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Boys State and 6 other great movies about politics to watch this week – Vox.com

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The national political conventions are upon us — and they’ll look very different this year, thanks to the pandemic. (The Democratic National Convention, anchored in Milwaukee but mostly online, will be held from August 17 to 20; the GOP counterpart, after some moving around, is slated to happen both online and in Charlotte from August 24 to 27.)

But while some people’s TV screens will be occupied by convention antics for the next few weeks, I’m much more interested in a movie about a very different kind of political convention: One that’s made up entirely of teenagers. For Boys State, documentarians Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine (The Overnighters) traveled to Texas to follow the state’s 2018 summer session of a program called, well, Boys State. (There’s a Girls State program, too.) Administered by the American Legion, Boys State is a gathering of more than a thousand 17-year-old boys who, over the course of one week, form a representative government, complete with party platforms and campaigns. The intent is to learn about and experience firsthand how the American system of government works.

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The film is uplifting, funny, thrilling, and revealing. The teens come to Boys State with formed political ideas, but through debate, discussion, and defense of their stances, they learn a lot about what it takes to cultivate consensus and win. And their experiences provide both a microcosmic look into the political process and a hint of the way future politics might unfold, in dismal and strangely hopeful ways.

Earlier this year at Sundance, Boys State won the festival’s top documentary prize and broke the record for the highest acquisition price paid for a documentary, with A24 and Apple buying the film for $12 million. And now, Apple subscribers can watch the film on AppleTV+.

Boys State is less of a “political documentary” and more of an exploration of the political process. And personally, I find process-oriented films far more interesting than polemical political documentaries designed to convince you to vote one way or another.

Luckily, almost as soon as lightweight cameras became readily available in the 1960s, documentarians started hauling them onto convention floors and campaign trails. The result is that there are lots of great documentaries (and mockumentaries) about the American political circus, and I couldn’t possibly name them all. But here are a few important and particularly revealing films that give a peek into what’s changed in the American political process since TV and film became part of campaigns in the 1960s — and what hasn’t.

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The 1960 film Primary wasn’t just illuminating, it was groundbreaking. The film centers on the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary in which the two candidates were John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. The filmmakers (documentary buffs will recognize the creative team of Robert Drew, Richard Leacock, Albert Maysles, and D.A. Pennebaker, who together went on to make three more films about Kennedy) used new, lighter equipment that allowed them to more easily follow and capture an intimate view of the candidates, their staff, and their supporters, and in so doing they created a foundational work of “direct cinema” that informed decades of political video-based reporting. And they did it all in a time when television and video images were starting to become a major force in political campaigns.

How to watch it: Primary is streaming on HBO Max. It’s also available to digitally rent or purchase on platforms including iTunes and Amazon.

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In 1968, National Review founder William F. Buckley and author and provocateur Gore Vidal — famous for their strong opinions about politics and each other — were recruited by ABC to participate in a series of on-air debates during the major political parties’ conventions. Protests and demonstrations marked both parties’ gatherings that turbulent year. And the debates were famously contentious, too, rocketing ABC to the top of the ratings and solidifying, as this documentary argues, the future of hyperpartisan politics and entertainment-driven, shouting-head TV news punditry. Best of Enemies (directed by Morgan Neville, who also made the hit Fred Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor) recounts the debates and their fallout. The result is exciting but also chilling — an origin story for a long national nightmare.

How to watch it: Best of Enemies is streaming on Hulu for subscribers and for free on Tubi. It’s also available to digitally rent or purchase on services including Apple TV and Google Play.

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Four More Years was a groundbreaking, hour-long “guerrilla” TV movie consisting of footage shot during the Republican National Convention in 1972, when “four more years” was the chant from Nixon’s fans. The first independently produced videotape to be broadcast on television, the film focuses on media coverage, protests, and Nixon’s young supporters, with long, revealing interviews. Some people in the film claimed they didn’t know they’d appear, and the crew tried to stay inconspicuous. Four More Years is revealing — and aired on TV two years before Nixon’s resignation.

