Spanish Bonds On The Costa Brava

Once upon a time, when I worked at a radio station whose initial rhymed with “Ay Ess Tee Pee”, we went without a general manager for six months.

In that time the station’s ratings doubled.

Eventually, in their good time, Hubbard Broadcasting sent us a GM.  Who promptly screwed everything up, where it stayed until the dawn of Limbaugh.

I’m not saying that kind of thing happens all the time with businesses.

But it certainly is associated with civilized people who observe the law, in regard to “government”.

Spain, after the better part of a decade of stagnancy in squalor under a socialist government, is bouncing back strongly:

The eurozone’s fourth-largest economy is on track to expand around 3% this year, outpacing the International Monetary Fund’s projections for France, Germany and the U.S.

The landed punditry believes that is inconsistent with the fact  Spain hasn’t had a functioning  government in nearly a year:

Spain has been without a full-fledged government since December. Doubts about who will form the next one have persisted since the divided parliament elected that month failed to install a prime minister and was dissolved. A new parliament, elected in June, is also deadlocked among four major parties, none close to a majority.

It is – to borrow a phrase that the Obama administration has turned into a national punchline it – “unexpected”.

But only if you’re the kind of person that believes “Brexit” is going to send the UK back to the Stone Age, and that raising taxes fight recessions.

Wages Of Hegemony

Kevin Williamson, by way of hammering both Clinton’s self-destructive take on national security and Donald Trump’s simplistic and wrong-headed one, points out a consequence of American military, cultural and social hegemony that eludes Big Left and some of the libertarians who, these days, are increasingly indistinguishable from the left:

The American example has changed — forever — what the people of this world believe to be possible for themselves, bringing into present reality peace and prosperity that even the most utopian thinkers of three centuries ago would not have permitted themselves to dream of. Having liberated ourselves from the superstition of zero-sum economic thinking, the United States grew rich while helping other nations grow rich, too. That, too, is neither entirely altruistic nor entirely self-interested: When the United States intervened to save India from famine 50 years ago, and when Norman Borlaug et al. helped India to make a century’s worth of agricultural advances in a relatively short period of time, nobody was thinking about American exports or business practices in 2016. But it is the case that a rich India is much better suited to buy the things that America exports — aircraft, industrial machinery, optical and medical instruments – than is a poor India. For all our present anxiety, a rich China will be much better for the United States – and the world – than a poor China.

As always with Williamson, read the whole thing.

And then ask yourself; what good does an America that doubts and checks itself do anyone else?

Let That Cycle Spin

Leftist parties in Europe are facing declining membership, electoral routs, and a general malaise:

The sick list is headed by Britain’s Labour Party, where veteran radical Jeremy Corbyn last week easily won a leadership challenge by centrist MPs angry at his part in the shock Brexit vote.

But political analysts say the venerable party — founded in 1900 — faces electoral oblivion despite his victory.

Its dismal standing in the opinion polls is mirrored across Europe.

As with Labour, Spain’s Socialist Party is in the grip of a fratricidal war over the performance of its leader, Pedro Sanchez, at a time of national crisis.

In Germany, the Social Democratic Party has lost half its members since 1998.

In France, President Francois Hollande is the most unpopular president in his country’s modern history and would be routed if he stands in next year’s presidential elections, according to opinion polls.

Centre-left parties recently lost power in Denmark, a stronghold of social democracy, and registered their worst-ever results in Finland and Poland. In Greece, support for the once dominant Pasok has plunged to just six percent.

“Social democracy is a shadow of itself,” German political analyst Albrecht von Lucke said on NDR television channel. “We are dealing with decline of historic proportions.”

The bad news?  While the center right and populist parties are benefitting, many near-left voters are moving even further left.


