Bluebloods

Bluebloods means privileged status. Until the very end of the 20th-century AP sports-writers were the pollsters who decided the NCAA football champion. Then came the BCS (one letter too many), and now CFP.

This writer has been advocating for a 16-team playoff format since the days of the AP writers picking the winner. Next year the CFP goes from 4 to 12 teams, which will make a lot of this Michigan shit easier for others to swallow.

Conor Stalions was a “low level” Michigan football staffer who advanced scouted opposing teams in clear violation of NCAA rules. He’s been fired by Michigan in the wake of revelations of grainy images (fan screenshots) of Conor Stalions disguised in Central Michigan University coaching garb, standing on the sidelines wearing sunglasses at night to advance-scout Michigan State.

Apparently, no one has been able to contact Conor Stalions since his firing, and here we have this game of cat-and-mouse Michigan gets to play with the NCAA.  The University of Michigan is intentionally not cooperating with an open investigation by making Conor Stalions unavailable for questioning by independent media writers, legal experts, etc. Michigan gets the NCAA nod because they are the bluest of the bluebloods. Plenty of  Wolverine alumni running the NCAA.

Bluebloods rake in BIG buck$ and alumni elites are INTENSELY interested. Football bluebloods are Michigan & Notre Dame, distantly followed by USC, Texas, Oklahoma, FSU. Bluebloods always get favorable treatment because they have prestigious journalism & law schools with alumni who will do anything to support winning in football & basketball.

Basketball bluebloods come from traditions of winning and include Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA & North Carolina. These programs always get the legal wink & nod from the NCAA & conference commissioners. Big 10 commissioner Tony Petitti is in an impossible situation, where all the other football coaches are pointing to evidence of egregious misconduct in sportsmanship, but bluebloods rule.

What Michigan did was clearly against NCAA rules and everyone has seen some of it. There’s a lot more that isn’t being shared because the rule is you don’t punish bluebloods, especially during a championship run even when they’ve been caught cheating to their advantage. It’s Alabama, Oregon, Texas, Washington (in alphabetical order) that are hurt most by Michigan cheating. What it’s really about is who makes the final Football Final Four.

Tomorrow (Friday) is apparently a court holiday and I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know how that precisely impacts a potential University of Michigan legal challenge to an unfavorable Big 10 ruling. Everyone is expecting a ruling by tomorrow, with Michigan @ Penn State on Saturday. A ruling on punishment has been delayed as long as possible in this matter, all to the advantage of Michigan football.

The Pac 10 is dust with UCLA & USC joining the Big 10 next year, so Oregon & Washington are expendable in the Michigan advanced scouting scandal. Texas is a blueblood, but they don’t trump Michigan. Alabama is SEC so forget about it. My prediction of punishment is that Michigan gets a slap on the wrist fine, and Jim Harbaugh stays on the sidelines & at practices. You can’t take away a potential championship season that Michigan cheated so hard for, they’re bluebloods.

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What is a guitar player?

It’s not such a simple question because so much more is involved besides just how well you play. There are so many styles around the world that are respected & influential that much must be considered on the subject. I’m going to speak from a rock perspective, which is somewhat limited, but necessary since there are so many rock guitar players as it’s the dominant modern style. Classical & flamenco styles are certainly just as valid.

As I written before, rock music needs more bass players. If you are enthusiastic, yet average at guitar, seriously consider a switch to bass. By becoming merely competent on bass, your bandmate options will increase exponentially– I can assure you. If you are more creatively inclined as a songwriter, yet have difficulty singing & playing guitar at the same time, then bass is the place.

With that said, if you are committed to the six-string guitar, then learn how to play your instrument well. There are different roles & expectations for pure guitar players, as compared to singer/guitar players. Since I’m the latter, I’ll be discussing from that perspective.

Pure guitar players like Tony Iommi, Angus Young, Alex Lifeson, Eddie Van Halen, Dave Murray, Brad Gillis, Joe Satraini, etc, can do EVERYTHING. They can play lightning fast & change tempos fluidly with overwhelming technique. If you’re in a serious rock band, THAT’S what you want on guitar. It REALLY helps if they are part of the songwriting process.

Pure players who lack songwriting creativity are severely limited because as a band you NEED great riff ideas from your guitar player. These impressive technical (yet creatively impoverished) guitar players often become session aces or tour replacements for major acts in need. They get a lot of corporate work.

For singer/guitar players such as myself, the expectations & responsibilities are different. You’re more of a rhythm player as a singer, so you have to be solid yet make it look easy because everyone is watching you, but most are concentrating on your vocals & overall stage presence. But every pure guitar player (and other serious musician) in the audience will also be rating your technical playing, showmanship & charisma, song content, stage awareness, equipment, set-up, etc. Every fan wants to see a star, and every musician wants to work with a star because they all believe THEY are stars.

Depending on whether there is a lead guitarist or not, a singer/guitarist may also have to be proficient at soloing. That’s the part which most singer/guitarists struggle, the point in the song where they aren’t singing and they have to perform at a higher level on guitar. They won’t be able to play like the guys I’ve listed above, so what can be done?

