Category: Robert Kirk

The Post and Spielberg's Problem with the Truth


I have some personal knowledge regarding the movie The Post and its subject matter, the Pentagon Papers.  At the time the Pentagon Papers began to be published in the summer of 1971, my father was highly placed in the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department and participated in the decision-making process regarding prosecution of the Pentagon Papers cases.

I have a specific recollection around that time of my father at the breakfast table with the family, on several mornings, suddenly breaking out in a cursing rage.   I was perplexed by this behavior, but after a while, a pattern emerged.  Whenever Dad broke out in one of these rages, he was always holding the morning edition of the Washington Post.

As I came to discuss it with my father in later years, he was angry and upset not because Ellsberg had released embarrassing details about the Nixon administration.  The revelations contained in the Pentagon Papers were not an indictment of Nixon.  They were an indictment of the one (Kennedy) who started the war and the other (Johnson) who dishonestly dragged us farther into it.  No, my father was angry at the narcissistic arrogance of a mid-level bureaucrat (Ellsberg) who arrogated foreign policy decision-making to himself, circumventing the duly elected and appointed representatives of government and doing so in a way that damaged our foreign policy and our national security.

As noted in the movie, Ellsberg thought he was on a high moral mission to stop an “unwinnable” war.  Hindsight proved him wrong.  In fact, just as in Iraq, we did win the Vietnam War.  But also, as in Iraq, we chose to abandon the place despite having won it.  Whether we should have gone into either of those places in the first place is a separate issue.  Ellsberg’s change of heart came only after we were well committed to the conflict.

Spielberg and those who crafted The Post had their political agenda.  But how to make the message of The Post, an alleged historical drama, about the totalitarianism and the dangers of the right?  Spielberg’s device is some creative parallel editing with some selective but out-of-context Nixon quotes.  So, interspaced with the narrative of Post reporters obtaining a copy of the Pentagon Papers and the anguished discussions by the Post publisher, Katherine Graham (played by Meryl Streep), and her advisers as to whether to publish, are nefarious scenes shot through White House windows with Nixon’s back to the camera while we hear snippets of his vindictive murmurings.  As George Neumayr pointed out in the American Spectator, these are taken out of context.  Never mind that in one of the unredacted conversations, Nixon tells his attorney general that he’s not terribly upset about the publication, since it shows Kennedy and Johnson to be liars.

The important point for the filmmaker is to spread a gloss of Nixonian corruption over the entire narrative.

At one point, the Streep character asks the character playing former defense secretary Robert S. McNamara for his advice as to whether she should publish.  His response leaves no doubt about the villainous intentions of the sinister fellow who occupied the Oval Office in the summer of 1971.  “Nixon is a son of a [b—-]! … The Richard Nixon I know will use the full power of the presidency to destroy your paper!”

Lest the filmmaker leave any doubt about the overarching evil of Nixon, which pervades every crevice of this film, the very last scene of the movie is of the security guard discovering the break-in of the Democrat National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.  Never mind that the break-in of the DNC was unrelated to the prior restraint case against the Post, which is the subject matter of this film.  The viewer must understand that the true and overriding source of government tyranny is Nixon and his illegitimate spawn. 

In this film it’s all Nixon, and by implication, it’s all Trump.

What Spielberg fails to see is that government overreach and human corruption are not limited to a single political party or a lone person.  These are part of a continuum of human history that began long before Kennedy and Johnson arrived on the scene.  No, corruption didn’t end with Richard Nixon, and it didn’t take a holiday during the Obama years and then suddenly resume again with the election of Donald Trump.