The bad news: the Kremlin has learned the power of swamping Westerners with bogus stories:

Disinformation most famously succeeded in early 2014 with the initial obfuscation about deploying Russian forces to seize Crimea. That summer, Russia pumped out a dizzying array of theories about the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, blaming the C.I.A. and, most outlandishly, Ukrainian fighter pilots who had mistaken the airliner for the Russian presidential aircraft.


The cloud of stories helped veil the simple truth that poorly trained insurgents had accidentally downed the plane with a missile supplied by Russia.

Russian media – including “RT”, Ed Schultz’s new employer – exist in part to try to baffle the west with BS.  And, since our media is largely gullible, semiliterate and utterly completely incurious, it works like a charm.

The good news?  NATO and the EU are establishing offices to try to “fact-check” the Russian propaganda effort.

The really bad news?  Nobody in the western news media is used to fact-checking without a Democrat party operative telling them what the facts are.

A Rhetorical Question

MINNESOTA CONSERVATIVE:  If a conservative, libertarian or Republican gets hit, spit on and otherwise attacked, and no media reports on it, did it really happen?

MINNESOTA LIBERAL:  If what happened to who?  Huh?

MINNESOTA CONSERVATIVE:  I said, if a conservative, libertarian or Republican gets hit, spit on and otherwise attacked, and no media reports on it, did it really happen?

MINNESOTA LIBERAL:  If what happened to who?  Again, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

MINNESOTA CONSERVATIVE:  Well, you got that part right

Circus Without Bread

Venezuela, awash in the inevitable end results of socialism – Shortages, hyper inflation, out of control corruption in crime – is doing put failed leftist governments from Baltimore to Minneapolis to Caracas always do; playing at security theater. In this case, destroying guns:

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said the event marked the renewal of efforts to disarm Venezuelans, through a combination of seizures and a voluntary program to swap guns for electrical goods.

Venezuela has the world’s second highest murder rate and the street gangs that plague its poor neighborhoods have become increasingly heavily armed in recent years, at a time when a deep recession has reduced resources available to police.

“Reduced resources…”. “Recession”.
I don’t know Who Venezuela is trying to suck up to you, but it’s kind of funny…

Gangs often get weapons from the police, either by stealing them or buying them from corrupt officers, experts say.

Clearly, they’ve got that part solved…


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember when the US sent a check to Switzerland to be cashed into a pallet of bills and flown to Iran, where hostages were held at the airport until the money arrived? 

 Remember when President Obama said that was not ransom, that the United States didn’t pay ransom?

 Now they’re saying it was a refund due for a never-completed arms deal from the 1970’s.  And of course we tied the payment to the release of hostages.  It wouldn’t have been prudent to just give them money and hope they released the hostages, since we weren’t paying ransom.

 And it wasn’t money laundering either, and wasn’t done to subvert the law against providing assistance to Iran.  The fact that it was done in secret, converted from fiat money to US cash to Foreign cash, in foreign banks without extradition or information sharing, was not relevant to their good intentions.

 Pathetic.  Who makes up these lies?

 Joe Doakes

Someone who can count on the American people being badly educated, incurious, too hooked on reality TV (including a reality TV election) to pay much attention, and a media that will never, ever question him?

Just off the top of my head, I mean?

You’ve Been Punked – In English And Russian

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is hilarious.  Trump asking Russia “If you hacked Hillary’s private email server, will you give the FBI copies of the stuff she deleted?”  

 Hey, they need it to complete their investigation, right?  What, are Democrats against law and order?

 This is genius.  It forces everyone to recall that Hillary ran a private server for official government business, that she deleted emails instead of giving them to our own government, and that her carelessness probably enabled Russia to see her emails including anything that was classified. 

This forces Hillary’s campaign onto the defensive and robs her of momentum.   And it threatens Hillary with the possibility that stuff she believed safely deleted might come to light so she must prepare the battle-space for that possibility, which further distracts her from campaigning.

 Glenn Reynolds comments: “Troll Level: Supreme Galactic Overlord.”  All of that.

Joe Doakes

Never thought I’d find something to admire about Trump – but here we go.