I started using a slide on my pinky finger when I realized that I was going to have to be a solo artist. That means you have to do everything well at all times, otherwise you will suck & the crowd will know it instantly. A slide gives your guitar playing an entirely different dimension and allows lots of creative uses without having to be fast & flashy. It’s not an overused crutch, like the capo (both pictured below).

I don’t try to play like Duane Allman or any of those other classic bluesmen. They’re too good. Mississippi Delta bottleneck blues is where slide guitar started, and if you listen to these early recordings from the early masters, they were very creative & free in their use of a slide. This slide style reverberated through post-war electric blues. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band’s used multiple slide guitars with all kinds of crazy patterns. George Thorogood is a great modern rock slide guitar player. If you absorb all that on record, you can figure out something new on slide. My approach is to use the slide as a scrape for punk effect, verses the glistening leads of Mick Taylor, etc.

Jimi Hendrix is the standard for the singer/guitar player style. NOBODY could play like that, while writing & singing such amazing songs. Jimi Hendrix could do it live, and in the studio. He could be a show all by himself or in a great band. He was a natural in an era that exploded him into popular consciousness, but of course, it was the excess of this era that killed him. Jimi Hendrix was a prodigy, perhaps the best ever while he lasted, but he’s not a model to follow because his excessive hippie lifestyle will kill you at a young age like it did him.

Same with Kurt Cobain, no matter how you feel about the circumstances around his death in 1994. If you can’t survive, then you don’t leave much of a blueprint for young fans to follow. Maybe that’s their idea, they DON’T want to be followed, but then why become a performer in the first place? These are the tough responsibilities that Frank Black, J Mascis, Thurston Moore, Billy Corgan take on as the LEADERS of their respective bands. You have to be be an effective & easy player, while singing the great songs you wrote. You have to be able to lead everyone during the formative creative process, in the studio, and then on stage.

This gets to the inexact science & sticky question of who is replaceable in a band? Example: everyone knows Aerosmith because of Steven Tyler & Joe Perry, so they are irreplaceable. The rest are integral, but replaceable in the band’s legacy stage which is about being able to get through lucrative tours, not making new music.

Devo, Cheap Trick, the Meat Puppets, etc, are serious bands who still tour successfully (young energetic capacity audiences) with replacement drummers. Their original drummers were essential band members during their prime, but replaceable as they evolved into legacy acts. It’s usually the lead singer and the songwriter(s) who are indispensable throughout a band’s existence. Rush couldn’t continue after drummer/songwriter Neil Peart retired from music & subsequently passed away. The Rolling Stones probably won’t tour again after the death of Charlie Watts. They were indispensable.

I’m making broad generalities for illustrative purposes. The original band member is ALWAYS better than replacements, as they were part of the original creative process & cool vibe that fans identify with. Unfortunately, industry machinery takes its toll on musicians… As mentioned above, replacements are mostly session musicians by trade, industry veterans who never had much creativity in their prime.

Replacements are sometimes now a son (or other family member) of the band leader, etc. It takes a lot of chops & dedication to fill in for any major act, on any instrument. You’re expected to be solid, while in the background, unassumingly carrying the headliners everyone paid to see. That’s a tough gig for little bread, and only a limited number of musicians are good enough (and have their head on straight enough) to do it. There is some audience respect due for that, but the bigger point is too many replacements will diminish any band into an empty shell of itself.

How much would a young kid pay to see Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Poison & KISS at a festival? No more than $10-20 in 2023, and that’s being generous. Too many replacement members, etc. How much would a young kid pay to see Jane’s Addiction, the Pixies, the Smashing Pumpkins & Dinosaur Jr at a festival? Anywhere from $200-300+. Why is that?

It’s because hair metal was all about good times & partying, which never last. That’s why hair metal acts fare so poorly in this 21-century era of climate change, COVID & fascist politics. Alternative bands of the 1980’s & 1990’s brought real energy & taught kids about life, and that’s what holds up with every generation of kids. That’s why the Pixies shows sell out, with parents taking their EXCITED teenage kids, while hair metal draws only old folks.

The grunge movement happened when I was in dental school and as a fan of the music who had a year-and-a-half of guitar lessons I would think about these things in between my academic schedule and wonder what I was going to do with my life…

You get through difficult life situations with hard word & intelligent thinking. You have to stick to the process especially when difficulties & failures arise. That’s the ‘hard part’ many people don’t want to face. But if you have a good plan that is adaptable as needed, and you stick with the process, your situation will improve and then you can turn your ambitions into reality. That’s how grunge guitar broke through and why it remains relevant.

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Fake news: Not in the news?!

Fake news is anything but the truth. Ruling elites (of all stripes) use fake news to lie, manipulate & deny– for everything. The common feature of fake news is that it’s always intended to keep you from the truth.