How to watch it: You can stream Four More Years on Vimeo or at the Media Burn Archive.

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Was Ronald Reagan the consummate performer? The Reagan Show makes the case that the former actor’s onscreen experience was a perfect training ground for his presidency, chronicling the Reagan administration entirely through news reports and footage shot by the administration itself. It uses Reagan’s work as an actor and one of his common nicknames — “the Great Communicator” — as its jumping-off point, opening with a very prescient-seeming clip of Reagan telling newscaster David Brinkley, at the end of his time in office, that “there have been times in this office when I wonder how you could do the job without having been an actor.”

How to watch it: The Reagan Show is streaming on Hulu and available to digitally rent or purchase on services like Apple TV and Google Play.

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In 1988, nobody named Jack Tanner was actually vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. But HBO broadcast an 11-episode miniseries about the fictional Tanner anyhow, directed by Robert Altman and written by Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau. Tanner (played by Michael Murphy) is an idealistic Democratic congressman who’s on the campaign trail, accompanied by his 19-year-old daughter Alexandra (Cynthia Nixon). Tanner struggles to distinguish himself against a pack of competitors until his campaign manager T.J. Cavanaugh (Pamela Reed) figures out how to present him through footage of pep talks he gives his staff, caught on the sly. The series blurs reality and fiction; “real” people like Bob Dole, Pat Robertson, Ralph Nader, Gloria Steinem, and many others show up as themselves, and Tanner’s campaign staff is constantly talking about his competitors (including Joe Biden, who was running for president back then, too). It’s a brilliantly satirical series that skewers the process of running for political office more than political positions themselves, and with Altman at the helm, its style feels different from most TV mockumentary series as well.

How to watch it: Tanner ’88 is streaming on the Criterion Channel and on HBO Max. The series is also available to digitally rent or purchase on Amazon.

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By 1992, presidential candidates were used to having cameras follow them around, but even by those standards, Bill Clinton’s campaign was unusually loaded with defining moments that made for great clips. D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus were there to document them in The War Room, which follows strategists James Carville and George Stephanopoulos through the primary season, including Clinton’s surprise second-place finish in New Hampshire, the Gennifer Flowers scandal, and much more. The film offers an inside look at a campaign through the eyes of those who lived it with the intimacy that we’ve come to expect from our campaign documentaries.

How to watch it: The War Room is streaming on HBO Max. It’s also available to rent or purchase on digital platforms including Apple TV and Amazon.

… but still taps into how our sensationalized media ecosystem aids in creating some of the problems that plague our politics, here are three worth checking out:

  • The 2014 film Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an unscrupulous stringer who rushes to the scene of violent incidents in LA to capture them on camera and sell the footage to local TV news stations that are hungry for content. It’s streaming on Netflix.
  • Robert Greene’s 2016 nonfiction thriller Kate Plays Christine follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares to “play” Christine Chubbuck, the Florida TV reporter who shot herself on air in 1974. (Chubbuck’s story was reportedly the inspiration for the 1976 film Network.) It’s available to Topic subscribers or to digitally rent or purchase on Amazon.
  • Being There, Hal Ashby’s 1979 comedy based on Jerzy Kosiński’s novel, is a fable about a man named Chance (Peter Sellers) who is shut off from the outside world his whole life, except through TV. Then, one day, he has to leave the house. Through a series of happy accidents and willful mishearings, Chance becomes a confidant and adviser to the president, who along with the rest of the country adores his “simple brand of wisdom.” Being There is available to digitally rent or purchase on platforms including Apple TV and Google Play.

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The one thing that matters to stocks more than politics

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The presidential election is mere weeks away on Nov. 3 and the Supreme Court is also now under a microscope after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg upset the court’s delicate political balance.

