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If We're Going To Keep The Fascists Out Of Government We Have To Fight And Fight WIth All We've Got

Hollywood Big Shots Are Too Scared To Even Release The Apprentice!

Yesterday, Jamie Raskin, one of the Democrats going around the country campaigning in tough districts for progressives, endorsed Thomas Witkop in his uphill race to defeat MAGA extremist Brian Mast (R-FL). “The reason we’re going to win the House, the Senate and the White House, Raskin told me, “is because we have fantastic new candidates like Thomas Witkop getting the vote out everywhere— in the red districts, the purple and the blue. Every vote counts and every candidate counts, and Tommy Witkop is running an aggressive and shrewd campaign against an anti-choice, anti-environment, climate-denying MAGA mouthpiece, another brick in the wall of GOP sycophancy and subservience to the felon-in-chief.” If you want to agree with Raskin, you can do it here.

This morning, Raskin sent his list a newspaper clipping with a photo of himself as a child from the Washington Post  (October 14, 1966), noting that his “parents taught us about organizing for civil rights and strong democracy long before we could read. Given that I was marching at age three, you know I’m not letting any coup-plotting, election-denying, insurrection-supplying autocrat, kleptocrat, plutocrat or theocrat turn us around or block progress for democracy in America. So while the GOP continues its plunge into chaos and fanaticism, I’m traveling across the country mobilizing voters and galvanizing support for Democratic candidates in crucial red-to-blue districts.”

I’m happy that Hollywood luminaries are coming out for Biden over Trump. That’s good. (I’m more impressed with Raskin’s endorsement though.) Shane McCreesh and Adam Nagourney reported that though the Saturday DTLA event was all about raising money, it “into a platform for some of the most concerted and toughest attacks to date on Trump by the Biden campaign, as entertainers, Barack Obama and even Jill Biden assailed Trump’s ethics and his suitability to return to the White House. Dr. Biden, after being introduced by Barbra Streisand, said the choice was between her husband, ‘who honors the rule of law instead of trying to bend it to his way,’ and Trump, ‘who wakes up every morning caring about one person and one person only: himself. Trump has told us again and again why he wants the White House— to give himself absolute power, to not be held accountable for his criminal action,’ Dr. Biden continued. His aim, she told the crowd, ‘was to destroy the democratic safeguards that stand in his way.’ Obama invoked Trump’s felony convictions— something that Pres Biden has for the most part avoided doing— to applause from the crowd. ‘We have the spectacle of the nominee of one of the two major parties sitting in court and being convicted by a jury of his peers on 34 counts,’ Obama said. Listing off a series of what he described as offenses by Trump, he noted that ‘you have his organization being prosecuted for not paying taxes. Set aside all the other stuff he says…’ President Biden picked up his microphone: ‘He paid none.’”

George Clooney was there. So were Julia Roberts and Jimmy Kimmel, who asked Biden if the country had “Trump amnesia,” comparing those four years to “a colonoscopy” that people want to forget.
“Remember the pandemic,” Biden responded. “He said just don’t worry, just inject a little bleach.”
…The tone was set early on, when Streisand introduced the first lady.
“She’s the neighbor everyone wishes they have, not the type that suddenly flies an American flag upside down,” Streisand said to laughter and a few groans, referring to how Martha-Ann Alito, the wife of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., had flown an American flag upside down— a symbol associated with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol— outside the couple’s home in Virginia.

The change in the political environment was one reason for the different tenor of the evening. Another was Kimmel, who offered far edgier— and leading— questions than Stephen Colbert, the late-night talk show host who questioned Biden, Obama and Bill Clinton at the Radio City Music Hall event.
“You did say you were fighting to restore the soul of America, and lately it does seem like we might need an exorcism,” Kimmel said at the top of the program, turning to Biden. “Is that why you visited the pope?”
“Uh,” Biden said, chuckling softly. “Yeah.”
When Kimmel mentioned the repeal of Roe v. Wade that Trump-appointed justices on the Supreme Court helped orchestrate, the audience hissed. “Don’t hiss, vote!” Obama said.
Biden said that “the next president is likely to have two more Supreme Court nominees,” adding, referring to rump, “The idea that if he is re-elected, he’s going to appoint two more who are waving flags upside down, is…” He trailed off.
“The Supreme Court has never been as out of kilter as it is today,” Biden said.
He reminded the audience of the events of Jan. 6 and that Trump has lately used apocalyptic terms like “blood bath” and “retribution.”
…The event came amid unease about Biden’s strengths as a candidate against Trump, especially after the former president’s recent spike in fund-raising.
“Hearing about the money made us nervous,” said David Mandel, the television showrunner who produced Veep and who is a prominent backer of the Biden campaign. “But it’s not like we were really confident and that made us nervous. We’ve been nervous for eight years. So this is nothing new.”
Mandel disputed comparisons between business leaders writing checks to Trump and what was on display from the wealthy entertainment industry on Saturday.
“Let me tell you what Julia Roberts and Jimmy Kimmel and Mark Hamill are not doing,” he said. “They are not asking Joe Biden to lower the corporate tax rate. They are not asking Joe Biden to lower their personal income tax rate.”
But for all its financial success— the money raised set a record for a Democratic fund-raising event, Biden’s campaign said— the event was a reminder of the risks for politicians when they try to mix Washington and Hollywood.
Biden shared a stage with Clooney, the actor who had lodged complaints with a White House official over the president’s criticism of the International Criminal Court.
The court had decided to seek a warrant against Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; its defense minister; and three leaders of Hamas for illegal activities in waging a war in Gaza that has led to thousands of civilian deaths. Clooney’s wife, Amal Clooney, is a human rights lawyer who served on an advisory panel that helped conduct the investigation.