Everyday it’s the same story in the NYT, WaPost, USA Today, FOX, Yahoo, etc– fake news everywhere. Why is that? Why isn’t this discussed– at all? Why is NO truth even allowed to be mentioned anymore. Comments have been shut off everywhere, with ghosting and other covert online attacks such as de-ranking, de-platforming, etc, being part of this technological suppression of free speech & public exchange of information. AI bots are the new frontier for Zuckerberg & Musk.

It’s not like truth was ever acted upon by the American ruling class, but at least it was allowed to be discussed, somewhere. Not so anymore. This total censorship regime really started with Obama/Biden, when they banned WikiLeaks for publishing its Iraq War Diaries, which included a horrifying video of a US military helicopter murdering a group of reporters just talking in the street. These truths made the US military look bad, so they had to be silenced. Julian Assange is still in a UK maximum security prison because of this ruling-class political vendetta.

Social media is the game-changer which ruling elites can’t fully control. Revolutionists with writing skills & truth on their side, such as myself, are able to electrifying followers online. The World Socialist Web Site fits this category, as the ONLY online socialist daily. The rest (DSA, Greens, etc) are fake left.

Attack algorithms, NSA spying, and a host of other nefarious covert activities by the US Government (which the DSA has been a part of) are now common knowledge, but NEVER allowed into public debate or discussion. America has a propaganda epidemic, and like COVID-19 (& all other problems), it isn’t going to go away on its own.

As much as Mark Zuckerberg hates my online content, he really can’t ban me because he NEEDS me. I provide regular fresh content (exclusively on his platform) that excites & interests people. Without that, he can’t sell advertising (or my personal data without my consent). I don’t go for ‘likes’ or comments. My posts & comments are intended to educate and make people look at things differently. People are searching for that, with all the fake news now.

Once social media connects you to a global audience, you are no longer isolated. That’s the democratizing power of social media, which scares the ruling elites to death. It allows everyone to have a voice, and ALSO allows those with the best ideas (which people online agree with) to become the most influential. That’s why we have such an extreme level of political censorship today.

This especially concerns the ruling class, because they aren’t so good on social media. Trump is considered the best by many bourgeois political observers, and he’s horrible– a total snowflake. They dominate by monopoly and controlling all the levers of power, but their rationale & logic stink. In short, these crybabies lost the REAL social media battle long ago, which is for the truth. That’s what the Millennials are interested in.

Working class rank-and-file committees are the answer to fascism, and they can be formed anywhere, even online. In fact, that’s where most of the work is being done now by the WSWS. The labor union bureaucrats are widely despised by the rank-and-file workers in every industry, from the Teamsters & UAW to teachers & nurses. These self-appointed bureaucratic windbags spout hot air & militant rhetoric to the workers, while they cozy-up to corporate lawyers behind closed doors to sellout the rank-and-file for their own personal gain.

Rank-and-file committees in every industry & profession will take power out of the hands of this corrupt bureaucracy (which is part of the Democratic Party machinery), and put it in the hands of the workers, the ones who create all the economic value with their labor power.

Neighborhood committees need to be formed for the same reasons, as the police (local, state & federal) are agents of the ruling class. When corporate-hired, neo-Nazi thugs are brought-in as strikebreakers to escort scabs across rank-and-file picket lines & physically attack workers, the police will watch these scum in silent approval. They’ve ALWAYS done so.

Rank-and-file committees need to be part of our new school system, which seeks to protect & educate children, instead of de-funding schools and standardizing ignorance in-between shooter lockdowns. Rank-and-file workers’ committees everywhere can link-up online with their global brothers & sisters to affect coordinated strike & workers-defense actions against capitalist assaults. This is the ONLY way workers & youth of the world can win.

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Orlando music & Ric Size influence

Why does a huge sprawling metropolis like Orlando have no significant music scene? The biggest factor as to why there is no significant music scene in Orlando is Disney, which owns the town. Disney, like any powerful & ruthless corporation, seeks to eradicate all competition in its sphere. There is no way a creative & independent artistic movement will be allowed by Disney in Orlando. That’s part of Florida politics.

I lived around Central Florida for over 25 years. I arrived as a new resident from out-of-state as a practicing dentist, and became an independent musical artist. When I arrived in Orlando in late-summer 1994 as a fresh-out-of-school dentist, I was immediately besieged as a provider by constant requests/demands for oxycontin & Lortab for pain relief. Evidentially, Orlando was an early test market for huge pharmaceutical companies to dump opioids onto the market, creating legions of addicts overnight. No one taught us about this in dental school.

Drugs is what drove the mid-1990’s electronica rave scene in Orlando & elsewhere. This is when meth started becoming popular in the drug underworld, and as a practicing dentist I saw more than my share of meth mouth. It’s very tragic when you see a once-beautiful 19-year old husk in your chair, begging you to remove teeth in order to stop the pain. It’s even worse when they insist on narcotics for prescription-strength pain relief afterwards. Those CEO’s at Pfizer, J&J, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, etc, all made fortunes off the opioid epidemic they created, while healthcare providers in every field were stuck in the trenches dealing with this crap.

