Disney stands by firing of James Gunn Author of 10,000 Perverted Tweets – 29 Aug 2018

https://web.archive.org/web/20180830143617/https://xenagoguevicene.com/2018/08/30/disney-stands-by-firing-of-james-gunn-author-of-10000-perverted-tweets-29-aug-2018/

A look at some of James Gunn’s Tweets – (3:17 00 ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WWOl9gsbP8 18 July 2018

For more than a month now, the Walt Disney Company has stood by its decision to fire James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy blockbuster film series, despite widespread opposition from fans of the films, mainstream critics and Hollywood professionals.

Disney took the action because of a series of crude, sophomoric jokes Gunn tweeted between 2009 and 2012. Nearly 400,000 people have signed an online petition headlined “RE-HIRE JAMES GUNN.” The cast of Guardians, including Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel and Dave Bautista, have also signed an open letter in defense of Gunn’s character. Bautista, to his credit, has threatened to negotiate the release of his contract if Gunn’s script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is not used.

Gunn (born 1966 in St. Louis) began his career at B-movie production company Troma Entertainment in 1995, before developing a reputation as a writer-director of black-comedy genre pastiches such as Slither (2006), Super (2010) and the zombie video game Lollipop Chainsaw (2012).

His first two Guardians of the Galaxy films (2014, 2017), which follow a colorful group of mercenaries stumbling across alien worlds, are some of the more creative offerings of Marvel Studios’ comic-adaptation franchise, although this may not be saying all that much. Vol. 2 strains somewhat against the Marvel formula insofar as it explores interpersonal fallout resulting from parental abuse, while Kurt Russell’s performance as the chief antagonist—a godlike being called Ego driven to narcissism by the mortality of others—might have been drawn from the pages of classic science fiction were the drama not damaged by its breezy, indifferent dialogue.

The offending jokes from 2009-2012 were exhumed and screen-captured by people who presented them on websites as “evidence” that Gunn “advocated for and seemingly admitted to being a pedophile.” The first image shows Gunn attributing to a friend the quote, “I like it when little boys touch me in my silly place. Shhh!” The rest are about as stupid and obviously not expressions of Gunn’s sentiments.

The extreme right instantly labeled Gunn not only an apologist for pedophilia but “a rabid Hollywood leftist and Trump hater” (Breitbart) and made a stink, demanding his removal by Disney.

Less than twenty-four hours after the tweets were given wide publicity, on July 20, Disney complied, announcing, “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.” Gunn was no longer to direct Vol. 3, which had been scheduled to start filming in early 2019.

The petition, written by Change.org user chandler edwards from the UK, points to the arbitrariness of this decision. He notes that “if you do this to Gunn you have to do it for all the other directors who have said some crappy joke sometime in their life, which is all of them.” Comments by signatories include those of Jacqui Connell, who wrote, “I don’t want to see anything remotely like McCarthyism back in Hollywood,” and Christopher Neve, who wrote, “The Constitutional right to free speech should not be circumvented by the perpetuation of witch-hunts.”

Kurt Russell and Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

These comments and more like them draw attention not only to McCarthyism, but to the ongoing #MeToo campaign, which has substituted accusations of sexual misconduct for the democratic right to due process. Entertainers are terrified—and rightly so—that they will be the next to lose their careers in an increasingly repressive climate.

It is notable that online detectives who exposed Gunn, in an interview published the day Gunn was fired, makes no distinction between his supporters and #MeToo. “The Harvey Weinstein case showed us that Hollywood is rotten to the core,” he said. “We are continuing our investigation into the conduct and behavior of members of the Hollywood elite.”

According to Variety, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stand by their decision not to reinstate Gunn. In late May, Disney’s ABC Entertainment Group cancelled its popular sitcom Roseanne when its eponymous star Roseanne Barr tweeted a racist comment. To allow any room for “error” in Gunn’s case would be to call into question the company’s decisions and the anti-democratic power #MeToo—and the far right—have helped it to assert.

https://xenagoguevicene.livejournal.com/109216.html

US on the brink of a major attack on Syria? – UK Trained Specialists to Stage Phony Gas Attack – 28 Aug 2018

News from Nowhere – https://archive.is/zHdfN

US Allies in Syria

McCain and Al Qaeda

McCain 2

Syrian 10 year old

(Western Backed Islamist Rebels Beheaded a 12yo Palestinian who was at a Syrian Army medical facility in Handarat, near Aleppo in July 2016)

28 August 2018

The Syrian Arab Army, the secular force of the government of Syria, is closing in on the last area held by the Western backed Islamist ‘rebels.  The Right Wing Revolution of Islam is over.  The defeat of the brutal Jihadists and the elimination of their medieval areas of control is a defeat for the US, the UK, France, and Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Islamic Dictatorships.  The West is planning a counter-attack to punish the Assad government and Russia.  Special teams trained in the UK are being sent into Syria to stage a phony poison gas attack in a ‘rebel’ area.  The use of poison gas will be blamed on the Assad government not on the UK and NATO.  The story will be used to justify the war moves and attacks on Syria.

