How the Hell Did This Happen? review  PJ ORourke on Trumps election

How the Hell Did This Happen? review PJ ORourke on Trumps election

The libertarian satirist and journalist tries to get to grips with the US election but merely shows his laziness and foolish prejudices

 

Its not just politicians who are getting older; satirists are, too. Near the end of this book PJ ORourke lets slip the startling revelation that he is just a few months younger than Hillary Clinton and only a year behind Trump, who at 70 became the oldest ever first-time president. Long gone is the ORourke of yore, a Republican answer to Hunter S Thompson, travelling the worlds danger zones in search of drink, women and leftwing stupidity. Now he operates more in the mould of HL Mencken, one of his heroes, who rarely felt the need to leave his beloved Baltimore in order to lambast the idiocy of his fellow Americans. ORourke lives, as it says on the dust jacket, in rural New England, as far away from the things he writes about as he can get. This is American politics as viewed from the back room in front of the TV, feet up on the recliner chair.

Its an approach that gives the book some of its charm but also explains its many failings. ORourke has a nice, world-weary way with the USs present political follies. He describes watching the first Republican presidential debate with his elderly father-in-law, who had the benefit of being deaf and half-blind, but still managed to find Carly Fiorina an impressive candidate. Now that Trump dominates everything, its good to be reminded of a time when he was just one hopelessly flawed candidate among many, each of them a wholly improbable future occupant of the White House. ORourke spends as much time on the losers as the eventual winner, skewering Chris Christie and Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and Scott Walker. They deserve it, of course, but somehow it feels a bit easy after all, the voters have already done much of the skewering for him.

The one Republican presidential hopeful ORourke likes is Rand Paul, curly-haired optometrist and son of perennial libertarian candidate Ron Paul. ORourke is taken with the younger Pauls intellectual seriousness but also with his willingness to laugh atthe contortions running for the presidency require of him (Paul senior is not known for his sense of irony). An early chance to meet Paul is one of thefew things that drags ORourke onto the campaign trail and he comes away a little lovelorn, which is faintly embarrassing. He tells us that he and Rand had a lengthy poli-sci geek yack about Alexander Hamiltons Federalist Paper No 84, the wonders ofthe tenth amendment and the philosophy of natural rights. ORourke assumes that his readers wont be interested in such things, but actually it would be better than hearing his complaints about theway his favourite candidate was treated. He thinks it unfair that Paul got pilloried for his agonised flip-flops on Middle East policy ORourke feels anyone who has a consistent view of what needs to be done in that part of the world is the real menace whereas Trump was allowed to get away with talking outright nonsense. We dont need ORourke to tell us that politics isunfair: we need him to tell us how Trump got away with it.

The real problem is that unlike Mencken who saw democracy as rule by fools or, as he christened it, the boobocracy ORourke seems to shy away from sticking it to the voters themselves. Because he never gets much beyond what he picks up from watching TV or reading the papers, he tends to be limited to mocking the pundits, who are a far easier target. Weall know by now that most of the people who spent the last year telling us how politics is meant to work turned out to have no idea. The voters made fools of conventional wisdom. But what about the forces of unreason at work among voters themselves? ORourke offers some half-hearted speculations about whats irking ordinary Americans, but his book would have been far better if he had stirred himself to go in search ofthe freakier side of public opinion, as he once would have. As a libertarian, ORourke is committed to believing in the right of people to think what they like. But for a libertarian he seems surprisingly reluctant to call them out on it.

It doesnt help that he comes across too often as a bit of a pundit himself. His continued harrying of the minor players in last years drama ends up sounding like a Washington insiders memory test. Even American readers may be struggling to remember at this point why they are supposed to care about presidential candidates Lincoln Chafee and George Pataki, so who knows what British readers are meant to make of it all. This is symptomatic of the books flawed setup. ORourke never makes it clear whether his musings on the events of last year were written in real time and are therefore allowed to be out of date or have been revised with the benefit of hindsight. Is this adiary of the campaign or is it a post-mortem? By lurching from one to the other, ORourke forfeits the readers patience and simply comes across as lazy.


