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Saturday Commentary and Review #136
Rigorous Prep For 2nd Trump Admin, Germany's Former East and Liberal Democracy, Italian General vs. Liberalism, Global Elites vs. Free Speech, 1981's Heaven's Gate
Every weekend (almost) I share five articles/essays/reports with you. I select these over the course of the week because they are either insightful, informative, interesting, important, or a combination of the above.
As it stands today, there are four criminal indictments filed against former US President Donald Trump: two at the state level, and two more that are federal. In total, he faces 91(!) felony counts.
It doesn’t take a high school degree to see that the aim of dragging him through the courts is to effectively disqualify him from the running in the upcoming 2024 US Presidential Elections. Whether you like him or not, whether you view yourself as a liberal, conservative, socialist, etc., you cannot deny that he is being legally lynched by the powers-that-be. For those who say that he attempted to subvert the 2020 election, let’s look at the actual score:
the FBI, CIA, Hillary Clinton, et. al., subverted the 2016 election via charges that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to subvert it. As the Mueller-led investigation found, none of this could be proven. The “Trump-Russia Hoax” has been by far the most devastating conspiracy theory for the USA in this new century
the FBI, CIA (and others) subverted the 2020 campaign by suppressing news of Hunter Biden’s laptop
Joe Biden is now knee-deep in a growing scandal involving not just his son and Ukraine, but himself as well
Donald Trump has a massive lead among GOP voters who intend to vote, and continues to poll well ahead of Joe Biden in a head-to-head competition. By attempting to disqualify Trump, tens of millions of Americans would be left disenfranchised. This is the actual threat to democracy that presently exists.
The fear of a second Trump administration is real. Many concede that it is a strong possibility. Alex Soros, designated heir to his father George, said the following only two days ago:
As someone who spends up to half their time working on the Continent and thinks former United States President Donald Trump — or at least someone with his isolationist and anti-European policies — will be the Republican nominee, I believe a MAGA-style Republican victory in next year’s U.S. presidential election could, in the end, be worse for the EU than for the U.S.
This indicates that Trump’s disqualification is not a certainty just yet, at least in the eyes of Alex Soros and many others like him.
Simultaneously, former Trump officials are themselves “meticulously and ruthlessly” preparing for a second term in office:
After Mr Trump lost his bid for re-election in 2020, she set up a think-tank to continue that work, the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).
AFPI aspires to be an administration-in-waiting. Its staff of 172 includes eight former cabinet secretaries from the Trump administration and 20 other political appointees. “I will leave things ready for the next Republican president,” Mrs Rollins says. Campaign-finance laws prevent her from saying so, but she means Mr Trump.
AFPI is the newest think-tank preparing for a second term for Mr Trump, but it is not the biggest. The Heritage Foundation, which prides itself on having done the preparatory work for Ronald Reagan’s “revolution”, has its own presidential transition project. This is led by Paul Dans, a lawyer who worked in the White House’s Office of Personnel Management during Mr Trump’s presidency. In 1981 copies of a manual for government produced by Heritage were placed on the chairs of each of Reagan’s cabinet members before their first meeting. Heritage is updating that idea, co-ordinating an effort by 350 conservative wonks and former administration officials to write a plan for government in time for the Republican primaries next year. Those who have criticised Mr Trump or his agenda will not be part of it.
As well as drafting policies for each department, Mr Dans and his colleagues are building a list of potential recruits to serve in the next Republican administration. He likes to describe the effort as a conservative LinkedIn. Fully staffing an administration requires about 4,000 political appointees, 1,200 of whom must be approved by the Senate. Heritage and its allied think-tanks are vetting the people to fill those jobs now.
“Personnel IS Policy”.
The planning for a second Trump admin is focusing on purging the bureaucracy, something that it had failed to do the last time around, sinking his presidency:
Thanks to these efforts, the next Trump administration, if there is one, will have fleshed-out plans and the know-how to advance them. That would make it very different from Mr Trump’s first term. “We didn’t have the people because nobody thought we would win,” says Steve Bannon, who managed Mr Trump’s campaign and was an influential figure at the beginning of his presidency. (Mr Trump fired Mr Bannon, but later stopped him being tried for misuse of funds from a non-profit group he headed by pardoning him.)
