More anti Russian / Pro Cold War Propaganda…
On the FX show The Americans, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, a typical suburban couple in the 1980s. Two kids, nice house, they run a travel agency together. They’re also spies for the Soviet Union, moles sent to live among us. And their kids have no idea.
The Americans, which just started its second season, may be the first spy show created by a former spy. Joe Weisberg worked for the CIA in the early ‘90s, just as the Cold War was ending. He came from a very liberal family, so joining the CIA was a bit of a rebellion.
Yet after some time inside the organization, he started to doubt what the CIA was doing. “It was all kind of BS,” he says. “The intelligence they were providing wasn’t worth anything to the US government. But what you did to collect that intelligence was ask people to really risk their lives — for a lot of nothing.”
Weisberg also had a passion for writing. And that eventually led him to Hollywood. After Russian agents were found working undercover in the US in 2010, Weisberg got a call from DreamWorks executives. Weisberg decided to reset the events during the Reagan era.
There was one clear advantage to setting a spy show in the 1980s: no cell phones. “Philip can’t pick up a phone and call Elizabeth and say, ‘get out of there!’” Weisberg says. He’s also proud to show off what agents could do in the analog era, without great technology, when they had to rely more on brains, guile, and sometimes their bodies.
And there’s another unusual aspect to the show. The CIA keeps a close eye on Weisberg’s scripts to make sure that he doesn’t give away tradecraft he learned while at the Agency.
Though spying provides the tension in the show, at its heart The Americans is about a marriage. Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage was arranged by the KGB, but has become more and more authentic for the characters. “It’s the emotional underpinning,” Weisberg says, “It comes before the spy drama, it comes before the thriller aspects.”
But what if that storied fight was not what it seemed?
It happened Feb. 25, 1964, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The film clip and sound bite have now become part of the American story — Liston quitting his stool before the eighth round, a young Cassius Clay, as Ali was known then, bouncing around the ring, waving his hands, yelling to the reporters at ringside who thought he would be killed by the more veteran boxer. “I’m king of the world! I’m king of the world!” Ali proclaimed.
Sports Illustrated named it the fourth-greatest sports moment of the 20th century. The fight also is the foundation of the Muhammad Ali story: the three-year heavyweight championship reign of dominance, followed by his three-year exile as he fought the Vietnam War draft. The Ali-Joe Frazier fights, the upset over George Foreman in Zaire, the reconstruction of Ali from a pariah to a national treasure. All of it begins with a brash Clay “shocking the world.”
Maybe it wasn’t such a shock, as 4-decade-old documents released to The Washington Times under the Freedom of Information Act show the FBI suspected the fight may have been fixed by a Las Vegas figure tied to organized crime and to Liston. The documents show no evidence that Ali was in on the scheme or even knew about it. And nothing suggests the bureau ever fully corroborated the suspicions it investigated.
The FBI documents released to The Times are the most detailed information to date about suspicions of a fix in the first Clay-Liston fight, though they are likely to only continue the debate and not resolve it.
Ali did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Times.
The memos, so sensitive that they were addressed directly to Director J. Edgar Hoover, show the FBI suspected Ash Resnick, a Las Vegas gambler with organized crime connections, of fixing multiple boxing matches, including the first Clay-Liston fight.
The most tantalizing evidence is contained in an FBI memo dated May 24, 1966, that details an interview with a Houston gambler named Barnett Magids, who described to agents his discussions with Resnick before the first Clay-Liston fight.
“On one occasion, Resnick introduced Magids to Sonny Liston at the Thunderbird, [one of the Las Vegas hotels organized crime controlled],” the memo states. “About a week before the Liston and Clay fight in Miami, Resnick called and invited Magids and his wife for two weeks in Florida on Resnick. Magids‘ wife was not interested in going, but Magids decided to go along, and Resnick was going to send him a ticket.