Brutal
Brutal one-liners PJ ORourke. Photograph: Anne Ryan/Polaris

There are compensations. He hasnt lost his gift for the brutally effective one-liner. Of Melania Trumps stealing at the 2016 Republican convention of Michelle Obamas address to the Democratic convention of 2008, he writes: Im sorry, but you cant plagiarise the content of another persons speech when the speech has no content. He says of the futile attempts of Trumps opponents to find the appropriate level of scorn for his behaviour: More and more outrage was needed. In the end, demand outstripped the supply. Still, much of the humour of this book reads more like it comes from Mad magazine than it does from Mencken: too many tired puns and cheap digs at celebrity. ORourke describes a list of the presidential candidates as a law firm that couldnt get Caitlyn Jenner off a charge of Bruce Jenner identity theft. He supplies an appendix in which he translates what he calls punditese into plain English. He neednt have bothered. Who needs to be told that what studies show really means is: Im pulling this out ofmy own ass?

What the schoolboy humour does reveal are some of ORourkes own foolish prejudices. One thing for which he is willing to mock ordinary Americans is their propensity to obesity. Time and again he scorns the idea that there can be such a thing as food poverty when so many of the people who are said to suffer from it are fat. Not only is this unfunny, its profoundly mean-spirited: even Trump wouldnt make such a crass mistake. ORourke has let it be known that he had to hold his nose and vote for Hillary when the time came, because he couldnt bear the idea of such a boor and buffoon as her opponent ending up in the White House. Yet there Trump is, and all ORourke can do is shake his head from the comfort of his New England bolt hole. That is perhaps the most depressing thing of all about this book: the nagging feeling that its Trump whos had the last laugh.

How the Hell Did This Happen? is published by Grove/Atlantic Monthly. To order a copy for 11.24 (RRP 14.99) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/10/how-the-hell-did-this-happen-review-pj-orourke-on-trumps-election

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Taking photographs of Holocaust survivors helped me find my own identity

Taking photographs of Holocaust survivors helped me find my own identity

Harry Bordens father didn’t much care about being Jewish, so it was left to Harry’s grandmother to make him feel his heritage was special. And when his marriage ended, it proved invaluable

My dad, Charlie Borden, was born in New York in 1929, the only son of Jewish immigrants who had moved to the US as children. Hisfather was from Ukraine and his mother from Romania. Having escaped the pogroms of eastern Europe, they met and married, built their own house in Upstate New York and had my dad.

Dad has always been an atheist. He has no truck with any religion. If he was evangelical about anything, it was being an American. In that more innocent era, the US was a welcoming place, allowing everybody a chance to get on. During the second world war, he lied about his age and joined the US Marines, just missing active service. After that, he went into advertising. I learned so much about him from watching Mad Men.

He has never really spoken about being Jewish, but he is a typical Norman Mailer-type wise-cracking Jewish guy. He has the humour, the putdowns. As aboy, he boxed, like his dad and his uncle, who was a promotor with three world champions in his stable of boxers. Boxing was very much part of Jewish life in New York then and Dads humour was like a verbal fight to be the funniest guy in the room. He is macho, competitive, pugnacious and troubled maybe the product of generations hardened by random violence. His mentality is fighting hiscorner.

By the time he came to England to work as the art director of a fledgling agency, he had a wife and baby son me. My mum was half-Irish, half-English, quite posh, the daughter and granddaughter of admirals. We settled in Fulham, south-west London, and my brother and sister were born. I think Dad felt pressure in an industry that is constantly looking for newer, shinier people. He wanted to be his own boss, so he sold the house and bought a pig farm in Devon 30 acres and a mass of concrete buildings on a cold, north-facing hill.


Harry
Harry Borden as a child.

Growing up in Devon, I knew that part of Dads identity was other. Ilooked up to him he seemed quite handsome, completely different and much cooler than the other dads. He was not communicative especially with his kids. I remember travelling with him to deliver pigs that was my day out, a rusty old van and squealing pigs. I would try making conversation but he wasnt interested. He always seemed to be somewhere else.

The only reference he would make to his Jewishness in a refrain I heard often was that the Nazis would have killed people like us. I used to find it shocking. I was acutely aware that we came from over the hills. There were a couple of instances where it came up. I remember Dad taking me and my friend to the Devon county show, and my friend saying the Mini Metro was areal Jew car meaning it used hardly any petrol. There was an awful, embarrassing pause and Dad later tookme aside and told me that what hehad said was offensive though Iinstinctively knew. Another time, on aschool trip to Germany, some of the people I was with began making jokes about dirty Jews. I remember feeling a bit ashamed that I didnt say anything.


Ella
Ella Prince, a Holocaust survivor: A long road from the gutters of life in my early youth to the beauty and freedom of Australia, at my sunset Photograph: Harry Borden

For Dad, Jewishness was only a burden. Then his mother, Lillian, who had been widowed, moved from the US to live with us. Her attitude to being Jewish was completely different. She would talk about it and point out people who were Jewish, including, she claimed, Charlie Chaplin. She made it seem a bit special like a really great club to be in.

