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Mike 03

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Modesto California
Home country: United States
Current location: Arizona
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2008, 05:14 PM
Number of posts: 16,616

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This is a pretty big topic.

There is absolutely an accepted structure for screenplays, first identified and written about by Syd Field. Many new screenwriters don't like this idea of there being rules (I didn't), but nearly every successful film obeys them to a large extent.

No doubt, working on the protagonists is much more gratifying than the antagonists. If you ask ten screenwriters their opinions on development of antagonists, you will get ten different answers. There was a time when tremendous emphasis was placed on development of the antagonist ("the more interesting the antagonist, the better the film" ). This is my personal opinion: It depends on whether your antagonist is truly a "villain" (think of the serial killer your detective is trying to capture) or an authentically-interesting and important character that triggers change in your protagonist (a movie like "As Good As It Gets", or deeply psychological movies like Lars von Trier's works like "Melancholia" or "Antichrist" ). I personally don't believe in overdeveloping unlikeable antagonists; it's a personal preference. For example, I don't care about the backstory of the villain in a James Bond or Alfred Hitchcock movie. But in dramas, it becomes much more important to fully develop antagonists, including writing up their backstories even if you never refer to their histories in the finished screenplay. Think of a fascinating antagonist like Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" or Fredo in "Godfather II" (or Colonel Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now" or Faye Dunaway's character in "Chinatown" ).

For everything I'm typing, there are many exceptions. Protagonists don't have to be likeable, but they should be interesting and complex. ("Taxi Driver" ).

To make a really long story short:

A screenplay has three acts. The first act ("The Set-Up" ) is approximately 28 to 33 or so pages. The second act ("The Confrontation" ) is approximately 60 pages. The third act ("The Resolution" ) is usually 20 to 30 pages. When all is said and done, a page approximately equals one minute of screen time, but this varies on a page by page basis based on the amount of dialogue vs. description.

A screenplay is basically a series of sequences broken down into scenes, logically and properly ordered to escalate interest, leading towards a change or epiphany in your protagonist (unless your story is about a protagonist "who refuses to change" ).

Each scene has some level of conflict. It can be extremely subtle ("The Big Chill", "Grand Canyon", "Girl Interrupted" ) or it can be people screaming at each other. Some tension must be present early on, and then sustained.

Sequences end with "reversals", which toss the story in an unexpected or interesting direction.

Major plot points occur at the close of Acts I and II.

Something relatively important should occur around the midpoint (approximately page 60). The joke used to be that if your screenplay contains a romantic relationship, page 60 is when they finally sleep together.

It is the collision of the protagonist with the antagonist that creates the change, unless you are writing an ensemble film or a film in which "society" is the antagonist.

You may want to invest in screenwriting software.

You have three to ten pages to hook your reader.

Expect to make mistakes. Completely outline your entire story before you start writing. Never begin a screenplay without knowing what the third act will be or the last few sequences.

You can break all these rules once you've learned them and made them work!

I know top Democrats must understand this

When we vote, we win. That is why Voting Rights reform must be accomplished in the next two years. It is the problem that--if fixed--solves so many other problems in terms of who controls the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Admittedly, it's not a panacea in the sense that we also have to stop the forces that would siphon off Independents and certain disillusioned factions of the Democratic base by attempting to make our country ungovernable (which has become the Republican Long Game, particularly during Democratic administrations).

Kicking. Applebaum discussed this piece on Morning Joe today.

I truly love her work and her new book Twilight of Democracy is IMO one of the most insightful books of the last few years.

I wonder if she has studied the genocides in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia as deeply as she has studied Stalinism (her specialty), though, or the reign of Pol Pot for that matter. The phenomenon of people living for decades side-by-side in authentic peace or uneasy friendship, suddenly erupting into a frenzy of homicidal violence is, well, troublesome. Maybe tensions can be patched over with some of the methods she highlights. We do need to try something.

It is also fair to say that, essentially and historically, denazification was a well-intentioned failure.

