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Thankfully, Abby Johnson, upon whose life the film Unplanned is based, is a staunch pro-life advocate.

However, it was not always that way.

Many people know that Johnson worked for Planned Parenthood — and, as a local clinic director, was their Employee of the Year — until she had to assist with an abortion herself.

What most of us do not know is that Johnson actually had two abortions before being employed by Planned Parenthood. These episodes are covered in the film.

After reading a Christian Post article by Brandon Showalter, ‘”Unplanned” movie will cause men to repent for mistreating, abandoning women and shift the culture’, I was amazed that any woman who went through two traumatic abortions would even want to work for Planned Parenthood.

One cannot help but think that God was trying to send her a message. When the first one did not reach her psyche, He seemed to have tried again. Incredibly, that one also failed.

These, quite possibly, involved Johnson’s two abortions, both of which involved her boyfriend, then husband, Mark.

Showalter tells us that Johnson’s first abortion took place while she was in college and partying quite a bit with Mark. The inevitable happened, and Mark offered her a lift to an abortion clinic to ‘take care of it’. He couldn’t afford to pay for her abortion, so:

Abby applied for her first credit card to pay for it herself.

Unplanned shows Ashley Bratcher, who plays Abby:

being handed a few crackers as she’s seated alongside several other dazed and traumatized women dressed in pink hospital gowns as they’re herded in and out of the procedure room at the clinic like cattle.

Abby’s father warned her about Mark, but she went ahead and married him anyway. A year later, on Valentine’s Day, he was cheating on her. She filed for divorce, then found out she was eight weeks pregnant with his baby. She went to the Planned Parenthood clinic which later employed her as its director. Perhaps she worked there to improve standards, because this was her experience (emphases mine):

she’s told that because she’s only eight weeks pregnant she qualifies for a chemical abortion that she can perform by herself at home.

Actress Ashley Bratcher turns in a stunningly convincing performance as Abby Johnson. She fully inhabits the role. And in my view, the most unforgettable scene was how she portrayed the grisly, excruciating night of desperation that a young, panicked Abby endures as she bleeds out and discards the pieces of her second pregnancy. One can palpably feel her anguish as she writhes in intense pain, sobbing all alone in the fetal position on her bathroom floor.

Her ordeal was followed by several weeks of severe abdominal cramps and blood clots, health risks Planned Parenthood never warned her about when they gave her the RU-486 abortion pill couched in professional-sounding assurances that she’d be just fine.

Wow.

So she went to work at a place that could have killed her. She also encouraged, even indirectly, other women to have abortions there.

Thankfully, the Lord got through to her mind and heart in the end.

Fortunately, everything ended well. Showalter elaborates:

It’s extra hopeful in that she was fortunate to find a good man in her second husband, Doug, a stay-at-home dad who I interviewed in the latest CP podcast, and with whom she’s now expecting their eighth child.

The one thing Showalter does tell us is that his reaction to the abortions portrayed in the film — Abby’s and the one in which she had to participate — is not unusual for other men who have also seen Unplanned:

The film’s promoters told me that my visceral response to the movie was something they’d seen from many men at other prescreenings around country. If that’s true, then I dare say we are on the cusp of a massive shift in the national conversation about abortion. And it won’t just be about this or that legal restriction and the usual toxic politics we have trained ourselves to tune out or compartmentalize as just another issue.

Go see “Unplanned” this weekend. Take several friends with you. I’d advise taking a box or two of tissues. This one is not to be missed.

Make sure your sons, nephews and their friends see Unplanned. Just because it’s about abortion does not mean it’s ‘only’ a ‘woman’s’ film.

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Unplanned, the movie based on ex-Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year Abby Johnson’s experience, premiered a week ago on Friday, March 29, 2019 and came in fourth out of new releases. It even showed in fewer theatres than those films:

And it has an R rating because of the abortion scene — not sex:

Even more amazing about Unplanned‘s success is that major television networks refused to allow adverts for it:

NewsBusters reported that family networks also refused to air the advertising. Oh, the irony! Emphases mine below:

Several mainstream channels like HGTV, Lifetime, and Hallmark have straight up rejected advertising for Pureflix’s new movie, so if you’ve been wondering why you’ve only seen ads for the film on Fox News Channel, the promotional fix is in. Oddly enough, this is coming from channels that we regularly consider as providing wholesome, family friendly material.

THR reported that, besides FNC, “every other mainstream television outlet has declined to air the ad.” Among these, the Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, HGTV and Food Network, — all owned by Discovery — “refused to sell ad time for Unplanned due to the ‘sensitive nature’ of the movie,” Unplanned’s promoters claimed. Unplanned producer John Sullivan claimed, “We were looking to spend money, but they didn’t want to get involved.”

The Hallmark Channel and USA Network (NBC Universal) also firmly rejected the film’s ads, objecting to the controversial nature of the movie. Another producer, Joe Knapp, surmised, “Most of the networks didn’t go into detail beyond citing the subject matter of the film and that they didn’t want to get into politics.”

