The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

Every man contains within himself the whole condition of humanity. — Zarah Valeska, from The Other Side of the Wind

This is the legendary unfinished film by Orson Welles that everyone has been waiting their lifetime for. Financial limitations, international politics, and ultimately legal battles kept Orson Welles from being able to finish his final masterpiece. That is what The Other Side of the Wind is.

What is happening now in film history is a rare delight, as the stories & myths behind this project have intrigued & tantalized film buffs for decades. Now the world gets to see the result, with everyone’s critical opinion coming in simultaneously, on a film whose creator is an acknowledged master, but has been dead for over 30 years. Every review and critique you read will be new, as basically no one has seen this film before now, except it’s creators and a few privileged others. Therefore, a correct interpretation of Orson Welles’ final cinematic effort is in order.

The Other Side of the Wind is most comparable to F for Fake (1973), an underrated & innovative masterpiece in itself. Orson Welles fans have differing opinions on what his best film was. The dogma of course is Citizen Kane (1941), as “the greatest movie ever.” Many Welles fans (including himself), insist Citizen Kane isn’t his best film. Some tout The Lady from Shanghai (1947), or one of his sublime Shakespeare adaptations, while others hold up Touch of Evil (1958).

None of them are wrong, as it really comes down to taste. For me, F for Fake is Orson Welles at his funniest and most incisive, with an amazing & true story to share. Welles examines Elmyr de Hory, the greatest art forger of the 20th century, as a platform to brilliantly expose corruption & hypocrisy in the world of art criticism & expertise authentication. There’s big money involved, and that’s the subject of first hour of this film, done in documentary style. The rest of the half-hour-or-so, is a surrealist fantasy featuring Oja Kodar, who is stunningly beautiful, playing with Picasso.

Oja Kodar was also Welles’ lover, although he was still married & never divorced. In F for Fake, Kodar is a creative partner, bringing an eroticism that had never existed in previous Orson Welles films. Oja Kodar is presented in mesmerizing style by Welles, in the credits at the beginning, and then featured at the end, through the lens of innovative cameraman Gary Graver. Kodar & Graver would be key collaborators on The Other Side of the Wind, which was being shot simultaneously with F for Fake, although it’s footage remained unreleased for decades, which denied Oja Kodar & Gary Graver the stardom & accolades they so richly deserved.

The star of The Other Side of the Wind is John Huston as Jake Hannaford, who is really playing the life of Orson Welles. Welles wrote the screenplay for the “documentary part,” while the “movie-within-a-movie” screenplay is credited to Oja Kodar, who is displayed in various forms of nudity, with intricate camera work by Gary Graver.

One can see that Welles had been influenced by French New Wave cinema, and also Andy Warhol in his use of lighting & cinematic style in these shots of Kodar. It’s a fine line between art & pornography, and The Other Side of the Wind goes right up to it, but doesn’t cross it. This is another Wellesian touch, and there are many in this film, which can now rightfully be called a classic.

A necessary introduction to this seemingly difficult film is They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (2018). It’s directed by Morgan Neville, who fills in many of the blanks surrounding the controversy over this long-unfinished film, which has finally been released. It offers a fair & balanced portrait of Orson Welles and the conditions he faced in trying to get this movie finished.

In short, Welles was devastated that he couldn’t finish this film, as the footage was confiscated by French authorities, and locked inside a vault in Paris for years, until a legal settlement could be reached long after his death in 1985. Welles said it himself in a 1982 interview, that it was impossible for him to make a film, as no one would fund it. At that point it was the blockbuster era, and Orson Welles’ was then labeled passe’ by the latest version of Hollywood.

The casting in The Other Side of the Wind is brilliant, with the dialogue & editing razor sharp. Peter Bogdanovich steals every scene he’s in, even the ones he wasn’t in originally, as he replaced Rich Little who infamously walked-off Orson Welles’ set. The creative shooting & precise editing to squeeze Bogdanovich into crucial scenes (which had already been shot and couldn’t be redone), is masterfully accomplished by Graver & Welles.