Meanwhile, shockingly, none of these people seem to have the will or the clout to get The Apprentice film out. It will be playing in Germany, France, Japan, Britain, Canada another countries, but not this one. Michelle Goldberg noted that the movie “is a classic story of a mentor and his protégé, chronicling how Trump first learned from and later surpassed his brutal, Machiavellian fixer... red-baiting mob lawyer Roy Cohn... It offers a fresh way of understanding how Trump— under the tutelage of Cohn, who once served as chief counsel to Joseph McCarthy— evolved from an almost charming Queens striver into the lawless predator now bestriding American politics.”

“[T]he filmmakers,” she wrote, “have yet to secure a deal to release it here, either in theaters or on streaming services… [T]he possibility that American audiences won’t be able to see The Apprentice isn’t just frustrating. It’s frightening, because it suggests that Trump and his supporters have already intimidated some media companies, which seem to be pre-emptively capitulating to him. Some established distributors might simply be reluctant to take on The Apprentice because they think political films are money losers; as the Hollywood Reporter pointed out, Adam McKay’s 2018 Dick Cheney biopic, Vice, was considered a ‘major flop.’ But The Apprentice is a far buzzier film than Vice, and it appears from industry reporting that the movie industry is less worried about finding an audience than about poking the MAGA bear.”

As Puck’s Matthew Belloni wrote after talking to potential buyers, “several that really liked the film are still out on The Apprentice, in part because of the politics of the moment— which is to say fear of the politics of the moment.” Emanuel Nuñez, president of the production company Kinematics, one of the film’s investors, told me, “Trump attacked the film and, unfortunately, it appears that Hollywood right now doesn’t have the stomach to release this film and take him on.”
The fear seems to be twofold. Few want to end up in the MAGA movement’s cross hairs the way Bud Light and Disney did. And as one distribution executive told Variety, any company that wants to be sold or to merge with or buy another company would be hesitant to touch The Apprentice because of the possibility that, should Trump be re-elected, his “regulators will be punitive.”
After all, when Trump was president, his Department of Justice tried to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, the company that owned CNN. As the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reported, the government’s opposition to the deal was widely seen as retaliation for CNN coverage that displeased Trump.
In a second Trump term, the Department of Justice is expected to be far more aggressive in persecuting Trump’s perceived enemies. Kash Patel, a former Trump administration official who has been floated as a possible acting attorney general in a Trump restoration, boasted to Steve Bannon of plans to target journalists for rejecting Trump’s lies about a stolen 2020 election: “We’re going to come after you, whether it’s criminally or civilly,” Patel said.
They could go after anyone involved with The Apprentice in the same way. In a cease-and-desist letter to the filmmakers, a lawyer for Trump claimed, absurdly, that the movie is “direct foreign interference in America’s elections,” citing the fact that its director, Ali Abbasi, is Iranian Danish and that the movie received funding from Denmark, Ireland and Canada.
“If you do not immediately cease all publication and marketing of the movie, President Trump will pursue every appropriate legal means to hold you accountable for this gross violation of President Trump and the American people’s rights,” Trump’s lawyer wrote. Should he become president again, he’ll have greatly expanded options for pursuing this vendetta.
It’s common to read about movies that are shown in most of the world but not released in, say, Russia or, more often, China. Should The Apprentice end up widely available globally but not, for political reasons, in the United States, it will be a sign of democratic decay, as well as an augur of greater self-censorship to come. After all, if anxiety about enraging Trump is already shaping what you can and cannot watch, it’s probably bound to get even worse if he actually returns to power.
In 2017, when he was frustrated that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, wasn’t protecting him from the investigation into his Russia ties, Trump exclaimed, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” The uncertain fate of The Apprentice demonstrates that he no longer needs to replace the man, because he’s got a whole movement instead.


1 commentaire

I note 2 excerpts from the Hollywood shindig:

This is the ultimate LOSING argument:


Kimmel asked the president what he was most proud of accomplishing, and Biden said he thought the administration’s approach to the economy “is working.”

“We have the strongest economy in the world today,” Biden said, adding “we try to give ordinary people an even chance.

If the Dems were actively pursuing economic policies giving ordinary people an even chance, Biden's approval ratings wouldn't have stayed stuck at around 40% since last spring.

Meanwhile, President Change says it’s basically our fault that the 3d branch is a mess:


“What we’re seeing now is a byproduct of in 2016. There were a whole bunch of folks…

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