Yeah, maybe. Though it’s not like some of these networks have ever shied away from promoting a certain left wing bias. Lifetime for example, (owned by A&E, a Walt Disney/Hearst Communications Venture) “previously promoted an interview with Scarlett Johansson where she pitches Planned Parenthood.” Sounds about right.

Twitter proved problematic, too:

Twitter reinstated the account. Even the US ambassador to Germany noticed:

I hope this happens:

And this:

Abby Johnson, who became a pro-life activist once she saw the horrors of abortion for herself at Planned Parenthood, appeared on Fox and Friends last Saturday:

She says:

I worked at Planned Parenthood for eight years, rising through the ranks from volunteer escort, to clinic counselor to clinic director. I was awarded the Employee of the Year prize in 2008 and was one of the youngest clinic directors in the country, setting an example of how to run a clinic to churn out as many abortions – the biggest money maker – as I could. Then it all changed when I was asked to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion

The fetus was 13-weeks-old and I could easily see it’s head, arms, and legs. The abortion instrument – a suction tube – was on the screen as well. The baby jumped away from it but it was all for naught. The abortionist turned on the suction and I saw that baby get sucked apart right in front of me on the screen and inches from the probe I was holding.

In mere seconds, that fetus’ life ended and the screen only showed a black, empty uterus. The life that was there just a couple minutes ago was gone. In that moment, I saw for myself what I was supporting for the last eight years and it broke me.

How do you deal with something so profound that completely turns your worldview upside down? Everything I knew to be true was flipped. The lies exposed. I cannot have just seen that. I’ve been told this isn’t a baby, that it’s just tissue. How could not have known?

My life was forever changed. I walked out of Planned Parenthood a week later, after failing to justify what I had seen. I couldn’t stop thinking about that baby I saw on the screen and what had happened

Two directors – both men – in Hollywood approached me five years ago about turning my book, “Unplanned,” into a film. It tells the story of what I saw that day on the ultrasound screen, how I started working at Planned Parenthood, and what happened when I walked away. This is my story, my voice and I was surprised that someone in Hollywood wanted to tell it. It’s not a mainstream story but it’s my story. And it’s the story of many, many abortion workers, those who have already left the industry and those who are still in it.

You won’t be able to unsee what I saw if you go see the movie, which I implore you to do. But you also won’t be able to say you didn’t know what abortion is or what happens when a woman walks into Planned Parenthood. If you are pro-life or pro-choice, you will know exactly what you are supporting.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the life story of Ashley Bratcher who plays Abby Johnson in Unplanned. Ashley was almost aborted herself — at her grandmother’s insistence.

For those in the US who would like to see Unplanned, I would suggest doing so sooner rather than later. There is likely to be a shutdown of it, just as there was with another top box office abortion film, Gosnell, in October 2018.

Do not wait. Please take sons and/or nephews with you, too — not just daughters, their friends and nieces. More to follow on men’s reactions to Unplanned in a future post.

A new film about the reality of abortion clinics makes its US debut on Friday, March 29, 2019.

Unplanned tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former abortion clinic manager. Ms Johnson won a Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year award. Then, one day, she saw just what an abortion entailed — and that the baby was very much alive and moving. She subsequently resigned and became a pro-life advocate.

This moving trailer provides a synopsis:

Unplanned is rated ‘R’ because it shows the graphic detail behind an abortion.

On February 22, Life Site News reported (emphases mine):

“UNPLANNED is an ‘R’ rated film which has no MPAA cautions for profanity, nudity, sex or violenceexcept for violence directly associated with the abortion process,” said writers/directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, reported Movieguide

“Ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence,” they added. They do not plan to contest the rating.

A double irony of the rating did not go past Solomon and Konzelman.

“Even more ironically, as a result of the MPAA’s decision to give us a ‘Restricted’ rating, many teenage women in this country who can legally obtain an actual abortion without parental permission will be prohibited from going to see our film containing simulated images of abortion, without obtaining parental permission,” they said. 

Abby Johnson, a pro-life advocate, had this to say about the film:

We are pushing the boundaries of what has never been before on such a wide scale by showing America exactly what abortion is — and abortion is disturbing. It’s violent. No one will walk away from seeing this movie and say ‘I didn’t know.’

I would urge everyone with teenagers to get them to the cinema at the end of March to see this film. The Unplanned website lists a number of US locations, so please click the +More box to see additional towns and cities where it will be shown.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, Americans were told that abortion is simply ‘a medical procedure’ to remove ‘a mass of cells’. Now we know better.

I would also highly recommend that readers watch Ashley Bratcher’s interview on Fox News. Bratcher plays Abby Johnson in the movie. She did not have time to speak with Johnson, because she got a last-minute call to pack her bags — for seven weeks — and head out to Oklahoma to begin filming.

While she was in Oklahoma, Bratcher received a call from her mother, who told her that she — Ashley — was almost aborted herself. Her mother and father were in their late teens and did not feel ready for a child. Her father pawned a family shotgun to pay for the abortion. Ashley says that she finds it odd that the price for a human life would have been a shotgun.

In the end, Ashley’s mother felt sick on the operating table and said she could not go through with the abortion.

Oh, the irony of it all — but what a blessing!

Bratcher says that Unplanned has all sorts of elements to it and that it is not a judgemental film, but rather one of hope, forgiveness — and grace.