The US and its allies are systematically putting into place all the elements needed to justify and carry out a major new act of aggression against Syria, according to reports from Moscow and the Middle East.

The charges that Washington is preparing an unprovoked attack followed warnings made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, as well as by British and French officials, that their governments would retaliate sharply against any use of chemical weapons by the government of President Bashar Assad in the northern Syrian province of Idlib.

Recent bombing and shelling by the Syrian military, as well as the reported transfer of the Syrian army regiment based in the city of Homs to the southern border of Idlib, have raised speculation that Damascus is on the verge of launching an offensive to retake one of the last territories still under the control of Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militias. These forces were armed and funded by Washington, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to wage a seven-year-long proxy war for regime change aimed at installing a more pliant pro-imperialist regime in Damascus.

The Assad government has denied employing chemical weapons in its campaign to reassert control over areas of the country seized by the Western-backed “rebels.” It has accused the Al Qaeda-linked forces of staging chemical weapons incidents with the aim of provoking US military attacks on the regime, like the ones carried out last April and in 2017.

Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem last Wednesday, Bolton declared: “We are obviously concerned about the possibility that Assad may use chemical weapons again. Just so there’s no confusion here, if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time.”

The US national security adviser also made the case for the more aggressive US assault on Iran, which has included the abrogation of the 2015 nuclear agreement reached between Tehran and the major powers, along with the re-imposition of punishing economic sanctions.

Bolton claimed that Washington’s aim was not regime change in Tehran, but rather a “massive change in the regime’s behavior.” At the same time, he made it clear that the purpose of the economic sanctions was to create intolerable conditions for the masses of the Iranian people, leading to social upheavals.

He also spelled out areas where the Pentagon is preparing for confrontation with Iran. “Iranian activity in the region has continued to be belligerent: what they are doing in Iraq, what they are doing in Syria, what they are doing with Hezbollah in Lebanon, what they are doing in Yemen, what they have threatened to do in the Strait of Hormuz,” he said.

Bolton followed up his trip to Israel with a meeting in Geneva with his Russian counterpart, Nicolai Patrushev, apparently in an attempt to enlist Russian assistance in Washington’s campaign against Iran. Publicly, at least, Moscow appeared to rebuff the approach. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that all military forces not invited into Syria by the government leave the country, a clear attempt to distinguish between Tehran and Washington.

US officials have made clear that while Washington’s objective in Syria remains the toppling of the Assad regime, it is also focused on the driving out of Iranian forces from the country as part of its strategy of rolling back Iranian influence throughout the Middle East and clearing the path for the assertion of US hegemony in the oil-rich region.

Iran has rejected US and Israeli demands that it abandon Syria, insisting its forces have been invited into the country by the government in Damascus, unlike the 2,200 US troops there, which have been deployed in direct violation of international law.

Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami and his Syrian counterpart announced on Monday the signing of a “defense and technical agreement” that provides for the continued “presence and participation” of Iran in Syria.

“We hope to have a productive role in the reconstruction of Syria,” Hatami said during his visit. Tehran had previously committed to building 20,000 housing units for returning refugees. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has canceled $230 million that had been earmarked for Syrian “stabilization” and has made it clear that it will provide nothing for reconstruction of the vast majority of the country that is now under government control.

To achieve its strategic aims in Syria and the broader Middle East, Washington is driven to intensify its military intervention.

The Russian government has claimed that it has intelligence establishing that British trained “specialists” have been sent into Idlib for the purpose of staging a “chemical attack” designed to provide the pretext for US, British and French strikes on the Syrian government.

“The execution of this provocation with active participation of British security services is supposed to serve as yet another pretext for delivering a missile and aviation strike by the US, the United Kingdom and France on Syria’s government and economic facilities,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konsashenkov, the spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Konsashenkov pointed to the deployment of the US guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, armed with 56 cruise missiles, to the Persian Gulf, as well as the transfer of a B-1B bomber carrying 24 cruise missiles to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as indications that Washington is preparing for a major strike on Syria.