“Two or three days before the fight, Magids called Resnick at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami to say he could not come,” the memo states. “On this call, he asked Resnick who he liked in the fight, and Resnick said that Liston would knock Clay out in the second round. Resnick suggested he wait until just before the fight to place any bets because the odds may come down.
“At about noon on the day of the fight, [Magids] reached Resnick again by phone, and at this time, Resnick said for him to not make any bets, but just go watch the fight on pay TV and he would know why and that he could not talk further at that time.
“Magids did go see the fight on TV and immediately realized that Resnick knew that Liston was going to lose,” the document states. “A week later, there was an article in Sports Illustrated writing up Resnick as a big loser because of his backing of Liston. Later people ‘in the know’ in Las Vegas told Magids that Resnick and Liston both reportedly made over $1 million betting against Liston on the fight and that the magazine article was a cover for this.”
“[Ash Resnick] is the fix point of two heavyweight title fights — both Liston. [H]e had always been and will continue to be a corruption source for professional sports until he is stopped,” one such report states.
A 1968 report from the FBI Philadelphia office said Resnick “was investigated in the alleged fixing of the first Clay-Liston fight in Miami. He allegedly is a friend of Meyer Lansky and Vincent Alo [“Jimmy Blue Eyes”] and Charles Tourine.”
Lansky was one of the most powerful mobsters of the 20th century, credited, along with his friend and partner Charles “Lucky” Luciano, with building a nationwide crime syndicate. Alo was a member of the Genovese crime family and an associate of Lansky‘s. Tourine, also known as “Charlie the Blade,” was a member of the Boiardo New Jersey gang affiliated with the Genovese family.
A May 19, 1972, FBI report from the Los Angeles field office to Hoover stated that Resnick had “major mob ties” with New Jersey and Brooklyn figures and indicated his reach went beyond the ring. Resnick, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who had been a basketball player at New York University, was involved in the fixing scandal there in the early 1950s.
The 1972 report says Resnick also was involved in Caesars Palace and, according to FBI documents, was close to NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain. “Was deeply involved with Wilt Chamberlain during the 68-69 big year — when Chamberlain performed poorly — Wilt was Ash guest at [Caesars Palace] almost every open weekend when the Lakers were at home or Phoenix.”
Resnick died in 1989, at the age of 72, from heart failure in a Las Vegas hospital after a long bout with cancer, according to an obituary by The Associated Press. “His forte was bringing gamblers to Las Vegas casinos for high-stakes gambling, and he organized the first junkets that later became a fixture of the casinos,” the obituary stated.
In 1974, Resnick was convicted of income tax evasion while working for Caesars Palace, as the government alleged he skimmed more than $300,000 from Caesars and failed to pay taxes on it. The conviction was later overturned, the obituary stated.
Magids died in 2007.
Liston fought at times after that, and at one point in 1968 mounted a comeback with seven straight wins, all by knockouts. But he was knocked out by Leotis Martin in the ninth round in December 1969. Liston’s last fight was a 10-round beating he delivered to Chuck Wepner in June 1970.
Liston was found dead by his wife in their Las Vegas home on Jan. 5, 1971. Police determined he died from a heroin overdose, but the cause of death remains controversial. Liston’s friends maintained it was a homicide covered up by police.
Ironically, the whispers of a Clay-Liston fix have long ruminated in the sports world, but they focused on the rematch 15 months later in Lewiston, Maine. That was the fight in which Liston went down halfway through the first round from an Ali punch that sportswriter Jimmy Cannon said “couldn’t have crushed a grape.” It’s been called the “phantom punch,” and whether it actually knocked out Liston has been dissected and debated for decades.
The fighters were controversial figures — Liston the frightening ex-con with mob ties, and Ali, still using the name Cassius Clay, the Olympic gold medal winner who reportedly joined the Black Muslims weeks before their first scheduled fight. It wouldn’t be until after the fight that Clay would announce he was a member of the Black Muslims, but those questions were part of the story leading up to the bout.
