SICARIO

Emily Blunt is an FBI Agent who volunteers to join a task force to take down drug kingpins along the Mexican/United States border. Emily is initially portrayed as a seasoned agent, but the movie makes her a fun-loving, innocent, naive, stupid twit who is also vulnerable. If the task force does not do things following FBI protocols and methods, she is glum, disillusioned and uncooperative. This characterization makes Emily a mannequin for American purity and goodness. Benecio Del Toro informs her at the movie’s end (something the audience already knows): This is a country of wolves. You need to leave and go to a small town somewhere, not along the border.

Other than Emily’s weak character (which is played as written), Sicario is an excellent, violent, gritty film of the border law enforcement arising from drugs, crime and smuggling. Bencio Del Toro and Josh Brolin (balls to the wind) play the leads in the task force. If the scenes filmed have happened or may happen one day, Sicario is a deeply disturbing movie. [It was written and filmed during the Obama Administration; nothing Trump did helped produce or promote this movie.] Most Americans are not ready to face the reality – there will be actions and occurrences that must be overlooked.

Emily Blunt’s character should have been written differently. Allow her to learn from the experiences that character has in the movie. She does not like what the task force is doing; she makes mistakes. At the end she must have some fight (dignity, integrity and honesty) in her. In the confrontation Bencio Del Toro begins. She says, “I didn’t do very well.” He tells her she is too innocent and naive and he uses a line (carelessly disclosed earlier in the script) “You are too much like my daughter.” Emily already knows his daughter was killed by drug overlords. Del Toro gives his country of wolves comments. She is defiant. He says, “If you want to tell your FBI superiors about everything and about all your mistakes, it is up to you.” He leaves. Emily stews; she has decisions to make about the reality she has experienced and the reality Americans believe is true. In essence Emily can represent all Americans going forward.

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SUPREME COURT FOLLY – THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY

SUPREME COURT FOLLY – The Right to Privacy

A criminal defendant has claimed his cell phone, indicating the approximate location where he is, should be protected under his right to privacy pursuant to the United States Constitution. 
Despite the dubiousness of this claim of privacy, the Supreme Court luggards might approach this claim and case in their traditional way, citing off-point cases to interpret the Fourth Amendment and relying on antiquated sources from the Ivy League – the Brandeis/Warren Law Review, 4 Harvard Law Review 184 (1890).

The Fourth Amendment reads,

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or Affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fourth Amendment suggests guidelines, if the information sought is not public, or is using a public conveyance or utility. Once activities, thoughts, or actions come within the public’s scrutiny or knowledge, a citizen loses many protections of the Fourth Amendment. When in public there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. If public, what is an “unreasonable search and seizure” becomes a much larger group of behaviors, acts and manifestations.

A proper analysis of the Right to Privacy is not found in the Fourth Amendment. It is found in the Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The Ninth Amendment infers the proper relationship between the American people and the national government. The Constitution is a grant of powers to the national government from the American people. Enumerated rights are listed, but it is an incomplete list. The First Congress and the writers of the Constitution did not want to construe, identify and enumerate all rights they could conceive. Thereafter, a right not listed could not be used by individuals against the national government. [This point was made clear in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, circa June 20, 1788, and related correspondence of James Madison, Edmund Pendleton and other delegates.)

What is the Right to Privacy? It was unknown during the country’s founding. However today, all Americans rely on it but have vague ideas of what it means, what it covers and its full extent. The right to privacy, or something like it, appears in Constitutions and in statutes of other countries. Those sources can help define and describe, but any constructed right of the American people must be interpreted and consistent with all other sections and amendments of the Constitution, plus state and federal statutes.