He cited reports from the Middle East that the Islamist militia Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (previously known as the Al Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda) had “brought eight containers with chlorine to the city of Jisr ash-Shugur in the Idlib governate…” in preparation for a staged chemical weapons incident.

The timing of a US assault on Syria may be influenced by the announced plan for a September 7–8 summit in the northern Iranian city of Tabriz, bringing together Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for talks aimed at achieving a negotiated settlement of the Syrian conflict.

Turkey is opposed to a Russian-backed offensive against Idlib, where it has provided support to some of the “rebel” groups. At the same time, however, it has come into increasing conflict with the US, intensified by recent trade sanctions, and has drawn closer to Moscow and Tehran.

Washington is vehemently opposed to any resolution of the seven-year-old war in which it does not dictate the terms.

A further incentive for launching a major escalation of the US war in Syria is the domestic political crisis of the Trump administration, which has confronted a tightening legal noose with last week’s plea agreement with Michael Cohen, his former lawyer, and the conviction the same day of Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, as well as the announcement of immunity deals with two of the US president’s closest associates, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker.

The Democratic Party and decisive layers within the ruling establishment have centered their opposition to Trump on the question of confronting Russia, the sharp edge of which centers on US policy in Syria.

In an editorial published Saturday titled “Trump is getting in his team’s way on Syria,” the Washington Post sharply criticized the US president for failing to pursue a more aggressive military policy in the ravaged Middle Eastern country, while praising various officials within his administration for affirming that US troops will remain in the country and asserting a policy of confrontation with both Iran and Russia.

“Any US strategy in Syria would face steep obstacles, including the machinations of Russia, which claims to want to restrain the regime and remove the Iranians, but, in practice, abets both,” the editorial stated. “Yet the unique problem with this US policy is that it is at odds with the stated positions of President Trump. Mr. Trump has repeatedly and bluntly declared that he wishes to withdraw US forces from Syria as soon as possible…

“What all sides in Syria perceive is not only a lack of US resolve. They also see an administration that hasn’t been able to formulate a clear strategy to defend American interests—thanks to the poor judgment of the president.”

The launching of a major US military escalation in Syria would provide Trump with the means of blunting the attacks on his presidency. At the same time, it would raise the risk of a military confrontation that could quickly escalate into a region-wide and global war.

……………….

Moderate Islamist Militia Backed By US Now Says Beheading 12yo Boy Was “A Mistake” –  (1:02 min) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdE4EZXNwts

………………..

 

“And the Wolf sat out in the rain…” Singing in School

wolf in the rain

“And the Wolf sat out in the rain” I sang to my kindergarten substitute teacher and the class.  She was a black woman who I remember as being unusual; I didn’t see many black women when I was a child in the Thomas F. Lean School, or the neighborhood in the early 1950’s.

“Oh, sit down, you can’t sing,” she said dismissively.

“Yes I can,” I thought.  I didn’t say anything.  But, I didn’t believe her.  I thought I could sing.

I guess that’s the only incident I can remember from kindergarten in 1955.  I can not remember my teacher’s name or face, or anything that happened.  But I clearly remember the time a teacher told me I couldn’t sing.

I remember the Thomas F. Lean School; the building was only a couple of blocks from my family home and I had occasion to visit the school yard with friends.  The building was turned into condos.  I drive by every once in a while and think back to my first public singing performance – and bad review.

Thomas F. Leen School

(The Thomas F. Leen School Building – now private residences)

……………….

After my first year in public school kindergarten I left and went to Saint Gregory’s Elementary School to begin First Grade.  The Catholic school did not have a kindergarten because young children were supposed to be home with their stay-at-home mothers feeding the domestic hearth.  Working mothers were rare in that 1950’s world, and single mothers were unknown to me and my world.  The school even encouraged students to go home for lunch in order to emphasize the importance of a mother at home.  So my sister and I would walk about a mile to our house to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then march back to school on Dorchester Avenue.  My friend Sandy could not go home because his mother worked and when he got kicked out of the lunch room for talking he had to come home with Mary, my older sister, and I.   Thinking back on the walk, it was probably a good idea and gave us some exercise and movement in the physical world to break up our sitting in class.

When I was leaving school at the end of the day I got my first taste of the music played on the schools outdoor sound system as the pupils filed out.  I still remember the sound of the patriotic songs – The Star Spangled Banner, As The Caissons Go Rolling Along, and other marching band standards.