Most of my American readers who are pro-life will remember the horrifying case of Dr Kermit Gosnell, a serial abortionist, who was convicted in 2013 of first-degree murder and felonies various.

Actor and director Nick Searcy has an excellent article on the doctor whose medical procedures on babies shocked a nation: ‘Gosnell 2: The Exoneration’. He directed the 2018 film, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.

Let’s look at Gosnell’s convictions first (emphases mine):

On May 13, 2013, Dr Kermit Gosnell was convicted in Philadelphia of 3 counts of first degree murder for snipping, with scissors, the necks of infants who had been born alive, and 21 counts of felony late-term abortion, among other charges. His unlicensed staff members were convicted of “theft by deception” for performing medical procedures — abortions — for which they were untrained and unqualified. Stephen Massof, an unlicensed medical school graduate, pleaded guilty to two counts of third degree murder for snipping the spines of babies born alive according to Dr. Gosnell’s instructions. Many other members of his staff testified, in exchange for immunity, that they had participated in countless acts of “snipping.”

Ugh! The nation was shocked.

Six years later — 2019 — and we read that New York State recently passed a law that allows abortion up to birth. That is infanticide. It will probably be done via one, if not two, injections of poison inside the baby’s torso. Any babies undergoing this will be suffering a slow 24- to 48-hour tortured death.

Infanticide is also up for consideration in a handful of other states. I will have more on this as time permits.

Kermit Gosnell would say that he accurately predicted this would happen all along, as the Townhall article states. After his conviction, he said:

I continue to feel optimistic of the eventual outcome…the vindication of what I’ve done, why I’ve done it and how [it] will become accepted within my lifetime.

He was not wrong.

Further to the New York law, anyone can participate in a late term abortion, à la Gosnell:

He was convicted of killing breathing infants that had already been born. It is now legal in New York to kill an infant that survives an abortion.

He was convicted of allowing untrained and unlicensed non-medical personnel to perform abortions. It is now legal in New York for non-physicians or any “health professionals” (undefined) to perform abortions.

He was convicted of performing at least 21 late-term abortions past the legal limit of 24 weeks. It is now legal in New York to terminate a pregnancy up until the due date. In New York, there is no longer any such thing as a “late-term” abortion.

Nick Searcy is no doubt right with this prediction:

I would bet that Gosnell is now in his prison cell preparing his appeal for when the State of [Pennsylvania] follows suit and passes their own version of New York’s law.

Searcy’s article points out the totalitarian, Communist regimes that also murdered on a massive scale. Those rulers and the authorities under them believed they alone had control over life and death. He says that Gosnell feels the same way.

Ultimately, he says, none of these people — from totalitarians, to Gosnell, to New York State legislators — believe in God, because, if they did, they would know that a child is His creation. Because of this, we should be mindful of what the future brings:

What the Left ultimately wants to acquire is the power over life and death at ANY age, and that is why they have decriminalized Kermit Gosnell.

And history shows that they will not stop there.

This came up for discussion last week on a Fox News show. The star of Searcy’s movie said that Gosnell will indeed be vindicated. Check out the bit about Oregon — insurance will cover such a murder:

Here is the powerful trailer for Searcy’s film, which premiered on October 12, 2018:

One week after it opened, The Daily Wire had a good article on the film’s trajectory.

It was a box office phenomenon during that time:

“Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” surpassed box office expectations upon its release last week by entering into the Top 10 grossing films with a revenue of $1,235,000 on just 668 screens.

Then, cinemas across the United States stopped showing it:

Despite the solid performance for an independent film of this sort, nearly 200 theaters have inexplicably dropped the film, including those in major cities where it was performing the strongest. Coming into its second week, “Gosnell” has dropped from 668 theaters to 480 theaters — a full 188 theater drop, 15 of which were top-performing multiplexes.

John Sullivan, the film’s marketing director and one of its producers, told The Daily Wire that it was probably because of the film’s hard-hitting content:

“It’s hard not to believe it isn’t about the content of the movie,” he added. While some of the smaller theaters may have dropped “Gosnell” to make way for “Halloween” this weekend (a major release projected at number 1), the same could not be said for multiplexes housing 20 or more theaters where the film performed in the top 10.

Sullivan and others involved in Gosnell had also received reports that these multiplexes were actively discouraging customers from seeing the film:

Conversely, the filmmakers have received varying reports of theaters actively preventing customers from buying a ticket by not advertising the film or declaring it “sold out” before capacity is reached. While some of those situations may be the result of human error, Sullivan says the apparent blackballing is too consistent to go ignored

He continued: “One report out of Nashville had people being told the movie sold out simply because they didn’t have the staff to cover the theater, and they chose our theater to do that to. Why? Too many things have stacked up and it just doesn’t smell right.”

Sullivan directed the top-grossing “2016: Obama’s America,” and while that film certainly faced some resistance, the box office numbers were too strong for theater chains to simply toss it aside.

In a public statement on Facebook, the film’s producer, Phelim McAleer, said he had received “worrying reports from across the country” regarding customers’ inability to buy tickets.