This, and all the problems it creates, is why so many providers have left healthcare since the COVID pandemic hit in early 2020. All the fields of healthcare have fallen under corporate control, where doctors, assistants & nurses no longer have control over their offices & patients. Today, it’s too expensive to compete with corporate, unless you are catering to the top 2%. That’s a tiny niche, but highly competitive. Most of the patient need (in medical & dental) is for ‘nuts & bolts’ care. This means: 1) proper exam & diagnosis; 2) preventive health procedures; and 3) basic care procedures. ‘Less is more’ in most cases.

You can see how this conflicts with our current corporate healthcare model, which emphasizes high-production & expensive elective procedures because they make the most profit. And when under-trained & unqualified providers don’t have good answers, they often write another prescription… No wonder America is so sick.

Back to Central Florida and its lack of a new music scene. This is where & what I came out of as an artist when I began writing songs in the late 1990’s. Orlando ‘music & arts’ is more correctly defined as a drug & party scene. It’s been dominated by drug-fueled LGBTQ+ activists long before I arrived.

The biggest Orlando rock band of that era was Matchbox 20, who relocated their home base to Atlanta after they broke through with “3 AM”. They did this because (as a straight rock band) they couldn’t get sustained local support from Orlando Weekly & Co. It’s mostly sniping, intrigue & backstabbing that drives their tabloids. Their identity politics today are widely despised.

So how did I overcome all this and make records? First, I was extremely fortunate to work with great people who really helped me and believed in the music. Jay Stanley was in Tabitha’s Secret, the name of Matchbox 20, just before they broke big. Jay had been amputated in the process. As my recording engineer & producer on Magnified (2012), he explained a lot of the Orlando music politics to me. Jay Stanley was forced to sue Matchbox 20 for songwriting credits to “3 AM.” which were worth millions of dollars in royalties.

Jay had won his legal case, and he had it made when we first met in Ocoee, FL in summer 2011. He had a great 2nd-story home studio, nice & private with everything we needed. We clicked right away, and together we blasted out all the songs– I sang & played all the guitars & harmonica, while Jay added electronic beats, studio effects & mixed. It was fast work & high-energy excitement the whole time. Both of us liked Magnified, and still stand by it. It’s a revolutionary rock album.

After shooting videos for “Mercury Rising” & “Talented” with local Lake County video producer Susan Cameron and her team at Wild Zebra Media in Tavares, FL, I had greater ambitions for my next album. Electrified! (2015) was to be a CD as well as a documentary essay film. Susan filmed, while I starred & directed. We edited & she produced it– as far as we got. We recruited as much local talent as we could, for as long as we could, and shot that fucker on a hope & prayer. I didn’t have the money to finish, or any possibility of major distribution, so the project collapsed at the end. Here’s the film, which still needs some editing & corrections, but it’s 98% finished.

Jay Stanley relocated to Apopka while I was working with Susan Cameron in Tavares. By the time I was ready to record my second album, he had just finished moving into his new house in the suburbs. Jay had converted the garage into his new studio, and I was his first client there. We has numerous sound & microphone issues, as you can imagine. We had barking dogs, along with an upset & needy girlfriend constantly interrupting the sessions. My management skills & patience were never more tested than during this period.

I had Tom Pearce on board with being my drummer. I wanted live drums this time, and Tom has no problem recording to a click track– which means he’s a real pro. Tom is a very sociable & likable fellow, in ways that I am not. Every veteran rock musician in the Orlando area seems to know who he is, because he’s drummed in many bands. Tom is a professional, so he does a lot of ‘fill-in’ gigs, where a band needs a drummer for a night or just a short time, for whatever reason.

What you learn from listening to people like Tom is that local live music is a community. Bands & their musicians are often interchangeable. Every singer-songwriter & guitarist is constantly looking for an upgrade, whether on drums or bass. It’s typically a fluid exchange of talent within a healthy music scene.

As I mentioned above, Orlando is just the opposite. Instead of healthy & thriving with creative energy, its juice has been sapped by drugs & cynical politics. In a word, Orlando is toxic. Remarkably, it is within this milieu that Tom Pearce was able to find & connect with the best rock musicians Orlando had to offer at the time.

On bass, Craig Roy is the best technical rock player in Central Florida. He has a sense of artistry that most professional bassists aren’t even aware exists.

Jessica Dauman (now Jessica Lynn Martens) was brought in for her violin. Her 2013 recording session only lasted an hour or so, and included “Anna Rex”, “Old Friends” & “Moneybug”. After “Anna Rex” became an underground internet sensation, particularly in the modeling community, Jessica earned a vocalist role on the FOX series Archer (2009-21), and also has worked with Kenny Loggins.

I required a real guitar player for “Tip of the Cap”, so I convinced a local two-bit redneck shitkicker I know named Bill Pelick to play for me. He did a great job, and then was willing to give it a whirl on “Just Because,” and it worked great. I’ll admit, this is one of my favorite tricks. I’ll invite someone in for one song, and then when that’s quickly done, I’ll say, “How about this song…?” That’s how records get finished.