Mr Bannon mentions the National Security Council (NSC) as an example of the staffing problems the Trump administration faced. It struggled to come up with half the necessary number of political appointees, he says. They were an odd mixture of people like Michael Anton, a corporate PR man and apocalyptic political commentator, and old foreign-policy hands who turned out to be queasy about Mr Trump’s courting of North Korea’s dictator and his hostility to American allies.
What was true of the NSC applies to other agencies, too. “You have got to hit the beach with three or four thousand guys,” Mr Bannon says. Mr Dans agrees. “In Hollywood they like to describe things as ‘this meets that meets the other’. This is the Manhattan Project meets the Empire State Building meets D-Day.”
Just before the 2020 vote, Bannon had said that it would take 20 years to turn the ship around. This sounds about right to me.
The most important task:
The initial objective for this invading force is to capture the civil service. One lesson that Mr Trump’s backers drew from his first term is that no policy matters more than control of the bureaucracy, because no policies can be implemented without it.
To that end Mr Trump’s commandos will “deconstruct” the administrative state—the 300 or more federal offices that issue and interpret regulations. The philosophical version of this idea is that, over time, as the role of the federal government has grown from fighting wars and running the postal service into the Leviathan it is today, unelected bureaucrats have assumed powers that should belong to Congress. The Twitter version is that the deep-state liberals who thwarted Mr Trump when he was in office and have persecuted him since he left must be vanquished. Either way, Mr Trump’s shock troops will try to wrest power back from the bureaucracy.
An end to the Managerial State? Tall order, to be fair.
How can this be done? Something called “Schedule F”:
The would-be Trump appointees plan to subdue the bureaucracy using Schedule F, shorthand for an executive order issued by Mr Trump in 2020 and rescinded by Joe Biden when he became president. It reflects a view that the federal bureaucracy, whatever its size, should not have any entrenched authority. For the first century of its existence, civil servants were appointed to jobs by the government of the day based on an algorithm of personal contacts and favours owed known as the spoils system. Then in 1881 a deranged office-seeker assassinated the president, spurring the passage of the Pendleton Act, which created a class of professional bureaucrats who stayed in their posts even as the presidency changed hands. Since the 1940s, when Franklin Roosevelt was expanding the government, it has been hard to fire federal bureaucrats, AFPI complains.
Many political appointees in the Trump administration believe that a minority of civil servants used their protected status to thwart or undermine the president’s wishes. James Sherk, a policy adviser in the Trump White House who is now at AFPI, cites two cases on which lawyers in various government departments reportedly refused to work: one against Yale University for allegedly discriminating against Asian-Americans, and one aimed at protecting nurses from having to perform abortions. Schedule F would empower Mr Trump’s appointees to remove perceived obstructionists at will.
“Schedule F is now, I think, Republican doctrine,” says Russell Vought, who ran the Office of Management and Budget under Mr Trump. “I don’t know how a Republican gets elected and doesn’t do that.” It would also be straightforward to enact: Mr Trump could just reissue his old executive order. Again, there is a reasonable version of this idea, in which a small number of recalcitrant civil servants lose their jobs, and a campaign version, where Schedule F becomes the instrument of Mr Trump’s righteous purge of Washington.
Click here to read the rest of the piece which offers up predictions as to what kind of economic and foreign policies could be expected from a second Trump administration.
Last week, we took a look at how German authorities are now exploring the idea of banning the ascendant AfD party by arguing that it threatens the country’s constitutional order.
Thanks to a current government that is making mistakes in matters foreign, economic, and social, AfD is seeing a surge of support across the country, with polling indicating that it is now the second most popular party in all of Germany. Despite being overwhelmingly led by Germans from the former West, its stronghold is in the former East Germany. Why is this?tries to answer this question for us:
has been spending quite some time lately in the former East (Dresden, mainly), and notes how it is noticeably less affluent than the West, older, and in many places, empty:
You can easily identify the former DDR on a map of support for Alternative für Deutschland by federal state.
The AfD is now the leading political party in East Germany, commanding the plurality of support in Thüringen (32.9%), Saxony (33.4%), Brandenburg (30%) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (29%). Only in Sachsen-Anhalt (29%) do they trail the leading CDU by two percentage points. Because support for the approved mainstream parties is concentrated in the urban centres, these numbers entail more substantial – even majority – support in many rural districts.
