Saturday Morning Cartoons

Preface: Of all the impressions I have from going back and re-watching these cartoon classics on the internet, it’s my memories of the time that affect me most. Cartoons & teen programming stays with us, because it’s what we chose to like when we had a choice. As kids of Generation X, we were honest in our selections in all media. We had choices, and either liked it or didn’t. Our reaction was swift & merciless. We were smart, so if you sucked, you got yanked off-the-air quickly, because there was little room for that with the networks & sponsors. These corporate stiffs had no clue, and always used Generation X kids as a barometer for what was cool– in all mass media.

Back in the 1970’s, this was the best time of the week for kids. Television had saturated America, but there was no programming for kids until this time slot was developed. This was pre-cable TV, where viewing options were CBS, NBC, ABC or PBS– roughly in that order. Every other time slot was for adults.

Weekday mornings were always 2-hour news show such as Today & Good Morning America. Then it went into game shows until around noon. Then three-to-four hours of soap operas. Evenings were for adults too, and then many stations went off-the-air from midnight to 6 AM. There was maybe an hour (or two) of kids after-school programming per day during the week, which was mostly syndicated 1960’s & 1970’s sit-coms & Star Trek (1966-69).

Syndicated cartoons were often ancient, with too much lameness such as Woody Woodpecker and Tom & Jerry. Mel Blanc’s Merrie Melodies were in rotation, but you couldn’t get enough of them. Beyond Hanna-Barbera & Bugs Bunny, the best 1960’s cartoons were Underdog (1964-67) and Rocky & Bullwinkle (1959-64), but they were also hard for kids to find.

Hence the need to create a Saturday morning cartoon time slot. As a kid, it felt great to wake up and know there was no school, just fun TV watching ahead. Sunday mornings were exclusively religious programming, and the rest of the daytime weekend was sports, so this was it for cartoons.

Non-animated fare for children was PBS’s Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and The Electric Company. More adventurously for kids, ABC ran a variety of Sid & Marty Krofft series, most prominently: Land of the Lost, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, the Bugaloos & H.R. Pufnstuf.

Krofft Productions is difficult is explain (or even justify) to those who weren’t there, but here it goes. The lack of competition during this era really stifled innovation, as the boardrooms of the three major networks made every decision regarding what television audiences would see. Hanna-Barbera had taken the lead in kids programming, and they were making money for their affiliates on all three networks. Hanna-Barbera owned 80% of the Saturday morning market. The problem was, by the middle of the decade Hanna-Barbera cartoons were either old, or looked old. We’ll return to this point later.

Sid & Marty Krofft had worked for Hanna-Barbera in the late 1960’s. They left to move in their own direction, creating live action series for kids. During the 1970’s, Sid & Marty Krofft created dozens of new series, many lasting just a few episodes, that constantly ran on Saturday morning & after school.

Each Sid & Marty Krofft creation seemed to have the same strengths & weaknesses, which made them delightful & maddening at the same time. Land of the Lost (1974-76) was their flagship series, running three seasons. It was a stretch making it that far, as the acting is really bad, and there is too-little inspired writing. Every plotline seemingly stagnates into inaction, as characters endlessly talk about what to do, or whatever else.

Land of the Lost is a great concept, with a great theme song (and rockin’ closing song), with some semi-cool dinosaur animation. The sleestack is a great monster idea. Fun fact: a young Bill Laimbeer (C/PF Detroit Pistons, NBA) was a sleestack. No one knew who he was at the time, but watching this show in retrospect, one can always tell which sleestack is Bill Laimbeer. It’s the biggest and most-aggressive one.

Sleestack were a far-out idea, but kinda lame too. Typical example: multiple sleestack closing in on Will & Holly, who are trapped in a stryofoam cavern, just about to be caught. Then it’s— cut to a commercial for messages from McDonald’s, Trix, Captain Crunch, Eggo, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola, Light Brite & Coco Puffs. After that it’s back to the “action,” where the sleestack have been moved back ten feet. Holly will then cry out in fright, “They’re getting closer!,” as the entire sequence plays out again– until Will & Holly escape.

Land of the Lost also had a usable vehicle with its time machine and the solitary friendly sleestack named Enik, who aids the castaways. They shuffle different-colored boulder marbles around a stone board– and things happen. Cool concept, but only a few stories actually hold up, which really hurts the overall plotline.

I’m neutral on Chaka. As I mentioned, this is the BEST show from the Krofft brothers, and it has serious flaws. It’s considered to be a low-budget version of Gilligan’s Island by those who watched.

The original desert island castaways had Tina Louise & Dawn Wells going for them, which is nice. The rest were too inept to find a way off, for all the reasons we know. That’s how Hollywood goes two hit seasons with that concept & budget.

Both shows hooked viewers with a terrific opening title sequence & catchy song (& outro version). Land of the Lost had a fascinating concept beyond that, which made it a cult hit with GenX.

Second place for cool in the Krofft series probably goes to Electra Woman & Dyna Girl, a live action series from 1976. It ran 16 episodes in a single season as part of the Krofft Supershow (1976-79). Electra Woman & Dyna Girl was dropped during it’s second season, along with Dr. Shrinker. Electra Woman & Dyna Girl ran in syndication on Saturday mornings & after school, and was well-received by the kids. So, what happened?

Once again, Electra Woman & Dyna Girl is a great idea, two super-hero babes with a hooky title song– which ALWAYS helps. All the mainstream had in that genre at the time was Wonder Woman (1975-79), and a limited amount of Batgirl. Competition was needed, and Krofft Productions recognized this. But once again, there was no money put into this series, as the episodes were stretched thin, with too many lulls. You need writers to sustain a series.

Sid & Marty Krofft were good at knowing what the kids wanted, and deserve credit for that. But too often they axed ideas which had more potential in them, because they didn’t have the resources to develop them properly. It was cheaper & easier to move onto something else, and that’s what they mostly did.

Everyone knows that Land of the Lost was brought back for a bad movie in 2009. Few know that Electra Woman & Dyna Girl was brought back as a pilot for television in 2001, with Electra Woman played by Markie Post. This is hilarious stuff, as it nails the original concept perfectly while updating it. It should have gone to series– but Warner Brothers killed it. Idiots.

Back to Sid & Marty Krofft, as Dr. Shrinker is the last original series I’ll mention specifically. It’s the same deal here as the rest, as this show barely made it through its only season, yet lives on in so many memories of GenX-ers, because of its theme song.