In 1776 James Madison and George Mason, the primary writer of the Virginia State Constitution, made Freedom of Religion a basic right in the Virginia document. However, the state government taxed Virginians to pay the salaries and other expenses of church personnel and of churches. Madison and his constituents believed this government involvement favored certain sects over newer sects. In 1785 in the House of Burgesses Madison proposed passing an Establishment Clause for Virginia. Madison desired Freedom of Conscious – believe and think what you want. Do not expect Virginia to favor and support your beliefs. Madison set forth America criteria. His efforts were successful by 1786. Thereafter, churches (Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, Quakerism, Judaism ), on one hand, and Virginia, on the other hand, were separate.

In Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (commonly known as Remonstrance) Madison construed the argument for the Establishment Clause in Virginia and for the first Right listed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” The Remonstrance is the only writing where Madison, a Constitutional master unique in all of history of this country or other countries, demonstrates in a flush of pure reason how to construct a Constitutional liberty or right. Madison sufficiently separates the Establishment of Religion from the Free Exercise of Religion.

No American has defined and demarcated any other individual or civic right so clearly and fully as Madison. The Remonstrance presents guidelines, arguments and analyses that Americans should follow regarding any right not enumerated under the Constitution i.e. the Ninth Amendment. The Right to Privacy, as an unenumerated Right under the Ninth Amendment, should require the justices of the Supreme Court begin the construction of that liberty.

What is privacy? What is public? What is semi-private? What is available to the public for a price? What is semi-public? The Fourth Amendment provides narrow guidelines – security in homes and of persons when there is no warrant. But when an individual is abroad – out-of-doors – everything changes. When making a telephone call on a network, the cops cannot listen without a warrants, but indivuduals sometimes listen in. With a cell phone every American can be located, approximately. Is an individual’s location private when he is out in public?  Perhaps in a public restroom although he can be arrested from that location.

The First Amendment – the right to free speech and the right to a free press – have greatly limited the right to privacy torts in civil law. There are dozens of exceptions and excuses from the tort. Again, the Brandeis/Warren article, cited above, urges strict guidelines, which no longer fit the modern society America finds itself in.

Brandeis and Warren like Madison in the Remonstrance noted changes in society and use the current state of American society to define and delineate a liberty. Likewise, privacy today should discuss the commercial realities, benefits and demerits. Today’s case law reflects the move toward greater freedom of speech and the press; it disfavors privacy. Criminal law investigations, specially when documents, objects or speech is public, eliminates privacy.

Today, the collection of phone and cell tower data is not confined to law enforcement. Cell phone traffic and analyses allows providers to improve phone service. It lets cell phone makers improve phones and make their products more capable. And the gross data may let marketers provide goods and services where they are currently unavailable. Note when Samsung had issues of burning phones, it was imperative to contact and locate each of their phones and their owners, easily done because there was a customer list.

Most Americans believe this collection reasonable and beneficial to their society. Most information is available to non-government corporations and entities, businesses and enterprises without warrants, probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The investigation, investment and commerce flowing from data analyses makes life in America better.

If the data are misused, there may be violations of statutes. There are alternatives. If an American does not want to be located, approximately, turn off the phone designated to his name, and buy and use a burn phone. Note that phone purchase usually is monitored by cameras and memorialized by receipts – that investigation is not limited by an individual’s privacy rights. Note further an individual does to have to use credit cards or retail membership cards, where data including locations are made. Get off the grid; Americans can use cash which is anonymous.

Attempting to weave the Right to Privacy around a semi-public instrumenting like a cell phone use requires detailed analysis which is convoluted, complicated and cannot not be part of a Constitutional Right. Note the length of the two Amendments, cited above, no longer than 75 words apiece. Principles and exceptions for the right of privacy for criminals in cell phone use would be prolix, unreasonable and unworkable. There would be no precedents, only singular exceptions.

It is noteworthy that third party claims to a Right to Privacy on behalf of customers can be affected by the ruling of cellphone location privacy rights. The secondary rights of a third party to claim privacy on behalf of customers who are usually criminal suspects is flimsy. Law enforcement officials usually have the suspect’s cell phone and a warrant meeting all the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

Corporate behaviors become more egregious when one realizes these corporations readily cooperate with foreign governments and provide access, information and account data accumulated from the customers in those countries. Yet they refuse to cooperate with the National government in criminal investigations.

