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A biopic about J.D. Salinger debuted at Sundance and is likely and given the writer-director’s creds is a hit in the making and is likely to spur a revival of The Catcher in the Rye this year.

MAKE AMERICA PHONY AGAIN

J.D. Salinger in the Age of Donald Trump: ‘The Rebel in the Rye’ Debuts at Sundance

Writer-director Danny Strong (Empire, The Butler, Game Change) on why his J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which just premiered at Sundance, is so timely.

Kevin Fallon

Kevin Fallon

01.28.17

“What makes you think that you have anything to say to people?”

It’s a crushing line, delivered from father to son, in writer-director Danny Strong’s new J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which chronicles how Salinger’s time fighting in World War II and ensuing PTSD played backdrop to his writing one of the last century’s most popular and important novels, and eventually played a part in the writer spending the last decades of his life a recluse in New Hampshire.

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George Orwell’s 1984 is at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, again. It is unlikely that this is because every English teacher in America is assigning it as required reading this semester. Many probably are, and if I were back in my English teaching days, I probably would. In fact I probably would add Animal Farm, which I did use with freshman English classes once upon a time.  Two articles published today cite both books as worthy of a second read.  It may be the year of the rooster, but the pigs are in control.

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Prescient

How George Orwell Predicted Donald Trump

The White House’s embrace of ‘alternative facts’ evokes the managed truth Orwell described in 1984 and Animal Farm—a perfect example of the Big Lie backed by Big Power.

John Sutherland

01.28.17

Oh Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour. In fact, every hour since that dark night in January 1950 when you died, alone, in a hospital. Perhaps, web paranoia speculates, your truth-telling got too dangerous for the powers that be and you were terminated with extreme prejudice. It makes a crazy kind of sense.

The recent furor about “alternative facts,” in a culture polluting its thought processes with post-truth license and fake news, suggests that George Orwell’s dire predictions about double-think and thought-crime are with us—albeit 33 years late.

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In our Orwellian reality, reach for ‘Animal Farm’ with your ‘1984’

After Trump took office, on Saturday he sent his press secretary out to berate and lie to the press. On Sunday, his senior adviser called the lies “alternative facts.” The Washington Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan declared we’ve gone “full Orwell.”

Sales of Orwell’s anti-totalitarian classic “1984” skyrocketed after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway tried to justify the government’s over-exaggerated inaugural turnout claim as ” alternative facts.”

But Stanford University literature professor Alex Woloch, who penned ” Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism,” says another book by the late British author might provide better insight for what’s happening to America today: “Animal Farm.”

“In ‘1984,’ however we’ve gotten into that situation has already occurred,” Woloch says. “But in ‘Animal Farm,’ [Orwell is] really tracing that sense of a ‘slippery slope.’”

Woloch is referring to the “slippery slope” scholars on authoritarian regimes call the transition from democracy to totalitarianism.

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Meanwhile, the benevolent dictator wannabe’s executive order banning immigrants from seven countries has, today, left hundreds stranded in no man’s land. He sat with ABC’s David Muir, this week,  and in the kindliest of tones described how Christian immigrants would be given priority standing.

Your first reaction might be that this is unAmerican.  That is correct. But it also is untrue.

VIENNA (AP) — Austria has shut its door to about 300 non-Muslim Iranians hoping to use the country as a way station before establishing new homes in the United States, The Associated Press has learned. The action is an early ripple effect of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to clamp down on refugee admissions.

Under a 27-year-old program originally approved by Congress to help Jews in the former Soviet Union, Austria had been serving until recently as a conduit for Iranian Jews, Christians and Baha’i, who were at risk in their home country and eligible to resettle in the United States. Iran has banned the Baha’i religion, which was founded in 1844 by a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by followers.

U.S. officials had been interviewing the candidates in Austria because they cannot do so in Iran. But the United States suspended the so-called “Iranian Lautenberg Program” in recent days, according to Austrian officials, who in turn stopped Iranians from reaching their territory. It’s unclear when the program might restart.

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Not only are these folks marooned, green card holders are included in the ban.