Dr. Shrinker is a case of the title song being the best part of the show. For the record, this also happened with Barney Miller (1975-82). Dr. Shrinker held up for a few episodes, until one realized this was a constant loop of capture & escape, with no resolution in sight. One or two episodes of Dr. Shrinker could be maddeningly hilarious in its time, and still is in retrospect. Anything more is suicidal lunacy. The title song sticks in your head forever.

The collective works of Sid & Marty Krofft are a mixed bag of interesting & crazy ideas, marred by lack of execution. In so many ways their concepts influenced GenX, while most viewers were smart enough to recognize their limitations. This is why just about all of their series only ran one season, but the impression they made remains deep in the memory banks of those who watched.

When kids tuned in to whatever version of Krofft productions was on at the time, we were looking for ideas & creativity. Sid & Marty Krofft thought outside-the-box, and took chances. This was low budget and it showed, but they found ways to make it work for years, and when you’re discussing the kids TV demographic, that’s saying something. In terms of the popular influence of Krofft productions, and the advertising money they created for their network– it was huge on all sides.

In the 1970’s, Hanna-Barbera had become a behemoth, nearly monopolizing Saturday morning cartoons. At first this was for the better with Scooby Doo, and everything they built around that iconic great dane. The great Hanna-Barbera cartoons of this era included: Harlem Globetrotters, The Scooby-Doo Show, The Yogi Bear Show, Hong Kong Phooey, Laff-A-Lympics & Challenge of the Super Friends.

Eventually, as with any monopoly, lack of innovation became their downfall, as their legendary stable of iconic cartoon characters, going all the way back to Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear & the Flintstones had become dated. Hanna-Barbera cut corners in animation, using the same scrolling backgrounds over & over, which eventually caught up with them.

By the time cable TV & Nickelodeon came along in the 1980’s, Hanna-Barbera quickly became an industry relic, which Ted Turner bought up and used to launch the Cartoon Network in 1992. For straight boys who cut their teeth on sugar-coated cereals during 1970’s, The Smurfs were the jumping-off point for Hanna-Barbera.

As a side note, The runaway success of The Smurfs cartoon spawned a video game which was platformed exclusively on ColecoVision. The dominant home console platform of the day was the Atari 2600, and newly introduced Atari 5200– in late 1982. With such exclusive licensing, Atari console owners couldn’t play the Smurfs video game because it wasn’t allowed to be available on any other platform.

This was a major salvo in the infamous “video game wars” that eventually crashed the video game industry in 1983-84. Atari and all the rest went bankrupt, with Japan’s Nintendo capturing the market with its NES & Super Mario in 1985. Nintendo had been huge in video games since Donkey Kong in 1981, which was also exclusively licensed by ColecoVision as their original pack-in game.

The best of the rest on Saturday morning included the following:

Return to the Planet of the Apes (1975) was an action animated series based upon the novel Planet of the Apes (1963) by Pierre Boulle. It ran 13 half-hour episodes, and is better than any of the movies or other adaptations. Return to the Planet of the Apes is animation that approaches art, with it’s minimalist storyboarding & intelligent themes.

The plot moves along quickly with purpose, and the scoring is outstanding. Ethical issues such as imprisonment, intolerance, sympathy, science, and love are explored in creative & subliminal ways. This remains a first-rate cartoon, easily one of the best ever.

The Pink Panther Show aired on NBC in all kinds of versions during the decade. Great cartoon characters included the Ant & the Aardvark– one of my all-time favorites. This cartoon has serious durability, used in the Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers back in the day, it remains funny & engaging up to today. Classics never die.

Filmation became a big cartoon production competitor to Hanna-Barbera in the 1970’s. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids ran for most of the decade, and was their biggest hit. No matter what became of Bill Cosby and his sexual predations, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids still has an undeniable charm & reach towards kids. It ranks with The Cosby Show as his greatest artistic achievement, and in many ways outstrips that blockbuster 1980’s sit-com which came after.

Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle was a half-hour action cartoon that ran four seasons, from 1976–1980 on CBS. It’s probably the best version of Tarzan on any screen, as it portrays the title character as not only strong, but also intelligent & caring towards all. A great way to strengthen your voice (and irritate your parents) is to imitate his call of the jungle.

The New Adventures of Batman was successfully brought back as an animated series that aired on CBS. The was another Filmation production, featuring the DC Comics superheroes Batman & Robin with Batgirl, and it was terrific. All the kids watched it, along with Hanna-Barbera’s SuperFriends series.

It’s natural for kids to identify with superheroes. It’s also natural for teens & adults to outgrow this phenomenon. With that said, the best version of Flash Gordon was the 1979 animated series, shown as a Saturday morning cartoon. It had excellent animation for its time, and took major influence from Star Wars— in its Empire Strikes Back (1980) era.

Now re-titled as The New Adventures of Flash Gordon (1979), Season 1 is sixteen chapters, and is all you need to see. Season 2 (1982) is domesticated & silly in comparison. This series had a major influence on Japanimation as an art form with commercial possibilities. Peter Chung’s Æon Flux (1991-95) is a good example of this.

Conclusion: Cartoons aren’t mindless entertainment, as so many “responsible” parents insisted back in these days. It’s what kids are interested in, therefore it becomes a competitive market. Generation X was the “Saturday morning cartoons” generation. Along with video games, MTV, and early home computers, their embracing of these innovations would change popular culture forever.

The most divisive line between modern and old popular culture is Generation X. Like it or not, most kids today consider the Beatles to be old, and they’re right. That’s hurtful to an older generation of baby boomers & classic rockers who have been left behind culturally & intellectually.

Generation X doesn’t think that way. They understand the Beatles were geniuses in their time, but rock music & art has long since modernized past their influence. Hip-hop & rap, along with the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and electronica have more influence today.

The first adult animation feature film for Generation X was Heavy Metal (1981), a sex-up space conquest fantasy trip, with a R-rating. It features a killer double album soundtrack– an essential record for any rock fan. Play it loud!!

Æon Flux was an animated action series of shorts, and eventually half-hour episodes featured on MTV, the same network that broadcast Beavis & Butthead. This, along with The Simpsons is late teen & young adult cartoon content for Generation X.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the adult version of cartoons, with their puppeteering & incisive hilarity. Content on the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon & the Cartoon Network of this era slanted younger, meaning Generation Y. The same became true with video games, music & computers.

As we can see, cartoons can be stimulant for a young imagination. They will never go away, because people don’t want to get old. Cartoons can be a fantasy that takes you away on an adventure, and that has value– if it’s creative & well done. Cartoons make people laugh, and remind them of when they were young. Nothing is more valuable than that.

