Any Cost for the Race to Victory

DATELINE: World War II & Big Three

Leave it to History Channel to bait and switch its viewers yet again.

It seems after weeks of calling Race to Victory  a three-part series, it now appears it is multi-part series. Worse yet, History Channel simply tagged on the nextepisode after the third (now penultimate episode). But, wait, there’s even more!

Events superseded individuals in the first two episodes, but we wanted to see more about the interpersonal and psychological ties between the Big Three. This is a glaring omission in an otherwise excellent series. Now it appears this may be coming in the unknown fourth and fifth episode of the show.

We still have no idea what the “race to victory” of the title means. No explanation seems to have been offered, and self-evident strikes us as ridiculous.

 

This is still fascinating stuff: starting with Germany trying to break up the new alliance of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt, by revealing mass graves of Stalin’s victims. It didn’t work because the Allies needed the lesser of the two evils.

The first meeting of the Big Three didn’t happen because Roosevelt was too sick to travel to Asia where Churchill and Stalin actually became friendly. Stalin wanted aid to Leningrad, but Churchill was set on fighting in Africa to protect the Suez Canal.

 

The States were also preparing to take on the Pacific campaign to regain Midway. Both Brits and Americans were breaking Axis codes—and that was the real turning point, but it didn’t hurt to have General Patton show up to give the Nazis a headache.

There are likely many tidbits in this series that only diehard buffs of World War II will know. For the rest of us, this is illuminating and intriguing.

 

 

 

Orange Hair is the New Blackface!

DATELINE: All Lives Anti-Matter!

 Upside Down to an Illiterate?

There goes the neighborhood! That is Trump’s reaction to having a giant sign that says, “Black Lives Matter” in front of his New York Trump Tower.

Apart from thinking that a peaceful movement is a “symbol of hate,” he believes that people who share that view are likely terrorists. He is concerned that the valuable property on Fifth Avenue will never have a white Easter parade again.

This revelation from a man who touts supporters who cry out, “White Power,” and brandish weapons aimed at peaceful marchers, is typical of a man who is going down to Fifth Avenue, with a gun where he famously announced he could shoot someone and never lose a vote.

We now know the people he prefers to shoot are likely black people.

 

The real symbol of hate in 2st century America is sitting in the Oval Office, fielding softball questions from Sean Hannity on TV. And, even then, he cannot answer a question directly—like what horror of genocide will he perform if re-elected.

We do know that in Trump’s world, Robert E. Lee enjoys more protection than a young black man under surveillance by your local police.

He is fighting mad and fighting like hell you never read a book about him, as he is desperate to stop his niece’s unsavory details about a man who put money before family.

Then, again, when your father marches in KKK rallies back in the 1920s, you may be justified in taking his money away from him when he reached the Alzheimer stage of old age. He probably thought black lives matter.

Epstein’s Murder Will Out

DATELINE: Prime Suspect.

Alex Acosta & friend.

Maybe we will learn what really happened to Jeffrey Epstein, but not while William Barr is AG and Trump is POTUS. The only prosecutor prepared to go after Epstein and his co-conspirators was fired by Trump recently.

Yes, Geoffrey Berman did what Alex Acosta would not, and Trump has dismissed him. Acosta was paid off with an appointment to Secretary of Labor, but resigned two days after Epstein’s death. Trump praised him, and he ignored victims of child abuse.

Why would a man be taken off suicide watch in the federal prison? Have his Bunkie removed? And be given dozens of sheets and extension cords? Someone certainly made sure he had a message to kill himself.

Who is ultimately in charge of the Federal Bureau of Prisons? None other than the man whose father was a pal of Epstein, William Barr. And who is Barr’s superior? The man who was a close friend of Epstein, Donald Trump.

All the dots are there in this series, but no one dares to connect them. It’s dangerous, and Ghislaine Maxwell has her helicopter pilot license and is off globe-trotting. Epstein put his will into the Virgin Islands legal system, an irony for the owner of the Lolita Express jet. It is also a means to deny anyone access to his estate for at least a decade.