So Daniel Ellsberg is a hero for revealing the lies of our politicians in getting us entangled in the Vietnam War.  How terrible of Nixon and his administration to threaten prosecution of Ellsberg and the brave Post reporters and their sources.  But there was nothing wrong with Obama’s persecution of Edward Snowden and his sources, was there?  It was fine that Obama’s Justice Department labeled Fox News reporter James Rosen a criminal co-conspirator under the Espionage Act.  And Julian Assange – the one who revealed damning evidence showing the absolute corruption of Hillary Clinton and the DNC – must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, too.  No, unlike Ellsberg, there was nothing Snowden or Assuage revealed, as noted by Streep’s character, that would be of “interest” to the “people.”  The 2015 surveillance of Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS reporter – how could there be anything heavy-handed about that?  All of that occurred a few years ago during the most transparent administration in our history.  Certainly, Obama would never try to exclude a news organization he disagrees with, unlike the draconian Nixon. 

How ironic.  Spielberg and Streep – they revile the former president whom they ridicule in their artful movie, yet, at the recent Washington, D.C. premiere of The Post, they chose to have dinner with Obama, someone who they suggest to us is very different and apart from that other man who occupied the Oval Office in the summer of 1971.  

If Nixon was our Richard III, surely Obama is our Iago.  In fact, when you compare the corruption then to now, I submit that even though Obama’s first name isn’t Richard, Barack is far and away much more deserving of the kingly crown for weaponizing the government in derogation of truth and justice and freedom.

Spielberg sees in another what he fails to see in himself, in distorting truth in service of his “historical” narrative and in the evil in front of his own face across the dinner table.  Check out his interview here.  In recent comments, Spielberg said we are on the verge of a civil war between blue and red because of the inability of both sides to understand the truth as he sees it.  He felt that The Post had to be rushed into production because the fear that pervaded 2017 felt just like 1971.  Apparently, he believes his own propaganda.  As crazy as it seems to any rational thinker, it appears that Spielberg honestly believes that Nixon and Trump are the only threats to freedom and that Obama is the only restorer of it. 

If we are to avoid that civil war Spielberg fears, we must have leaders in government and in academia and yes, in media, who are lovers not of a political ideology, but rather of the truth regardless, of where that truth leads.

Robert Kirk, a retired prosecutor, suffers from a rare malady that afflicts only a tiny percentage of his fellow Californians: commonsense conservative thought.  To contact him or to follow his current politically incorrect project, go to www.alienanthro.com.

I have some personal knowledge regarding the movie The Post and its subject matter, the Pentagon Papers.  At the time the Pentagon Papers began to be published in the summer of 1971, my father was highly placed in the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department and participated in the decision-making process regarding prosecution of the Pentagon Papers cases.

I have a specific recollection around that time of my father at the breakfast table with the family, on several mornings, suddenly breaking out in a cursing rage.   I was perplexed by this behavior, but after a while, a pattern emerged.  Whenever Dad broke out in one of these rages, he was always holding the morning edition of the Washington Post.

As I came to discuss it with my father in later years, he was angry and upset not because Ellsberg had released embarrassing details about the Nixon administration.  The revelations contained in the Pentagon Papers were not an indictment of Nixon.  They were an indictment of the one (Kennedy) who started the war and the other (Johnson) who dishonestly dragged us farther into it.  No, my father was angry at the narcissistic arrogance of a mid-level bureaucrat (Ellsberg) who arrogated foreign policy decision-making to himself, circumventing the duly elected and appointed representatives of government and doing so in a way that damaged our foreign policy and our national security.

As noted in the movie, Ellsberg thought he was on a high moral mission to stop an “unwinnable” war.  Hindsight proved him wrong.  In fact, just as in Iraq, we did win the Vietnam War.  But also, as in Iraq, we chose to abandon the place despite having won it.  Whether we should have gone into either of those places in the first place is a separate issue.  Ellsberg’s change of heart came only after we were well committed to the conflict.

Spielberg and those who crafted The Post had their political agenda.  But how to make the message of The Post, an alleged historical drama, about the totalitarianism and the dangers of the right?  Spielberg’s device is some creative parallel editing with some selective but out-of-context Nixon quotes.  So, interspaced with the narrative of Post reporters obtaining a copy of the Pentagon Papers and the anguished discussions by the Post publisher, Katherine Graham (played by Meryl Streep), and her advisers as to whether to publish, are nefarious scenes shot through White House windows with Nixon’s back to the camera while we hear snippets of his vindictive murmurings.  As George Neumayr pointed out in the American Spectator, these are taken out of context.  Never mind that in one of the unredacted conversations, Nixon tells his attorney general that he’s not terribly upset about the publication, since it shows Kennedy and Johnson to be liars.

