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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Death Wins One

Back in California. Just made it in time for my father's death.

He was 94, and, as the all-knowing "they" say, he had a pretty good run. As readers of this little blog might remember, he came from a town in Morocco in the part of that North African country that formed the "Spanish Protectorate." He was born a Jew in a Muslim country under Catholic Spanish rule. He always seemed to find the odd niche to fill, the hard-to-categorize, he was, shall we say, an off-brand. This failure to stay within easily defined boundaries would follow him for the rest of his life, both professionally and personally.

He arrived, by ship from England, in New York City on Christmas Eve 1950, with an American visa, $200 in tens, and the address of the local YMCA in his pocket. He had always wanted to live in America. He briefly flirted with the idea of living in Britain, but the UK in 1950 was not a cheery place. It certainly was not America. So, off he went. My mother followed shortly after.

We moved a lot. We lived all over the country (NY, VA, Territory of Hawaii, and many places in CA) and spent a great deal of time overseas as he had to return on several occasions to deal with family issues in Morocco and Spain.  It was not easy getting his Spanish credentials accepted in the USA of the 1950s. The AMA had successfully blocked most foreign graduates and required extensive retraining and internships. He waged a constant battle to get accepted as a doctor, and some of his most colorful stories involved dealing with hospital administrators and doctors to get himself established. He, however, spoke several languages, had excellent surgical skills, and went on to became a highly successful doctor (psychiatry, neurology, and neurosurgery) and one who found 90% of medicine to be "nonsense," his favorite word.

He was restless, and kept a passport, a .38 revolver, and several thousand dollars in a cigar box under his bed, "When you're Jewish and have lived in Europe, you learn to be ready to go immediately." He was an ardent defender of the Second Amendment. He thought it amazing and a tribute to the wisdom of the nation's founders that a private citizen legally could arm and defend himself.

Back to his views on medicine. He would often say that the only real discoveries in medicine were aspirin, codeine, laxatives, and antibiotics--everything else was, well, "nonsense." Did he really believe that or was he trolling? Hard to tell. He certainly had little respect for psychiatry, but at the same time used his considerable analytical skills honed in psychiatric practice to evaluate people and, frankly, as noted, to make a lot of money in businesses not even remotely related to medicine. He was also something of a celebrity expert witness in countless civil and criminal trials. He was famous for interrupting cross-examining defense lawyers with, "Stop that nonsense! The man knew exactly was he doing. He deserves the gas chamber."

He made a lot of money, helluva lot, but didn't seem to care much about the stuff. Aside from his medical practice, he was something of a stock market and real estate wizard. We, however, lived very middle class lives, no particular luxuries, one b/w TV, older cars, and never knew we were quite wealthy. I only got an inkling when once, in the late 1960s, I glimpsed his IRS returns and was stunned by the yearly income; I felt sure there was a misplaced decimal point. I never saw him attach any importance to money except as it provided a means to achieve independence, and get away from the "idiots." He was always searching for ways to get away from the "idiots." He lived frugally, drove old and battered cars, dressed modestly, and rarely splurged on anything except cigars and wine. He had, yes, a rusty three-cylinder Geo which he drove to fancy Beverly Hills restaurants and parked next to the gleaming Bentleys, BMWs, Cadillacs, etc., of the ostentatiously and supposedly rich. Tired of the constant jibes about his car, he had business cards made to hand sneering parking valets and dinner partners reading, "Yes, but unlike you, I actually have money."

He smoked four or five cigars daily until about year or so before his death, drank copious amounts of wine and cognac, ate prodigious amounts of red meat, devoured chocolate chip cookies, and never did an hour's worth of exercise in his life: "Just like Churchill," he would say. He laughed off advice to stop smoking, start exercising, and "clean up" his act. "Doctors don't know anything," he would say while he sat in his office wearing his Louis Farrakhan bowtie, puffing on a cigar, reading Bertrand Russell ("An idiot, but he writes well") and waiting for patients.

He passed much of his life in Malibu. My mother refused to live there and spent her time at a huge house in San Marino. The Malibu house sat, quite literally, on the edge of the continent, right where the ocean and the beach do battle. Unless you lived on a boat, you couldn't get closer to the sea. During storms, the house would get hit by waves--even a seagull and an odd fish or two got flung into the living room through the always open sliding glass doors. We kids hated and ridiculed the place--everything was wet, rusted, or moldy. He, however, loved living there especially when the tourists were blocked by coast highway closings caused by mudslides, brush fires, earthquakes, storms, or some bizarre Malibu car accident, e.g., a drunk wrapping a Ferrari around a telephone pole and bringing the thing crashing down on the road. Why did he live there? He apparently had a perverse pride in living in a very uncomfortable place, and he loved the sea lions and the whales that paraded by the house. He actually worried about the whales, "Poor things, always in that cold water." And dogs. He loved dogs. He hated anybody who abused animals.