One regret on Electrified! was that I didn’t ask Jessica to play on “Listen to the Woman”. What was I thinking?! Tom had everything else produced by mid-2015, but that song needed a woman’s voice, so he convinced Rachel Decker to add backing vocals. It was recorded on a laptop computer in my Mount Dora apartment. We actually has a better take a few weeks earlier, but Tom accidentally erased it. That’s how things went back then.

It took over two tears to finish Electrified!, from start to finish. After Jay recorded it, I decided to have Tom produce it. Of course, Jay didn’t like that, and there were hard feelings on all sides at the time, but today we’re cool. Tom has aptitudes that Jay & I lack. Tom is a drummer, an egghead & a computer whiz. He LIKES reading & learning all that technical sound science.

Tom took all the tracks which were recorded on Apple ProTools by Jay, and converted them to PC so he could work with better recording software. This, along with re-recording certain tracks, occupied Tom & me for two years. In October 2015, Electrified! was finally released online. I had already put the film online.

Since then, Tom & I have record live & acoustically. Hwy 19 & Main St (2015) was recorded in November in a tin shack at that location, and then Fully Covered (2016) in December/January. Over & Out (2017) was recorded in one session at my Mount Dora apartment in May of that year, also by Tom Pearce.

Tom then traveled to Sanford to record my last singles to date from 2019-2021. Bill Pelick & Rachel Decker each participated in a session. Both appear on “Patch Me Up Doc” & “Millennial Whoop”, Rachel on vocals & Bill on bass. Tom on drums & beats, also was the recording engineer & producer.

Tom Pearce also contributed mightily to the artwork for all of my projects from Hwy 19 & Main St, through the singles. He makes great suggestions and understands how to work creatively with a bold idea. He also knows when to set his ego aside, which is the mark of a great producer.

At the outset  of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, I self-recorded the Coronavirus Concerts (2020) on an Amazon Fire tablet in Sanford, FL, and released them as videos.  This was during the initial lockdowns, and well before any vaccines were available. The point was to prove a new & safe model for music recording & delivery during an uncontrolled viral pandemic.

I’ve used this career retrospective to illustrate many points. The title referred to the Orlando music scene, and that’s where I’ll conclude. When I say there is no significant new music scene in Orlando, that is a statement of fact. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t talented performers & artists who care. It means that the talent & creatively isn’t being allowed to flourish and there are material political reasons for that.

Artists & musicians need to stop isolating themselves and re-join the real world again. The real world works for its living, and in general it isn’t happy with its present compensation level. As long as musicians continue to endlessly party & get high, seeking only fame for themselves & vicarious pleasures at any cost, then they will continue to be isolated. They have nothing good to offer to humanity.

This downward spiral of despair & hopelessness can only be corrected when musicians & artists link together in solidarity. Hollywood writers & actors along with disenfranchised workers throughout the entertainment industry are now organizing & linking with teachers, autoworkers, UPS drivers, Amazon workers, etc. The entertainment industry can’t exist without all this coordinated labor. The current problem is that all the power is in the hands of corporate, backed by the state. Workers need to realize that THEY are the power. Without their labor, there is no economy.

Postscript: So where does Ric Size belong in the tradition of Florida rock music? While I love the Allman Brothers Band & Lynyrd Skynyrd, I’m probably closer to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers as far as classic rockers go, but I’m not nearly as prolific. I’ve always considered myself a post-punk rocker, in the tradition of the Minutemen, Sonic Youth & Nirvana. Somewhere along the way I became a Trotskyist and it became revolution rock. You wouldn’t expect any of this to come from Central Florida, but that’s the story.

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Casino (1995), Martin Scorsese, and the American Mafia

Casino (1995) is Martin Scorsese’s best film. The writer of an outline to his book-to-be, sold Scorsese on the idea. When word got out in the Hollywood trade magazines that Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, etc, were involved in a new Scorsese film, that’s when real-life mobsters started opening up.

For example, according to Scorsese in his comments & extras to the film, Robert De Niro spent days with the mobster portrayed as Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein at his Florida home, getting him to tell stories about what happened in the Las Vegas underworld back then. De Niro tape recorded all the discussions which were invaluable in fleshing out the final script. All the names were changed in the film & book, but the essence of the story rings true.

When it all came together, Scorsese had a screenplay and was shooting before the original author had finished the book, which wouldn’t have been anywhere as interesting if it hadn’t been made into a movie first. I don’t know any other significant Hollywood film like that.

Casino has its flaws, primarily the glorification of the American mafia. All of Martin Scorsese’s mob films, from Mean Streets (1973) to The Irishman (2019), have a technical artistry that is marred by apologizing for violent criminal gangs which act as hidden parasites in the overall economy.

