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Barry MacDonald

Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.

Monday, 28 August 2023 10:53

August 2023 Summary

The following is a summary of the August/September issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in “A Cornucopia of American Scandal,” touches on the horrific wildfire in Maui, amid an absence of American leadership; the continuing affliction of Marxist propagandistic news; the downgrading of American credit, and the profligacy of federal spending; the lawfare being waged against President Trump; and the blind eye being turned toward Biden family corruption.

Derek Suszko, in “The Mission of The St. Croix Review,” presents “. . . a future restoration platform that will go beyond the means and ambitions of the vacillating conservative movement of the previous decades.”

Allan Brownfeld, in “Let’s Teach About Slavery, But Let’s Get It Right,” reminds us that, far from being America’s “original sin,” slavery has persisted throughout most of history; in “Moving Toward a Genuinely Color-Blind Society,” he cites the words of black scholars and of black historical figures to uphold Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideal of a color-blind society; in “Can We Restore the Old Idea of Free Speech for a Variety of Ideas?” he chronicles the historical difficulty in practicing and the present endangered condition of one America’s highest ideals: that of free speech.

Paul Kengor, in “Edward Teller: Remembering the Other Father of the Bomb” writes of the last interview that the legendary physicist ever gave before his death; in “Joe Pesci, Sinéad O’Connor, and the Lousy Liberal Media,” he shows how the humorless, agenda-driving media are relentlessly bitter.

Mark Hendrickson in “Adam Schiff, Hunter Biden, and the Congressional Democratic Mob,” reveals the shameless behavior of the Democratic members of the House on the occasion of the censure of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for lying before Congress and the American people; in “It’s Time We Update Labor Union Laws,” he writes of a recent Supreme Court ruling that finally outlawed sabotage, vandalism, and violence on the part of labor unions.

Timothy S. Goeglein, in “Why Faith and Family Are the Cure for Loneliness,” notes the deadly affliction of loneliness that is spreading in America, and he proposes a solution.

Tyler Scott, in “This Place I Call Home,” waxes poetic about why she loves being from and living in the American “South.”

Tyler Scott, in “Majesty,” presents a short story about romance in a retirement home.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “‘Ninotchka’: Garbo Laughs,” reviews the career of Swedish-born actress Greta Garbo, and her role in “Ninotchka,” a comedy, in which she plays a Soviet Agent sent to Paris; in “More Film Noir Favorites,” he reviews eight classics.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer — The Land of Cockaigne,” writes about the phenomena of Yuppies and their “Community Supported Agriculture” projects (CSPs), ideological outposts in Vermont, that were unable to support themselves.

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservative: 7 — Jonathan Swift,” considers three of Gulliver’s four voyages in Gulliver’s Travels.

Wednesday, 05 July 2023 13:47

Transgenderism Is a Wrecking Ball

The mission of the St. Croix Review is to end the destruction of America by reestablishing the family as the center of American life, restoring economic prosperity to an independent middle class, and reviving a culture of tradition.

Transgenderism Is a Wrecking Ball

Barry MacDonald — Editorial

Has something happened to the water Americans are drinking to change us so fundamentally? Or has the weight of oppression and suppression lifted sufficiently so that inhibition as to sexuality is dissolved, and so Americans are newly liberated?

After a pivotal majority of the American people decided to accept and sanctify gay marriage as a humane institution, one wondered at the time what further innovation would Progressives propose next. Now we know that transgenderism is the new shiny object. As one of our writers, Paul Kengor, observed: The Left doesn’t have fixed principles — they have direction — always further left.

Remember previous points from these editorials: The issue is not the issue. Accusation is a trick that draws attention away from the accuser, and focuses the vitriol of the nation upon the target. The targets are the norms of society, and the people who uphold them.

Is it plausible that human nature has transformed? In human history the vast majority have been satisfied living with the gender into which they were born. But recently, something miraculous happened. New paths of discovery have opened! A revolution was gifted to us by Progressive ideology!

The Left is diabolically clever. It has ladened and skewed the entire educational systems of America, starting in kindergarten, away from prosperity-affirming skills like reading and writing, toward the perversity of gender ideology. Progressives are driving a wedge between parents and children with drag queen celebrations. Children are being sexualized as they enter public schools. “Educators” intend to keep secret from parents the gender transition of children. The FBI was tasked by the Attorney General of the United States to investigate and intimidate parents who protested against gender ideology at school board meetings. On the one hand, the Left denies that gender ideology is being taught in schools. On the other hand, when presented with evidence, they make the accusation that traditional gender roles are oppressive and evil.

The point needs be hammered home. The issue is not the issue. The issue is power and revolution.

The Progressive movement can be divided into two groups. The majority of Progressive Americans are true believers. These Americans accept wholeheartedly Progressive narratives: That America is an awful nation with an evil history; that white men are the source of injustice; that all American institutions need to be upended; that Christianity is a tool of patriarchy; that the American Right is consumed with hatred, manifesting in racism, sexism, and all manner of bigotry.

The other group of Progressives consists of the gang that is running the movement. These are the true revolutionaries who know what they are doing. They create the narratives. They are the pied pipers leading the tribe of true believers. One imagines them having a good, self-satisfied, laugh behind the scenes, reveling in their success. Look at their accomplishments! They have been able to dupe a sizable portion of people in Western democracies that human souls could and should reconsider their birth gender. They have upended the sanctity of marriage, the family ties between parents and children, masculinity, femininity, education, fair play in athletics, corporate governance, and the norms of millennia.

The guiding obsession of the gang controlling Progressives is the worship of political leverage. It is a simple formula. Pick a target. Surround, encumber, mock, and demonize the target with daily mass media assaults. Elevate and repeatedly stress the narrative. Employ the educational systems and the entertainment industry. Play on victim mentality. Never admit to doubt or qualms. Keep the pressure up.

The Progressive gang does not care about the welfare of innocent children who are caught in the net of propaganda. It does not care about the ruination that comes when transitioned students realized they made a tragic mistake. These children submitted to gender “affirming” mutilation surgery, and their lives have been damaged forever. The gang is using innocent children as cannon fodder in service of their revolution.