CALIFORNIA’S WILDFIRES

Despite the ranting and ravings of Governor Moonbeam, climate change has nothing to do with the latest series of California wildfire. The Governor’s claims reveal an antiquated state of mind from the 1960s – blame someone or something that nobody has any control over. A fact known to everyone in the California naturalist community is the prevailing climate condition in the state is drought. The Twentieth Century was the third wettest century of the last forty centuries i.e. (4,000 years). During the twentieth Century California’s population rose six times, approaching 40,000,000 human beings, yet going forward the state may face a century of drought.

No one knows the complete climate history of California e.g. if there is no rain over those Thirty-seven (37) centuries, is there wind? Wind is the primary cause for the spread of wildfires and the biggest threat to human habitation.

Wind and face combine with a nature policy (influenced by fire policies in national Parks). This policy has been endorsed by environmentalists and city-ecology-dwellers (true Monday morning quarterbacks). Let forests grow and when fire comes it can burn, just like nature intended. That policy might be acceptable when there were ten million people in California, but the let it-burn-policy needs reevaluation.

One reason for a change of policy is every National and State Forest is a tinderbox. A figure given out in this decade is four of five trees in California is dead, or dying, from drought, natural causes or infestation. Those trees cannot be removed because the nature policy, previously mentioned, forbids it.

Twice since 2009 the nature policy of letting fires burn in National Forests has been publicly enforced. The Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest burned many square miles of land under very favorable conditions for the fire fighters and most landowners abutting that forest. Not many houses were lost. However in December 2017 the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties has become the largest wildfire in California’s recorded history, as it denudes the land known as Los Padres National Forest. It still burns (440 square miles), with a projected snuff date in January 2018.

Another fact makes the National and State Forests tinder boxes, ready to burn whatever the weather. Because they have been left alone, those woods are overgrown with underbrush and trees. About a decade ago a report said there were four times as many trees in forests around Big Bear Lake, California, as the land could bear.

Going forward, California and the National Government need a reevaluation of forest policies other than continuing the let-it-burn policies used in the National Parks. After all the burning, California will be unlikely make its forests great again – what the forests once were and again susceptible to fire in the future. Now is the Twenty-First Century, and there are enough interested people in the state to plan and implement new forest policies. One policy for everyone and every place is likely wrong. There may have to be several or many policies, depending upon local conditions. And in the future California and the National government can make their forests less fire-prone, and welcoming for visitors.

AVOID: A MOST WANTED MAN

An experienced German espionage agent [Philip Seymour Hoffman] trusts his superiors, internal German police and American espionage agents. He tries to conduct a successful espionage operation but in the end everyone he contacts is arrested.

From the beginning a wary German agent [Hoffman] lets his guard down. He is open, revealing everything. The denouement shows Hoffman telling of his plans, including the transfer of money to characters in an office building and how everyone involved with leave. What is annoying is the absence of spyycraft. Most of the people Hoffman meets leave by the front door, together.

More shocking is Hoffman is on the street and does not notice surveillance, or the people ready to make arrests.

If one is a wary spy, supposedly throughout the story, he must be wary at the end. People assembled in the office ought to leave individually by various exits – racing from the garage on a motorcycle, crawling three blocks through air conditioning vents or jumping off the roof and sailing along in a hang glider – that sort of thing, those sorts of thing. None of these happen. Spy Hoffman is surprised and enfeebled. He reveals he is unfit for the espionage business.

Thereupon, other than seeing Hoffman in his last movie, this is a film to avoid.

PRETTY FLOWER, BAD BOOK

TULIPMANIA

Mark Dash

At best this is a book of anecdotes involving tulips, where they came from, prized possessions in the early Ottoman Empire, becoming known in Western Europe, etc. The last 120 pages deal with Holland. Chapter 14, Goddess of Whores, tells about the cultural effects in Holland of the flower. Separating that chapter, the book reveals it is arranged as a subject history of the years 1620-1640, while the tulip boom and bust occurred. Yet there is no mention of the Thirty Years War raging in Middle Europe, a war involving the Dutch and ended with them getting their independence in 1648.