Murder or suicide? Both Michael Baden and Cyril Wecht, America’s two most prominent pathologists, will give you an answer that is disturbing.

WW2 Race to Victory: Second Episode

DATELINE: No Re-enactors!

 

  FDR & Winnie

History Channel’s new series Race to Victory  started off shakily in the second installment by suggesting that both Stalin and Roosevelt were surprised by the attacks on their countries. Putting the drunken bender of Stalin in line with philatelist FDR. It seemed bad taste, and outright preposterous.

The excellent photo footage is most remarkable in its selection and usage. The second episode began in early 1941 well before Pearl Harbor to show how much Churchill tried to entice FDR to give up isolationism and convince America to fight with the British Empire.

FDR was a capitalist against empires, and Churchill was the epitome of the colonial mentality. Though they met and personally liked each other, there was no agreement on this sticking point. And, both were reluctant to accept Stalin, but his massive country was important if they were to stop Hitler.

The series skips with balletic care the idea that Pearl Harbor was a deliberate set-up to bring America into the war. However, we know from our father, a Naval officer in the war, that he and others believed it firmly.

The end of 1941 was Hitler and Japan’s run to victory on both fronts. The Japanese immediately took hold of all the key ports of the Pacific, making America’s requirement for two fronts. It undercut Churchill’s plans for the US to fight strictly in Europe.

However, this compelling series manages to pull together extraordinary historical film and pictures to make this a a refreshing and powerful series that depicts the Big Three in ways you may not expect.

 

 

Inner Circle of Jeffrey Epstein

DATELINE: Friends in High Places

Ghislaine Maxwell and friends.

The second part of the Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein  series delves into his close associates, while hinting that his accumulation of wealth may have been by fraud.

Epstein skates away from every investigation by dint of his personality, or bank account. His true rise to superpower came from a woman named Ghislaine Maxwell, a daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell. She came to Epstein at a low point: her father died in a strange boating accident, some suggesting he was a spy for Israel and was assassinated.

Ghislaine moved into the New York residence, becoming his partner in sex crimes—procuring young girls. She was also a bon vivant and knew everyone from royals to movie stars, to celebrities of all stripes.

She and Epstein had pinhole cameras in every residence and amused themselves with video scenes of the rich and famous at parties, in bedrooms, on the private jet, and wherever Epstein set them up.

A few girls tried to escape—but they found his long reach of checkbooks would thwart any FBI or prosecution. In fact, he had a future Trump cabinet official in his hip pocket when he was a mere Palm Beach prosecutor.

Girls were plucked out of Trump’s Winter White House, the notorious Mar-a-lago. One 14-year old named Virginia Roberts began a nightmare relationship with Epstein, only escaping to Thailand when he ordered her to bring back a 12-year old girl.

By the new century, Epstein had broadened his social world to Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, and scores of the richest men in the world. He redefined himself as a philanthropist despite a conviction as a pedophile. He was tied to MIT, Stanford, and Harvard, as a big donor to research. Many fell prey to his clever manipulations.

Once ensnared, many famous men were likely unable to break out unless there was payment of some sort.

Marilyn Declassified

DATELINE: Patsy Monroe? 

In a new documentary called Marilyn Monroe Declassified,  director and writer Paul Davids in 2016 tackled the thorny subject of the probable suicide (its official designation) almost 60 years later.

He takes much archival footage and tries to find rare insights to give a background in his premise that it was more likely her death was an improbable suicide.”

No doubt that even decades later, Marilyn is a glowing and beautiful icon, transcending time and place. She may be up there in a few thousand years with women like Helen of Troy. Yes, legends easily pass into mythology with a background like Marilyn.

This film purports to examine both FBI and CIA documents only recently released to public scrutiny.