When you are a teenager, you secretly want to find out you are a prince, or were adopted. In Devon, my Jewish heritage fed into that narrative. As I got into photography, I began to realise that all the astonishing photographers Iadored were Jewish: Diane Arbus, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon to me, the holy trinity! Then I discovered Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and, later, Seinfeld. Why wouldnt you want to accentuate that part of you?

I was 40 when I began photographing Holocaust survivors. I wanted to use photography to an intelligent end, with something that would stand the test oftime. Dads ambivalence towards Jewishness was another motivation. He gets no spiritual sustenance from being Jewish, nothing from the traditions, no community or social network andyet it is still clearly a part of hisidentity.

I took photographs first in the UK and then Australia, and next I had planned a trip to Israel. Just days before I was due to go, my wife ended our 14-year marriage. It was shocking, like a trapdoor opening, and I tried to cancel the trip. Then I thought, Actually, this might be the best thing for me.


Leon
Leon Rosenzweig: The best time of my life is when I am with my family. Photograph: Harry Borden

It was. I arrived in an emotionally raw state, smoking constantly, and Ilost 15kg (2st 5lb). I remember driving around Jerusalem, in tears, completely lost. But it was amazing. Talking tosurvivors gives you a sense of perspective about your own life, your own concerns. You realise that what you are dealing with is of very little consequence. People were so kind. Iwent to my first Shabbat which for me was about friends and family coming together. It was a very healing trip and, by the end, I was in a much better place. When I needed it most, Igot a sustenance that my dad had never found.

Lots of photographers have taken pictures of Holocaust survivors, but I photographed 200 over three years. I just kept going. It was an exploration ofmy identity. There was this personalinvestment.

Though I have suggested to Dad a few trips to Israel, or to his fathers homeland in Ukraine he is not interested. He will say something like, Why? They still hate Jews! And that will be it. When the book was finished, I took it over to show him. He is not that interested really. He thought the publishers had done a nice job. Thats as good as youre going to get.

As told to Anna Moore

Survivor: A Portrait of the Survivors ofthe Holocaust by Harry Borden is published by Cassell Octopus, 30. Toorder a copy for 25,go tobookshop.theguardian.comorcall the Guardian Bookshop on0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of 1.99.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/18/taking-photographs-holocaust-survivors-find-my-identity-jewish

White House bomb threat: man arrested after claiming to have device in car

White House bomb threat: man arrested after claiming to have device in car

Roads closed and security beefed up as police check vehicle at White House gates for explosives

A man is reportedly in custody after he drove up to a White House check point claiming to have a bomb in his car.

CNN said there was no confirmation of any device in the vehicle but that security at the White House had been upgraded.

Surrounding roads were closed as police checked the vehicle for explosives.

A statement from the Secret Service confirmed that a man had been detained at at White House check point at 11.05pm on Saturday evening and agents had declared his vehicle suspicious.

The service had increased their posture of readiness, the statement said. It did not mention any claims of an explosive device.

Images from the scene showed emergency vehicles swarming the area and a robot checking the boot of a black car.

Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles)

NEW: from the viewfinder of @abdallahcnn. A robot inspects the trunk of the suspect’s car. Still parked outside the White House. pic.twitter.com/WJsr1gejYQ

March 19, 2017

Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles)

Here is the scene on 17th St. Firetrucks and hazardous materials units on standby near the White House. pic.twitter.com/XU8Fdo864B

March 19, 2017

Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles)

On the other sides of the White House–15th and F likely near where the driver attempted to get onto the White House grounds. pic.twitter.com/s1qb1KyHQe

March 19, 2017

The CNN reporter on the scene said on Twitter that a member of the bomb squad was inspecting items in the cars boot.

Four hours after the incident began the car was still being checked.

President Donald Trump was not at the White House at the time. He was spending the weekend at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.

It is the third security incident at the White House in two weeks. On 10 March a man a scaled the White House fence and was on the propertys grounds for 16 minutes before being detained. The on Saturday a person jumped over a bike rack in a buffer zone in front of the White House but was not able to make it over the fence into the grounds.