Franny Weymouth , my  next-door neighbor who had been going to St. Greg’s for a year already, said to me as we stood in one of the lines going to Dorchester Ave heading north, “See, Catholic school is better than public school.  You didn’t have music at the Leen school, did you?”

He was right.  The tiny Leen school only had a half dozen classrooms, maybe a couple of hundred kids.  They were all primary school students getting picked up by parents or who lived very close.  St. Greg’s had at least a thousand or more students and four lines at dismissal time.  I guess the marching music was a way to give the kids a little musical kitsch education while standing in an orderly line.

One song was ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ by John Philip Sousa – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-7XWhyvIpE

This has the complete flavor of the parade music I remember – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trZlvpLihHk

The songs were standards, and they were old.  As I grew older I began to think the songs were out of date and corny.   It was a long trip doing nine years at St. Greg’s, and I think they played the same music the whole time.  I know those songs.  Repetitio studorium est mater – or repetitio mater studorium est?  We heard Latin words and phrases every day as we continued the Official Religion of the Roman Empire.  I still remember parts of the Roman Catholic Mass — in Latin.  Quo vadis?

………………………….

In the second grade I sang a song at the front of the class during a Christmas ‘talent show.’  It was not a big audience, just my second grade class at Saint Gregory’s Elementary School.  That was fifty-two kids.  Five rows of ten seats each.  Two odd seats were to the side, or, sometimes one next to the teacher for a disruptive student.  Sometimes I was up in a desk next to the teacher.  I remember turning to say some witty remark to the boys around me – but – I was alone next to the nun.  I said to myself, “How did I get here?”

St Gregory's.png

(Saint Gregory’s Elementary School – now Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy)

I went to the front of the class wearing my white shirt and navy blue tie and dress pants.  A novelty act had just come out called ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ with the radio hit song ‘My Friend the Witch Doctor.’  I sang “Ooh-ee-ooh-aha- ting tang wall-a-walla bing bang” in imitation of the radio songs exaggerated helium pitched pronunciation.

The nun at her desk beside me in her black habit and head covering said, “Shaun, you have a good voice, don’t ruin it with that rock-and-roll.”

nun 33

“Okay,” I thought, “she doesn’t like the song, but how can singing rock-and-roll ruin a person’s voice?

Again, this is one of the few experiences I remember from the second grade.

………….

There was a supermarket just about across Dorchester Avenue from St. Greg’s.  Perhaps they had a problem with kids stealing candy after school because the nun told my class that there were people watching us through holes in the ceiling of the store.  We should not shop lift because we were being watched.  Even as a little kid I did not think that was practical, or that the store would pay people to watch kids through holes in the ceiling.  I think now of the Paul Simon song “My Little Town.”

“In my little town, I grew up believing, God keeps his eye on us all….”

…………………………………..

I saw an interview on television news where a Southern Christian elected official wanted the Ten Commandments to be placed in each courthouse.  The interviewer asked the sanctimonious politician, “What are the Ten Commandments?”

The man did not know more than two or three of the commandments he insisted be written in stone for all to see because they were so important.

I wondered how many of the Ten Commandments I knew.  What I reviewed in my head was a song I learned in Catholic school around second grade.

I was taught to sing, “First, I must honor God, Second, honor his name, Third, honor his Day, keep holy this shall be my aim, Fourth, I must be obedient, Fifth, be kind and true…”

I decided to look online for the song and found an audio of two young girls singing the song.  I made a copy and put the song as a sound track with religious pictures from Mormon artist John McNaughton.

( The Ten Commandment Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3b03JW-NPA )  Later I found out that the Old Testament – Jewish Torah – actually has 613 commandments.  Christians simply adopted a Readers Digest condensed version of the Judaic Law.  The song would have been much longer if it was true to the Bible.

………………..

When I was in the third grade I realized that there was a ‘smart class’ and that I wasn’t in it.  There were three sections of each grade with fifty-two kids in each class.  We saw each other in the playground, but all of our classes were with the same kids.  One day my class got to hear the smart kids class sing the song “Oh, Susanna.” When the smart kids got to the second part of the song they laughed as they sang, “It rained all night the day I left, the weather, it was dry.”  My class watched stoned faced.  No one laughed or moved.  We had been taught, I had been taught, not to laugh at what we saw was funny, and to keep our comments and observations to ourselves.  In fact, it was better not to even form any opinions on what was going on.  I had learned to day dream and look out the window through the wiggly glass at the airplanes flying overhead.  The nuns would tell us what to say, and what to think.  Just repeat.  Repetitio mater studorium est!