Waste management, construction, restaurants, the NY Port Authority, real estate, the police, etc, are areas the American mafia still exercises significant pernicious influence while skimming revenue & resources for itself. Mafia expertise in gambling, narcotics, prostitution, etc, ensures its eternal presence in management and in the trenches. Martin Scorsese never makes an attempt to add up these social costs from an everyday worker perspective.

To Scorsese, blue collar workers are dumb suckers meant to be exploited by his glorified mobsters. The sins of a mafia don can always be forgiven with an “Oh well” philosophy, that at least they tried for something great under American capitalism, emphasizing their spirit of entrepreneurship in their corruption, etc. These goombas ran casinos, they were big-shots! Better to live a short & glorious life of debauchery before dying in a pool of blood, than working hard and being honest. That’s for chumps.

It appears unlikely that Martin Scorsese has seriously read Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires by Selwyn Raab, first published in 2005, which is considered the definitive historical reference book on the subject. Raab documents a much different view of the American mafia from Scorsese.

In many ways, from Taxi Driver (1974) & Raging Bull (1980) through Goodfellas (1990) & Gangs of New York (2002), Scorsese keeps making the same movie. At minimum they’re very similar– same storylines, motifs, styling, and actors. The fact that gangsters contributed significantly in the creative process of making (what most consider) his best movie, says something. It means Martin Scorsese is void, artistically.

The bankruptcy of his ethics & political ideology limit him. Despite all his schooling & technical expertise in film-making, along with his experience & the resources made available to him, it mostly adds up to (what feels like) sequels that are sadistic, difficult to watch, and not rewarding on repeated viewings.

As Casino points out at the end in a De Niro voice-over, all the casinos & trade unions have now been corporatized, but mobster influence remains. Union bosses & apparatchiks have their share of goombas slurping up high-salary, no-show jobs & perks. Furthermore, whenever strikebreakers are needs to attack worker pickets and escort scabs across lines, that’s when the fascist thugs are brought in by corporate. The US government supports these attacks on workers, and always has.

So what does Martin Scorsese have to say to all the Hollywood writers & actors who are currently picketing for basic rights such as fair-pay-for-their-work & healthcare? Is Scorsese going to make a movie in a few years about how mobsters coordinated their goon-squad attacks on Hollywood writers & actors to break their strike? Personally, I’m not interested, because I’ve seen it already.

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Sy Hersh strikes again!

China, which buys 20-25% of Saudi Arabia’s vast oil output, just made a secret deal to pay in yen– instead of US dollars. Joe Biden, the US Treasury/Fed, Exxon/Mobil, etc, don’t like that. What does the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia get out of this? China’s capitalist-Stalinist regime gets the Shiite Iranian regime to cease its support for the separatist Houthis, thus ending the war in Yemen. I’m not hearing about this anywhere in the fake media.

Sy Hersh predicts a dismal summer & autumn for Europe, with the consequences falling on Joe Biden’s head. His rabid anti-communism is what started & escalated the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, with help from Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan & Victoria Nuland. Biden desperately wanted to win the war in Ukraine, and lock-up the renomination & a second term. Sy Hersh predicts the failure in Ukraine will cost Joe Biden the Democratic party nomination in 2024. As Wikileaks revealed in 2016 (and we saw again in 2020), the Democrat’s nomination process for US president is rigged, so we’ll see.

Election 2024 will be the Civil War election. Neither bourgeois side will accept defeat, especially the MAGA fascists. It’s up to workers & youth to organize under the banner of international socialism by forming workplace & neighborhood committees to protect & defend the interests of the toilers in the face of economic & fascist assaults from the capitalist elites. Only revolutionary socialism can save the day, so read the World Socialist Web Site and join the Trotskyists!

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Marilyn Manson vs. the abusive MeToo campaign

Who anointed the MeToo campaign as the morality police, judge, jury & executioner? Whether you like Marilyn Manson or not isn’t the issue. The guy worked hard to make millions of fans, and his relationships with those people has been poisoned by cynical politics & a dirty-tricks campaign. I know fans of Marilyn Manson (men & women) who say his music helped them get through a tough period in their lives, etc. Who is MeToo to judge all this with absolute authority?

In the case of Marilyn Mansion & Ashley Morgan Smithline, it’s Evan Rachel Wood who is the abuser. Evan Rachel Wood is a perjurer who (among other criminal activities) submitted a fraudulent letter from the FBI as evidence under oath in court. Commenters online are now calling Evan Rachel Wood “Amber Heard 2.0”, which is accurate. Evan Rachel Wood has the full backing of the CIA Democrats as Marilyn Manson has been the victim of a coordinated MeToo-style hit job because he’s an easy target.

The MeToo campaign and its fanatic adherents have no compassion & understanding for a man’s career ruined with lies. Just as they have no compassion for women who are teaching in classrooms with COVID, or female healthcare workers, retail employees, etc.

The MeToo campaign supports the criminal US/NATO-led proxy war in the Ukraine against Russia, nevermind all the women & children who have become casualties. The MeToo campaign still supports sanctions on Syria, even after a series of devastating earthquakes hit the region. Women & children buried under rubble doesn’t register on the MeToo campaign’s radar.

