Quiz Show Hosts & Evil Ghosts

Thank you and a most cordial welcome…   — Jack Barry

There’s nothing on top, but a bucket and a mop…  –The Meat Puppets, “Plateau”

If you’re like me, you are intrigued by game shows. When it gets to the big money, it gets exciting, and few can resist watching. It’s human interest, and that’s the rapture & the problem, all in one package. You have to be a capitalist to love game shows and never outgrow them, because they’re all about winning, whether it’s money, prizes, dates, or whatever.

It’s about performing in front of a live studio audience, and being on TV, as that’s where game shows exist. Since television & game shows are synonymous, let’s examine its history as a medium. The television was invented in 1927, but wasn’t practical for households until ~1938, when cathode ray tube life was extended by 50 times, making televisions more affordable & reliable.

After World War II (& then Korea), television set sales boomed, and broadcast television soon came into being, instantly becoming a cultural phenomenon that resonates up to today. In 1948, four television networks, (NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont), began broadcasting over 128 stations, a full prime-time schedule (8 to 11pm), seven days a week. The first TV season that was rated by Nielsen Media is 1950-51, which is where measurable television analysis starts.

Footnote; The DuMont Television Network was the black sheep network that died, hampered by the prohibitive cost of broadcasting, and by regulations imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which restricted their growth. The company’s partner, Paramount Pictures also sabotaged DuMont, ensuring its eventual demise & carve-up by the big three networks. The DuMont Television Network did not have a radio network from which to draw big-name talent, affiliate loyalty or radio profits to underwrite television operations until the television medium itself became profitable.

DuMont broadcast National Football League games from 1951-55, which was a first. DuMont produced more than 20,000 television episodes during the decade from 1946 to 1956. Because the shows were created prior to the launch of Ampex’s electronic videotape recorder in late 1956, all of them were initially broadcast live in black and white, then recorded on film kinescope for reruns and for West Coast rebroadcasts. The DuMont Television Network kinescopes were dumped into New York’s East River over 50 years ago, as they were seen by the bosses as worthless, with too-high storage costs.

The DuMont Television Network ignored the standard business model of 1950s TV, in which one advertiser sponsored an entire show, allowing it to have complete control over its content. Instead, DuMont sold commercials to many different advertisers, freeing producers of its shows from the power of single sponsors. This eventually became the standard model for US television. It’s important to understand this advertising model in relation to network quiz shows, and how they were fixed from 1956-59.

The quiz show scandals ultimately resulted in the networks eliminating sponsor-controlled programming in prime-time broadcasting, which would then allow them to take control of production. By the end of 1959, all first generation big-money quizzes were gone, along with single-sponsorship television. Soon-to-come, were federal laws against fixing television quiz shows. The networks stayed away from awarding five-figure cash jackpots until the 1970’s, when they were brought back, re-branded as “game shows” such as the $10,000 Pyramid.

The $64,000 Question hosted by Hal March became an overnight #1 show in 1955. US President Dwight Eisenhower was a loyal (& eventually heartbroken) fan of this rigged weekly event. Notice in the video above, how Hal March can translate Italian perfectly, when the correct answer is given by a lady (in the category of American history) who speaks fluent Italian, but broken English.

The impropriety of a contestant having a translator [!] to help her is surreal. The audience is befuddled by all this, but applauds on cue nonetheless. Then watch what happens around 26:00, when the British male contestant is stumped… How humiliating!  For Hal March.

The $64,000 Challenge was the day-time spin-off hosted first by Sonny Fox, then Ralph Story. Star contestants on The $64,000 Question/Challenge later appeared on television & in movies throughout the 1950s & 1960s. Quiz shows were often used as vehicles to promote & place new talent, and industry favorites including: Patty Duke, Connie Hines (Mr. Ed), Dr. Joyce Brothers (below), Xavier Cugat, and many others. Every one of these quiz show productions was rigged by their sponsors, as they played their audiences for suckers.

The $64,000 Question earned the #1 rating spot for the 1955–56 season, finished at #4 in the 1956–57 season ,and #20 in 1957–58. Among its progeny were Tic-Tac-Dough, and Twenty-One.

The $64,000 Challenge was controlled by cosmetics giant Revlon & Lorillard Tobacco Company’s Kent cigarettes. It was revealed during Congressional investigations that Revlon was as determined to keep their shows appealing, by manipulating the results.

Unlike Twenty-One and Dotto, where contestants got the answers in advance, Revlon was far more subtle with The $64,000 Question/Challenge, asking questions suited towards a contestant’s field of expertise, in order to coax correct answers out of them. The same method could be applied in reverse for “undesirable” contestants.

The Archive of American Television feature on the quiz show scandal, aired in 2000, has an interview of Albert Freedman who explains how he was producing Tic-Tac-Dough when Jack Barry & Dan Enright approached him about working on Twenty-One, which had very poor ratings.

Albert Freedman joined the show and was told to come up with some ideas for saving it. The problem, explained Freedman, was that the contestants were losing too quickly. “The excitement is to build up the winner, week after week.” He said that the idea of fixing the game’s outcomes was seen as necessary to reviving an otherwise boring program. “When I took over Twenty-One, I was aware that control was necessary.”

The sponsor of Twenty-One was Geritol, a dietary supplement pharmaceutical. Geritol advertised that just two tablespoons of their “medicine” had “twice the iron as a pound of calf’s liver,” helping people with “tired blood.” These were slimy snake oil salesmen, selling sickness way back in the 1950’s. The lesson is: know your TV history, or be doomed to bad re-runs. The fact is Albert Freedman coached the performances of Herbert Stempel, Charles Van Doren and other contestants on Twenty-One, with Van Doren “beating” Stempel on Dec. 5, 1956. This was the subject of Robert Redford’s 1994 film, Quiz Show.

Vivienne Nearing made headlines in 1957 when she dethroned Charles Van Doren as champion on Twenty-One, after his four-month run. In 1960, Vivienne Nearing & 14 other Twenty-One contestants were charged with perjury, after falsely testifying to a grand jury, that they had not been fed answers.

Albert Freedman was indicted for perjury in 1958, for lying to a grand jury in saying that he had not given questions to contestants. Before another grand jury, he recanted his testimony and admitted giving questions in advance. Twenty-One was canceled in 1958. The perjury charges against Freedman and all others were eventually dropped. Those found guilty had their sentences suspended, and no one involved in the quiz show scandal ever went to prison in this vast conspiracy to manipulate & defraud the American television viewing public.

Dotto was billed as a combination of a general knowledge quiz, and the children’s game of connect-the-dots. Jack Narz was the host, with Colgate-Palmolive as its presenting sponsor. Dotto rose to become the highest rated daytime program in 1958, after replacing Strike it Rich in CBS’s daytime time slot in January, 1958. In a rare instance of two networks programming the same show, a weekly nighttime edition of Dotto was launched on July 1, 1958, on NBC on Tuesday nights.

Both shows were hits, until Dotto was canceled without public explanation, over the weekend of August 16, 1958. As far as I can see, no one has ever accurately explained what happened. After reviewing the only available episodes, and the facts that have come out in the aftermath, it’s pretty clear what happened. Just watch this one episode all the way through. I’ll explain its contents below.

Episode Summary: Returning Dotto champion, Marie Winn had been provided with the answers ahead of time. A stand-by contestant, Edward Hilgemeier, Jr. found her notebook backstage with the questions & answers written in it. He tore out the pages, and turned them over to authorities without going on the show. Hilgemeier and the defeated contestant Yaffe Kimball, confronted the Dotto producers, and both were paid money to keep quiet. When Hilgemeier found out he was paid less than Yaffe Kimball, he contacted CBS (daytime version), NBC (prime-time version), and sponsor Colgate-Palmolive– all to no avail.

Hilgemeier then contacted federal authorities in early August, 1958 with his story, which was then relayed to CBS. Executive vice president of CBS Thomas Fisher tested kinescopes of the show against Winn’s notebook and concluded that the show appeared fixed. Executives at CBS series met with its creator, Frank Cooper, concerning the potential rigging of the show on the evening of Friday, August 15. Frank Cooper admitted that the show was indeed fixed, and CBS then reported these findings to NBC as the hosts of the prime-time version.

Over the weekend of August 16, 1958, both CBS & NBC canceled Dotto. CBS immediately moved its game show Top Dollar, hosted by Warren Hull, to Dotto’s time slot. On Monday, August 18, a live studio audience expecting to be seated for Monday’s episode of Dotto was instead set up as an audience for Top Dollar. Viewers were greeted by the opening, “Dotto, the program which normally airs at this time, will no longer be seen. Instead…welcome to Top Dollar!”

Jack Narz eventually replaced Warren Hull (more on him below) as host of Top Dollar by November 1958, which completed this dirty cycle of quiz show hosts, as Strike it Rich, which preceded Dotto, had been hosted by Hull. Top Dollar ran in the daytime until October, 1959, as Narz (below) continued to work as a game show host for most of the next twenty years, until his death.

Note: In the Dotto episode above, host Jack Narz says goodbye to the Native American woman contestant, Yaffe Kimball who “lost,” by raising his hand and saying HOW [!] to her as she leaves the stage at 11:28. Look & listen for it.

Dotto promo, sponsored by Ford: Here’s a look at what you could win if you can identify this Dotto image,,, the Edsel Bermuda [Ooooh’s from the audience], the newest ideas in station wagons, with almost 9 feet of load space with the tailgate down. It has Edsel’s famous “teletouch-drive,” that puts the shift buttons in the middle of the steering wheel– where they belong!” There’s also “self-adjusting brakes… A car for him, a car for her, a car for a lifetime.” There’s even a kiddie model that drives up to 5 MPH.

Notice how the audience loves it, as their enthusiasm for these luxuries was/is real. Edsel was a gas-guzzling, unsafe-at-any-speed model that was hyped by the Ford Motor Company from 1958-60. Dotto was an early establishment answer to Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Little Richard & rock & roll’s massive teen influence. This was a cultural war for the control of kids’ minds. It somehow feels like J. Edgar Hoover is behind this show.

21:45 Jack Narz [to the new contestant]: Hmmm. Very confusing, huh?