People holding so-called green cards, making them legal permanent U.S. residents, are included in President Donald Trump’s executive action temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, a Department of Homeland security spokeswoman said on Saturday.

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So it is not English teachers and their students alone who likely are boning up on their Orwellian glossaries. Newspeak is with us. As for how this particular transition works, Animal Farm is a great source. You might even want to pair it up with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. My long-ago ninth graders were adept at finding parallels in the politics of subjugation.

Once again, BHL hits the nail on the head!

Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

IN HIS OWN WORDS

Donald Trump’s Plot Against America: Watching the Inauguration with Philip Roth

The author of The Plot Against America, Philip Roth spends Inauguration Day dwelling on everything from the perplexing case of Melania Trump to America’s state of suspended insurrection.

Bernard-Henri Lévy

Bernard-Henri Lévy

01.27.17

On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, I met Philip Roth.

This was a surreal experience, given that, in his 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, Roth precisely described the sinister and chilling nightmare in which the United States now finds itself.

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This Day in History

The morning after the inauguration of the least popular incoming president in modern history, millions boarded all manner of transportation to head to their nearest (or dearest) Women’s March. Many flew or took trains or buses to Washington, DC for the march there. Others went to cities near them.

The numbers are not in yet but there are estimates – almost all of which exceeded expectations.  Washington, DC expected 200,000. Estimates are that a half a million showed up. In New York City, the crowd was so large that for hours the march could not move appreciably for lack of space. The same thing happened in Chicago where organizers transformed the march into a rally – no space for people to march! Reports are that the same thing occurred in Los Angeles.

Portland ME police estimated this to be the largest demonstration they had ever encountered. Boston organizers think 150,000 attended there. People tweeted pictures of crowds in Denver, Nashville, Asheville, Atlanta, Sioux City, Phoenix, of a human chain across the Golden Gate Bridge. Across the nation they marched – in the rain in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and in the snow in Boise and Anchorage.

There were marches and demonstrations in all 50 states and on every continent, including Antarctica. Look at this map!
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Here are a few of my favorite images from the day starting with a sea of pink pussyhats in the nation’s capital.

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Paris put its message in lights.

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The Brits displayed their characteristic reserve. They had the best signs.

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My favorite Brit marched in New York and declared herself a New Yorker.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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Helen Mirren posted “this is amazing!” (Instagram / @helenmirren

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A human traffic jam in Los Angeles.

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A human chain across the Golden Gate Bridge.

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In blinding snow in Anchorage.

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In Boise.

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Antarctica!

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Some awesome folks!

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They weren’t all Democrats!  Ana Navarro posted this selfie!womens_march-01-21-17-15

A note from a flight attendant who had to work to a passenger who was attending.

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The human traffic jam on NY’s 5th Avenue that lasted for hours.

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In Detroit.

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New York City.womens_march-01-21-17-19

This woman tweeted that she wasn’t ovary-acting.

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 How bad is it?
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One guy we know brought his best friend along for his first day as a private citizen.

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His predecessor tweeted her support.

Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values . Important as ever. I truly believe we’re always Stronger Together.

‘Hope Not Fear’ Indeed. And what a beautiful piece by Louisa Cannell. 👊👊🏻👊🏼👊🏽✨

I stand w/ Nora Harren, a 17-year from Boise, ID, & every person marching for our values today. Onward! ✊✊🏾✊🏽✨

There are many more wonderful images of the day here and here.

Here is a report on estimated numbers and the size and scope. These numbers are expected to be revised upwards.

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On the sidelines, this day, Donald Trump attended the National Prayer Breakfast and visited CIA HQ in Langley, VA to tell them what a yuge inauguration he had (it looked like a million – a million-and-a-half people to the guy who saw imaginary thousands in Jersey City celebrating the fall of the towers)  and how spectacular the weather had been (it rained – George W. Bush struggled with a plastic poncho).  Later his Press Sec stormed into the White House press room to scold the media for telling the truth about the paltry attendance yesterday. He said this was the largest inauguration ever. Period. He took no questions and left in a huff.