He lived surrounded by but oblivious to the Hollywood set. For years, for example, his neighbor, was a very famous comedian and actor, of whom my father had never heard. On the rare occasion he would go to the local temple, he would meet the Hollywood elite--and genuinely have no idea who they were. The last movies he had seen were "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Gigi." He wouldn't go to movies because he was no longer allowed to smoke in the theater, and, yes, "they are all nonsense made by homosexuals and Communists." Mind you, he said this decades ago.

Smoke. As a child, my world was enveloped in cigar smoke. Everything, houses, cars, clothes, and his offices, smelled of cigars. In addition, it seemed that everywhere in those houses and offices, every conceivable space, was packed with books. He loved books and insisted that I read them, too. I was the only kid in Miss Sarzin's fifth grade class who had read Winston Churchill's six-volume history of WWII, and gave ponderous book reports on Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer," Sir James Frazer's "The Golden Bough," and Sigmund Freud's "Moses and Monotheism." I was unbearable--a trait I have nurtured. At least, however, I didn't smoke cigars or swill cognac, well, not in class.

He thought America was the best country on earth, thanks to "the rednecks. They defeated the Nazis, nobody else did." He detested Europe, "pretentious anti-semitic idiots." He also thought that America was headed for serious trouble as it got further and further away from its Anglo roots. He refused to call the left "liberals," and decades ago took up calling them "Communists," to the chagrin of the very PC Malibu and West LA crowd. He saw the 1965 immigration law as the biggest disaster in our history, and loathed America's secularized Jews, "They don't appreciate what we have here." He, himself, of course, was an immigrant with no Anglo roots, had a love of Chinese culture and history, and rarely went to temple. He was a strong supporter of Israel, gave lots of money to the country and even to Rabbi Meir Kahane, but openly stated he could never live there, "A nation of New Yorkers!" He hated New York, and loved Los Angeles and Miami. He also, by the way, hated universities, saying no great idea ever came out of a university--but, nevertheless, insisted that all of us go to university. "Get that stupid piece of paper, but don't pay attention to those stupid professors," was his advice re "higher" education.

Soon after becoming a US citizen, he had voted for JFK and LBJ, but after 1964, became a 100% Republican voter. He had a deep understanding of politics and hated political correctness. He correctly predicted not only that Obama would become President well before he was a major player, but, most surprising, started telling me around 2004 that Trump was destined to become President. He voted for Trump, and one of the last things he saw was the TV coverage of the American Embassy opening in Jerusalem. "Trump knows how to play the game," he said.

Neither he nor I was ever sure if he approved of my choice of career. He had a pretty low regard for the State Department. I remember shortly after I joined in 1978, he asked what my salary was. I proudly told him, $14,700. He looked puzzled, puffed on his cigar, and said, "OK, $14,700 a month is OK, but ..." When I noted that it was $14,700 a year, he was horrified, "You'll never be independent!" He, nevertheless, did visit us at several assignments, but almost died in Bolivia from the altitude.

It's hard to say things about people like him because there's so much to say, and it doesn't all make sense. There is no well-defined narrative. His funeral is Friday--we are trying to get all the kids in for it--and I have been asked to speak. Don't know what I am going to say, but maybe the best thing would be to play Frank Sinatra's version of "My Way." He certainly did do it that way. Maybe that's the narrative.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Friendly Snark: The Royal Wedding

Heading back to California tomorrow for a family emergency. Just going to put up a quick and snarky post.

OK, OK. I should pretend as some others do, not to be aware that there is a Royal wedding underway today in the UK. But, I can't. The media won't let me. Do I wish the newlyweds all the best? Of course. Is this the most important event in the world and of our time? Uh, no, no it's not. It's not even close to being the most important event of the past couple of days or so. It's an A-list celebrity thing. It's pretty and nice, and nobody does these sorts of events better than the Brits. The Royal family is the greatest tourist magnet on the planet. Whatever they cost, they are worth it in tourist jobs, hard currency and the endless number of movies and TV shows that saturate the airwaves, clog the studios, and provide lots of jobs.