The poorer East Germans comprise only 19% of the Federal Republic. The bureaucracy, the ruling establishment and the media are all guided by the international prosperity politics of the Western 81% – an 81% in thrall to the same pathologies of affluence we see elsewhere in Europe. Pro-NATO Atlanticism, climate change and the energy transition, electric vehicle mania, the wir-schaffen-das mass migration ethos, rainbow brigade positive rights and all the rest of it: These are the luxury beliefs that Westerners feel they are privileged to afford and perhaps even obligated by their prosperity to support. Many Easterners, meanwhile, find this political world not only baffling and hostile, but also profoundly indifferent to their daily concerns. Very few in the East can afford a Tesla, sympathy for the international projects of the American Empire is hard to find, and Green-supported heating ordinances threaten to impose renovation costs on many buildings in excess of their market value.
The former East finds itself in a subordinate position ever since reunification took places three decades ago:
The new states are “socially integrated” but “widely excluded … from discourse and political power.”
In the federal ministries, where the political policies are set and decisions are taken, those with an East German background have representation of less than 1%…
The editors-in-chief of all the major newspapers and media are headed by West Germans. ... At the beginning of the nineties, the staffing of the media with West German personnel was still partly comprehensible. But even then it had this flavour: “Two years after 1990, there was not a single TV station, radio station or newspaper in East Germany that was not operated by a West German editor-in-chief. The course of debate, political consciousness, social memory – the entire self-understanding that the [Eastern] population had just gained for itself – was suddenly reduced to discursive incapacity and lecturing.”
This has been the enduring state of things ever since. The chief posts of all the major regional newspapers in the East are still filled by West Germans, with their perspectives, their convictions and their agendas. …
As for state leadership positions:
In the military, the proportion [of Easterners] is at the ideal value of 0.0 per cent, in academia at 1.5 per cent, in the judiciary between 2 and 4 per cent. Since 2016, however, these low percentages have stagnated or even declined! Apparently, the mechanisms … are only becoming more stringent and working ever more efficiently towards the goal of total exclusion.
Economic affairs are no different:
The major Eastern corporations are in West German hands; for a long time, the number of directors who grew up in the East has been below 1%… Large portions of the residential property in the East belong to West Germans, because only they have the capital to purchase it. In the East, on the other hand, there is neither much to inherit nor much to earn because of the [communist-era] ban on capital accumulation. Wages are [also] much lower in the East, and … East Germans do not achieve leadership positions in representative numbers in any of the necessary social sectors. In other words, they do not get where they need to be to acquire money and power …
Many, including Oschmann, have compared the position of East Germans to that of “flyover country” Americans, and while there is much truth in that analogue, I think it understates the situation. The near-total exclusion of those raised in the East from positions of influence within the German economy, media and politics since reunification is more extreme than anything I know of elsewhere in the West. On various occasions, Oschmann has spoken of the “colonisation” of East Germany by Westerners, and it is hard to see how that is wrong.
Easterners have gathered around the AfD, but the threat of banning the party would be another slap to their faces:
If the East will not voluntarily sign on to climate change, uncontrolled mass migration and trans ideology, that is because even 30 years after the demise of the DDR they have yet to be “normalised” and acquainted with the ways of democracy. The solution is more lecturing from the press, more indifference from the ruling establishment and more threats from the political police.
Ossis (Easterners) missed out on the prosperity that became the hallmark of the West during the Cold War, meaning that they are not as attached to western liberal democracy as the Wessis (Westerners) are:
It is not only their prior experience with authoritarian systems that has alienated many Easterners. Western Europe has been subject to a long-term postwar liberalisation programme, to which the inhabitants of the entire eastern bloc were only partially exposed. Between 1945 and 1990, their cultural and political sensibilities remained static, frozen in a kind of cultural and political permafrost. Decades of social engineering intended to pry political consciousness loose from the nation state and fix it on a higher, globalised world never happened in East Germany. Nor did the prosperity which made this broader perspective appealing in the first place. We’re confronted here with a natural political experiment: How will a liberal democratic state react to the preferences of a population whose views it has been unable to mould over many decades? Will it accommodate them, as its own rhetoric suggests, or rather shut them out, as liberal pessimists like myself would predict? The German experiment shows that we pessimists were right; the state remains undeterred, and if the political crisis gets bad enough, many East Germans will once again find their political views criminalised.