After listening to the smart kids sing, and laugh at the funny part of a song we went back to our home room to be alone with our nun.  She taught us all subjects and we were with her for just about the whole school day.

She was not happy about our lack of laughter.  In my head I was thinking that she and the whole system had taught us not to laugh.  We weren’t the ‘smart class’ we didn’t know when we could get away with it.

She called us “dolts.”  That was the first time I heard that word, but, I got the word in context.  But, hadn’t we learned the lesson from the nuns?

We knew that when the fifty voices of the ‘smart class’ where gleefully singing “Sun so hot I froze to death,” we should be an impassive audience.  I had learned to relax my face and facial muscles when faced with trying situations.  I guess the nun gave me a strong emotional connection to the song by Stephen Foster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSIj17xbAyk

Aslo on Hooktube – https://www.hooktube.com/watch?v=qSIj17xbAyk

I was connected to the pioneer life I saw on many television shows from circa 1960 like ‘Gunsmoke’ ‘The Rifleman’ ‘Bonanza’ and ‘Wagon Train’ when I drew a large mural on the back of a stretched out roll of unused wall paper my father gave me.  One half of the blackboard, one side of the room was covered with my large drawing of a number of covered wagons and horses in front of each of the wagons and drivers.  One of my noted accomplishments was a stylized recognizable horse head.  I had copied that from pictures I saw of Ancient Babylonian statues with the pronounced letter ‘c’ cheekbone of a horses head.  Other boys in class used to hand me their paper to draw a horse for them during art class so they could color the outline in and claim the work as their own.  I can’t picture exactly what my Third Grade picture of a wagon train looked like.  I can remember standing on the other side of the room and looking across the desks in rows and seeing my drawing stretching for many feet.  I was impressed with my own accomplishment.  But, I can’t picture the individual wagons or horses.

I looked up some online examples with the search term ‘covered wagon line drawing.’

I think my drawing was something like this straight on two dimensional representation.

covered 02

 

covered 05

not as detailed as this 2D drawing.covered 00

…………..

I’m sure I had not started to represent depth and perspective as in these covered 01covered 04

……………

This series of black and white line drawings begins to give the feeling of the parade of wagons in my drawing from the Third Grade at Saint Gregory’s Elementary School more that fifty years ago.

I remember walking home from school one day when the subject of Western television shows came up.

Stevie Crispo, who lived next door, said that his nun said, “Too many Westerns is bad for you.”

I could not understand her reasoning.  I thought that every Western I had seen was clearly on the side of good and moral conduct.  What could her objection possibly be? I did not consider at the time that she might have been against the constant portrayal of gun violence.  I suppose there was some kind of shoot-out in just about every episode.

……………..

When I was in Boy Scouts, during the Sixth Grade, I loved to sing the songs we learned at camp or sang at weekly meetings.  The scouts song selections had a patriotic flair, but also seemed less sanctimonious.   At scouts I met some of the few kids in the neighborhood who were Protestant.  Some of the leaders were Protestant, also. I learned something from them, including songs.

One song that has come into my head lately had these lines: “The sweetest girl I ever saw was sipping cider through a straw…” I remember enthusiastically belting that song out as a kid and even gave a special performance with some of the other scouts at one meeting.  I felt the scout masters were giving me approval.  I was encouraged.  But, I wondered what the song meant?   Why did the man think it was so unusual to see a young woman using a straw to drink a beverage.

I looked the song up on Youtube and found an interesting folk music style rendition from the early 1960’s. A duo called Nina and Frederick performed the song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwVL_UNsAug (Or to avoid Youtube use Hooktube https://www.hooktube.com/watch?v=EwVL_UNsAug )

Nina and Frederick

……………………….

In the Seventh Grade I remember standing in the schoolyard in bright sunshine and telling the black clad nun that I liked the song “Up on the Roof.”

The song seemed to offer gentle observations about life while making no commands.  The live and let live feeling of some pop songs seemed more attractive than the strict Catholic philosophy and religion I was taught at St. Gregory’s.

I saw wisdom about society as it currently was in pop music and rock and roll.  The video below has a sound track of ‘Five Second Clips of Billboard Top Songs – Circa 1962-1963.  The pictures of young women drinking are from a later era.  But the sound track gives a real flavor of the songs of the time that were on the radio.