Peter Bogdanovich by this time was a famous Hollywood director, with What’s Up Doc? (1972). Here we see his brilliance as an actor and creative force in The Other Side of the Wind. It was Peter Bogdanovich, along with Gary Graver & Oja Kodar who ultimately got this film finished. Film fans who value art, wholeheartedly appreciate the sacrifices of all those who selflessly labored for decades in getting this project done.

The Other Side of the Wind is now available for streaming on Netflix, along with the above-mentioned documentary. There are many quotable lines, but I only spoiled one, which is the introduction to this piece.  In a sentence capsule review, the film’s themes are the betrayal of confidants & collaborators, mixed into the cynical world of wanna-be’s & insipid critics full of hate; all wrapped around the artistic beauty of Oja Kodar.

John Huston has a wonderful final line, then the credits roll for approximately four-and-a half minutes, until the underscore fades and the screen goes black with a few seconds remaining. At that point, Orson Welles in a fatigued voice, seemingly from the other side of the wind murmurs, “Cut,” and it’s finally over.

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Sports Talk with Jimmy McBride

Do you like sports? A lot people like sports, and they like to talk about them even more. Big people, little people; boys & girls. This is a large demographic, if you know know what I mean? Sports means money. That’s why it’s on talk radio, so it’s only natural in the age of the internet that it extends to social media. The biggest phenomenon in social media is Facebook, which many online forums link through, including (until recently) ESPN.com.

MLB.com had it’s own forum, meaning you had to sign up with them to be a member, as boards were controlled by individual teams & MLB moderators. The few years I spent in these sports forums were very educational in terms of understanding the impact of correct thinking & revolutionary action on social media. The conclusion is that a rational intellect with emotional restraint will dominate any online forum, to the point where it’s owners have to censor leading individuals to remain in control of the message. If dissent gets beyond a few individuals, then it may become necessary to shut down the comments entirely in this age of internet media propaganda.

So what exactly happened here? To answer this adequately, I must reference myself extensively in this timeline of sports censorship, as it was my commentary that led to (expedited) MLB.com & ESPN.com eliminating comments on their articles. The blackout happened on Friday July 6, 2018 at ESPN. It occurred over the course of the 2018 season for MLB.com, depending on the team and individual posting history. I’ve brought in Boston/MTV cabbie Jimmy McBride for comic relief.

What happened in 2018 to the MLB forums was that individuals were blacklisted, while all others were censored to varying degrees. Tactics included an inability to post (blacklisting), and ghosting of posts (selective censoring). Ghosting means your post disappears into cyberspace, never again to be seen by you or your friends.

It’s a cardinal rule that you must compose on a word processor document, then copy & paste to post online, as you can be locked out in the middle of long posts if you try to compose from scratch on their site. By the MLB 2018 post-season, the comments sections had completely disappeared everywhere, for every team. No fans on MLB.com are allowed to share their feelings on what they witness anymore. No explanation from MLB.

MLB.com had been an online stomping ground for RicSize since late 2015, when I decided to become an active Padres fan. That was my handle on Baseball Prospectus (which kicked ass) a decade-or-so before, so I knew I could deal with the best baseball fans at MLB.com. As a new Padres fan, acquiring RF Matt Kemp, LF Justin Upton & RHP James Shields had proven a disaster, and I was going to speak the truth as I saw it. The team needed it.

I did so, and it woke up a lot of people in that sleepy forum. Since then, the MLB.com/Padres forum was a much more critical & galvanized fanbase. Some regulars agreed with what I posted, other didn’t– but everyone learned. Comments became much more thought out & well expressed, and the forum came to life. We weren’t chumps anymore, and it was like that until the end. The Padres forum died weeks before the season ended. By that point, many members weren’t able to post anymore, or were having repeated issues.