Pay Your Way

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Donald Trump said if he is elected President and NATO is attacked, the United States would defend the countries that are doing their share to defend themselves. 


Liberals and Neo-Cons are aghast.  What?  Expect European nations to pay their fair share of their own defense?  Outrageous.

 Except that was the original deal, as explained in this article from the London Telegraph, and shown in the helpful chart. 

Notice who’s NOT paying their way?  France.  Norway.  Germany.  Denmark.  Countries that could afford to pay, but choose not to pay so they have lots of money to spend on freebies for citizens.  Free riders can indulge in risky behavior knowing the United States is standing ready to bail them out of any fights they pick.

 It’s bad policy to let your “allies” stiff you and even worse to provide them with a moral hazard that all too easily ends up as: “Let’s you and him fight.”

 Trump is exactly right: a deal is a deal.  If you don’t hold up your end of the deal by paying your share, we have no obligation to hold up our end of the deal by running to your aid.  Does that mean we pull out of NATO entirely and hand the continent over to Putin?  Probably not, in the end.  But there’s no harm in reminding deadbeats they need to clean up their past due bill if they want to receive future credit.

 Joe Doakes

One notes that Trump in particular singled out the Baltic states – who have been increasing their defense spending at an emergency pace; they, along with the Poles (whose spending is near NATO’s guideline, and whose military shows it), remember Russian rule in particular.

Falling Far Behind

Whenever the subject of Islamicist terror is brought up, the left and media (ptr) springs to action to remind us that domestic “right wing terror”, which is just around the corner (we are constantly assured.



And who knows?  It could happen!

But if “the right” – with about four incidents of lethal terror in the past 25 years – is going to be much much worse. it’s going to pass Islamicist terror, they’re going to have to get hoofing to make up the numbers from this year alone.


So it looks like all the people who were caterwauling about doom and gloom for British trade in the wake of the “brexit” were unreservedly correct, and the English economy is going to spiral into the toilet like an airplane missing both wings…

… I’m sorry. I got something caught in my throat. As I was trying to say, the lesson is clear: without the guidance of “experts” who’ve never run a business, and whose entire frame of reference is nothing but being bureaucrats, a sovereign peoples’ hopes of a decent living or just wind and sales…

…hopes of a decent living are just wind and sales…

… No, that’s just something in my throat still…

… Oh, who am I kidding?   It’s been less than two weeks, and countries are lining up to cut trade deals with Britain, independent of the EU.

Why, it’s almost as if all those jeremiads from the wonks, and the wannabee wonks in the media, the American and European left, and National Public Radio, we’re just trying to scare people into acquiescence with the wishes of their self-appointed betters or something.


Andy Aplikowski – long of the “Residual Forces” blog – writes re the Brexit on Facebook:

So it appears the only people still whining about ‪#‎BREXIT‬ are:

1) European politicians who will lose power.
2) American politicians afraid of Federalism and State’s rights catching on in the US.
3) Filthy rich who lost a “crap ton” of money due to stock market and currency corrections.

The rest of the world doesn’t seem to be permanently affected. Maybe we should have more votes of no confidence in the people who are screwing up the world.

Line up the petitions.  I’m good to go.


Some of my circle of acquaintances are deeply pessimistic about the “Brexit”.

“Without the EU”, they say, “the standard of living in the UK will plummet.  They’ll be frozen out of trade; they’re blowing up their own economies, setting themselves back decades!”

I’ll note that most of the acquaintances are the types who seem themselves as amateur versions of the globalist wonks that run things like, well, the EU and the UN, not to mention things like the Met Council and anything with “Urban Studies” attached.

And the have a point.

Watching the Brexit, I’m recalling what happened when Switzerland opted out of joining the EU.

One of the nicer neighborhoods in Geneva, Switzerland. This area is a block off Lake Geneva.

And the chaos that accompanied Norway deciding that they and the rest of Europe should just remain friends.