The Royals themselves? Meh. I have said before, and will again that QEII is a class act. I wish her and her irascible Prince Phillip many more years gracing the world scene. Her kids and grandkids? Well, most of them fell pretty far from the ol' QEII tree. Now, I will modify that a bit. Many years ago, I declared Harry to be an idiot for wearing a Che shirt while partying. I dismissed him as just another in a long line of callow youths produced by the Royal family, almost stupid enough to be a Kennedy.

I have to take some of that back, however.

Harry served his country well and bravely in combat in Afghanistan--per American sources I heard that he performed quite admirably. Anybody who does that, well, he gets a pass for a lot of stupidity. In addition, he has gone on to devote a considerable amount of time and effort trying to better the lot of wounded veterans both in Britain and the US. Again, he gets some serious points for that. So, let's say he has atoned for his youthful stupidities. Marrying the very politically correct Meghan Markle? Uh . . . well, who knows? The only thing I could think of was poor ol' Nazi-symp Wallis Simpson muttering, "Hey, MM! That's my act you've stolen!"

Bottom line: All the best to the couple, but let me repeat what I said back in 2012,
July 4, 1776. That's the date on the official excuse note. It was signed by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and others, and delivered by George Washington. As of that date, it's official: We Americans don't have to worry or care about monarchs. And I don't.
My "I don't care about Royals" permit is still valid.

Thanks, Founding Dudes!

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Thought or Two on "Resist!"

It's almost midnight at the quasi-baronial Diplomad estate. There is a huge tropical storm raging outside with some spectacular lightning and thunder displays. The surrounding woods are quite spooky and even creepy. If I see a clown running around out there, I am moving.

Clearly, Gaia is upset about something, and whatever it is, her reaction has my two giant dogs quivering and crying like little puppies. Once again, we see that Gaia is a cruel mistress who spends all her time trying to find ways to terrify and kill all those who dare to live in her house. Once again, we see the wisdom of the Diplomad's dictum, to wit, that the history of civilization is the history of man's fight against Gaia; the most successful civilizations are those most successful in that battle.

All this Gaia "sound and fury" outside has got me thinking about the leftist antics we see since the election of Donald Trump. Driving around Durham, near Duke University, I noticed several yard signs that screamed out in bold font, "Resist!" Ah, yes, these bold signs clearly identified bold members of the bold resistance to the man who, of course, is quite literally Hitler, our own Donald Trump.

Before I reach the perhaps unjustified conclusion that the "resistance" is just a "tale told by an idiot," let me ask a few questions, and make some observations about this bold and virtuous resistance.

If Donald Trump is literally Adolf Hitler, why would a member of the "resistance" identify himself/herself/zheself as a member? Strikes me that is a clear violation of the rules of resistance to a repressive regime. Did Max Manus put such a sign in front of his house to shout out his defiance of the Nazis and Vidkun Quisling? Did Anne Frank? Seems an odd thing to do if the Gestapo is out and about.

What does this "resistance" do? I know what the resistance did in Norway and Yugoslavia, but this one? What does it do? I mean, of course, aside from going to notoriously right-wing Starbucks to demand free bathroom usage. What exactly are they resisting? OK, I understand that just like Hitler, Trump is strongly pro-Israel, has a Jewish daughter and son-in-law, and, just like Hitler, used the power of the state to bring back three non-white hostages from North Korea. Yes, I see the similarities, but . . . well, now that I think about it, I guess Trump is actually worse than Hitler because Trump, unlike Hitler, is not a vegetarian!

But, but I still remain puzzled.

It seems odd that many members of the "resistance" want the state to take away all of our guns. The resistance hates Trump so much they want him and his henchmen to have our weapons. I guess the resistance to Hitler did the same thing, no? Maybe I've got my history mixed up, I don't know, perhaps the thunder and lightning are throwing off my aging brain waves.

So to sum it up for the resistance: The anti-semite Trump is the best friend Israel has ever had. The racist Trump has instituted policies that have produced the lowest unemployment figures in decades for black and hispanic Americans. The woman-hating Trump had a woman running his campaign (no, not Mrs. Putin), has a woman as Ambassador at the UN, another as the head of DHS, another as head of Education, yet another as White House spokesman, and now has made a woman the head of the CIA. The oligarch Trump has instituted tax and other policies that are putting more money into more ordinary people's pockets than has happened in many years.

All just like Hitler did . . .

Ah well, tomorrow will be another day in the Reich in which to ponder all this . . .