………………………

When I was in the 8th Grade at St Greg’s I was put in a special section for boys whose voices had changed.  I was a little 5’6 shrimp next to my bean pole tall friend and two beefy bullies sitting in the deep base section.  I survived.  I can’t remember any of the songs we sang.  The position brought me back to my deep voiced kindergarten song about the wolf sitting out in the rain.

We sang “Holy, Holy,Holy” emphasizing the Three Person God.  What’s up with that?  Why bother with a cluttered narrative?  Fun to sing in a deep voice, though.

…………………………………….

I do remember a song by the leader of the parish Monsignor McNulty.  Father McNulty was a big rotund man who dressed in the priest long black satiny hassock with red trim.  “The happiest day of your life,” he said many times, “is the day you die.”  Because you were going to heaven after all the pain of living.  Father McNulty also advised the youth of the parish not to go to Boston College High’s Friday Night Dances.  The catholic school opened the gym to play records for young teens to dance to.  There would be three fast uptempo songs, and then three slow dance songs where boy touches girl.  Father McNulty said that the dances were, “near occasions of sin.”  I didn’t know what he was talking about, or, maybe I did.

I sang along with him in church as I sat in the pews with the rest of the 8th grade class and Father McNulty was in the aisle swaying back and forth with his big belly and buttons up and down the front.  He wrote the song.  I can remember that.

St Greg 00

“I kneel before my savior,

Who is raised above on high,

And I offer reparations,

To those who pass him by,

Thanksgivings too I offer,

As I humbly obey

There will be holy hours in heaven

When I reach my journey’s end…

I can remember him singing in St. Gregory’s Church, but, I can’t quite remember myself singing.  I had the song book in front of me, and I know the words today, so I must have been singing.  The nuns were strict and would have been watching to see who was singing.  I liked singing anyway, so I must have been singing.  I was happy to hear one nun say that, “singing is praying twice.”  I like singing much better than I liked praying.

Saint Gregory

As I got older I heard about Monsignor McNulty’s owning a lot of property up and down Dorchester Avenue and throughout the Lower Mills parish.  Old people would die and they would leave their property to the church as a kind of bribe to get into heaven and have their sins forgiven.  But Father McNulty managed to have the property be given “to the Church” by giving it to Monseigneur McNulty.  People could call up the parish office to find out about renting an apartment.  People could call up the parish if they didn’t want to advertise an apartment to any one who wasn’t Catholic.  They could avoid the general public and the newspaper advertising.

St greg cr

When I heard about all the Earthly Possessions that this holy man was acquiring I thought he should be singing a different song.  He might have looked like Robin Hoods Friar Tuck, but he was acting more like a feudal landlord  Talk about near occasions of sin?

A friend who worked in Carney hospital as a teen orderly told me the last words I heard of Monsignor McNulty.  After hearing some bad reports Father McNulty grabbed my friends arm, “I’m not going to die? Am I?” So ends my story of the holy man who said, “The happiest day of your life is the day you die.”

……………………………..

I went to a technical high school, and there was no singing.  But, I was in a rock band. “I’m on the highway to hell…” is a line I have sung.  I hope I’m not dying in a hospital and grabbing a youth’s arm and crying that I didn’t want what was in my songs.  They don’t teach all the songs at school.

Or to avoid Youtube using Hooktube

https://www.hookube.com/watch?v=d2RZXeQc5HU

When Nuclear War Was Unwanted – 1983 TV Movie – The Day After – 25 Aug 2018

I fell down a rabbit hole and landed on an article about how the ‘Nuclear Freeze’ movement of the 1980’s disappeared from the public consciousness. Hundreds of thousands of people in Europe and America went to the demonstrations as a way to counter the US and President Reagan’s war talk in opposition to the Russians and the Soviet Union. But, if the events and large demonstrations are remembered at all now it is as a minor footnote.

As I was reading through the comments under the article that talked about the ‘Nuclear Freeze’ movement being deleted down the ‘memory hole’ a number of people mentioned the made of tv movie ‘The Day After’ with Jason Robarts as a Kansas doctor who deals with nuclear bomb attacks on the city he lives in. I reproduced the short article and blended in a few insightful comments from readers. I also featured a poster from ‘The Day After’ and a link to the movie trailer that was online. I saw that the full two hour movie was also on Youtube free. So, I watched the movie last night.