The important point for the filmmaker is to spread a gloss of Nixonian corruption over the entire narrative.

At one point, the Streep character asks the character playing former defense secretary Robert S. McNamara for his advice as to whether she should publish.  His response leaves no doubt about the villainous intentions of the sinister fellow who occupied the Oval Office in the summer of 1971.  “Nixon is a son of a [b—-]! … The Richard Nixon I know will use the full power of the presidency to destroy your paper!”

Lest the filmmaker leave any doubt about the overarching evil of Nixon, which pervades every crevice of this film, the very last scene of the movie is of the security guard discovering the break-in of the Democrat National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.  Never mind that the break-in of the DNC was unrelated to the prior restraint case against the Post, which is the subject matter of this film.  The viewer must understand that the true and overriding source of government tyranny is Nixon and his illegitimate spawn. 

In this film it’s all Nixon, and by implication, it’s all Trump.

What Spielberg fails to see is that government overreach and human corruption are not limited to a single political party or a lone person.  These are part of a continuum of human history that began long before Kennedy and Johnson arrived on the scene.  No, corruption didn’t end with Richard Nixon, and it didn’t take a holiday during the Obama years and then suddenly resume again with the election of Donald Trump.

So Daniel Ellsberg is a hero for revealing the lies of our politicians in getting us entangled in the Vietnam War.  How terrible of Nixon and his administration to threaten prosecution of Ellsberg and the brave Post reporters and their sources.  But there was nothing wrong with Obama’s persecution of Edward Snowden and his sources, was there?  It was fine that Obama’s Justice Department labeled Fox News reporter James Rosen a criminal co-conspirator under the Espionage Act.  And Julian Assange – the one who revealed damning evidence showing the absolute corruption of Hillary Clinton and the DNC – must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, too.  No, unlike Ellsberg, there was nothing Snowden or Assuage revealed, as noted by Streep’s character, that would be of “interest” to the “people.”  The 2015 surveillance of Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS reporter – how could there be anything heavy-handed about that?  All of that occurred a few years ago during the most transparent administration in our history.  Certainly, Obama would never try to exclude a news organization he disagrees with, unlike the draconian Nixon. 

How ironic.  Spielberg and Streep – they revile the former president whom they ridicule in their artful movie, yet, at the recent Washington, D.C. premiere of The Post, they chose to have dinner with Obama, someone who they suggest to us is very different and apart from that other man who occupied the Oval Office in the summer of 1971.  

If Nixon was our Richard III, surely Obama is our Iago.  In fact, when you compare the corruption then to now, I submit that even though Obama’s first name isn’t Richard, Barack is far and away much more deserving of the kingly crown for weaponizing the government in derogation of truth and justice and freedom.

Spielberg sees in another what he fails to see in himself, in distorting truth in service of his “historical” narrative and in the evil in front of his own face across the dinner table.  Check out his interview here.  In recent comments, Spielberg said we are on the verge of a civil war between blue and red because of the inability of both sides to understand the truth as he sees it.  He felt that The Post had to be rushed into production because the fear that pervaded 2017 felt just like 1971.  Apparently, he believes his own propaganda.  As crazy as it seems to any rational thinker, it appears that Spielberg honestly believes that Nixon and Trump are the only threats to freedom and that Obama is the only restorer of it. 

If we are to avoid that civil war Spielberg fears, we must have leaders in government and in academia and yes, in media, who are lovers not of a political ideology, but rather of the truth regardless, of where that truth leads.

Robert Kirk, a retired prosecutor, suffers from a rare malady that afflicts only a tiny percentage of his fellow Californians: commonsense conservative thought.  To contact him or to follow his current politically incorrect project, go to www.alienanthro.com.