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The Silenced Majority

US President Richard Nixon (1969-74) once famously claimed to speak for the “silent majority,” that supposedly wanted the US military to stay in Vietnam. He & Henry Kissinger were lying (as always), as the masses hated the war by then– but facts never matter to people like these. This is for the silenced majority.

Deep state Democrats sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016 by rigging the nomination process, as revealed by WikiLeaks. This leak probably came from DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered under murky circumstances. Bernie Sanders is silent on all this, proving he’s a loyal Democrat (centrist) above all else.

Bernie Sanders supports Trump’s anti-immigration policies, militarism abroad, the persecution of Julian Assange, the anti-Russian campaign, etc… His entire support in 2016 came from youth & liberals that believed he represented socialism. The kids recognize this fakery now, as support for Sanders 2020 is way down, as seen by the attendance at a recent California rally.

Anyone with an ounce of political aptitude knows that the Mueller Report was an expensive & elaborate exercise in fakery. “Impeachment” of Trump is the new sham, under the charge of “Russian collusion,” which is fake. “Impeachment” of this kind would end the same for the Democrats as the Kavanaugh Hearings last summer.

Donald Trump could rightly be impeached for illegal & inhuman detention of immigrants, violating the constitution & democratic rights, militarism against other countries, etc. There is broad popular consensus for this type of impeachment, but there is no appetite for it anywhere in Washington or the mass media. Who speaks for the silenced majority?

The European political center is collapsing, as revealed by the broad popular support for Julian Assange (above), as well as recent EU election results. “Will the center hold?,” is the question all the media pundits ask. The answer is no, but no one can say that out loud, so they drone on about whatever…

As proof, Theresa May recently announced her resignation as UK’s Prime Minister, after her inability to negotiate a deal for Brexit. In 2016, the voters of the UK approved a ballot initiative (Brexit) to leave the European Union (EU). This mass repudiation of the EU and its technocrats in Brussels is a symptom of mass dissatisfaction globally.

Nationalism is still the poison which leaders try to inject into their people. The problem is that politicians are not viewed favorably anywhere anymore. Currently, US President Donald Trump is on a 3-day tour of the UK, where he is being given a royal reception, while being kept far away from the masses, because they mostly hate Trump– and rightly so.

The truth is there is only movement to either political extreme– right or left. The broad masses have moved sharply to the left, while the ruling classes have moved towards fascism. Politically speaking, “conservative centrists” used to consider fascism as the lunatic fringe, but that is now the center of the Republican & Democratic parties. That’s how far things have shifted to the right among the political elite.

“Is there something new coming?,” talking heads half-heartedly inquire, because they are afraid of the answer– which is, “Yes!” The masses are embracing revolutionary socialism, the Trotskyism of the ICFI. Socialist Equality Parties are becoming politically active around the world in a qualitatively new way. You never hear about this in the mainstream media (MSM). Trotsky is the “great unmentionable” in bourgeois politics.

The yellow vests in France & teachers’ strikes in the US are a harbinger, with disfranchised workers taking politics into their own hands. Once these angry masses develop their political consciousness and organize with solidarity under a revolutionary socialist banner, the most powerful social force in human history will wipe away capitalist rule.

The collapse of the EU, the US dollar (in the form of quantitative easing), and the post-war order in general is tied into deep-going economic stagnation globally, which immiserates billions of people and has led to conflict after conflict– with no end in sight. There isn’t a nationalist leader or government in the world that has a progressive answer to this historical international crisis.

WWI was an attempt by a great power (Germany) to re-globalize the world through violence. It was interrupted by the Russian Revolution, which globalized the idea of socialism. This socialist threat was “contained” by Stalinism & western capitalism through WWII and into the “Cold War.” This was accomplished by mass murder under Stalin’s USSR, and aided by western imperialism, which realized that Trotskyism was the greatest threat to the US/UK-led capitalist order.

The trend in human civilization is always towards more integrated globalism, either violently through capitalist wars, or (relatively) peacefully through permanent socialist revolution.

The US government is “at war” with China & Russia, which has been intensified since Trump’s Electoral College win in November 2016. This belligerence is to offset US economic & political decline. Eventually trade wars (China, Venezuela) and proxy wars (Syria, Yemen) turn into world wars. Fake diplomacy & military intervention are the no-win methods of gangsterism, as demonstrated by Trump administration threats against Iran. There are no “adults in the room” when referring to Democrats, Republicans & the MSM– only bourgeois interests & propaganda.


On Women: The global ruling class seeks to divide working men from beautiful women, by buying them up & corrupting them. Beautiful women represent power. So do united workers. If beautiful women united with workers & disenfranchised youth, it would be an unbeatable combination.

It’s conscious ruling class policy to keep these groups isolated. But now there is more & more a breakout tendency among beautiful women, in response to this oppression of capitalism which keeps people alone & unhappy.

Pamela Anderson support of Julian Assange is one example of a woman making a stand for what she believes. Here are a few other examples of women expressing themselves in the media recently…

In US football, the playing field is called the gridiron by hardcore enthusiasts. In European football, it’s called the pitch. In either case, it’s usually a drunken male fan who runs onto the field looking for attention, and when he’s caught, he’s escorted away to spend some time in jail and pay a fine.

So respect what US model Kinsey Wolanski (above) recently pulled off, which is now globally regarded as the “best pitch invasion ever.” All of a sudden, what everyone thought was so important (a football match) got ignored– just to look at Kinsey Wolanski & cheer! She didn’t get arrested (surprised?), and is now a big internet star. That’s the power of a beautiful woman.

But what did she use her power for? Her stunt at the Champions League final in Madrid promoted the adult website of her boyfriend. Kinsey Wolanski on Instagram afterwards, “STREAKING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! Life is for living, do crazy things that you will remember forever.”

Agreed, but the cause matters too. In the end, the pornography advertisement on her swimsuit will detract from what she’s done, but it’s the spectacle she created that is my primary point.

If her one-piece had said “Free Julian Assange,” then Wolanski would stand much taller right now– but have less money for sure, so who can blame her? I suppose that’s the challenge (and roadmap) for some beautiful young girl to top what Kinsey Wolanski just did. Real men say, “Go for it!”


I also saw this one recently on Russia Today. Yulia Efimova (above) loves pineapples, as you can see. Honestly, it doesn’t make me feel any differently about that fruit, it just makes me fall in love with her!