Clay entered the ring at the Miami Beach Convention Center a 7-1 underdog. Though there was no “phantom punch” in Miami Beach — it was a seven-round fight in which Ali was in trouble early, losing his vision at one point, and then came back to seemingly batter Liston — there has been speculation about the outcome.
Liston said he quit because of a shoulder injury. He said he hurt his shoulder in the first round. The Miami Beach Boxing Commission doctor reportedly diagnosed a torn tendon in Liston’s left shoulder. Florida State Attorney Richard Gerstein conducted a post-fight investigation, which concluded that Liston went into the fight with a bad shoulder. He determined there was no evidence that the fight was not “completely regular,” according to The Palm Beach Post.
David Remnick, who penned “King of the World — Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero,” wrote that he spoke years after the fight with one of Liston’s corner men, who told him Liston could have continued:
“[The shoulder] was all BS. We had a return bout clause with Clay, but if you say your guy just quit, who is gonna get a return bout? We cooked up that shoulder thing on the spot.”
Miami Beach Boxing Commission Chairman Morris Klein said commissioners were satisfied that there was “no wrongdoing” and allowed Liston to collect his $370,000 purse. A U.S. Senate subcommittee conducted hearings three months later but found no evidence of a fixed fight.
After the second fight against Liston, Ali went on to dominate the heavyweight division from 1965 to 1967, with wins over former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, who had lost the title to Liston, George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Brian London, Karl Mildenberger, Cleveland Williams, Ernie Terrell and Zora Folley.
After his refusal to be drafted into the Army at the height of the Vietnam War, Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title. His boxing license was suspended, and he was exiled from the sport for three years after his conviction for draft evasion.
Ali returned to the ring in 1970, stopping Jerry Quarry in three rounds. He would go on to fight three legendary bouts against Frazier, losing the first one — the “Fight of the Century” — on March 8, 1971, and winning the next two, including the epic “Thrilla in Manila” in October 1975. He won the heavyweight title in another moment that shocked the world, stopping the seemingly unbeatable Foreman in eight rounds in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in October 1974.
He would continue fighting until retiring after winning a rematch against Leon Spinks in September 1978. He tried a comeback in 1980 but retired after losing to heavyweight champion Larry Holmes and losing a forgettable fight against Trevor Berbick.
Via Before its News
According to recently published reports, reports of four suspected drug dealers have been arrested in a Chinatown apartment in connection with the investigation into the heroin overdose death of award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Academy Award-winning Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment Sunday morning, the victim of an apparent heroin overdose.
Published on Feb 5, 2014
Four Arrested Over Philip Seymour Hoffman Death – 5 February 2014
Four people have reportedly been arrested as part of an investigation into the suspected heroin overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Some 350 bags of heroin were also seized during the arrests in Lower Manhattan, unnamed police officials were quoted by US media as saying.
The Oscar-winning star, 46, was found dead at his Greenwich Village home on Sunday with a syringe in his arm.
Dozens of suspected heroin bags were found near his body.
Some were stamped with the ace of hearts and the ace of spades, which are said to be brand names for heroin that street dealers use.
No definitive cause of death has been given, as police try to piece together his final hours using surveillance video and inspecting computers found in his home.
Police say the heroin found in Hoffman’s apartment was not mixed with the synthetic narcotic fentanyl.
Fentanyl has been blamed for a number of recent overdose deaths.
He is reported to have withdrawn a total of $1,200 (£735) in six visits to a cash machine the day before his death.
The acting world has been paying tribute to a man described as one of the finest actors of his generation.
Lights along theatre marquees on New York’s Broadway are due to be dimmed later in honour of Hoffman, who earned three Tony award nominations for his work in theatre work in the city.
Hoffman, who is survived by his partner Mimi O’Donnell and their three children, has spoken candidly in the past of his struggle against drug addiction.
In a 2006 interview with CBS he said he had at times abused “anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all”.
He admitted in May 2013 he had entered rehab a year earlier, spending 10 days in treatment.
The actor’s family say they are planning a private funeral service “for the family and close friends” followed by a memorial service, but have given no dates.