I was going to say "not long"

Historically, these things happen quickly because they are harder to stop that way.

Dictatorship happens gradually, and then suddenly.

(With a hat tip to Hemingway, who described the process of going broke the same way)

I'm recommending Ruth Ben-Ghiat's new book Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present to people interested in reading a broad case study of the rise, reign and fall of dictators, because it is a 100-year survey capturing the similarities and some occasional differences.

Worrisome for several reasons.

The failure of ANY of their predictions to come true, culminating in the failure of the MOST IMPORTANT PREDICTION to come true (i.e., the prediction that, if it did not come true, completely voids their very raison d'etre), caused even Q Influencers to finally abandon QAnon ("We all got played" ) and urge others to do so to. On top of that, one of the people suspected of starting QAnon, and running 4Chan and 8Chan, implored the movement to "go back to our lives as best we are able":

And well, they’re really not handling it well now that de facto leader Ron Watkins himself threw in the towel on Wednesday shortly after the inauguration. “We gave it our all, now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able,” Watkins said in a message board post. “We have a new president sworn in and it is our responsibility to respect the Constitution.”

Watkins was a former administrator of the 8kun (formerly 8chan) message board and both he and his father are suspected of being Q, the as-yet-unidentified creator of the movement, so it’s a sign of defeat that he’s asking supporters to stand down.


In spite of this, they are going forward?

I'm no psychiatrist, but this is alarming. It indicates that this movement is full of people so broken that against even the advice of their leaders, they cannot bring themselves to break free of this fantastical game.

Excellent. The playbook is always the same, from Mussolini to Orban and

Berlusconi to Trump. And it is now being used by many GOP too.

So simple a child can use it to divide a school: "Us vs. The Enemy."

Authoritarians need the elites to help them; they cannot rise alone.

In Hitler's case, some people even more powerful than him thought they could "use" him to achieve their own ends, believing he was a useful idiot (especially Kurt von Schleicher and Franz von Papen, but later Paul von Hindenburg) to form a coalition government to block the liberal parties from controlling the Reichstag. They played Russian Roulette and lost, and von Schleicher paid with his life on The Night of the Long Knives.

Doesn't that sound like the case with Trump? McConnell, Jeff Sessions, other GOP, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelson, elites in the Christian Nationalist Movement and White Supremacists like Stephen Miller thought, "We have an apolitical, amoral useful idiot here who we can pressure to giver us judges, tax cuts, draconian immigration laws, anything we ask for."

Giuliani's net worth is *supposedly* about $45 Million

but they need to check his offshore accounts.




He also is believed to be under investigation for other potential crimes by the D.O.J. and F.B.I., some of them may be financial too, meaning he could be subject to large fines.

I think congress and law enforcement will see them

and that the most important things in them will come to light as evidence of criminality emerges.

Most of us will need forensic accountants to fully understand the meaning of what is in those tens or hundreds of thousands of pages anyway. Just dumping them on the internet wouldn't be all that helpful. Even getting the taxes only opens the door to having to locate offshore/overseas/bogus accounts and run down suspicious transactions. Who is on the other end of those transactions? It will probably be a long process, way beyond simply getting our hands on his taxes.

The NYT did a very good job of pointing Americans in the general direction of where the suspicious activity lies. And before that, there were a number of good books like the one on Deutsche Bank (Dark Towers), and a couple of years before that Craig Unger's book House of Trump, House of Putin.

EDIT: I forgot to mention David Cay Johnson. He's shown remarkable tenacity in examining, to every extent possible, what might be gleaned from Trump's taxes.

Increasingly, the organizations trying to destroy us from the inside have

various forms of support from counterparts foreign countries (including from very high up, as is the case with Viktor Orban and Putin) and, regardless of whether these groups are racist or Christian nationalists, the list of nations supporting them often has the same suspects:

Ukraine (often Russian Ukrainians, though)
Now, Portugal is mentioned in this article.