People are saying that they are going to the box office and being told that the film isn’t being shown when it is,” McAleer said. “We are being told that people are also not able to buy tickets online. Some theaters are trying to cut this down, trying to exclude people from going to see it.”

The Daily Wire article also included first-hand accounts of people attesting to the fact that they could not buy tickets — or that, when they had, tickets were cancelled and customers refunded.

I have no explanation other than to say that, when movie theatres try to prevent Americans from seeing a successful, truthful film about a brutal, unrepentant abortionist, it’s time to start questioning the moral shift that is going on in the United States today.

If there is more about the mysterious disappearance of Gosnell, because there’s sure to be a back story to it, I’ll write a follow up.

People say that Twitter is a waste of time.

However, over the past year, it has become quite the source for analysis of news and current events, especially the long threads of multiple tweets.

People also tweet the occasional Bible verse, such as Ezekiel 25:17 — a verse to ponder:

Many readers unfamiliar with the Bible will remember this verse from the film Pulp Fiction (language alert at link).

It is worth reading, rereading and keeping at the forefront of one’s mind, as it is one of the most powerful verses in the Old Testament.

A new film — Paul, Apostle of Christ — is now showing in cinemas across the United States and parts of Canada.

Although St Paul is the principal character, it tells the story of how St Luke came to write Acts. If you’ve been following my Forbidden Bible Series on Acts, one of the most recent entries discussed when Luke joined Paul, Silas and Timothy in Troas (Acts 16).

The film looks at Paul’s imprisonment in Rome before his martyrdom and Luke’s reaching him there (excerpted):

PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, who is held captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest prison cell … Before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church.

Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal … Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten . . . and if he has the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world.

The content as well as costumes, acting and lighting look terrific:

James Faulkner of Downton Abbey fame plays Paul. Jim Caviezel plays Luke. He played Jesus in the 2004 Mel Gibson film, The Passion of the Christ. Although Gibson was not involved with this film, Andrew Hyatt the director appears to have taken a few leaves out of his notebook in general, including an international cast and a dramatic soundtrack.

The film is rated PG-13, because there are violent persecution scenes.

The film’s website has more videos, resources and clergy endorsements.

Easter is a perfect time to see a depiction of what happened in the earliest years of the Church in Rome thanks to one of the greatest Apostles that ever lived. If anyone has seen it, please feel free to comment below. I would be most interested in reading what you have to say.

Earlier this week, I posted about an anti-Christmas message from 2014 that the Washington Post recycled this year.

There is more news about WaPo to tell.

A WaPo reader is upset

Jean-Marie Simon, who has read WaPo for 20 years, gave the paper information about her Christmas flight on United. Simon had bought a first-class ticket — seat 1A — only to find that she had been bumped by congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).

The Daily Mail has the full story with photos and Simon’s relevant Facebook posts. It is not surprising that WaPo did not want to cover it. What is surprising is that Simon, a schoolteacher, thought they would do so (Facebook post courtesy of Reddit):

Here’s another — albeit facetious — view of the situation. Courtesy of 8chan:

One wonders if Simon will continue to read WaPo after this.

Perhaps this incident red-pilled her.

The Post

In other WaPo news, a movie — The Post — made its debut before Christmas. The New York Post gave it three out of four stars.

This film documents how WaPo increased its national prominence as a newspaper.

The story is about the Pentagon Papers, which was a huge exposé in 1971 about how Lyndon Johnson’s administration lied about the Vietnam War. Daniel Ellsberg was the Edward Snowden of his day. He had worked on the papers, a study officially called United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense.

Ellsberg and a friend, Anthony Russo, photocopied the pages in 1969 and approached a few political luminaries to see if they would be interested in disclosing it. Henry Kissinger, who was Richard Nixon’s national security adviser at the time, declined. So did two Democrat legislators.

In 1971, Ellsberg approached a reporter at the New York Times, giving him 43 volumes the following month. These were not published until June 13 that year. The excerpts were dubbed The Pentagon Papers.

The Nixon administration quickly tried — but failed — to stop the NYT from publishing another excerpt on June 14. Although one would have thought Nixon — a Republican — would have relished this as Johnson was a Democrat, Henry Kissinger told him that allowing the excerpts to continue would be dangerous, as nothing would prevent newspapers from publishing dirty laundry from his administration.

Oh, the irony — think Watergate, which WaPo broke with daily coverage from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Furthermore, the Nixon administration argued that Ellsberg and his friend Russo were guilty of a felony because they were circulating classified documents.

Attorney General John Mitchell and Nixon obtained a federal injunction forcing the NYT to stop publication after three articles. The NYT appealed and the case New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713) quickly ended up in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Ellsberg had given other portions of the study to WaPo reporter Ben Bagdikian, who took them to the paper’s legendary editor, Ben Bradlee. WaPo began publishing the excerpts on June 18.

Assistant Attorney General William Rehnquist asked WaPo to stop publishing, but WaPo refused. Rehnquist tried — but failed — to get an injunction issued in US district court.

Ultimately, the NYT won the case in the Supreme Court on June 30, 1971. Fifteen other newspapers began publishing parts of the Pentagon Papers. In 1973, all charges against Ellsberg and Russo were dismissed — because of theft and bribery by the Nixon administration with regard to the case.