Oslo, Norway. This photo is taken two blocks from the “Storting”, Norway’s Parliament building, in the heart of Oslo’s central city.

How could Britain have been so stupid, knowing what happens to European Countries that don’t join the EU?


Today’s the big day for “Brexit” – the referendum on the UK’s exit from the European Union.

We’ll come back to that.

25 years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed (for a while).   The media was confused and befuddled; most of them had bet on the wrong team during the Cold War.

Now, whenever a huge, all-encompassing, not to mention totalitarian, system completely collapses, there will be a certain amount of chaos, as people, not to mention nations, economies and political systems, try to find their feet after a generation or two under a completely different system.   Turning from “Totalitarian Gangster State” to “Social Democracy” – forget “Free Market” for now – isn’t something nations and societies can do with easy grace, any more than Tom Brokaw can do an Olympic Gymnastics routine.

But our mainstream media apparently didn’t know or believe that.  In 1994 – barely two years after the collapse of the Iron Curtain – Poland was in a recession.  Tom Brokaw, on the NBC Evening News, echoing the sentiments of many MSM chin-strokers, gravely intoned “It appears that Poland’s experiment with free markets has failed”.

Two whole years after the Wall fell.

It was wishful thinking from a mainstream media that missed having a constant crisis to cover (not to mention an “enemy” with whom they were so sympathetic).   Poland went on to become one of Europe’s economic success stories. Eastern Europe has had ups and downs – but other than a few crypto-authoritarian splinter states (shut up about Belarus), none of them are pining for a return to Communism.    Quite the opposite.

Statue of Ronald Reagan in Warsaw, Poland – one of many monuments to the greatest leader of the second half of the 20th century that dot the lands he played a pivotal role in freeing.

Anyway, point being this:

  1. American mainstream media and the establishment whose PR firm they largely are forecast gloom and doom with the breakup of the USSR, since it was uncertain, and they had little faith in freedom or the market.
  2. Eastern Europe largely, imperfectly, and with inevitable struggle, succeeded.
  3. Mainstream media ignored the success.

Thus endeth the history lesson.

Today the American mainstream media is predicting various degrees of disaster should the UK pull out of the big, arthritic bureaucratic pseudo-state that is the EU.

Maybe they’re right.

But their record in betting against freedom, autonomy and the market isn’t all that good, unless by “good” you mean “consistent”.

When People Complain About Donald Trump’s Appeals To Base Nature…

…they really need to get some perspective.

The Philippine president-elect has encouraged the public to help him in his war against crime, urging citizens with guns to shoot and kill drug dealers who resist arrest and fight back in their neighborhoods.

In a nationally televised speech late Saturday, Rodrigo Duterte told a huge crowd in the southern city of Davao that Filipinos who help him battle crime will be rewarded.

“Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun — you have my support,” Duterte said, warning of an extensive illegal drug trade that involves even the country’s police.

If a drug dealer resists arrest or refuses to be brought to a police station and threatens a citizen with a gun or a knife, “you can kill him,” Duterte said. “Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal.”

That’s more than a wall.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

European wacko, far-right, fringe party . . . wins 36% of the vote.  The mainstream, sensible, traditional parties couldn’t scrape together enough to get into the runoff election.

 The media keeps using that word: “fringe.”  I don’t think it means what they think it means. 

 This election result is not an accident, this is the beginning of Europeans taking back their governments because of the immigrant crisis.  Next will come fences and deportations.  

 Meanwhile, America frets about bathrooms.

 Joe Doakes

For now, anyway.

For now.

History Repeats

The most dangerous thing in the world to be, for the past 70 years, has been a “moderate Muslim”.

It’s been very much in the interest of every wave of Arab and Muslim radical – from the grand mufti of Jerusalem, through the PLO, to Al Qaeda and ISIS – to make the Muslim in the street afraid not to get out-of-the-way, if not overtly join them.

Which brings us to this.