The gang is creating narratives as a means to an end. Some individuals in the gang may want utopia, while others cynically aim to enrich themselves through power.

American society is shot through with the rot of Progressive ideology. People distrust all of our major institutions. We are disoriented and confused as to what the truth is. Having been divorced from traditional American ideals, we are hungering for something genuine to believe in and support.

It is more than likely that the politicos and media hacks who run Washington, D.C., pridefully know that their messaging is full of sham and deceit. There is a discernable feel of sliminess about their propagandistic pronouncements. Most of the daily narrative is a lie, and everyone who is spinning the news knows it.

It is not easy to distinguish the gang from the true believers. Hint: The gang are adept and brazen liars.

Transgenderism is a wrecking ball. Its societal impact reveals the raw power of propaganda. Watch a movie filmed 20 years ago and take note of how much American culture has changed in such a brief time — how much our underlying suppositions have shifted.

For insight into the vicious heart of Progressive intentions, consider the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” — grown, burly men with beards, masquerading as drag queen nuns. Their events are worse than minstrel shows with characters in blackface. They aren’t merely men aping women. The “sisters” are shock troops involved in a Marxist/Leninist revolution, in a pitched battle, assaulting the moral sensibilities of traditional America. They target the Catholic Church with “Hunky Jesus” and “Foxy Mary” contests. The Los Angeles Dodgers franchise provided the “Sisters” with a major league stadium as a theater for their spectacle — with mockery and arrogance toward what is sacred.     *

Wednesday, 05 July 2023 13:42

June 2023 Summary

The following is a summary of the June 2023 issue of The St. Croix Review.

Barry MacDonald, in “Transgenderism Is a Wrecking Ball,” exposes the sham and evil of gender ideology.

Allan Brownfeld, in “Remembering an Act of Christian Love During the Holocaust,” tells the story of Padre Niccacci, of Assisi, Italy, who saved 300 Jews during the Nazi occupation; in “What Is Meant When We Speak of Making Education Relevant?” while many universities are phasing out majors in English, history, philosophy, mathematics, and theology in favor of more “relevant” studies, he offers a timeless vision of “higher” education; in “Americans Ignore the Fragility of Our Democracy — and Its Current Disarray — at Our Peril,” he presents us with ancient wisdom and a thorough grounding in Founding principles.

Paul Kengor, in “Mary Ball Washington,” brings to life the character of George Washington and his mother, who raised America’s first president, thus becoming the First Mother; in “The Book of Acts Is Not Communism,” he forcefully reveals the bottomless hatred of Communism for Christianity and all religions.

Mark Hendrickson, in “Degrowth: The New Fad in the Climate Change Movement Is Socialist Central Planning,” exposes the irrational, haphazard, and absurd qualities of the latest leftist talking points that would lead to less prosperity.

Kenneth G. Elzinga, in “Capitalism and Democracy,” looks at common terms, like “Capitalism,” “Cost,” “Monopoly,” and “Democracy,” and filters them through an economic lens to reveal the profound truths that characterize American society.

Paul Suszko, in “World Wisdom in Verse,” offers a poem with a synthesis of historical wisdom.

Derek Suszko, in “The Fall of the Roman Republic: A Narrative and Analytical Comparison with the Contemporary Conditions of the United States,” comes to some conclusions.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “Humphrey Bogart: ‘High Sierra,’” profiles the one actor who has appeared in the most top-ranked films; in “The Demise of the DVD Mailing Service on Netflix,” he details the end of a service that provided easy access to the Golden Age of Hollywood, including commentary and video biographies of the people involved in the films — directors, producers, musical composers, and even costume designers.

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives: 6 — Michael Gilbert,” reviews the stalwart craft of the British writer of crime fiction.

Derek Suszko reviews Gordon L. Anderson’s Integral Society: Social Institutions and Individual Sovereignty.

Tuesday, 25 April 2023 13:53

The Curse of Accusation

The mission of the St. Croix Review is to end the destruction of America by reestablishing the family as the center of American life, restoring economic prosperity to an independent middle class, and reviving a culture of tradition.

The Curse of Accusation

Barry MacDonald — Editorial

To the extent that people form their political opinions in reaction to fear and anger, their minds drift toward morbidity and tribalism. Progressives cleverly use the dark tendencies of people as leverage.

It takes hard work and mental discipline to go about one’s business with optimism. One needs the assurance that what one does is useful, worthwhile, and helpful to others. I rely on a power much greater than I am from which I gain courage, strength, and guidance. One of the principles of The St. Croix Review is to assert the necessity of relying on spiritual faith to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves — to find the courage hidden within us.

We must realistically face and understand the mendacious, malevolent, avaricious, chaotic, and irrational forces arrayed against wholesome government. The politics practiced in America today — driven by the progressive movement — is the politics of accusation. It is a very simple trick. The attention of the public, framed by the media, is saturated in accusation. The motives and character of the accuser are ignored, and remain hidden. The target of the accusation suffers the full force and weight of the nation’s demented hatred.

This pattern of accusation and demonization is rampant in America, infecting the entire spectrum of issues. Activists, journalists, progressives, entertainers, and scholars are masters of the art. They accuse others of the turpitude that they themselves are guilty of. Accusation is a double whammy — it casts innocent people under a cloud of disrepute, and at the same time it provides a shield for the accusers, who take advantage of being evil and free of scruples.

It is frustrating to recognize that the accusers themselves are depraved and guilty. There is an element of sadism practiced by accusers. The accused are burdened with disproving charges, while it is difficult to expose the mendacity of accusers as they hide behind their accusations.

  • Al Sharpton used the Tawana Brawley incident 1987 to stoke racial division. The young woman was found in a trash bag with racial slurs written on her body, which was covered in feces. She said that four men, police officers and a prosecuting attorney, kidnapped and raped her over four days. The charge received widespread national attention. Americas were shocked by the appalling aspect of the story. A grand jury concluded that the purported assault did not occur, and that Brawley herself had staged the incident. The accused prosecuting attorney, Steven Pagones, successfully sued Brawley and Al Sharpton for defamation. The Tawana Brawley incident is the Hydra of racial politics in America, of which the Jussie Smollett hoax is the latest example. To borrow a phrase from Saddam Hussein, the Tawana Brawley hoax was the “mother of all accusations.”