This is a developing news story, please check back for updates

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/19/white-house-bomb-threat-man-arrested-car-claim

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We must resist until China gives Hong Kong a say in our future

We must resist until China gives Hong Kong a say in our future

If Beijing allows human rights to deteriorate in Hong Kong, its freest city, then the whole country will lose all hope of reform

Hong Kongs leader Leung CY Chun-ying is preparing to leave office following a five-year term marred by allegations of corruption, controversial remarks, and unfulfilled promises. He will be the first chief executive not to serve a second term.

With elections for his successor scheduled for 26 March, what does the future hold for Hong Kong?

There are four contenders now seeking the top job.

  • John Tsang Chun-wah, Leungs former financial secretary and the current crowd favourite, has 60% of the populations support, according to polls.
  • Carrie Lam Cheung Yuet-ngor, Leungs second-in-command, is a close second and reportedly Beijings favored candidate.
  • Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee is the founder and chair of the pro-Beijing New Peoples party. Polls show that more than 50% still oppose her election.
  • Woo Kwok-hing is the final candidate. The first to launch his campaign, Woo differs from the other candidates in that he is a retired judge.

Hong Kongs mini-constitution, the Basic Law, clearly states that the chief executive should be selected by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures. In 2007, Beijing further pledged that the 2017 chief executive election would be implemented by method[s] of universal suffrage.

Yet despite all these promises, we must ask, how legitimate is this democratic election for the chief executive?

A close examination of the current electoral process reveals that it will be exceedingly undemocratic. Despite the 2014 pro-democracy movement known as the Umbrella Revolution, the selection method remains the same.

The next chief executive will be chosen by a 1,200-member election committee, a body that reflects the interests of a business-driven, pro-establishment, China-friendly, and elitist group. The fact that the committee is partially made up of members appointed by the Chinese central peoples government reveals how rigged the supposedly democratic system is.

The result is that Hong Kong citizens are denied true universal suffrage. Leung, the outgoing leader, was nicknamed 689 to reflect the meagre number of votes he received from the election committee to make him chief executive: just 689 out of 1,200. Lacking a popular mandate, Leung went on to become vastly unpopular. A 2013 poll by the Hong Kong University showed that 55% disapproved of Leung and a mere 31% supported him. When he steps down, Leungs legacy will be a society that is more divided than ever before.

Without universal suffrage and direct elections, Hong Kong citizens cannot expect any better this time around. No matter if it is Carrie Lam, who has come under fire for formulating plans to build a Beijing Palace Museum in Hong Kong without public consultation; John Tsang, who prioritises business interests; or pro-establishment Regina Ip, the candidates are all products of a small, inner circle of politics dominated by elitist interests.

While some think that a new chief executive might bring about change, ultimately Chinese president Xi Jinping will continue to wield iron-fisted control over Hong Kong. Therefore, a leadership change cannot act as a source of hope as it will never provide a solution for Hong Kongs dependency on China.

Since a simple change of face in a system controlled by an authoritarian regime cannot bring true change, we call for a representative, democratically elected chief executive. If China allows the human rights of Hong Kong, its freest city, to deteriorate, China itself will lose all hopes of reform. Without Hong Kong as a beacon of civil liberties, what hope can China have for developing a respect for rule of law and human rights?

As is the tradition, Chinese officials visit Hong Kong annually to celebrate the transfer of sovereignty. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kongs return from British to Chinese control and may see the first visit to by Xi as president.

As we prepare for this possibility, we again emphasize this: no matter the outcome of the elections, the fact that we are only offered candidates from a pre-selected pool is telling of the fact that the current system denies us a truly democratic vote.

To have genuine democratic elections is to have a say in our future, and until we reach such a day, we will continue to resist.

Joshua Wong is the secretary general and co-founder of Hong Kong political party Demosisto and Emily Lim is a bachelors degree student in international studies and history at Emory University in Atlanta.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/23/we-must-resist-until-china-gives-hong-kong-a-say-in-our-future

Russia and China veto UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria

Russia and China veto UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria

France, UK and US wanted sanctions over chemical weapon use but Vladimir Putin rejects totally inappropriate proposal

Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons during the six-year war.

It is Russias seventh veto to protect the Syrian government from UN security council action. The vote was one of the first confrontations at the UN between Russia and the US since Donald Trump took control of the White House in January, pledging to build closer ties with Moscow.

Russia and China are both permanent members of the UN security council. France, the UK and the US complete the five-nation lineup. Another 10 nations are non-permanent members, elected for two-year terms by the 193 states that are members of the UNs general assembly.

Russian president Vladimir Putin described the draft resolution on Tuesday as totally inappropriate.

Russia argued that the resolution drafted by Britain, France and the US would harm UN-led peace talks between the warring Syrian parties in Geneva, which began last week.