Veteran Industrial Rock band (Skinny Puppy) ‘invoices’ US govt for using their music for ‘torture’ in Gitmo
Not sure why they didn’t choose Mily Cyrus, Bill Ray Cyrus, or the Beeb – That would make me confess to anything to make it stop. Skinny Puppy is awesome – they are back on tour in the USA – go see em / Great show!
Veteran Industrial band Skinny Puppy have objected to their disturbingly dark music being played to discombobulate inmates at Guantanamo, and plan to “charge” the government for doing so. They are not the first band to express such objections.
“We heard through a reliable grapevine that our music was being used in Guantanamo Bay prison camps to musically stun or torture people. We heard that our music was used on at least four occasions,” the idiosyncratically monikered guitarist cEvin Key told The Phoenix New Times.
“So we thought it would be a good idea to make an invoice to the US government for musical services.”
While this may have been seen as an oblique compliment to a band that prides itself on its dark imagery, the thought of their music bringing genuine mental anguish was uncomfortable.
“We never supported those types of scenarios. Because we make unsettling music, we can see it being used in a weird way. But it doesn’t sit right with us,” said Key, who founded Skinny Puppy back in 1982.
It is not clear if the Canadian band is expecting remuneration from the US government, but the band has named its latest album Weapon as a reference to the alleged incidents.
The most famous objectors to their music being used for enhanced interrogation are heavy metal legends Metallica.
A 2006 anonymous interview with US service staff showed that it had become their band of choice “to soften up” suspects before an interrogation.
“If there are people that are dumb enough to use Metallica to interrogate prisoners, you’re forgetting about all the music that’s to the left of us. I can name, you know, thirty Norwegian death metal bands that would make Metallica sound like Simon & Garfunkel,” retorted a defensive Lars Ulrich, the drummer for the band.
Skinny Puppy appears to fit the bill.
Forcing prisoners to listen to music has been a widespread tactic for at least the past few decades. The point is not only to intimidate, but also to humiliate, often by inflicting an incongruous foreign culture on a suspected terrorist (inoffensive pop singer Britney Spears also featured widely on US ‘interrogation mixes’).
But the practice has met with legal challenges. The UK, which used to subject IRA suspects to unpredictable and deafening spells of white noise, and Israel, have both been banned from doing so by their respective national courts.
But not all bands mind the military association.
Christian metal band Demon Hunter sent the US army patches and CDs that would psych up US marines before missions. According to an Esquire interview in 2012, the Navy SEAL who shot Osama Bin Laden was wearing just such a patch as he riddled the Islamist terrorist with bullets in May 2011.
The left will often use the McCarthy hearings to label the extreme views of the (phony) right wing. The Hypocrisy here is palpable!
LOS ANGELES (via NYT)— In a famously left-leaning Hollywood, where Democratic fund-raisers fill the social calendar, Friends of Abe stands out as a conservative group that bucks the prevailing political winds.
A collection of perhaps 1,500 right-leaning players in the entertainment industry, Friends of Abe keeps a low profile and fiercely protects its membership list, to avoid what it presumes would result in a sort of 21st-century blacklist, albeit on the other side of the partisan spectrum.
Now the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing the group’s activities in connection with its application for tax-exempt status. Last week, federal tax authorities presented the group with a 10-point request for detailed information about its meetings with politicians like Paul D. Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and Herman Cain, among other matters, according to people briefed on the inquiry.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the organization’s confidentiality strictures, and to avoid complicating discussions with the I.R.S.
Those people said that the application had been under review for roughly two years, and had at one point included a demand — which was not met — for enhanced access to the group’s security-protected website, which would have revealed member names. Tax experts said that an organization’s membership list is information that would not typically be required. The I.R.S. already had access to the site’s basic levels, a request it considers routine for applications for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Friends of Abe — the name refers to Abraham Lincoln — has strongly discouraged the naming of its members. That policy even prohibits the use of cameras at group events, to avoid the unwilling identification of all but a few associates — the actors Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer, or the writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd, for instance — who have spoken openly about their conservative political views.