The vast majority of Ossis still view reunification as a net positive, seeing how it rebuilt their crumbling infrastructure, towns, and cities. Yet at the same time, they have been entirely sidelined from the decision-making processes in their own country, colonized politically, economically, and culturally, and are now under the renewed threat of seeing their politics subject to criminalization.
In today’s West, civilian control over the military is the standard. The military is supposed to obey the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of that country, an individual who is given that role via the demos. In the USA, the President serves as the Commander-in-Chief. In the UK, military authority is delegated by the monarch to the Defence Council of the United Kingdom, which itself is part of the Defence Ministry.
Military leaders in the West are to hold firm to this established chain of command, and focus solely on matters military. They are not supposed to publicly involve themselves in matters political, as these are in the realm of the “civvies” and outside of their area of responsibility.
From time to time, this rule is broken. Over the past decade or so, some French officers and generals (retired and active) have spoken out about the deteriorating security situation in their own country, going so far as to claim that it is heading towards civil war. These outbursts are becoming more frequent and more pronounced, indicating that all is not well in the French armed forces.
This summer has seen Italy rocked by a military figure who has chosen to speak out against the “turn away from common sense” that is western liberalism today. Naturally, it has caused a political firestorm.
General Roberto Vannacci, a 54 year old paratrooper who has served across the globe, most notably as Chief of Staff for NATO Special Forces in Afghanistan, self-published a book in which he ruminates on matters political, social, cultural, and environmental, specific to Italy. Accused of “discrediting the Army, Ministry of Defence, and the Constitution”, he was immediately put in front of a disciplinary panel and removed from his post.
What exactly did he say in his book? Daniele Scalea gives us a glimpse of the General’s stated views and how they violate many liberal shibboleths. The excerpts here are taken from a machine translation from Italian to English, so reader beware!
Vannacci believes that a defining characteristic of the present moment is society moving in a direction antithetical to rationality and common sense: hence the title of the book. Organized minorities, the general explains, are subverting everything that the majority considers (or considered) normal:
A literal assault on normality which, in the name of minorities who do not fit into it, must be destroyed, abolished, disqualified by making the marginal prevail over the general norm and the usual.
Many conditions of exceptionality are forcibly inserted into an over-dimensioned conception of "normality." Subjective perceptions are taking over objective reality because, to be "inclusive," those of certain categories must be accepted without question. To this erasure of normality, the General believes he can oppose the return to "Common Sense," about the contours of which he is indeed rather vague, but which seems to lead back to the values and judgments transmitted to us by our ancestors.
Societies are formed around shared cultures and values. A people identify with the common heritage of military, cultural, linguistic and religious traditions. The work and sacrifices of ancestors have allowed that heritage to coincide with the political institutions in a nation-state.
Multiculturalism, Vannacci warns, undermines cohesion and stability by trying to include foreign values in a society. According to multiculturalism, "differentiated rights" and the possibility for internal communities to govern themselves according to their own laws should be introduced. But states succeed in ensuring peaceful coexistence among ethnic groups only in the presence of a dominant one, which imposes common norms.
Vannacci claims the right to prefer his own culture, the Italian one. He does not despise others, but believes that the one handed down by the ancestors should continue to prevail in Italy. The general does not make it an ethnic issue - he reiterates several times that in his opinion it is not a determining factor in identifying a people - but he demands that immigrants assimilate the national culture.
This is all very standard conservative thinking.
He does touch upon race and ethnicity, but only slightly according to Scalea:
In these passages there is the controversial statement, admittedly rather unrelated to the rest of the argument in which it is inserted, about volleyball player Paola Egonu, who is of Nigerian origin: "[...] even if Paola Egonu is Italian by citizenship, it is clear that her somatic features do not represent the Italian-ness that can instead be discerned in all the frescoes, paintings and statues that from the Etruscans have come down to the present day." This statement could have inspired Vannacci to think more deeply about the ethnic dimensions of nationality, but it remains isolated in the text. So, the whole point he makes is that the somatic prototype of the Italian, as it has been for millennia and indeed still is in (fading) majority today, does not have black skin or other typically African traits.