Nine UN council members voted in favour of the resolution and Bolivia voted against, along with China and Russia. Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by any of the five permanent members in order to be adopted. Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, criticised Moscow following the vote.


Nikki
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, greets outgoing security council president and Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, Volodymyr Yelchenko, before the meeting. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

It is a sad day on the security council when members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people, she said. The world is definitely a more dangerous place.

Russias deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, described the statements made against Moscow as outrageous and warned: God will judge you.

The vetoes received widespread condemnation by rights groups. Sherine Tadros, of Amnesty International, said: By vetoing this resolution, Russia and China have displayed a callous disregard for the lives of millions of Syrians.

French UN ambassador Franois Delattre said the failure by the council to act would send a message of impunity.

Physicians for Human Rights, an organisation that guides doctors in Syria on how to treat victims of chemical attacks, said the security council had shown itself impotent to halt the terrible scourge of chemical weapons.

Its statement added: Shame on the Russian Federation, China and all those who enable the Syrian governments attempts to escape accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Vladimir
Vladimir Safronkov, centre, Russias deputy UN ambassador, keeps his hand lowered during the vote. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

Western powers put forward the resolution in response to the results of an investigation by the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The international inquiry found Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that Islamic State militants had used mustard gas.

British UN ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the council before the vote: This is about taking a stand when children are poisoned, its that simple.

Chlorines use as a weapon is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined in 2013.

If inhaled, chlorine gas turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs and can kill by burning lungs and drowning victims in body fluids.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assads government has denied its forces have used chemical weapons. Russia has questioned the results of the UN/OPCW inquiry and has long said there was not enough proof for the security council to take any action.

The draft resolution would have banned the sale or supply of helicopters to the Syrian government because the UN/OPCW inquiry found Syrian government forces had used helicopters to drop barrel bombs containing chlorine gas.

It also proposed targeted sanctions a travel ban and asset freeze on 11 Syrian military commanders and officials, as well as on 10 government and related entities.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/01/russia-and-china-veto-un-resolution-to-impose-sanctions-on-syria

Six surveillance films to make Trump paranoid

From All the Presidents Men to the Bourne series, wiretapping is widespread in Hollywood. No wonder Trump is twitchy

The Conversation (1974)

Between the first two Godfather films, Francis Ford Coppola knocked out this small-scale but wide-reaching thriller about a master surveillance expert, Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), who is memorably described as the best bugger on the west coast a line that always gets an unintended laugh from British audiences. This is the sort of film that could make the most easygoing viewer feel twitchy, so imagine how it might inflame the paranoia of a blowhard like Trump; the whole picture only proves his assertion that there are a lot of bad dudes out there. Of course, Harry goes nuts by the end, and destroys his entire apartment in the search for bugging devices although Trump may see this not as cautionary but as a metaphor for draining the swamp. Whats more, there is even a little inbuilt cheat in the plot: when we first hear the secretly recorded conversation on which the entire film hinges, it sounds one way (Hed kill us if he got the chance). Played back at the end, it has an entirely different emphasis (Hed kill us if he got the chance). Creative licence or fake news? Either way, its an object lesson in the art of Trumpian spin, where truth means whatever he happens to be saying at that particular moment.

All the Presidents Men (1976)


Robert
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in All the Presidents Men. Photograph: Snap/Rex Features

In his tweets accusing the Obama administration of wiretapping his New York offices, Trump invoked the spectre of the USs greatest presidential scandal: This is Nixon/Watergate, he fumed. So it seems reasonable to assume he has seen the movie that repackaged those events for cinema audiences. But he will have needed to be selective about which lessons he took from it. After all, this is a film about the brilliance and cunning of two men Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) who belong to what Steve Bannon openly refers to as the opposition party. Those Washington Post reporters broke the Watergate story with the help of the unnamed source they christened Deep Throat and dont be surprised if those were the two words that made Trumps ears prick up. Though he may not have been paying quite as much attention to the scene where Woodward tells Bernstein: If youre gonna do it, do it right. If youre gonna hype it, hype it with the facts.