Using some fairly reputable scholars and researchers, the film veers off the standard biography patter for the final 20 minutes or so when the revelations about affairs with the Kennedy brothers (President and Attorney General) devolves into a mob contracted hit to embarrass the Kennedy Administration, led by the CIA guru and demonologist, James Angleton.

Sam Giancana, who believed the Kennedys betrayed him, was an eager contractor for Angleton. All stones could be unturned and thrown into the ocean when used. You may well ask yourself why it took 4 hours to call the police to report Marilyn was dead by her housekeeper (allegedly a CIA agent). After that, all bets are off.

The connection to Kennedy revealing to Monroe about the truth of the Roswell incident is documented in CIA/FBI reports. Whether true or not, she believed it and was prepared to use it, but the CIA was not about to accept that reality.

This documentary may seem to have gone off the rails, but it also seems grounded in the horrors that not even Ancient Alienswill tackle. It appears Oswald was not the only Patsy in a  conspiracy-ruled world.

Prince of Cool: Chesney Baker!

DATELINE: 1954 Buddy

 Chet as Challenger.

Was he really the first jazz musician in the early 1950s with a gay following? In a world of macho and homophobic jazz fans, Chet was often was dismissed as “faggy,” and singing like a girl. His style was decidedly feminine, often impossible to tell whether it is a boy or a girl’s voice. Think of Astrud Gilberto or Stan Getz.

He chose to sing a few ditties, that cemented the belief. His “My Buddy,” is shockingly gay for 1954.  And, his other plaintive tunes, like “Just Friends,” seem to sum up a gay world experience in the closet days of yore. He was always with beautiful women and a dog, as if to throw the bloodhounds off scent.

You half expect him to sing out about the love that dare not speak its name. And, then he bookends his melancholy sound with an amazing trumpet rendition that is subtle and delicate.

Gay historians may have missed him simply for not looking in the unexpected world of jazz by the Prince of Cool, as he was known to the aficionados of the day. He speaks convincingly, “How could you know what love is?” It almost seems a finger-poke to the straight eye.

“Miss your voice, the touch of your hand

Just long to know that you understand

My buddy, my buddy, your buddy misses you.”

Bruce Weber did a lionizing documentary on Chesney, Let’s Get Lost, which has been called homoerotic, rather knowingly. If you want a copy on DVD or tape, you will pay through the trumpet, unless you can play a Euro version on your recorder.

He was beautiful in his youth—and the camera loved him. By the end, the drugs and careless living took a hideous toll on his face. His talent remained, like a granite pyramid.

Chet Baker was hardly gay, in any open way, but was a sexually charged creature.

When Chet blew off a movie role as a trumpeter, Robert Wagner replaced him in  All The Fine Young Cannibals.

Weber’s biographical docurama contains the last haunting images of Chet before he either jumped off a hotel roof in Amsterdam, or was thrown off by drug dealers to whom he owed money.

The movie is stunning in its black and white sharpness: Chet Baker was James Dean, Louis Armstrong, and Picasso, all rolled into a trumpet.

Race to Victory: History ‘s Honorable Series

 DATELINE: Original Big Three

  Winnie.

In an age of re-enactors playing historical figures and onerous narrators, History Channel has gone against its own monster: we have World War II: Race to Victory,  a three-part examination of the Big Three of the greatest war in history.

World War II: Race to Victoryis a throwback to the grand documentaries of CBS back in the 1950s and 1960s. It is purely informative and uses rare footage to enhance the lessons.

With a plethora of newsreels, photos, and historical documents, it seems that History is drawing on this goldmine of records, news films, and interviews. And, they are not colorizing the brilliant black and white footage.

The series starts with an examination of Winston Churchill and his nemesis Neville Chamberlain. On the same side, they were bitter opponents, but had to live with the other in their cabinets.