<p class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”All of this has been featured in copious pundit commentary and research notes — especially as the market turmoil that surrounded 2016 proved to be a huge boon for some savvy investors like Carl Icahn, who left a Trump election night celebration to buy stocks and make $1 billion.” data-reactid=”17″>All of this has been featured in copious pundit commentary and research notes — especially as the market turmoil that surrounded 2016 proved to be a huge boon for some savvy investors like Carl Icahn, who left a Trump election night celebration to buy stocks and make $1 billion.

But in a fresh note from Capital Economics, economist Oliver Allen points out the obvious point many forget during election season: the economy is “probably more important than politics.”

<p class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Politics, Allen writes, is still moving the market. The death of Ginsburg was the “final nail in the coffin” for more fiscal stimulus that millions of Americans need to stay afloat. It also has bearing on what may happen on Election Day, as the Supreme Court may eclipse the pandemic and the economy as key voting issues.” data-reactid=”19″>Politics, Allen writes, is still moving the market. The death of Ginsburg was the “final nail in the coffin” for more fiscal stimulus that millions of Americans need to stay afloat. It also has bearing on what may happen on Election Day, as the Supreme Court may eclipse the pandemic and the economy as key voting issues.

Despite the impact that politics has on the stock market, Allen warns investors not to get ahead of themselves. It’s the economy that matters most, and most importantly, how the long-term coronavirus vaccines and eventual recovery unfold.

Though Allen says to look at the economy more than the election, Capital Economics doesn’t offer more than a vague “the S&P 500 will climb further over the next few years, as major economies eventually get their coronavirus outbreaks under control, and central banks keep monetary policy exceptionally loose,” which seems wise, given how silly 2019 predictions look now.

A television broadcast showing U.S. President Donald Trump is pictured during a trading session at Frankfurt's stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
A television broadcast showing U.S. President Donald Trump is pictured during a trading session at Frankfurt’s stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Many people remember how the disrupted Bush-Gore election in 2000 hurt equity markets, causing them to drop around 8%, but the turbulence cleared up relatively quickly, resulting in no long-term damage.

“Provided any dispute over this year’s election is also eventually resolved, we find it hard to see [the election] having a lasting impact on US equities, even if it could cause a spike in volatility following Election Day,” Allen writes.

The fact that politics is secondary to the economy when it comes to stock prices isn’t a controversial take. Plenty of analysts point to uncertainty as being the chief problem. But the political implications for the stock market are frequently discussed by market strategists.

<p class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Many financial pundits have said Trump is better for the stock market and economy, citing deregulation and market performance after his election amid dire predictions from some. And Allen notes that “a second term for President Trump would probably be a better outcome for US equities than a win for Joe Biden,” because of corporate taxes.” data-reactid=”36″>Many financial pundits have said Trump is better for the stock market and economy, citing deregulation and market performance after his election amid dire predictions from some. And Allen notes that “a second term for President Trump would probably be a better outcome for US equities than a win for Joe Biden,” because of corporate taxes.

<p class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”At the same time, Trump’s late and weak coronavirus response led, in part, to 200,000 deaths, skyrocketing unemployment, dampened earnings, and a recovery that is still trying to get off the ground. And though some stock prices (mostly tech stocks) are doing well — driving the S&amp;P 500 (^GSPC) back to pre-coronavirus levels after a huge plunge — many companies are still in tough situations.” data-reactid=”37″>At the same time, Trump’s late and weak coronavirus response led, in part, to 200,000 deaths, skyrocketing unemployment, dampened earnings, and a recovery that is still trying to get off the ground. And though some stock prices (mostly tech stocks) are doing well — driving the S&P 500 (^GSPC) back to pre-coronavirus levels after a huge plunge — many companies are still in tough situations.

 

 

Source:- Yahoo Canada Finance

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Women in politics panel scheduled for Thursday – Sarnia Observer

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Three local women are talking about their experiences in politics this Thursday for a Jean Collective digital panel.

Judy Krall, deputy mayor of Enniskillen Township, is pictured in the Lambton County building in February. She’s one of three panelists in a Jean Collective talk about women in politics Thursday.

Paul Morden / The Observer

Three local women are talking about their experiences in politics this Thursday for a Jean Collective digital panel.