Here is the full movie on Youtube (2:06:43 min) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyy9n8r16hs Or to avoid Youtube and watch on Hooktube (2:06:43 min) https://www.hooktube.com/watch?v=Iyy9n8r16hs

I watched the movie when it was first broadcast on national television on 20 November 1983. At the time it was a large media event. News stories featured many mentions in the weeks and days before the broadcast. Reagan supporters and war hawks objected to the movie because it was anti-nuclear war. The public might be afraid of the threat to go to war with the nuclear armed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Reagan’s secretary of state got to speak at the end of the movie to put a pro-Reagan slant to the implied anti-war message of the movie.

ABC then aired a live debate on Viewpoint, hosted by Nightline’s Ted Koppel, featuring scientist Carl Sagan, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Elie Wiesel, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, General Brent Scowcroft and conservative commentator William F. Buckley, Jr.. Sagan argued against nuclear proliferation, while Buckley promoted the concept of nuclear deterrence. Sagan described the arms race in the following terms: “Imagine a room awash in gasoline, and there are two implacable enemies in that room. One of them has nine thousand matches, the other seven thousand matches. Each of them is concerned about who’s ahead, who’s stronger.”

Watching the movie again thirty-five years later I can remember some of the parts from my first viewing. The movie is put together in a workman like fashion with opening shots of the men who man the local nuclear missile installations as well as local people new by. Interesting to see all the clothing styles and cars from the early 1980’s. A number of vignettes gives different unconnected characters a face for the viewer to place the story as human interest.

A central character is Jason Robards doctor at a university hospital. I remember the scene when he is on a highway packed with American refugees when two nuclear bombs go off in a city on the horizon. He ducked down below the dashboard as the initial blinding light of the bombs illuminates everything.

ABC couldn’t find a director who wanted to make the movie. Everyone figured the script would be cut down to satisfy censors. The US Department of Defense would not cooperate with the movie makers unless they had control of the script and had the Soviet Union clearly labelled as the country that started the war. Stock footage that the government had made of nuclear explosions was withheld from the film makers.

After the fights over what to leave in, what to leave out for the ‘family friendly’ American Broadcasting Company bosses and the government the movie was finally shown in a one night formate on 20 November 1983. About a hundred million people watched the movie – in 39 million homes. The showing got 62% of the televisions that were on at that time. ‘The Day After’ set a record as the highest-rated television film in history — a record held for the next thirty years.

Critics at the time where mostly Right Wing war hawks who thought the movie was helping the Soviet Communists by making Americans afraid of war. A few critics said that the movie seemed to sugar coat what a nuclear attack would look like. The director said that to show what really happens after a nuclear bombing would make the movie unwatchable and would never be shown on commercial television. Many claimed that children would be frightened by the movie and the idea of the US being hit by nuclear bombs. Leading up to the showing of the movie psychiatrist were featured on television and telephone hot-lines where set up to handle traumatized viewers. One psychiatrist warned that people should not watch the program alone.

https://shauntrain.blogspot.com/2018/08/when-nuclear-war-was-unwanted-1983-tv.html

How identity politics makes the Left lose its collective identity

The identity politics phenomenon sweeping across the Western world is a divide and conquer strategy that prevents the emergence of a genuine resistance to the elites.

A core principle of socialism is the idea of an overarching supra-national solidarity that unites the international working class and overrides any factor that might divide it, such as nation, race, or gender. Workers of all nations are partners, having equal worth and responsibility in a struggle against those who profit from their brain and muscle.

Capitalism, especially in its most evolved, exploitative and heartless form – imperialism – has wronged certain groups of people more than others. Colonial empires tended to reserve their greatest brutality for subjugated peoples whilst the working class of these imperialist nations fared better in comparison, being closer to the crumbs that fell from the table of empire. The international class struggle aims to liberate all people everywhere from the drudgery of capitalism regardless of their past or present degree of oppression. The phrase ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’ encapsulates this mindset and conflicts with the idea of prioritising the interests of one faction of the working class over the entire collective.

Since the latter part of the 20th century, a liberally-inspired tendency has taken root amongst the Left (in the West at least) that encourages departure from a single identity based on class in favour of multiple identities based upon one’s gender, sexuality, race or any other dividing factor. Each subgroup, increasingly alienated from all others, focuses on the shared identity and unique experiences of its members and prioritises its own empowerment. Anyone outside this subgroup is demoted to the rank of ally, at best.