The I.R.S. request comes in the face of a continuing congressional investigation into the agency’s reviews of political nonprofits, most of them conservative-leaning, which provoked outrage on the right and forced the departure last year of several high-ranking I.R.S. officials. But unlike most of those groups, which had sought I.R.S. approval for a mix of election campaigning and nonpartisan issue advocacy, Friends of Abe is seeking a far more restrictive tax status, known as 501(c)(3), that would let donors claim a tax deduction, but strictly prohibits any form of partisan activity.
The group is not currently designated tax-exempt, but it behaves as a nonprofit and has almost no formal structure, people briefed on the matter said. The I.R.S. review will determine whether Friends of Abe receives tax-exempt status that would provide legal footing similar to that of the People for the American Way Foundation, a progressive group fostered by the television producer Norman Lear and others. If not, Friends of Abe could resort to the courts, or it might simply operate as a nonprofit, but it would be unable to receive tax-deductible contributions.
Jeremy Boreing, executive director of Friends of Abe, declined on Wednesday to discuss details of the tax review, but said the group would continue regardless of outcome.
“Certainly, it’s been a long process,” he said.
“Friends of Abe has absolutely no political agenda,” he added. “It exists to create fellowship among like-minded individuals.”
People for the American Way, Mr. Lear’s group, stands as something of a liberal counterpart to Friends of Abe, though the organization is far larger, with an affiliate that spends millions of dollars a year on issue advocacy in Washington and beyond. But the entertainment industry has been crisscrossed by progressive groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, which maintains a tax-exempt educational adjunct under the 501(c)(3) provision, and includes the producer Laurie David and the actor Leonardo DiCaprio among its trustees. Another, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, is a nonprofit that supports marriage rights for gay people and counts the producer Bruce Cohen and the writer Dustin Lance Black among its founders.
In the request last week, tax officials combined broad questions about membership criteria and social events, according to the people briefed on the matter, with pointed queries about meetings with a Los Angeles mayoral candidate, Kevin James, and Republican politicians like Mr. Ryan, Mr. Cain and Rick Santorum.
Officials particularly wanted to know why a speech introducing Mr. Cain at a Friends of Abe event in November 2011 — when he was a presidential candidate — should not be regarded as potentially prohibited political campaign support.
While tax-exempt groups are permitted to invite candidates to speak at events, it is not uncommon for the I.R.S. to scrutinize such activities to determine whether they cross the line into partisan election activity. One issue is whether the organization invites all the qualified candidates.
“The I.R.S. would say that if you are inviting only conservative candidates, that’s a problem,” said Marcus S. Owens, a former director of the I.R.S.’s exempt organizations division. “But it’s never really been litigated.”
Ofer Lion, a lawyer representing Friends of Abe in its application for tax-exempt status, declined to comment.
Friends of Abe began about nine years ago as little more than an email chain linking conservative stars, filmmakers and other Hollywood figures who were generally reluctant to openly discuss their views. The name is a take on Friends of Bill, the circle of loyalists who have adhered to Bill Clinton over the years.
Mr. Sinise was a leading voice among those who in early 2005 gathered at Morton’s Steakhouse here for an informal dinner that members have since identified as the group’s closest approach to an actual founding moment.
As Friends of Abe grew, however, Mr. Sinise withdrew from active leadership, and Mr. Boreing, a film producer and director, took charge.
Membership has been defined mostly by access to a private website (there are no dues, but enhanced online access requires a small fee), and attendance at a growing number of events that have included meetings with political operatives like Karl Rove and Frank Luntz; politicians like Michele Bachmann and John Boehner; and media figures like Ann Coulter, Dennis Miller and Mark Levin.
The recent I.R.S. query did not mention the earlier request for access to the names of members, people briefed on the query said.
But a remaining question is whether at least some of the group’s politically oriented encounters will be interpreted as campaign activity, and weigh against its bid for tax exemption as a 501(c)(3) organization, devoted to educational or charitable work.
