sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, July 5, 2013

Movie Review: The Lone Ranger

Normally I render my rating last. This time it comes first because the film was not good - not good at all:  

2 out of a possible 10 - Don't bother going.
(Wikipedia) In 1933 at a country fair in San Francisco, a young boy named Will encounters a seemingly ordinary mannequin that is revealed to be Tonto, an elderly Comanche spirit warrior, who proceeds to recount his experiences with lawyer John Reid. 
Shifting to 1869, Reid is returning home aboard a railway, managed by railroad tycoon Latham Cole, en route to Colby, Texas to visit his older brother and Texas Ranger, Dan Reid. Unbeknownst to John, the train is also carrying Tonto and outlaw Butch Cavendish, who is being transported for his hanging after being apprehended by Dan. Cavendish's gang, however, hijacks the train, which derails soon after, resulting in Butch escaping and Tonto's arrest by John and Dan. The elder Reid recruits John as a Texas Ranger and the two are enlisted to track down the Cavendish gang alongside a group of six other Rangers. A few days into their expedition, the group is ambushed in a canyon by Cavendish's men who kill the Rangers, including Dan, who has his heart cut out by Butch himself. John is injured as well in the attack and dies, only to be found and revived by a white spirit horse (despite pleas from Tonto for "spirit horse to revive warrior brother" [Dan]). When Reid awakens he is informed by Tonto of his new status as a "spirit walker" or one who has been to the other side, Tonto also tells Reid that he cannot be killed in battle and then confirms that one of the Rangers betrayed Dan and is working alongside Butch Cavendish, a "wendigo". Reid and Tonto hunt for Butch and his gang throughout the desert with a white horse, which is believed to be sacred by the Indians.
1. It's a LONG movie and in lieu of a script and a genuine story, Disney replaced "action". The best way to describe the script itself is "bland" and lacking in plot and depth.

2. Disney managed to replace every possible historical reference with revisionist history that left the film a blend of "progressive" history and outright stupidity.

3. I'd hoped to find a comedic rendition where Johnny Depp (Tonto) played an Indian version of Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp didn't do a bad job, but the rest of the cast did, from Barry Pepper who played a version of General George Armstrong Custer and on down the line. 

4. In the film, the Lone Ranger decries firearms violence and refuses to shoot anyone despite the fact that the bad guy literally ate his brother's heart. When actor William Fitchner (Butch Cavendish) cut out   the heart of Texas Ranger James Badge Dale (Dan) it appeared as though he was cutting "south of the border". Only later did we learn that the body part eaten was a heart.

5. The film stopped short of being silly early on and continued being "STUPID" at every possible level.

Egyptian Coup (Overview)

Cairo, Egypt: At 20:00 local (14:00 EDT) Armed Forces Commander in Chief General al Sisi announced the following measures.

• The Constitution shall be temporarily suspended

• The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall take oath before the court's general assembly

• Early presidential elections shall take place

The Brotherhood's revolution didn't go
quite the way that they had hoped.
The Mubarak years became the good old
• The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall run the affairs of the country during the transitional period until a new president has been elected

• The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall have the authority to pass constitutional declarations during the transitional phase

• A national technocrat government - which shall be both strong and competent - shall be formed and shall enjoy all the powers needed to run the current phase

• A committee shall be formed comprising figures from various expertise and spectrums to review the proposed amendments to the Constitution, which has been temporality suspended

• The Supreme Constitutional Court is hereby urged to pass the draft law on parliamentary election and to embark on preparing for parliamentary election

• A media charter of honor (honor code) shall be designed in a way that ensures media freedom; observes professional rules, credibility, and neutrality; and advances the homeland's top interests

• Practical measures shall be taken to empower young people and integrate them into the state's institutions so they can be partners in the decision-making process on the various levels of the executive authority

• A higher committee for national reconciliation shall be formed. The committee shall comprise figures who enjoy credibility and acceptance from all national forces, and who represent all affiliations

Seated on the dais with al Sisi were the senior military commanders, the leader of the most important mosque in Cairo, the Coptic Pope and Mohammed el Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and spokesman for the National Salvation Front. The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court and the new interim president is Adly Mansour. He is a Mursi appointee to the court, but also served as a judge under Mubarak. His relative obscurity was a factor in his selection.

The Jihadi in Mursi

Mursi's open call for young Egyptians to engage in armed jihad against the Syrian government at a 15 June rally was the final provocation. Sunni imams called all Shiites and the Egyptian political opposition "infidels." The next day, the Army quietly disavowed Mursi's statement and the rally.
(Al AhramMursi double crossed the armed forces on the advice of his Muslim Brotherhood advisers. That explains General al Sisi's comment on the speech. When Mursi double crossed the armed forces, it acted, but the transparent power transfer between senior civilians was not possible. The Army was forced to emerge in a public role.
Mursi's location is not known, but Egyptian bloggers reported that he is in the custody of military intelligence and reconnaissance, one of General Sisi's former commands. The Army surrounded the gathering places of the Muslim Brotherhood and barricaded them to prevent clashes. Martial law has not been declared, but arrest warrants for some 300 Brotherhood members are reported to have been issued. The two leaders of the Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party are also wanted men.

