Saturday, April 10, 2021

THE ROOT: "White Racist Fears, Not Economic Anxiety, Likely Drove the Capitol Insurrection"

From Ishena Robinson's 4-6-21 THE ROOT article entitled "New Research States the Obvious: White Racist Fears, Not Economic Anxiety, Likely Drove the Capitol Insurrection":

Some mainstream (re: white) writers and thinkers have instinctually sought to find a way to point to “economic anxiety” as an explanation for why hundreds of mostly white Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol in January. Now, at least one expert is conceding the obvious: It was the racism.

We previously LOL’d at a Washington Post suggestion that the largely middle-class, gainfully employed members of the Jan. 6 MAGA mob were driven to storm the Capitol because they are victims of economic anxiety.

But Robert A. Pape, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and head of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, has amassed and analyzed demographic data on the Capitol insurrectionists that he says show a curious commonality in their background.

The Capitol mob, made up almost 95% of white people, had a significant percentage of people who “typically hail from places where non-White populations are growing fastest,” the researcher wrote in an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Tuesday.

The study’s findings were based on the CPOST’s evaluation of the profiles of 377 of the Capitol insurrectionists, said Pape, who added that the collection of people came from all over the country—most notably from counties whose electorates are diversifying and going blue [...].

What’s especially notable about the researcher’s announcement of the official findings, though, is the dire warning he says it presents.

“We cannot presume it will blow over,” Pape said. “The ingredients exist for future waves of political violence, from lone-wolf attacks to all-out assaults on democracy, surrounding the 2022 midterm elections.”

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Friday, April 9, 2021

SAUCERS, SPOOKS AND KOOKS


Immediately after finishing Adam Gorightly's latest book, SAUCERS, SPOOKS AND KOOKS: UFO DISINFORMATION IN THE AGE OF AQUARIUS, I posted the following review on Amazon:

"Not only is Adam Gorightly's SAUCERS, SPOOKS AND KOOKS one of the most illuminating and entertaining books about UFOs ever written, but--more importantly--it's also one of the best books about psychological warfare, disinformation, and all around mindfuckery perpetuated against the general population. If you want to understand how a conspiracy-benighted world came to be so dazed and confused, then this is a good place to start."

If you're interested in purchasing a copy of SAUCERS, SPOOKS AND KOOKS, click HERE!

You can hear Adam Sayne and Serfiel Stevenson's 4-5-21 CONSPIRINORMAL interview with Adam Gorightly directly below.... 

UFOs and the Senate Intelligence Committee

From Bryan Bender's 3-25-21 POLITICO article entitled "Military and Spy Agencies Accused of Stiff-arming Investigators on UFO Sightings":

The truth may be out there. But don't expect the feds to share what they know anytime soon on the recent spate of UFO sightings.

Some military and spy agencies are blocking or simply ignoring the effort to catalog what they have on "unidentified aerial phenomenon," according to multiple current and former government officials. And as a result, the Biden administration will likely delay a much-anticipated public report to Congress.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the director of national intelligence to work with the Defense Department to provide a public accounting by June 25 on unexplained sightings of advanced aircraft and drones that have been reported by military personnel or captured by radar, satellites and other surveillance systems.

The request came after revelations in 2017 that the Pentagon was researching a series of unexplained intrusions into military airspace, including high-performance vehicles captured on video stalking Navy ships.

But those advising the investigations are advocating for significantly more time and resources to retrieve information from agencies that in some cases have shown reluctance, if not outright resistance, to sharing classified information. And they worry that without high-level involvement, it will be difficult to compel agencies to release what they have.

"Just getting access to the information, because of all the different security bureaucracies, that's an ordeal in itself," said Christopher Mellon, a former Pentagon intelligence official who lobbied for the disclosure provision and is continuing to advise policymakers on the issue.

For example, he asserts that a Pentagon task force established last August and led by the Navy has had few personnel or resources and only modest success acquiring reports, video or other evidence gathered by military systems.

The Pentagon task force is expected to be the primary military organization contributing to the wider government report.

"I know that the task force has been denied access to pertinent information by the Air Force and they have been stiff-armed by them," Mellon said in an interview. "That is disappointing but not unexpected."
To read Bender's entire article, click HERE

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

BELA LUGOSI'S DEAD

April 6th marks the official publication day of my seventh book, BELA LUGOSI'S DEAD (courtesy of Crossroad Press). Available in trade paperback and eBook formats! Audiobook to follow soon! To order a copy, click HERE!!!


It’s the late 1980s, and Michael Fenton, editor of Ramboona (a magazine dedicated to forgotten films), is attempting to track down the lost test footage from the 1931 Frankenstein produced by Universal Studios. It’s the holy grail of horror film aficionados: the twenty-minute reel in which Bela Lugosi portrays Frankenstein’s Monster instead of Boris Karloff, who would go on to make cinematic history with his portrayal of Mary Shelley’s creation. In his attempt to locate this fifty-year-old film canister, Mike is led down a labyrinth of blind alleys amidst the topsy-turvy wonderland of Los Angeles and environs.