  • President Biden recently accused Republicans of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for American seniors. The Republican Party currently has no plans to modify these programs. For generations, Democrats have charged Republicans of scheming to curtail retirement benefits, and the ploy has effectively motivated voters through many political campaigns. Fear is a useful tactic. Both elected Republicans and Democrats understand entitlements are hurtling toward insolvency, but neither party has the wherewithal to honestly address the issue. Senator Rick Scott of Florida and president George W. Bush raised the issue — both were demonized. Sooner or later, as the interest accruing on the national debt becomes increasingly unsustainable, the political stalemate will collapse and government will be forced to cut these programs. Problems which could have been mitigated and minimized will instead be exacerbated and made severe.

  • Over some months last year, parents vehemently objected to the indoctrination of their children with gender ideology, to the prolonged imposition of mask mandates, and the prolonged closure of the schools. At school board meetings across the nation, parents voiced their objections. In reaction, parents were accused of being “domestic terrorists” by the National School Board Association. The NSBA wrote a letter to Justice Department prompting the Justice Department to investigate the parents. White House staff colluded in the wording of the letter. Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a memo to federal law enforcement agencies across America directing investigative teams to coordinate with 14,000 school districts. The attorney general and the Biden administration aimed to intimate and silence parents by using counter-terrorist measures against them.

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is continuously being accused of bigotry because he led the passage of legislation prohibiting gender activism in public schools. The legislation stops the teaching of sex “education” to students in kindergarten through the third grade. “Story hours” led by men dressed as women to kindergarteners are now prevented in Florida. The “Parental Rights in Education” bill, guided through the legislature by Governor Ron DeSantis, is labeled “controversial” by the corporate, progressive media, and the new law is dishonestly tarred as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by mischievous activists.

Ordinary Americans are assaulted daily with a barrage of dispiriting accusations in the media. We must recognize the toxicity of these attacks. We must emulate the valor of parents at school board meetings throughout America. And we must place our trust in our religious faiths, because the battle to reclaim and reestablish decency in American institutions will necessitate a sustained and determined effort for an indeterminate length of time.

Please recognize the sad, excruciating irony of our predicament, suffering as we are hammer blow after hammer blow of accusation from the Left. The Left accuses good-hearted, decent Americans of being bigots and haters, while they themselves are radiating shock waves of hatred and bigotry. The Left is casting a spell over our children, insinuating that their souls were born into the bodies of the wrong gender, and that a sensible remedy is irreversible genital mutilation, which is styled “gender affirmation.” Progressive activists don’t care about the welfare of children. They are indifferent to the lives of American children. They are using children as cannon fodder to advance a totalitarian agenda.

To regain the health of American society, a determined segment of clear-eyed, patriotic Americans needs to expose and counter the wickedness of the progressive movement. We must not fall prey to disarming guilt over the blemishes of American history. The progressive movement has nothing good to offer America. They intend to burn and raze America.

We ordinary Americans are not the “haters” we are made out to be. The genuine “haters” are those who are fanatically casting these vicious accusations. We should not be afraid to say so.     *

Tuesday, 25 April 2023 13:52

April 2023 Summary

The following is a summary of the April/March issue of the St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in “The Curse of Accusation” exposes the malignancy of current American politics.

Allan Brownfeld, in “In the Search for Bigotry, Karl Marx’s Racism Has Been Ignored,” exposes the well-documented hatred Marx held for those who he supposed were “inferior” peoples, and for his eagerness to see such peoples eliminated; in “Confronting Social Media’s Often Negative Impact on American Children and Teenagers,” he shares studies that demonstrate the harmful effects, especially on girls, of sustained exposure to social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram — the harms include lack of sleep, anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies; in “Is There a Retreat from Excellence in Education to Protect the Feelings of Non-achievers?” he cites lowered admission standards to Thomas Jefferson and Lafayette High Schools as evidence that meritocracy is giving way to equity in America.

Mark Hendrickson, in “Yuri Maltsev (1950-2023)” tells the heroic story of a Soviet citizen and economist who rose through the ranks of Soviet bureaucracy, knowing as he did the folly of centrally planned economics. Yuri Maltsev seized an opportunity to defect to America and become a U.S. citizen. He went on to became a stalwart defender of American free enterprise.

Paul Kengor, on the occasion of Black History Month, has written “My Top 10 Black Conservatives,” which include Eldridge Cleaver and Malcom X.

Gary Scott Smith, in “Remembering Jackie Robinson,” praises the outstanding Brooklyn Dodgers player who broke through the racial barrier in major league baseball, and who thus opened the way to greater participation for Blacks in American society.

John Sparks, in “The 10-Year Fight of a Courageous Baker: Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop,” explores the ongoing legal harassment of Jack Phillips because of his refusal to perform a service that conflicts with his religious beliefs and his right to freedom of speech.

Timothy S. Goeglein, in “Two Giants Celebrate 100 Years with Humility and Grace,” writes of the lifetime accomplishments of James Buckley and Henry Kissinger.

Derek Suszko, in “The Fall of the Roman Republic: A Narrative and Analytical Comparison with the Contemporary Conditions of the United States of America — (Part 4 of a Series),” continues his analysis by looking at the justifications the elites espouse for their right to rule, and he divides the societies of the Roman republic and the American Republic in factions, thusly, to clarify how the balance of power operates.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “Barbara Stanwyck: ‘Ball of Fire,’” reviews the movies and career of the actress who many critics believe is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, actress in Hollywood history.

Robert DeStefano, in “Dandelion,” offers a charming and insightful poem, followed by an informed essay on a commonly disliked weed.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Christmas Memories,” summons memories of a vanished America of the quality of “a door in the vine-covered wall” that he thought was lost.