Churchill’s rhetoric still makes him transcend all others in the 20thcentury. His persuasive powers were made for an age when behind-the-scenes patricians ran the British government. And make no mistake, the Brits did not have a democracy in the American sense.

While Churchill uses his techniques to great advantage, he falls short with his counterparts: Franklin Roosevelt will not be drawn into the war before he was ready, and Josef Stalin didn’t believe anything Churchill told him.

If there is a revelation in the first episode, it is that Chamberlain’s appeasement was a misnomer. He was buying time for a country not ready for war; to Churchill, that meant nothing.

Race to Victory  plays on the rivalries and mistrust among the original Big Three, and we hope future episodes are of the same high quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Confederate Roots

DATELINE:Pass the Buttersworth!

Is there an official tally somewhere?  Just how many slaves does Donald Trump own?

Trump will miss Aunt Jemima when she’s gone.

Based on his vehement defense of Confederate generals, flags, and plantation mentality, we presume he is the last slave owner in America. Or, are we mistaken? Those people surrounding him are zombies, not slaves.

Maybe it was Fred Trump, the KKK wannabe wizard, who owned the slaves or treated his workers like slaves.

The brain dead seem to gravitate to the man whose billions of dollars may well be in Confederate currency.

Throw anyone in jail who dares to malign Gone with the Wind.

Donald Trump may be the only person in the United States who is standing on the dock awaiting the arrival of  Mississippi gamer boat, Waiting for the Robert E. Lee, of Al Jolson fame.

No doubt Trump prefers Jolson in black-face singing, “Mammy,” as he pours Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup on his Uncle Ben rice.

He likely hums “I Wish I Were in Dixie,” before going onstage for his notorious political rallies.

Jeff Davis would be proud. John Wilkes Booth would not shoot Trump.

Jerry Jones & Bill Belichick: Birds of a Feather

DATELINE:  Systemic Problem in NFL

The two foremost social thinkers of the 19thcentury remain powerful symbols of racial injustice:  the NFL now claims it did not listen to those uppity black players who believe they are living in an unequal and unjust system of police rioters.

The two biggest symbols of the NFL –Jerry Jones and Bill Belichick—have maintained their deafening silence on the subject of George Floyd and racial brutality.

Their defenders claim that, in private, both are dismayed that their black players are not happy.  But, they are not moved much more than Trump on the scale of justice. Oh, yes, they are both MAGA men.

In the Massachusetts senator debate last night, Joe Kennedy, grandson and great-nephew of Robert and John Kennedy said the Patriots ought to sign Colin Kaepernick. Fat chance: that white snowball in hell belongs to the NFL.

Oh, yes, Robert Kraft is a Trump supporter too.

Defenders of the symbols of NFL victory lappers will never come out and admit their worlds are backward and their views are racist.

It’s hard to draw any other conclusion in the face of such rampant ostrich head burying.

There are those rednecks who line the streets holding automatic weapons as a show to intimidate peaceful demonstrators. There are those resemble the Boston Strangler who put a knee to the neck of the helpless victims but wear police uniforms or NFL neckties.

85% of America think the country is out of control. Among the minority here are Jerry Jones and Bill Belichick: they are always in control, even if your civil rights are thrown out the window.

These are members of the Orange Pips.

Acorn Falls from KKK Tree

DATELINE: KKK and Fred Trump

New York March of the KKK on Memorial Day, 1927!

President Trump practically gave himself a hernia in his latest apoplectic denial to the Twitterverse. He denies vehemently that his father attended and may have been arrested at a Klu Klux Klan rally (one of those big events Trumps appear to like) in Brooklyn in 1927. It came only a few years after KKK burned down a black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the notorious Wall Street Massacre.

Trumps like to repeat history.

Police are pictured above rounding up the usual suspects.

Donald Trump may deny till he is blue in the white hood, but there was a parade of Klansmen on Memorial Day in 1927—and police took five or six stalwart marchers aside. The big issue is whether Fred Trump was detained, or simply arrested.