It is never fully explained why tulips only had the boom and bust in Holland – not in Germany, not in France, not in England, not in the regions we know as Luxembourg and Belgium. Found in the middle of the book is text stating that the rules of order and regulation, then existing in Dutch markets, did not govern; most of the tulip traders were amateurs. Yet many of the people were wealthy or well-off. How was trading? Many deals were barter. There is no description of the barter economy in seventeenth century Holland. Where there advantages of bartering rather than using cash? E.g. there were no notifications, no license fees, no property exchange fees, no taxes. No one knows because the text is thin and supercilious.

Also undeveloped is the idea that tulip trading was not done by persons educated and trained in markets. There are suggestions about how the ignorant set up markets, but there is no market analysis. In Holland what were the social effects of someone winning with tulips? Was he or his family accepted as rich. A reviewer noted the book tells about greed, but only in a societal sense: Everyone was greedy – not this person was greedy. The mere fact that an individual speculates does not mean he is greedy. Finally, there is no satisfactory, coherent telling of the effect of tulip mania in Holland.

CRIME 3: STUPIDITIES

When I watch real crime shows sometimes the stupidness of victims, cops, witnesses, friends and family, jump out, are truly incomprehensible, inexplicable mind-numbing and appalling. Herein I will attempt to give as many facts as I can remember, which are or seem connected to the incidences presented on the tube, to describe and define the utter failure of human behavior and investigation.

In April 2017 and in July 2017 I published CRIME I and CRIME 2. CRIME 3 is my latest summary of aberrant, decadent, deceptive behavior.

I. Fifty year old girlfriend has hot relationship with victim and plans to move to Florida with him. She leaves for the day. When she returns to his house, where she had been staying; boyfriend is not there. Girlfriend is crushed. She walks around the house. She sees boyfriend-victim inside. He does not move to her knocking. She believes he is ignoring her. She goes to a bar, has a few drinks and is disgusted he won’t answer the phone. She returns to her house, heartbroken. Three days later boyfriend’s daughter calls a friend who checks the house. The police get involved.
When girlfriend was knocking on the door and seeing boyfriend inside, murderers of
boyfriend were hiding inside. If girlfriend were aware and was not crushed, she was awake and engaged, she only had to call 9ll, wait and expect the crime to be stopped. NOPE.

II. Regarding Wills. A woman kills a second husband, also using anti-freeze. She goes to a
friend after the death; friend witnesses a new will of the second husband. Does perjury come to mind? How about forgery? How about conspiracy? How about civil actions of conversion and conspiracy? Would no one notice any of these acts in an investigation of the husband’s death?

III. Too dumb. Man marries a childhood sweetheart as soon as possible. A kid came. Financial hardship. Divorce. Other partners. Husband has no idea how to handle exes and his present women. His IQ descends to 61, but no one who knows or associated with him sees his decline. While visiting with his ex, he is shot in the chest with a shotgun, but the verdict is manslaughter – 12 year sentence. Nobody can believe the victim’s behaviors in life. The ex-wife serves only two years of the 12.
The apparent moral of the story: A murderer can kill as many stupid human beings as she wants.

IV. Two family murders, or relive your childhood. Mother-daughter, father-son forget all sense of family. They are comfortable because they are familiar with each other. And frequently it is the parents who succumbs to the child’s violent actions and ways of thinking. The murderous parents learn that telling lies as an adult is less convincing and less excused than lying as a teenager.

V. No one can understand unless they’ve gone through a horrible crime (rape, kidnapping, home invasion, etc.) themselves. This statement has nothing to do with solving a crime, and is irrelevant. It is also WRONG. People who say such things have no imaginations; they do not understand the significance and importance of books and intelligence. Law enforcement understands enough, or more, to capture such criminals. Novelists, non-fiction writer and journalists must understand to relay the stories.