Monday, 06 February 2023 12:32

DeStefano Reviews

DeStefano Reviews

Francis P. DeStefano

Francis P. DeStefano holds a Ph.D. in history from Fordham University, where his field of concentration was 18th century British politics. He left the academy to pursue a career as a financial adviser. He retired in 2008 and is pursuing his interest in history, especially Renaissance art history. He resides in Connecticut and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jane Austen on Film

I must confess that I’m a big fan of Jane Austen, one of the great, if not the greatest, English novelists. I’ve read her novels as a young man and still enjoy them now as a senior citizen. One critic said about her perennial popularity:

“It’s no crime to be a lover of Jane Austen. . . . Apart from her gorgeous sense of humor, her vision is so fairly and evenly adjusted that you don’t have to get distracted all the time by the author’s own prejudices and neuroses subconsciously creeping in and distorting the whole thing . . .”

I believe that her novels should be required reading in schools today, especially for young men. It’s not just that they will gain insights about the way women think, but also, they may learn how to behave. Who can ever forget Elizabeth Bennett’s reproval of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice: “If you had only behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.”

I also enjoy film adaptations of Austen novels. I’m not a snob or purist about film adaptations. Actors and film directors can tell in an instant what it took for even the best author’s pages to convey. Casting directors are equally important. Jane Austen’s novels are all about character. The right person in the right role can make a world of difference. Another critic noted:

“The initial magic, or call it her peculiar genius, is to create three-dimensional characters, characters in the round, living, speaking, faulty human beings whom you remember and enjoy forever . . .”

Who can forget these characters? It is not just the leading couples like Eliza Bennett and Mr. Darcy, but a whole host of others that make up their world. A good casting director will flesh out these character that bring family life in England to life. Of course, some film adaptations don’t work well, but here are brief reviews of four that stand out for me.

“Pride and Prejudice” — Austen’s greatest novel has received many film adaptations ranging from feature length movies to BBC miniseries. My favorite is the 1980 BBC miniseries starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul. In this series the casting director has done a fine job. Garvie and Rintoul are perfect as Eliza Bennett and Mr. Darcy. She is young, witty, sprightly, and fallible. He is handsome, serious, intelligent, and proud — as one character notes, “He has the right to be proud.” But as the five-part series enrolls, his humanity comes through.

The supporting cast is magnificent. Eliza’s parents are the best I have seen, and her sisters are perfect, from the beautiful Jane to the pedantic Mary. However, I particularly favor this series because of Malcolm Rennie’s portrayal of Mr. Collins, one of the great comic characters in all literature. Mr. Collins is a minister who will eventually inherit the Bennett estate because there is no male heir. Jane Austen’s father was a minister and she often portrayed them in her novels: the good, the bad, and the ordinary. Mr. Collins is an ass, and no one has ever played him better.

“Sense and Sensibility” — I much prefer the 2008 BBC three-part miniseries of “Sense and Sensibility” over the 2008 Hollywood film that starred Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, and Kate Winslet. It is not only that the extra length gave more room for development of the story, but also the casting seemed much more realistic and true to the novel. Younger actresses like Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield give outstanding performances. Indeed, it is a real pleasure to just hear them speak the English language.

Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility in 1795 at the age of 20. She was well aware of the dawning Romantic movement that would engulf the 19th century, and the film adaptation does a very fine job of contrasting the two sisters who represent practicality and prudence on one hand, and the feelings and emotion that would characterize the new era on the other. Elinor, the eldest, is constantly holding her emotions in check. At one point, she insists that it is not our feelings that matter, but what we do or fail to do. Her sister is just the opposite, and must be chastened by life’s bitter lessons.

“Emma” — Two versions of Austen’s 1815 novel appeared in 1996. The first, a Hollywood feature film, starred Gwyneth Paltrow in the title role, while a British made-for-TV film starred a young Kate Beckinsale. Originally, I enjoyed both but now for some reason I can hardly bear to watch the Hollywood version, while I can and have viewed the British version over and over again.

Beckinsale is perfect as Emma. She is young and pretty but not gorgeous. There is a naturalism about her appearance and performance. Moreover, while charming, she comes across as a sheltered, inexperienced, know-it-all whose mistakes and foibles are nevertheless easily forgiven. The film includes a fine supporting cast including Samantha Morton as Miss Smith and Bernard Hepton, who gives an outstanding performance as Emma’s hypochondriac father.

The aptly named Mark Strong plays Mr. Knightley. Jane Austen took great pains in naming her characters, and Mr. Knightley is the perfect lord of the manor. While fully aware of his wealth and status, he also recognizes that his position brings great responsibility to his tenants and their families. He is no idle aristocrat, but a gentleman farmer who works diligently to maintain, improve, and work the land for the benefit of all. The film does a fine job of portraying his manor as an idyllic paradise. In other words, Mr. Knightley is Jane Austen’s ideal man, and Mark Strong does him justice.

“Persuasion” — I highly recommend the 1995 British made-for-TV version of Persuasion that starred Amanda Root as potential spinster Anne Eliot, and Ciarán Hinds as a dashing but socially backward naval officer, Captain Wentworth. The two are fine as the lovers who have long been separated by ill advice and war, but the supporting cast is also outstanding. Her self-centered family members are skillfully portrayed in what is essentially a Cinderella story. Corin Redgrave, in particular, is superb as the foolish baronet whose extravagance forces him to lease out the family estate.

Published shortly after Jane Austen’s death at the age of 40, the novel and Amanda Root’s portrayal of Anne Eliot in this film adaptation contain what I believe to be Jane Austen’s self-portrait.

Short Reviews of American Film-noir Classics

In the past few years, I have become a big fan of a certain kind of American film from the 1940s and ’50s. They are primarily black and white, dark, crime dramas that French film makers and critics called “film-noir,” when they rediscovered American films after the liberation of France in 1945. The term film-noir refers not only to the dark themes of these movies but also to the nighttime settings and the often-startling contrasts between light and dark, black and white.