Since everyone else is doing it, here’s my pitch…


Personal Ad: Straight man seeking beautiful woman in her 30’s with a clear head & no baggage– to be a soulmate. Fitness, self-sufficiency & strong character are essentials. Turn-offs include: #MeToo feminists, complex girls, high-maintenance bitches, and nasty old ladies. No gays, please. I enjoy laughing, having fun, and spending time with loved ones– just like everybody else. What are you waiting for? Come for me!!

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What is World War?

This has now become a serious, real-world question. There can be no misconceptions when it comes to world war, as the stakes are too high for everyone. Therefore I have complied these following maxims, through a study of history regarding the true nature of world war. It is most important that we never forget these lessons.

Immutable Rules of World War:

1) The side that is allowed by all other nations to push for war (Germany in WW1 & WW2) eventually gets its way. When militarism is treated with indifference in elite circles, and “war fever” is allowed to grip powerful nations, then a world war becomes inevitable. History has proven that a crisis with global implications (such as control of the world’s oil supply) overwhelms individual leaders and carries everyone into the conflagration. This is where Donald Trump and his fascist White House cabal have led us today, with the complicity from top Democrats connected to the US deep state, as they push for war.

2) World war takes on a life of its own. It consumes everything through destruction, and it can’t be stopped easily. All sides fight to complete exhaustion. The only “winners” are the ones who don’t have to fight. These are the classes who contrive war, then reap the spoils in the name of nationalism. For the working masses of every population it means hardship, hunger, and often being driven from home. The only way to stop a world war is to prevent it from starting.

3) No nation with a significant military can remain “neutral.” The US stayed out of both world wars for as long as possible under capitalism, for reasons of self-interest. US Presidents Woodrow Wilson (1913-21) & FDR (1933-45) knew that reserving American manpower gave them leverage in diplomacy as the battles raged from the start. But trading with Great Britain is the act of an enemy from Germany’s perspective– in both wars; and threatening to cut off Japan’s oil was the trigger for their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

4) The rule under imperialism, the highest level of capitalism is: “Choose your friends wisely.” Tethering to a loser(s) is a no-win move. This happened to Germany in the Great War (1914-1918), when it created a Central Power alliance with the crumbling Hapsburg monarchy of Austria-Hungary & the Ottoman empire in Turkey. Neither of these semi-corpsed dynasty remnants had anything close to a modern army, command structure, or military economy. Neither could resist Allied advances without German support, command & equipment for the entire war. Their lands were ravished by imperialist destruction & bloodlust.

5) Small nations & vast regions without government control, are the pawns of competing powers. They are expected to provide safe harbors, resupplies, safe passage, and anything else a controlling power needs during war. If a tiny government or territory acquiesces to all this, then it can remain “neutral,” which means its cities won’t be destroyed. As stated earlier, the rule under capitalism is “choose friends wisely,” but small nations usually don’t have a choice.

6) The side that controls the seas & air– wins the war. Great Britain controlled the oceans in the Great War, despite being unable to completely solve the German U-boats. The UK had a massive fleet, with enough industrial capacity to replace its losses– for awhile at least. Germany’s merchant fleet was not allowed to move in either world war, while the Allies received vital aid from Canada & the US. In World War II (1939-45), US ships & military aircraft controlled the Pacific theater after the Battle of Midway in June 1942. This allows effective embargo, which cripples any nation’s war machine & deteriorates domestic morale.

7) Nationalism is every nations’ religion & ideology. Propaganda & jingoism are part of every government’s war drive. This happens in print, in film, and with war songs in history. History teaches us that “fake news” has been around for a long time, as long as there have been class divisions– which is the entirety of human civilization. Censorship, manipulation & blacklisting are not new policies, only their forms in which they are practiced are new. Their first targets are always socialists. Nationalism, entangling alliances, and secret diplomacy are the biggest enemies of world peace.

8) Socialists, internationalists & artists are the first to be jailed & killed. The biggest fear of every ruling class is socialist revolution. The masses don’t want war. They are coerced into fighting for their country. When war sours, armies begin to mutiny, and class rule is threatened. That’s when world wars are ended, as the internal threat to its existence becomes primary over any imperialist ambitions. For example, French socialist Jean Jaures (1859-1914) was assassinated at the outset of the Great War. Most socialists fled to neutral countries at that time, including Lenin (Switzerland) & Trotsky (United States), before returning to Russia after the overthrow of the tsar in March 1917. Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City in August 1940 by agent of Joseph Stalin– at the outset of WWII.

9) Revolutionists are first to be killed after the war too, especially on the side that lost. Karl Liebknecht & Rosa Luxembourg were revolutionary socialists who were executed by German secret police in January 1919. This was done to achieve “stability,” for the new Weimar republic which would last until January 1933, when Adolph Hitler’s Nazi party (which was losing political influence) took power without firing a shot. The Nazis were handed power by the military & industrial elite to eliminate the socialists for the ruling class. Hitler did that, and much more in the name of capitalist exploitation.

Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks was shot and badly wounded in August 1918. He eventually became ill, and died from multiple strokes in 1923-24, which were side-effects of that assassination attempt. This helped pave the way for Stalinist (bureaucratic) degeneration of the Russian Revolution. It should be understood that the Russian Revolution of November 1917 was the biggest impetus towards ending the Great War, as all governments then recognized the threat of a workers rebellion at home, due to its influence.

Today, Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning are in jail because they revealed government war crimes to the world. Ex-CIA analyst Edward Snowden had to flee to Russia for asylum. Embassies are being invaded in London & Washington, and their occupants forcibly removed. I defend all these courageous whistle-blowers because I know if I don’t, then I’m next. At some point one must realize how personal this is for everyone.

10) Most people who haven’t experience war first-hand, have little idea what it really means. Soldiers who came back from the trenches in the Great War had their stories largely dismissed by the population, who preferred to believe the propaganda. If one is insulated from the realities if war, or takes no interest in learning its lessons, then one is a philistine. The only way to make the ruling elites learn, is to make them personally accountable for the pain & consequences of world war. Otherwise they lazily drift off into post-modernist philosophical nonsense to justify their ideology of war & inequality.

World War II wasn’t any episode of Hogan’s Heroes (1965-71), either. This half-hour sitcom was brilliant in its crazy-concept comedy, mostly due to its talented cast, including Werner Klemperer, Bob Crane, Richard Dawson, etc… In reality, in Nazi Germany, every Allied prisoner along with Col. Klink, Sgt. Schultz, and the rest would be tortured & then shot dead during or after every episode.

In American propaganda terms Hogan’s Heroes is their biggest & most-influential TV hit ever, still running in syndication everywhere. Hogan’s Heroes is hilarious escapism, a psychedelic trip of its time about a horrible war, manufactured & produced by Hollywood for its powerful friends in Washington. It’s okay to laugh, as long as one truly comprehends the history.