Rumor Of Anything But War Nosirreebob

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A general in Iran claims Iran has been preparing for all-out war on the US and its allies for years.

No doubt the Obama administration is pondering this message for subtle clues.  What could it mean?  Is it a plea for carbon credits?  Living-wage jobs?  What do Iranians really want?

Joe Doakes

It’s something about launching nukes if any state implements Voter ID, I think.

Plain Sight

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Despite passionate denials by the Pollyanna Pair — Dog Gone and Penigma — I remain convinced that Brussels and Paris are linked. They are small unit actions in an slow-motion war being waged by fundamentalist Muslims against the West. The incomparable Fernandez explains why it’s worse than I thought.

In the six months since the Paris attack, Belgian authorities searched the Muslim-dominated neighborhoods where they believed accomplices were living. Authorities couldn’t find the bombers because they were being hidden by their neighbors.

The Brussels bombers were not lone wolves acting against the wishes of the Muslim community. They were supported and protected by members of the Muslim community. When Dutch householders hid Jews from Nazis, we applauded. But when Belgian Muslims hide suicide bombers from law enforcement, we have a different view.

Digging out the remaining co-conspirators and future martyrs will be arduous if the Belgian government even has the stomach for it, must less the money and manpower to answer the question: When will we know we’ve got them all? How far down does the tap root go? When will we be safe?

Geert Wilders, candidate for Prime Minister of the Netherlands, says if he wins he’ll crush Islamic terrorism, close the national borders and de-Islamize The Netherlands. Sounds like a new buzz-word has been coined, more catchy than Reconquista 2.0. One could pass it off as racist hatemongering except Wilders presently lives under a death sentence because of a fatwa issued against him by Imam Feiz Muhammad.

Now the really big question: are there embedded terrorist cells here, in the United States? Maybe even in our own Minnesota Muslim community? The San Bernardino attack and US Attorney Luger’s recent indictments suggest there may be. What are we going to do about it?

Joe Doakes

What are we going to do?

Where “we” means “our current ruling class?”

I’m going to guess “vigorous virtue-signaling”.

This Is What Slippery Slope Looks Like

Every rifle club member in the UK is now on a terror watch list.

Security services have quietly acquired the details of every single person in the UK with access to firearms and put them on a database with known terrorists, it has emerged.

Hidden away in the middle of the government’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill, a snooper’s charter designed to legalise mass surveillance of innocent law-abiding British residents, was a startling admission dressed up as a case study

The lesson?

Never, ever compromise with the left on the Second Amendment.  You may as well compromise with a snake.

The Difference Between Obama And Reagan, Part MMMXM

If Barack Obama had been president in the 1980s, he’d have extended the Russians a line of credit to help them forestall bankruptcy (for a while, anyway) and keep a fresh coat of paint on the Berlin Wall . He’s have opened the nation up to trade and “public-private partnerships” (by companies that agreed to play ball with the Soviets, of course).  And he’d ahve not only thrown Solidarity and the legions of the Soviets’ political prisoners under the bus, but stomped on them a few times to keep them there and out of the way, incapable of sidetracking the narrative.

Thankfully, Obama was not president.  Reagan was.

[After Reagan called the USSR an “evil empire” – how un-Obama-like can you get?], Anatoly Shcharansky was in the Gulag. (After, he would become Natan Sharansky.) He and his fellow zeks heard what Reagan had done. Had the American president really called the Soviet Union an “evil empire”? Yes. Years later, Sharansky reflected:

“It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell’s Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.”

Barack Obama has thrown the Castros a lifeline – which, with the demise of the USSR and the disintegration of Venezuela, their major benefactors this past fifty years, they need to avoid being put, eventually, to the pike.  He was “opened” the country (to those who will play ball with the Castros, the Castros way).

And he’s just re-upped the sentence for every human rights and liberties dissident on the island.

I’m ashamed of this president.  That’s nothing new, of course.  But it never gets easier.