A spokesman for the I.R.S. on Wednesday said it was prohibited from commenting on specific taxpayer activity.
Tax officials and congressional overseers have been embroiled in a debate over the enforcement of rules that restrict campaign activity by tax-exempt groups since last year, when an I.R.S. official acknowledged that officers had improperly targeted Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. But most of those groups were seeking recognition as so-called 501(c)(4) groups, whose ability to conduct a limited amount of campaign activity is governed by a vague patchwork of rules and standards. In November, in an effort to make the process both more transparent and more rigorous, the I.R.S. announced that it would begin formulating new rules.
The NRA protects gun rights about as well as a junkie protects your stash.
~ Jack Blood
Big-time movie producer Harvey Weinstein revealed Wednesday that he is making an anti-gun movie with actress Meryl Streep that is going to make the National Rifle Association “wish they weren’t alive.”
During an interview with Howard Stern on his radio show, Weinstein said the new full feature drama will take the NRA “head on.” He also said he’s never owned a gun and never will.
“I don’t think we need guns in this country. And I hate it. I think the NRA is a disaster area,” Weinstein said.
After first telling Stern that he shouldn’t reveal too much about his secretive film, the producer spilled the beans.
“I’m going to make a movie with Meryl Streep, and we’re going to take this issue head on. And they’re going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them,” he added, referring to the NRA.
Weinstein said the film is not a documentary and will be a “big movie like a ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.’” The Hollywood heavyweight was clear that he wants to scare people enough so that they don’t want to be involved with guns.
When Stern challenged his anti-gun logic, Weinstein argued that he would “find a gun” if something like the Holocaust were to happen and his “people” were being marched into Auschwitz.
However, as the Washington Times’ Emily Miller points out: “Mr. Weinstein has been watching too many movies if he thinks the good guys find fully-loaded firearms in convenient locations to use only when necessary.”
Miller also notes that the chairman of the Weinstein Company is one of President Barack Obama’s biggest fundraisers.
Listen to Weinstein’s interview with Howard Stern via YouTube (Strong language warning; relevant portion starts at about 51:00):
Hollywood double agents might want to watch their backs.
In an utterly unprecedented move, 34-year CIA employee John Rizzo is breaking the organization’s code of silence to expose the government organization’s darkest secrets for the very first time.
Chief among his bombshell revelations is the suggestion that Hollywood and Washington are much closer than anyone has previously thought: exchanging money, information — and in one staggering case — a request for $50,000 of cocaine!
In his new book, Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA, whistleblower Rizzo, who served as the acting general counsel for the entire CIA, admits, “the CIA has long had a special relationship with the entertainment industry, devoting considerable attention to fostering relationships with Hollywood movers and shakers: studio executives, producers, directors and big-name actors.”
“There are officers assigned to this account full-time,” he reveals, adding many Hollywood denizens offer up information to their country — at a price.
Movie industry vets are “receptive to helping the CIA in any way they can,” Rizzo claims, “probably in equal parts because they are sincerely patriotic and because it gives them a taste of real-life intrigue and excitement.”
On the other hand, for the government, “their power and international celebrity can be valuable,” Rizzo explains. “It gives them entrée to people and places abroad. Heads of state want to meet and get cozy with them.”
“But things can get complicated,” he admits.
In one instance, Rizzo claims, the agency was approached blindly by “a major film star at the time” who “somehow knew that another big star’s production company had an association with the CIA’s clandestine service over the years … Now this guy was offering his own name and services to us. Free of charge. Anything he could do. Just out of patriotic duty.”
But it wasn’t exactly a case of no-strings-attached, Rizzo would soon find out.
“As our guy related his story, I wondered to myself, why is he telling me this?” he admits. “It all sounded perfectly fine to me. It was kind of cool actually. And then he got to the kicker.”