VI. A woman can have a high IQ, be bright and engaging, have a promising imagination, be the star of her school, garner awards and achievements, and be in a lucrative profession. Next, the world learns this woman is a complete moron about love – dating bad boys, failing to use her intelligence to discriminate, differentiate and judge among men, and finding herself at great disadvantages physically, mentally and emotionally.
MORAL: A woman should use her strengths to investigate and decide before socially
engaging.

VII. Female victim works at a donut shop. She’s likable. Cops patronize the shop. Victim is
found dead. During the investigation the same cops find the body but don’t or can’t
identify her.

VIII. Do not rely on any person to kill another. If captured, the killer always talks and you’re screwed. Do not try from jail or prison, to have someone on the outside killed. Fellow inmates are not reliable, and THEY are hearing everything.

IX. Older men/younger women. It is easy to deceive the woman. Inexperience. Guy is no
good if he has no money. He will be insecure and possessive. He will demand she love
him always. Don’t mother him.
The woman usually jumps at the chance for security, and perhaps a kid. But the old man
can’t do everything she wants. That blank in a women’s life, a huge area for mischief
and wrongful acts, usually is.

X. Do not have long term relationships, and not many short term encounters, currently
known as “friends with benefits.” That will become the first social connection the cops
will find and stick to as a motive for murder.

XI. The odors and smells in morgues and around corpses are why deodorants, air fresheners and strong cleaners are used. Those products also cover up animal smells for humans who keep pets. But if there are no pets and the cleaning smells are present, there is likely a dead human nearby.

XII. Parents, especially mothers, should not sleep with their children. The children will never learn independence, self-reliance or gain confidence -physically, psychologically and emotionally. These arrangements may open a road to crime: These children will not grow up to be complete, mature human beings.

XIII. Do not murder someone and a few days later go to the police station wearing the same clothes for an interview about the killing. The cops will notice and arrest you.

XIV. If you have a criminal business that provides you with a decent income, and the cops don’t seem interested in you, don’t commit other crimes like murder, rape, kidnapping or assaultive robbery. You’ll be arrested and the whole enterprise will shut down.

XV. Idiocy in California. Sister and drug-addicted brother live together in city. She is a
graduate student. He gets her started on drugs. With her remaining wits she finds a
boyfriend and plans to move to New York City to live with him. Brother does not like
that; sister goes missing. Thereafter, brother withdraws money from her account and forges her checks to support his drug habit.
Parents call cops. Sister/daughter is missing. Cops have found her car; they do not
process it. They go to daughter’s apartment; brother/son refuses their entry. They leave
and wait.
Family arrives. They cannot find daughter/sister.
They move from the apartment. Cops get a search warrant after brother/son and
family leave, and after new tenants have moved in. Cops find blood; they find blood in
the car. They never find a body.
Drug-addicted brother refuses to talk to cops; they get nothing. Family supports him; they are sure he did not kill his sister.
MORALE: Women are expendable. Having a drug-addicted son is better than a happy
daughter in New York City. Daughter may as well have been born dead.

UNWILLING TOM STEYER

Tom Steyer, billionaire speculator, made loads of money disregarding climate change by investing in coal and fossil fuels and ripping off Americans by using tax laws for the rich. Steyer believes he is all right and now purified! He’s moved to San Fran. He is running ads why Don Trump should be impeached. Steyer’s impressions of Trump are not grounds for impeachment. They may support arguments and inferences of Trump’s abysmal judgment, his everlasting proneness to gross distortion and proof of the large vacuity where his brain ought to be, but grounds for impeachment?

In the ads Steyer features himself as the good advocate. In 2009 Trump featured himself as a searcher for truth with the birther issue. Trump claims to have forced the state of Hawaii to produce Barrack Obama’s birth certificate. If it had been produced immediately, there would have been no Don Trump. But Trump took a sliver of notoriety, added a game show, ran for President and won.