Originally, these films were low-budget productions often designed to be seen as the second feature on traditional Hollywood double bills. Nevertheless, today many are regarded as ground-breaking classics. They featured great directors, actors, writers, and film craftsmen and craftswomen. To fill the insatiable demand for movies in America, Hollywood even imported talent from abroad. In my opinion, film-noir represents a short-lived American film renaissance that came to an end with the advent of television and technicolor.

Below, find brief descriptions of some of these films that I have viewed this year. Not only are they gripping, extremely well-told stories with masterful directing and acting, but, they also bring me back to the days of my childhood. In the background I can see a world that is no more: the dark dingy streets, the small apartments, the old telephones that people always answer, and the incessant cigarette smoking. I can imagine my parents sitting in crowded theaters, and wonder what they thought as they watched these gripping dramas.

“Where the Sidewalk Ends” — Dana Andrews and the beautiful Gene Tierney star in this 1950 film noir directed by Otto Preminger. A few years earlier, the three had collaborated on the screen classic “Laura,” but now we find them in the underworld. Andrews plays a rogue cop who mistakenly kills a suspect and tries to cover up his mistake. The black and white cinematography, artful direction, and camera work make this the epitome of film noir.

“CrissCross” — Burt Lancaster and Yvonne DeCarlo star in this 1949 heist drama directed by noir specialist Robert Siodmak, with his typical beautiful dark photography. Dan Duryea plays the hoodlum villain. One critic calls this film, which deals with obsessive love and betrayal, the second-best film noir of all time. Especially notable are the plot’s many twists and turns, a noir characteristic.

“Dangerous Crossing” — Jeanne Crain, one of Hollywood’s most beautiful stars ever, plays a new bride setting out on a transatlantic honeymoon cruise in this dark suspense thriller from 1953. When her husband vanishes, she discovers that not only can’t he be found, but that there is no evidence that he was ever on board. Joseph LaShelle’s black and white cinematography adds to the suspense, as well as the soundtrack that consists mainly of a repetitive foghorn.

“He Ran All Way” — John Garfield and Shelley Winters star in this gripping 1951 hostage drama directed by John Berry. Garfield, in his last movie before his untimely death at the age of 39, plays a hoodlum who takes a family hostage after a botched robbery. Filmed in stunning black and white by the legendary cinematographer, James Wong Howe.

“Human Desire” — Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame star in a 1954 film of love, lust, and greed. Ford plays a Korean war veteran who returns to his job on the railroad but gets involved with the boss’s wife, played by sultry Grahame. Based on a story by Émile Zola, and directed by Fritz Lang in stark black and white, the pace never lets up.

“Pushover” — This 1954 film stars Fred MacMurray and Kim Novak in her film debut. It is easy to see why Novak went on to become a big star. A police detective falls for a gangster’s moll that he has under surveillance. Hugh Carey and the lovely Dorothy Malone also appear in supporting roles.

“Vicki” — Jeanne Crain and Jean Peters star in this 1954 mystery about a glamorous model (Peters) whose murder has all New York buzzing. Equally beautiful Jeanne Crain plays Vicki’s grieving sister, who herself comes under suspicion by an obsessed police detective played by Richard Boone of later Paladin fame.

“Drive a Crooked Road” — Mickey Rooney stars in this 1954 story of an innocent mechanic and amateur race car driver who gets involved with a gang of bank robbers. Late in his career, Mickey Rooney turned to serious dramatic roles and this is one of his best performances. Dianne Foster plays the irresistible femme fatale who lures him on.

“Mystery Street” — Ricardo Montalban stars in this 1950 film that was one of the first to employ forensics in solving a crime. Montalban plays a police detective who turns to a professor at a newly formed forensics lab at Harvard to identify the remains of a body washed up on a Cape Cod beach and help find the killer. Bruce Bennett plays the professor, with Sally Forrest, Jan Sterling, Elsa Lanchester, and Betsy Blair in supporting roles.

“Nightmare Alley” — Tyrone Power stars in this 1947 tale set in a world inhabited by shady small-time carnival characters and conmen. Colleen Gray, Joan Blondell, and Helen Walker play the women in his life. Power plays against type in this film that is now regarded as one of the gems of film noir.

“Out of the Past” — Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer star in this 1947 film that some consider to be the greatest film noir of all time. Mitchum plays a private eye forced to track down a gangster’s runaway girlfriend, played by femme-fatale Greer. Kirk Douglas and the beautiful Rhonda Fleming are featured. Directed by Jacques Tourneur.

“Body and Soul” — John Garfield and Lili Palmer star in a 1947 film that became the prototype for all the great boxing films that followed. Anne Revere and William Conrad are featured in this film directed by Robert Rossen. The magnificent fight photography is by the legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe, who sometimes used roller skates to follow the boxers around the ring.

I prefer to watch these films on DVD rather than streaming. The DVDs often come with commentaries by film historians and other special features that are well worth viewing. Also, most DVDs come with close captioning for the hearing-impaired.     *

Monday, 06 February 2023 12:14

The Issue Is Not the Issue

The mission of the St. Croix Review is to end the destruction of America by reestablishing the family as the center of American life, restoring economic prosperity to an independent middle class, and reviving a culture of tradition.

The Issue Is Not the Issue

Barry MacDonald — Editorial

How do we reach those Americans who are open to our message while the media is daily polluting our culture with leftist propaganda? How do we overcome the barriers that stand between us and those well-meaning Americans who have been saturated with the ideology of the Left?

  • We can see that our major cities are oppressed by violent criminals while the police have been defunded, disabled, and demoralized — progressive prosecutors are refusing to enforce the law because they believe the justice system is racist.

  • We know that public school teachers, from kindergarten on, are teaching gender fluidity and race theory to students. The “educators” believe they are on a mission to transform America, and, accordingly, parents shouldn’t be informed, as children are divided into categories of victimizers and victims, and as children are encouraged to question their gender identity. The public-school establishment — the unions, the bureaucracy, some school boards, and some percentage of the teachers — are foisting a hostile takeover of America’s children — and parents are their opponents.