“There is one little kicker,” Rizzo claims his underling said. “The actor refuses to take any money, but he told us that instead all he wants of us is to score him the best fifty-thousand-dollar stash of cocaine we can find. He seems to think we can get the real primo stuff. So that’s why I’m here. Is it ok for us to do it?”
“‘Uh, no,’” I managed to get out of my agape mouth,” Rizzo remembers. But the other agent wouldn’t back down from the potential deal.
“We know a way to get some easily,’ our guy added hopefully,” Rizzo writes. “I definitely wasn’t eager to learn how, so I just repeated my response ‘No. No way. Forget it.’”
“I later learned that the actor did provide some assistance to the CIA on a particular project,” he admits. “I was assured that his services were totally gratis.”
I get a weird pleasure of watching supporters of the obscure arts, whose fans lean overwhelmingly liberal-prog-commie, get increasingly bewildered as their heroes obdurately refuse to ratify their politics for them, forcing them to confront the unbelievable: decent worthwhile humans I admire might disagree with me about core elements of my politics!
I wrote amusingly of this when Mikal Gilmore of Rolling Stone spent round after round of questions trying to get Bob Dylan to admit he loved Obama.
Now it is classic avant-rocker David Thomas of the band Pere Ubu, in an interview in great punky-rocky interview zine Big Takeover, refusing to say he loves state subsidized art. The italics are the interviewer Allan MacInnis, the non-italics Thomas’ answers:
I remember reading provocative quotes from you – and I’m sorry, I can’t pin down where – where you made statements about the vitality of art produced in free market societies, as opposed to art that is state funded. You came across as a bit of a libertarian. I try not to take anything you say at face value – I think of you as a provocateur – but I wonder if you actually still feel that way? (Because if so, there’s, umm, some irony to the band being mostly based in Europe these days, since state support of the arts is prevalent over there… and in Canada, I might add).
Yes, I still feel that way. I’ll take the dirty socialized art money but I prefer crummy little clubs where there’s a promoter who is risking his own money to put the show on. I feel no urge to thank an audience. I thank the promoter – as should the audience.
Follow up re “dirty socialized money” – is this less a matter of political principle for you, and more a matter of personal pride as an artist?
I think the government has no business in the arts at all.
Follow up: do you not think it valid, in countries that cannot compete on equal footing with the American entertainment industry, like Canada, to support their artists through government funding? I doubt there’s a Canadian musician, filmmaker, writer, or novelist who hasn’t received some government support along the way, be it scholarships, grants, fellowships, things like the Canada Council.
No, see above.
Follow-up: In a purely market driven entertainment landscape, which is mostly what we see in the States, doesn’t that lead to the proliferation of Miley Cyruses and Britney Spears and other such phenomenon? Isn’t it bad for art?
No, it’s good for them.
Sign Pere Ubu’s non-alignment pact!
I guess it’s funny. Funny the US government is so keen to look after Shaker Aamer‘s wellbeing that despite judging him one of the “most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth“, they’re worried he won’t be able to handle a bit of swearing. At least, according to Aamer, that’s the reason censors have stopped him reading the second volume of Russell Brand‘s memoirs, Booky Wook 2.
Writing in the New Statesman he explains that almost 12 years into his detention without charge at the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, he’s been trying to work out what gets the camp’s censors hot under the collar. His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, drops off a few books every three months or so, but it’s still “difficult to identify any consistent or logical basis for the censorship“. Nineteen Eighty-Four is apparently fine. Gulag Archipelago is not.
ED. I have not seen the the Sequel yet, but the first movie edition of the teenage attraction “The Hunger Games” was mostly a dystopian attack on life and liberty. The simple premise takes Gladiatorial Bread and Circus to a new level of Totalitarian evil, where teens are forced to hunt and kill each other for fame and fortune, and the right to life itself.
We will have a review for you when and if we see the sequel.
This article is amusing, in that political Ideologues watching the film come away with completely different messages. That is usually a sign of decent script writing, if not 21st century art in general…. Something for everyone.