MeToo doesn’t care one whit about women autoworkers who have been unfairly fired for reporting sexual harassment & wage theft to the UAW bureaucracy. When a woman working on the line in an Ohio auto plant had a miscarriage last year, because she was doing work she shouldn’t have been doing, the UAW helped deny her insurance claim. And so on, etc…

MeToo doesn’t care about working class women, it is only concerned with gaining privileges for a thin layer of women in the upper-middle class. That’s the focus of all the identity politics campaigns (Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+, etc) which come directly from the CIA Democrats. This cynical attempt to divide workers & the poor only strengthens the hand of the far right.

Ashley Morgan Smithline has declared that Evan Rachel Wood manipulated & abused her. So why wouldn’t you believe her? MeToo (who claims women should ALWAYS be believed) is silent on this question.

The MeToo campaign, like capitalism, is exploitative & abusive to its core. The only way to end this nefarious, dirty-tricks MeToo campaign is by organized mass resistance to the capitalist system itself.

Music is such an important form of communication, perhaps the most influential as its primality touches & stirs our deepest emotions. The question of questions becomes: Who controls the music? Consider all music of the past in its historical materialist context, with a philosophical understanding of dialectics in revolution. These days, if the music doesn’t also stimulate the intellect, it’s crap.

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Is Sam Bankman-Fried now an agent of US Intelligence?

The conspiracy theory that SBF is now an agent of US intelligence is supported by the facts and his actions since pleading “not guilty” in a Manhattan courtroom. The DOJ normally takes no prisoners in its prosecutions, unless a secret deal has been reached.

From a historical perspective, the DOJ investigations of Donald Trump have been as restrained a legal action as you will ever see, because he’s so connected to right-wing militias (which intelligence agencies view as an asset), but the DOJ still went after him to some extent for his malfeasance. SBF has the same criminal credentials, but with even more value to US intelligence, so he’s been treated with kid gloves by the DOJ & the corporate media because they’re all tied-in to the CIA Democrats.

The dictatorship of finance capital can be clearly observed in crypto. SBF & Co. have surely made secret deals, as they are being integrated into US intelligence to help move dark money to Ukraine, etc. Thus, none of the defrauded customers will see a penny of the $5B in assets the US government has claimed to have recovered (so far) in the FTX fallout.

Republicans have now setup a new committee to bail out this distressed “asset class” known as crypto, and as a result of this activity, bitcoin has moved up by ~$2K in the past few days.

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Roger Goodell cancels Bill-Bengals MNF game: A true Hollywood story

After Roger Goodell conferred with the top Vegas bookies & ESPN fantasy leagues for three difficult days, it was decided by the owners of football to be in their best interest to cancel the Bills-Bengals game. According to NFL records & the Black Hand, it never happened.

The NFL had cancel this game, but they REALLY didn’t want to. League officials & executives needed to confer behind-the-scenes with bookmakers & the biggest fantasy leagues for council on what to do, which is why it took three long days for the NFL to make it’s final decision, when it really had no choice from the start.

The fantasy leagues are a particularly sticky situation, because those are hardcore football fans who invested 4+ months in drafting, building & cheering their teams. The Bills-Bengals game was to be the final MNF contest of the season, and it’s the Super Bowl in most fantasy leagues. If this event had happened during a typical Sunday afternoon game, it wouldn’t have been as harmful to NFL interests. But it happened on Monday night, when the entire sports world is tuned-in, and not just any Monday night, but the biggest MNF game of the season.

Instead of being a nationwide football festival, the plug was pulled & the excitement killed. Most sports fans understand the situation and don’t blame the players, or cry foul, but there are interests that want to make sure this NEVER happens again. Docking wages for leaving the field would probably be bad optics for the NFL, so look for the owners to get together after the post-season and establish a “protocol” to prevent players from mutually leaving the field before a game is finished. Owners consider what happened as an unauthorized work stoppage, and that is strictly prohibited by the powers-that-be. This could become a CBA grievance if the owners take too much of a hard-line stance.

So how did Roger Goodell arrive at his judgement, three days after an on-field medical event stopped the Bills-Bengals MNF game, with the players refusing to resume the contest? First, the NFL Commissioner had to take heavy flak from all the East coast dweebs screaming in his ear about sponsors, ratings, fantasy leagues, etc– imagine a scene from Network (1976) and apply it here. After absorbing all this abuse, Goodell then had to fly to Las Vegas and stay at the Flamingo to take a meeting with Ace Rothstein & Nicky Santoro. After that, he had to hustle over to the Tropicana to see Moe Greene, and you know what that means— Don Barzini. Roger Goodell had to earn his paycheck this week.

Nicky Santoro: Hey commish, what happened?! I got all these betting slips and I don’t know what to do with them. I’m thinkin’ I’ll keep all the money. What do you think, Sam?

Ace Rothstein: You’re the muscle end Nicky, I just tell you the point spread.

