“Battle for America”: Steve Bannon’s prop piece for the 2010 midterms sounds like a rant now

Battle for America” (2010), directed by Stephen L. Bannon, and primarily narrated by Dick Morris (along with Lou Dobbs and Ann Coulter),  is one of the three Bannon films offered by Citizens United in a three-DVD set that as of this time seems sold directly by CU (six weeks ago, I could not find it on Amazon but it’s there now).  But the films could generate some interest now given the inauguration of Donald Trump and his elevation of Steve Bannon in the early days of his administration (maybe to author the failed travel bans).  But this film was put out before the 2010 Congressional “mid term exam”.  (Yup, a mid term and a final.)

It starts out by showing the inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2009 before going into a monotone rant centered around the Left’s plan to turn America into a European socialist state taking 40% of the economic GDP instead of 30% as in the US (as is claimed).  It starts calling the 2009 Democratic Congress “imperial” (like Haydn’s 53rd Symphony, as in my old recording of it by Stokowski).

Right off the bat, it asks if providing health care is allowed as an enumerated power in the Constitution. Playing devil’s advocate, someone asks if building an Interstate highway system was (as during Eisenhower).

It calls Washington the “Village of the Damned” (then “Why We Fight”). The film also shows some old clips from Hollywood Biblical spectacles for illustration.

The narrative purports to support individual freedom and individualism (Ayn Rand style), but seems willing to allow churches and families to barge into the private lives of those who don’t conform to gender norms.

To its credit, the film does correctly characterize collusion between government and shadier aspects of Wall Street, leading to the 2008 financial crisis.

“To replace self-reliance with reliance on government”.  Yes, a good buzzphrase, looking toward the nanny state regulating soft drinks.  True, an aging population that doesn’t reproduce itself will have trouble supporting itself.

On health care, yes, the film argues the conservative case against government health care (not the least of which is waiting lists).  But we have a choice, based on moral hazard:  we cover everyone, we depend on private volunteerism to cover people who can’t pay for themselves, or we let people die (which contradicts conservative “right to life” goals).  The film threatens to zero-fund health care (“Obmacare”) if it passes.

The film says “the greatest threat to national security is the national debt”. This was one year before the debt ceiling crisis in the summer of 2011, when the US credit rating went down.

The last section is called “How We Win”.  Well, “The Tea Parties”, of course. Then, “Floodtide”.

“Reward people who carry the water rather than drink the water”.  Like Ronald Reagan, the true Aquarian.   The film has a shot from “Titanic” with the newspaper byline, “Women and children first.”

Newt Gingrich talks a lot, but he’s more effective when the talks about electromagnetic pulse, which doesn’t get mentioned here.

The film throws around the term “The Last Best Hope”, but that’s the name of a film by the Nuclear Threat Initiative!

Oh, there is no such thing as a conservative Democrat (like Sam Nunn).

Morris mentions Barney Frank, to run the banking system, as “involved in a gay prostitution scandal;” back in 1989.

At then end the film shows some building fires (like in “Backdraft”). But the film then says, “We don’t have to risk our lives” like conscripted soldiers.

Name:  “Battle for America”
Director, writer:  Stephen K. Bannon
Released:  2010
Format:  1.85:1
When and how viewed:  CU DVD purchased, 2017/4/18
Length:  82
Rating:  NA
Companies:  Citizens United
Link:  donation

(Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 10:15 PM)

“Logan” does his Run, in a comics film that, after the fact, pans the alt-right

After reading the (libertarian) Foundation for Economic Education op-ed “’Logan’ eviscerates War and Demographic Planning” by Dan Sanchez, I “gave in” and saw a late show of the Marvel film last night. Yes, even Anderson Cooper like the “X-men” franchise.

Sanchez summarizes the plot pretty well, and I’m not sure all of his parallels hold.  But it’s true, that the “corporate state” (Transigen) had created the mutants as weapons and now regards them as threats the way the all-right views both Hispanic and Muslim migrants.

Hugh Jackman(now 48) looks grizzled, and maybe ready to return from exile or retirement.  The plot of this 135-minute bash concerns Logan’s road trip to rescue his 12-year-old daughter Laura (Dafne Keen) with Wolverine-like powers.

Structurally, the film is a bit like my “Tribunal and Rapture” manuscript, a long road trip (finally leading to planetary evacuation on a spaceship) by a retired FBI agent, who finds he has some subtle powers of his own – I finally decided that this sort of story works better for me when told through the eyes of the younger heroes, whose “powers” aren’t usually obvious and whose appearance is wholesome (even if that idea betrays my own erotic prejudices).

The film journeys into Oklahoma, then sidetracks to Reno (I wanted to see Taylor Wilson make a cameo and pitch his plans to save the power grids), before getting to North Dakota, with some scenery that resembles the Teddy Roosevelt badlands – but actually a lot of the film is shot in New Mexico, with mountains in the background.  The mixture of old and new technologies is interesting (like the winch and pulley in the North Dakota scene.  The mutants, by blowing liquid nitrogen breath, can freeze opponents’ limbs and break then off.  So heads, arms and legs roll in this film. (In Dallas, Joe Bob would have said “check it out.”)

To appreciate the film, you have to know some of the pre-history, of characters like Trask, with their pre-occupation with the alt-right notion of “demographic winter” and the idea that “majority” people don’t have enough kids now.  (That’s why Vladimir Putin allows the persecution of gays.)  I’m reminded of Representative Steve King’s (T-IA) doubled-down comments that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies” (story).

Patrick Stewart seems to impersonate me (as he usually does) as Charles, and Boyd Holbrook is notable as Pierce.

I’m reminded of another escapist adventure, “Logan’s Run” (1976), set around the Zale Building on Stemmons Freeway in Dallas, a building in which I worked in the 1980s, where you wonder how the twenty year-olds know think they can eliminate the thirties without facing the same fate themselves soon.

I guess that “Logan”, directed by James Mangold with story by him, was largely developed before Donald Trump won the election, but it seems well conceived as a response to the growing appearance of the alt-right during the 2016 campaigns.  The distributor, Fox, is probably closer to Ayn Rand-style conservatism.

The show opens with a “short film” (“Deadpool: No Good Deed“) about a Logan-like man challenged by a nearby mugging and a telephone booth, in the City.  I’m reminded of Joel Schulmacher’s “Phone Booth” (2002), and even of Timo Descamps and his “Phone Call” or even “Like It Rough” videos.  the 20 Century Fix fanfare then follows, along with TSG and Marvel, before the “feature” starts.  This sort of reminds me also of Dimension Films’s “Grindhouse” in 2007 (embedded double feature and connecting short).  The two short stories in my “Do Ask Do Tell III” book (2014) could be presented this way in film.

Name:  “Logan
Director, writer: James Mangold
Released:  2017
Format:  2.35:1 and Imax
When and how viewed:  2017/3/14 Regal Ballston Quarter, late, low crowd after snowstorm
Length:  137 including short
Rating:  R
Companies:  20th Century Fox, Marvel, TSG
Link:  official

(Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 11 AM)