At this point the viewer should realize that the only thing that matters in Dotto is identifying the image correctly. Answering the questions correctly is irrelevant. Also note that the images drawn in Dotto are indecipherable, as are the “clues.” This is all by design.

26:15 After a few minutes of learning all about new velvety Vel, dish soap, it’s back to the game. The new challenger doesn’t present himself as very bright, yet he suddenly rings in and identifies Dotto’s vague lines & shapes as “Huey & Dewey Duck,” which is correct!

But not completely, because everyone in 1958 knows that there are three nephews of Donald Duck, and they always hang together. Louie is the third, but the contestant forgot to write him down on the “Dottograph.”  Below is a screenshot of the image in question. Do you see Donald Duck’s nephews in it? I see Elvis.

So Jack Narz, who was “as much in the dark as anybody,” changes the narrative, and says this answer may not be correct, and will need a further ruling– later, backstage. Over to Marie Winn, who has 60 seconds to make the correct identification of these squiggly lines & nebulous forms to force a tie, otherwise she’s off the show.

Amazingly, Maria Winn pulls it out, by shyly mumbling “Donald Duck’s nephews,” with some encouragement from Jack Narz. There’s a big smile from Marie Winn, when she’s told she’s correct! Jack Narz: “I know we have a tie game now, and that solves our problem.”

Not quite, as it’s clear to any television viewer (past or present) with any cognitive function, that this greenhorn who incredibly identified the crude image as Donald Duck’s nephews, yet inexplicably forgot to include the name of the third one (Louie), blew the fix with his incomplete answer. And with that, Dotto had to be dropped immediately & forever. The running time on this essential video of television history is 29:31, and at least 25 minutes of it is advertising, in every form imaginable. This rigged quiz show called Dotto may have been the most evil show ever hyped on television.

Footnote: Marie Winn perjured herself to the grand jury investigation on quiz show fixing. She then declared herself a feminist sometime later, publishing The Plug-In Drug (1977), a confused diatribe on the dangers of educating children, claiming it to be dangerous to their psychological health.

Tic-Tac-Dough’s initial 1956–59 run on NBC was another Jack Barry & Dan Enright creation & production– a common thread with all these rigged quiz shows. Tic-Tac-Dough was based on tic-tac-toe, where contestants answer questions to score an X or O. If you’ve ever played tic-tac-toe, you know that most games end in ties, unless you’re playing against a total moron. Games that frequently ended in ties, was another leitmotif of the fixed quiz show era. The original host of Tic-Tac-Dough was Jack Barry, followed by Gene Rayburn & Bill Wendell. Jay Jackson & Win Elliot hosted prime time adaptations, and all were involved or had knowledge of quiz show fixing.

Tic-Tac-Dough’s April 3, 1958 episode (below) featuring U.S. military serviceman Michael O’Rourke winning over $140,000, hosted by Jay Jackson, became a key subject of the federal grand jury investigating the quiz fixing. Notice how neither player ever goes for the win. Howard Felsher produced Tic-Tac-Dough; Password; Password Plus; Super Password; He Said, She Said; Concentration; and most notably, Family Feud.

Felsher was known as the “Game Show Doctor” in certain circles for his ability to come in and fix a show– in every sense of the term. As producer of Tic-Tac-Dough, Felsher was in charge of all aspects of the shows production including choosing the contestants, coaching them, and feeding them the answers. Howard Felsher also estimated that about 75% of all Tic-Tac-Dough nighttime shows had been rigged.

In a span over just over 4 months at the end of 1958, these following quiz shows were implicated in the scandal and were abruptly canceled: Dotto on August 16, The $64,000 Challenge on September 14, Twenty-One on October 16, The $64,000 Question on November 9, and Tic-Tac-Dough on December 29.

In September 1958, a New York grand jury called the producers & hosts who had coached contestants, to appear in testimony. It was later estimated by a prosecutor on the case that of the 150 sworn witnesses before the panel, only 50 told the truth. Among the most egregious perjurers were Jack Barry, Dan Enright & Frank Cooper. None of the corporate sponsors were implicated, or compelled to testify under oath.

There are those who make the claim that Jack Barry was effectively blacklisted from national television until 1969. That’s an insult & misrepresentation of blacklisting. This was the era of McCarthyism, HUAC & anti-communism. The ones who defied the red-baiting & witch-hunts were blacklisted. Jack Barry was exiled from game show television for a decade for cheating, before being allowed to return and make more millions– with The Jokers Wild, etc.

Dan Enright went to Canada to continue working in television, and was unable to get a job in American television until 1975.  Once again, that’s not a blacklist, which occurs to people who have courage & principles. These are criminals, who escaped punishment because the scandal was so vast, it would have taken down all the networks and their crooked sponsors. If that happened, there would be no television run by capitalists, and that couldn’t happen, so the quiz show scandal was swept under the rug, to be forgotten in posterity.

Another Barry/Enright fixed quiz show of the era was High Low, a contestant-panel game. Wikipedia (a source heavily cited in this piece) delivers this refrain over & over concerning the availability of quiz show episodes with this disclaimer, which applies to High Low: “Only one episode is known to exist, as all others are believed to have been destroyed due to network policies of the era.”  Criminality & cover-ups are the network policies to which Wikipedia is referring.

Capitalizing on the success of the 1950s big-money quiz The $64,000 Question on CBS, Jack Barry and Dan Enright developed their flagship show, Twenty-One, a quiz which had a scoring system based loosely on Blackjack. Contestants were placed in twin “isolation booths” and were asked questions ranging in value from 1 to 11 points — the higher the point value, the more difficult the question. Beginning on September 12, 1956, Jack Barry began hosting Twenty-One in prime time.

Enright described the initial broadcast of Twenty-One as “a dismal failure. It was just plain dull.” Contestants repeatedly missed questions and, in Enright’s own words, “It lacked all drama; it lacked all suspense. The next morning the sponsor Geritol, called my partner, Jack Barry and me, and told us in no uncertain terms that he never wanted to see a repeat of what happened the previous night. And from that moment on, we decided to rig Twenty-One.” Even with rigging, initial ratings were unimpressive.

Enright believed they needed to find heroes & villains — contestants the audience would either root for or against. Though not illegal at the time, Enright and his assistant producer Albert Freedman went beyond merely finding appealing players by actually manipulating them: providing certain contestants with answers in advance, and scripting games and the players’ mannerisms in the isolation booth. It was a process the producers duplicated for Tic-Tac-Dough.

Dan Enright’s most famous contestant protégé was Twenty-One’s Charles Van Doren, who went on to win for 14 weeks and became a cover subject for Time magazine (above), thus causing the show’s popularity to soar. Van Doren replaced Herbert Stempel, who himself had been given answers over his extended run on the show, but was eventually forced to lose (so that the prettier Van Doren could replace him). After waiting for Enright to fulfill his promise of a job in exchange for throwing the match, Stempel realized it would never come and he went to the authorities. It was only when other contestants came forward about game show rigging did the New York DA’s office take Herbert Stempel seriously.

As the press was publishing allegations by former contestants of quiz rigging, NBC purchased from Barry & Enright the shows: Twenty-One and Tic-Tac-Dough; along with two new daytime entries, Concentration, and a musical quiz Dough Re Mi, for $1 million.

Eventually a fraction of the truth came out, and Dan Enright admitted to rigging the show and giving contestants the questions and answers in advance. Twenty-One’s emcee and co-producer, Jack Barry, must have been in on it, despite decades of denials by him and his fans.

Strike it Rich is down there with Dotto, and the others mentioned above, as perhaps the sleaziest show in TV history. Just watch, and you’ll see what I mean, as I’ll conclude this piece with the only episode of Strike it Rich that is available (above). I then add some poignant comments & screenshots for illustration… And now Fab’s fabulous Ambassador of Goodwill, Mr. Strike-it-Rich himself, Warren Hull!

New Fab contains miracle Duratex!

Look for Fab at your supermarket. It’s the blue box with white letters etched in red, just remember F-A-B. I’m talking to all of you out there who have never tried Fab. When you go there and see this, you’ll have an impulse to buy it, after listening to me. This is no Hull-lying, this is honest-to-goodness gospel . Okay Ralph [Story], who’s next?

Let’s take a look at a girl who has some really exciting wash-day news she wants to share with you!

Final Answer– No Takebacks: I love game shows too much to end this piece on such a cynical vibe. I consider myself a game-show host hybrid of Bob Barker & Chuck Barris, if you can get to that. My favorite game show moments over the years include watching Wink Martindale’s Tic-Tac-Dough champion Thom McKee’s run in 1980, and his defeat. I was a kid and it was exciting to watch. Was it fixed?  Whoever knows, ain’t tellin’, that much I do know.

Ken Jennings’ run on Jeopardy in 2004 was surely legitimate, including a brilliant innovation in focusing on being quick on the buzzer. Brad Rutter has repeatedly beat Jennings in Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions, so that’s amazing! In 2011, these two “Masters of Jeopardy,” faced off against Watson, an AI computer. Consider this result:

The greatest all-time, one-day game show performance belongs to Michael Larson on Press Your Luck in 1984. Larson memorized the five different randomizer sequences used on the “Big Board” (image below) and beat the game, taking home over $110,000 in one game that stretched over two episodes.

Notice that he didn’t have any extraordinary knowledge of trivia, and it totally didn’t matter. Something else mattered much more, and he figured it out first. This is hilarious viewing, as host Peter Tomarken goes bananas in disbelief.  That’s how you KNOW he beat the show.

If you want to cheat ahead; the action starts at 13;45 in this video below, when Larson answers “Polka,”  knowing with delight that he now has 7 Spins in Round 2, and will be first up. From there on it’s game-show Nirvana. A beautiful streak is a winning thing.

CBS tried to cheat Michael Larson (RIP), out of his winnings in the weeks after. And what was with that bitch dental hygienist, passing her 3 spins to Larson at the end?  The other opponent Ed, intentionally didn’t do that, as a point of honor & respect. It almost cost Michael Larson on his last spin, where he got lucky. The lesson, go for it & enjoy it while it lasts!

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ADA Fake News, latest edition

State propaganda extends up to the highest levels. Even the profession of dentistry isn’t immune. Below are images from the latest ADA News, September 17, 2018.  ADA stands for American Dental Association, the official union bureaucracy for dentistry in the US. The ADA News is their publishing organ. Here’s the roundup, and it’s a doozy.

