Sunday, November 21, 2010

The shocking truth behind the Cam Newton scandal

… the even more shocking truth behind the hypocrisy underneath the NCAA criminal exploitation of child labor for hundreds of millions of dollars.

… and the even greater hypocrisy of the sanctimonious university presidents who control the NCAA, and thereby deliberately foster this exploitation of child labor for these millions of dollars of profit for their university

Attacking Newton is like attacking one grain of sand on the hundred mile long beach in Los Angeles’ harbor, or one snowflake in a raging blizzard. The tsunami of corruption of child athletes by universities for their own millions of dollars of profits has been going on since I played college football – something I experienced first hand, first as an athlete on the receiving end of money, and then when God gave us the good fortune to have our Billy Jack film succeed as one of the “booster” alumni who generously pay these athletes secretly under the table. I have real expertise on the inside behind-closed-doors way this criminal exploitation of child labor takes place.

And not just ordinary labor, but hard labor … and worse than that. It is a labor that is life crippling and life threatening. At least 25-50% of college football players get injured playing football, and spend the rest of their lives disabled from a knee injury, a shoulder injury, spinal and brain injury, and though rarely, sometimes as a paraplegic, or pay even with their lives.

I was not even 20 years old, still in my teens, when I had three major operations (foot, knee, and 6-inch pins put in my shoulder, the same day as the legendary pitcher Ted Williams had the same operation with pins put in his shoulder, see below), and two serious concussions, all of which plagued me for the rest of my life. (I later was to have one more major operation and concussion before I stopped playing football.)

I will never forget the shock I received when I had to take a pay cut from the amount of money I was receiving to play college ball to go into the pros, to join the camp of the then Chicago Cardinals professional team.

I had to take a pay cut from $20,000 a year to $15,000 when I went to play professional football.

Every society and every civilization known to man has had to keep a constant vigilance against the corruption inherent in its institutions, inherent because its institutions were run by human beings who list among their human frailties greed and the lust for power. First and foremost among America’s most corrupt institutions is the Congress of the United States. But near the top of the list is an institution so corrupt and so clever in its disguising its corruption that it has Americans blissfully ignorant of how thoroughly corrupt it is, and to put it bluntly, how thoroughly rotten its corruption is, and how brutal its exploitation of innocent, idealistic young children it manipulates and exploits for hundreds of millions of dollars of profit it keeps to itself.

How do I know this? Because I was a full participant in it, first as a 17 year old high school football player who was paid under the table money to go to school – called a “scholarship” – and then as a payer of secret and disguised ways of paying college athletes to go to a school I felt an obligation to help.

First, as a player.

First, I was paid through what is hypothetically called a “scholarship” to go to Indiana University, the first of three major colleges I played for, moving from one to the other because I got more money in one disguised form or another. The “scholarship” consisted of room, board (all meals), tuition, books (a very considerable sum as today’s textbooks can cost as much as $75-$175 for a single book for a single class requiring a half a dozen to a dozen books per semester), all costs involved if we joined a fraternity or other campus organizations, and a “job” – and a phony job it was - and that was not all.

My first “job” at Indiana consisted of being paid to guard the gymnasium floor, and the field house basketball court from people playing on it in inappropriate shoes, like their street shoes. Just coincidentally, the hours I was assigned to guard the floor, especially the field house were hours that the gymnasium and field house were padlocked and not open to the public, and though I was not there, I signed a phony time card putting in dozens of hours as if I were there.

But that’s not all. I was also granted four roundtrip train tickets from the University to my home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the summer holiday … and there’s more. The clothing store! I was allowed to go to a clothing store of a booster and receive a suit, a jacket, two pairs of slacks, two sweaters, and an outdoor coat or jacket – for free. (Clothing stores seem to always play a role in this disguised, under-the-table cash payment as I’ll explain in a moment.)

All in all, the amount of money I was being paid by the university to play football for them totaled $20,000 in 1950 dollars! But my roommate, who was one of the most highly sought after high school All Americans, got much more. He got everything I got, plus, plus, his dad was given a job as a janitor in a steel mill in Pennsylvania where he was from at the then enormous salary of $25,000 a year. This unbelievably lush so-called “scholarship” is never given to a kid who wins a scholarship for science, or music.

And the hypocrite running the NCAA and university system hypocritically insists they don’t pay athletes.

But I was offered even more to transfer to the University of Wisconsin.

I met with the head coach and the assistant coach offensive coordinator under the stadium at Indiana the Friday night that Wisconsin had come down to play Indiana. I had played beautifully in the freshmen game against Wisconsin (freshmen were not eligible for varsity in those days).

The coaches asked me where I was going to live after I got out of college – in Indiana or Milwaukee where I was from, and had all my family? I told them, “Milwaukee, of course.” “Then, you’re playing for the wrong school, because nobody in Milwaukee cares about you playing at Indiana or will want to give you a job because you played at Indiana – but if you play at Wisconsin, a hundred job opportunities would open up to you the moment you graduate.”

A few weeks later I was flown to Madison, Wisconsin, and on a Saturday night after a Wisconsin game, I met with the coaches at the house of the President, and was offered a “scholarship” – a slightly better deal. It consisted of all the same perks I had at Indiana, plus the phony “job,” only this job was even more lucrative. It consisted of doing surveys of out of state license plates on cars in Madison, whether parked or moving, a job I could do any time, day or night, weekday or weekend. Rarely did I ever go and take down real license plates. Again, I just signed in, and signed out fake hours, and got paid my hourly fee – but there was still more. Every Friday night I went down to a clothing store in downtown Madison (a clothing store again), went down to the cashier’s window and got an envelope which contained cash – my paycheck, for what? To this day, I have no idea. Incidentally, in the late 1990’s I was invited back to the University to give a lecture, and I was telling my wife about our Friday night trip to the clothing store as we stood outside the same clothing store still in business. Lo and behold, as we watched, a steady flow of 250-300 lb guys went in, down to the cashier’s window, and received their unmarked envelopes. (Oh, yes, I got the usual de reguere freebie clothes. Clothing stores are a secret goldmine for highly paid college athletes.)

I was later offered a “better” deal to transfer to Marquette. My high school coach whom I adored, who was a surrogate father figure to me, was appointed the head coach of Marquette University’s struggling football team, and asked me to come and play for him. I couldn’t refuse for emotional reasons, and because I got – unbeknownst to him – a slightly better deal from the alumni.

In addition to all the other lucrative perks of my two previous scholarships, I got a real job – or sort of. I was given the job of cleaning up a very successful tavern right across the street from the campus. I’d go in at 8-9:00 in the morning, clean the place up, and restock the refrigerators, and everything else that needed restocking. It paid extremely well, but it was real work – except I didn’t always do it. Because it paid so well, I was able to hire other guys to take my place and clean it up while I slept in, still getting paid as if I was doing all the work.

Oh, yeah! Another perk. I was allowed to take a couple of cases of beer a week out of the stock room and go to local liquor stores and have my pretty girlfriend go in and tell the clerk this was left over from a wedding and could she turn it in for cash? It worked every time.

And then I went into the camp of the Chicago Cardinals’ professional team, now the Arizona Cardinals. There I had to take a pay cut. The starting salary – and you’re not going to believe this – was a mere $15,000, a serious drop from the approximately $20,000 I was being “paid” to play college ball. Johnny Lujack, the superb all-pro of the Chicago Bears, was the highest paid pro football player in those days at – believe it or not - $25,000 a year.

(An interesting “scholarship” anecdote about my boyhood friend, Harvey Keene, who went on to become an all-star for the Detroit Tigers, and later, a manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, playing in the World Series championship – affectionately known as “Harvey’s Wallbangers”.

(We went to grade school a few blocks apart, and while in high school, Harvey set a world record of 53-yards with a drop kick in football, which no longer exists. He chose to play baseball, and I tried to tell him that the scholarships for baseball were chickenfeed compared to football, and he should give up baseball, and concentrate on football. Harvey was an amazing college player, and went on to sign with the Detroit Tigers, at a then record-breaking $100,000 signing bonus – absolutely astonishing in those days. Harvey chided me, “Yeah, Tom. Football scholarships are a much better deal. By the way, how much are you making as a pro?”)

And that is what I learned just on the receiving end of the disgusting, hypocritical way universities cheat their college athletes out of a fair salary to exploit them to make tens of millions of dollars a year for their universities off the backs of these kids, many of whom get injured, and some even crippled for life, earning that immoral lucre for the university presidents.

Now the other side of the coin – my wife and my experience as “boosters,” people playing the under-the-table game of finding sophisticated ways of paying college athletes without being caught, such as “hiring” them to give lessons to our children and friends, hiring them as extras on movies and TV shows where they could earn as much as $500-$1,000/week depending on the “business” they were given to do, and that is for both male and female athletes, in not only football, basketball, tennis, etc.

An example that will make this clear happened to me when I was trying to help our friend, Dick Vermeil, then the coach of UCLA, later the pro-bowl coach of the St. Louis Rams, to recruit a highly sought running back from Ohio w ho went on to be a collegiate All-American and an All-Pro. Though Delores and I were both sitting on the Chancellor’s Committee at UCLA, I had an absolute rule on being asked to recruit a player, whether it be a football, basketball, tennis player, whatever. I would take the kid aside and tell them man-to-man – or in Delores’ case, woman-to-woman – while we would love them to come to UCLA, that didn’t matter, and they should not take that into consideration in making their decision. The only thing that mattered is what was in their best interests, what they wanted to do, and where they got the most beneficial home for their college education.

After telling them this, this heavily recruited high school All-American, confided in me he had already decided on Ohio State. Why? Because Woody Hayes, the coach of Ohio State, had arranged to help him and his family financially through his high school years, and his “scholarship” deal was all set, but he always wanted to come to California and see the California girls, so he couldn’t pass up his free trip where he was treated like royalty.

There are hundreds of ways boosters can get money to players without being caught, without breaking the rules.

A typical way is to hire them for dozens of different jobs and pay them, in cash, under the table, an outrageous sum of money above and beyond what you would pay someone else to do the same job. For example, every Saturday we had between 30-50 friends for an afternoon of tennis, a beautiful buffet, and an evening movie. We’d hire athletes as lifeguards to watch the children in our small pool, where you would normally pay a college kid to do this $5/hour, for it required no lifeguard training because the adults were sitting all around the pool, we would pay them $25-$50/hour in cash.

To give an equal amount to women athletes, which was a demand of Delores’, we would pay the tennis players $100/hour to give lessons to our kids, or to our friends, some of whom were very famous movie stars or sports stars. Usually, with the stars, the lessons would last for ten minutes, and then they’d play “hit-and-giggle” doubles, as Evonne Goolagong called it.

A very lucrative way available in our business, and available in every other business – car business, construction business, retail store, plumbing business, etc. - has their own equally lucrative way of getting under-the-table money to athletes they are supporting – is to hire athletes as extras on movies or television shows. Extras get $50 to $100/day if they just are ordinary extras, but if they get what’s called a “piece of business,” like open the door for an actor, deliver a package, etc., they can make up to $1,000 or more a week – and if the director gives them a line, even to say “Thank you,” or “Here’s a call for you, Mr. Jones,” it can be a lot more. Of course, the surreptitious method of “extra” payment goes on forever in the country where movies and television shows are being shot, on location or in a studio.

The motive! Not just tens of millions of dollars, but hundreds of millions of dollars.

College sports, in every case football, and in big schools, basketball as well, make millions, to tens of millions, to hundreds of millions of dollars off of their football and basketball programs – millions of dollars they could never otherwise get from alumni.

A few years ago Notre Dame received over $100 million from NBC to televise nationally all Notre Dame games, and every other major college also has these outrageously lucrative television contracts they make to televise their game – not one dollar of which they would receive if they didn’t have 18, 19, and 20 year old kids out there risking their arms and legs, brutally damaging concussions, and even more damaging paralysis – dangerous, even life threatening, labor for comparative pennies, compared to the money the university receives for the show these kids put on, and without which the universities would receive nothing.

And there’s more, much more!

The TV windfalls do not take into account the oftentimes greater windfalls from ticket sales, concessions, parking fees, and merchandise sales.

If a major player has a stadium of 50-75,000 people, and the average ticket price for a big game is $60, that’s $3 million to $4.5 million per game – and that’s just from ticket sales. That doesn’t include the much more revenues from concessions, parking, programs, and memorabilia – and that’s per game. Some of the giant stadiums exceed 100,000 people (Michigan 109,901, Penn State 107,282, Tennessee 102,459, Ohio State 102,239) which gets the university $6.134 million to $6.594 million per game – per Saturday - and that doesn’t include all the other millions of dollars that come from the other revenues streams, concession, parking, memorabilia, etc. (In the Big 12, the average ticket price is even higher, $84/game, or as much as $8 million for one Saturday’s ticket sales alone.) And this doesn’t even include Bowl games.

Do you know how many alumni dinners or cocktail parties a university president would have to attend to raise just the amount of money he raises from just one Saturday’s football game? It’s not possible. He could spend years attending alumni dinners and luncheons every week, and he still couldn’t raise anywhere near the money he gets from just Saturday afternoon football games – from exploiting Saturday afternoons child labor, which is not as safe and secure as working in the cafeteria, or the bookstore, but from idealistic kids risking their lives and becoming permanently disabled so the self-righteous presidents can make these tens – even hundreds - of millions of dollars.

A way to see how much value university presidents put on their football and basketball programs is seen by looking at the salaries they pay their coaches, as opposed to the salaries they pay their top professors and teachers. At the smallest schools, football coaches salaries range from $150,000-$250,000. And at the major universities, they range from $1 million to $2 million and even more per year – and that does not include the very lucrative salaries they receive for hosting their own “Coach’s Corner” on the local radio and television programs.

At these same universities, the college presidents earn from $250,000 to a mere handful earning in the million dollar range. The average median pay in 2009 for 419 colleges and universities was $358,746, and Associate Professors and faculty earn an average of $50-$75,000 per year, and that’s at the bigger colleges and universities.

Using the magnificent principle, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as our guide, we’re forced to ask the simple question of the NCAA officials, and the sanctimonious university presidents who reap these humungous profits from the labor of these kids, “Why not treat them as fairly and as lucratively as you treat yourselves?”

Why not pay them?

You’re paying them now in a way that allows you to pay them unconscionable amount of money for the fruits you reap of their labor, why not openly and fairly compensate them for the millions of dollars of profits they generate for you and your university – for the incredibly dangerous labor you exploit to reap millions, labor that could, on any play, at any second, result in a severe concussion, spinal injury, or destroyed knee that could disable them for the rest of their life?

You’re paying them now in the hypocritically disguised form of a scholarship, which is real cash being given to them to come and work for your university, scholarships for football players, and basketball players that are far more lucrative and filled with perks than the scholarships you give to science students, music students, or medical students – if you give them at all.

Why is it more honorable, moral, ethical, or even honest to pay them in the phony way of so-called scholarships instead of paying them a fair amount, an amount commensurate with the profits they generate for you by the fruits of their life-risking labor?

What could possibly be wrong with paying every one of the 60 members of the football team room, board, books, tuition, and student fees, not just for now, but for as long as they wish to attend the university, even after their playing days are over, and they wish to improve their chance of making a decent living? In addition, pay each member who makes the squad at least $1,000 a month. How can that possibly be wrong in view of the humongous profits their labor produces for you and your university?

This is a pittance to pay for the hundreds of millions of dollars a major football or basketball program generates for the university. For small schools, it would be, at most, a million dollars a year. For large schools, with a full 60-man scholarship roster, it could be up to $2 million a year. Less than the amount of money generated by one home game. And in some cases, not even half the amount of money generated at a home game.

Sticking to the greatest moral principle ever known to man, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” “Love your neighbor as thyself,” it’s time for university presidents and everyone involved in education everywhere to “do unto others” – student athletes – “as you would have them do unto you” – willingly and lovingly risk their lives to generate millions of dollars for you and the university or college they love.

Let’s get off the sanctimonious self-righteous attempt to indict Cam Newton when everyone involved in the university and every sports fan knows the real culprits are the NCAA and the university presidents who control it. Their sanctimonious pretense of shock at the still only alleged payment of this one grain of sand on an entire beach of presidential corruption, one snowflake in a raging blizzard of hypocrisy and lying by the NCAA and the university presidents has got to be exposed for what it is, and stopped once and for all. (Their sanctimonious, hypocritical shock and determination to “clean up this mess” has caused them to go to the astonishing length of calling in the FBI to investigate this absolute trivial and irrelevant incident.

(The FBI??? At a time when Al Quada is sending to synagogues time bombs into the United States on airplanes, these deceiving, two-faced presidents and officials of the NCAA asked the FBI to investigate an innocent kid, and possibly destroying his life for something that thousands and thousands of athletes all over this country are guilty of doing right now, and doing with the full knowledge and deliberate cathedral of lies and deceptions to continue to be able to savagely exploit these kids for their own and university’s profit.)

It’s time to pay these kids fairly, and put an end to the elaborate criminal subterfuge and pretense that college is not an extremely profitable farm system for the professionals, to put an end to the cathedral of deception and duplicity designed for the sole purpose of taking advantage and exploiting the labor of desperate, innocent kids, in many cases trying to crawl their way out of poverty and desperation, and restore the college athletic system to a meaningful integrity and clean stepping stone for young men and women to get an education, and more if their talent deserves it.

Pay the kids now.

Note: I had two six inch pins screwed into my broken shoulder the same day and date as Hall of Fame slugger, Ted Williams, had pins put in his shoulder. A week later, I was still in my sling, slowly and gently moving my hands in the sling just to wash my face, when Ted Williams went out and hit three for five in a Sunday game. In the press conference afterwards, he was asked how he could do that with these pins still sticking out of his shoulder. Ted said, “Well, it hurt!” I then realized that Ted Williams, as Joe DiMaggio said was the greatest striker of the baseball that ever lived, on that day he became, to me, the toughest baseball that ever lived.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The “shameful new low” of the Academy Awards

While the incredibly prestigious and highly desirable Academy Awards has occasionally embarrassed itself with very mediocre films being nominated with this year’s 2009 crop, it has sunk to a disgraceful, all-time, shameful low – in two and a half ways:

  1. In a blatant attempt to compete with the escalating prestige and ratings of the Golden Globes, the Academy expanded the Best Picture Category to ten pictures instead of the usual five. By doing so, the Academy has watered down the prestige and respect of being a nominated film, by the same perverted logic the Academy could have used the same distorted and simplistic logic to expand the number nominated to fifteen, twenty, or even twenty-five. Just by asking yourself “Why ten rather than fifteen?” you already see how the value of being a nomination for Best Picture is weakened, watered down, and even prostituted by expanding it to ten, especially when you look at some of this year’s nominees – which contain some pictures that nobody wants to see even today, that are grossing only a pitiful $7 million and $11 million at today’s box office.
  • 2. But even more disgraceful, more shameful, is the truly horrific, even heinous, leaving off the ten best pictures list Clint Eastwood’s biographical masterpiece, the incredibly beautiful, supremely intelligent, magnificently directed, Invictus, the story of the greatest civil rights’ leader of all time, Nelson Mandella, who – though he was always a great hero of mine and Delores’s – this film showed it in a way we never saw before, that Mandella stands shoulder to shoulder with Gandhi and King as a true Saint in the Civil Rights movement, and in some ways even surpasses them. It’s an enthralling masterpiece that will take its place as one of the great film biographies of all time.

  • And it’s not even nominated??? As one of the ten best pictures of the year??? Leaving Invictus off the ten best nominated list is a true cinematic sin, a sacrilege, especially when you look at some of the embarrassingly mediocre, immediately forgettable films that were nominated, such as: An Education, A Serious Man, District 9, etc..

Ten out of ten people we interviewed did not even know what three of these Best Picture nominees were – never even heard of them - and certainly had no desire to see them. Clearly, unequivocally, they were light years beyond light years of having any chance of being remembered, let alone desired, two weeks after the Academy Awards are over, let alone two years, twenty years, or seventy years from now, such as the previously great Academy Award winners as Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill a Mockingbird, Titanic, On the Waterfront, etc., etc., etc.

Compare 2009’s pictures with the films of 1939, such legendary classics that are still shown regularly on television today: The Women, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Destry Rides Again, Gunga Din, Drums Along the Mohawk, Golden Boy, The Light the Failed, The Man in the Iron Mask, Beau Geste, Three Muskateers, Young Mr. Lincoln et al

… and these films were NOT nominated!

When you see the films – the high quality of the films that were nominated - virtually every one is still remembered or even still shown today over 70 years later, you understand why back then, with so many magnificent films available, the Academy nominated ten pictures in the Best Picture category: Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, Wizard of Oz, Love Affair, Ninotchka, Stagecoach, Of Mice and Men. Do you honestly believe An Education, A Serious Man, District 9, Up in the Air and Inglorious Basterds will still be shown next year, let alone 70 years from now? No one is even going to see some films like A Serious Man and An Education in the theaters today.

There is no disputing the fact that by failing to even nominate Invictus as even one of the ten best pictures, cheapens the Academy and brings it to an all-time shameful low – all in a desperate attempt to try to catch up with the rapidly escalating popularity and prestige of the Golden Globe Awards.

Why Kathryn Bigelow's Directorial Genius will not allow her to make a hit movie

Why, in spite of director Kathryn Bigelow’s incredible intelligence, her extremely beautiful inside and out (knock out gorgeous movie star looks, matched by her beautiful soul within) and her amazing directorial genius, her personal neurosis, her severely damaged feminine capacity will never allow her – in spite of her directorial genius – to make a commercially successful film, a box office hit that people want to see.

(In spite of all the right publicity surrounding her winning virtually every award possible, Kathryn’s Hurt Locker has done only $11 million, while her ex-husband, James Cameron, has two all-time record US grossing pictures – the first, Titanic, one of the greatest love stories ever filmed ($608 million US alone, $1,835 billion worldwide) and the greatest special effects love story ever filmed, Avatar ($688 million US alone (and counting), $2,456 billion worldwide (and counting!)).

Why the difference in the grosses of these two astonishing directorial geniuses?

Kathryn’s has no heart, no love story, little or no feminine compassion or kindness. She has the capacity to create tension in a film as almost no one else has. Kathryn has that incredible ability to make a film that transcends being a film and becomes, as the critic Rex Reed said about Billy Jack years ago, “… it becomes real life.” But with Kathryn’s films, it is the most painful slice of real life she gives us. In Hurt Locker your stomach is in a knot the entire time with one of the most negative, hostile and painful endings ever when Kathryn has our hero leave his loving, caring, responsible wife and his beautiful son to cater to his thanatos, his suicidal death wish and insatiable need to constantly prove his manhood by risking death and killing people while doing so.

The one thing you never do in a Kathryn Bigelow film is come out feeling inspired, good about yourself, or ten feet tall. You come out as if you’ve been not just kicked in the gut, but that you left the dentist’s office after having not just one root canal done, but four.

The brilliant director gives us an x-ray into her lack of feminine capacity at the very end of the picture when our suicidal hero comes home. First, in two scenes with his adoring wife, who has borne the gigantic horrid responsibility of raising their son alone while waiting for the phone to ring any moment, telling her of her husband or her son’s death. We never even see the warm greeting he gets from her and his son when he first comes home.

The only two scenes we see between this great looking couple is the wife ignoring him while busy cooking dinner, and shoving him some vegetables to cut up to help her. His boredom wreaks with doing this simple task. The next scene between the two is in the grocery store where he’s irritated by having to choose which box of cereal to pick off the shelf, lined with dozens of cereal choices. And the only scene we see with him with his son has nothing to do with the way a father who has agonized over being separated from his son for so long would behave. Instead, he gives a speech explaining why he hates being with his son and has to go back and be a killer.

Here Kathryn’s directorial genius and lack of ability to make an emotionally fulfilling movie becomes transparent. One of the key ingredients that people demand to see in a film is “credibility”, the “What if?” principle. “What if…” this character was in this exact situation, what would he or she do – what would I do if I were that character in that same situation? Every single person we interviewed said that when they first arrived home they would be overwhelmed with joy, overcome with powerful emotions at first seeing their spouse and their son, and maybe after a period of the thrill and ecstasis of seeing your most beloved family again, they could start to get bored. Kathryn gives us none of the ecstatic joy at seeing his loved ones. Not one moment! Instead, she concentrates only on his instant boredom – so anxious is she as a filmmaker to get him back to the killing fields, which she thrives on, and masterfully creates for us.

The final scene of him walking away from the camera excited about being back to continue his rendezvous with death is Kathryn’s way of proving her thesis that war is a drug, and incredibly insightful and superb insight into the human nature of so many soldiers, mercenaries and politicians to whom war is a drug. But because she has denied us even the most basic human emotions of love and joy between a soldier and his family, and because the ending of her film is such a negative downer, instead of being excited about this insight into the horror of war, we are irritated and disappointed by the ugly ending of the film which causes us to miss the point she is trying to make.

But she reveals to us another truth – making violent macho films about war is a drug for Kathryn. Tragically for the film world, and the entire world of film audiences, unless there is a radical growth in her psyche, Kathryn will never be able to use her incredible directorial genius to give us a love story – a picture people want to see, and can’t wait to see, a major box office hit. She should take a page from her ex-husband, her good friend, and learn the secret of making a runaway box office hit, a lesson Cameron can give to every one of us who want to make films that people want to see because we have something we want to say to either enlighten them or just enrich their lives by giving them a couple of hours of laughter to relieve the dull gray we all live in every day.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Public Option Healthcare Debate - A Fact no one is discussing

“Public healthcare is a right, not a privilege.”
- Ted Kennedy

The Pro-Public Option proponents are presenting the wrong argument … Here is the hard evidence that completely demolishes the case against the Public Option, the case for Private Insurance Only

Both those for and against the public option are making the exact same argument, presenting the same case …
… both are arguing it will force the reduction of healthcare costs:

  • Those for the Public Option argue that it will reduce healthcare costs because it will provide real competition – free and open competition - the free enterprise capitalistic system.
  • Those trying to kill the Public Option argue the exact same thing – that the public option will create real, free and open competition and that will eliminate the obscene windfall profits the private insurance companies make.
  • The difference is those wanting the Public Option want it as a way of stopping the outrageous profits the private insurance companies make, while those trying to kill the Public Option want to do so solely and only to protect the monopoly the private insurance companies have to make outrageous profits.

That is the only difference between the two!!

Both plans have built-in costs for doctors, hospitals, technology, testing and treatment equipment, and medicines – the only difference is the Public Option eliminates profits, and the Private Insurance Only plan protects profits – not only protects profits, but continues to protect the insurance companies having a license to continue to make outlandish profits by letting them continue their stranglehold monopoly over healthcare.

Profits – heinous profits – are the only real difference between the two plans – and the only reason the insurance companies are making lavish campaign contributions and spending an additional $150 million a day to kill it.

Both agree the Public Option will make gigantic reductions in healthcare costs – which of course benefits the American people. But those trying to kill the Public Option are not as interested in reducing healthcare costs as they are in protecting the private insurance companies monopoly they now enjoy for charging outrageous sums for premiums and deductibles, and which allows them to be free to deny one out of five necessary medical treatments prescribed by doctors as they do today – and be able to continue to pay their executives $24 million a year.

“How in the name of God …??” – literally – can this possibly be happening?

  • … when over 75% of the people want Public Option Healthcare …
    … and when over 75% of the doctors want the Public Option …
  • … and over 45,000 are dying every year because they can’t see a doctor (over 122 Americans a day, each and every day, 365 days a year)

How is it possible for a small handful of politicians in Congress bought and paid for by the insurance companies lobbyists, to kill this desperately needed, life and death opportunity for every American to have the free choice to have the Public Option Healthcare if they want it, or to refuse it if they don’t want it?

How can they - the Grassleys, the Hatchs, the Baucuses et al, who represent less than 1% of the people – deny 99.9% of the American people from having free choice, fair and open competition, and deny voters their right to have a free choice about which plan they want, is so un-American, so un-free enterprise capitalism, so anti-democracy, so anti-American, how can it actually be happening to the sick and dying hardworking American voter?

The answer is money! Corruption! And hypocrisy! (Baucus alone has taken almost $4 million from the insurance companies)

The old Golden Rule was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” derived from the nuclear core principle of Christianity, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” give to every American the same lifesaving healthcare you are blessed to have.

The new Golden Rule is “He who has the gold, rules” … and in this case it’s the private insurance companies who, with their obscene windfall profits, high-powered, extremely expensive K Street lobbyists, control their bought and paid for Congress, or, to paraphrase Will Rogers, “The best Congress the insurance companies money can buy.”

So who does your Congressperson represent? The sick and dying, or the profiteers?

Do they represent the money barons at the insurance companies because the sole purpose of those Representatives and Senators trying to kill the Public Option is to protect the obscene profits of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies?

Or do they represent their people – the uninsured, the underinsured, the pain and suffering of the sick and dying who desperately need the radical healthcare reform NOW, and know the Free Choice Public Option is the only way to get it – the only way to get real healthcare reform?

Nothing screams out more loudly of the enormous power of the Public Option to provide real competition that will drive down healthcare costs dramatically than the argument – the case – presented by those Congresspersons desperately trying to kill the Public Option … the argument to kill the Free Choice Public Option to protect private insurance healthcare only (the case actually proves the value and need of the Public Option Plan)

The Private Insurance Only Argument: “Public Option will provide the competition that will drive the private insurance companies out of business.”

This totally false scare tactic has had enormous success in scaring people away from the Public Option. Almost 50% of the people polled are against the Public Option because they are afraid of losing the healthcare they got.

Hello!! This argument that they will be forced to lose the healthcare they got is amazing – simply amazing! This argument proves beyond any possible doubt that the Public Option is the only way to drive down healthcare costs – the only way to acquire real open and free competition, which is the essence of America and American capitalism - an argument that overwhelmingly proves the value and need of the Free Choice Public Option Plan.

Why do they argue the Public Option will drive the private insurance companies out of business?

The only possible reason people will freely switch from the healthcare they got to the Public Option – the only possible reason – is the Public Option will provide equal or better healthcare at a lower cost and not allow preconditions or the healthcare providers to deny one out of five treatments doctors prescribe.

The only possible reason you would voluntarily – of your own free will – switch from the insurance you have to the Public Option is because the Public Option will provide equal or better healthcare at a lower cost.

Even better – you can choose the Public Option and still keep the insurance you have as tens of millions do with Medicare – using Medicare but having additional private insurance.
The Public Option is not an “either/or”. You can have both – if you like your private insurance – take the Public Option and keep what you have.

Hello, again!! What, again - in the name of God - is wrong with that? How does the Public Option hurt one single American, except those profiting off the suffering of the sick and dying?
Get rid of the excessive profits, and help the people – ALL the people – stop the bought and paid for Congresspersons from denying 99.9% of the American people the Public Option healthcare they desperately need! It’s as simple as that!

How you, by making only 5 phone calls, can form a network of voters that can generate an unbelievable amount of political power to give the support to all of those wanting to vote for the Public Option, including Obama, they desperately need – NOW!!! (click here)

Join the Free Choice Public Option Voter Revolt 5x5 Club! (click here)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Persona and Shadow of Sarah Palin

“Mom” … Palin giving her young daughter a real-life Bambi experience
Palin teaching her young daughter how to be a nourishing, nurturing, caring, supportive and loving mother by watching her kill the most trusting, helpless, gentle and passive of big animals, and then kneeling in triumph over it’s blood-covered body as it slowly dies

The Persona & Shadow
of Sarah Palin

Despite the incredible charm and charisma of Palin’s Persona, starting with her drop-dead gorgeous, all-American good looks, her glib, smooth-talking verbal skills, her warm and engaging personality, and her marvelous hockey mom façade …

… Sarah Palin’s extreme narcissism, severely damaged Maternal Instinct, severely damaged Feminine Instinct, and her malformed Animus – including her Vengeance Animus which makes her punitive minded, weakens her conscience, and makes her deceitful, who will shamelessly say and do anything to be elected - makes her, in view of McCain’s age, illness and potential Alzheimer’s, the most unqualified, dangerous and destructive Vice President in modern times.

The child is the unconscious battleground of the parents. – CG Jung

Whatever is going on in the conscious as well as the unconscious psyche of the parent, is played out in the child’s psyche, forming not only the child’s ego and conscious personality, but all of the complexes and attitudes in the child’s unconscious as well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pastor Rick Warren lied and decieved us ...

And continues to lie and deceive us days later on talk shows – putting a black mark on his incredibly great name, the incredible goodness of his great book, and the incredible great work he’s doing all over the world.

Rick Warren knowingly lied and deceived us when he stood in front of the national television audience and told us “… We have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence …” so McCain couldn’t possibly hear the questions in advance.

This was a conscious, deliberate lie, not a mistake or miscommunication. Rick Warren knew, as he himself has admitted on talk shows, that McCain was not safely in a “cone of silence.” Warren knew – absolutely - that McCain was not even in the building, that he had not even yet arrived – and yet look at the lie Warren brazenly tells his worldwide audience:

Warren’s language is very specific in what he tells the world, starting with his use of the word “we.” “We have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence.” He leads the world to believe he has personally seen that Senator McCain was put in this “cone of silence” – yet he never did any such thing. Nor did anyone on his staff do it and report to Warren that McCain was safely in the ‘cone of silence’ … for the simple reason McCain was not even there.

Why did Warren tell such a blatant lie? There is no possible way that anyone on his staff could have informed Warren that McCain was safely in the cone of silence when he wasn’t even there. He hadn’t even arrived on the premises. The only possible thing his staff could have told Warren is that they were getting panicky because McCain hadn’t yet arrived, and they had to go on the air in minutes. Warren himself had to panic about the no-show of his major player – unless he was aware of it and prepared for it.

Yet with everyone panicking that McCain had not yet arrived, and they were going on the air, with everyone desperately trying to locate McCain and get him there, Warren goes out and does an ugly, sinister thing. Warren tells the world audience, gives assurance to the world audience, that “we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence …” where Senator McCain could not possibly hear the questions Obama would be asked.

Warren said this even though he knew with absolute certainty McCain was not in a cone of silence, Warren knew that at the time he said that to the TV audience, McCain was in a motorcade, in a car where McCain could hear everything – on the car’s TV screen, on the radio, or have aides tell McCain of the questions being asked on his cell phone, blackberry, or any other message center. Not only could McCain hear the questions, his aides had plenty of time to prepare his answers.

Why did Pastor Warren so knowingly and consciously lie and deceive us – and that’s not the only lie and deception Pastor Warren did and continues to do on the talk shows.

When McCain’s turn came to be on the air, Warren, threw gasoline on his fire of lies and deception by sweetly asking McCain, “Now, my first question: Was the cone of silence comfortable that you were in just now?”

This is outrageous behavior on Warren’s part. Knowing full well that McCain was not even on the premises for over half of the first hour, and knowing that he was in the normal Green Room in another building since arriving, Warren intensifies his deceit and asks McCain if he was comfortable in the cone of silence when he knows full well McCain was not in a cone of silence for over half the show, or all of it.

Warren’s first lie and deceit – that we have safely put him in a cone of silence – was despicable enough. But Warren’s continuing to lie and deceive with that question he knows to be false is, frankly, repulsive, even though it comes from a hero of mine who preaches living every day in the moral code of Christ.

McCain plays his part in this ugly sinister deceit by deadpanning “I was trying to hear through the wall.”

Again, McCain was never – not for one second - isolated in a “cone of silence” – and Rick Warren knew it. When McCain finally did arrive a half hour into the show, he was put into a Green Room in a separate building where Warren insists they unplugged the TV set, ignoring the fact that in the Green Room McCain, or his aides, could have cell phones, blackberries, and written and verbal communication by his aides who were with him. McCain was not in an isolated booth where no one could communicate with him and tell him the questions and go over responses.

Warren continued to lie in defending his lie about McCain being isolated from the questions. When we finally learned the truth that McCain was in a car, Warren desperately tried to cover up his lie and deception by saying “Yes, McCain was in motorcade, but the Secret Service would keep him isolated.” That is patently absurd. So absurd it would be laughable if it didn’t have such serious repercussions on the Presidential race.

First of all, who gave the instructions to the Secret Service to not let McCain or any of his staff with him in the car turn on the radio, take away his cell phone, blackberry and iPod – not only McCain’s, but everyone in the car with McCain. Did those instructions come in a memo form, or given verbally? And by whom? The Supervisor of McCain’s Secret Service contingent? It’s beyond ludicrous that Pastor Warren is out there days later insisting that was the truth, what really happened.

Lastly, it is totally misleading and deceptive regarding the nature of the friendship, the relationship that develops between members of the Secret Service and the candidates they are putting their lives on the line to protect. It also ignores the opportunity for other staff members to quickly brief McCain on the questions as he parks the car and walks to the Green Room, or walks from the Green Room across the lot to the building in which the forum is being telecast from.

Two other deceptions! Conscious, deliberate deceptions!

Warren told his national television audience that the decision as to who would go first was decided by a flip of the coin. Though Warren doesn’t say it, the impression I, and everyone I know who watched the show, got from Warren’s statement that the flip of the coin was done as every flip of the coin is done before a major event, such as the Super Bowl, or overtime in a football game – the two opponents (McCain and Obama) gather with the referee (Warren) who says “Heads McCain, Tails Obama” and then flips the coin with all interested parties watching.
I did a anecdotal survey of 47 people who saw the show, and everyone of them thought Warren’s representation that it was done by a flip of the coin was done in the manner I just described, the manner we all assumed and expected it would be done. It was a shock for everyone of us to find out that Warren did the coin toss secretly weeks before, supposedly in front of his staff. Why would Warren represent – and clearly lead us to believe – that the coin toss was done in the standard open fair way when he did it surreptitiously well in advance of the night of the forum.

What possessed Warren to tell such an insinuation lie when he clearly and simply could have told us the truth on national television?

Shockingly, Warren does another lie by insinuation when he says first on national television and then over and over on talk shows in the days that follow, that he culled the questions from over 200,000 he received from his followers, again insinuating he reviewed them all and chose the questions he was going to ask. That by itself is another absurdity. To go through 200,000 questions would take a staff of ten people each going through 20,000 questions in the month leading up to the forum. That’s 5,000 a week, that’s 1,000 a day (714 if they worked seven days a week), and that doesn’t count the enormous amount of time and work involved in going through all of the questions the ten staff members selected, and narrowing them down to a mere 1% of the questions, 200, and then narrowing and re-narrowing them down to the questions Warren finally chose. It’s another pathetic ludicrous claim by Warren that he personally reviewed 200,000 questions from his followers.

The truth is Warren asked the questions he wanted to ask.

The ugly truth is that Warren asked questions that were, in the jargon of people who do interviews, “softballs,” “hit out of the park” questions that were perfect for McCain.

Why? Because Pastor Warren is a McCain supporter through and through, and he’s not honest enough to openly admit it.

A peak into that truth about Warren being pro-McCain came with McCain’s answer to Warren’s question about the role God and Jesus play in his life, and how McCain goes about the process of involving God and Jesus in his decisions. McCain never answered the question, and Warren never pressed him to answer. Instead McCain gave the story of when he was a Prisoner of War – a story he’s told hundreds of times at the drop of a hat – of one of his guard’s drawing a cross with his foot in the dirt. The story tells us something interesting about the guard, but absolutely nothing about the role Christ played in McCain’s life, especially his daily life, both personal and professional. And Warren let him get away with that story which in and by itself is beautiful and inspiring, always drawing applause as it did that night.

Another intriguing question about this whole affair that makes it look like a set-up. How come McCain was “late” getting to the forum? A national television event of enormous importance, close to the debate forum McCain has been screaming for, and McCain “accidentally” arrives late – over a half hour late???

That’s another absurdity. You would think that for a national television show this widely anticipated, McCain and Obama would have both gotten there at least one hour before air time. McCain wouldn’t dare risk being late for the show, and would never allow himself to be tied up by anything else that would make him over a half hour late. Neither McCain nor anyone on his staff would ever take such a terrible risk with such severe repercussions. His delaying his arrival so he could be informed of the questions was no accident. It was carefully planned and staged – all to the enormous benefit of McCain.

A powerful hint of this was that Obama when asked a question had to take time to think of his answer, and was clearly thinking of his answer for the first time, often taking time to reflect and consider what his answer would be. McCain never hesitated for a second on any answer – not one! He had a “ready-made answer” for every question, and never had to hesitate or even think about his answer. Any person, especially one vying for the Presidency, would have to take a moment – at least a moment – to reflect upon the question being asked - to consider it and mull it over in their minds as Obama did. Not McCain. After the preliminaries were over, McCain had a ready-made answer for every question he was asked. The tougher the question, the more immediate and ready-made McCain’s answer was.

This is not the only reason Obama bombed miserably on the show. He stunk all on his own, and some of his answers were embarrassing, like his answer to the question “When does life begin?” Obama’s answer “That’s above my pay scale,” was the typical weasely answer of a political spin doctor, and it stunk.

A tremendous amount of the failure of Obama rests solely on his shoulders and his inept performance. However, the enormous advantage Warren gave to McCain by allowing him to have the questions in advance – and then continue to defend that McCain didn’t get the questions in advance, gave McCain the opportunity to give a superb presentation, which Obama was denied.

The bottom line: 92% of the people we surveyed said – shockingly – they expect McCain to cheat, they do not expect Obama to cheat – which says it all.

What makes this such a pathetic event – a terribly sad and painful event – is that Rick Warren descended to this deceitful, lying game playing at the height of his career – a career in which he has done incredible things that have inspired tens of millions of people all over the world. A career in which he discovered an eternal truth in everyone finding a purpose in their life and sold twenty-five million books preaching it. A career in which he had been a tremendous force for good all over the world, bringing healing and hope to the oppressed, the poor and the starving. A career in which he had walked with “kings”, heads of nations, and not lost his common touch or his bringing of Christ’s message, of “doing to these the least of my brethren” as Obama said and complimented him for doing it.

It truly hurts to see a man of this greatness descend to this political chicanery and duplicity.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

VA Tech Tragedy ... How to PREVENT the next one

A simple, surefire way to prevent the kind of massacre that happened at Virginia Tech … a way that should be installed in every school, campus, public building and public square immediately to prevent one from happening again


  1. Every school campus, business, city and town should have a major alarm system of either sirens or horns, like hundreds of towns now have tornado warning systems, whether the danger be a gunman, bomb, tornado or hurricane.
  2. The moment the disaster siren goes off on the campus or in the community, everyone should seek immediate shelter and lock themselves in.
  3. Under no circumstances are authorities to release the lockdown and put people and children in harm’s way until the shooter, shooters, or group is fully apprehended and/or lies dead in the police’s presence.

More details …

A simple, surefire way to prevent the kind of massacre that happened at Virginia Tech … a way that should be installed in every school, campus, public building and public square immediately to prevent one from happening again.

  1. Install in every school, campus, post office, restaurant and factory a siren or tornado-type horn warning that goes off the moment a shot occurs, the same warning system that exists in hundreds of towns for tornadoes and hurricanes.
  2. The siren goes off the moment there is a danger, whether it be a gunman, a bomb, a tornado, a hurricane to warn every human being there is a serious danger present.
    Everyone immediately takes shelter wherever they can, not just in a building, but a classroom, a pantry, a closet, a basement or attic. They lock every door they can behind them – the entrance to the building, to the classroom, to the office, to the closet, so the gunman has to open multiple locks to get to anyone.
  3. They pull all shades, turn off all lights, and be as silent as possible.
  4. Every loud speaker system available in classrooms, buildings, stadiums, public squares, immediately broadcasts a red zone danger exists and take cover wherever you can, and turn on the Emergency Radio System, email system if it exists, and television to learn what’s happening from a safe place.
  5. OF CRUCIAL IMPORTANCE: Authorities do not end the lock down and bring people/students into the open unless and/or until the shooter is apprehended or lies dead at a policeman’s feet. If this simple step had been followed at Virginia Tech, instead of the authorities assuming the shooter left the campus, 34 people would still be alive, and over 20 not wounded. The authorities must be absolutely sure every shooter, or group, is apprehended, dead, or rendered incapable of harming anybody else.
    It is the height of irresponsibility to say we “heard” the shooter is gone so end the lock down and let everyone go back in harm’s way.
  6. Every school and campus should have mandatory indoctrination and training as to how to proceed when the disaster sirens go off, like we used to have for fire drills and air raid drills. The same holds true for employees of every business of every size – from the post office and McDonald’s, to city hall and factories.
  7. Every place that can, especially schools and campuses, should have a pre-assigned communication’s center where everyone can get up to date information regarding loved ones.
  8. In addition, there should be a number to call for an up to date message/recording as to what is happening, and what they should do next.

This is not difficult to do! Towns all across the south have the tornado warnings installed as we speak! How can we put a price tag on the safety and security of our children?

I go berserk when I hear the people defending the decision to let these children go to school because they "thought" the shooter "left campus ... maybe even the state." Please!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Libby Trial Commentary

Transcript for video above will be coming shortly!