We also don’t know if he had a deluxe Klan robe.

Whether the President’s father’s wizard-style caused him to be detained or arrested is a matter of, you guessed it, inflammatory semantics. They didn’t have stun guns back then, or Fred Trump might have been knocked on keester. Fat keesters also run in the Trump family.

Apparently, to be detained by police, your questioning must be “brief and cursory,” and after that, if you seem to be suspicious, they can arrest you.

Whether there was probable cause is the big issue. Knowing the Trump family, we suspect that “probable cause” is their middle name.

Police records are not being provided to the media from the arrest, but newspaper accounts are rife from the era. We provide one picture here from the Brooklyn fake news media.

Twenty years before the President’s birther records were faked, his father was one of six dubious marchers who were pulled aside for belligerence and racial intolerance (that’s the suspicion).

Whether Nature or Nurture, we now have more evidence, however circumstantial, that the acorn does not fall far from the Grand Wizard’s old oak tree.

Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer

DATELINE: Not in the Movie!

  Gomes has an ‘S”for scandal.

Despite the salacious title, you will see the male ballet dancer, but not much of his on-stage anatomy. And, you will not hear about the sex charges made against him.

Marcelo Gomes is one of the foremost contemporary dancers, and he does allow an inside look at his life, but you will not be going into his most private life.

His name is pronounced or mispronounced all too often: he is Marshelo Gomess, not like the Marchello Gomez.

He professes a hope to fall in love one day (on the backside of his career as a dancer in his 30s, we may think time is running out.

By all accounts he is the most proficient, modest, technically correct dancer of the age. Ballerinas love that he only performs to make them look better.

Marcelo has all the problems you might expect: he was an oddity, the only boy in ballet school growing up. He was clearly talented from the get-go. He is a genius in his work, and in his personality. He grew up in Brazil and never spoke English until he was 17. He sounds like he was born in Poughkeepsie.

His father and he are alienated, though they meet pleasantly in the film. However, the elder will not attend any performances, and the reason is not explored.

He studied in Paris and picked up French instantly. His great problem nowadays is injury. When he dances at St. Petersburg, he is overwhelmed to see Nijinsky’s rose petal costume from Spectre de la Rose,but he hears a bone crack when he dances Giselle.

He knows that his career is on its last legs, and he is already preparing to become a choreographer in his post-dance days.

As a personable and most untemperamental man, he came out on magazine covers, still shocking to many even today. He has a pet dachshund, and there is no boyfriend to be seen in this film. If you think you have a chance with him, this is your time for a pas de deux.

Apart from the creepy title, we thoroughly enjoyed this marvel of the modern dance world—and the film too. Alas, shortly after the film’s release, Gomes was accused of sexual harassment and resigned from the ABT. Nothing in the film indicates this issue.

Pointless and Pointed at West Point

DATELINE:  Drinking Underhanded?

Only Trump could confuse West Point with Waterloo. Water, water, everywhere, but he could hardly raise the glass to drink.

Your racially insensitive president (according to black Republican Sen. Tim Scott, SC) insisted that the young officer graduates of West Point be called back from home for a two-week isolation period. They had to do it as it was an order. He wanted to have them listen to his speech sitting shoulder to shoulder, no distance or masks for them.

More than a dozen cadets in the class have tested positive for COVID-19. They didn’t take their hydroxy swigs.

Yes, in a month of disasters, Trump managed to create another in his re-election bid.

These feckless West Point graduates also would be denied having family and friends in attendance by presidential order. No wonder the applause meter was broken at the ceremony—and Trump was about as flat as you ever heard him.

If matters were going from bad to worse, you had a president who displayed now more strange symptoms of a malady of unknown origin.  It underscored his inability to stand still at the graves of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington on Memorial Day.

At West Point Trump could not pronounce words like Douglas MacArthur. He could not lift a bottle of water to his lips with one hand: he needed two hands, which showed that the sound of one-hand clapping is strictly Zen in this administration.