Monday, May 14, 2018

Jerusalem: Reality as a Foreign Policy

I thought I would never live to see the day when the US Embassy would be in Jerusalem. It seems that only Israel has to fight to have its capital recognized, and not even its closest ally had the guts--until now--to recognize that capital, and to pursue a reality-based foreign policy not only towards Israel but across the board.

In November of 1995, the US Congress overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act  which stated that the US Embassy should be in Jerusalem. No President since then acted upon it, until now. It was never the right time. It was too expensive. It had to be part of a "comprehensive deal." The Europeans didn't like it. The Palestinians would be outraged. We would have war with Saudi Arabia . . . yeah, yeah. And, yet, Trump has done it, insisted on recognizing reality, and, yet, the sun rises and life goes on. Amazing.

I remember back in the 1980s, when I was just a young inconsequential State Department buck before I would grow into being an old inconsequential State Department stag, telling a colleague, who would go on to become quite senior in the Bureau of Near East Affairs, "Why don't we just declare our Consulate General in Jerusalem our Embassy?" His answer was an exasperated eye-roll followed by a condescending, "You can't do that." That was it. The wisdom as revealed by the State Department, "YOU can't do that."

And, yet, and, yet, guess what just happened?

You can do that. WE can do that. The U.S. Embassy is now in Jerusalem, having temporarily, in effect, swapped places with the ConGen while a new building goes up. And, yet, and yet, the sun will rise tomorrow.

The bien pensants, of course, are all besides themselves. Even many Democratic politicians--pace Chuck Schumer--who voted for the move now blather on about this is the wrong time; it sends the wrong message; the European "allies" oppose it; and, of course, what about the PEACE PROCESS? THE PEACE PROCESS?!? The Palestinians are never going to believe that we are honest brokers! My strand of pearls just broke!

So when will be the right time? When will the so-called Palestinians say so? The Peace Process, huh? More people have died during this 70-year "Peace Process" than in many a "War Process." All Israel's fault, of course--if only they were willing to help in their own murder . . .

The Europeans? I refer you to the Diplomad's number one rule of American Foreign Policy, "Never listen to the Europeans." They are just about always wrong. They are about keeping things the way they are at any particular moment, unless that moment favors the USA, and about making simple problems, complex, and complex ones, impossible.

Let's be clear. There are only two countries with any say about where the US puts its Embassy in Israel. Any guesses which two? Hint: Neither is in the EU.

Final thought on Europe: Maybe we should move our Embassy in Paris to Vichy?

Yes, before some MSNBC prog points it out, the Jerusalem Embassy Act had some vague language about the final status of Jerusalem being determined in some future peace process. Fine. That's up to the Israelis and with whomever THEY negotiate that, if they negotiate that. As far as I am concerned, and I'd love to hear our President say it, there already is a two-state solution in Palestine: Israel and Jordan. Up to them if they want to add a third state. Meanwhile, our foreign policy and interests in the Middle East cannot be held hostage to some future possibility that the leadership of the so-called Palestinians will finally stop trying to destroy Israel. I wrote about this here,
Let's start with basics. The whole Palestinian homeland bit is a massive scam. Palestinians are Arabs just like the folks in Jordan and Egypt--Arafat was born in Cairo. When the Arab states invaded the nascent state of Israel in 1948, they did not do so for a Palestinian homeland. They just wanted to kill Jews, drive them into the ocean, and eliminate Western influence from the region. Egypt, Jordan, and Syria intended to take the tiny parcel of land allocated to the Jews by the UN and keep it. No Palestinian homeland, no "two state solution," just another "final solution" which would have seen tens-of-thousands of Jews killed, including those born in "Palestine," yes, Jews were also "Palestinians." That's all. Period. 
After the Arab states got their clocks cleaned, we began to hear the baying about a Palestine homeland which just so happened to coincide exactly with the boundaries of Israel. Amazing how that happens! Wherever Jews lived, THAT formed part of the Palestinian homeland. Jordan, of course, had the West Bank from 1948 to 1967; at no time was that then considered part of this definition of the "Palestinian" homeland. It was part of Jordan. There were no international cries to free that portion of Palestine from Jordanian occupation. The West Bank became part of the "homeland" only when Israel took it from Jordan in the Six Day War. 
We also saw the amazing phenomenon of Palestinian refugees. Arabs displaced by fighting started by Arabs were dumped by Arabs on the tender mercies of the UN. The Arab countries wanted nothing to do with them. The UN being all about programs, of course, created the monstrosities known as Palestinian refugee camps, and established a massive money-sucking bureaucracy to administer them and beg for ever greater amounts of money--most of it from Western countries, including the USA.
Anyhow, Trump, former reality show star, insists on having a foreign policy based on the reality of the world. As I noted  before, about his domestic and foreign policy approach,
He is calling, in no uncertain terms, for an end to the phony and destructive internationalism of the past few decades, the internationalism that has devastated towns and cities throughout the Western world, hollowed out once proud industrial centers, and made legions of mountebanks and blow-hards rich and powerful at the expense of the average Joe. He intends to use America's considerable clout to end that. He makes a good unvarnished case that doing so will benefit the "forgotten communities," and enable them, in the US, at least, to achieve a major portion of the American Dream, to wit, a good job, with good pay. 
The world is formed of nation-states, and Donald Trump wants us to act in accordance with that reality. 
Reality. What a revolutionary concept . . . .
Happy 70th Israel. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Trump Rolls On