I went through a few MLB Trade deadlines, where I discovered the actual value of influencing opinion online. It can be done for any purpose, but the best reason is to share the truth. When you can prove to a team’s fans in their forum, that the player(s) they are hoping their GM will trade are junk, it quickly kills any momentum as deep & sobering realization ensues. I delighted in dispensing my homespun baseball wisdom on deluded fans, and did it actively during the 2016 & 2017 seasons, particularly at the trade deadlines. A lot of murky stuff went down then, concerning the Padres & MLB if you recall.

It was always a great story, so I wrote them up.  It was easy because the content flowed from human interactions online. This got me to the point where I was known & feared in media circles, while being blacklisted from official discourse & publication. Fan commenting was my path around that, as I discovered I could become more influential than the author of (yet another) shoddy article, simply by making astute comments to the forum.

Deadspin reported ESPN’s comments shutdown here, with no explanation on July 6, 2018. Background on this starts with tennis star Serena Williams retiring before her French Open 4th-Round match with arch-opponent Maria Sharapova in early June, claiming a torn pectoral muscle. In less than a month, Serena Williams came back to compete in Wimbledon, without any noticeable injury. In the interim, Williams refused a drug test when a WADA agent showed up at her residence on the morning of June 14, 2018. Serena revealed this news at a pre-Wimbledon presser to stunned silence, and then declared the matter closed. ESPN dropped it.

I kept reporting these transgressions & inconsistencies, and kept commenting on the fake puff piece articles that were being churned out night & day by the ESPN machine. Serena Williams must of had at least 50 articles published about her during the French Open, through Wimbledon in the mainstream US sports media. Her comeback, her motherhood, all in glowing & favorable terms. ESPN buried the fake pectoral injury, with the missed drug test. ESPN never mentions TUE’s with the Williams sisters.

Previously I had only taken on NASCAR at ESPN.com. It was when Danica Patrick was still running, as she was a hot story. I rode it until the end, and it was worth it– for sure. I’m best known as a sportswriter for “Why Does Danica Patrick Wreck So Often in NASCAR?”

The ESPN head writer for NASCAR is Bob Pockrass, who actually knows what he’s talking about & cares. He just isn’t allowed to say all of it, and that’s where I filled in as needed, as I didn’t like to see my favorite driver getting wrecked week after week– intentionally or otherwise.

But when the fixing of Wimbledon’s draw finally became apparent to everyone following the WTA, my comments drifted from the racetrack and became the rage of the ESPN tennis forum. A lot of tennis fans were instantly educated on the dirty underbelly of sports, meaning money & politics. On ESPN,com I posted through Facebook, using my primary account (and real) name Eric Meeker.

On this site on May 30, 2018, I published “Beauty, Athletics & Revolution” which became a serial that covered the women’s French Open. On July 8, I published “The World Cup & Sports Propaganda,”  which added an ending on July 14, so it covered women’s Wimbledon through the final. Much of the content of these articles came from the online comments I made on ESPN.com/tennis. This is when ESPN banned comments.

On August 16, 2018 I published “The Politics of Motherhood,” as the US Open approached, and it was apparent that Serena Williams was about to be handed another fixed draw. It is eerily prescient, as the result of the 2018 Women’s US Open is covered in “Despicable Manipulation & Thievery,” published September 10-11, discussing Serena Williams’ meltdown verses Naomi Osaka in the finals, as well as post-match accusations of sexism against an esteemed chair umpire.

Near the end at ESPN.com, in terms of readers being able to post, I was covering Serena Williams at Wimbledon, asking many, many questions concerning her conduct, and the women’s draw which appeared to have been rigged so she could easily reach the finals. She did so, before being crushed by Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-2. Up to the day posting was removed on ESPN (July 6, 2018), I was seeing posts in the tennis forum such as, “I skipped directly to the comments!!”