The rest of the country and the free world was busy having a lovely Saturday all together.  No incidents, no arrests, and according to actress Ally Sheedy, a patrol officer told her how wonderful everyone looked.  Everyone was included – babies in strollers and seniors in wheelchairs. It was a great day in history!

Oh! And THIS!

Crossposted at Still 4 Hill.

Still4Hill

The Women’s March is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday morning in Washington D.C.

More than 600 “sister marches” have been organized all over the U.S. and on every continent.

The organization has published “Unity Principles.”

Unity Principles

Click to download full PDF

We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights. We must create a society in which women – including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women – are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.

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All Hillary Clinton supporters recognize the underlined words in that first sentence as Hillary’s, yet they are unattributed in the organization’s text.  What is more disturbing is that in the full pdf, Hillary is not listed as…

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She Said; He Said ….

Even those on the international space station know by now what Meryl Streep said at the Golden Globes last night.

Thanks to the New York Times, here is the transcript of Ms. Streep’s speech.

Here is Ms. Streep’s speech:

Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read.

Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: You and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.

But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island; Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids in Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy. And Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in London — no, in Ireland I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a girl in small-town Virginia.

Ryan Gosling, like all of the nicest people, is Canadian, and Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, and is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

They gave me three seconds to say this, so: An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work.

But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose. O.K., go on with it.

O.K., this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing: Once, when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something — you know we were gonna work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.

As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art.

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Aside from those of her fellow actors for illustrative purposes, Ms. Streep did not mention a name, but no sooner had these words left her lips than the Twittersphere lit up with predictions of what the minority PEOTUS would tweet in response. They were amazingly accurate indicating either an especially large psychic population or a particularly predictable thin-skinned, short-tempered, self-centered individual.

Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a…..

Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him…….

“groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!

Their words speak for themselves. For the record, kindergarten kids know “mocking” when they see it. We all know what we saw. More gaslighting from the unpopular minority guy.

As we move toward the inauguration, we do well to remember that the weakest sense for bullies is their sense of humor.  So, just for fun, here’s Andy Borowitz!

Still4Hill

Late Saturday night, 2016, an uncommonly long leap year, came to an end. People the world over did what they always do: gathered, partied, and welcomed the new year.  There was one horrendous attack on the celebrations.  The miracle may be that there weren’t more.  Maybe people the world over are getting better at sniffing out and preventing these attacks.  Or maybe cities across the globe all got lucky except for poor Istanbul.

When we last left Hillary Clinton, late Saturday night, she had been named Person of the Year in an elegant, eloquent treatise by a woman in a Nigerian paper which some have chosen to write off as unimportant because the paper is Nigerian to which I have to ask: “WTF????”  One respondent likened it to “fake news.” Really? All those trips to Africa that Hillary made as secretary of state, all those MOUs, and you consider…

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I was looking forward to The Graham Norton Christmas Show. I am a huge Helen Mirren fan, and she was a guest and made a statement on that show.  I had checked ahead several days ago. That show was scheduled for Christmas Eve on BBCA.  Dame Helen was listed as a guest along with Will Smith and Noemie Harris.  Now, suddenly, that show will not air. Why not?  Is it possibly because Dame Helen had this to say about 2016?

She was quite outspokenly anti-Brexit and anti-Trump. She appeared at a huge Broadway fundraiser for Hillary whom she supported heartily.

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Given Trump’s media connections, one has to wonder why that show, which normally airs on Saturday nights at 10 pm EDT has been replaced.  I checked my Verizon listings about five days ago, and it was listed.  Now, mysteriously it is not.  So WTF???

Is this the beginning of censorship of the media? We should wonder.

Tonight I watched the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 400th Anniversary of the Bard’s death on PBS. Dame Helen appeared with a host of others.  Most impressively, Sir Ian McKellen performed a monologue of Sir Thomas More from a play that was never published.  It was the most enlightening moment.  Here is some background.  There is a video of Sir Ian performing the monologue.

