Friday, December 27, 2013

Precious Stones I

When Oliver Stone turned over the dozen parts of his documentary masterpiece Untold History of the United States to Showtime in the early fall of 2012, Showtime balked. They had contracted for only ten episodes -- the first to begin with World War II, the last ending with Obama's corporate totalitarian murder state. But Stone (with co-writer Peter Kuznick) had composed two "prequels" as well: prequel A covering the birth of US imperialism under McKinley through the end of World War I; prequel B continuing through the 1920s and 30s. The prequels were not broadcast. But they have been, alas, included in the just-released Blu-ray and they are -- like the rest of the series -- as beautiful and passionate as they are dark and despairing. Stone has found his place. He has become a great American filmmaker. Perhaps the only one we have, currently working.
"My goal is to make enough money so I can hire half of the American workforce to kill the other half." -- Jay Gould
Prequel A seeds the birth of the American war state in the ground of post-Reconstruction industrialization and the "end to frontiers." William McKinley found some: Cuba, Panama, the Phillipines. After his assassination by brave anarchist Leon Czolgosz, it was racist gangster Teddy Roosevelt's turn. Then devil iceman Woodrow Wilson. All done, all the wars and expansions and repressions and demonizations, to crush one thing: the nativist American socialism of the 1880s and 90s, and from the turn of the 20th Century. Yet out of worldwide carnage aided and abetted by Wilson and US capital, the Soviet State is born.

Precious Stones II

"The common man would now have to find his one-eyed way in the Kingdom of the Blind." -- Dos Passos
While literati such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Henry Miller move their feasts to Paris and gaze at their navels -- helping to fill the gap caused by the WWI deaths of half of all French males between the ages of 15 and 30 -- the pygmies known as the American Oligarchy regain full control, flushing whatever remains of late-19th / early-20th Century humanism, and roar their way through the 1920s: the decade of Prohibition, massive coast-to-coast KKK rallies, eugenics, the birth of Organized Crime, and major financing by American bankers of fascist movements across Europe. When things fall apart at the turn of the 30s, FDR steps in and saves US capitalism from (and for) the capitalists. Who don't see it that way.

(The original ten episodes of Untold History can be found on this blog, for the months of November / December 2012 and January / February 2013.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Twelve Shows of Christmas

Reposts from previous Decembers. Holiday episodes all.

Alfred Hitchcock



The Odd Couple

Father Knows Best

Have Gun Will Travel

Johnny Staccato


The Andy Griffith Show

Plus three:

"Alan Brady Presents" from December '63

Tom & Jerry's "Night Before Christmas" (1941)

Max Fleischer's "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" (1934)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Last Christmas

A warm, relaxed, very funny interview with the President of the United States, 51 years ago this month. (Sadly, only a kinescope of the first half of the broadcast can be found.)

It would be our final Christmas before, in Norman Mailer's words, "Americans became a slave to anxiety."

The full audio version.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Alex Cox

Has an old friend in Chris Floyd; and a terrific website and new book on what went down in Dallas, 50 years ago.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Pat Speer on the mass media's assault on truth, this autumn's 50th Anniversary of JFK's murder.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


"I'm afraid we were misled. All the critics, myself included, were misled very early. I see that now. We spent too much time and effort microanalyzing the details of the assassination when all the time it was obvious, it was blatantly obvious that it was a conspiracy. Don't you think that the men who killed Kennedy had the means to do it in the most sophisticated and subtle way? They chose not to. Instead, they picked the shooting gallery that was Dealey Plaza and did it in the most barbarous and openly arrogant manner. The cover story was transparent and designed not to hold, to fall apart at the slightest scrutiny. The forces that killed Kennedy wanted the message clear: 'We are in control and no one -- not the President, nor Congress, nor any elected official -- no one can do anything about it.' It was a message to the people that their government was powerless. And the people eventually got the message. Consider what has happened since the Kennedy assassination. People see government today as unresponsive to their needs, yet the budget and power of the military and intelligence establishment have increased tremendously.
"The tyranny of power is here. Current events tell us that those who killed Kennedy can only perpetuate their power by promoting social upheaval both at home and abroad. And that will lead not to revolution but to repression. I suggest to you, my friend, that the interests of those who killed Kennedy now transcend national boundaries and national priorities. No doubt we are dealing now with an international conspiracy. We must face that fact -- and not waste any more time microanalyzing the evidence. That's exactly what they want us to do. They have kept us busy for so long. And I will bet, buddy, that is what will happen to you. They'll keep you very, very busy and, eventually, they'll wear you down."
-- Vince Salandria to Gaeton Fonzi, late-1975

Len Osanic concludes his brilliantly necessary "50 Reasons for 50 Years" series with a passionate farewell; and a look at the bigger picture.

Monday, December 9, 2013



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Little Match Girls

Jean Renoir's.

And my own.

Happy 9th Birthday
to the best daughter in the world!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Origins of the 21st Century

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Godard.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Apropos of Nothing

Other than the beginning of the month of Joy.

He'd rather lead a band. Who's gonna stop him?