Nicky Santoro: So commish, a player feints on the field, he’s taken-off, and the game just ENDS?!! Since when do we do THAT?!! Are we gonna put pink dresses on them next? [Lots of expletives…] I’m feeling like a chump for holding all these markers. The game was two nights ago!! [Lots of expletives…] I’m just trying to run a respectable bookmaking business here, I gotta pay the winners & collect from the losers to get my vig, you understand? How can I pay when there’s no game?!! [More expletives…] Since I’ve been holding this money for so long, I’d almost feel like a chump to return it. I’m thinking I’ll keep the money. What do you think, Sam?

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Fractured Fairy Tales: Camelot

Once upon a time there was a handsome young prince who was destined to become president. His father was a rum runner during Prohibition– made a fortune. This was parlayed into American royalty, and Papa Joe (September 6, 1888 – November 18, 1969) had many children, including our presidential prince. This young prince had the requisite credentials– he was a war hero from a rich family & dashing. Every young princess swooned and he never lost an election.

One day he entered an infested jungle and contracted a venereal disease from which he was never cured. But this presidential prince still married well and had many extra-marital affairs. The number of girls/women he infected was prolific, for sure.

This presidential prince fucked like he politicked: kinda all over the place with unhealthy consequences. Yet he’s considered a liberal pioneer. The prince president assigned his hot-headed brother to be his Attorney General, and together they promised to take on the mafia. This rubbed the Black Hand the wrong way, since they had partnered with Papa Joe during Prohibition. The epigones of Al Capone had also won JFK the presidential election in 1960 by pulling the machinery in Chicago his way, and thus stealing the presidency from Richard Nixon. “Never again,” said Tricky Dick.

These intrepid princes were both virulent anti-communists, but J. Edgar Hoover still didn’t trust them, so JFK & RFK were fighting a multi-front war against powerful figures in the ruling establishment during their administration. To the US military/intelligence apparatus, being anything less than 100% pro-war on Vietnam is another red line not to be crossed. This must be clearly understood, because it can NEVER be stated to the public.

The myth of Camelot begins in earnest with the cover-up of the Bay of Pigs Invasion (Apr 17, 1961 – Apr 20, 1961), JFK’s first real foray into international politics as president. This was a CIA-backed fiasco invasion attempt that went wrong from the start, and ended ignominiously for all its participants.

On the ground it was CIA handlers leading a few hundred fanatics in an ill-planned invasion of Cuba with intent to kill Castro and take power. Boots on the ground were militant right-wing Cuban exiles, anti-communist mercenaries, etc, a veritable cornucopia of reactionary adventurers.  As with every right ring coup attempt, from the Bay of Pigs Invasion to Donald Trump’s coup attempt on 1/6/21, there is much dirt that remains secret & hidden from the public. It’s classified: murky murky.

When things went from bad-to-worse, the prince president & his hot-headed Attorney General brother abandoned the Bay of Pigs adventure. After the capture of the entire invading hoard, they pointed their fingers as US intelligence. This notorious embarrassment & betrayal infuriated the CIA, which is something a president should never do. Neither of these pampered & temperamental princes respected the Black Hand, which is a fatal error.

The second test of JFK’s political mettle was the Cuban Missile Crisis (Oct 16, 1962 – Oct 28, 1962). The crisis began when US intelligence learned (too late) that the Soviet Union had installed missile launch pads in Cuba. It was considered a political & military disaster.

The entire US political establishment had turned anti-Cuba since Fidel Castro came to power during the Cuban Revolution of 1959, in which US-puppet Fulgencio Batista was ousted. Since then the goal of US imperialism has been regime change in Cuba.

Missile capabilities in Cuba would be comparable the the US arming the Ukraine against Russia. Such a close threat could never be allowed by either side. In 1962, the prince president & his hot-headed brother needed to show strength, and these philistines responded in full force, since they knew nothing else and their authority (manhood) was being questioned.

They loudly demanded the Soviet Union remove all missile capabilities in Cuba, and US warships were dispatched to intercept any Soviet ships & planes trying to reach Cuba. The president threatened nuclear war, and human civilization was brought to the brink for the first time in its existence. The political term ‘nuclear brinkmanship’ had been coined. Today, as routine, we get nuclear war public serviced announcements from identity politics obsessed Democrats, and this is called “progressive.”

Fortunately in October 1962, cooler heads prevailed and a tenuous peace was negotiated. The Russians abandoned their missile pads in Cuba, while the US abandoned more-capable missile sites in Eastern Europe. The Cuban take-down was allowed to be known publicly, but the European take-down by the US wasn’t, so by manipulation of information flow, the myth of Camelot was born. The prince president was declared a hero and his subjects cheered triumphantly.

Of course myths never last, and Camelot was shattered by the bullets of assassins in November 1963, and again in June 1968. Chappaquiddick (July 1969) was their Waterloo. The Warren Commission and other myths were produced to cover-up these fatalities, criminal conduct & violent attacks on American democracy. Since Camelot, it’s become harder & harder for people to live happily ever after.

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