If nothing else, Europe’s Jews have learned that when your ship strikes an iceberg, you don’t wait for a future round of lifeboats:

The European Jewish Congress has publicized a shocking poll: “A third of the European Jews think of emigrating”. That is 700,000 people.

“The Jews of Europe are at a crossroads”, tells me Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress based in Brussels. “If the authorities continue to add only defensive measures, building taller walls and thicker doors, then the Jews will not want to live this imprisoned life and will leave Europe in large numbers”.

Before the attack in Copenhagen, a year ago, there were 23 children in the Jewish kindergarten in Malmö [Sweden]: today there are only 5 left. The armed guards in front of the school triggered panic and parents prefer to enroll their children in public school. It is the end of Jewish identity. Some people whispered that the synagogue of the city will soon be turned into a museum. From 2010 to today, the synagogue lost a third of the faithful. The rabbi, Shneur Kesselman, is constantly attacked in the streets: almost 200 episodes of anti-Semitism in ten years.

Wonder where this round of refugees is going to settle?

Good Spirit. Lousy Idea.

Anyone with a living soul was nauseated by the display in Cologne on New Years Eve, where thousands of men of “North African” descent roamed the street in gangs, sexually assaulting women and impeding the police’s attempts to respond.

Here in the US – where this sort of thing is thankfully very rare – the responses depended on the responder’s politics.

People on the left strenuously denied there was a problem, or blamed it on fraternities affiliated with the NRA.

People on the right bought another box of ammo.

Either would be more productive, I suspect, than this group of…er, males in the Netherlands:

The sign says “If you’re not wearing pants, you make less of a mess when they attack you”. No, that’s not true. It says “Don’t make women dress chaste / keep your hands to yourself”. That’ll show ’em.

I’m sure the women of Cologne are thankful for the “solidarity”.

A more productive statement?  Germans are doing their best to arm themselves, as best they can given Germany’s patriarchal gun laws.

And where real people try to arm themselves, you can count on the media to get the Victorian vapours.

The caption says “The Weapons industry profits from the Refugee crisis”. Naturally. Blame Big Gun.

Or in this case, I suppose, the Hohenzollern vapours.

Which group do you suppose will actually benefit the women of Germany – the shooters or the Dutch guys in dresses?

Halpert The Headless Thompson Gunner

I saw 13 Hours over the weekend.

Several reactions:

Worst Fears Not Realized:  I’ve been rooting for this movie for a long time – ever since I met “John “Tig” Tiegen (Dominic Fumusa), and Mark “Oz” Geist (portrayed in the movie by Dominic Fumusa and Max Martini, respectively), and got a chance to interview them on my show last year.

But when I saw that Michael Bay was directing it, I felt my hope curdle into a icy ball of despair.  Bay was behind the loathsome Pearl Harbor and all the bad Transformers movies that followed on after the good one.    (Of course, he also did The Rock and the very underrated Pain and Gain, so perhaps I’m being a little harsh on the Bayver).

In a Michael Bay movie, .223 rounds apparently use napalm as a propellant.

But while it included some of Bay’s signature moves – the MTV-era editing, the slow-mo explosions, the Die Hard-style wisecracking between battle scenes – it all actually worked well.  And sometimes superlatively – as in a scene when a group of State Department employees in an armored Mercedes are getting shot at at point-blank range by a group of locals.  Really, really stunning sequence.

But the movie largely focused on the story.  And it’s there that things get interesting.

The Story Behind The Story:  The movie, of course, is about one of the most controversial events in recent years – the September 11, 2012 attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.  During the attack, the US Ambassador, a State Department communications staffer, and two CIA security contractors were killed.   The situation could have gotten much worse but for the team of CIA contractors – ex-military men working as guards for the CIA compound – who responded, defending the State Department compound for 13 hours, until a scratch team of American intelligence and military led a friendly Libyan militia to the rescue.