At the time of writing there are apparently over 70 different gender options in the West, not to mention numerous sexualities – the traditional LGBT acronym has thus far grown to LGBTQQIP2SAA. Adding race to the mix results in an even greater number of possible permutations or identities. Each subgroup has its own ideology. Precious time is spent fighting against those deemed less oppressed and telling them to ‘check their privilege’ as the ever-changing pecking order of the ‘Oppression Olympics’ plays out. The rules to this sport are as fluid as the identities taking part. One of the latest dilemmas affecting the identity politics movement is the issue of whether men transitioning to women deserve recognition and acceptance or ‘whether trans women aren’t women and are apparently “raping” lesbians’.

The ideology of identity politics asserts that the straight white male is at the apex of the privilege pyramid, responsible for the oppression of all other groups. His original sin condemns him to everlasting shame. While it is true that straight white men (as a group) have faced less obstacles than females, non-straight men or ethnic minorities, the majority of straight white men, past and present, also struggle to survive from paycheck to paycheck and are not personally involved in the oppression of any other group. While most of the world’s wealthiest individuals are Caucasian males, millions of white men exist who are both poor and powerless. The idea of ‘whiteness’ is itself an ambiguous concept involving racial profiling. For example, the Irish, Slavs and Ashkenazi Jews may look white yet have suffered more than their fair share of famines, occupations and genocides throughout the centuries. The idea of tying an individual’s privilege to their appearance is itself a form of racism dreamed up by woolly minded, liberal (some might say privileged) ‘intellectuals’ who would be superfluous in any socialist society.

Is the middle-class ethnic minority lesbian living in Western Europe more oppressed than the whitish looking Syrian residing under ISIS occupation? Is the British white working class male really more privileged than a middle class woman from the same society? Stereotyping based on race, gender or any other factor only leads to alienation and animosity. How can there be unity amongst the Left if we are only loyal to ourselves and those most like us? Some ‘white’ men who feel the Left has nothing to offer them have decided to play the identity politics game in their search of salvation and have drifted towards supporting Trump (a billionaire with whom they have nothing in common) or far-right movements, resulting in further alienation, animosity and powerlessness which in turn only strengthens the position of the top 1%. People around the world are more divided by class than any other factor.

It is much easier to ‘struggle’ against an equally or slightly less oppressed group than to take the time and effort to unite with them against the common enemy – capitalism. Fighting oppression through identity politics is at best a lazy, perverse and fetishistic form of the class struggle led by mostly liberal, middle class and tertiary-educated activists who understand little of left-wing political theory. At worst it is yet another tool used by the top 1% to divide the other 99% into 99 or 999 different competing groups who are too preoccupied with fighting their own little corner to challenge the status quo. It is ironic that one of the major donors to the faux-left identity politics movement is the privileged white cisgender male billionaire George Soros, whose NGOs helped orchestrate the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine that gave way to the emergence of far right and neo-nazi movements: the kind of people who believe in racial superiority and do not look kindly on diversity. There is a carefully crafted misconception that identity politics derives from Marxist thought and the meaningless phrase ‘cultural Marxism’, which has more to do with liberal culture than Marxism, is used to sell this line of thinking. Not only does identity politics have nothing in common with Marxism, socialism or any other strand of traditional left-wing thought, it is anathema to the very concept. ‘An injury to one is an injury to all’ has been replaced with something like ‘An injury to me is all that matters’. No socialist country, whether in practice or in name only, promoted identity politics. Neither the African and Asian nations that liberated themselves from colonialist oppression nor the USSR and Eastern Bloc states nor the left-wing movements that sprung up across Latin America in the early 21st century had any time to play identity politics.

The idea that identity politics is part of traditional left-wing thought is promoted by the right who seek to demonise left wing-movements, liberals who seek to infiltrate, backstab and destroy said left-wing movements, and misguided young radicals who know nothing about political theory and have neither the patience nor discipline to learn. The last group seek a cheap thrill that makes them feel as if they have shaken the foundations of the establishment when in reality they strengthen it.

Identity politics is typically a modern middle-class led phenomenon that helps those in charge keep the masses divided and distracted. In the West you are free to choose any gender or sexuality, transition between these at whim, or perhaps create your own, but you are not allowed to question the foundations of capitalism or liberalism. Identity politics is the new opiate of the masses and prevents organised resistance against the system. Segments of the Western Left even believe such aforementioned ‘freedoms’ are a bellwether of progress and an indicator of its cultural superiority, one that warrants export abroad be it softly via NGOs or more bluntly through colour revolutions and regime change.