When we first encounter Mike, he’s making a pilgrimage to Lugosi’s final resting place at Holy Cross Cemetery. This is where he meets Lucy Szilagyi, a struggling young actress who happens to be visiting Sharon Tate’s grave (located only a few tombstones away from Lugosi’s). Lucy, a film buff herself, joins Mike in his quixotic search, helping him track down such curious, real-life characters as Maila Nurmi (an out-of-work actress known more famously as “Vampira”), Bela Lugosi, Jr., science fiction novelist Curt Siodmak, and Manly P. Hall (master hypnotist, mystic, Lugosi confidant, and author of a strange occult encyclopedia entitled The Secret Teachings of All Ages). All of these individuals have valuable pieces of information that could lead Mike to the hidden location of the lost test reel. Lugosi’s grave is also where Mike encounters a mysterious old man who promises him the footage he so desperately desires. But the man offers the item only at a most unusual price….

Bela Lugosi’s Dead is one-third detective story, one-third Hollywood ghost story, and one-third pulp adventure tale….

*****

“In Robert Guffey's latest and greatest novel, dreams of old movies and nightmares of classic horror rack into sharp focus through the lens of a brave film historian, one determined to squint clearly at fleeting grains of film through the shifting sands of time. Never has the truth of Hollywood been so well revealed through fiction. As a result, Bela Lugosi's Dead delightfully and definitively proves that Bela Lugosi isn't dead.” 

--Gary D. Rhodes, author of LUGOSI and TOD BROWNING'S DRACULA


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Frank Thorne, R.I.P. (1930-2021)

From Matt Seneca's 3-10-21 COMICS JOURNAL obituary for Frank Thorne (1930-2021): 

Frank Thorne, one of American comics’ finer craftsmen and more notorious personalities, has died at 90. A cartoonist’s cartoonist whose career covers much of the comics medium’s midcentury history, Thorne’s bibliography runs the gamut from sober family-friendly newspaper strips to transgressive hardcore pornography, all delineated with the steady hand of a master illustrator [...].

The Conan the Barbarian spin-off Red Sonja, drawn by Thorne with a perfect balance of cartoon realism, Gothic shadow, and bawdy humor, was lauded by a fanatical cult audience [...]. Thorne embraced the culture of fandom at the dawn of the age of comics conventions, doing more than perhaps any other comics creator to establish cosplay as a cultural force. Judging lookalike contests in his guise as the long-bearded “Wizard”, and creating Sonja-inspired costumed dramas, Thorne and a series of buxom, scantily-clad models performed for comics conventions, public access TV — and eventually, the Playboy Channel [...].

Thorne created genre-inflected soft porn for venues high and low, becoming one of Playboy's frequent gag cartoonists while creating a steady stream of unrepentantly sleazy comics. Few venues for “adult oriented” comics in the ‘80s went without a Thorne cameo appearance of some kind. Risque heroines in the Red Sonja mold, but free of Marvel’s content restrictions, popped up everywhere: Heavy Metal featured sexy spacegirl Lann, National Lampoon carried pneumatic trail guide Danger Rangerette, Playboy ran the Li’l Abner spoof Moonshine McJugs, and in 1984 he published Ghita of Alizarr, a barbarian warrior whose blonde tresses were all that kept her from being a carbon copy of Sonja.

Easy to lose in the flurry of porn Thorne batted out in the ‘80s was that he was part of a wider trend: the movement toward creator ownership of concept and art by veterans of a midcentury comics scene famous for leaving its keenest strivers destitute once anyone who could do the job quicker or cheaper came along. But where many artists who’d spent careers on nothing but commercial pabulum struggled to free themselves of old habits once a chance to do whatever they wanted had been won, Thorne settled comfortably into an idiom where there was always money to be made [...]. Ever the dedicated craftsman, his career in porn comics chronicles a continued refining of his style, which moved from slashed Kubert-esque rendering to a lusher, inkier simplicity that made perfect sense next to European erotica masters like Guido Crepax and Georges Pichard in the “Adults Only” section of ‘90s comic stores. 

Thorne’s notoriety as a smut merchant crested in one of those Adult sections with the 1995 seizure of his atypically hardcore Eros book The Devil's Angel from Planet Comics in Oklahoma on (quickly dropped) charges of child pornography, placing the impressively bearded senior citizen in good company with NWA, Dungeons and Dragons, the Dead Kennedys, and outlaw cartoonist Mike Diana as victims of the '90s' benighted culture war on youth-corrupting media. Spun off from earlier series The Iron Devil, The Devil’s Angel is a strange book, full of physical transformations and effluvia, with the kind of bizarre vision that can only be legitimately personal in nature counterpointed by its author’s glossy, commercially appealing art. In its more outrĂ© passages it resembles a modern version of Chaucer or the Decameron’s debauched anecdotes [...].