The lead headline in this edition (above) concerns an insurance conglomerate United Concordia, which has been nefariously dictating payment rules & treatment options for working dentists and their patients. It begins with an editorial note in italics that informs readers this is the 18th article [!] in a series on insurance benefits & plan options.

Since I’ve suffered through the first 17 installments, let’s skip to the synopsis, which goes like this. The ADA has valiantly & tirelessly fought against this unfair practice, as the wolves have acquiesced for now. Meanwhile they will continue to use all sorts of other dirty tricks to cheat doctors on fees, and patients on treatment options & benefits. That’s the part the ADA doesn’t print. It helps to be able to read in between the lines.

Stericycle is a dirty waste disposal operation that has gouged physicians & dentists for decades. Their model is to buy up all their competitors and monopolize the market. During the time I owned & managed my private dental practice from 1995-2014, Stericycle bought up (at least) 2 or 3 waste disposal companies I was contracted with, until I finally found one that assured me (and kept their promise) that they would never sell out to them.

At this point, class action lawsuits (above) are a pittance to working doctors, and a futile gesture by the ADA, whose bureaucracy eats up most of the settlement benefits. When the ADA says the check is in the mail, you know they mean business. That’s how they settle up, and put things to rest.

Speaking of rest, above is a dental image of the olden years. You know, the extra years dentists now have to work, because they take home less than ever. The ADA provides readers with a graph & the numbers, but don’t answer the question: What is causing dentists to have to work more years before retiring?

Dentistry was the last profession to be destroyed, and the ADA assisted in the process– to keep itself fat & happy. Corporate dental, student loan debt, the economic crash of 2008, the opioid crisis, and insurance conglomerates have devoured dentistry, yet the ADA still trumpets itself as victorious & noble. This is why most working dentists toss the ADA News directly into the recycling/trash bin, never reading it as they are too busy for this nonsense.

It’s a midterm election year, so the ADA is throwing their best face on public health.  Dental benefits for Medicare will be low-fee, minimal services at best– extractions & dentures. That is, if any of this even had a chance, which it doesn’t. The careerists at the ADA have to at least, look like they are doing something, or give an appearance they care. Remember in November!

All I read above is “ADA…dues increase,” just below the big bold headline. This begs the question: for what?  I want to say that I’m glad I don’t pay for this, but that’s not true, as everyone pays for this.


The glare got this above headline, which reads “Spear Education purchases Pride Institute.” The question is: For how much? The article doesn’t say. It must not have been a lot, otherwise they would have reported it. The Pride Institute was/is a joke, charging dentists who need help in practice management exorbitant fees, acting like they have all the answers with their cookie-cutter formulas; and then $50K-or-so later, they leave the dentist to implement their useless business philosophy. When it fails, it’s always the client’s fault. Total scam. Spear Education must have been feeling ambitious, and decided to corner the market.

Here is an example of US military & intelligence agencies funding university research. NYU & Columbia have deep state ties, and here it is in dentistry. Look at that grant money!!  Boy, I’d like a piece of that, but then again, what do I know? I’m just a working dentist. What’s needed here are connections.

The title above reads, “No need to face third-party payers on your own.” This refers to working dentists who are being systematically ripped off & shortchanged by insurance conglomerates who make all the rules. The ADA is reassuring its constituency that it is diligently working behind-the-scenes on this. Possibly a class-action lawsuit down the road. Stay tuned, as this could become another 18-part series.

Until then, no news is good news, and always remember that the ADA has your back. Also, don’t forget to keep paying those dues (which are going up), while you sift through a vast wasteland of low-ball, corporate-crap, “career opportunities” in dentistry. It’s the American dream.

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Sinking the P.M.S. #MeToo

Here’s a final review of the facts pertaining to the Kavanaugh hearings, which kept changing, seemingly by the hour at certain points during this degraded media circus & cynical political theater. Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor in California, has accused US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers at a small party in high school. Ms. Debbie Ramirez, who currently works for a county housing department in Boulder, Colorado has alleged that Kavanaugh exposed his genitals to her during a party their freshman year at Yale.

This all allegedly occurred during the mid-1980’s, with shifting dates, circumstances and interested parties; many of whom changed their stories repeatedly, depending on the political situation. This was political fiction from the start: made up, coached, and presented as genuine to the American people by Nancy Pelosi & the Democrats (below), who refused to attack arch-reactionary Brett Kavanaugh from the left.

As to the supplemental FBI investigation, it was closed on Wednesday (Oct 3) and sent to Capitol Hill on Thursday for review by all members of the US Senate. An initial vote is set for today: Friday October, 5. A sure-to-be contentious confirmation vote is scheduled for Saturday.

Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) & Susan Collins (R-Maine), who earlier indicated they were “on the fence,” have stated they are satisfied with the results of the FBI’s supplemental investigation, signaling they will vote with their party for confirmation of Kavanaugh. What the few “swing” Democrats do is of no consequence at this point (yet it’s still breathlessly reported & speculated in the media), as partisan sentiment has been galvanized on both sides of the aisle. Republicans still have the 51-49 majority.

According to the New York Times, “an official who reviewed the FBI’s material said the bureau contacted 10 people and interviewed nine of them. The 10th person refused to be interviewed. Those interviewed included Ms. Ramirez and three people whom Dr. Blasey recalled being in the house at the time of the party: Mr. [Mark] Judge, P.J. Smyth and Leland Keyser. All three have said they did not remember the party or witness misbehavior by Judge Kavanaugh. Republicans briefed on their F.B.I. interviews said they had said nothing to change that. Also interviewed were two other high school friends of Judge Kavanaugh: Chris Garrett and Tim Gaudette.” [1]

The “10th person,” the one who refused to be interviewed by the FBI, is presumably Julie Swetnick, who surfaced late in the game as Kavanaugh’s third accuser. Pictured above is her attorney Michael Avenatti. On Sunday September 30, the Associated Press reported revelations that Swetnick has a history of lying & claiming sexual assault, and then later being proven wrong in court. It turns out that you can’t always believe a woman. Who knew?

Allegations floated in the media are one thing, but false testimony to the FBI is another. One can be criminally prosecuted for lying to the FBI during an official investigation. Julie Swetnick went on-the-air, coast-to-coast, and soon walked back earlier allegations she made through the media, and declined a FBI interview through her attorney. I keep pointing out that the Republicans are better at dirty tricks campaigns than the Democrats, and I’ve been proven correct again.

This campaign to torpedo the Kavanaugh hearings has completely backfired, as the P.M.S. #MeToo is now sinking into a political abyss, right before our very eyes. Any leads that Democratic Party candidates had in competitive races (at all levels– local, state & federal), have just gotten tougher for their candidates because of this political stunt the Democrats tried to pull. The Republicans were there to bust them, because it was entirely fiction. In poker terms, Brett Kavanaugh is a pair of three’s, and the Democrats tried to bluff with Queen-high– in front of everybody. The only progressive aspect to this entire sordid affair is witnessing (& helping!) a vicious, vaginal political vessel go down.

We don’t judge Christine Blasey Ford based on the ‘believability’ of her courtroom performance. That’s how we measure actors & actresses. This is jurisprudence, where corroboration of evidence, witnesses & physical evidence are what’s judged. This is a court-of-law proceeding in the US Senate to determine if an arch-reactionary Republican judge will take a seat on the US Supreme Court, and give it a 5-4 hard-right majority. The issues at stake for the American people are of immense importance, with many interests & viewpoints that should be discussed & examined before any confirmation.

Brett Kavanaugh is a fascist, yet he has been turned into a victim by the reactionary machine of the Democratic Party. This was a campaign to unleash feminist hate, and fire up its upper-middle class base. But when it blows up in their faces this badly, it does nothing but demoralize the ranks and poison the waters. The energy of feminist supporters has gone down, and fascism is again emboldened in this political climate. The undecided’s who were leaning anti-Trump, will now swing the other way or stay home in greater numbers on November 6th. They will be harder to convince to vote Democrat, as who wants to be on the losing side of this disgrace?

Fri 05 Oct 2018 03:30:09 PM EDT

This contemptible charade needs one final update before it finishes playing out in the Senate. This piece was published just after midnight. Around noon today it was reported in the Huffington Post that Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will vote against Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday. Murkowski now says, “he’s not the right man for the Supreme Court.”

This was obviously a pre-arrangement by the puppet masters, to allow Murkowski some political cover as she already did her job by voting along party lines for cloture earlier this morning, which was necessary to move to a confirmation vote. This female senator’s defection makes tomorrow’s confirmation vote 50-50, with VP Mike Pence holding the tiebreaker vote.

You have to admit (from a political perspective), that the GOP are playing this as well as they can, all the way to its inglorious end. The fascists are “smarter” than the “liberals,” if that makes any sense, and it shouldn’t. As far as the Democrats go, unless they can get Republican Susan Collins of Maine to flip, then #MeToo is officially sunk. Look for all this & more, coming soon a video screen near you!!

As we can see, all this came down to bourgeois identity & partisan politics. The #MeToo ship is sunk, because it had the power to stop the Kavanaugh confirmation. Two Republican senators are women, who could have been pressured by a Democratic Party defense of abortion rights, to vote “No.” But instead, #MeToo made it about themselves. #MeOnly would be a better label for them.

The #MeToo campaign is the most-self-centered, obnoxiously foul, and intellectually bankrupt political concoction in modern political history. The CIA Democrats invented & created this Bride of Frankenstein, as their version of KKK & Nazi shock troops. #MeToo is a tool of the deep state, and uses the same language & methods of hate as fascists.

Sat 06 Oct 2018 04:35:32 PM EDT

The same way Donald Trump won the US Presidency in 2016, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the US Supreme Court for life today. The final tally was 50-48, as Alaskan Republican Lisa Murkowski, who said she would vote “No,” withdrew her vote. Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted “Yes,” as the fix was in all the way for fascism.

This goes back to when the Trump administration released it’s initial list & then final choice back in June. It took a few months to vet & background check Kavanaugh, and they were always confident the allegations by Christine Blasey Ford (and any others) were unprovable– which they were.

Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) waited for the right moment, and then played her #MeToo cards in such a clumsy & obvious manner that their entire campaign was exposed for its rotten politics. This is nothing less that a political disaster for the Democratic Party, allowing another reactionary blow against the working class & their democratic rights.

See also:

#MeToo Shipwrecks Itself

Brett Kavanaugh & a Pause for the “Cos”

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#MeToo Shipwrecks Itself

In what will forever be known in political history as the “Kavanaugh hearings,” we are witnessing festering partisan animosities bursting open like an abscess on our TV & computer screens. This composite photo (below) from the Senate Judiciary Committee during Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sept. 27, deserves careful scrutiny– as BOTH are professional liars & fascists.

A healthy & rational mind can observe that NONE of this has anything to do with the truth, as this is a cynical exercise in manipulation of public opinion. It’s all just a warm-up (and tie-in) for the mid-terms on November 6th.

The FBI was brought into the fray on Friday (9/28), when Republican Senate leaders agreed to allow a limited, additional background check of Brett Kavanaugh. Since he’s already been extensively “vetted,” it is to be limited in scope to the existing allegations, with a completion deadline of one week. That’s how the GOP wraps Brett Kavanaugh up in a bow, and sends a fascist to the House for confirmation as Justice for the US Supreme Court.

The #MeToo Democrats, who are now foundering on the rocks, are screaming for more time, saying “no artificial time limitations” should be placed on the special FBI investigation, which will be solely interviews from the names we already know all-too-well in this phony sex scandal. These hysterical feminist manipulators never know when to quit, or shut up.

The puppet-master behind this media scandal appears to be 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Avenatti, who represents all three women that have made sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh: Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez & Julie Swetnick. Avenatti coincidentally is also the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels.

It needs to be acknowledged that the Democrats could have attacked arch-reactionary Brett Kavanaugh from many other angles, and easily defeated his nomination. Anyone who has such an extensive record of being pro-torture & anti-democratic, shouldn’t even be considered for the Supreme Court, raising the issue of the initial list of candidates from Donald Trump. This entire Supreme Court nomination process has been disgraceful, in it’s lack of seriousness.

Here’s a brief on Brett Kavanaugh. He worked with Kenneth Starr, in the reactionary Republican coup attempt to oust a twice-elected US President. Kavanaugh then conspired with Bush/Cheney during Bush v. Gore, which stole a Presidential election for the Republicans in 2000. Kavanaugh is an opponent of the Environmental Protection Agency, and a friend of corporate polluters. He supports executive supremacy, which endears him to Trump, and is an enemy of abortion rights. The only way the Democratic party could lose this political fight to defeat Kavanaugh, is if they didn’t care– and they don’t.

The list of twenty-five-or-so judges that Trump supposedly had under consideration are all reactionaries– every one of them. Where were the protestations from the Democratic party back then? They were too busy running their #MeToo & Russian meddling campaigns in our faces, to be bothered with defending the democratic rights of it’s voting constituency.

Only the #MeToo Democrats could make a fascist like Brett Kavanaugh look like a martyr, by attacking him from the right. In the same manner, Hillary Clinton’s elitism & campaign blundering allowed Donald Trump to become US president. Incompetent & bird-brained reaction at every turn defines a #MeToo Democrat. It’s not even been a year since this campaign was rolled out, but in that time, more money has been wasted in paying an army of political hacks & flunky feminists to promote this hatred of men by elitists. They get all kinds of help from BLM-racialists, GLTB-activists, and all the other scum in identity politics. But none of these groups actually represent any kind of grassroots movement of the people.

#MeToo will go down in political history as the most virulent & expensive astroturfing campaign ever. This entire campaign was paid for by the CIA Democrats, and their big-money political supporters including George Soros & Tom Steyer. These are the billionaire PAC supporters who are the equivalents of the Koch Brothers on the Republican side, which means they’re just as nasty. It’s not about partisanship, as much as it’s about class values.

Astroturfing means funding fake right-wing activist groups and paying shills to hold signs & chant slogans, as a political tactic to undercut legitimate grassroots movements. This photo below illustrates some of the finer points of astroturfing on the ground. It’s shot on location with all of its “supporters” bunched together.  Here, the photo is taken by someone in the crowd, implying “grassroots” in it’s style. It also lets a small group of people stand in a crowd of neutrals (or even unknowing opponents), and pose as a larger movement through trick photography. This is sophisticated bourgeois political science, in case you didn’t know.

Grassroots movements have real energy & popular support, and therefore take time to grow in becoming a political force. Socialism is the most-feared grassroots movement by elites. Astroturfing campaigns mysteriously & constantly pop-up like mushrooms in the media, and instantly become the rage. They seem to have unlimited funding, and are front page every day with their message. It’s always single-issue politics, framed in the crudest black or white perspectives. Google, Fakebook, YouTube, and the rest always give them a boost.

Latest astroturfing example from #MeToo: If you don’t believe Christine Blasey Ford, then you condone the abuse of women. Another astroturfing example: If you question the policies of Zionism, then you are an anti-Semite. These dirty tricks campaigns are the methods & language of fascism, and the Democrats have embraced it. Their problem is that the Republicans have been at it longer, and are better at it in many ways.

It used to be only the Republicans were seen as fascists, while the Democrats were the “adults in the room.” The Kavanaugh hearings have now moved the needle on that measure of political evolution, as the Democrats are exposed as outright liars who also use fascist methods of bullying & intimidation to win their cause. They can no longer claim to be morally superior to the Republicans, thanks to #MeToo– and that’s the real disaster here for Democrats. The average American voter needs to stop and ask themselves: What in any of this is in it for me? The answer is: Nothing. So my question is: Why are you supporting this, on either side?

There is no higher court in the land, and yet #MeToo Democrats insist that “believable” testimony, and hearsay with no corroborating evidence, should be the rule of law– over facts & rationality. I don’t believe anyone could build a worse legal case than the Democrats have, to oppose the confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice.

#MeToo is a sham & double-standard that is personified pathetically in these two press photos from the Kavanaugh hearings on Thursday. The first (above) is Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano about to enter the courtroom with her #MeToo entourage, before Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. Milano has been a leading vitriolic voice in the reactionary #MeToo campaign, and this was to be a defining #MeToo moment, so she had to be there– I guess.

The second photo (above) is Alyssa Milano in the courtroom during the Kavanaugh hearings, representing #MeToo. As we can see, she dropped a few blouse buttons, but as we all know, it’s sexist for a man to look at (or comment on) her boobs these days– so I won’t, except that it’s the proverbial elephant in the room.

With everything the Democrats threw at Kavanaugh & the Republicans this past week, it’s still unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will agree to delay the vote, which is on pace for Tuesday, October 2. That means that by the time the FBI has wrapped up its interviews, Kavanaugh will be through the Senate and ready to be confirmed by the House of Representatives for the Supreme Court.

By that time it will be evident to any objective observer that the #MeToo campaign is hopelessly reactionary, and impotent.  In the process of trying to assert itself as a political force, it has instead completely discredited itself in the eyes of the public. Anyone who calls #MeToo a “movement” at this point, is delusional or a political cynic. The only way forward for youth & working people in defending their democratic rights, is to reject this corrupt process entirely.

Update: Tue 02 Oct 2018 08:31:32 AM EDT

The Kavanaugh Hearings have been pushed into legal limbo, as the FBI conducts its supplemental pseudo-investigation of these phony sexual assault claims, per the bipartisan agreement last Friday engineered by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz) & the Democrats. The Senate is split 51-49 for the Republicans, and there are two senators who are supposedly “on the fence,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) & Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Everyone else has committed along party lines.

By simply looking at the names & political affiliation of the “undecideds,” you can see their problem. Republicans expect them to vote with their party, while women expect them to join the Democrats in voting “No” on Kavanaugh. All the Republicans need is one of these two women senators to join them for a 50-50 tie, which can be decided by VP Mike Pence, who will vote “Yes” on Kavanaugh. Keep in mind, the GOP would prefer both these women senators to vote “Yes,” and avoid this kind of patriarchal mechanization, and that’s what all the fuss is currently about. This is American political theater at its worst, as everything has been scripted in advance, with nothing left to chance.

Recommended further reading:

Brett Kavanaugh & a Pause for the “Cos”

#MeToo’s House of Cards

Despicable Manipulation & Thievery

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Brett Kavanaugh & a Pause for the “Cos”

The Brett Kavanaugh hearings are a clear case of grandstanding politics by both parties, to distract people from real issues. The Democrats & their #MeToo crowd offer only hearsay & innuendo, in their accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court by Deborah Ramirez & Christine Blasey Ford.  Kavanaugh has denied everything, and no one can confirm anything, yet the New Yorker magazine published this political bombshell (written by feminists Ronan Farrow & Jane Mayer), as fact on September 23, so here we are.

 

Before these sensationalist headlines were splashed across every form of media known to mankind, no Democrats cared about Brett Kavanaugh’s resume. No one in the media made an issue of his anti-abortion, anti-democratic, pro-business & pro-torture stances. Those are matters that Americans deeply care about, yet they find no expression in this two-party sham called US politics. In this Orwellian world where 2+2=5,  Kavanaugh can only be attacked from the right, using the witch-hunting tactics of the #MeToo campaign. There is nothing progressive in any of this.

Even if the #MeToo Democrats “win” this Senate battle, it’s meaningless; as Trump will simply pick another reactionary judge from his list. Eventually one will be confirmed, securing a 5-4 right-wing majority on the Supreme Court. No one in the mainstream media cares to mention that. Overturning Roe v Wade is seen by Trump strategists as a key component to energizing their Christian fundamentalist base for 2020. As far as defending a woman’s right for access to safe abortion clinics, operated by competent professionals goes, the Democrats are silent in 2018.

Everything on the Trump side is about his ego & power, being able to bully his way through the process and not having to back down. Donald Trump always needs a media victory to feed his ego, otherwise he goes off the deep end, which isn’t viewed favorably by the Republican party– or anyone else.

As for “The Cos” (above), he should have been exposed & locked up long ago, and there are more than a few women in this sordid history of abuse that could have spoken out sooner, but were more concerned about their Hollywood careers. That’s a hard truth. That doesn’t excuse Bill Cosby’s sexual abuse, but it does explain how this was allowed to go on for so long, and sheds some light on the social responsibility for sexual predators.