This fatal connection with international backers is something discussed in both Sarah Posner's book Unholy and also touched upon in Katherine Stewart's book The Power Worshippers, and they also explain the toxic overlap between the Christian Nationalists and the White Supremacists--who disagree on particulars but find common ground with the idea of rejecting Democracy in favor of a nation where everyone looks and worships as they do.

Does the U.S. have mechanisms in place to prevent Trump from emulating this Putin tactic?

It's an old scheme that Putin began using when he worked in the office of the Mayor of St. Petersburg in the early 90s. You allocate an enormous sum of government money for products that would seem to benefit the people of your country but never actually arrive, and the money vanishes into offshore or foreign accounts. Or, you arrange to have a lot of that money skimmed off the top and deposited in an overseas or otherwise secret accounts. The products do arrive, but they have been wildly overpaid-for:

On 28 June 1991, he became head of the Committee for External Relations of the Mayor's Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments[54] and registering business ventures. Within a year, Putin was investigated by the city legislative council led by Marina Salye. It was concluded that he had understated prices and permitted the export of metals valued at $93 million in exchange for foreign food aid that never arrived.[55][33] Despite the investigators' recommendation that Putin be fired, Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996.[56][57] From 1994 to 1996, he held several other political and governmental positions in Saint Petersburg.[58]


More recently:

Special Report: Billion-dollar medical project helped fund 'Putin's palace'

But a Reuters investigation has found that two wealthy associates of Putin engaged in the same profiteering and suffered no penalty.

They sold medical equipment for at least $195 million to Russia and sent a total of $84 million in proceeds to Swiss bank accounts, according to bank records reviewed by Reuters. The records also indicate that at least 35 million euros ($48 million) from those accounts were funneled to a company that then helped construct a luxury property near the Black Sea known as “Putin’s palace” - a nickname earned after a businessman alleged that the estate was built for Putin. The Russian leader has denied any connection to the property.

These findings are part of a Reuters investigation into how associates of the Kremlin profit from state contracts in the Putin era. This and a later article examine what became of the president’s grand hospital undertaking. Another story, drawing on a confidential database of Russian bank records, will explore billions of dollars in spending on state railway contracts.


This tactic is also discussed in the new bombshell video report "Putin's Palace: The $ Billion Dollar GRIFT - narrated by Alexei Navalny" now viewed by more than 60 million people.

There is a lot of suspected corruption in the dealings over COVID-19 supplies, including the now well-known overpayment for ventilators:

House Democrats find administration overspent for ventilators by as much as $500 million


And a fascinating report by the Brookings Institute:

Addressing the other COVID crisis: Corruption

he need for oversight of Trump administration coronavirus spending has reached an inflection point.[1] Over the past few weeks, there have been reports that 27 clients of Trump-connected lobbyists have received up to $10.5 billion of that spending;[2] that beneficiaries have also included multiple entities linked to the family of Jared Kushner and other Trump associates and political allies;[3] that up to $273 million was awarded to more than 100 companies that are owned or operated by major donors to Trump’s election efforts;[4] that unnecessary blanket ethics waivers have been applied to potential administration conflicts of interest;[5] and that many other transactions meriting further investigation have occurred.[6]

All this comes in a climate of Trump administration hostility to oversight. During negotiations on the CARES Act, the president claimed that he personally would “be the oversight.”[7] He backed up that assertion with a signing statement after passage of the CARES Act stating that he would not treat some of the inspector general reporting requirements as mandatory.[8] The Treasury Department followed his lead by initially refusing to disclose the recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds.[9] They only relented in the face of crushing public and congressional pressure, resulting in a bevy of startling disclosures that call out for oversight.[10]


But, like many of you, I worry this is only the tip of the iceberg. We also had a series of expensive and rushed arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Do we have mechanisms in place that would prevent Trump from using financial transactions to sequester large amounts of money in offseas or sheltered accounts in foreign countries? Is this something we will be able to investigate in great depth now that we control both houses and the presidency?

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