Question: How you find out what’s the real score is? Answer: You read my comments on sports. ESPN didn’t like being shown up by someone whom they can’t even recognize, so they scrapped the comments section altogether. The cat was out of the bag already, and by the time Serena melted down in the US Open final (after another rigged draw), tennis fans didn’t need me to tell them what they were seeing anymore. This is why ESPN went dark on their comments. And people said that Ric Size vs. ESPN & Serena Williams was an unfair fight. To them I say, it was.

Rattling corporate media & management/ownership in front of the fans is anti-mainstream, even (especially?) when it’s true. If I post that RF Jay Bruce is worthless to both the Reds, and then the Mets (when it mattered), and then am proven right by events; well what does that do for the MLB & ESPN writing staff’s credibility? I’m affecting fake jobs with this level of dissent. Therefore I must be blacklisted, as these fake jobs protect real interests which must remain hidden. Sports is seen as a last line of ideological defense for capitalism in America. It anesthetizes the jock-heads.

You can do anything with a blog, even become an entire online newspaper– over time. As everyone knows, the sports section is crucial to any newspaper’s readership, which is why I discuss them so much. There is a lack of critical examination of sports, on-the-field & off-the-field. ESPN & Fox own most of the major US sports telecasts nowadays, and they don’t appreciate any dissent that makes them or their products look bad. That’s when the sponsors get nervous and start to make noise, which is where we are now.

Of all the articles I’ve published, “The Shohei Ohtani Pitch” is the one I have the most mixed-feelings over. After any necessary editing, which is too often needed I confess, I leave everything on this site up as is. Sometimes I’m proven wrong, and I don’t mind, as I still feel there is something worthwhile in everything I’ve posted.

There are times I wish I had an editor to check my mistakes, but to self-edit means holding yourself up to professional standards in proofreading & fact-checking. The plus side is that it allows for creativity & self-expression that any other editor wouldn’t tolerate. “The Shohei Ohtani Pitch” was an example of being wrong on one level (Ohtani signed with the Angels, not the Padres as I discuss for a few thousand words), but being right on a deeper level, as I revealed the MLB’s Black Hand in action– in real time.

That’s what it took to make me wrong on free agent Shohei Ohtani’s destination, and in the process I exposed ESPN’s Buster Olney acting as hatchet man for the Boston Red Sox. Olney angrily & repeatedly smeared the San Diego Padres front office as dirty players in this process through ESPN & MLB media while offering no proof, when it was in fact the Red Sox who tampered in this affair through these actions.

Tampering allegations against the Red Sox were only brought up by me, and it’s why I was banned from MLB.com. That, and exposing the collapse of the MLB free agent market last winter as it happened. By pitchers & catchers 2018, I knew I was permanently banned from MLB.com.

In “The Shohei Ohtani Pitch” I speculated on RHP Shohei Ohtani going to the San Diego Padres, as their GM AJ Preller had a personal relationship with him and those in his circle. Plus, Preller speaks Japanese. The Padres were the real favorites, until the Black Hand of MLB stepped in.

It was what I reported on my site and in the MLB comments section that caused this immediate mass censorship of all the MLB team forums. All 30 teams had a forum of fans, and the relationships were real & long-standing. This was destroyed overnight, to cover-up an ugly incident of manipulation by MLB, where they insisted a top talent be placed into a major market, to the exclusion of the team Shohei Ohtani probably wanted to sign with, which was the San Diego Padres.

On Friday morning, December 8, 2017  I posted:

Here’s another little coincidence for you. When I went to check the MLB site(s) on Friday morning– December 8, their page format which they have used for the last 5+ years has been completely changed. This is for the main site and ALL the teams; COMPLETELY reformatted, with everything repositioned and jumbled around. People are obviously confused, as the number of comments is way down. Maybe this is due to the fact that many comments’ sections that don’t even load. I try to post something on the latest Stanton piece— forget-about-it! This gets me thinking…

I click on a few of my links above, and they all load, but only the article [!]– no comments that others & I posted are to be seen. It’s a good thing I saved & published everything I posted, otherwise MLB, it’s writers, and fans wouldn’t have access to what happened during the Ohtani affair. Hey, I’m always thinking.