If you are abused, and don’t come forward, others will suffer the same fate, and you will then bear some responsibility, as you could have done something to prevent it. No one volunteers to get raped, and that’s a heavy burden that remains with the abused victim. Casualties of rape too often remain silent due to their capitalist ethics, which deepens their victimization.

A rape victim can extend their torment by becoming a political tool of others, if they allow their abuse story to feed reactionary causes like #MeToo. What we see in the media over & over, are women who keep allowing themselves to be victimized. There is no actual healing or understanding going on with this #MeToo hate campaign. Only anger & backlash. All this is a reflection of the existential crisis of modern capitalism.

This filthy feminist spectacle has raised much awareness among the greater population, and their conclusions don’t match the official narrative. This is a major cause for concern among the ruling class, in that the #MeToo campaign may soon collapse upon itself, and the Democrats will be left naked– with no political cover. They have poured a vast amount of money & resources into this propaganda campaign, and are getting exactly the opposite results they intended. That’s a disaster by any definition.

This prison sentencing is a mixed-bag for the Democrats, as Bill Cosby was promoted as a “black intellectual” and role model for five decades, all-the-while being a serial rapist. The “black community” has lost one of it’s “leading representatives,” in a manner eerily similar to the OJ Simpson trial. Back then in 1995, a large number of black Americans sided with Simpson, even though the evidence was overwhelming that he was a double murderer, and that the trial was rigged. Twenty-some years down the road, Bill Cosby’s conviction for rape, and his sentence of 3-10 years in prison is seen as justice by most.

This hurts Black Lives Matter & the Democrats, who need these stooges to woo “their” brethren suffering black masses to vote for them. It’s hard to replace an icon of Cosby’s stature, as he had a powerful effect in anesthetizing the poor black ghettos & affluent mixed suburbs of America for decades with racialism and cynical calls for “personal responsibility.”

Conversely, this Cosby conviction is spun as a “win” for #MeToo, making it a “push” for the Democrats (which isn’t helpful for them), and that’s what this circus is all about. That’s why Cosby is sorta being pushed into the background, while the unconfirmed Brett Kavanaugh sexual abuse allegations are brought to the fore of American politics. It fits their needs, and these political phonies and media lapdogs have nothing else to discuss.

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#MeToo’s House of Cards

House of Cards is a political thriller series created by Beau Willimon and released by Netflix. First released on February 1, 2013 House of Cards instantly became a “binge watching” hit, defining a new cinematic genre & home delivery method. It’s influence has been incalculable. It is impossible to understand House of Cards, without discussing Netflix. Founded in 1997, Netflix’s initial business model was DVD sales and rentals by mail. Netflix entered the content-production industry in 2012, and House of Cards soon became its flagship “Netflix Original” series. Today, Netflix is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate (Forbes: $141.9B), in part because of House of Cards.

Keep in mind that House of Cards is an adaptation of the 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name, and both are based the Michael Dobbs novel. The UK version of post-Thatcher England is very British, if you know what I mean. The stars are ugly & grotesque by design. It doesn’t have the delicious eye candy & sizzle of the US version. It’s still worthwhile viewing, as the power politics translate clearly, in the tradition of “civilized” England.

What makes the US version of House of Cards everyone’s favorite, is that it has something for everybody. This series has sex of all varieties, it has power politics & cat-fights, it has all sorts of behind-the-scenes maneuvering with insights that no other film or television series has ever delivered. House of Cards has a cast to dream about. Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood is instantly innovative in talking directly to the audience concerning his personal feelings of contempt & disdain for us, and it becomes part of the rapture. We, the Audience are finally being let in on secrets that Washington insiders have kept hidden from the start.

We get more truth and political insight from a season of House of Cards, than years of interviews & political “analysis” from the likes of Larry King, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Sean Hannity, etc. It’s part of this series’ subtle irony that these real life talking heads are often dismissively parodied as cameos. This show knows how to deliver a punch, which is another exciting element for viewers.

House of Cards wasn’t afraid to kill off important characters to teach its audience valuable political lessons. I’ll abbreviate by pointing out the talent that has been deceased in this series, and none by natural causes: Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes, Corey Stoll as Peter Russo, Sebastian Arcelus as Lucas Goodwin, Nathan Darrow as Edward Meechum, Rachel Brosnahan as Rachel Posner (favorite character), Paul Sparks as Thomas Yates, Neve Campbell as LeAnn Harvey (2nd favorite), Damian Young as Aidan Macallan, and now [!] Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood. Those are all brilliant & unforgettable portraits of human striving and ambition gone wrong. Most series never come close to casting that level of talent, and that’s only what’s dead at the beginning of Season 6.

Most of the characters in this groundbreaking series should be considered as personifications of social types. One of the most remarkable features of House of Cards is its sweep in characters among the variegated social classes that inhabit Washington, DC. Most cinematic features which promise to reveal the mechanizations of power politics don’t have the time (or inclination) to highlight its impact on the broader population. Conversely, House of Cards illustrates the lives of political & business royalty, while also narrating the common people who serve & oppose them.

The young reporters trying to uncover & publish the truth are captured in great detail, as their influence is powerful. Sebastian Arcelus as Lucas Goodwin is a beautifully drawn-out example of the consequences of attempting to “out” those in power. Mozhan Marnò as Wall Street Telegraph reporter Ayla Sayyad is another example. Keep in mind, this is what is going on in real life with the persecutions of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Bradley/Chelsea Manning, and many, many others who are interested in revealing the truth in news.

Korey Jackson as Sean Jefferies (pic below) is an obscure example, as a young black reporter who isn’t brilliant, but is good at schmoozing elites & manipulative games. That gets him ahead in his work, but alienates him from his woman and respected colleagues. Real decisions & consequences; that’s what this series illustrates so well, on so many levels.

The creative bankruptcy of today’s “artist” is also personified brilliantly in this series, as Adam Galloway & Tom Yates are posers who get in WAY over their heads. When tragedy is revealed, we hardly feel badly for them, as they exist in a cynical world of hype & pretentiousness. For example in Season 1, a homeless man on the street teaches Claire more about art (origami) in an instant, than her clueless-but-sensitive photographer lover does in their entire relationship. A lot of viewers seem to have missed many of these subtleties.

Later in the series, Tom Yates is the dashing drinking companion who stole a dying friend’s written work to make himself a legend he can’t live up to. When Claire strikes in the end, we feel glad it’s over for him. We understand the killer and the victim. That’s a rare feat in cinematography, which takes extraordinary dedication & sensitive talent to pull off. I keep using that term cinematography because this series isn’t television, but it isn’t film either. It’s somewhere in-between. House of Cards is a phenomenon that created a whole new genre, and profoundly influenced the politics of its day which runs up to the present.

A revolutionary facet of this series is how fast it comes at you. If you’ve only watched this series once, then you don’t get it, because you are only understanding things on a superficial level. Such a viewer is merely following storylines for personal drama, and doesn’t absorb the meaning of this series. House of Cards is about personifying characters into political & social types that viewers can relate to, in order to reveal modern American politics. It’s the political lessons learned that count. If you’ve missed that, then you weren’t really watching or understanding what you saw. I estimate I’ve watched the 1st Season 7-8 times, the 2nd Season 4-5 times, and Seasons 3-5 three times each. I think I understand most of it by now, but there are still subliminal bits & pieces that elude me. That’s how artistically complex this series is.

If you watch closely, you will see elements of yourself in many different characters in this series. You will also see your enemies. Your enemies don’t like the fact that they’ve been exposed by this series. That’s why Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) testified last fall before the Intelligence Committee. Warner claimed (CNN image above) that Netflix’s House of Cards was a threat to “national security,” just a few days before the sexual assault allegations by burnout actor Anthony Rapp were leveled against Kevin Spacey through the media. Spacey has been a pariah ever since, and the series went on hiatus until a new season’s script was worked out.

That’s why #MeToo took down Kevin Spacey last October. It was to strangle this series into submission for its past sins against the establishment. For five seasons this series kept its audience up-to-date, revealing what goes on behind the curtain, in a riveting fictionalized narrative than mirrored current events. The writers for this series always paid attention to the news, and their storylines reflected this. That’s how this show managed to stay ahead of its audience and the censors– for five seasons at least.

House of Cards was always scheduled to go six seasons, and the belated final one arrives November 2, 2018– the Friday before the mid-term elections. House of Cards was always a political series that defined the times. This release date timing is proof positive of that– to be sure. As to the quality of the final eight episodes, we’ll see. The first five seasons ran 13 episodes, each 50+ minute length. The five deleted episodes this season represent the void left with Kevin Spacey’s dismissal.

Before this series is finally finished on November 2, it would serve us well to consider the balance sheet for #MeToo feminism in it’s first year on the job. It’s hard to believe it still hasn’t even been a year with this media-driven hysteria on sexual politics known as #MeToo. It feels like much longer. In this period, the most reactionary & vile elements of the political establishment have launched a false-flag hate campaign in the name of women against men. This is the sum of their political vision, the entire Democratic party’s populist “program” for November 6th, and beyond. Consider that as political food-for-thought while binge watching this series to the end.

House of Cards has been talked about extensively, yet it’s clear that many in the media don’t understand this series, or are hostile to its content. This fictionalized examination of the media, and how it is manipulated by power brokers has had an enormous impact on American political consciousness. House of Cards is the most artistic and lastingly relevant cinematography achievement that Hollywood/NYC has produced in this decade. That is why this show has been attacked by the reactionary #MeToo campaign and it’s hidden supporters.

House of Cards is entertaining because the people are so beautiful, the plots move in brilliant directions, and the dialogue is razor sharp. The drop-off begins at Season 3, as this series was expensive to produce and was repeatedly forced to yield to economic stresses & political mandates. Removing Kevin Spacey was one of them. Before that it was product placement, and even an outright ad for a new fertility drug by Robin Wright worked into a contrived scene where she’s consulting her physician on having a baby. As blatant and crass as that was, in many ways it rightfully belongs in the entirety, as it proves what paid for this series, and it wasn’t a $10/month subscription.