He also had trouble negotiating the ramp down from the dais. Trump was angry when people suggested he was a doddering old man who needed assistance. It reminded many of his catcalls to Hilary when he said she was not healthy enough to be president. He claimed the ramp was wet (no rain had fallen) and there was no guard-rail to hold onto.

Those who have called the POTUS a madman, a psychiatric mess, and worse, now were able to note in excusing the Commander in Chief that he showed all the characteristics of a man with a neurological disorder.

Something akin to a brain tumor.

This tumor rumor set Trump into a Twitter tirade, which is exactly what you’d expect from a man with a brain lesions. Next, he’ll be on the roof of the White House shooting a rifle aimed at Democrats.

Is there no one to take Trump to have a brain scan? It may be a thankless job, made more difficult by finding where they put his brain.

Crossing Rachmaninoff with Villani

DATELINE: Grand Music

Flavio in concert.

Some disparaging commenters have called Flavio Villani a mediocre talent who is the subject of a documentary on his effort to play Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto with a symphony orchestra.

It takes a snide and cowardly person to label Villani anything but brave and courageous to make such an effort. To tackle that difficult and breathtaking piece of music in a concert is like throwing a touchdown pass at the Super Bowl.

And, the sports metaphor certainly applies to Villani who came late to music—but found himself challenged and gripped by becoming a pianist of classical order. He left his native Italy and went to study in New Zealand at age 26.

His efforts are documented in this little film that shows him walking on the beach, admiring nature, cooking, and living a normal middle-class life while he ruminates on the power of Rachmaninoff’s intimidating piano composition.

We see him practice alone, practice with a second piano, and prepare for this first attempt to play with a symphony. It is daunting, and he is committed. A gay man, alienated by both classical music and his personal life, he is a man in exile in New Zealand. He returns home triumphantly, reconciling with his family before the big concert.

We see and hear snippets of the First Movement and almost the entire Third Movement on the big night. Whether he made a single mistake or several, we might never know, so complex is the concerto. The music is staggering, dramatic, and ultimately a melodious work of genius. He acquits himself admirably.

If you have never heard this concerto, you have missed one of the great experiences of life.

If someone without as much passion and heart want to knock his efforts, they reflect on their own base misunderstanding of the human condition.

This little story of one person’s integrity and decency is a beacon in the dark world of today’s inhumanity.

 

 

 

The Most Racist President in U.S. History?

DATELINE: Trump Tweets Nazi Soldiers on US Flag!

 Yes, Trump Tweeted It in 2015.

In case you buried your head in the sand like the Republican ostriches in the United States Senate, President Adolph Trump has been bolder each day in his brazen racist attitude.

His latest example of tone-deaf racism has been to maintain the names of United States forts that honor men who owned slaves and fought against the Union of Lincoln.

He earlier supported keeping the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond on its pedestal. He likes to hum that wonderful tune by Stephen Foster about a Mississippi barge named after the Confederate slave holder.

In case you wonder where Trump’s racism is going next: we suspect that he may rename some American military bases after men who dominate the public daring to oppose them. Look forward to Fort Eichmann, Fort Rommel, and Fort Hitler, to be training spots for stormtroopers meant to keep Trump as president for life.

Trump is also going after that Black Lives Matter bastion of left-wing terrorists: the Roman Catholic Church. He believes that a 75-year old peace protester is a “provocateur” who staged his own cracked skull.

There’s a cracked skull in here, but we think it was cracked running into the White House bunker. If we recall, Hitler’s bunker and Trump’s bunker share the safety from registered voters and pollsters.

Joe Biden said on late-night TV that he expects that, if Trump loses in November, he may resist leaving the White House and will need to be dispatched. We hope it happens swiftly, or Biden may find himself locked up (right after Trump arrests Colin Kaepernick), as if he were president of a banana republic.