OK. Are there any other world leaders out there? If so, they shouldn't bother coming to work. Take a holiday. Enjoy the coming summer in the northern hemisphere and the coming winter in the south. Just go home. Relax. Trump's got ya covered.

He does it, yet again.

He has killed the Iran nuclear "deal."

Trump knows how to do foreign policy.  We've had to put up with decades of condescending lectures from the traditional foreign policy "elites" on how difficult foreign policy is; how it's just more complex than YOU could ever understand; don't try it at home; and just leave it to the experts. Seems that our President is following in the foot-steps of Ronald Reagan, and even blazing a few paths of his own when it comes to foreign policy. Amazing how a clear articulation of purpose, a demonstration of strength, and a refusal to accept the standard bromides produces different results. What's that definition of crazy? Shall we say, President Trump is destroying the world order in order to save the world? Sounds good.

The mullahs in Teheran, the murderers in ISIS, Pyongyang and Damascus, as well as the virtue-signaling, pearl-clutching bien pensants in Hollywood, media, academe, and all the capitals of the Far Abroad, now know they're dealing with a different sort of U.S. President. Thank the Lord this President has followed the Diplomad's long-standing foreign policy dictum, "Do not listen to the Europeans,"
[T]he surest way to lose American lives and treasure is to listen to the Europeans. Europe has not gotten anything right on the world stage since, well, since . . . well, since at least the French Revolution.
Let's not forget that since the USA became a significant player, the principal aim of European leaders has been to embroil the USA in Europe's wars, have the USA fix the messes caused by European leaders, but have the USA take instructions from Europe's leaders. Even Churchill, whom I admire immensely, was not immune; he desperately wanted the mighty US in WWII, but wanted to dictate the how and the where of the application of US power. We, of course, previously saw the same thing in WWI. In that conflict, 100 years ago, the geniuses in the European high commands needed US troops to halt a resurgent Germany after the exit of Russia from the war, but did not want an independent US force. Pershing successfully resisted them. Vietnam and Libya were also two messes in which we became involved to bail out Europe. Let us also not forget that the long years of the Cold War involved the US footing the bulk of the bill for defense, allowing Europe to maintain Legoland militaries and spend their own wealth building cradle-to-grave social welfare systems, which, of course, relied on the despised US military for protection.

It goes on and on . . uh, well, not any longer. Just as Reagan did before in rejecting European advice on how to handle the USSR, it seems that Trump has a very clear home-grown idea of how to do things in the interest of the United States. About time.

The "deal" with Teheran was a classic convoluted mess so favored by the Euros and their admirers such as John Kerry. I have written a great deal about that "deal" (here, herehere, and here, for example, and there's lots more). Don't want to repeat all I have said before except to restate that this was a classic con job.

Of course, the Iranians and the Europeans are upset over President Trump's bold announcement that we are walking away from this "deal." As I have noted before, the "deal" guaranteed Iran's acquiring a nuclear weapon, while, mostly European and Russian companies make a lot of money off the Iranian regime whose bank accounts became flush with billions of dollars and euros magnanimously provided by the Obama misadministration in the dead of night.

As to American opinion, I conducted my own highly "scientific" poll. Yesterday, I was at my local gun store, doing a little shopping in the wake of having received my concealed carry permit. Four "customers" were siting in the back of the little semi-rural gun store ("Green Acres"!) when the president came on TV to announce the end of the Iran so-called deal. All four broke into spontaneous applause, with one elderly gent wearing a Korean War Vet cap, telling his wife, "The President has done a great thing!"

There the science is settled, and now . . .

Let the fainting begin!