The Post shows how WaPo decided to publish the Pentagon Papers with all the drama involved.

The film also shows the male-dominated world of Katharine Graham, the only female publisher of a notable newspaper at the time. She was WaPo‘s publisher from 1969 to 1979. She then became chairman of the board and CEO before relinquishing the latter position in 1993. She continued to serve as chairman of the board until her death in 2001 at the age of 84.

Graham wisely put investigative reporting front and centre in a successful effort to ensure the NYT would not grab all the big Washington stories, such as the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.

The New York Post‘s review says that, when this film was made, a female occupant of the White House was envisioned for 2017.

So much for that.

The present occupant makes much out of fake news, predominant in today’s WaPo and the NYT.

Philip Graham

Katharine Meyer Graham rose to the top at WaPo because she succeeded her husband Philip. Also of note is that her father, Eugene Meyer, bought the paper in a bankruptcy auction in 1933. Philip Graham succeeded his father-in-law as publisher in 1946.

Philip Graham (1915-1963) was an interesting character with a lot of Deep State connections. Spartacus Educational has a well-researched entry on him. Do read it all, including the footnotes. A summary with excerpts follows.

He was born in a small town in South Dakota. His parents relocated to Florida during his childhood. Graham ended up attending Harvard Law School and edited the Harvard Law Review.

He married Katharine Meyer in 1940, during which time he was a law clerk for the famous Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. Graham joined the Army Air Corps in 1942. He worked for the head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), William Donovan. In 1944:

Graham was recruited into the “Special Branch, a super-secret part of Intelligence, run by Colonel Al McCormick”. He later worked under General George Kenney, commander of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific. Graham was sent to China where he worked with John K. Singlaub, Ray S. Cline, Richard Helms, E. Howard Hunt, Mitchell WerBell, Jake Esterline, Paul Helliwell, Robert Emmett Johnson and Lucien Conein. Others working in China at that time included Tommy Corcoran, Whiting Willauer and William Pawley.

From this, we can see that he was incredibly well-connected to power.

After the war, as the publisher for WaPo, he expanded his network further with a group of men known as the Georgetown Set. They included:

Frank Wisner, George Kennan, Dean Acheson, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Joseph Alsop, Stewart Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Thomas Braden, David Bruce, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Chip Bohlen, Cord Meyer, James Angleton, William Averill Harriman, John McCloy, Felix Frankfurter, John Sherman Cooper, James Reston, Allen W. Dulles and Paul Nitze.

Whilst this is showing my age, I grew up hearing and reading a lot of those names.

It is likely that Graham already knew some of those men from the war. Allen Dulles, to name but one, ran the New York OSS office.

Dulles headed the CIA during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. Richard Bissell worked with him. Cord Meyer was in the CIA. Meyer was involved with Project, or Operation, Mockingbird, which used big media outlets to drive a government narrative:

According to Katherine Graham, her husband worked overtime at the Post during the Bay of Pigs operation to protect the reputations of his friends who had organized the ill-fated venture.

By the time of the 1960 presidential campaign, Graham did what he could to get Lyndon Johnson in the vice presidential slot for John Kennedy:

Graham met Lyndon B. Johnson in 1953. Graham believed that one day Johnson would make a good president. Graham told Johnson that his main problem was that he was perceived in Washington as someone under the control of the Texas oil and gas industry. Graham added that his attitude towards civil rights was also hurting him with liberals in the North. He was advised to go a “bit beyond (Richard) Russell and yet far short of (Hubert) Humphrey”.

Graham was a supporter of the Democratic Party and did what he could to get Johnson the nomination in 1960. When John F. Kennedy defeated Johnson he sent Clark Clifford to ask Stuart Symington to be his running-mate. Symington accepted the post but said: “I bet you a hundred dollars that no matter what he says, Jack will not make me his running mate. He will have to pick Lyndon”.

In the background Graham and Joseph Alsop were attempting to persuade John F. Kennedy to appoint Lyndon B. Johnson instead. Despite the objection of Robert Kennedy and other leading advisers, Kennedy decided to replace Symington with Johnson.

Once Kennedy was in the White House, Graham succeeded in persuading him to appoint his (Graham’s) buddies to administration positions: Douglas Dillon as Secretary of the Treasury, Arthur Schlesinger (former OSS) as a presidential adviser and David Bruce as ambassador to London.

Graham was able to expand the Washington Post Company by purchasing a radio and a television station as well as Newsweek and two prominent art magazines:

The main person involved in arranging Graham’s takeover of other media companies was Fritz Beebe. He ran the law firm Cravath, Swaine, & Moore. This was the company owned by Al McCormick, who Graham met during the war. Averell Harriman was another one involved in these negotiations.

Behind the scenes, things were less rosy, Even before Eugene Meyer died in 1959, a rift was growing between Philip and Katharine — Kay, to her friends. Graham’s mental state was not very good, either. Meyer wondered whether he should turn the company over to his son-in-law:

The Post publisher took a mistress, Robin Webb, whom he set up in a large house in Washington and a farm outside of the city. A heavy drinker who reportedly had manic-depressive tendencies, Graham, in some respects, was his own worst enemy, stridently abusive to his wife, both privately and publicly.

