Saturday, June 29, 2019
In the 1950's and 1960's, some Hollywood movie producers apparently collaborated with the fascist regime in Spain of then-Spanish dictator Franco. As Neal M. Rosendorf recalled, for example, in his 2014 book, Franco Sells Spain To America: Hollywood, Tourism and Public Relations as Postwar Spanish Soft Power:
"...United Artists [UA]...had been...cultivating friendly relations with the Franco regime through its distribution operation in Spain. The company's representative in the country was George Ornstein, the son-in-law of UA co-founder and majority shareholder Mary Pickford...In the 1960s, he would be awarded both the Order of Civil Merit and Spain's highest civilian honor, the Order of Isabelle the Catholic, for his work in promoting U.S. film production in Spain...."
According to the same book:
"The first of the massive UA...productions was Robert Rossen's Alexander the Great...Robert Rossen flew to Spain in the winter of 1955, and UA trumpeted the start of filming in a full-page Variety advertisement that stressed the Spanish location shooting..."
Besides Robert Rossen, another Hollywood movie producer who apparently collaborated with Spain's fascist Franco regime in the 1950's was Stanley Kramer. As the Franco Sells Spain To America book also observed:
"The Pride and the Passion, produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, was of importance to the Franco regime...
"Stanley Kramer was one of Hollywood's most noted liberals--Kramer's modus operandi provided a template for the long-term Spanish-based production efforts of Samuel Bronston that commenced a couple of years later.
"From the time that Kramer first proposed his project to the Franco regime in September 1955 the Spanish authorities were supportive...In October 1955, Kramer met with Minister of Information and Tourism Gabriel Arias Salgado, to whom he laid out his plan...Kramer went on to meet with Francisco Franco himself, in which he `explained in detail the project and the effort needed to realize this grand production'...The Spanish government quickly granted filming permission to The Pride and the Passion enterprise...The dictatorship kept close tabs on the developing script...In response to the Franco regime's demands, producer-director Kramer would order the necessary script changes..."
According to the same book, "the most important figure in the development of `Hollywood in Madrid' and the political and economic benefits that accrued to the Franco dictatorship, was film producer Samuel Bronston, who established a full-blown American studio in Spain." As the Franco Sells Spain To America recalled:
"From the late 1950's through the early 1970's, Bronston forged and maintained a uniquely intimate relationship with the Franco regime. Indeed, the Bronston-Franco partnership marks the closes ongoing political collaboration to date between a Hollywood film production operation and a foreign government...
"Bronston...established his studio with the close collaboration of the Franco regime. The Spanish government facilitated the producer's efforts at every turn with monetary aaid, materiel, logistics and special legal arrangements and concessions. The regime's estimation of Bronston's singular value was marked by its presentation to him of the Order of Isabelle the Catholic...High-ranking regime figures moonlighted as fixers, consultants and scriptwriters in the Bronston organization, including at least one serving Spanish ambassador to the U.S. And when international creditors...came after Bronston..., the Spanish government would for almost a decade provide him with cover and a safe haven...
"...Bronston, backed by the fortune of Pierre du Pont III, produced among other films...El Cid (1961)..., as well as King of Kings, The Fall of the Roman Empire, and several other epics...Bronston also made, gratis, a series of propaganda films for the Spanish government that were screened both domestically in Spain and internationally, including in the U.S.."
The same book also observed:
.Spain had a dictatorship that was very open to collaborating with American producers, provided they toed the line set down by the government...In early 1966 MGM, fresh from filming most of Doctor Zhivago in Spain, was quietly but firmly warned that the MIT [Ministry of Information and Tourism] was offended by a planned epic about Francisco Pizarro and the conquest of the Incas, The Royal Hunt of the Sun...MGM took the hint and halted production..."
Monday, June 24, 2019
In 2019 some Democratic Party politicians have been claiming that their Billionaire-donor-funded political party serves the economic class interests of U.S. workers when a Corporate Democratic President occupies the White House oval office. Yet according to Jack Rasmus's 2012 Pluto Press book, Obama's Recovery: Recovery For The Few, during the first term of the 2009-2017 Corporate Democratic Obama-Biden Administration in Washington, D.C.:
"...More than a million additional jobs were...lost between December 2008 and June 2010 after Obama's $787 billion stimulus was introduced. Construction jobs declined from 6.83 million in December  to 5.78 million by June 2010, a loss of 1.05 million jobs. Similarly, manufacturing jobs over the same 18-month period fell from 12.98 million to 11.60 million, a decline of 1.38 million...There was essentially no actual jobs creation program in Obama's initial economic recovery proposals of January 2009, or in the final version that was eventually passed by Congress in February 2009...For the entire year [of 2009], the first of Obama's term in office, total foreclosed properties were a record, 3,240,867, almost a million more than in 2008..."
The same book also indicated how the Corporate Democratic Obama-Biden Administration apparently served the special economic interests of Wall Street investment banks when a Corporate Democratic President occupied the White House oval office between 2009 and 2017:
"At the top of Obama's economic recovery priority list was the bank bailout--not job creation, not housing...It was no accident that the banking and finance industry was the single largest campaign contributor to Obama's 2008 election.
"...In 2008...the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP...was $700 billion in funds provided by Congress to the U.S. Treasury to buy banks' bad assets...
"The TARP approach to bank bailouts proved ineffective and politically risky...The $700 billion...raised taxpayer ire. TARP was too visible and thus was dangerous politically for administration and Congress alike. Using the Federal Reserve to bail out the banks was far less visible and preferable politically.
"...It wasn't until July 2010 that...it became public the Fed had spent $9 trillion on the bank bailouts up to that date...The Fed was insulated from electoral--and therefore Congressional--pressure to a large extent...The Federal Reserve could simply print money in the worst situation, if necessary, to bail out the financial sector...The U.S. government undertook...bank stress tests...in March ...to...artificially boost bank stock prices...
"With more capital on hand from the stock appreciation and offerings, the banks loaned out the additional funds...to speculators like hedge funds, private equity firms and the like. The latter were busy speculating in Chinese property, foreign currencies, derivatives, swaps and similar investments. The banks that loaned them the funds in turn made nice profits, which further boosted their stock prices. Banks thus turned once again to the speculative investing that got them into trouble in the first place. The government turned a blind eye to the practice...The Fed charged the banks a mere 0.25 percent for banks to borrow funds from it. The banks then lent the money to speculators globally and received returns of 6 to 10 percent on average. Free money from the Fed for above-average market returns...
"So the method by which the banks and other financial institutions were effectively `rescued' or bailed out was...via...the Fed, through means of near zero cost loans, with interest paid to the banks on those loans, and via measures that artificially boasted bank stocks...such as phony stress tests and suspension of reasonable accounting rules..."
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
A folk love song about spreading your love around and avoiding coupleism and exclusionary love relationships.
If you share your love
With more than one
It might be wisdom
If you share your love.
Some people just care for one person
Some people just care for their children
So many hearts closed to the world
So much love but just for a few. (chorus)
People become possessions, couples versus the world
Like nations on different islands, with separate flags unfurled
They go through life coming close to one or two
And how much love they lost nobody seems to know. (chorus)
Bombs fall far away, many do not care
They say they're in "love," but they do not share
Is it really "love"? or mutual flattery?
Can you talk of love when there's monopoly? (chorus)
When I discover love, I'll pass it on to you
When you discover love, I hope you'll share it too
Some find love easily, some cry in misery
Some give love for a fee, few share love equally. (chorus)