Sneakers (1992)


River
River Phoenix, David Strathairn, Dan Akroyd and Robert Redford in Sneakers. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

Robert Redford again, this time in a lighter and fluffier surveillance story, but one that would be no less effective in confirming Trumps suspicions about those damn scheming, Clinton-loving liberals. Redford plays a security expert and former radical whose college days were spent diverting funds from Republican party coffers to assorted charitable causes. The plot pits him and his techno-buddies (including a blind phone-tapping genius) against an anarchist (Ben Kingsley) who is intent on destroying the system. The film shows Kingsley hacking into and outsmarting Trumps bete noire, the FBI, while it also paints the NSA (another organisation besmirched by Trump) in a sinister light, two decades before Edward Snowden blew the whistle on it. Still, he wont be happy with the ending, which shows Redford back to his old tricks and siphoning off Republican money to the United Negro College Fund, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

Enemy of the State (1998)


Will
Will Smith and Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

It will delight Trump no end that the NSA comes in for a bruising once again in this conspiracy thriller. From the opening scene, in which an NSA operative engineers the death of a congressman who is blocking a bill that would grant greater powers of surveillance over US citizens, phone-tapping plays a major part in the story. So concerned was the NSA by the way it was portrayed in the film that there were memos flying back and forth across its various departments. I saw a preview for the new movie Enemy of the State and to my surprise found out that NSA were the bad guys in it, wrote one NSA employee in an in-house email, while the then director of the NSA, Lt Gen Michael Hayden, told CNN in 2001: I made the judgment that we couldnt survive with the popular impression of this agency being formed by the last Will Smith movie. As with The Conversation (which is referenced nicely in an appearance from Gene Hackman, playing Harry Caul in all but name), the impression given by the film is clear: you are being watched.

Blow Out (1981)


John
John Travolta in Blow Out. Photograph: Columbia/Rex/Shutterstock

A mix of Blow Up (where a photographer accidentally captures evidence of a murder) and The Conversation, Brian De Palmas masterful thriller features a sound effects designer (John Travolta) who is taping ambient noise one evening when he records the sound of a car accident that turns out to provide clues to political skullduggery. Inspired by the Chappaquiddick scandal, in which Mary Jo Kopechne died in a car that was driven off a bridge by Senator Ted Kennedy, and still haunted by the ghost of Watergate, Blow Out would be helpful in reminding Trump that someone, somewhere, is always listening. Given that the meddling hero is part of the movie industry (ie Hollywood, another of Trumps enemies), the film also confirms some of his other prejudices into the bargain.

The Bourne series (2002-present)


Joan
Joan Allen in The Bourne Ultimatum. Photograph: Jasin Boland/Universal Pictures International

These films, about a brainwashed CIA killing machine who gradually recovers his memory and goes rogue, would appeal most strongly to Trumps particular combination of short attention span and heightened paranoia. The bonanza of conspiracy theories are regularly being interrupted by wham-bam action sequences that might have been designed specifically to keep him from getting bored. Trump, dont forget, is a man who fast-forwards through Jean-Claude Van Dammes Bloodsport just to get to the fisticuffs and roundhouse kicks. But should he be listening during the talky bits, he may find one exchange from the third instalment, The Bourne Ultimatum, particularly pertinent to his style of governance. The conscientious CIA agent Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) takes issue with the company policy of bumping people off willy-nilly. You start down this path and where does it end? she asks her superior (David Strathairn), who gives the sort of response that Trump and his coterie could really get behind: It ends when weve won.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/mar/07/six-surveillance-films-make-trump-paranoid

 

ANOTHER INTERVIEW FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH

from-the-horses-mouthKIERAN HOLLIDAY TELLS US ABOUT ANDYSMANCLUB

Kieran, can you tell me a bit about this club you’re involved with? ANDYMANSCLUB  is a great place for men, from all backgrounds, to get together and discuss problems like mental illnesses (I suffer from bi-polar) and alcoholism etc. We all get together and it becomes almost like a brotherhood.

Where do you meet? My main meeting place is the Shay Stadium in Halifax although we have meeting places in Hebden Bridge Town Hall, Hull (Pulse Rate Group Wincolmlee), Leigh Sports Village, S. Wales (Bridgend The Brewery Field) and one has just opened in H.M.P. Armley for the people in there. Please note that all meetings are at 7 pm on a Monday evening, everything is confidential in the room, not judgemental and no counsellors are present.

Who started the group? A professional rugby league player called Luke Ambler who has played for Halifax and represented England and Ireland.

What made Luke start the group? His brother-in-law Andrew committed suicide out-of-the-blue, having seemingly never having had a problem in his life; he left his kid and his wife behind so Luke took responsibility for them both and realised that men don’t often express their feelings and talk about their problems – they have a shield up and feel they have always got to be the ‘man’. So Luke created this safe place for men to go in order to try and stop things like this happening again.

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