Katharine Graham’s biographer, Deborah Davis, posited that Graham was beginning to bother the CIA. After his second nervous breakdown he talked openly about how troubling he found Operation Mockingbird in terms of manipulating journalists:

He said it to the CIA… He turned against the newsmen and politicians whose code was mutual trust and, strangely, silence. The word was that Phil Graham could not be trusted. Graham was actually under surveillance by somebody. Davis has noted that one of Graham’s assistants “recorded his mutterings on scraps of paper.”

Others suggest that Graham had been damaged from undergoing CIA and other psychiatric treatments involving mind-altering drugs.

Graham told one of his close friends, WaPo attorney Edward Bennett Williams, that he wanted a divorce and planned on rewriting his will to leave everything — including the Washington Post Company — to his mistress instead of to Kay.

Williams was able to delay a divorce, but Graham rewrote his will three times in the spring of 1963. The last version omitted Kay altogether.

Then, Graham addressed a newspaper publishers convention in Arizona in a tirade about the CIA and Washington:

even to the point of exposing his friend John Kennedy’s affair with Mary Meyer, the wife of a top CIA official, Cord Meyer (no relation to Katharine Graham).

Katharine heard about it and flew to Phoenix:

and snatched up her husband who was captured after a struggle, put in a straitjacket and sedated. He was then flown to an exclusive mental clinic in the Washington suburb of Rockville, Md.

On the morning of Aug. 3, 1963, Katharine Graham reportedly told friends that Philip was “better” and coming home.

Suicides

That day in 1963, Philip Graham killed himself at home while Katharine was napping upstairs. The New York Post gives us this detail that other media outlets often suppress. He:

committed suicide at age 48 by shooting himself with a 28-gauge shotgun in 1963, days after being released from a psychiatric hospital following six weeks of treatment.

As he was not of sound mind when he died, his will was declared invalid. As he died intestate, Katharine assumed control of the Washington Post Company.

On December 20, 2017, one of the Grahams’ sons, William, 69, also committed suicide. He did not work at WaPo. He was a lawyer and law professor at UCLA. In later life, he turned to philanthropy. He died at his home in Los Angeles.

WaPo reported:

The cause was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said his brother Donald E. Graham, a former Post publisher and chief executive.

Like Philip, William also left behind a wife and grown children. I hope they find comfort in the months ahead.

William did not live to see the national release of The Post.

In December 2016, BBC Two broadcast a fascinating animal documentary called Wild Tales from the Village.

I’m not much on animal documentaries, but this is a must-see. Children will enjoy it, too.

Filmed in the French village of Puycelsi, the hour-long documentary looks at the everyday life of squirrels, dormice, hedgehogs, pigeons and more, starting in winter and ending the following autumn. You see a year’s worth of activity beautifully filmed. Here’s a short clip of two squirrels. Their love life is traced through the seasons:

Wild Tales from the Village was made by the BBC Natural History Unit and is narrated by Tchéky Karyo from The Missing.

It’s witty, charming and gentle. It might be shown on PBS in the US. If so, do watch or record for later. Budding film-makers will appreciate the lush slow-motion close-ups. This film deserves an award.

Puycelsi is one of Most Beautiful Villages of France. Les Plus Beaux Villages de France is an official designation, not a mere soi-disant marketing slogan.

Puycelsi is located in the Tarn region in southwestern France. It has an interesting history of destruction and rebirth.

It had inhabitants well before the Celts lived there between the 8th and 2nd centuries BC. The Celts named the settlement Celto Dun, a wooden fortress on a hill. The Romans came and named it Podium Celsium, raised platform. Part of the road that the Romans built is still visible and ramparts can be found in the nearby Grésigne Forest. Puycelsi — originally Puycelci — is probably Occitan, which would have been spoken in that region many centuries ago.

Benedictine monks from Aurillac built an abbey in Puycelsi in the 10th century. The earliest document relating to the village dates from 1180, involving the sale of the land by Abbé (Abbot) Pierre to Raymond V, Count of Toulouse. Raymond V saw the strategic significance of Puycelsi and his successors built a fortress and a château.

Regional wars took place. The Counts of Toulouse were able to fend off their enemies from the city of Albi and the Montfort family. In 1229, Raymond VII signed the Treaty of Meaux-Paris with King Louis IX. The treaty stated that Puycelsi’s château and fortifications had to be destroyed.

They were later re-erected. Puycelsi was under siege by enemies from nearby noble families in 1363 and again during the Hundred Years War, when 450 English troops tried to capture it. Incredibly, all of the attacks on the village failed.

The ramparts from the 14th century are now among Puycelsi’s tourist attractions as is the château built in the 15th century. Other attractions include the many buildings — including St-Corneille Church — from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Between 1586 and 1652, Puycelsi had four plague epidemics. The villagers decided to erect a chapel — St-Roch — to fend off illness. The lack of roads to the town no doubt contained the epidemics. Until 1850, there were only mule trails leading to the village. In fact, during the 18th century, Puycelsi women who worked as embroiderers walked 25 to 30 kilometres on foot to markets to sell their products.