On the Italian homeland:
Vannacci asserts his patriotism and regrets that in Italy, the term "Fatherland" is no longer used and that the major symbols of it - the anthem and the flag - are increasingly hidden. His proposal is to reintegrate these symbols into daily life, mainly in the school routine of the very young, and to tighten the criteria for the acquisition of citizenship: knowledge of the language, the anthem, the flag, and history.
Also in this chapter it shines through how the General considers the cultural factor to be the main defining characteristic of nationality. He, correctly, writes that we are not born by chance in a place, but because we are the very children of our parents: that is, we enter the world as part, not by chance, of a lineage. However, he reiterates the idea that how one is brought up is the determining factor: "biological" origin matters only insofar as it is the "means" of transmitting certain values.
Vannacci views assimilation as viable…but for whom?
The most outrageous reactions were reserved for his words on homosexuality and gender politics:
This is the most contested chapter in the book. Vannacci already seemed to foresee it as he was writing, as he opens it by describing his friends' exhortations to drop the subject. He explains that originally a decision had been made to omit this chapter, but he finally resolved to write it because "if you don't take a stand you won't have anyone against you, but neither will anyone with you."
The General's view is that homosexuality should be entirely permissible, as it has become in more recent times, but should remain confined to the sphere of sexuality and not enter the sphere of the family. The most "controversial" part of the book, however, is where the author questions the character of "normality" and "naturalness" of homosexuality and transgenderism. On the one hand, the General asserts, by mere statistical calculation it can be ascertained that they are not the norm but are the exception. On the other, he acknowledges that homosexuality is present in nature, albeit rare, but is absent as a family pattern.
Here we find the much disputed phrase, "Dear homosexuals, normal you are not, get over it!" - which, however, merely reiterates, perhaps provocatively, what was stated above: namely, that normality, in humans as in the vast majority of animal species, is the mating of males and females, the family consisting of one male and one female.
Vannacci does not challenge the lawfulness of homosexual practices, he does not challenge the respect due even to homosexuals and the recently acquired rights - including, he says explicitly, civil unions. What he disputes is the claim to be recognized as "normality," that is, in every way equal to and interchangeable with heterosexual union. After all - we add - the license of "normality" must necessarily be followed by equal recognition of same-sex marriage and the possibility of adopting children: for how could one justify unequal treatment between two equal couples?
In this chapter less than in the others Vannacci minces his words. He denounces and meticulously describes the actions of a lobby to spread and normalize homosexual practices, with marriage and parenting as the ultimate goal.
Many will say that the General should keep his mouth shut. What I think is important is that he happily risked his post because he felt the need to speak out. This is a strong indicator than the Italian military too has figures who are not happy with the present condition in their own country, just like their French colleagues.
I won’t repeat myself yet again about the ever-narrowing definition of what constitutes ‘democracy’ in the liberal West. What is becoming more clear by the day is that free speech and expression is a ‘threat’ to those who continue to redefine democracy on our behalf.(Michael Shellenberger) continues to sound the alarm about how the elites in the West are ramping up their drive to censor social media, cracking down on free speech while doing so.
The leaders of nations, representatives of international organizations, and philanthropists say they are committed to creating free and open societies. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook has independent fact-checkers, is open to all perspectives, and doesn’t interfere in elections. And, in response to questions from a colleague at Public, a representative from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations insisted the philanthropy supported free speech.
“In response to your effort to conflate any attempt to address hate speech as a frontal assault on free speech itself,” the Soros spokesperson said, “perhaps the words of the UN Secretary-General will help in illuminating a crucial distinction: ‘Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech.’”
What is actually happening:
But these words are a thin veil covering an aggressive attack on freedom of speech around the world, from Australia to North America to Europe, where the Digital Services Act, which demands Internet companies “Address any risk they pose on society, including public health, physical and mental well-being,” goes into effect today.
A scandal in Australia:
A blockbuster new investigation by Australia’s Sky News discovered that Meta-Facebook has been paying activists to serve as neutral fact-checkers while, in reality, using their power to censor their political enemies.