The group aimed at encouraging more women in politics in Sarnia-Lambton – currently about a dozen are in elected office across the county – kicked off in January, but the initiative was sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic just before the panel presentation was originally scheduled for late March, said Helen Cole, one of six women behind the group.

“With this panel, we’re relaunching,” she said.

“It’s just a way to get the word out that we’re here, we want to support women who would be interested in making a difference in their community.

The Sept. 24, 7 p.m. panel via Zoom includes St. Clair Township Coun. Tracy Kingston, Enniskillen Township Deputy Mayor Judy Krall, and former City of Sarnia councillor Anne Marie Gillis.

“We’re asking them questions like ‘why did you decide to get involved in politics,’” Cole said. “Most often it’s because they were already active in their community and they wanted to make a difference.”

Challenges exist, said Cole, who served on St. Thomas council before moving to Sarnia, where she was manager of its Canadian Cancer Society office until she retired in 2013.

“You often will feel all alone,” she said. “So we want to address that piece.”

That includes developing what she called an education program for prospective politicians about things like Roberts Rules of Order that govern council meetings, work-life balance, information about finance, strategic planning, for building self confidence, and covering other topics, so they know what to expect in office, she said.

“I have some subject matter experts lined up for some of those, and if there’s some interest there may be a campaign school,” she said.

The education program would continue up until maybe six months before the 2022 municipal election, she said.

“Our point that we made very strongly is we are not endorsing any particular candidate or political party – we just want to get women involved,” Cole said.

“We all agree that a female on council has a different perspective, and we think that needs to be brought to the council table,” wherever that may be in Sarnia-Lambton, she said.

“And it’s a way for us to support women,” she said.

Often women are hesitant to run amid doubt, she said.

“We want to take the mystery and the fear out of it and say ‘You can do this. You need to get involved in your community.”’

Thursday’s digital panel is free and tickets are available for the Women in Politics Panel Discussion and Networking event via eventbrite.com.

Hopes are the education events to come will also be free, Cole said, noting she wants to eventually offer bursaries to women studying political science at university.

There’s a fund named after Jean Macdougall – also the namesake of the collective and Cole’s mentor during her time in politics – at the Sarnia Community Foundation for the cause, she said.

“If people wanted to support in that way, they could donate to that fund,” she said.

tkula@postmedia.com

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Jonathan Kay: B.C. NDP succumbs to the leftist battle over identity politics – National Post

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Article content continued

The next day, the star candidate was joined by Annita McPhee, former president of the Tahltan First Nations government, whose lands comprise part of the Stikine riding. But McPhee didn’t just jump in: she also called on Cullen to jump out. According to a motion adopted in 2011, older male NDP MLAs who retire must be replaced with either a woman or a member of an “equity-seeking” group. Cullen, a white guy born and raised in Toronto, doesn’t qualify.

In the days since, the plot thickened, with the party president releasing a vague statement indicating that “in certain instances, despite extensive candidate searches, our regulations permit allowances for other candidates to be considered.” It also turned out that the definition of “equity-seeking” is quite broad. In the last election, one married male NDP candidate, who’d always presented as straight, abruptly claimed he was bisexual. Another white male candidate got nominated after saying he had a hearing impairment.

I hadn’t heard of the B.C. NDP’s equity-seeking policy until this week. But its existence shouldn’t surprise me. The whole thrust of modern identity politics is to rank the acuteness of human oppression — and, by corollary, the urgency of the associated political demands — on the basis of race, sex and other personal traits. It makes sense that this principle should now be institutionalized, and weaponized, by politicians competing for status and power in a left-wing party that explicitly claims to represent the oppressed. Not so long ago, oppression was defined in NDP circles according to a Marxist understanding of labour and capital — which is why unions had such a prominent role in the party. But those days are long gone. Just last month, in fact, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh used his Twitter account to promote officially debunked conspiracy theories suggesting that a Black Toronto woman was murdered in May by a half dozen (unionized) Toronto police officers.

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