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The Rule of Law, Blowing in the Wind like a MAGA Hat


As noted in Thomas Lifson’s article, the Riverside district attorney filed a criminal complaint (People v. Macias) against the student perpetrator of a politically motivated assault on the UCR Campus. 

Riverside County prosecutor was my profession.  At the time of my honorable retirement, I was supervisor of the Gang and Homicide Units of the southwest part of the county.  As such, I have some knowledge and expertise regarding criminal law and filing procedures.  The charge filed against Macias is commonly referred to as “grand theft from person.”  The gravamen of the offense in this case is not the monetary value of the item taken, but the fact that it was taken “from the person of another.” 

Grand theft from person is said to be a “wobbler” in that it can be filed either as a misdemeanor or a felony.  The Riverside filing deputy exercised a degree of leniency and consideration toward Macias in that they opted to file the least serious charge available, which took into account the conduct at issue.  That is, they filed a misdemeanor (not felony) charge of grand theft from person. 

Based on this filing decision, it’s a fair assumption that defendant Macias has no prior criminal history.  Of course, if I were the filing deputy, I would also take into consideration another important mitigating factor – to wit: 

The fact that the poor child has been subjected to the incessant brainwashing of the left-wing Marxist fools that they euphemistically refer to as “professors of learning” over there at UCR.

What is most disturbing is the fact that UCR concluded that no action was necessary on its part to address the attack against the victim.  Thomas Lifson’s point is well taken that unless we stand on the rule of law, “the consequences can be fatal to the stability of the polity and society.”

Of course, we are all mindful of recent incidents, especially those at U.C. Berkley, where conservative voices have been disrupted or denied a venue for expression as a result of intolerance and violence from leftists agitators while campus and police authority stand idly by.

Unfortunately, the trend to bend the law to suit political circumstances has also infected the FBI and the Justice Department, our federal government institutions entrusted with the task of fair and balanced investigation and the impartial administration of justice.  Things certainly have changed in recent times in that regard, and not for the better.  A story from my youth illustrates how far we have fallen. 

My father was an appointee of Richard Nixon and served as assistant attorney general in charge of the Internal Security Division of the Department of Justice for the United States of America.

I was in high school at the time Nixon was forced to resign.  At the time, my father commented,  “No, son, it’s good [that Nixon resigned].  It shows that we are a special people.  It shows that the law applies to the president just like the rest of us.”  I relate this not because I think there is any truth to the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense.  The point is simply to illustrate my father’s deep and abiding belief that ours is (or at least at that time was) “a nation of laws.”  The Old Republic is certainly finished if we are no longer “a nation of laws,” but instead “a nation of elites,” where the application of our laws vary depending on one’s status or political affiliation.

During the Obama administration, we witnessed a deep level of corruption, which, even during the current Trump administration, continues to fester without any meaningful effort by The Department of Justice or the FBI to honestly and evenhandedly investigate the facts and hold those to account who, for their own personal enrichment and political gain, would subvert our laws and the interests of our nation.

Back in the day (when Dad worked there – almost half a century ago!), it was assumed that when an incoming administration of the opposite political party to the outgoing administration took over, there would be a house-cleaning.  Not so under the current Trump administration.  Here we have an attorney general (Sessions) who has recused himself from all the important decisions of his office, which demand a through and a complete investigation to restore public confidence in our federal justice system.  To add insult to injury, our attorney general has left immediate subordinates in positions of power whose personal interest is not to reveal, but rather to obstruct ascertainment of the truth.

Issues needing investigation (to name a few) include influence-peddling for personal gain and the compromise of our national security through the sale of 20% of our uranium reserves; Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured server and her trafficking of classified information on various unsecured devices; the willful destruction of evidence, even while under subpoena, by Clinton and her subordinates; and serious and factual allegations of obstruction of justice and dereliction of duty by our highest government officials at the Justice Department, the FBI, and the IRS.