The context is that this fall, Australians will vote in a special national election, the Australian Indigenous Voice referendum, on whether to give special political powers to native peoples. Facebook is funding those in favor of the referendum to censor its opponents. “An audit of RMIT Voice fact checks showed the 17 Voice checks between May 3 and June 23 this year were all targeting anti-Voice opinions or views,” Sky News Found.
Meta allowed the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) to censor disfavored views even while “knowing it was a breach of the rules Zuckerberg established to distance himself from fact-checking responsibilities,” reported SkyNews.
The RMIT, which is a respected technical university like America’s MIT, “used the powers Facebook has given it to throttle Sky News Australia’s Facebook page with false fact checks multiple times this year, breaching the Meta-endorsed IFCN Code of Principles and preventing millions of Australians from reading or watching Sky News Australia’s journalism.”
How did the fact-checkers abuse their powers? By smearing their political enemies as racists. “Fact-checkers employed by RMIT have led to numerous code breaches,” reports Sky News, “including one fact-checker using her social media account to label Opposition Leader Peter Dutton a fear-mongering racist for his views on the Voice.”
“Independent Fact-Checkers” are never independent, and are never to be trusted as well.
As for Soros’ Open Society Foundations, its spokesperson cleverly tucked a call for expanded censorship into her response to our queries.
After saying, “Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech,” the spokesperson said, “It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility, and violence, which is prohibited under international law” [emphasis added].
“Keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous” is precisely the justification for censorship that politicians in Ireland and Scotland are making to be able to invade people’s homes and confiscate their phones and computers, as Irish reporter Ben Scallan described yesterday.
Consider the twisted logic. Irish police must invade people’s homes in order to make sure that their hate materials don’t escalate into something that could be illegal. That’s a totalitarian move toward the police enforcing “precrime,” as depicted in the terrifying science fiction thriller Minority Report.
and still more:
Meanwhile, the UN is now building a “digital army” of censorship activists around the world to wage war on wrongthink, or what it calls “deadly disinformation.” According to the UN, “misinformation” is “deadly” and poses an “existential” threat. The UN’s effort matches the WHO effort, which views speech it disagrees with as a kind of pathogen.
In Germany, a court ordered the American writer C.J. Hopkins to either go to jail or pay 3,600 Euros for comparing the COVID lockdowns to the Nazis. The government claimed Hopkins was promoting Nazism when, obviously, he doing the opposite. While some may take offense at the comparison, it makes clear that Hopkins has a negative, not positive, view of Nazism.
In the United States, a nonprofit organization called Center for Countering Digital Hate, whose former communications director worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, has successfully led a boycott against X, formerly named Twitter, for not being more censorious. As a result, advertising revenue to X is down 60 - 70%, according to news reports.
In short, Western elites, both governmental, corporate, and philanthropic, are embracing the kinds of totalitarian tactics made famous by the East German Stasi, the Chinese government, and dystopian regimes depicted in movies like Minority Report. Why is that? And how can we fight back?
Click here to read the rest.
We end this weekend’s Substack with a look back at the major motion picture flop from 1981, Heaven’s Gate, considered by many to have heralded the end of “New Hollywood”.
None of this, famously, came cheap. Heaven’s Gate’s budget overruns made it a story before it was even completed. They’re chronicled at length in Final Cut, an entertaining and crisply written account of the film’s production written by United Artists exec Steven Bach, whose frequent self-deprecation almost but doesn’t quite mask the book’s self-serving elements.* Bach worked closely with Cimino but still discusses him as a cryptic figure, a difficult perfectionist who did his best to put up barriers between himself and his employers. That unknowability isn’t entirely an accident. Charles Elton’s 2022 biography Cimino depicts the director as a deeply private person with a habit of compartmentalizing elements of his private life and obscuring and fabricating his past.
One of those fabrications, a claim to have been a medic attached to a Green Beret unit, had contributed to a backlash against Cimino that developed after his 1978 Vietnam drama, The Deer Hunter, dominated the Oscars. But mostly, it was the money. The press treated the cost as an obscenity and, 40 years later in a Hollywood dominated by budgets unthinkable during Heaven’s Gate’s production (even adjusted for inflation), it becomes hard to see why. Writing about the film for The A.V. Club in 2019, Ignaty Vishnevetsky summed it up nearly: “This may be theoretically offensive to accountants; it is not clear why it should offend anyone else.”
Click here to read the rest.
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