This series was always smart enough to predict the times and give itself room to maneuver into the next season. This final season of House of Cards will be a test of that resolve & ingenuity. If they’ve maintained their focus & hard-hitting style, then the show can rest in (relative) peace. But if Season 6 lags and turns into soapy dialogue for identity politics, then the #MeToo feminists can rightfully claim to have killed this series.

That is my greatest fear for House of Cards as the final season approaches. This series shouldn’t be turned into a political tool for the CIA Democrats, who are the political force behind the witch-hunt #MeToo campaign that removed Kevin Spacey from this series. This series is an artistic achievement with lasting cultural value. All the writers, directors, cast and crew from House of Cards represent a creative & intellectual triumph that should be celebrated & defended for its collective genius.

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Florida Gubernatorial Race & Trump 2020

It recently was revealed that Republican Florida gubernatorial hopeful Ron DeSantis spoke four times at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an Islamophobic institution for Zionism in America, founded in 1988 and formerly known as the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. Their name change leads to the obvious question: why do these groups keep changing them? Ron DeSantis has no comment on the matter.

What looked like a Republican hopeful, with Donald Trump’s solid gold endorsement to take the governor’s seat in Tallahassee, has turned into a campaign of self-inflicted wounds for Ron DeSantis. It happened from the start, after easily winning the primary over heavily-endorsed establishment Republican Adam Putnam. It was then that DeSantis told the voters of Florida not to “monkey up” this important election. That’s been played in Democratic attack ads & media pieces ever since, and will be until Gillum’s victory on November 6th.

In-your-face, overt racism will mobilize black voters. That’s a political tip for Republican strategists who don’t get it. Black & Hispanic voters are THE key racial demographics in this race, and Andrew Gillum is the African-American mayor of Tallahassee. He is seen in the media as more “folksy,” which is nice during an election, and appears to have more energized supporters with the better “ground game.” The latest Rasmussen Reports poll conducted on 9-10/9-11, have Gillum at +6, with a 3.5% margin-of-error, which puts a black Democrat in the Florida governor’s mansion. That’s a potential political bombshell just seven week out.

Florida has been consolidated top-to-bottom under Republican-controlled machinery since 1998. It was governor (and brother) Jeb Bush, along with Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris who delayed the final counting of votes during Election 2000. Bush/Cheney were in sync with the Republican machinery that controlled the electronic voting machines and paper ballots. The right-wing US Supreme Court was eventually maneuvered to intercede, and declared the election certified with the remaining uncounted votes not needing to be counted. The rationale was that the Electoral College decides the US Presidency, therefore there is no right to vote, and thus no need to count all the ballots. Case closed: Bush v Gore 2000.

This machinery also locked up Florida in 2004, in the Bush/Cheney squeaker to outdistance the blah Democratic ticket of John Kerry/John Edwards. It came down to manipulation in Ohio that cycle, but Florida was also highly-fudged and possibly tipped to the Republicans. The point is Florida is always in play, and is a bellwether for US Presidential elections. That makes the Andrew Gillum campaign of more-than-passing interest to astute political observers of all parties.

Trump won Florida, Michigan & Pennsylvania in Election 2016. If Hillary Clinton had won one of those states, she would be US President. Of those three battleground states, Michigan is the one Democrats must hold, otherwise they lose. Hillary Clinton’s reactionary feminism and identity politics campaign came off as too phony to too many voters dealing with mass poverty, industrial blight, and infrastructure collapse (Flint water) that Democrats have ignored on their watch for too long. That’s why she lost, when it was all handed to her, and the Democrats are still pretty upset about it in case you haven’t noticed.

People don’t get energized by Democratic party rhetoric anymore, because it’s been revealed in countless ways to be lies & hype. With that said, Trump is widely perceived as worse, so he can’t expect to win Michigan again in 2020. Pennsylvania is the swing state of the three in play here, in that the Keystone State can go either way, and in that sense it is the decider of the Electoral College if everyone else holds. Florida is a must-hold for Republicans and Trump 2020. The kicker is that Trump probably can’t win Florida without the Republican state machinery fully backing him. Those are the stakes here, and it has nothing to do with ideology– it’s pure power politics, which means reaction all down the line– unless the working masses intervene.

In comparison, the Senate race between Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and term-limited Republican governor Rick Scott (+1.6%) is a sideshow. We’re talking about a hotly contested, heavyweight political race in a key swing state, with the context being a current Republican 51-49 majority in the US Senate up-for-grabs, and it’s second fiddle to a local-yokel governor’s race, which is seen by many analysts & insiders as decisively influencing the 2020 Presidential election. Trump can lose 2020 here in 2018, and his team knows it. That’s why they are upping the fear factor and bullying aggression, which has no other logic except this.

This is high-stakes politics and Ron DeSantis (above, right) isn’t up for it. He has looked like a clown repeatedly, and unless there is a major “gaffe” or scandalous revelation from Andrew Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor should win comfortably– as his lead is already beyond the margin-of-error and increasing. There are still plenty of good ol’ boys who think they should decide everything, and billionaire Ron DeSantis is one of them, but they are no longer the majority.

In what was seen as a highly-unusual political move (even by Florida standards), DeSantis ceded his incumbent congressional seat on Monday September 10, to “focus exclusively on the gubernatorial race.” The way the political winds have been blowing recently, I get a sense that Ron DeSantis would have a hard time holding his congressional seat against any significant Democratic challenger.

DeSantis doesn’t have any real Republican support in Florida that is helpful. Adam Putnam would have at least given Gillum a better run, and possibly been able to steal it for the GOP. DeSantis’ campaign has no specifics on anything, little local support, and is overtly racist– making him DOA. Trump picked him, so he deserves to lose in 2020 (if we get that far) for his low-IQ decision to endorse Ron DeSantis over someone who had actual political clout in Florida. It’s just another example of Donald Trump’s ego in self-destruct mode, and it’s why Republicans are so divided over him.

Since I live in the middle of all this, I scan the media for attendance of each party’s rallies & public events– however I can. I observe that it’s mostly empty chairs, as it’s way too hot to listen to political nonsense outdoors in the middle of the day, just to be on TV as part of a crowd. That’s what I’m noticing. I’m also not seeing very many signs in people’s yards, or much enthusiasm concerning capitalist politics. In certain neighborhoods, you need to be extra careful about what you put in your yard. People will rip out your sign and trash it if it’s not locally agreeable, and when it’s this hot with no relief in sight, people tend to get disagreeable quickly. That’s just how it is in Florida at the end of summer. Global warming and all…

Yes, there is still good ol’ boy resentment over losing the American Civil War (1861-65), and it doesn’t respect Yankee authority– especially when it’s been exposed as hypocrisy. These are your Bible thumpers, n-th generation rednecks, and conservative “snowbird” retirees who have lived here forever and run all the local governments, police and public utilities– and they are nearly all Republicans. This is not going to be a peaceful co-existence if/when leftist-posturing Democrat Andrew Gillum wins the governor’s mansion. This political intrigue & social powder keg in Florida is a perfect microcosm of the US political economy.

High Times & Tides: Marijuana legalization is a political issue in Florida, and it became a police issue in Ormond Beach in the days preceding the passage of Hurricane Florence, as surfers spotted square groupers (above) among the waves. Local authorities seized the bales of cannabis in plastic wrap, and speculated it came from a drug boat that got caught in the storm and had to dump cargo.

Aye, Taipan!!

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Low-IQ Individuals

One of Donald Trump’s favorite attack phrases (he has so many) is to brand someone as “a low-IQ individual.” Have you noticed this too?  Up until now, you never heard of politicians going after one another in the manner Trump does. This makes him a pioneer in fascist demagogy, which deserves analysis. The reason Trump calls his opponents “low-IQ individuals” is because it’s bold– and it works.

Donald Trump has been described in the latest Washington political insider account (above) of his White House administration, as having a middle-school intellect at best. But Trump still hurls this “low IQ-individual” epithet around because it sticks to so many of his opponents. For the most part, they are low IQ individuals– and that’s quite an indictment! This tactic takes the pressure off Donald Trump and makes the other person explain themselves for awhile. That’s why Trump still has a measure of popular support, as calling out low-IQ individuals in politics is a popular position.

The one thing everyone agrees on politically at this point is that politics is completely messed up. Whether it’s coming from right-wing reaction. moderates trying to do business-as-usual, or left wing activists; no one is satisfied. So what we get is finger-pointing and attack campaigns all around, because none of these Democrat/Republican political clowns have anything constructive to offer. Everything is a pack of lies and promotional hype– to sell to the zombified masses on Election Day.

Voting blocs have reached a political tipping point in 2018, as discontented workers have started to educate themselves, along with the disenfranchised youth that have come of age. These demographics can no longer be ignored by the elites. Notice that I am not speaking in terms of race, religion, sex or orientation. This is about class & social inequality.

Those who are “proud of their country” to the exclusion of others are reactionaries by definition. That applies to all nations, which are all ruled by corrupt elite powers of self-interest. What the US government and its corporate-military-intelligence complex have done around the world is criminal. If you stand up to salute the stars & stripes, then you are complicit in these war crimes against humanity & the planet. If you buy into the celebrity hype of sports & entertainment, without understanding the monied corruption underneath, then you are politically neutering yourself for the cause of fascism. Don’t be a eunuch, educate yourself.

Start by reading. I’ve read all my life, since I was a kid. Back then it was mostly sports & entertainment– articles & books. That’s what normal kids read. When kids grow up and become healthy adults, they read longer books– without pictures. Education was different when I was a kid. It was better, and our schools were much safer. Back in the 1970’s & 1980’s, students were still required to read books in English class and write book reports. You usually had to pick from a list of classics. We were required to read classic short stories including: “The Power of the Written Word.” “The Lottery,” The Most Dangerous Game,” “To Build a Fire,” and so forth… Education meant absorbing those valuable lessons and applying them in life.

There was a poster that hung on the Winneconne elementary & middle school library wall in the 1970’s that read, “Give me a fish and I’ll eat for a day, teach me how to fish and I’ll eat for a lifetime.” Reading takes you around the world and connects you with all cultures & human knowledge. Great books (fiction & non-fiction) immerse you in a story like no other media. Books take a long time to read, much longer than films run. Books take even longer to write, and the best are a sacrifice to humanity by their authors.