  • We are watching as our southern border is managed by the Mexican drug cartels, and our nation is inundated with deadly drugs and illegal immigrants from all over the world. The catastrophic and long-term effects of this migration of people will be hard to reckon. Over time the entire nation, and every community, will be impacted. Overdose deaths from fentanyl poisoning, the trafficking of sex slaves, the inundation of gangs into the fabric of society, are immediate effects. Overwhelmed public education; access to health care; the durability of social services such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; will be imperiled, once the illegal immigrants are granted access. The illegal immigrants will take out more than they contribute to our social services, and the flood of children who don’t speak English into our schools will make the task of teaching reading and arithmetic much harder. The enforcement of the law is being applied at the discretion of progressive prosecutors, city and state bureaucrats, mayors and governors, and state legislatures. In progressive localities the message is sent: regardless of statutes, we will decide whom to prosecute, and which laws to enforce. The system of equality before the law is disintegrating. Democrats are opening our borders in the hopes of gaining a new, dependable, base of Democratic voters.

  • The gathering of the “elite” at Davos, Switzerland, has revealed a depth of narcissism and hubris that’s hard to parody. From Al Gore’s bug-eyed, red-faced, bellowing rant about “boiling oceans” and “rain bombs” to John Kerry’s gushing over the “select group of human beings” at Davos, there to “save the planet,” we have a glimpse of their megalomania. They would like to impose a meatless diet on humanity. They would like populations to be cloistered in megacities where transportation could be easily controlled. Al Gore is a ridiculous figure, easy to laugh at. And yet he has made himself a multi-millionaire by pushing the “green” agenda. Al Gore is a bully, and the strategy of using the “rescue” of the earth as a battering ram, and as disguise for the grasping of power, is effective. How many of our young people believe that the earth will soon be uninhabitable? What the gathering in Davos represents is a collusion of world governance, between cooperating nations, bureaucracies, and “woke” CEOs and corporations. These people are plotting to rig the world economy in their favor. They are aiming to undo market economies in which the prices of goods, the kinds of goods, and the quality of goods are determined by the free choices of consumers. They wish to impose on world populations restrictions on types and numbers of cars available. They want to choose which fuels are available for our cars and for heating our homes. They want to control and limit the ability of people to move about freely. They want to determine what food people can eat, and how much of it. They want to choose how homes are built and where they are built. They lust for the power to do so. They suppose they have the right to do so. They are dead set on impoverishing millions of people. They are plotting to crush the hard-won freedoms of billions of people. They would, if they could, impose a dark age on humanity. They would be our overlords, and we their serfs.

David Horowitz is a reformed radical who is a fierce warrior for freedom. He was raised by Communist parents, and was an editor of Rampart magazine during the Vietnam War. He wrote of revolutionizing America. He and his co-editor wrote: “The system cannot be revitalized; it must be overthrown. As humanely as possible, but by any means necessary.” But since the ’60s he has switched sides. He is a formidable intellectual powerhouse because he knows the leftist mentality intimately. David Horowitz uses the slogan “The issue is not the issue.”

Indeed, the issue is not the issue. The battle over “gay” marriage turned into a crusade for transgenderism. The once-cherished right of freedom of speech has given way to a demand for “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” and the silencing of “hate speech.” In our universities, even within the mathematical domain of astrophysics and the vital realm of medical science, the objective pursuit of truth has morphed into an imperative for diversity, equity, inclusion. The patriotic ideals of sovereignty and borders have become a joke. The entirety of American history, shorn of the balancing and clarifying perspectives of world history, has been tossed on a trash heap by the government’s educational blob.

Once upon a time our young people could not drink alcohol until they reached the age of 18. Now, they are being encouraged by teachers and administrators, without the knowledge of their parents, to undergo “corrective” surgery to conform to a newly chosen “gender identity.” The parents are not allowed to know about the “transition” of their children. There are no long-term studies diagnosing the psychological effects of such irreversible surgeries. How many of these children will come to regret what was done to them by these revolutionaries pushing an inhumane agenda while posing as educators? The President of the United States, Joe Biden, has given the blessing of the bully pulpit to the slicing of innocent children’s bodies.

The gay marriage issue was not the issue during the Presidency of Barack Obama. Transgenderism is not the issue during Joe Biden’s Presidency. The issue was, and always is, power and control. The Left wants to shatter the bulwark of the family, which stands in the way of its domination.

Five years ago, who could have imagined that “gender identity” would play a central role in the theater of American politics — and yet here we are today. Who knows what freakish idiocy our intellectuals will be harping about in the next five years? What parody of enlightened wisdom will they be mouthing incessantly to promote a new hobbyhorse?

The details of each ephemeral issue are nothing, compared to the direction of the culture. Always the liberty of individuals and families is giving way to a consolidation of government power. A coterie of elite has emerged, not only within our nation but within many nations as well, with insatiable demands. In Western European democracies, the wedge issue of race has been used to discredit the legitimacy of institutions with the aim of supplanting national pride and substituting “ideals” of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Just as in America, Black Lives Matter has found a home in Great Britain. How many Britons remember the deeds of William Wilberforce?

If the American Left really cared about the welfare of American blacks, it would address the deplorable failure of the public schools in Baltimore. If our progressives truly cared about the high numbers of black homicides, they would focus on the dozens of shootings that happen in Chicago every weekend. They would take note of the killings of black children by stray bullets as they are playing in their back yards, sleeping in their beds, or while they are in a car at a McDonald’s drive thru. They would jail violent predators. The American Left doesn’t care about these ruined lives, and so we never see these news narratives broadcast on a par with that of the George Floyd incident.

The issues that are broadcast daily by the news media, in collusion with a political and cultural elite, are merely a pretext for the diminishment of human freedom and the enrichment and empowerment of a selfish, vengeful, insatiable, dissolute ruling class, epitomized by the likes of Hunter Biden. Concealed inside every transitory issue featured by “journalists” practicing “narrative journalism” is the real issue: Power and control.

The Leftists apparently believe that human nature is plastic and infinitely malleable to the dictates of their mad schemes.