We hear cries of outrage from Obama, Kerry, and Clinton, of course, who see their "legacy" coming apart. The Iranians are running to Russia and Europe trying to save a vestige of the "deal" to make sure the goodies keep flowing. Kerry, of course, is repeating his anti-American antics of decades ago: just as he did with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegations in Paris during the Vietnam War peace talks, he has been in Europe trying to strike some sort of new "deal" with Iran to undermine the US president. Kerry does treason quite well.

Among the many curious things being said is that Trump's walking away from this "deal," imperils our ability to reach a deal with North Korea. Well, yes, it does imperil the ability to reach a "deal" like the one with Iran, but that's what we don't want! While the fainters fainted, newly minted SecState Pompeo flew into Pyongyang to set up the forthcoming meeting between Kim and Trump, and flew out bringing home three American hostages. Sounds like Kim is more than willing to deal, and Trump has his measure of the man.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy is opening in Jerusalem, and the pearl-clutchers can't believe that the world has not come to an end, yet again. The Saudis and other Arabs are making friendly noises towards Israel, clearly seeking Israeli support against Iran, and have supported Trump's move on the faux deal. They know from whence the threat comes, and it's not from Tel Aviv Jerusalem. The mullahs are rightfully in panic mode.

I can't wait for President Trump to turn his full attention to the threat on our southern border and put an end to Mexican interference in our politics.

Roll on!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

California and Chappaquiddick

Just back from my week-long foray behind enemy lines in the formerly Great State of California. Managed to get in and out before the enemy knew I was there.

While there, the "news" came out that California had climbed back to its number five position on the world GDP scale. The West Coast Progs were celebrating having put the UK in the rear-view mirror as some sort of vindication for years of progressive misrule in that once Great State of California. We have an economy bigger than the UK's! Nonsense, of course. First of all they're picking on the once Great United Kingdom, a victim of even more decades of progressive misrule and rot than even California. That's akin to the Mexicans celebrating defeating the French on Cinco de Mayo--a low bar to clear. I told one proggy acquaintance, who argued that this proved that the once Great State of California could go it alone, to try the numbers without the Federal spending in that once Great State, and try it with sufficient revenue raised just in California to pay for all those great things in that once Great State, e.g., essentially free and unlimited schooling and medical care for millions of illegal aliens, whacky environmental policies, etc. The numbers don't add up, at least not positively.

Anyhow, on to something more "pleasant." By that, of course, I mean thanking Australia, once again.

I have previously thanked the Aussies for Sir John Monash, Errol Flynn, Rupert Murdoch, Robert Taylor, John Howard, Tony Abbott, the redesigned Chevy Camaro, and Banjo Paterson, now I must thank that Great Country for Jason Clarke. While in that once Great State of California, I sneaked off to a nearly empty movie theater to watch "Chappaquiddick." If you don't know because you've recently arrived on earth from the moon, and the moon plays an important though uncredited role in "Chappaquiddick," this is the sorry tale of how Senator Ted Kennedy got away in 1969 with killing a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne--another in a long line of women who ran afoul of the Kennedy crime family.

Jason Clarke was born and raised in Australia, but he was destined to play Ted Kennedy. In more innocent times, I would have said he deserves the Oscar for his performance, but given the cesspool that the Academy has revealed itself to be, nobody short of a pedophile or serial rapist should want that body's recognition and praise. Let's just say that Clarke nails it. He is Ted Kennedy. Not only does he have the physical appearance, mannerisms, and the Boston accent down, he manages the empty look of a man out of his depth and living a life he has not chosen. He puts on a stand-out performance as this very shallow, callow man who could not escape the shadows of his elder bothers, the fear for his horrific father, and the ever-present gang of family advisors and fix-it men, and who kinda, sorta "wanted" to be President but didn't really know why except that it was expected of him.

The film relies on straight-up story telling. Nothing fancy or convoluted. It leaves some aspects vague, e.g., whether Kennedy was having an affair with Kopechne. The scenes when Kennedy's Oldsmobile flips off the bridge, and into the water prove harrowing, to say the least. The film rightly notes that contrary to most press reporting of the time, Kopechne did not drown: she suffocated, probably living at least twenty minutes after the accident thanks to an air pocket in the rear of the car. Her death was excruciating, and had Kennedy or his advisers promptly reported the accident, possibly avoidable. The film does an admirable job of laying out the empty, soulless world of the Kennedy clan, and how it destroys lives. A terrific film, and an indictment of the sort of politics we all had hoped lay in the past, but . . .

OK, back to the Russian collusion nonsense. . .