Steyer features himself on the same path, except in the end he will have no document saying Trump was born in the USA. Trump is a Queenie. Thanks to Trump we have learned Obama was born in Hawaii, and always was. Steyer says Don Trump has conspired, colluded and combined with a foreign power, the Ruskies. Saying something does not prove it. Steyer’s ad campaign is no more effective than the RIGHT-WING AMERICANS erecting billboards during the 1960s: IMPEACH EARL WARREN.

Steyer should stop the ads and prove one impeachment charge. Try loans to Trump, his children, his businesses, his business associates, his son-in-law, his son-in-law’s family by Russians, Russian banks, the Russian government, or anyone in Cypress. This is a financial detective investigation. Although certain statutes and regulations may prevent an investigation within the United States of America, those laws and rules do not extend beyond our borders. Palms frequently get greased, overseas.

Steyer knows this. No one makes a billion dollars after taxes and does not know the ways of money in the world or how to use it. A proper investigation producing evidence (dates, documents, times, places, assets) may cost 10, 20 or $50,000,000. Come on, Tom. Break open the piggy bank! If Steyer does not want to do it himself, there are plenty of underemployed lawyers who would with hourly payments. Steyer knows this. He can do his best, but is too cheap. Will Steyer’s tax evasion schemes in which he is participating be exposed?

Perhaps Steyer is now distracted. He has lost interest in politics. Or he’s getting married, divorced, changing relationships or has to move because he lives in the sinking Millennium Tower embedded in a foundation of sand, set in a city of progressivism prone to earthquakes. Or, he might want to begin a start-up, a pot growing operation in the fire area of Sonoma County – help the tax base!

THE DRESSMAKER

This movie about the world of women in the Australian outback is thoroughly enjoyable. Kate Winslett is excellent as always; Judy Davis is hard to recognize but deft.

It is fun to watch a movie where the primary participants – good, bad, indifferent – are female. The story differs because there is less direct action; violence must be planned.

The movie begins with Kate arriving at a small, dried out hamlet, her hometown, where her mother, Davis, lives. Kate is a clothing designer and a seamstress; she designs, and her dresses make a difference for the women of the village.

Kate belabors under a cloud. When young, she was accused of killing the son of the village’s wealthiest man. The son had been bullying her. As plots play out, viewers learn that Kate and the son are brother and sister, and she did not kill him. However, Kate and the village believe she is cursed.

The past digressions give another designer inroads into hamlet fashion. Kate is out except for Davis and her beau, who wants to marry and take Kate and Davis away. She is unsure. Beau dives into a silo of sorghum to prove that no curse plagues her. He dies; the curse lives.

Davis plots. At a future joint entertainment in the next town the designer of the best costumes wins. Davis offers her daughter’s services to a competing hamlet, who pays. Davis dies. Kate makes the best costumes, but her personal revenge on the village and its despicable people comes last. While everyone is at the performance/contest and no one is in the hamlet, Kate sets fire to her mother’s house. It burns hot and wide – the village burns.

As residents arrive home to the burned wreckage, Kate has boarded a train and is on her way to “Paris:” If need be she will get out in Melbourne and make further travel arrangements.

NO KNOWLEDGE

This morning’s report about Osama Bin Ladin visiting William Shakespeare’s birth place in and around Stratford on Avon seems typical: A 13 year old boy sees the village and makes notes in his diary. (I do not remember the birth house. I remember Anne Hathaway’s house where Shakespeare lived after he returned from London in 1607 and died in 1616.)

By sixteenth century standards the house is nice but not big; it is not a palace. It was likely not much changed from the time Shakespeare left Stratford and went to London. (Artists, writers and musicians did not make much money at that time, but each could use their talent.) Hathaway was older and the more prosperous of the two. I do not know how much Shakespeare, himself, contributed to the estate in Stratford. However, William Shakespeare was like many other men, marrying a richer older woman and living in her house. Men have married well like that for millennia – equally so women.