We good-hearted Americans may well remember the wise words of Abraham Lincoln:

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

We decent and well-intended Americans need to bide our time, and rely on God, and watch for the inevitable turning of the tide, when we will crush the evil impulses of the Left.     *

Monday, 06 February 2023 12:12

February 2023 Summary

The following is a summary of the February 2023 issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald in “The Issue Is Not the Issue,” reveals the genuine dynamic of our political theater.

Mark Hendrickson, in “Democrats’ Cynical Politics and Pernicious Energy Politics,” exposes the self-dealing corruption and the tsunami waves of damage that “green” energy policies perpetuate; in “Why the Red Wave Never Came Ashore,” he cites three factors: The Trump Factor, Abortion Politics, and the Democratic Machine; in “ESG Is Evil,” he shows how the “Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) scoring system that leftists use for determining who is worthy of receiving investment capital imperils the global supply of food and energy.

Allan Brownfeld, in “Many Who Identify as “Conservatives” Don’t Know What They Want to Conserve,” offers extended quotes from the Founding Fathers to remind readers of the well-earned suspicions they had of the powers of government and pitfalls of human nature; in “Removing the Confederate Memorial from Arlington Cemetery: What Would Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant Think?” he tells the story of the great efforts that Americans took to reconcile the hard feelings left over from the Civil War — history discounted by those who tear down monuments; in “A Book Guiding Children to Be the Guardians Our Society Needs,” he cites a crisis of hardship and demoralization among our public servants on whom every American depends — including police officers, nurses and others.

Paul Kengor, in “Women for Abortion, March!” reveals the zeal for Marxism and Lenin driving the activists who organize the annual marches; in “More Democratic Socialists in Congress,” he writes of the Democratic Socialists of America who are infiltrating the Democratic Party in Congress and throughout American politics; in “Raising Turkeys,” he writes on the facts of life, and on the benefits of self-reliance for the upbringing of children.

Timothy Goeglein, in “Dividing America Through Trashing Our Past,” cites George Orwell and the 1619 Project to demonstrate how a radical takeover of American History by progressive “educators” aims to disparage the highest ideals of America’s Founding and erase the essence of what America is.

Derek Suszko, in “The Fall of the Roman Republic: A Narrative and Analytical Comparison with the Contemporary Conditions of the United States of America — (Part 3 of a Series),” ventures into an examination of the legislative “pollution” of the republican process — of addressing grievances and providing reforms — and, concerning the American republic, he exposes the slow and natural decay of legislative power over time, along with the growing power of the administrative state, as well as the problem of the internal divisions of the Republican Party, wherein the motives of the elected representatives, and their major donors, vastly differ from rank-and-file voters.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “Income Inequality: 1950-2022,” uses William Buckley Jr.’s God and Man at Yale to expose the dominance of socialist ideals among economists at Yale at the time — a dominance of thought that still exists among “democratic socialists” today.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “Jane Austen on Film,” reviews the actors and actresses who appear in the film versions of the famous English author’s novels; in “Short Reviews of American Film-noir Classics,” he covers a lot of ground with films, plots, characters, actresses, and actors.

Jigs Gardner, in “Waiting for the ’60s,” relates the dreary experience of a Men’s Monthly Reading Club wherein the gathered readers remain mired in stale ’60s counterculture pieties oblivious that the world has moved on.

Jigs Gardner, in “The Culture of Conservatives,” urges conservatives to broaden their interests beyond the transient political issues of the day, into the depths of human thought and emotion where the meaning of our experience resonates.

Robert DeStefano, in “Dandelion,” offers a charming and insightful poem, followed by an informed essay on the commonly disliked weed.

Monday, 12 December 2022 12:18

Comments on the Midterm Elections

The mission of the St. Croix Review is to end the destruction of America by re-establishing the family as the center of American life, restoring economic prosperity to an independent middle class, and reviving a culture of tradition.

Comments on the Midterm Elections

Barry MacDonald — Editorial

For those of us who uphold good government, the protection of the innocent, and civic virtues, the midterm elections were a disappointment. Instead of a red wave, we received a red trickle. Many good, articulate, conservative candidates — for example, Kari Lake in Arizona —  lost to Democrats who chose to forgo or minimize debates. We have to face the fact that the opposition has an effective political machine geared toward getting out their base of support.

That John Fetterman won and Kari Lake lost is a disgrace. In the purple state of Pennsylvania, John Fetterman won a senatorial race against Mehmet Oz, despite Fetterman’s far-left radical history, and his stroke-induced, severe, mental incapacity. He was able to win because his radical positions weren’t exposed by the media, and he was able to put off a single debate until late in the campaign, by which time many Pennsylvanians had already voted.

Kari Lake lost her campaign for governor in Arizona against Katie Hobbs, who was able to get away with not debating at all. There was nothing exceptional about Katie Hobbs — she was a typical Democrat. That Kari Lake lost was perhaps the most disappointing event of the election. She was aggressive and articulate about the negligence of the Democrats’ open border policy. Arizona is a border state, so one would suppose that illegal immigration would have been a decisive issue for Republicans.

J. D. Vance’s election to the Senate from Ohio, Ron DeSantis’ overwhelming reelection as Governor of Florida, and the Republicans’ recapture of the leadership of the House were the high points of the midterms for Republicans. There is now an effective block on Democratic lawmaking in Congress, and we may be witnessing the rise to national prominence of Ron DeSantis as a youthful and politically savvy leader of the Republican party. Time will tell.

What are the hard lessons we should learn from the midterm elections?

If ever there were a season when the issues favored Republicans, this was the election. There were the “Defund the Police” movement, the rampant rise in violent crime in Democratically-run big cities, the no-cash bail policies of soft-on-crime city attorneys, critical race theory and gender ideology in public schools, the open southern border, and the consequent ruination of the rule of law, along with over 100,000 American deaths due to fentanyl overdoses in 2021. Obviously, the Mexican drug cartels control our southern border, and Democrats are lying when they claim the border is secure. According to polls, most Americans believe America is on the wrong track. Inflation and the high cost of energy are rampant, and the Democrats own responsibility. There is also the overhang of the overly aggressive and ineffective COVID-19 lockdown policies perpetrated by Democrats.