The Mursi government is the first Islamist government to be ousted. This will have a ripple effect in Islamic circles because hard line imams who oppose democracy will feel vindicated.

Elements of a Coup

A coup has six components that are always present in successful ousters:
  1. A disgruntled and organized group; 
  2. A set of gripes against the ruling leaders: 
  3. More guns and ammunition than the defenders of the sitting government; 
  4. A plot and a plan; 
  5. Preparations and vehicles that work  
  6. An opportunity to take action. 
The Egyptian Army operation satisfied all of those requirements for the plotters. The opposition demonstrations provided the opportunity. The low level of bloodshed is a testament to effective planning and coordination plus the Mursi government's many errors of judgment. The most important is Mursi and his men believed they wielded real power because of the election and the rigged constitution, rather than power at sufferance of the Army.

The day's events also re-affirm a basic rule of internal instability-most often governments are the agents of their own downfall. Mursi and his acolytes ignored multiple warnings and opportunities to avert their overthrow. The Muslim Brotherhood and its proxies overreached in pushing their Islamist agenda and did too little to address the causes of Mubarak';s overthrow-food and fuel shortages and no jobs. Mursi learned nothing from Mubarak's ouster.

Several commentators today remarked that elections do not make a democracy. They express the will of the people, but only if the people they elect are honest about their programs and policies. There are other ways for the people to express their will, as the Egyptians demonstrated since 30 June.

The one thing that today's events appear to have settled is that Egyptians do not want an Islamist government run by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ripple Effects

Iran's president-elect, the moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani, said Wednesday that the Islamic Republic's powerful clergy needs to do more to address the needs of Iranian citizens and regain their trust. In an event at the Interior Ministry that was broadcast live on state television, Rouhani told a gathering of hundreds of his fellow clerics that the Iranian people 'must feel a sense of tranquility and security in all fields,' especially politics and social issues.

In commenting on the events in Egypt, President Asad told the official Thawra newspaper, "Whoever brings religion to use in politics or in favor of one group at the expense of another will fall anywhere in the world. The summary of what is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is called political Islam."

The Way Forward for Europe

Europe has lost the love that they once had for Barack Obama
How times have changed. Five years ago, Barack stumped in Berlin, flanked by pillars as he read from his teleprompter. Back then the Europeans felt that a half negro politician was proof positive of hope and change. Not anymore.

Obama sent the bust of Churchill back, put his size 14 wingtips on the Resolute Desk and both he and the Wookie insulted the Queen. Today the British understand that Obama really doesn't like them at all. Maybe it's a Kenyan thing? 

He pulled the missile shield in Eastern Europe to pander to the Russians, who regard him as a weak and ineffective leader. It's interesting because Obama's grandparents, mother and "Uncle Frank" were devout communists who always praised the Russians. The problem with that is that Russia was always an oligarchy...and still is. They respect strength and they're racists of a stripe rarely even seen in the American South. The scrawny, fearful, narcissistic American metrosexual didn't strike any fear in the Russian heart. No need or reason for respect there.

Now the Europeans hear that the Obama NSA expanded collection efforts over those authorized under President George Bush and his government has been reading their e-mail and listening to pillow talk and they're upset. It's not much of a secret, but Snowden rubbed their noses in it. And you can't help but wonder what the Nobel Committee thinks about his choice for a Peace Prize. M. L. King said it best when he admonished the world against equating the color of a persons skin with the content of their character.
Germany said on Monday if media reports of large-scale U.S. spying on the European Union were confirmed, it would be unacceptable Cold War-style behavior between partners who require trust to forge a new transatlantic trade area. According to Der Spiegel, the NSA taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month, much more than any other European peer

Five years later, Obama still blames George W. Bush and the economy is still in the tank. Obamacare has forced the poorest Americans into part-time work as employers react to socialized medicine. Now people need to work two jobs to keep their families fed. Obama reads from his teleprompter, calling the program, 'fundamentally transforming America'. Who can argue? If both of your legs are amputated, you're clearly transformed.

* The Obama Administration punishes anyone who disagrees with Islam. Islamophobia is one sign of terrorism according to the Department of Homeland Security.

* The Obama Administration disregards the Bill of Rights regularly while the President declares himself to be a Constitutional scholar. Go figure?

* The Obama Administration uses the government to attack the people on the 'enemies list' using every government agency available to diminish those who disagree with him politically.

* The Americans are flying drones armed with hellfire missiles around the planet, wiping out political enemies despite the fact that the President had clearly said that the "war on terror/foreign contingency operation" has ended. The US doesn't work within the law -- they simply do it because they can.

And the simple sons-of-bitches in the White House are shocked when the Europeans see them for the thugs that they are. The Tea Party, once repudiated by progressives, is gaining respect in Europe as far-sighted.

Forward has different meanings to different people, but apparently, Europe is waking up. America has crafted itself as an unpredictable friend with a penchant for back-stabbing. It's not the American Way, but it's Obama's Way.

Be patient, the outrages of the past five years 
are not the sum total of all outrages.

The Obama Nation is a sweet hustle for the 
Chicago thugs who inhabit the White House.