Could Bin Laden’s disgust and turning away form Shakespeare and the Western World for surfacey reasons be true? For a 13 year-old boy they could. Shakespeare had gained nothing from his work. He was living in a shack; he was the same peon as he was when he left Stratford; he died poor. But Bin Laden was simply ignorant and unknowledgeable. Arabs like Russians praise their languages for their poetic aspects. Shakespeare wrote poetry. Do Arabs dislike stories about human beings and issues each character has and must overcome or handle, as is seen in plays? (I would suspect that after 700 A.D. the Arabs were familiar with Greek plays and liked them.)

Bin Laden’s youthful rejection was directed to the mountain range of learning, the foundations and foothills supplied and supported by Islam, its rulers and societies from 700 to 1258, the fall of Baghdad – later in Spain. Islamic culture was destroyed by invaders from Central and East Asia. The Mamluk Turks of Egypt who stopped the Mongol invasion were foreign to Arabic culture. The Crusaders from Western Europe beginning in the Twelfth Century were mostly unsuccessful militarily, but greatly enhanced communication East and West and increased learning.

Bin Laden rejected this learning about men, societies and religion. Almost every Muslim today will say, Islam is a religion of peace, or Islam means peace. The Holy Koran is not a militant manifesto. Bin Ladin did not take this road, but one alluring to the righteousness of youth. For him Islam became a propaganda tool to use on his way to establish dominance and political power and material wealth over all human beings on earth.

A LONELY LIFE

Betty Davis 1962

This autobiography is surprising for its unparalleled excellence and seeming honesty. Davis has represented her life in a well-written little book. She speaks well of everyone she worked with in film including industry rivals, Joan Crawford. She passes on providing long comments regarding Barbara Stanwyck.

Of course, the book tells about acting: stage, screen (silent – talkies), modeling, fame, being a glamour puss. Davis knew she was not the typical 1930s actress – beautiful, lanky or seductive but she was blonde. Davis suggests and I believe she rose on talent and merit alone. The more involved the part the better the performance – two years toward the beginning of her career, 1936 and 1939 Davis received Oscars for best actress. She was dedicated to excellent projects and to excellent performances. She ran into the buzz of the Warner Brothers demanding she do mediocre projects. That legal dispute ended in London before World War Two began for the Americans. Olivia de Havilland broke the studios’ system.

Her movies of the Forties and the early Fifties all had substance for her. She never mentions a western, but early on Bette Davis from New England was typecast as the Southern girl and the Southern lady. Motherhood, marriage and living reduced the number of films she was in. She was not always in Los Angeles but lived on the East Cost. She tells trying to be the best mother, when she wasn’t always around, her understanding of intimacy from work and from husbands, and the shortcomings in the men she encountered and those she eventually married. [The first was always at home but did not work at home and little out of it; the second died young; Gary Merrill, fellow actor, had work but did not like the comforts of a joint home.]

Bette Davis had help with children and with the house; she had capable assistants. Davis expresses gratitude. But she felt isolated from exchanging intimacy, touching, sensing another human being, and caring in full devotion. [Note in the text Davis describes these attributes as handled by a performing actor, but says they are not transitioned to or that acting did not fulfill the needs of a human being living in reality.] This distinction between acting and reality is how she conveys she was lonely, and hence the adjective in the book’s title.

Two remarkable chapters in the book are the first and the last. The first doubts whether anyone, including herself, should write an autobiography. Davis beats out the words in spades. The last chapter deals with the status of a successful woman, running into unsuitable men, earning more than most people, and handling fame, professionalism, being alone, and where all that leaves the woman: Her state of mind. It is an excellent description of explaining the world that might become more matriarchal. Sex alone changes nothing. Couples should be mates and their efforts should complement one another.

This is an excellent autobiography; it benefits from being short and well-thought out. Also, this autobiography became the first feminist tome of the modern era. The Feminine Mystique was published two years later in 1964. If Betty Friedan believed it was the problem that has no name, she was unacquainted with Bette Davis’ Autobiography.