Friday, April 8, 2016

Manchuria To Blame?  (Cradle Rocking - WI Lights Up Scoreboard)  Coming Feudalism Engineered by Republicans and Rationalized by Democrats (Clinton Has Embraced Corruption and Closed Door on Peace - Oliver Stone)  GMO Salmon OK!

"Cash is king, Marco."

"The assassin always dies, darling. It's necessary for the national healing."

- Manchurian Candidate (2004)

I was always a big fan of the Angela Lansbury/Frank Sinatra/Laurence Harvey version. The story was easier to follow in that movie, but the Denzel movie has much sharper (Demme-induced) edges - and lots of high-tech shiny objects to distract us from the knowledge that the plot is exactly the same. (I just loved the 37-year-old Oscar-nominated Lansbury being the terrifyingly rabid mother of the 34-year-old Larry Harvey.)

From Roger Ebert's 2004 review:

Corporations, not commies, are the sinister force behind Jonathan Demme's "The Manchurian Candidate," in which poor Raymond Shaw is told by a liberal senator:  "You are about to become the first privately owned and operated vice president of the United States." There's a level of cynicism here that is scarier than the Red Chinese villains in John Frankenheimer's 1962 classic. It's a stretch to imagine a communist takeover of America, but the idea that corporations may be subverting the democratic process is plausible in the age of Enron.
Demme is not shy about suggesting parallels with current politics, and he borrows a neat bit of indirection from Frankenheimer:  In the 1962 version, communists posed as anti-communists to drum up hysteria that could be used to subvert American freedoms. In the new version, right-wingers pose as liberals to win office while neutering the left. Meryl Streep plays Sen. Eleanor Shaw, who has sold her soul to the Manchurian Global Corp. A stage mother from hell, she pushes her son Raymond (Liev Schreiber) into the vice presidency; a timely assassination will make him president. Raymond has a chip implanted in his skull which will allow Manchurian to control him.
This plan is on track and will succeed, unless two men can make sense of their nightmares. Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) and Al Melvin (Jeffrey Wright) both fought in the Gulf War, as members of a patrol that was saved by the heroism of Sgt. Shaw -- whose Medal of Honor launched his political career. But did Shaw really save them? Marco and Melvin have fragmented nightmares of an alternate reality. Marco notes that all the patrol members use identical words to describe their experience. "I remember that it happened," Shaw confesses to Marco, "but I don't remember it happening."
Audiences of the earlier film will know that during the patrol's missing days, as Marco eventually concludes, "Somebody got into our minds with chainsaws." The brainwashing is front-loaded in Demme's version; it's revealed fairly early, perhaps because he and his writers concluded there was no use being coy about a secret that most of the audience already knows. Instead, Demme wisely conceals other secrets, leading to a wickedly different ending just when you think you know everything that will happen.

The youth of the U.S. are finally rocking the cradle* (h/t to Tim Robbins), and even the adults are slowly awakening to the idea that the world made by the Rockefellers, Hearsts, Morgans and Kissingers may soon be crumbling down. If the voters are brave enough at the ballot boxes.

Bernie Sanders Won Nevada After All (A Story that Broke Yesterday, But NOT Reported by “The Liberal Media”)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

All Hell Is Breaking Loose at Arizona Election Fraud Hearing

“My experience down there, it was tough… People in wheelchairs and canes in the heat… We were out of provisional ballots at 7am… So many people, they wheeled up there and got hit with the sprinklers. So many people, they couldn’t take it. They had to leave, people were crying.”

The executive director of the Arizona Students’ Association shared the testimony of a student who had just come back from a one-year tour in the Army.

A raucous hearing on election fraud in the Arizona primary is still going on in Phoenix. As of this writing, the hearing was moved to a separate room and is currently in recess due to continued outbursts of protest in the gallery.

Helen Purcell began the Arizona Election Fraud hearing by saying “I want to begin by apologizing what took place on March 27th… As I said in the past, I am deeply sorry.”

However, it’s clear that the people of Arizona have no intention of forgiving or forgetting, given the anger expressed by those who signed up to speak on alleged election fraud. The rowdy crowd is parading up to speak in large numbers, calling for Purcell’s resignation and for a revote.

“Our right to vote and to have that vote counted is the most direct way that citizens can participate in our political system… People tried to do our civic duty and couldn’t,” Arizona citizen Patrick Syfter said. “You made people choose between voting and keeping their jobs… You must resign. Stop pretending that you represent us. We do not want platitudes… This will not end today. We will be back every vote to hold you accountable.”

Air Force veteran Dean Palmer described his horrific experience voting in Maricopa County.