Why weren’t the Democrats held responsible across the nation?

Politics in America has become extremely polarized. Americans are divided in the news we choose to consume, and the opposing side is demonized and dismissed. We ingest narrative journalism, and our youth have no notion of the distinction between news reporting and editorial opinion. The ideal of free speech is not being honored any more, and it is acceptable to shout down, censor, and persecute those who don’t agree with the Black Lives Matter talking points.

The “woke” agenda is woven into all levels of government bureaucracy, including national law enforcement agencies like the FBI. There are now reports surfacing in conservative media about collusion between the management of Facebook and Twitter and the FBI to suppress the news and fallout from Hunter Biden’s laptop previous to 2020 elections — we may suppose the collusion between social media and the FBI, advancing the progressive agenda, has been continuing ever since.

The “woke” agenda is also operating within our national corporations and financial institutions. By stealth, our energy industry is being severely impacted by the withdrawal of necessary investment funds from lending banks, which have become pawns of the Democratic “Green Energy” agenda.

The main problem for conservatives is that it’s devilishly difficult to get our message out to mainstream American voters. We American conservatives think we are doing well enough with Fox News and The New York Post, talk radio, podcasts, and a few conservative publications. This election proved that the Democrats in the news media successfully limited the extent of our ability to inform Americans of Democratic Party corruption and negligence by Democrats. So many of our Republican talking points were dismissed as “conspiracy theories.”

We have to admit that the Democrats possess a well-oiled machine that leverages early voting, ballot harvesting, and voter outreach in the months preceding election day that puts the Republicans to shame. Republicans have some catching up to do.

Too many Americans have closed minds politically. The question is how may we free America from the grip of Democrat Party propaganda? There aren’t simple answers. We have to keep chipping away in the information wars. We have to keep a grip on the platforms of communication that we have, and we have to expand where we can. The purchase and restoration of free speech on Twitter by Elon Musk is a hopeful sign. We should imitate the success of governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Glenn Youngkin of Virginia in confronting the ideologies of critical race theory and gender fluidity being foisted on grade school children — parents are good advocates for our side.

Conservatives are stuck within our own conservative bubble. This is not easy, as polling has become a tricky and unreliable indicator — this election some polls pointed to a “red wave” that didn’t arrive.

The riots of January 6 were a catastrophic blunder. As far as public opinion goes, the images of rioters despoiling the capitol were on a par with the “Defund the Police” movement of the Left. This is what the exit polls from the midterm elections showed. The January 6 riots were a propagandistic gift for the Democrats. There might have been a red wave, but for those dreadful images — which the Democrats used to full advantage.

The exit polls also showed that the continued focus on the 2020 presidential election is unpopular with the broad swath of public opinion — it’s a losing issue for us. Republicans need to address the problems of voting integrity at the local level, and also must adjust to the new demands of an election “season” — ballot harvesting, drop boxes, early voting, and the targeting of the lean-Republican voters. The Republican National Committee needs to foster a better ground game.

We need a way to more accurately gauge public opinion so that we can find and persuade those Americans whose minds are open enough to hear our messages. Is this a difficult task? Yes.

It does no good to recite the 2020 summer riots, the deaths, and the criminality perpetrated by Antifa and Black Lives Matter to people who have closed minds. The media is not telling the truth. Many Americans are profoundly ignorant of facts. We have to find a way to overcome the Leftist media advantage. It’s a real conundrum.

The Republicans in the House must use their newly-earned, subpoena-powered, investigative abilities to mount revealing hearings into big-tech censorship of conservative news and opinion, practiced by Twitter, Facebook, Google, and the legacy Media. Republicans must expose the extensive pay-for-play corruption and negligence of Joe Biden’s history with congressional hearings. The Biden family corruption, involving Hunter Biden, should be a focus, along with many other issues.

The St. Croix Review is not a news publication. We advance the principles of liberty and decency. Americans have to find and regain our balance. We conservatives have to keep chipping away at our messages — and to improve where we can. Political wars are distressing and depressing at times. We really have to place our faith in God. And we need to be as united as we can be as conservatives.     *

Monday, 12 December 2022 12:16

December 2022 Summary

The following is a summary of the 2022 December issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in “Comments on the Midterm Elections” assesses disappointments and successes, the present balance of power, and a conservative “bubble.”

Mark Hendrickson, in “The Destructiveness of ESG,” details the many evils of the “Environmental, Social, and Governance” (ESG) scoring system, which is a strategy of the Green Energy agenda.

Allan C. Brownfeld, in “Across America, Freedom of Speech Is Under Increasing Attack,” he cites many examples.

Paul Kengor, in “Averting Nuclear Armageddon — in October 1962 and Today,” reveals in stark detail the horror of the eager willingness of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to instigate a worldwide nuclear war for the cause of Marxism — it was a miracle that countless millions of people were not killed.

Timothy S. Goeglein, in “A Happier Life Is a Connected Life,” reveals a increasing tendency of Americans to remain single and lonely, which he contrasts with the many benefits of married life.

Philip Vander Elst, in “Libertarianism — a Christian Critique,” lays out the merits and demerits of Libertarianism.

Derek Suszko, in “The Fall of the Roman Republic: A Narrative and Analytical Comparison with the Contemporary Conditions of the United States of America — (Part 2),” covers a huge swath of history to the fall of the Roman republic with the ascension of Augustus Caesar.

Francis DeStefano, in “Holiday Film Favorites,” reviews five holiday classics; in “All About Bette,” he reviews the entire film career of Bette Davis, the great actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age, concluding: “Self-sacrifice created the Golden Age of Hollywood, as well as the Greatest Generation.”

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: The Old Countryside,” reminds us that many of our Founders were farmers, and that they were disciplined by the daunting tasks of survival imposed by the “Old Countryside.”

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives: 5 — Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936),” reviews the masterly and subtle depictions presented by the great British author.

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