11) World war is a class war. Rich people rule, talk loudly, & thrive; while poor people obey, fight, & die. The military is like this too, with its privileged ranks of officers who command behind the lines, while the enlisted men & conscripts battle on all fronts.

12) Machines are more powerful than men & their “fighting valor.” The Great War was so-named because it introduced modern warfare to the world. Trenches, machine guns, heavy guns, barbed wire, flamethrowers, modern artillery with explosive shells, tanks, & poison gas were all used on the field of battle. Battleships, cruisers, aircraft carriers, destroyers & U-boats changed naval warfare forever; as did airplanes for controlling the skies in reconnaissance, strafing & bombing. No soldier can stand in the face of such overwhelming & frightening firepower. World War II innovation began with radio & telephone communication. This later facilitated concentration camps, gas chambers & atomic bombs as more efficient means for killing people.

13) Economic inequality, leading to mass discontent, is the trigger for war. Capitalist theory demands that economic crisis at home be resolved by unleashing violence on a global scale. That is the essence of world war. Today there are trillions dollars in hot money with no place to go, while masses of people are jobless and/or homeless. The US dollar is being dumped globally, so soon enough hyperinflation will come to America, and even those with good jobs won’t be able to afford necessities like they used to. For over a decade the Federal Reserve has electronically printed money for the rich, who have invested it in nothing productive, but simply hoarded it for themselves. All US government spending is for the military, and now foreign powers are rearming themselves. Russia & China are massively dumping dollars and stockpiling precious metals, which are essential for technology & to a war economy. This is the combined foreign response to Trump administration economic sanctions, trade tariffs & military threats.

14) A nuclear war is unwinnable, as it implies mutually assured destruction. For a small window between the atomic bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki in August 1945, and the development of nuclear capabilities by the USSR in the early 1950’s, there was a frightful period when one superpower had supremacy. That equalized itself by the 1970’s, and any arms race since then has always proved futile. You can not win a nuclear war, even on a small scale, as the blow-back & nuclear winter implications are immense & uncontrollable. The nuclear option always needs to be left off the table. Instead it is wielded threateningly by madmen, which only portends catastrophe, unless checked globally by the working masses.

Final thoughts on world war:

Media saturation of lies & fake news, combined with the Democrats emphasis on identity politics, has led to mass apathy in official US politics. There is no anti-war movement from the Democrats, because they insist on lining up behind the likes of John Kerry, Barack Obama (drone president & deporter-in-chief), Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden– who are all hawks. The news networks, CNN & MSNBC fill their airtime with middle-class radicals who endlessly pontificate, in an era when liberalism is dead. Every one of these feminist, racialist, and/or LGBT identity-politician charlatans opposes the mobilization of the workers in a mass anti-war movement, due to their ties to the Democrats. They are all traitors to the cause of peace.

This is where we end up when a master manipulator in politics (Roger Stone) gets a sociopathic child (Donald Trump) elected POTUS, who is then manipulated by every right-wing element in Washington (Bannon, Miller, Bolton, Pompeo, etc) through arrogance & stupidity. When asked yesterday (Thursday), if he was about to go to war with Iran, Trump responded flatly, “Hope not.” This is a very low-IQ response to the most-serious question, “Are you about to start World War III?”

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Socialize social media!

Calls for Facebook to be “broken up,” as in a recent New York Times Op/Ed, are impotent. The most relevant historical example of a government mandated monopoly break-up was AT&T/Ma Bell in 1982, where the Bell System was split into separate companies to provide local telephone service, while AT&T continued to be a provider of long distance service.

The breakup of AT&T’s Bell System resulted in the creation of seven independent companies (bold-typed below), and here’s what happened to them:

1) NYNEX was acquired by Bell Atlantic in 1996, and is now part of Verizon Communications
2) Pacific Telesis was acquired by Southwestern Bell Corporation in 1997, and is now part of AT&T
3) Ameritech was acquired by Southwestern Bell Corporation in 1999, and now part of AT&T
4) Bell Atlantic merged with GTE in 2000 to form Verizon Communications
5) Southwestern Bell Corporation was re-branded as SBC Communications in 1995, and then re-acquired AT&T in 2005
6) BellSouth was re-acquired by AT&T in 2006
7) US West acquired by Qwest in 2000, which in turn was acquired by CenturyLink in 2011

As we can see, AT&T eventually re-acquired most of its lost pieces, and their monopoly has been re-established on a higher level. The innovation of cell phone technology has allowed a few competitors into the market such as Verizon, T-Mobile, Centurylink, etc.

AT&T wrangled concessions in their 1982 agreement with the US government, that allowed them to enter the computer market. By the mid-to-late 1990’s this became the internet service provider & cell phone industry. The result today is that a few major technology companies control the internet & mobile communications– through shared monopoly agreements.

What millennials need to understand is that back in 1982, the touchtone telephone was the primary way people communicated news & gossip over long distances. The telephone system, which AT&T monopolized until then, was the era’s equivalent of the cell phone Facebook & internet. Of course, the only way anyone knew who to call was by having a phonebook. That’s the equivalent of Google & every other search engine today.

Eventually under capitalism, it will become one telecommunication giant in control. To the liberal reformists/apologists who always get a prominent voice in the New York Times (and all other fake media outlets) the question must be put forward, “Then what?”

Facebook is a technology platform that revolutionized media and how people interact online. It’s the users who deliver the content that drives everything. Stop censoring it, and let the users be the moderators. That’s much more democratic that Mark Zuckerberg using algorithms and an army of censors to de-platform those of us he doesn’t like.

Here’s a quote from Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes cited in the NYT Op/Ed to illustrate this point. “Mark [Zuckerberg] alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered.”

Fakebook is now a corporate dictatorship, which takes its instructions from the US deep state. This is a conscious ruling-class policy, meant to counteract the revolutionary potential of social media.

Miscellaneous #MeToo feminist commentary:

‘I feel powerless’: Brazilian MMA fighter opens up after punching ‘masturbating’ fan
Published: 29 Apr, 2019

This story published by Russia Today was shared widely on social media, so I feel compelled to express myself here. Evidentially, Brazilian MMA fighter Joyce Vieira was doing a bikini photo-shoot on a beach in Rio de Janeiro, when a man later identified as Josenei Viana Ferreira, was openly pleasuring himself while watching Vieira. Thankfully, there are no photographs nor video of the alleged incident.