“My experience down there, it was tough… People in wheelchairs and canes in the heat… We were out of provisional ballots at 7am… So many people, they wheeled up there and got hit with the sprinklers. So many people, they couldn’t take it. They had to leave, people were crying.”

The executive director of the Arizona Students’ Association shared the testimony of a student who had just come back from a one-year tour in the Army.

“I just spent a year laying down my life to protect the rights of Americans. I faced death every single day. One of the things I kept telling myself was “It was worth it.” … Yet the right that I looked at death over a year for was taken from me.”

“There were no parking spaces, no handicapped spots, and when I went back to my car I was afraid that I would get a parking ticket,” said another woman.

My cherished mentor Mark Crispin Miller has led the way in publishing all the pertinent data we need about what's really been happening during this primary season.

May he continue until all the votes are counted.

Mark Crispin Miller
"Did Bernie Sanders win Nevada?"
(The first announced) results changed yesterday, when Bernie won the Democratic convention in Nevada's Clark County, as reported by the "Las Vegas Sun,", US Uncut, RT — and the Associated Press, in a story not picked up by the "New York Times," "Washington Post," CNN or any other of the major "liberal media."
From Stephanie Dube Dwilson's story in (a comprehensive story well worth reading, at clinton-videos/
The Clark County convention was filled with drama, including rumors that Sanders delegates were told not to show up and others being threatened with arrest. In the end, more delegates voted for Sanders than Clinton, flipping the results of Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. It’s unclear at this time exactly how many new delegates Sanders is picking up from Nevada, since delegates are unbound until the state convention, but he definitely won some today.
Thomas Frank has analyzed the anesthetized patient and come up with the evil doctors' operating plan for Boston, MA (and the rest of the country), that benefits those who already have, with the expenses picked up by those who used to have and will not be allowed to have in the future when they become old, poor or disabled:

The effect of all this is to remind you with every prospect that this is a place and a way of life from which the politicians have withdrawn their blessing. Like so many other American scenes, this one is the product of decades of de-industrialization, engineered by Republicans and rationalized by Democrats. This is a place where affluence never returns - not because affluence for Fall River is impossible or unimaginable, but because our country’s leaders have blandly accepted a social order that constantly bids down the wages of people like these while bidding up the rewards for innovators, creatives, and professionals.
Even the city’s one real hope for new employment opportunities - an Amazon warehouse that is now in the planning stages - will serve to lock in this relationship. If all goes according to plan, and if Amazon sticks to the practices it has pioneered elsewhere, people from Fall River will one day get to do exhausting work with few benefits while being electronically monitored for efficiency, in order to save the affluent customers of nearby Boston a few pennies when they buy books or electronics
With the difference in the margin for benefitless versus benefitful labor going to the 0.01%.

A Key Similarity Between Snowden Leak and Panama Papers: Scandal Is What's Been Legalized

Why Are There 12 American Generals Leading the War in Iraq That Doesn’t Exist?

April 2, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) Baghdad, Iraq — A new report released Thursday revealed that a surprising number of military generals have been deployed to fight Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) — the very war the United States denies it’s actually fighting. As The Daily Beast explains in an exclusive report:
“There are at least 12 U.S. generals in Iraq, a stunningly high number for a war that, if you believe the White House talking points, doesn’t involve American troops in combat.”
That number doesn’t include those superior officers who oversee airstrikes against Daesh in both Syria and Iraq, nor does it include admirals in charge of maritime operations — and the number jumps to 21 when accounting for other coalition members’ senior officers.
These 12 generals are supposedly overseeing just 5,000 U.S. troops deployed to a base in Iraq — which no one knew existed until a 27-year-old marine was killed in a rocket attack perpetrated by Daesh. Though the Pentagon dubiously claimed after the attack it had “planned to acknowledge” the base’s existence, the Daily Beast’s report of so many generals for so few troops only adds to numerous questions surrounding the true extent of U.S. ground involvement.