The other artisan industries in the village were wool spinning and glass making. However, those ended in 1850, when a coal mine opened in the town of Carmaux. The young and able moved there and Puycelsi entered into gradual economic decline.

This was further exacerbated during the Great War, during which 55 young men died in duty by 1918. Puycelsi went into a long decline after that. People died. Their houses were left to stagnate. It turned into a ghost town and remained that way until the 1960s, when French couples looking for a second property began buying the houses and refurbishing them.

Today, nearly all the houses have been restored and Puycelsi is a popular destination for tourists. The English have a particular fondness for it. There is plenty to see. Cafés and artisan businesses are thriving.

Someone at the BBC knew what they were doing when they chose Puycelsi as the location for Wild Tales from the Village. Perhaps that someone has a holiday home there.

On Sunday, August 6, 2017 I wrote about an American cinema chain reporting an earnings slump which might be long-term.

The next day, I read Vox Day’s Vox Populi blog, highly recommended.

Warning: adult theme ahead.

Vox has an entry called ‘The sickness in Hollywood’ which discusses the relationship between Marion and Indiana Jones in the 1978 film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I’ll get to the film makers’ dialogue in a moment, but, first, this is the relevant part of the script:

Marion: I’ve learned to hate you in the last ten years.
Indy: I never meant to hurt you.
Marion: I was a child. I was in love. It was wrong and you knew it.
Indy: You knew what you were doing.
Marion: Now I do. This is my place. Get out!

There are several sites with documents relating to the creation and making of Raiders of the Lost ArkTheRaider.net being but one of them. Moedred’s Journal has a 2009 entry with some of the film makers’ discussion.

I’ve never seen the movie, by the way.

Vox pulled a passage from moedred’s Journal. Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

“RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK”
Story Conference Transcript
January 23, 1978 thru January 27, 1978
George Lucas (G), Steven Spielberg (S), Larry Kasdan (L)

G — We have to get them cemented into a very strong relationship. A bond.

L — I like it if they already had a relationship at one point. Because then you don’t have to build it.

G — I was thinking that this old guy could have been his mentor. He could have known this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven.

L — And he was forty-two.

G — He hasn’t seen her in twelve years. Now she’s twenty-two. It’s a real strange relationship.

S — She had better be older than twenty-two.

G — He’s thirty-five, and he knew her ten years ago when he was twenty-five and she was only twelve.

G — It would be amusing to make her slightly young at the time.

S — And promiscuous. She came onto him.

G — Fifteen is right on the edge. I know it’s an outrageous idea, but it is interesting. Once she’s sixteen or seventeen it’s not interesting anymore. But if she was fifteen and he was twenty-five and they actually had an affair the last time they met. And she was madly in love with him and he…

S — She has pictures of him.

G — There would be a picture on the mantle of her, her father, and him. She was madly in love with him at the time and he left her because obviously it wouldn’t work out. Now she’s twenty-five and she’s been living in Nepal since she was eighteen. It’s not only that they like each other, it’s a very bizarre thing, it puts a whole new perspective on this whole thing. It gives you lots of stuff to play off of between them. Maybe she still likes him. It’s something he’d rather forget about and not have come up again. This gives her a lot of ammunition to fight with.

G — This is a resource that you can either mine or not. It’s not as blatant as we’re talking about. You don’t think about it that much. You don’t immediately realize how old she was at the time. It would be subtle. She could talk about it. “I was jail bait the last time we were together.” She can flaunt it at him, but at the same time she never says, “I was fifteen years old.” Even if we don’t mention it, when we go to cast the part we’re going to end up with a woman who’s about twenty-three and a hero who’s about thirty-five.

Vox’s commenter who cited the screenplay wrote:

Knowing what I know now from the transcript, it probably makes more sense that Indy knew her as the pubescent daughter of his archeology mentor with whom he went too far. But that’s not the way it sounded to me watching the movie, and not the way I assume most of its audience takes it.

The movie conditions you to think of Indy as a man who attracts interest from young girls through his job. Indy’s relationship with Marion came through her father who was a collector of artifacts, and it’s not much of a leap to think Marion was Indy’s student. That’s what I / assumed. In which case “I was a child” would be hyperbolic.

Watching the movie in my ignorance, I interpreted the dialogue to mean she came into him and he spurned her, so she bears a grudge. Women aren’t as used to rejection as men.

Just so happens that the pedophile’s excuse is always that the kid wanted it. You can say that at 15 Marion wouldn’t be competent to ask for it even if she did want Indy. However, the audience isn’t told she was 15. I and presumably lots of people assumed she was college-aged. 18 or 19.

Exactly, so it all worked out as the film makers thought it would.

Ironically, Raiders of the Lost Ark continues to be a favourite family film.

I am amazed — although not totally surprised — that George Lucas actually said he found this scenario ‘amusing’. Someone on Vox’s thread wrote:

It’s one thing to put molestation in your story because you’re trying to say something about it, because it’s part of the character that you’re writing about. These people do it because they think it’s funny.