Kids are intimately connected to film, television & music. In this universe of popular culture the closest thing to reading is listening to music. Nothing hits you quicker (or deeper) than a great song, and kids love that feeling! On the other hand, it takes concentration to listen to new music and absorb its meaning. Low-IQ individuals always seem to have a favorite type of music they listen to over & over, to the exclusion of all other genres & musical artists. If you know someone who only likes classic rock… or rap… or country, then you can be sure there won’t be much political tolerance or open-minded thinking in their discourse. Low-IQ individuals are the worst listeners, preferring instead to yell their sentiments at others.

As far as popular music and politics goes, the grunge movement was probably the last gasp of capitalist political energy from America’s youth. Grunge music swept through cultural America in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, relegating classic rockers to the dinosaur bin thereafter, which was progress in itself. Underground bands like Sonic Youth, Jane’s Addiction, the Pixies, and dozens of others began to seep into popular consciousness (MTV’s 120 Minutes). Grunge broke through with Nirvana, in 1991: The Year Punk Broke. It’s heyday was brief and politically limited, but highly influential.

Grunge reflected youth aspirations for a better world and a DIY ethic, but like all popular progressive movements without Marxist political roots, it was consumed by the Democratic party in 1992, as part of its campaign of “Bush must go.”  Democrats Bill Clinton/Al Gore abandoned any progressive promises early in their administration, and “Slick Willie” spent most of his eight years fighting off right-wing political attacks which culminated in his being impeached in 1998– the only US President with that distinction. The US-led NATO military operation against Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War from March to June 1999 was the continuation of a criminal foreign policy supported by both official parties, and a precursor to the policies of Bush/Cheney.

The grunge movement was unofficially extinguished with the mysterious death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, the dystopian figurehead of the grunge movement. It was a shock to the kids who believed, similar to the affect the 1980 assassination of John Lennon had on ex-hippies and former radicals. Soon after Clinton/Gore came to the White House, Republican reaction took over politically, personified by Newt Gingrich’s “moral majority.” Only such a rotten two-party system could give legitimacy to this cornball brand of Southern hucksterism, but then again that was the 1990’s and Wall Street was making money so no one complained in the media. This was at the dawn of the Internet being a global phenomenon, so there was still no social media. Napster, a free mp3 sharing app, was the first.

All thorough this period: going to high school, college, then dental school– I still read. It’s very important that you always keep reading because it helps you understand the times. The next time a reactionary zealot comes up to you spouting some mumbo-jumbo; interrupt and ask them to synopsize the last book they’ve read. If you qualify this by excluding the Bible or any other holy text, then you’ve made it even harder. The idea is to hit them back and make them face their own ignorance. There are many reactionaries who haven’t read a single book in 20 years or more. If you read prodigiously, and develop some backbone, then you can handle them easily.

Unfortunately, people don’t read enough, and there are certain factions that are being awfully stubborn on this. That’s a big problem, in that these low-IQ individuals are relying on others to tell them what is true & false. They can only “think” in binary, black-or-white terms– which is dangerous. Reactionary “leaders” can’t figure things out for themselves due to their ignorance, and therefore must be surrounded by “advisors.” The most-valuable advisors (above) for reactionaries are the ones who 1) favor a fascist ideology, and 2) have read a few books. If you have read at least a few books, this can get you access to people who have read many books. Gleaning information from others (and then restricting its flow) is how fascist advisors appear so “smart.”

You see reactionary dolts on social media– everywhere, every day. They can’t write either. Instead they berate and manipulate, while looking for clues. When they get burned, they’ll crawl back under whatever rock they hide themselves for awhile, but they’re always back in full force when their fascist leaders whip them into a frenzy. It’s an ego thing, in that they can’t admit to having a low IQ. Could you? It’s a hard truth to face, and most refuse this challenge. It makes a person look weak. Low-IQ individuals prefer wallowing in stupidity versus submitting to intelligence & rationality. That’s why reactionaries are always pro-religion, anti-science & anti-education. They’re actually the weakest of all, but will never admit it.

Reactionaries always react, they never think. This ideology is a perfect fit for low-IQ individuals, as it gives them a recipe (algorithm), which instructs and guides them in every situation. Reactionaries always favor the hard line. This projects strength. It also projects stupidity, but that’s okay– just as long as you don’t look weak. That’s “political death” by capitalist standards. Hardliners attack all their opponents as “soft,” physically & intellectually. This makes everything easier for them & their low-IQ supporters.

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TV’s Transcendent Phenomenon: Charlie’s Angels

What is television really? It’s vicarious escapism. The never-changing narrative with TV is that you’ve had a hard day at work/home/school, and you want to relax and de-stress. Anything that engages and allows the viewer to live out their deepest fantasies becomes a ratings & cultural hit. These shows define the times, because everyone watches them– and is thus affected.

The biggest television phenomenon EVER, happened in 1976, when ABC’s Charlie’s Angels piloted. Here it is, and everyone from that era has seen it.

Charlie’s Angel’s were the Beatles of television– breaking rules & changing everything with their presence & charisma. This was the first prime-time network show that featured all women as the leads. There were no men (only Bosley) to save them, so they saved each other, which was an important motif. It liberated women, in that this show wasn’t about the writing or the message in the script– this was about women owning it.

Charlie’s Angels was billed as three women police officers, hired to be a detective firm for the rich & eccentric “Charlie,” who is only heard and voiced by John Forsythe. Note that there is never any real danger of them getting hurt or shot. You just don’t do that to Charlie’s Angels, and that was another message to the bad guys, which the audience liked.

Farrah Fawcett-Majors was (and still is) the first Angel everyone talks about. To put it simply: she had charisma like no other bombshell you’ll ever see. Her smile was radiant & irresistible, plus she liked to have fun. It wasn’t difficult to write for her, because she easily did everything a female star needs to do. She instantly turned on all the men, which means all the other women had to up their games. That got everyone’s attention, and Charlie’s Angels instantly became the #1 show of the 1976 season, opening up new frontiers in television.

This was America’s bicentennial, when a peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy Carter (D) was elected US President, ending 8 years of Nixon-Kissinger-Ford corruption & war criminality. Vietnam was finally over, and Charlie’s Angels was the perfect show for its time, as it radiated optimism.

Basic cable completely penetrated America by the early-mid 1980’s. It’s basic channels in most markets were: MTV, CNN, WGN, TBS, TNT, ESPN, USA, A&E & Lifetime. In many ways Charlie’s Angels was a prequel to cable channels such as MTV and Lifetime. Many of the early made-for-television movies on Lifetime featured ex-Angels in leading roles. Music videos had to look good and have beautiful women to appeal to kids. That was Charlie’s Angels, and there was nothing like it before them.

This one-hour “action” phenomenon ran five seasons (1976-81)– 110 episodes. The only Angel who stayed the entire series was Jaclyn Smith, who personified feminine elegance & sophistication. She dressed impeccably, looking stunning in everything from formal wear to a bikini. Smith had done commercials & modeling before Charlie’s Angels, so she was a limited actress at the time, but she made up for her lack of chops with guile & charm. This series is unthinkable without Jaclyn Smith’s presence, and (again) that tells you what this is all about– the women.

Example: one early episode has Jaclyn Smith as Kelly Garret, going undercover to get a part in a casting. Her pitch to the local Hollywood director, who is ridiculously dressed as a South Pacific native (this is what they did to men) is as follows:

Kelly Garrett: I acted some in high school, and in college… and I never get parking tickets.

Director: What does parking tickets have to do with this?

Kelly Garrett: Well, whenever the police pull me over, I begin crying.  

[end of scene]

The second-longest running Angel was Cheryl Ladd, who replaced Farrah Fawcett after season 1, and stayed to the end. Farrah Fawcett wanted to do movies, and she had the clout to get out of her TV deal with ABC. Ladd was introduced to the audience as Farrah’s sister at the beginning of season 2, and she did well enough in her role.

Cheryl Ladd was put in an impossible situation of replacing an icon, and to her credit didn’t try, but instead was herself. Ladd is beautiful & looked fantastic in a bikini, which was often her featured part, as she lacked acting skills. Cheryl Ladd was a model & disco dancer, also billed as a singer, although she couldn’t sing a note. She made several disco albums in the late 1970’s during her time with Charlie’s Angels, and they all stiffed.

On Charlie’s Angel’s, Ladd’s sometimes questionable fashion sense clashed with Jaclyn Smith, who always had an intuitive sense of style & good taste. In contrast, Cheryl Ladd often wore disco-dated sequins and the rest of that garb. I’ve been a little rough on this Angel, and I really don’t mean to be; Cheryl Ladd was (by far) the best replacement Angel, and she did her part to keep the series going.

The last original Angel (and most people mention them in this order) was Kate Jackson, who was billed as the “smart one,” who could act. This came through very clearly, as many of the best episodes of this series featured her carrying the plot with her versatility & humanity. In Charlie’s Angels, Kate Jackson personified the intelligent & understated form of feminine beauty. She wore turtleneck sweaters & tailored slacks, while Farrah & Jaclyn dazzled with cutting edge blouses & bathing suits.

There’s an instinctive male ritual that goes with this show (and it was from the start), which is that you have to pick your favorite Angel. I always qualify this by stating that I could never say “no” to any of them, but as a one-woman-at-a-time kind of guy, I’ve always preferred Kate Jackson. Every guy does this, and they’re always serious in their answer. There’s a tip for all the women readers: ask the “favorite Angel” question to measure his preferences. If he’s straight, he won’t lie.

Kate Jackson left after season 3, which was the correct time for her to go. The producers & casting directors for Charlie’s Angels could never replace Kate Jackson, as the last two seasons are mostly unwatchable. But for three seasons, Charlie’s Angels was a mesmerizing mixture, in that it empowered women and awestruck men. Boys/men wanted them, and girls/women wanted to be able to do that to boys & men. There is nothing else, and that’s why Charlie’s Angel’s owned it back then, and still does today. No new TV show, or movie remake, can ever re-capture all that primal magic.