'Hillary Clinton Has Effectively Closed the Door on Peace'

Stone writes that Sanders has rescued him from complete despair about our political scene.
By Oliver Stone / Huffington Post

April 1, 2016

Photo Credit: Screen capture / YouTube
When fear becomes collective, when anger becomes collective, it’s extremely dangerous. It is overwhelming... The mass media and the military-industrial complex create a prison for us, so we continue to think, see, and act in the same way... We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction... because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening... Therefore, it is very important to say, ‘I am here!’ to those who share the same kind of insight. — Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Monk, The Art of Power
I’ve been in deep despair these last few months about our political landscape. This quote from Thich Nhat Hanh recently elevated my spirit, and I share it with you. Because I am — we are — still here! Though it’s clear that the die is cast and that Clinton will win — that is, if you believe in numbers and materialism, but I don’t, not completely.
I enclose here (below) several recent articles, which you need to read to understand how difficult a situation we’ll be in if we continue with a harder-line version of Obama. Hillary Clinton has effectively closed the door on peace, blasting both the Palestinian peace process and the Russians in the same week. NATO is her god, the best thing the “exceptional” US has to export in this new “American Century.”
But who set this policy and who controls this country? Her point of view is steeped in the traditional post-World War II, Atlanticist, NATO-domination of the universe. It’s set in stone. No president it seems, no democratic vote, no dissenting media can alter this. We’re going to be in border, resource, and forever wars for the next 10, 20, 100 years, until Trump (who our shadow government will never allow to exercise power) actually said in his straight way of talking, “our cities go bust.” Our media has been drained and made callous by war, increasingly sensationalized by TV, looking for the next high in the next headline, the more outrageous the better. Modesty in American politics is dead — it’s better to be sensational.
Ironically, as they call Trump unelectable (which he is), it leaves you to think Clinton is the “new normal,” in which case you’ve been deceived by the unnecessary dichotomy that Clinton is actually “respectable” in the same way that Eisenhower/Dulles 1950s were respectable when we went about intervening and overthrowing governments in many countries. But the difference was they at least had the brains not to get into shooting wars. To suggest that NATO should’ve expired in 1991 when the Soviet Union disintegrated, I suppose, isn’t questionable anymore. NATO, which has expanded to 13 countries since 1991, must be supported and Clinton has been brainwashed by the neoconservatives to believe it’s about “Russian aggression” when it’s the United States that’s ensuring the greatest build-up on the European borders of Russia since Hitler did it in World War II.
We’re going to war — either hybrid in nature to break the Russian state back to its 1990s subordination, or a hot war (which will destroy our country). Our citizens should know this, but they don’t because our media is dumbed down in its “Pravda”-like support for our “respectable,” highly aggressive government. We are being led, as C. Wright Mills said in the 1950s, by a government full of “crackpot realists: in the name of realism they’ve constructed a paranoid reality all their own.” Our media has credited Hillary Clinton with wonderful foreign policy experience, unlike Trump, without really noting the results of her power-mongering. She’s comparable to Bill Clinton’s choice of Cold War crackpot Madeleine Albright as one of the worst Secretary of States we’ve had since ... Condi Rice? Albright boasted, “If we have to use force it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future.”
Hillary’s record includes supporting the barbaric “contras” against the Nicaraguan people in the 1980s, supporting the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, supporting the ongoing Bush-Iraq War, the ongoing Afghan mess, and as Secretary of State the destruction of the secular state of Libya, the military coup in Honduras, and the present attempt at “regime change” in Syria. Every one of these situations has resulted in more extremism, more chaos in the world, and more danger to our country. Next will be the borders of Russia, China, and Iran. Look at the viciousness of her recent AIPAC speech (don’t say you haven’t been warned). Can we really bear to watch as Clinton “takes our alliance [with Israel] to the next level”? Where is our sense of proportion? Cannot the media, at the least, call her out on this extremism? The problem, I think, is this political miasma of “correctness” that dominates American thinking (i.e. Trump is extreme, therefore Hillary is not).
This is why I’m praying still for Bernie Sanders, because he’s the only one willing, at least in the name of fiscal sanity, to cut back on our foreign interventions, bring the troops home, and with these trillions of dollars no longer wasted on malice, try to protect the “homeland” by actually rebuilding it and putting money into its people, schools, and infrastructure.
Albert Camus, talking about the doomed Spanish Civil War in the 1930s wrote, “Men of my generation have had Spain in our hearts. It was there that they learned ... that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, and that there are times when courage is not rewarded.” It’s true the light was extinguished for generations in Spain. America was sleeping, but it finally did the right thing and went to war against Fascism. I believe Fascism is still our greatest enemy and its face is everywhere in our so-called “democracies.” It was always about the moneyed interests that had the power. That is what Fascism is and that is the danger we are in now. Sanders talks about money, listen to him. He talks cogently about money and its power to distort. He’s the only one who has raised his voice against the corruption in our politics. Clinton has embraced this corruption.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Expert Groups Sue US FDA over GMO Salmon Approval

A coalition of fishing, consumer, and environmental groups have stated Thursday that the first-ever approval of laboratory-created food animal violated laws and ignored risks to wild salmon and fishing communities.