Friday, December 8 6:11 PM [a few hours after it is announced that Shohei Ohtani signs with the Angels]

I had waited to see if this was a zig-zag by AJP [Padres GM AJ Preller], to short-circuit a potential MLB investigation, but it isn’t. He may still be investigated, even though he lost. I leave what I’ve published above untouched, as this article is a character study more than anything else, and I have no issue admitting I was wrong about where RHP Shohei Ohtani would land in the end. It appears the Black Hand has stepped in, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that at this time.

The official Padres narrative is now that they lost Ohtani because they didn’t have enough money, and he wanted to DH. That’s just the opposite of what everybody claimed & indicated for weeks & weeks, but now it’s suddenly peddled as the truth. In a nutshell, the Red Sox were never players here, so their strategy was to foil the apparent victors– the Padres (whom they HATE), forcing Preller to kick Ohtani to his buddy Billy Eppler, or else MLB (Red Sox) would have eventually stripped and sanctioned the Padres. When ESPN media ran out Buster Olney, that was the signal. AJP complied.

The Black Hand message: move along everybody– move along; nothing to see here. This blog has done major damage to MLB, ESPN, many others’ credibility– even the Padres. No apologies to any of them.

Every fan member of MLB.com had their avatar & screen name removed, and had to re-register to get back in to post. Some never came back, and others gave up trying. The owners meetings occurred in Orlando, FL the following Monday December 11-14. I had to work in dentistry, and couldn’t attend. but I could imagine what was being said about Ric Size. I’m sure it was vehement, hateful, and went on for awhile.

MLB.com became a severely restricted site after the “Ohtani Affair,” which only I reported with any accuracy in the US sports media. It’s almost a year later, and there is still no one who has explained how the Anaheim Angels landed Shohei Ohtani, when they were never seen as in contention, and were never mentioned as a preference of his– until the very end.

Then came the Hot Stove season, where unfortunately nothing much warmed up for most of the MLB free agents. Comments on that (along with the Ohtani Affair), are what got me permanently banned from the MLB.com forums, sometime last winter. I noticed I was still allowed to ‘Like’ a comment, so I did where appropriate. Then that starting getting ghosted and was soon banned also. By Spring Training, all commenting had been banned in a few team forums, and by the end of the 2018 regular season there was no more fan commentary allowed or displayed for MLB teams on their own site.

Evidently, fans & players uniting and exchanging meaningful dialogue is not what MLB likes in their forums. The problem is that fans expect to be able to participate and share their thoughts with other fans, otherwise they feel alienated from the game. Banning comments in MLB team forums is like saying, “Come to our beautiful ballparks: spend and enjoy, just don’t tell anybody what you think.”

It feels more & more like owners and those in control in MLB only want our money, and have no interest in listening to fans who see major issues with the product. This just completed World Series was the 4th-lowest rated in television history. The Boston Red Sox over the LA Dodgers had two behemoth media markets going for it, and yet still couldn’t generate much fan interest.

Maybe that’s because this series was another AL beatdown, which was entirely predictable. This leads to fans not caring or watching as much, especially when they can’t talk to their longtime online baseball friends anymore. This is a conscious ownership policy that is seriously damaging the game. There will be less fans & money if this censorship is allowed to continue.

I made it a rule to not become personal friends with any of the people behind the handles & avatars in these forums, as I consider myself a student of the game & a reporter. But with the Padres forum, I felt an attachment and a sense of family. The others who posted regularly all have identities to me, whether they chose to reveal themselves openly, or simply in what they think, and when they said it. What you find in an online group such as what I’m describing is a cross-section of society, coming together to share a mutual interest.

I recall a time when one long-time Padres fan in the forum died. When someone posted what had happened, everyone became sad & sympathetic. Baseball became secondary for a brief time in that forum. That’s got very little to do with baseball, and everything to do with human friendship & solidarity. Fans of baseball (and all sports) need to recognize that they are the critical element, that is being abused. Fans bring the money & interest to the game, which drives media & pays salaries. If fans can’t participate in the fun, or if it’s all fixed, why should they support the game?

MLB thinks it owns the game, but the truth is the players and fans own it. The problem is capitalism, which has allowed extreme exploitation of the players since its19th-century beginnings. Fast-forward to 2018, and most players entering free agency this winter aren’t going to get the rich paydays they were promised by their agents, union officials & even MLB itself. Sure RF Bryce Harper (QO), SS Manny Machado & RHP Patrick Corbin (QO) will get big-time offers; but the rest will be low-balled.

Those two players parenthesized in the last sentence are the only ones who will get a qualifying offer this November, which is $17.9M for one year. It used to be that 10+ players would get a QO. GM’s finally got smart, and realize the draft picks are invaluable, and now don’t like to lose them as compensation. They’ll only give up a draft pick anymore, if it’s a top-tier free agent like Harper, etc. Younger players are cheaper, and often better, and all GM’s know this by now. The MLBPA agreed to this CBA which runs 2017-21, so the players are shafted until then– unless they organize a wildcat strike.

Update Sunday November 4, 2018: A total of seven QO’s were made on Friday, November 2 in MLB. Beyond the expected offers to Bryce Harper & Patrick Corbin, were Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock, and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and catcher Yasmani Grandal. These players have 10 days to accept a $17.9 million salary for 2019, or become free agents with draft pick compensation. The five players I listed after Harper & Corbin should all accept their qualifying offers, as they won’t get better deals on the free agent market. Especially Grandal & Ryu.

Fox Sports still allows online commenting of their articles, as of this publication. This may sound strange, but it actually isn’t. Fox is openly right-wing, and thus the forum censors itself with its reactionary membership. I don’t bother posting in there, and neither does anyone else who has a brain that actively functions. Notice it’s the “liberal” ESPN & MLB crowd who are the biggest advocates & implementers of online censorship.

Thus, for baseball fans, there is no longer a league-moderated forum for fans to interact & talk baseball, due to the political ideology of the owners & sponsors. Those who make ESPN out to be the 800-pound gorilla, are lying as the entire network is a mirage. Most who work there know next-to-nothing about the sports they claim to cover, and even less about business. Most are simply parasites, latched onto a good thing, which they won’t give up until it’s dead. These parasites are what’s wrong with sports. At the most fundamental level, the owners, commissioners & network power players are the social class that must be expelled from sports for them to be sustained with any integrity & human interest.

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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.

Sun 04 Nov 2018 11:59:07 AM EST

Having now watched Season 6 to the end, I’ll leave my final comments which include no spoilers. This is the weakest season of House of Cards— by far. If Season 6 had been Season 1, very few would have been interested in this series, beyond fans of The West Wing (1999-2006), etc. There is little that is edgy & new in the final eight episodes. It’s mostly rehashing old themes, and winding up the drama.

This final season missed Kevin Spacey, big-time. Greg Kinnear was presumably brought in as a star replacement, but he is woefully miscast as an evil, big-money power broker. Gerald McRaney as Raymond Tusk was a much more convincing & intriguing portrait, and that’s the sort of actor that was needed to replace Spacey. This was a casting mistake, as Greg Kinnear is a fine actor, but was ill-suited for the role he was asked to play. Season’s 1-5 had flawless casting.

It is undeniable that Season 6 suffered due to the influence of the #MeToo campaign, in every way discussed above. This reactionary feminist ideology can’t rise above the simplest narratives, and maybe that was the point, but it came off stilted & one-dimensional. The first five seasons were just the opposite. The final wrap-up for House of Cards is that it’s an instant classic, as it transformed its genre. It will be forever re-watched, and was profoundly & positively influential on American politics. Thank you to all the artists who made it possible.

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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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