*Note the WT Title. The misconception that Pres. Obama is a champion for the down-trodden, or a man for social equality and justice is LAUGHABLE! Any of amount of realistic research (reading our site for instance) will prove that Obama is possibly even more pro 1% / Wall Street than any president in history. On with the Illusions…. On with the games!
The sequel to “The Hunger Games” has been a blockbluster, grossing more than $573 million worldwide through last Sunday.
Hunger Games’ delivers Obama’s message on income inequality
A cultural tug of war is brewing between conservatives and liberals over the message of “The Hunger Games.”
Are the popular teen novels and films a leftist call for the downtrodden to rise up against the rich? Or an Orwellian take on the dangers of Big Government?
On one side of the argument is the Harry Potter Alliance, a group that aims to push a progressive agenda by politicizing popular young-adult novels and their fans.
For the New York-based nonprofit, “The Hunger Games” trilogy is more than the gripping tale of a brave teenage girl fighting for her life in a dystopian society — it’s a call for progressive social change.
The alliance launched its “Odds in Our Favor” campaign Nov. 21, the day before the release of the second “Hunger Games” movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. The drive is aimed at pushing what the organization calls the movie’s central theme: income inequality.
That interpretation may come as a shock to fans focused on the love triangle involving Katniss, Peeta and Gale. It certainly comes as a surprise to conservative fans of the books and films, who say the Harry Potter Alliance is willfully ignoring the real antagonist of “The Hunger Games” series, namely the fictional world’s totalitarian government.
“To look at the ‘Hunger Games’ and not see that the people running the government are the evil ones is deliberate blindness,” said Dan Gainor, vice president for business and culture at the conservative Media Research Center.
Andrew Slack, executive director of the Harry Potter Alliance, isn’t buying the Orwellian subtext, and he also has problems with the advertising blitz that announced the coming of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” calling it “a slick, glossy spectacle.”
“‘The Odds in Our Favor’ campaign works to ‘hack’ the multimillion-dollar media campaign promoting the movie to make sure the central message of the story doesn’t get lost: the economic inequality of the movie isn’t a fiction for millions of Americans today,” the alliance said in a press release.
“The left tries to structure every narrative as the one they want, and they get away with it because they have greater access to the media, and in some cases, they’re involved with the creation of the media,” Mr. Gainor said.
The Harry Potter Alliance sometimes sounds like “Occupy Hogwarts” in its quest for economic justice, citing figures such as “the top 1 percent control 40 percent of our nation’s wealth” and “only 6 percent of workers have jobs protected by unions.”
Supporters are asked to go online and post photos of themselves giving the revolution’s three-finger salute. Hundreds of fans, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, have done so, according to the press release.
Mr. Gainor agrees that there are similarities between the U.S. and the decadent “Panem” of “The Hunger Games,” but they aren’t what the Harry Potter Alliance has in mind. For example, Panem’s central technological achievement is its high-speed train, a form of mass transit popular with liberal government planners.
In the book, heroine Katniss has to sneak through a hole in the fence to hunt in the forest, which has been blocked off by the government — bringing to mind the fights over land use in the West between federal property owners in Washington and local residents.
On top of that, she sells and trades some of her game at an illegal market set up by residents of District 12.
“You could clearly argue that Katniss is an entrepreneur,” Mr. Gainor said. “How different is this from Ayn Rand? In both cases, you have a corrupt government stamping down people’s entrepreneurial spirit and creativity, and saying, ‘You can’t do that.’”
The Harry Potter Alliance isn’t just a basement startup. Founded in 2005, the group receives funding from Chase Community Giving of JPMorgan Chase & Co., as well as the Roddick Foundation and hipster outlets such as the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck and the fan site LeakyCon, according to the website.
The alliance’s previous campaigns include a book donation drive, support for fair-trade chocolate, and a phone bank for same-sex marriage in Rhode Island that cited Harry Potter’s years of living in a cupboard under his aunt and uncle’s stairs as a reminder that “no one should have to live inside of a closet for their identity,” Mr. Slack said.