The upshot is, if Joyce Vieira (above) was any kind of martial artist, she would have kicked him in the balls. Then he would have gotten his comeuppance, and she wouldn’t feel powerless afterwards. When you are a poser & don’t know what to do; you feel regret, anger, and blame others instead. With that said (and since she has no idea how to handle this situation), this jerk-off should be made to publicly apologize to her face, because that is WAY out of line. Am I being fair here?

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Fake Festivals & Everything Else

FYRE: The Greatest Festival That Never Happened (2019), is available for streaming on Netflix. This is one of two recently released documentaries on the epic fail of the Fyre Festival, which was scheduled to take place on a remote Bahamian island over two weekends in April/May 2017. The other is Fyre Fraud (2019), available on Hulu. The reason the Fyre Festival never actualized is because it was a scam from the start, and a metaphor for an entire “fake economy” that defines America & capitalism today.

The Fyre Festival, along with American politics is a hustle, led by sociopathic liars who throw money around, and hype themselves endlessly as the second coming, while delivering nothing. The resemblances between Fyre-brainchild Billy McFarland, and Donald Trump are remarkable. They look the similar physically– fat & stupid, with fake everything for everyone. They surround themselves with beautiful women, excess & celebrities, to boost their owns egos & images. And finally, they are both out-of-control, sociopathic liars, who never deliver on anything they promise.

McFarland’s partners in crime for the Fyre Festival were rap mogul Ja Rule & Jerry Media. They struck gold when they gathered the world’s top supermodels in the Bahamas in late 2016, for a promotional video shoot– shown above. In the Netflix documentary, someone aptly points out that there were actually two Fyre Festivals; the promo shoot with the models– which was great, and the actual event five months later– which was a disaster. The fact that the first is (and will always be) more celebrated, says a lot about this fake world we live in.

This is a Bizarro universe where supermodels & online “influencers” are all-important, as facts & reality don’t matter. What these manipulators actually produce is nothing of value. But their importance remains paramount– we’re told. That’s why Kendall Jenner was paid $250,000, for one social media post promoting the Fyre Festival (without disclosure).

Supermodels & other top social media influencers that were paid to promote this catastrophe included: Alessandra Ambrosio, Hailey Baldwin, Rose Bertram, Hannah Ferguson, Bella Hadid, Elsa Hosk, Chanel Iman, Giizele Oliveira, Emily Ratajkowski, Lais Ribeiro, Amanda Riley, Shanina Shaik & Paulina Vega. Afterwards, all of them have quietly deleted their posts relating to the Fyre Festival, most without comment.

The reality is, that it’s impossible to deliver a “luxury music festival,” on a remote tropical island with no infrastructure, running water, or electricity. When supermodels are paid to hype this garbage, and it reaches the level of media buzz it attained, then we as a society have a serious issue with controlling our sexual urges. That’s what drove Fyre, and it led to disaster. The millennials who bought into this fantasy, really need to look at their own culpability. You can only be lied to, if you want to believe the lie.

Videos with supermodels, selling people their dreams, is as old as MTV at least– yet the scam still works when updated. Why? Because people are blind to what they desire the most. People want (more than anything) to be part of the “in” crowd, and hang out with beautiful people & celebrities. This is a sickness many people have, in which they are telling themselves they can only be “somebody” if they are at a certain event with “cool” people.

This is a pathological & elitist outlook, which denies oneself its own potential to be beautiful & important. That mentality has been beaten into Generations’ X, Y & Z; as image is promoted as everything– especially on social media.

When reality finally bites, insanity & barbarism ensues, because no one is fact-checking. Both documentaries reveal how negative social media comments & whistle-blower websites were censored, as part of the Fyre promotional campaign. That’s because the truth will collapse this fake economy, exposing these “elites” as con artists. This mirrors the US government’s ongoing campaign to censor the internet, in the name of neo-McCarthyism.

America’s fake government is now personified by President Trump– the quintessential sociopathic conman. This isn’t sustainable, and it can’t be reformed, as the Democrats allowed this to be. Both Democrat (DSA, Greens, etc) & Republican (Libertarian, Tax Reform, Tea, etc) parties, along with their staunchest supporters always work together behind closed doors, to sell out the working masses. It’s fake “events” like the annual Super Bowl & Fyre Festival that keep people distracted & mollified.

As of this publication, there are still 800,000 federal workers, who aren’t being paid, and it’s been over a month. Over half of them are being required to work, most notably (so far) the TSA workers, who screen all passengers & baggage in our airports. TSA screeners are fake jobs too, meant to keep us safe from the terrorists who masterminded 9/11.

Those who fly (at all), despise the post-9/11 screening process, as it’s simply an edifice for a police state. It doesn’t make us safer, it just concentrates power into the hands of unaccountable madmen & fascists. One can’t attempt to bring a bottle of water on board, without a TSA screener tripping every alarm, as they confiscate your beverage. The “suspect” then gets a warning, and a canned statement, “You can purchase another one on-board.” Can you see how all this ties in? It’s not hard, if you look.

The reason many of the TSA screeners are working for free, is to keep their bullshit jobs. Most of these airport rent-a-police aren’t qualified to deal with a serious terrorist threat. But that’s not why they are there. The TSA was created and vastly expanded after 9/11, as cheap government labor to secure an objective for the ruling apparatus, which is to be able to lockdown any airport at any time. That’s concentrated power, and the deep state is a “who’s who” of mass murderers & fascist sociopaths, who take this as their divine right.

The mainstream answer to the government shutdown (and everything else) will ultimately be to allow Trump to declare an “executive emergency,” which doesn’t exist in reality, in order to get funding for “border security,” which both Democrats & Republicans support. This will further concentrate dictatorial authority into the hands of the US President, which Trump likes. Impeaching Donald Trump for his destructive recklessness & lack of compassion is off-the-table in this world of fake politics.

Since Donald Trump has boxed himself in with his government shutdown crisis, he goes ahead using (abusing) his Presidential power to create more chaos as a diversion. That’s the deal with this Venezuelan coup attempt Mike Pompeo & company are trying to pull off at the moment. This is the most brazen and unlawful example of election interference that anyone has ever witnessed, yet it’s framed a legitimate diplomacy in the US corporate media.

Government Shutdown Update: Friday 25 Jan 2019 03:30 PM EST

Reuters: Trump announces deal with lawmakers to end government shutdown

The deal is described as “a tentative agreement with U.S. lawmakers for three weeks in stop-gap funding that would end a partial U.S. government shutdown now in its 35th day.” News opinion polls now show public disapproval of Trump near 60%. with a majority of Americans holding him most responsible for the shutdown. Trump still reserves the right for himself to exercise “emergency powers” to get his wall, and powerful Democrats support him on that.