Shakespeare, Sir Thomas More, and the refugee migrants

The play The Book of Sir Thomas More contains a series of scenes covering the events of the May Day riots of 1517, within the period covered by this project. Immigrants from Lombardy in Northern Italy are being threatened by Londoners who accuse them of taking jobs and money from the locals, and want them to be deported back to where they came from. The same arguments were being put forward at the time the play was written, with respect to Huguenot migrants. The play was never completed and exists in manuscript form in the British Library. In a series of speeches written by Shakespeare, Thomas More makes the argument for the humane treatment of those forced to seek asylum by being expelled from their home land. It’s surely never been made more persuasively.

Read more  and see Sir Ian deliver the speech>>>>

The play was never completed. One can speculate as to why not.  Here is the script.  I would love to hear it read by many on Inauguration Day.  Loudly!

Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another….
Say now the king
Should so much come too short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whether would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour? go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, any where that not adheres to England,
Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the claimants
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? this is the strangers case;
And this your mountainish inhumanity.

Let’s read this on Inauguration Day! Let’s be loud!

Here is the link to the jolly and complete Graham Norton Christmas Show that was wiped off the air. Shame on you BBCA for deleting this show! Spines of jellyfish!

This is only the beginning.  Today, Trump promised that things will be different after January 20.

Still4Hill

In case you were wondering exactly how this Electoral College vote rolls out, here is a helpful summary from Emmarie Huetteman at the New York Times.

The Electoral College Is Meeting on Monday. Here’s What to Expect.

On Monday, 538 people will meet to determine who will be the next president.These meetings of the Electoral College, convened in every state and in the District of Columbia just shy of six weeks after Election Day, have long been little more than a formality.

But the victory of Donald J. Trump, who lost the popular vote but is projected to win the most electoral votes, has thrust the Electoral College into the spotlight once more.

President Obama on Fridaydescribed the Electoral College — originally a compromise between those who wanted Congress to choose the president and those who favored a popular vote — as a “vestige.” Here is a rundown…

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This is two days old.  Predates yesterday’s press conference.

John Podesta: Something is deeply broken at the FBI

December 15

John Podesta was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets. The former acting director of the CIA has called the Russian cyberattack “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Just as after the real 9/11, we need a robust, independent investigation into what went wrong inside the government and how to better protect our country in the future.

SNIP

The election is over and the damage is done, but the threat from Russia and other potential aggressors remains urgent and demands a serious and sustained response.

First, the Obama administration should quickly declassify as much as possible concerning what is known about the Russian hack, as requested by seven Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Second, the administration should brief members of the electoral college on the extent and manner of Russia’s interference in our election before they vote on Dec. 19, as requested by a bipartisan group of electors.

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We learned today that the second thing is not happening.  Obama said yesterday that the first thing is not happening either.

12/16/2016

President Obama gave his final press conference of 2016 from the White House Friday afternoon only hours after announcing that the United States will retaliate against Russian hacks meant to help Donald Trump win the presidential election, in some instances directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

Citing national security concerns, the president declined to state specifics on his promise and left much to be desired for distraught Americans hoping for a bold response to what many now view as an illegitimate election.

SNIP

The president declined to declassify information pertaining to the Russian hacking scandal, though he confirmed that the attacks were directed by the highest levels of the Russian government and implied Vladimir Putin was involved. He also made a point to express the information had been provided to high-level American government officials from both parties.

Read more >>>>

Still4Hill

E. Randol Schoenberg’s effortto attain the warrant that the FBI director claims authorized a search of Anthony Weiner’s laptop for emails linked to Hillary Clinton has moved forward according to this from Newsweek.

Federal Judge May Unseal Controversial FBI Search Warrant for Clinton Emails

The controversy over FBI Director James Comey’s announcement of a new review into Hillary Clinton’s private email server just 11 days before the recent presidential election moved into federal court Tuesday with a hearing focused on the search warrant that gave FBI agents access to Clinton emails found on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the former congressman and husband of a top Clinton aide.

Los Angeles lawyer E. Randol Schoenberg, best known for recovering Jewish-owned art looted by the Nazis, hired lawyers to file a lawsuit last week in an attempt to unseal that search warrant and related affidavits….

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