No, Sessions can’t be involved in any of that.  He needs to leave those weighty decisions to his deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, whose political affiliation is with the former Obama administration and who himself has a serious conflict of interest due to his having presided over the investigation of Russian bribery and extortion at the heart of the Uranium One deal.

Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse ­– for surely Rosenstein is an embedded fox, and Sessions a nervous, fearful old hen. 

Those institutions that we have entrusted with the fair administration of Justice appear to be mere protective functionaries of, as Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch described it recently on The Lou Dobbs Show, “a giant socialist organ” on the verge of becoming a “failed state.”

Alas, our dear country manifests the symptoms of a Banana republic, yet still the spirit of our founding principles (i.e., the First Amendment), survives.  And so commentators are still permitted to express themselves on the internet in a public forum like American Thinker.  God forbid that the forces aligned against freedom of speech and our constitutionally based values should prevail!  But then, I never thought I would see what we are currently witnessing – the breakdown of our fundamental institutions of government such that we no longer seem to be a nation of laws.

I leave you with a more optimistic thought this holiday season and some hope for the future. 

In a recent commentary in American Thinker, Chris Chantrill, noting Breitbart’s assumption, stated in part, “[Y]ou have to win the cultural battle before you can win the political battle.”  Yes, there is a resurgence of conservative populism within our culture, spawned in large measure by the anger and frustration of the unwashed of our nation, with the corruption and dysfunction of our elite overseers in media, education, and the federal government institutions they inhabit.  Things are churning in our country, from low to high.  Yes, there is much swamp-draining left to be done.  But Trump’s election victory against all (establishment) odds was a harbinger of things to come.  There is a depth and a breadth to the conservative-populist movement that animates our fellow citizens, and in numbers sufficient for victory.  If we collectively join our voices to the battle, we can and we will win our country back. 

Keep your chin up.  Continue to fight the good fight.  As long as we stand together on the truth, justice will prevail!

Robert Kirk, a retired Riverside County prosecutor, suffers from a rare malady that afflicts only a tiny percentage of his fellow Californians – commonsense conservative thought.  For comments or to follow his current politically incorrect project, go to www.alienanthro.com.

As noted in Thomas Lifson’s article, the Riverside district attorney filed a criminal complaint (People v. Macias) against the student perpetrator of a politically motivated assault on the UCR Campus. 

Riverside County prosecutor was my profession.  At the time of my honorable retirement, I was supervisor of the Gang and Homicide Units of the southwest part of the county.  As such, I have some knowledge and expertise regarding criminal law and filing procedures.  The charge filed against Macias is commonly referred to as “grand theft from person.”  The gravamen of the offense in this case is not the monetary value of the item taken, but the fact that it was taken “from the person of another.” 

Grand theft from person is said to be a “wobbler” in that it can be filed either as a misdemeanor or a felony.  The Riverside filing deputy exercised a degree of leniency and consideration toward Macias in that they opted to file the least serious charge available, which took into account the conduct at issue.  That is, they filed a misdemeanor (not felony) charge of grand theft from person. 

Based on this filing decision, it’s a fair assumption that defendant Macias has no prior criminal history.  Of course, if I were the filing deputy, I would also take into consideration another important mitigating factor – to wit: 

The fact that the poor child has been subjected to the incessant brainwashing of the left-wing Marxist fools that they euphemistically refer to as “professors of learning” over there at UCR.

What is most disturbing is the fact that UCR concluded that no action was necessary on its part to address the attack against the victim.  Thomas Lifson’s point is well taken that unless we stand on the rule of law, “the consequences can be fatal to the stability of the polity and society.”

Of course, we are all mindful of recent incidents, especially those at U.C. Berkley, where conservative voices have been disrupted or denied a venue for expression as a result of intolerance and violence from leftists agitators while campus and police authority stand idly by.

Unfortunately, the trend to bend the law to suit political circumstances has also infected the FBI and the Justice Department, our federal government institutions entrusted with the task of fair and balanced investigation and the impartial administration of justice.  Things certainly have changed in recent times in that regard, and not for the better.  A story from my youth illustrates how far we have fallen. 