To which another reader replied:

What’s more disturbing, is that these people felt so comfortable saying this stuff, that it was so commonplace and old hat and nothing to shout about, that they thought nothing about it being recorded.

Another of Vox’s readers recalled Brooke Shields’s debut that same year:

I still recall seeing Pretty Baby in the theater. (Not great cinema.) A MAJOR element of the studio’s promotion of that 1978 movie was breathless description that the 10 year old “star” appeared fully naked. The scene was utterly banal, and Shields looked like a skinny little boy. 40 years later and it still is utterly senseless. The open cesspool of Entertainment Culture in the USA is not new.

Adults turned on by that are broken. Broken adults should be exiled.

I never saw that movie, either.

Someone on Vox’s thread mentioned Jodie Foster. In 1976, after Taxi Driver (which I have seen), she starred in The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. Wikipedia gives us an idea of the criticism at the time:

Writer Anthony Synnott placed The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane in a trend of sexualizing children in film, calling Rynn the “murdering nymphet” and comparing her to Foster’s child prostitute character Iris in Taxi Driver (1976).[10] Anthony Cortese also referred to Foster as giving an “encore performance” of Taxi Driver, calling Rynn “a 13-year-old imp of maturing sexuality”.[11] Scholar Andrew Scahill described it as fitting a cinematic narrative of children in rebellion, one in which the child appears seemly, as with The Innocents (1961), The Omen (1976) and others.[12]

Of course, this did not suddenly start in the 1970s, and such mainstream films were rare.

However, although the off-screen rot has been deep in Hollywood practically since the film industry began, aberrant film themes have not been the norm until the past 20 years or so. There are few, if any, movies today about a loving nuclear family — meaning, Dad included. There are few that reflect values of courtesy, civility and integrity.

With all of that, we find reality imitating art. There are more dysfunctional families and casual sexual relationships than ever before. And, returning to the dialogue above, do a search on ‘mom’s boyfriend’ and you will see pages of hair-raising stories about men molesting underage girls.

It’s time to stop going to the cinema as well as watching films on television. Since the 1990s, the old classics, which used to be shown during the day on local channels, are now exclusively on pay/cable television. More’s the pity.

On August 3, 2017, Bloomberg reported that the American cinema chain AMC is reporting a slump in ticket sales:

After several months of flops like Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur” and EuropaCorp’s “Valerian,” movie studios and theaters are beginning to acknowledge that their streak of record-setting ticket sales may be coming to an end. AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the world’s biggest cinema chain, laid out a worse-than-projected outlook for the North American box office this week.

That announcement dragged down shares of theater stocks, wiping out $1.3 billion from the value of the top four cinema operators in North America since Aug. 1. Even with a new “Star Wars,” a Marvel superhero movie and the sequel to “Blade Runner” on the docket for the holiday season, the box office is unlikely to make up for a “severe hit” in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. To date, receipts are down 2 percent in 2017, and AMC is projecting a 1.5 percent decline for the full year.

The concern is that the slump isn’t just a run of bad luck.

The next sentence says (emphasis mine):

Cinema operators have managed for years to keep increasing sales by raising ticket prices amid stagnant attendance, but a sharp drop in filmgoing would make that harder to sustain.

Is that why it costs an arm and a leg to see a film on the big screen?

I could not care less about Hollywood or what passes for a movie these days, but I was intrigued by the comments on 4chan’s /pol/ News Forever tweet about this article.

Read the thread. It’s enlightening. A selection of reasons for not going to the cinema follow:

Hollywood crossed a huge line. We can’t suspend disbelief to enjoy a movie with actors that seems to have forgotten their place in society.

If I want to watch a bunch of no-talent hacks spew nothing but tiresome propaganda, I’ll just turn on late-night TV “.”

We Are Done With The Hollywood Elite Hypocrites!

I wonder if AMC knows that “strategic pricing” greed will cause lots of folks to quit showing up entirely?

The Left makes entertainment, the right consumes it. We tolerate it. When we don’t want to, it hurts them. Remember. We have the power.

Looks like Hollywood is reaping what it has sowed. How’s that working out for ya Meryl, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp?

Movies have become so entrenched in political messages they have destroyed the form. Hopefully greed fuels a return to quality.

Actors made it clear they don’t want any of my money, I’m fine with that.

I stopped going to movies since Meryl’s odious preaching at the Oscars.

The left wing idiots need to stay out of politics and keep their mouths shut. Stick to acting and singing.

Socialist Hollywood is bloated, unionized, will go the way of paper books records, and shopping malls

I’m done with Hollywood. I prefer low budget, independent, good writing, grassroots filmmaking.

After having for more than a decade, canceled that too. When actors, movies and companies start SJWing, preaching, no thanks!

Theaters should sue Hollywood for ruining the business model to go into left-wing indoctrination & bullying.

It hurts going to the movies and to be preached at about politics. Why would anyone subjugate themselves to such.

I haven’t been to a movie in years.. Not givin my $ to people that Hate me, & hate my Country…

AMC needs to realize nobody wants to watch anti-American movies filled with progressive propaganda

Do you still go to the cinema or have you left the big screen for good? Either way, feel free to comment below.

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