In a typical Michael Bay movie, there’d be a twist at this point. I won’t give you any spoilers, but any infantryman can probably tell you how this turns out.

The controversy – for those of you who’ve been asleep for the past three years – is over whether a “stand down” order was given to successive levels of potential US paramilitary and military response, from the contractors on the scene all the way up to the Air Force in Italy and the 10th Special Forces group in Croatia.  If so, of course, then the Ambassador and the contractors were left dangling for half a day without any government support.  The Administration and the CIA have angrily denied it; Hillary Clinton said it made no difference at this point; the contractors on the scene all swear by it.

It’s Michael Bay – and yet it works.

The movie plays a little peek-a-boo with the issue, but for one key episode; as the State Department and CIA staffers on the scene ask, then beg, for support, we are treated to scenes of CIA contractors being held on their leash; F16s in Italy sitting on the runway, unmanned; Green Berets in the Balkans, sitting and waiting.

Why?  That question is left danging out there.

And two of the conservative reviews I’ve actually read mirror the controversy; Armond White thinks Bay defers to entertainment over substance, using the tension as just another showy Michael Bay editing trick.   Cranky T-Rex at Hot Air thinks it’s a feature, not a bug:

Bay and screenwriter Chuck Hogan wisely avoid having the story they are telling sidetracked by political concerns.  Instead they are able to hammer home the horrible truths about Benghazi that have thus far been written off as Republican political pandering.

Of course, this blog’s standard procedure is to assume all bureaucrats are lying, so you know where my money is.

The movie has been portrayed as a challenge to the inevitability of Hillary’s coronation.  I’m way too cynical to think the American people are that perceptive – but hope springs eternal.

Brothers In Arms:  The casting, of course, was interesting to say the least.

For starters – if there’s one actor in Hollywood that’s benefitted from being utterly and completely typecast, it has to be Max Martini, as Mark “Oz” Geist.

Martini and Geist at the opening. The resemblance is more than just physical.

I interviewed Geist last year – and met him, shortly after that, at an event on the 13 Hours book tour – which was the first time I’d heard that the book was going to become a feature film (which shows you how closely I follow all things Hollywood.

And while I can’t honestly say I thought “Max Martini would be the perfect casting choice to portray Geist”, it all made perfect sense, personally as well as in terms of resemblance, in the actual movie.

Of course, the casting of Jon Krasinski as the pseudonymous and fictional “Jack Silva”, portrayed as a former SEAL colleague of Tyrone “Ty” Woods (played by James Badge Dale, of Longmire fame) is a little riskier.   I thought, going in – “Jim Halpert as a SEAL?”

It’s not Krasinski’s first take at a military character (he played a bit part in Jarhead, in 2005), but it’s his first since he became “Jim Halpert” in The Office, one of the best sitcoms of the century so far.  Did he blast out of the typecast?

Yes and no – and to the extent that he didn’t, that’s OK, since he’s not in the movie to portray a real former SEAL with a striking resemblance to a sitcom character; he’s basically the audience’s third-person-omniscient stand-in in the story.

Does he pass as a SEAL?  Well, he doesn’t pass as the Hollywood stereotype of a SEAL – which is probably a good thing.

So yes, it took me a bit to get past the habits picked up in 11 years of watching The Office (and yes, I’ve seen every episode, at least in the first seven seasons, at least a few times, and yes, it’s better than the Brit version), but I pulled it off.

(The film’s other Office alum, David Denman – who played warehouse worker and Pam’s first fiance “Roy”, plays the real-life David “Boon” Benton, and passes pretty easily as a former Airborne Ranger).

Krasinski and Denman.

Conclusions:  As filmmaking craft?   It was great bit of filmmaking.  The things that play as whiz-bang cliches in most Michael Bay movies generally work, here.

Acting?  It never stretches credulity.

The message?

Well, I’ll let you watch it, and leave it to each of you to figure out what you think about it.

Worth seeing in a theater.