Charlie’s Angels was (and still is) distorted & misrepresented to fit a particular Hollywood agenda, which today is #MeToo. Back then it was slammed as Jiggle TV or TNA– tits-n-ass. As discussed and shown above in the videos, it was much more than that– yet this unfair label still stuck. Why? It’s because this show was hated by a segment of the political spectrum known as feminists. These haters fumed when Farrah Fawcett walked in front of the camera with her blouse jiggling, obviously not wearing a bra. This was liberating for many girls & women at the time, and the boys & guys certainly didn’t protest; yet much of this was (and still is) represented as degenerate & degrading to women.

Note that it was Farrah’s idea to do stuff like this. She smiled & liked it, and viewers loved her. Everyone bought “the poster,” or at least got a peek at it from a friend. She got paid and no one was hurt, so what was all the fuss? The only demographic that was actually offended were older women, who felt unattractive & left behind by this fantasy TV fare.

The truth was (and always will be), beautiful younger women are ALWAYS more attractive to men than older women. Charlie’s Angels proved this as an undeniable fact to everyone who watched. As a boy who watched back in the day, my feelings were similar then to how I feel today, in that women need to take care of their men, otherwise they will get left behind. The message to boys & men was and still is: these are the most beautiful women, desired by all, so they will be doing the choosing. The only way you can get a woman of this quality, is if you are just as desirable as a man. All this is natural & instinctive, so why do feminists label it as sexist & unfair to women?

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Misadventures in TV Land

I write about the shows I experienced as a child, because those are my deepest memories. This is a healthy exercise, and I recommend you try your own home version of it. These memories are connected to family, since most of us watched TV together back in the 1970’s. Most homes had only one, maybe two TV sets– so you had to agree on what to watch and share the space.

That is a much different viewing experience, compared to how millennials watch on their devices nowadays. Back then there were only three networks: ABC, CBS & NBC, with PBS available when you switched your TV between VHF/UHF. No cable/satellite television, and obviously– no Internet. Remote controls were relatively new, if that helps with perspective.

But despite these differences in the medium through which we interact with pop culture & society, it’s the same in that we are still being manipulated by the puppet-masters. When you reach an age of maturity, it is important to go back to what you watched as a kid, and re-examine how it impacted you. When you are young, it’s impossible to understand the complexities of media manipulation in the name of ratings and advertising dollars, but it’s always there and it drives everything.

If you never come to terms with the fact that what you watched as a kid was used to shape how you think, then you become a zombie. There are more than a few zombies among us. These semi-corpses always believe what their preferred TV channels tells them, put appearances first, and avoid any topics of substance or importance– which make them “uncomfortable.” Critical thinking doesn’t exist for them. The kicker here is that none of this prevents one from becoming President of the United States, or obtaining any other position of power & importance. The most important thing for that is being a TV star.

I no longer have a TV, and am not interested in it– generally speaking. Every once in a while I’ll get a twinge during the World Series, or (most recently) the World Cup, but it quickly passes. Once I tune in, I’m instantly reminded why I don’t give this medium my attention anymore. It’s too many commercials & loudmouths during the program– especially in sports. The programming has gotten so watered-down with advertising and so little action, that staying interested becomes too much work. Their brazen ignorance and rigged outcomes are frustrating to the point of exhaustion. Television is supposed to be relaxing, but that’s impossible now– especially in an election year.

Back in the good ‘ol days of the early 1970’s there were less commercials, and all the networks were radically shifting their programming. In what was known in the industry as the “rural purge,” shows with countrified themes such as The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Green Acres, Mister Ed, Lassie, Petticoat Junction, and Hee Haw were canceled and permanently moved into syndication. This cornball fare was replaced with the likes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, The Jefferson’s, Sanford & Son, etc; which provided an urban demographic & higher ratings– which every network covets.

M*A*S*H (1970) directed by Robert Altman was a powerful & groundbreaking film that was spun off into the most successful television series of its era, running for over a decade. M*A*S*H  still runs in syndication today, because the series transcended the half-hour sitcom format, by skillfully & poignantly touching on difficult issues such as war & death.

Point of context: All these changes in television (& film) were stimulated by the revolutions in jazz & rock music during the 1960’s. After Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix (& all the rest), adults could no longer be naive. Too many people had their minds opened up, and became much more intelligent and immersed in popular culture.

Hollywood realized they needed to met this demand, as Barney Fife’s act wasn’t going to cut it anymore for an audience that was growing more sophisticated in its viewing tastes. As television expanded from its 1950’s infancy, syndication became more important, as it identified which canceled shows actually had value. All shows get canceled, eventually, but which ones will become classics that people want to watch again & again?

When the Beatles hit Ed Sullivan in 1964, everything changed forever. It’s music that leads the culture, because a song is compact, hits you quicker, and can strike you anywhere at anytime with just as much depth– if not more.

Getting back to TV, game shows made a huge comeback during this period, and became a staple of daytime & evening fringe programming during the 1970’s. Family Feud, The Price is Right, The Newlywed Game, The Gong Show, and dozens of other new (or re-invented) game shows filled the airwaves during the day and in syndication. Networks love games shows because they are relatively cheap to produce, as they don’t need actors or much writing. Advertisers love hit games shows, because they create genuine excitement among the winners and encourage consumerism.

Soap operas were the daytime fare for girls & older women in the 1970’s. Most of the longest-running series in TV history are soaps such as As the World Turns, General Hospital and Guiding Light, and they peaked in this era. Cable and court TV began killing soaps in the 1980’s, and most were canceled by the end of the 1990’s. The cable-televised OJ Simpson trial (C-Span & CNN), ran daily for a year in 1994-95, and defined the new form of soap opera as reality TV.

Children’s shows of the 1970’s included Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, The Electric Company, The Bill Cosby Show and the Krofft Supershow. I always thought Sesame Street and the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons were the best of the bunch for children’s fare. Mister Roger’s Neighborhood was the earliest TV memory for me. I enjoyed his kind messages and helpful advice for a time, but seldom laughed and that was his turn-off. Good intentions only get you so far with kids. You also need something to keep them interested. Since sex and violence weren’t allowed for kids back then, so humor had to be the hook.

In the 1970’s, TV action fare was crime-drama in an urban setting. The template was Dirty Harry (1971), as Clint Eastwood traded in his famed Colt 45, for a 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. His tough talk & raw action excited everyone, and made the networks feel lucky; so The Rockford Files, Starsky & Hutch, Hawaii Five-0, etc became genre favorites, as westerns fell out of favor on TV & the silver screen.

The Six Million Dollar Man, including its three pilots, ran for 5 seasons– 1973-78. This was an iconic show in that the title character had superhuman strength and other capabilities. The Six Million Dollar Man was the first TV show of its kind that translated that concept to kids in a way that seemed believable at the time. The Bionic Woman soon followed.

In retrospect the ‘science’ is ridiculous, and the stories are stiff & boring, with plot-lines that unendingly glorify the military & CIA. The Six Million Dollar Man was a major propaganda sweep from the ruling class in the 1970’s. Personally, I liked Lee Majors better in the Fall Guy, which was his follow-up series. Lee Majors was more relaxed as a stuntman/bounty hunter, and he needed a sidekick. A few babes (Heather Thomas & Markie Post) every week didn’t hurt either.

As anyone who comes from the South will tell you, you can’t keep Dixie down forever. The “CB Radio/trucking craze” of the late 1970’s brought country back. BJ & the Bear was possibly the worst TV show to ever run three full seasons (1979-81), and I watched it for awhile, so you know I’m facing demons here.

Created by Glen A. Larson (of course), the theme song was sung by BJ (Greg Evigan) who also often sang during the episodes, with his 3-note vocal range. A chimpanzee co-star is beyond a stupid idea. This show was all over the map, with McKay’s rig stamped Milwaukee, Wisconsin, yet his series was presumably set somewhere in the South, while being filmed entirely in California.

NBC’s BJ & the Bear soon spawned Claude Akins’ character into The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (NBC: 1979-81), and possibly encouraged Enos (CBS: 1980-81), an ill-conceived Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85) spin-off set in LA. That’s a lot to answer for.

These shows were purportedly one-hour “action” series, meant to compete with the likes of CHiPs (1977-83), Hart to Hart (1979-84), and Tenspeed and Brownshoe (1980). When MTV and cable finally came along, most of this shit was flushed forever, first by the kids, then the networks.

In this heavily-promoted episode above (poorly transferred, but it’s all we got), guest star deputy Slim Pickens steals the show with his hilarious banter. The highlights are when: 1) he slaps the cuffs on “the famous BJ McKay,” and 2) when McKay and the self-dubbed ‘Piston Packin’ Mamas’ are foiled by Slim Pickens’ three-car roadblock, and instantly give up. McKay & the PPM’s weren’t even smart enough to take an alternate route through a different county, but then again, if they did there would be no plot.

Final spoiler: Slim Pickens detours the convoy onto an unpaved back road, ultimately wrecking their loads. But luckily in the next scene, McKay hustles a woman buyer into giving them 67-cents-on-the-dollar for their smashed eggs, rotting away in unrefrigerated trucks. Painful, I know…

For those who don’t want to watch (and I don’t blame you), the chimpanzee was named Bear, after Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. The final episode of this trailer wreck of a series, should have been BJ driving his rig to the jungles of Africa, then removing the insipid human clothing on Bear, and releasing him back where he belongs. Imagine a reverse-Jungle Book (1967) motif. Woulda been a helluva two-parter to close things out.

Cable TV came into everyone’s home by the early 1980’s, and changed everything for television, the same way the Internet and social media has changed information exchange today. As kids, we are defined by what we watch, as advertisers have been targeting kids since television’s advent. With cable, there were suddenly a lot more options for viewers, so networks had to improve their programming, otherwise there were dozens of other channels to surf.

In the end, the only thing that motivates change is necessity and survival. This revolution in global society that is happening before our eyes has been a product of decades of technological breakthroughs, which has allowed mass culture to absorb it’s best & worst aspects, and make critical value judgments on its content.

For example, TV news used to be the trusted family friend at supper time. That changed with CNN, and was killed by the Internet, just like print news. Now we recognize it as fake news. When decades of experience. knowledge & wisdom can be instantly shared to a global audience, then we have the means to educate & motivate the masses towards something better.

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