showering him with praise over his handling of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New Jersey would raise the president’s standing in the eyes of the public and make it harder for his fellow Republican Mitt Romney to win the presidency. Showing such disloyalty to one’s own political party is disgusting under any circumstance.

However, Christie’s conduct is seen in an even darker light when one considers that his hugging and speaking glowingly of Obama raised his own political fortunes at the expense of Romney and the people of the United States which ultimately had to endure another four years of Obama. If Romney had won in 2012, he presumably would have run again in 2016. Christie would not have been able to run for president until 2020. From a self-interested standpoint, it was better for Christie to have Romney lose the election. It was just this calculation that may have been behind Christie’s words and actions with regard to Obama after Hurricane Sandy.

Performed Very Well in Debates

Nonetheless, any honest observer must concede that Christie has performed very well in the debates. His shining moment this campaign season, though, did not come during a debate. It was an October 2015 town hall meeting in New Hampshire. Here he gave a short, deeply personal, speech of about six minutes on drug addiction and how best to handle the problem. It is no wonder that a video of the remarks (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdYMx7sycW4) went viral and has now been seem by over eight million. His speech is darn near unforgettable. No fair-minded person can view the clip and not realize that Christie is a most powerful speaker capable of moving his audience to an unusually high degree.

It must be conceded that Christie could mop the floor with Hillary Clinton in presidential debates and utilize his skills as an orator to motivate many to cast ballots for him come November. The GOP could do much worse than to give him the nomination.

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My Review of Episode Two (“Founder’s Mutation”) of the Return Run of “The X-Files”: How I “Got” “The X-Files” After Almost Twenty-Three Years (No Major Spoilers are Revealed Below)

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In my review of the miniseries premier I wrote that I hoped for episodes that featured mythical creatures or monsters of various varieties conjured from the darkest corners of the imaginations of the show’s writers. Instead viewers witnessed another extraterrestrial-related conspiracy installment. The quality storytelling, impressive special effects and high production values fans have come to expect from the program were all present and so watching nonetheless proved to be an enjoyable experience.

Another Government Conspiracy

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The episode furthered a storyline centered on very bad and powerful people in the U.S. government power structure engaged carrying out a sinister plot to take over the nation. As I watched I came to a realization. Almost twenty-three years after the show’s debut, it came to me what “The X-Files” has truly always been about.

Oliver Stone and Chris Carter

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To explain I must bring up the despicable Oliver Stone. Stone knew when making his movie JFK that Jim Garrison had been diagnosed with “severe and disabling” mental illness “of the type that will require long-term pyscotherapeutic approach.” Stone was aware that Garrisons was corrupt and unethical as they come, had been known to have slept with a loaded gun under his pillow and his conspiracy theory related to President Kennedy’s assassination had zero merit and destroyed the lives of innocent people. Yet just as social justice warriors told us that “the facts don’t matter” after the UVA rape case was demonstrated to be a fraud, Stone, if he were to be honest, would say the same when defending his movie JFK.  From Stone’s perspective, that JFK is a pack of lies is not important. The point of his movie was to communicate to his audience a “greater truth.” This is the basic notion that the American government is horrible and the U.S. is a force for all that is terrible in the world. In the postmodernist tradition, Stone wants to help to rip down the United States so that something he perceives will be better can be created in its place.

Obviously, neither “The X-Files” creator and main writer Chris Carter nor anyone else connected with the show believes there is even a grain of truth behind the government conspiracy theories that have been a constant thread in the series. Yet like Stone, Carter wants viewers to see the U.S. government and therefore the United States in general as dark and up to no good and utilizes a fictional narrative to accomplish his goal. As is the case with other postmodernists, Carter wants to undermine the American system as we know it today by causing people to lose faith in it. Only then, can it be overturned and replaced.

#*&@ “The X-Files.”

#*&@ me too because the show has me hooked and am sure I will enjoy tuning in to the remaining four episodes.

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I believe in free speech and so I approve all blog comments. No exceptions.

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A Review of Episode Two (“The Haversack”) of “Mercy Street” (No major Spoilers are revealed below)

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The second installment of the new PBS drama, “Mercy Street” could be described as more of the same. It was nonetheless worthy of comment.

Historical Accuracy

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In my review of the show’s premier episode I wrote: “The program appears to have reached a level of historical accuracy for television Civil War-era dramas never before achieved.” (See: http://tinyurl.com/zqhdtht for my review.) Episode two held true to this same high standard. A number of the series’ characters who had a significant role in this installment look more like those seen in Civil War era photographs than Hollywood movie stars. I was particularly struck by the authenticity of the accents, women’s hairstyles and women’s dresses.

Women’s Fashion of the Period

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When viewing members of the cast acting in reproductions of middle and upper-class dresses it was obvious how drastically these clothes restricted movement. One has to assume that changing in and out of them, as well as the many layers of that which was worn underneath, took a considerable amount of time and effort and was very hard to do without a good deal of assistance.

Woman’s fashion in the U.S. Colonial Period was much more practical and less restrictive. It may not be a coincidence, then, that our Colonial ancestors were less prudish than our Victorian predecessors. I have always wondered if women’s fashion of the Victorian era, which was presumably designed, manufactured and sold by men represented an effort to control women. Middle and upper-class men who were terrible husbands probably slept better knowing that the clothes their wives wore made it difficult for a woman to have an extra-marital affair without getting caught.

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Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who portrays nurse Mary Phinney, wears such dresses well. I am now convinced that “Mercy Street” will make her a star.

Lighting

At times, however she can barely be seen. When writing on episode one I noted that the period lighting level used was at times so dark that one could not see what was transpiring on screen. Lighting was even more of a problem in episode two.

Plot

My biggest criticism of the show’s premier was that the plot did not have a great deal going on and seemed to appeal mainly to women . Plot development in episode two was not much better.  A critic who compared “Mercy Street” to a soap opera was being unfair. A better comparison was made by the critic who noted a similarity to the program “ER.” This is fitting since David Zabel, the co-creator “Mercy Street,” was also a writer on “ER.”

I still believe that “Mercy Street” has the potential to become a production that can be a hit with both genders. The fascinating Confederate scout and spy Frank Stringfellow has not yet made his appearance. I am hoping he can save the show for me and the rest of its male viewership.

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A Review of Episode (“My Struggle”) One of the Return Run of “The X-Files” (No Major Spoilers are Revealed Below)

x files 2016.jpgAfter all these years Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are back for a six-episode miniseries. After watching episode one, however, it remains uncertain whether it will be worth investing the time in the next five installments set to air.

The X-Files Past

Although I have never believed in UFOs, government conspiracies or the paranormal I was always a big fan of The X-Files. Quality storytelling, impressive special effects and high production values sucked me in when the show burst on the scene in 1993, kept my interest until it went off the air and even drew me into the movie theater for two forgettable The X-Files feature films. It was with great interest, then, that I sat down to watch the first episode of the six-episode The X-Files miniseries that debuted last night on FOX.

The Intro

The program begins with a segment that sums all that has already transpired in the world of The X-Files and sets the stage for what is to come. I can hardly find the words to describe how good these first few minutes were to watch. Enthralling, captivating, hypnotic, and cinematic are just four that spring to mind. For fans it was as if the show had never left the air. Those unfamiliar with the series were brought up to speed. I imagined everyone watching was ready to have our socks knocked off.

Bashing the Right

What came next was a string of very offensive insults directed toward Republicans and Conservatives. After what seemed like the tenth shot had been taken at the Right I had decided that this review would be limited to just three words: “#*&@ The X-Files.” By the time I finished watching the episode I had changed my mind. The program did not deserve to be dismissed so easily.

Monster of the Week

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Though most would probably associate the show with extraterrestrials, early in the series’ run many plots were centered around other subjects. The X-Files was at its best when mythical creatures such as the Jersey Devil were brought to life or monsters created in the fertile minds of the show’s writers became the program’s star for an episode.

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Mulder and Scully

The dynamic that existed between Mulder and Scully and how it shaped the series was another factor that made the show so special. Mulder was always a “believer” who was ready to accept paranormal, otherworldly and conspiratorial explanations for the cases the two FBI agents handled. Scully argued for the skeptics viewpoint grounded in known science. The audience was left to decide for her or himself which of the two presented a more believable argument in the context of the program.

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Changes in the Show

As The X-Files went on and the seasons past, the show shifted more and more of its focus toward UFOs and UFO-related conspiracies and away from all other topics. In the series’ final season, which concluded in 2002 only two episodes had no relation to UFOs.

Another change that took place over the course of the program was that Scully went from becoming a skeptic to a “believer.” As a consequence of these two major evolutions of the show, The X-Files lost much of its luster and became a shadow of its former self. It nonetheless never ceased to be worth watching and much better TV than most of what else was on television at the time.

Hopes for the Future

When I learned that The X-Files was coming back to television, I hoped that the show would return to what made it great. Scully, of course, could never go back to being an all-out skeptic. However, devoting some episodes to something other than “little green men” certainly seemed doable.

Perhaps considering what The X-Files became by 2002, episode one simply could not have centered around anything but aliens. Despite my disappointment at this fact the program did make for enjoyable TV. I will be watching tonight and hope to see Mulder and Scully chasing Bigfoot through the Pacific Northwest.

Advice for Chris Carter

If The X-Files creator and primary writer, “tolerant” Liberal Chris Carter, wants to bring the series back to TV on a permanent basis he would do well to remember that at least half of those who watch television will vote Republican in November. If the remaining five episodes of The X-Files include more jabs at Republicans and Conservatives The X-Files may well alienate a large portion of its audience and fail in the ratings for the same reason that The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is tanking.

This is not what I want. I want something similar to The X-Files of the mid-1990s, but will probably enjoy shows about “little green men” as well as long as they do not come with a dose of blue state men’s politics.

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It Hurts to Say it, but Ohio Governor John Kasich is the G.O.P.’s Best Chance for Victory in 2016

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Governor John Kasich is too Liberal for my taste. He is also the Grand Old Party’s smartest bet for winning the presidency in November.

Liberal Policies and Views

Kasich’s Liberal policies as governor of Ohio have been well-documented. Just this morning he made me want to pull an Elvis on my TV when he stated he thought nanny state devote Michael Bloomberg had been a good mayor of New York.

Yet the major party candidate who earns the most independent votes carries the election every time. Kasich’s Liberal performance in Ohio should allow him to get more independent votes nationwide than a more Conservative candidate could.

A Very Likeable Fellow

Furthermore, he is also a very likeable fellow. Elections are popularity contest and likeable fellows often triumph in them.

The G.O.P. Needs Ohio

Kasich was a popular Ohio congressman for many years and is also a man who has been able to take two successive gubernatorial elections in Ohio with large numbers of independent and Democrat voters. This matters because it signals that if he were to be the Republican’s candidate Ohio would likely go for the G.O.P. No Republican presidential candidate has ever won the general election without winning Ohio. The likelihood is that the same dynamic will be in play in the next election.

President Barack Obama has done major damage to this country. Because incumbents are very hard to defeat, if a Democrat wins in November, it could mean sixteen straight years of Liberalism. It scares me to think on what the country might look like after such a string of misguided Leftist policies. We cannot take the risk. Grand Old Party primary voters must throw their support behind Kasich.

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Why Everyone Who has Used the #OscarsSoWhite Hashtag is So Racist

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For two consecutive years only white actors have received Oscar nominations for acting awards. Soon after the announcement of this year’s nominees, social justice warriors had a melt down. They took to Twitter and began tweeting the hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite.” Everyone who has used this hashtag is so racist.

Those who have tweeted #OscarsSoWhite believe the reason for the lack of nominations of people of color is that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members whose votes determine which thespians are nominated are overwhelmingly white. Implicit in this argument are three beliefs:

  • White racism is the only possible explanation for all of the nominees being white,
  • White people are inherently racist and so cannot judge the acting talent of people of color fairly, and
  • People of color are never racist and so the voting would be more fair if more of them voted.

It is also true that on a basic level if you use the hashtag you are grouping and distinguishing people by race and declaring that you believe people are different as a result of their race. This fits the classic definition of racism.

It is undeniable then, that if you tweet the hashtag  #OscarsSoWhite you believe that whites are racially inferior to people of color and so you are a racist. If you do not accept this it means that you are so blinded by your own political ideology that you cannot see the double standard you embrace.

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Senator Rand Paul’s Presidential Candidacy

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I agree with Rand Paul on a number of important issues. I wish I could go full Libertarian and support him over all other candidates. However, I lack enough confidence and trust in the average person to do so. I think it might be dangerous for me to give some people too much freedom. I also worry about isolationism. I think the Muslim refugees streaming into the West shows what happens when we disengage with the world.

We Should Error on the Side of Freedom

I do believe we should always try to err on the side of freedom. I am grateful that Rand Paul can be counted on as an outspoken voice of Libertarian ideals. I just don’t want him to be the GOP’s candidate for president.

Update

Edit: On February 4, 2016 Paul announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign. It has been suggested that what sunk him was his advocating an isolationist foreign policy at a time when American’s fears over terrorism are justifiably rising. I think there is a lot of truth to this argument. However, I feel another factor is that there are just not enough pure Libertarian Republicans to support a Libertarian  presidential candidate like Paul.

I think that in the end the sum total of Paul’s political career will look much like that of his father’s, Senator Ron Paul. Ron ran for president time after time but in the end only succeeded in spreading the worthy message of Libertarianism. The likelihood is this is the best that his son will ever be able to hope for.

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I believe in free speech and so I approve all blog comments. No exceptions.

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