February 15, 2019 is now the next government shutdown date, and (most likely) we’ll be right back here again. This “deal” is a band-aid to stop the hemorrhaging. The only thing furloughed & compelled-to-work government employees care about is when do they get paid again? Back pay & lost wages are also a big issue for them. Trump’s presidency is on-the-ropes, as he & his advisors are stalling for time, until they can assume control with fascist methods.

“The workers of Matamoros will never go back to paying 4 percent union dues. You can’t have a rich union and poor workers.”

Here’s some more real news, you never hear on CNN or Fox. There are currently over 70,000 striking auto workers at the Matamoros plants in Mexico, at the US border. These strikers have defied their sellout unions, and are already affecting US production plants, but it has received zero mass media coverage in the US, for all these reasons. The reality & issues are too great for the elites to admit to, so they instead bury their heads in the sand, and hype more fake news & phony events.

Fact checking for a music festival starts with the band lineup. Fyre touted second-rate & nobody acts. Major Lazer is a DJ/producer with just two albums to his credit. Disclosure is an electronica act, also with only two records. Blink 182, the “headliner,” is a dinosaur B-list alternative rock band. Hip-hop pretenders Migos, and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music crew, aren’t the kind of acts that one travels thousand of miles (and pays thousands of dollars) to see perform. Have you even heard of any of the rest?

The screenshot above is a damning exposure of the music industry. The biggest act, Blink 182, didn’t pull out until the last minute, as shown in their infamous tweet. Note their complicity in this fraud, by not telling their own fans that the Fyre festival was now known to be a humanitarian Super-fund site. Instead, Blink 182 apologized in couched language to mask the truth. What were they paid, I wonder? Bullshit act, like all the rest that were “booked.”

What’s most disturbing about these documentaries is the lack of awareness & remorse from everyone involved at the planning, promotional & management level. Billy McFarland & Jeffery Atkins (AKA– Ja Rule) are conman & street hustler. They deserve no legitimacy, just like the rest of this fake economy. They should be sent to prison for a long time, just like the rest of these fascist elites, who produce nothing, and only take for themselves.

The rest deserve some other form of comeuppance, which hasn’t arrived yet. That will only happen when younger people start becoming more socially & politically conscious. It has to happen, otherwise history will continue to repeat itself with this kind of ugliness. That is the deeper message in these two timely documentaries.

Australian Open (Women’s) Update: Sat 26 Jan 2019 ~ Noon EST

Does chemical enhancement count as fakery? I think so.

Serena Williams looked beastly hideous (again) during the 2019 Australian Open, where she cracked in the quarterfinals. She foot-faulted on her 1st serve at match point, and the replay shows it. She has a history of being called for that, only this time she quietly accepted it, like you’re supposed to, instead of blowing it up and using it as an excuse for losing. Naomi Osaka, the 2018 US Open winner, was shamed by Serena’s meltdown.

Serena Williams wasn’t cheated here, she cracked. That is a term tennis players use for what happened to Serena, leading 5-1 in the 3rd set, serving at 40-30. The lines-person called “foot-fault” immediately & loudly, meaning Karolina Pliskova heard it & ignored the serve, so that wasn’t an “ace,” as some have insisted. Pliskova cracked Serena by upping her game and making Williams move, until she rolled an ankle because she’s carrying too much weight. That’s one way to crack an opponent who has that vulnerability.

There is no dishonor in cracking, as compared to her malicious outburst towards a respected chair umpire during & after the 2018 US Open finals. Serena Williams never even apologized for that, or issued any kind of public explanation, outside of wanting to “put it in her rear-view mirror.”

She’s won 23 Grand Slams, and probably won’t win anymore. People need to accept that, as supporting her brand of racialist & feminist hate isn’t healthy. There’s a lot to like & dislike about her career. In this social media age, there’s nothing fans despise more than liars & their apologists

The only chance Serena Williams has at another major is 2019 Wimbledon, where her serve is dominant. Her Achilles’ Heel is her reduced mobility, which shows up against top opponents who can handle her serve. She has no chance of winning another French Open, and Naomi Osaka is now the “Queen of the Hardcourts.”

Naomi Osaka defeated Petra Kvitova (above) in a thrilling 3-set finals match, to win the 2019 Australian Open. This is what everyone wanted to see & remember. It feels a lot more REAL. No losers here, just huge kudos to both!!

Here’s some nefarious advertising for you. Naomi Osaka & Kei Nishikori are featured in this Japanimation cartoon titled ‘The Prince of Tennis,” sponsored by Nissin instant noodles. It’s received a lot of flak over “whitewashing” their caricatures, which led to the ad being taken down. People aren’t tolerating this fakery anymore, and they are better than ever at spotting it.

Osaka who is Japanese-Haitian replied, “I’ve talked to them. They’ve apologized. I’m tan. It’s pretty obvious. I don’t think they did it on purpose to be whitewashing or anything, but I definitely think that the next time they try to portray me or something, I feel like they should talk to me about it.”

Sat 26 Jan 2019 03:05 PM EST

Fake Money-Bitcoin Update: As reported by Bloomberg news, the production-weighted cash cost to create one Bitcoin averaged ~ $4,060 globally in the fourth quarter, according to analysts with JP Morgan Chase. Chinese miners pay ~ $2,400 per Bitcoin, by leveraging direct power purchasing agreements with dirty electricity generators.

All that leads to this question: With Bitcoin trading ~ $3,600 as of this publication, how is the cryptocurrency market sustainable in light of these realities?

I’ve heard way too many interviews with the cool, smart guys in crypto-currency who point to how Bitcoin “solved the double-spend problem.” Most of these Gen-Y & Z wanna-bees have been insulated from reality their entire lives, especially with their expensive bourgeois education in economics, which isn’t worth one read of Karl Marx’s Capital (1867).

These trendy young entrepreneurs live in cocoons, and understand nothing beyond their limited realm. The environmental cost of the Bitcoin/crypto-currency bubble impacts everyone. On the hard economics side, Bitcoin is trading at $500 below unit cost. The only way that happens (and is sustained), is through massive market fraud.

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Censored Comments on Russia Today’s “Keiser Report”

These comments were deleted by Russia Today’s moderators (censors). They pertained to the latest Keiser Report, “Should individuals campaign to get corporate rights?” (E1331).

I’ve learned that you can’t post any Trotskyist analysis on Russia Today. They are very sensitive about that.