A broad coalition of environmental, consumer, and commercial and recreational fishing organizations today sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving the first-ever genetically engineered (GE) food animal, an Atlantic salmon engineered to grow quickly. The man-made salmon was created by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. with DNA from three fish:  Atlantic salmon, Pacific king salmon, and Arctic ocean eelpout. This marks the first time any government in the world has approved a GE animal for commercial sale and consumption.

The plaintiff coalition, jointly represented by legal counsel from Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, includes Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Kennebec Reborn, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Ecology Action Centre, Food & Water Watch, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Cascadia Wildlands, and Center for Food Safety.

In approving the GE salmon, FDA determined it would not require labeling of the GE fish to let consumers know what they are buying, which led Congress to call for labeling in the 2016 omnibus spending bill. FDA’s approval also ignored comments from nearly 2 million people opposed to the approval because the agency failed to analyze and prevent the risks to wild salmon and the environment, as well as fishing communities, including the risk that GE salmon could escape and threaten endangered wild salmon stocks.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

*  It was a time when the rich flirted with communists and fascists, when the poor stood in bread lines, when the class divide in America came closer to the boil than ever before or since. The 1930s were a decade when the Depression put millions out of work and government programs were started to create jobs. One of them was the Federal Theatre Project, which funded "free theater for the people" all over the country, but was suspected by U.S. Rep. Martin Dies of harboring left-wing influences. Since the last right-wing theater was in ancient Greece, his was a reasonable suspicion.

Tim Robbins' sweeping, ambitious film "Cradle Will Rock" is a chronicle of that time, knitting together stories and characters both real and fictional, in a way similar to John Dos Passos' novel USA. It tells the story of the production of Marc Blitzstein's class-conscious musical "The Cradle Will Rock"; its opening has been called the most extraordinary night in the history of American theater.

. . . There is a lot of material to cover here, and Robbins covers it in a way that will be fascinating to people who know the period - to whom names like Welles, Rockefeller, Hearst and Rivera mean something. For those who don't have some notion of the background, the film may be confusing and some of its characters murky. It needs a study guide, and viewing "Citizen Kane" might be a good place to start.

The film's anger is founded in the way Dies and his Congressional red-hunters brought the full wrath of the government down on poverty-stricken theater people whose new musical might be a little pink, while ignoring fat cats like Hearst, who not only bought paintings from Mussolini for bags full of cash, but whose newspapers published flattering stories about the dictator from his former mistress Margherita Sarfatti (played by Susan Sarandon).

Nelson Rockefeller's flip-flops provide in some ways the best material in the film. Swept up in the heady art currents of the time, Rockefeller commissioned Rivera to paint a mural--and then, while the painter and his assistant were busy covering a huge wall of Rockefeller Center, was unhappy to learn the amorphous blobs hovering above portraits of the rich were molecules of syphilis and bubonic plague. The last straw was Rivera's addition of a portrait of Lenin.

Rocky ordered the mural sledge-hammered to dust, and its destruction is intercut with the crisis in the "Cradle Will Rock" production (one syphilis molecule escapes the hammers and clings to the wall in defiance).

"Cradle Will Rock" was produced under the aegis of Welles and Houseman, whose Mercury Theater dominated radio drama, and whose "Citizen Kane" was only a few years in the future. Welles was a golden boy, only 21, flamboyant and cocky. When union actors declare a rest break during a rehearsal, he thunders, "You're not actors! You're smokers!" Then he limousines off to 21 for oysters and champagne. Welles comes across as an obnoxious and often drunken genius in a performance by Macfadyen that doesn't look or sound much like the familiar original (ironically, Tim Robbins would make an ideal Welles).

Houseman is more admirable, especially after Federal Theatre funds are cut off and the Army padlocks the theater where "The Cradle Will Rock" is set to open. He and Welles lead a defiant march uptown to another theater, and when Actors' Equity forbids its members to step foot onstage, composer Blitzstein (Hank Azaria) plays his score on a piano, and the cast members stand up in the audience to perform their roles.

The power of the Bliztstein play itself never really comes across in the film. It's too fragmented, and its meaning seems less political than theatrical. It's not what the play says that matters, so much as the fact that it was performed despite attempts to silence it. Its opening night was, in a way, an end of an era. Welles and Houseman soon went off to Hollywood and America went off to war, and it was 30 years before young Americans felt revolutionary again. Nelson Rockefeller went on to portray a "moderate" Republican, Hearst retired to San Simeon, and Rockefeller Center lost a tourist draw. Think how amusing the Lenin portrait would seem today, and imagine the tour guides pointing out the molecules of bubonic plague.

No comments: