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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Thursday, February 15, 2018

C-SPAN: Molly Worthen- Lectures in History: 20 Century Fundamentalism

Source: C-SPAN-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

According to Wikipedia:

A fundamentalist, "is a person who believes in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture in a religion."

That could cover any religion anywhere in the world but generally its's Protestants in America and Muslims in the Middle East and South Asia, parts of Africa who carry that label. Because they're not only religious fundamentalists, but people who are very political and use their religious fundamentalism as their political philosophy. You have countries in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia which officially is a monarchy, but they're also a theocracy and Islamic theocracy. As well as Iran that is official called the Islamic Republic of Iran. Before America invaded Afghanistan in 2001 because the Afghan Government was harboring terrorists who are partially responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Afghanistan under the Taliban Regime was an Islamic state.

You move to America and we see Christian fundamentalists who are Protestants and tend to be Southern or rural as well as Anglo-Saxon with their ancestors coming over here from England in the 16  1700's. America is obviously a federal republic as a well as a liberal democracy with a strong separation of church and state, but if fundamentalist Evangelicals had their way in America they would create their religious theocracy, at least the fringe wing of the Christian-Right in America and establish a fundamentalist Protestant-Christian Anglo theocracy in America. Where women's place in America would be a lot different and a lot more restrictive. Homosexuality and pornography, would obviously be illegal. Certain types of speech when it comes to entertainment but also how people communicate in America would be illegal. Cursing to use as an example. And the argument for these restrictions would be that God wouldn't approve.

There fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups like Al-Quada and ISIS in the Middle East and Africa, that are looking to take over territory and countries to establish their own religious theocracy. But there also fundamentalist Protestant terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan in America, that commit their racist terrorism in the name of God. As well as non-violent fundamentalist Protestant organizations on the Christian-Right in America that would like to see their religious and cultural values become law in America. Where everybody would be forced to live under those values. The Family Research Council would be an example of that. There was a famous Alabama Senate candidate last year whose governing political philosophy was what he called God's Law. His fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible is Roy Moore's governing political philosophy.

Religious fundamentalism doesn't have any one particular owner. Not one religion or religious faction owns religious fundamentalism. Whether it's the Islamic-Right in the Middle East or the Christian-Right in America, or other religious factions in the world. They're just people who believe so strongly in their religious and cultural values and take the literal text of their religious books so literally and believe in those values so strongly and believe they're so great and right, that everyone else should not only live under those same values, but in some cases when it comes to theocrats believe that people in their communities  and country's should be forced to live under the same religious and cultural values.
CSPAN: Professor Molly Worthen- Lectures in History: 20th Century Fundamentalism

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bloodletters and Badmen: Virginia Hill- Mistress To The Mob

Source: Bloodletters and Badmen-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

If you watch the movie Bugsy from 1991 with Warren Beatty playing Ben Siegel with Annette Being playing Siegel's mistress Virginia Hill, the movie portrays Virginia as much more than a mobster's mistress. Mistresses are common with mobsters and mobsters who are married with children is also common with both Italian and Jewish mobsters and perhaps Irish mobsters as well.

With the wives of the mobsters basically being babes in the woods. ( To use a Goodfellas line ) Basically unaware or ignoring what their husbands do for a living at least until their husbands go to prison for the first time. Then maybe, they get a clue that their husbands actually aren't actually construction workers or auto mechanics, legitimate businessmen, or whatever lie their husbands feed them as far as what they do for a living.

If you watch the movie Bugsy you see Virginia Hill as not just a mobster mistress but she basically handled the finances of Ben Siegel's Las Vegas operation and business. Siegel had the vision that Las Vegas would become a gambling and entertainment mecca that it is now today and has been since the 1960s if not farther back. But in the 1940s when Siegel got this vision Las Vegas was basically a pitstop four hours east of Los Angeles. Where people would go to gas up, get a bite to eat, perhaps stay for the night, but generally not a place where people would go to vacation. Unlike what it is now which is one of the top vacation towns in America.

Virginia Hill was not a babe in the woods. She knew who Ben Siegel was and that he was married with kids and that he was a New York mobster before they got involved out in Los Angeles. And didn't have any major issues with that. She was attracted to him physically, but his charm, his humor, and perhaps the most of all his power and wanted to be with him. And became his business partner and had a role in helping his build his Las Vegas casino which was the Flamingo.
Bloodletters and Badmen: Virginia Hill- Mistress To The Mob

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Mob Video Vault: Mobsters- Benjamin Bugsy Siegel

Source: Mob Video Vault-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

One of my favorite quotes about Ben Siegel was about his friendship with actor George Raft. The quote being that Ben Siegel was a mobster who wanted to be an actor. And George Raft was an actor who wanted to be a mobster. That is sort of how I view Ben Siegel. This Hollywood looking mobster who is the lead character and the mobster that is profiled in either Italian or Jewish mobster movies. Ben Siegel just didn't have the look of a criminal. At least not the look of a mobster or Ben's case a mobster enforcer who worked for both the Italian Mafia, even though he was Jewish and not Italian and also worked for Jewish mobsters like Meyer Lansky.

Now, Ben Siegel did have the look of a white-collar criminal, a scammer, gold digger who scams wealthy widows out the the money that they inherited from their dead husbands. Not saying that Ben Siegel didn't have the profile of a mobster or even enforcer but you see him walking around and he looks like a legitimate businessman. Perhaps a Jewish banker or something like that from New York. ( Not to play off on Jewish stereotypes )

But that is what made Ben so effective as a mobster is that even though he didn't have the face of a mobster or the overall appearance, he had the mental and physical toughness of a mobster. Plus the intelligence of not a mobster but someone who would've been a successful New York businessman. He was a lot smarter than the average even successful mobster in America. And that is not like saying he makes idiots look stupid or something. Or he's a really intelligent rookie. Siegel was a very bright man even though he never had much of a formal education. Who in some ways was even a visionary when it came to business especially gambling and casinos.

Along with Jimmy Hoffa, Ben Siegel is literally one of the architects of th modern Las Vegas that is so popular today. Siegel had the vision of a Las Vegas that would be come a popular entertainment vacation town back in the 1940s when Las Vegas was a town of about 10 thousand people or so. Seventy years later today Las Vegas is a city of about 600 thousand people and a metro area of about 2 million people. Siegel wasn't just a mafia hitman who eventually has his own crew and division that was part of a broader Mafia family. He was a businessman and a visionary in business.
Mob Video Vault: Mobsters- Benjamin Bugsy Siegel

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Eyes on Cinema: Michael Parkinson Show- John Wayne: On The Hollywood Blacklist, The American Way of Life & High Noon

Source: Eyes on Cinema-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I sort of see John Wayne as the original 20th Century Tea Party leader and defender of what he and people who thought like him of American values and their American way of life. And that people who disagreed with them politically and culturally were somehow Un-American. Wouldn't surprise me at all if John Wayne was Phyllis Schlafly's and Michele Bachmann's, and many other Tea Party figures, was their favorite actor. John Wayne here defending the Hollywood Blacklist and saying that it was necessary at the time because he didn't want Far-Left and in many cases Communists and that way of thinking, involved in Hollywood and writing and producing movies.

The Hollywood Blacklist was right-wing and even Far-Right fascism being imposed on Socialists and Communists in Hollywood, simply because they were Socialists and Communists and had a fringe political point of view on the Far-Left. If you're  someone who actually believes in free speech and just doesn't say that, then you don't have a problem with having people, beliefs, and values in the country that you disagree with. If you're a fascist whether you're on the Right or on the Left, the only speech that you believe is worthy to be heard or read and considered, is speech that comes from your side. So John Wayne who is supposed to be this champion of conservative values in Hollywood and one of those values is free speech, saying that some Americans don't have a right to be heard and even work, simply because they have beliefs that John Wayne views as Un-American.

I'm a Liberal, so of course I believe in free speech like all real Liberals do. Which means I believe in America because we're a liberal democracy where all people and all political beliefs have a constitutional First Amendment right to be heard. Whether it's Tea Party Nationalists on the Right, who believe left-wingers should be silenced because they see those views as Un-American. Or Socialists and Communists on the Far-Left, who believe right-wingers should be silenced because they see their views as bigoted and just promoting what they see as the materialistic racist American empire as they would see it. What John Wayne is telling Michael Parkinson in this 1974 interview coming from the Right or even Far-Right, is that Far-Leftists back in the 1940s and 1950s, didn't have a right to speak or work in Hollywood, because he saw their views as Un-American. Which is dangerous fascist thinking.
Eyes on Cinema: The Michael Parkinson Show- John Wayne: On The Hollywood Blacklist, The American Way of Life & High Noon

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Foundation Interviews: Betty Garrett- On Meeting Senator Joseph McCarthy

Source: Foundation Interviews-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

That must have been a meeting where you would want to have a camera and video rolling so you always have that memory with you and can always remember it accurately and share with everyone else. Actress Betty Garret, an actual Communist and a one-time member of the Communist Party USA in the 1940s and 1950s. Senator Joseph McCarthy, a right-wing demagogue what we would call today and perhaps back then a Nationalist as well as tribalist, fascist even. Who believed he and people who thought like him were the only true Americans and people who dissented from him like Communists, Socialists, and Liberals, were Un-American. And should be in jail or at least not allowed to speak out and express themselves politically and otherwise.

How would a meeting like that go? A Communist meeting a right-wing Nationalist-tribalist. The 1950s version of Governor George Wallace, or Donald Trump today. What would a Communist who is as Far-Left as you can get politically and believes all aspects of private ownership should be illegal and would work to eliminate all aspects of individualism including, freedom of religion in society ( if Betty Garrett was truly a hardcore Communist ) say to a Nationalist-fascist who believes people shouldn't even be allowed to believe in communism, let alone practice those politics and be a political activist. It must have been like President Richard Nixon going to China in 1971 or President Ronald Reagan negotiating with Russia over nuclear weapons reduction in the mid and late 1980s.

Betty Garrett I believe was right about Joe McCarthy at least in this aspect. That McCarthy didn't have any sense of morality in the sense that he had a mission and to hell with who he hurts along the way to try to accomplish that mission. Apparently including himself since a Republican Senate censored him over his activities during his tenure as Chairman of the Investigations Committee in 1953-54. McCarthy was full speed ahead to try to accomplish his mission which was to eliminate all Communists and perhaps Socialists in general from the U.S. Government and use that as a launching pad to run for President probably in 1960. We've had plenty of bad people who have served in Congress including racists and KKK members, but Joe McCarthy was certainly one of the worsts we've ever had.
Foundation Interviews: Betty Garrett- On Meeting Senator Joseph McCarthy

Thursday, January 11, 2018

BCP Theater: Featuring Marsha Mason & The Cast of Chapter Two!

Source: BCP Theater-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Not saying Chapter Two is one of my favorite movies, at least not yet. Maybe after I've seen it another 10-20 times which will probably happen, then maybe it will become one of my favorite movies. Chapter Two is certainly one of my favorite Marsha Mason movies as well as James Caan. And is certainly one of my favorite dramatic comedies. And this is exactly what it is. A movie with a lot of humor, with very funny people and not the just the two main players, but Joe Bologna and Valerie Harper as well. But also a  movie with serious drama with a man dealing with serious issues about not getting over the death of his first wife and not ready to move on from her, but not realizing that until he remarries a beautiful woman that he truly loves.

Dramatic comedy to me at least and speaking as a fan of Alfred Hitchcock who I at least believe is the master of both dramatic comedy but suspense comedy, is comedy about serious issues. If you look at the great sitcom M*A*S*H you see exactly what dramatic comedy is. People who find themselves in crazy but serious situations but then find a way to make fun of that as a way to let out how they feel about their situation, as well as a way to maintain their sanity. If you watch the movie Chapter Two, the first hour or so of the movie is all comedy and sarcasm about romance and romantic relationships that the four main characters have been involved in life. With the characters being very open and honest about their struggles and successes with their relationships.

The Joe Bologna character Leo essentially saying that he loves his wife, but he loves women more and can't be satisfied with just one woman. He loves being married, but he can't handle being settled down with just one woman. The George Schneider character (played by James Caan) not ready to move on from his first wife who is dead, but is pressured by his brother Leo to start dating again. Talking about his last few dates and how awful and flawed the women that he went out with were. And being very funny about those dates and the women he went out with.

The whole way that Jennie (played by Marsha Mason) and George get together is funny. Neither one sure they want to go out with the other, but are intrigued attracted enough with the other that they don't want to let the opportunity go and share a few funny and charming phone calls together before they finally set up a pre-date with each other. And spend 5-10 minutes together starting to get to know each other before deciding that they want to go out on a real date.

And then the drama, well depression really as far as George sets in and he goes into this deep mental shell. After it sets in that he's married again to a different woman  a beautiful adorable charming witty woman in Jennie and now has officially moved on from his dead wife and starts taking out his frustrations on his new wife. And the rest of the movie becomes about whether George and Jennie will stay together. Will George break out of his shell and bring his new beautiful wife into his life.

Chapter Two is a great movie for people who are fans of both drama and comedy, because you get the best of both worlds. very dramatic serious scenes involving very serious and honest people, who have a great way of expressing those feeling with very quick and smart humor. This is not a softball comedy about very ordinary or less than ordinary people who find themselves way in over their heads and as a result commit all sorts of screw ups. Or a heavy-hitting drama that can leave people crying half way into the movie because of how dramatic and depressing the movie is. But instead a movie about good honest people who find themselves going though rough times, but use smart humor as a way to express how they feel and get though those situations in life.
BCP Theater: Featuring Marsha Mason & The Cast of Chapter Two

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Spoon Full of Paulo: Intimate Interview With Marsha Mason

Source: A Spoon Full of Paulo-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

When I think of Marsha Mason I think of that smile and laugh. She's so freakin cute and silly, reminds me of Dyan Cannon at least in that sense. So, if I were talking to her I would do anything I could to get her to either laugh or smile so I could see her doing those things and then give her a big hug and yell out, "you're so cute! Because that is exactly what she is just flat out adorable and silly and at times like a little girl.

As far as Marsha Mason as an actress, she's very good if not great and very versatile. Love her in romantic comedies like the Goodbye Girl, but she's also great in dramatic roles like Heartbreak Ridge with Clint Eastwood, but Heartbreak Ridge is also a very funny movie as well. Its basically a action/comedy or at least dramatic/comedy dealing with serious issues obviously being about the U.S. Marine Core. And it also has very funny people in it including Clint, but Marsha, Mario Van Peebles and others.

She's an actress who I think was born for dramatic comedy and Chapter Two with James Cann is another example of that where that movie gets very cold and dramatic with the Jimmy Cann character, but she's so good in it in trying to bring back this widower that she just married out of his shell and getting him to open up to her and is pretty funny in how she expresses her honest anger at him for shutting her out mentally, because he's still stuck on his beautiful but dead wife.

Chapter Two that also had Valerie Harper and Joe Bologna, is a great funny look at romance in life and how early middle age Americans in New York deal with failed and failing marriages and trying to start over in life. A perfect role for Marsha because you get to see her great dramatic as well as comedic abilities in that movie. The same thing with Jimmy Cann as well. Who plays a great wiseass in that movie, at least when he's not depressed.

Marsha Mason is still this beautiful adorable actress, but has always been that good. But she's always been a great dramatic/comedic actress similar to Joan Collins, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Raquel Welch. She's really this great and if you see this interview she see how silly and adorable she is and if I was interviewing her in this piece I would have swamped her with charm and humor as well, just to see those big adorable cheeks and to see her laugh and be silly. She's someone who is a lot of fun and great to look at, but one of the best actresses we seen in a long time.
A Spoon Full of Paulo: Intimate Interview With Marsha Mason