Posted (& deleted on) Saturday evening, 1-12-19: I appreciate this show because I’m not a Wall Street insider, and Max Keiser has real world experience. Stacy Herbert is more scripted & cooler-headed, which balances things nicely.

But when it comes to politics they are both lost. There is 0% chance that Alexandra Ocasio Cortez will be US President in 2024. America will either have: A) fascism, which is where we are almost at now; or B) a global socialist revolution in permanence (Trotsky), which is what humanity needs to survive.

Alexandra Ocasio Cortez’s brand of liberalism died with Obama, and then Bernie 2016. Get control of your dick, Max, as that’s what’s driving her ratings, and you’re just feeding the machine. The rest of Washington is too ugly to look at, much less talk about, so Alexandra Ocasio Cortez is the much-needed D.C. poster-girl, who distracts the masses with her physical beauty & perceived innocence. It won’t last, trust me.

Posted (& NOT deleted on) Sunday morning, 1-13-19: Those who claim that cryptocurrency will lead to a transformation of society though a “peaceful revolution” have a poor understanding of history, politics, and the nature of money. The global banks which control the levers of power, will not give it up nicely. [Added here] No devil ever cut off his own claws, to quote Trotsky.

Posted (& deleted on) Sunday morning, 1-13-19: The basis of value for money is in commodities produced by human labor. Money represents an amount of congealed labor which produces a necessary commodity. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is produced by supercomputers, and is useless in the big picture. Its only value is for people who want to hide illicit transactions, avoid taxes, etc– which exposes its fraudulent nature. Cryptocurrency, and the “freedom” its proponents are selling, is a Ponzi scheme.

Update Finale: Mon 14 Jan 2019 05:30 PM EST : A US President takes an oath “to defend the Constitution.” This founding document of our republic authorizes spending to be mandated & approved by Congress, and also contains a 13th Amendment, which criminalizes slave labor. When half of the 800,000 shut down government workers are told to work for no pay, because they are “essential,” then that’s slave labor.

Donald Trump should have be impeached by now for this attack on the US working class, its government agencies & the Constitution, but bilateral collaboration between Vichy Democrats & Nazi Republicans has saved his seat in the Oval Office– for now.

How much more of this will unpaid government workers take? The power of the working class is never seriously discussed in the bourgeois media, but it is now being fiercely debated behind closed doors (always!) in ruling circles across the globe.

Workers globally need to unite, raise their political consciousness, and speak & act in their own interests. The US two-party system is dead, and needs to be overturned. Only a socialist revolution led by the most advanced elements of the working class can achieve this.

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Christmas Card

The holiday season came with a bear, as stock markets around the world are simultaneously crashing. Trade wars, led by the US, have constipated global trade. Nothing is moving, and the US Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates, which had been kept near zero for years.

These 0.25% interest rates were for the banks, not for small businesses or working people. No college graduate with massive student loan debt was allowed to refinance at near-zero either. For working people it’s 6.9%. Or 13.9%. Or 29.9%. That’s how banks made their money during this “longest bull market in history.”

It was actually the longest bullshit market in history, fueled by free money electronically “printed” by the Fed, and given to banks to prop up their worthless “assets.” We’re talking everything: from stocks & bonds, to currency & cryptocurrency, as being a massive speculative bubble.

There has been no real-world basis for new money creation, since the Fed began “quantitative easing.”  QE is where the Fed prints new money (even though there is no economic basis for it), so it can give it to itself & it’s cronies. That’s crony capitalism in a plutocracy. Works great for the 1%.

These elites have no concept of reality, and believe all their bullshit to the end. It’s the working people, who have been getting shafted for the longest time, who need to rise up with political awareness & revolutionary intentions. Otherwise the cost of this financial crisis, which the ruling class created & is entirely responsible for, will be shifted onto their backs– again.

This is THE BIG ONE. In 2007-08, the US Federal Reserve still had the capacity to absorb Wall Street’s losses, by shifting them onto the books of the federal government, meaning US taxpayers are now responsible for the ~$21,000,000,000,000 federal deficit.

The level of debt for the 3 major US stock indexes (S&P 500, DJIA & NASDAQ) is in the hundreds of trillions of dollars, meaning it is unpayable. That’s the magic of compound interest, as once the level of principle owed gets so high, the interest payments become unservicable.

The gross world product in 2018 is projected at $87.5 trillion, and the Fed can’t print enough “new” money to sustain this financial house of cards, without making the dollar worthless. Under-performers that used to allowed to go bankrupt in an earlier stage of capitalism, are now deemed “too big to fail” in a bullshit market.

The industry term for this phenomenon is zombie company. Over 15% of US corporations are zombies by definition, and globally it’s 12%. Tesla is an example of a zombie corporation, in that it manufactures very little that is useful, at an extremely high cost. The debt level for Tesla is unpayable, yet CEO Elon Musk is allowed to parade around as a patriarch boy genius, when he’s really a neo-fascist Ponzi-scheme swindler– like all the rest. The world’s biggest banks & hedge fund managers are all tied into this shell game, and they have no answers, except more austerity, inequality & war.

The #MeToo campaign severely wrecked itself with it’s cringe-worthy performance at the infamous Kavanaugh Hearings this past October. They appear to have gathered all their strength for one last volley. For the #MeToo campaign, this could be the proverbial “dead cat bounce,” which happens when something crashes from a great height, and then for an instant appears to rise, only to collapse dead in a heap.

It was sensationally announced on Christmas Eve (yesterday) that actor/artist Kevin Spacey is to be charged with sexual assault on January 7, 2019. This comes from former Boston news anchor Heather Unruh, who accuses that Spacey had assaulted her adult son in July 2016.

Since her son was age-18 at the time, he should speak for himself, don’t you think? Readers aren’t even given the boy’s name in the mainstream press, it’s just his mother who speaks, and here’s the video– which published Nov 7, 2018 has <2,000 views. It’s beyond weak, but hey– that’s #MeToo.

Kudos to Kevin Spacey for his video retort, which published on December 24, 2018, already has over 4 million views, before noon (EST) on December 25, 2018. If Kevin Spacey & his legal team can handle this nonsense, then it’s lights out for #MeToo. Artists everywhere wish Spacey & his team well, and offer all our support– in the name of artistic freedom & democratic rights. Consider it a FU to #MeToo.

Q: You know what we’re going to get these #MeToo witch-hunters for Christmas next year?

A: A big wooden cross, so whenever they feel unappreciated for all their sacrifices, they can climb up on it and nail themselves to it.

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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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