My father was an appointee of Richard Nixon and served as assistant attorney general in charge of the Internal Security Division of the Department of Justice for the United States of America.

I was in high school at the time Nixon was forced to resign.  At the time, my father commented,  “No, son, it’s good [that Nixon resigned].  It shows that we are a special people.  It shows that the law applies to the president just like the rest of us.”  I relate this not because I think there is any truth to the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense.  The point is simply to illustrate my father’s deep and abiding belief that ours is (or at least at that time was) “a nation of laws.”  The Old Republic is certainly finished if we are no longer “a nation of laws,” but instead “a nation of elites,” where the application of our laws vary depending on one’s status or political affiliation.

During the Obama administration, we witnessed a deep level of corruption, which, even during the current Trump administration, continues to fester without any meaningful effort by The Department of Justice or the FBI to honestly and evenhandedly investigate the facts and hold those to account who, for their own personal enrichment and political gain, would subvert our laws and the interests of our nation.

Back in the day (when Dad worked there – almost half a century ago!), it was assumed that when an incoming administration of the opposite political party to the outgoing administration took over, there would be a house-cleaning.  Not so under the current Trump administration.  Here we have an attorney general (Sessions) who has recused himself from all the important decisions of his office, which demand a through and a complete investigation to restore public confidence in our federal justice system.  To add insult to injury, our attorney general has left immediate subordinates in positions of power whose personal interest is not to reveal, but rather to obstruct ascertainment of the truth.

Issues needing investigation (to name a few) include influence-peddling for personal gain and the compromise of our national security through the sale of 20% of our uranium reserves; Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured server and her trafficking of classified information on various unsecured devices; the willful destruction of evidence, even while under subpoena, by Clinton and her subordinates; and serious and factual allegations of obstruction of justice and dereliction of duty by our highest government officials at the Justice Department, the FBI, and the IRS.

No, Sessions can’t be involved in any of that.  He needs to leave those weighty decisions to his deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, whose political affiliation is with the former Obama administration and who himself has a serious conflict of interest due to his having presided over the investigation of Russian bribery and extortion at the heart of the Uranium One deal.

Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse ­– for surely Rosenstein is an embedded fox, and Sessions a nervous, fearful old hen. 

Those institutions that we have entrusted with the fair administration of Justice appear to be mere protective functionaries of, as Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch described it recently on The Lou Dobbs Show, “a giant socialist organ” on the verge of becoming a “failed state.”

Alas, our dear country manifests the symptoms of a Banana republic, yet still the spirit of our founding principles (i.e., the First Amendment), survives.  And so commentators are still permitted to express themselves on the internet in a public forum like American Thinker.  God forbid that the forces aligned against freedom of speech and our constitutionally based values should prevail!  But then, I never thought I would see what we are currently witnessing – the breakdown of our fundamental institutions of government such that we no longer seem to be a nation of laws.

I leave you with a more optimistic thought this holiday season and some hope for the future. 

In a recent commentary in American Thinker, Chris Chantrill, noting Breitbart’s assumption, stated in part, “[Y]ou have to win the cultural battle before you can win the political battle.”  Yes, there is a resurgence of conservative populism within our culture, spawned in large measure by the anger and frustration of the unwashed of our nation, with the corruption and dysfunction of our elite overseers in media, education, and the federal government institutions they inhabit.  Things are churning in our country, from low to high.  Yes, there is much swamp-draining left to be done.  But Trump’s election victory against all (establishment) odds was a harbinger of things to come.  There is a depth and a breadth to the conservative-populist movement that animates our fellow citizens, and in numbers sufficient for victory.  If we collectively join our voices to the battle, we can and we will win our country back. 

Keep your chin up.  Continue to fight the good fight.  As long as we stand together on the truth, justice will prevail!

Robert Kirk, a retired Riverside County prosecutor, suffers from a rare malady that afflicts only a tiny percentage of his fellow Californians – commonsense conservative thought.  For comments or to follow his current politically incorrect project, go to www.alienanthro.com.



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