Here's a brief excerpt from HEAVY METAL'S obit for Thorne:

Through the end of the ’80s and into the ’90s, Thorne continued to tell new tales in his own style and milieu — Ribit!, The Iron Devil, and its sequel, The Devil’s Angel. These last two collections were the most taboo-busting material of Thorne’s career, and if he was trying to piss someone off, it worked. The Devil’s Angel was one of several books cited in the Oklahoma v. Planet Comics obscenity case.

Frank Thorne was an original; a talented artist who was also one of the great characters of the comics community. He dressed up as his own characters for public appearances, and put himself into his own comics — it all speaks to an outward joy for the medium we don’t often see. In a 2011 interview, his terse answers were the words of a man who got to do exactly what he wanted with his life:

Ambition? “All I ever wanted to be was a cartoonist.”
Likes? “I LOVE drawing women.”
Dislikes? “I don’t like superheroes.”
Philosophy? “Better hand-to-mouth than 9-to-5.”

S. Clay Wilson, R.I.P. (1941-2021)

An excerpt from Sam Whiting's 2-10-21 SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE obituary entitled "S. Clay Wilson, Ingenious Underground Comix Artist, Dies at 79," which offers an overview of S. Clay Wilson's artistic career, from the underground comix movement of the 1970s all the way to the 21st century:

Back in the maximum-outrage years of underground comix in the 1970s, S. Clay Wilson was known for the Checkered Demon, a short and stubby antihero who wore checkered pants as he busted the heads of bikers, pirates and lowlifes, to the delight of readers of Zap, Yellow Dog, Arcade and other anthologies.

A uniquely San Francisco character and brilliant illustrator, Wilson had a long career using Dicks Bar in the Castro as his mailing address, message center and appointment place. Wilson outlasted Dicks, and he outlasted underground comix before finally dying, on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 7, at his home on 16th Street, half a block from the Dicks location.

His death was announced by his widow, Lorraine Chamberlain, in a series of rambling Facebook posts that began, “He’s gone. At 4 p.m. yesterday. I sat next to him all day yesterday, telling him stories … one of arriving here in a crowd of topless women on Pride Day.”

Wilson had been bedridden for two years because of the lingering effects of a traumatic brain injury he suffered after either a fall or a mugging while drunkenly walking home from a friend’s home on Nov. 1, 2008. At that time, he was found in the pouring rain, facedown between two parked cars.

He came out of a coma after three weeks and drew comics for Zap while still in the hospital. He’d lost his capacity for clever dialogue but kept trying to draw until his cognitive skills declined. He was 79.

“Wilson was a one-of-a-kind original guy,” said another one-of-a-kinder, Ron Turner, publisher of Last Gasp Books and Comics. “Nobody could imitate him. What looked like a jumbled mess on the page was always a smoothly told tale" [...].

“Wilson will go down as one of the boldest cartoonists in art history,” [said Patrick] Rosenkranz [author of a three-volume series titled “The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson"]. “He outdid all of his predecessors in his depiction of sexual deviation, mutilation and perversities of every stripe. But gallows humor was at the heart of all of it. There was something funny happening in the middle of the picture and you had to search to find it.”

To read Whiting's entire article, click HERE.

G. Gordon Liddy on FRESH AIR

From Phil Helsel and Julie Goldstein's 3-30-21 NBC NEWS obituary for Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy (1930-2021):

G. Gordon Liddy, the political operative who supervised the Watergate burglary, which brought down President Richard Nixon, died Tuesday, his family said. He was 90.

Liddy's family said in a statement that he died Tuesday morning at his daughter's home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. It did not give a cause of death. His son, James, said that the cause was not related to Covid-19, and that he had been dealing with Parkinson's disease.

Liddy was one of the organizers of the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the office building with the name that would forever be linked to one of the biggest political scandals in American history.

The five burglars were caught. Money and other links would lead from the burglars to others, including Liddy, a former FBI agent, and to the White House.

Nixon resigned in 1974 in the face of an almost-certain impeachment and conviction.

Liddy was convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping in 1973 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Years later, he declared, "I'd do it again for my president."

You can read Helsel and Goldstein's entire article HERE.

I recommend listening to this 1980 interview with Liddy conducted by Terry Gross of FRESH AIR. What follows is a relevant excerpt, which gives the listener a valuable peek inside the mind of a professional "Dirty Trickster" who considered his crimes "illegal" but not "morally wrong" simply because he was following orders handed to him by the president of the United States:

TERRY GROSS: When do you believe that a person is above the law? Is a person ever above the law?

G. GORDON LIDDY: No, a person is never above the law so long as one understands what the law is and certain maxims about the law. First of all, I believe that what Cicero said is correct. The good of the people is the chief law. The question logically next to him is, well, who's to say what's the good of the people, you know - you, Gordon Liddy? Well, certainly not.

The person who is chargeable with that responsibility is the president because he's the one who is elected by the people [...].

GROSS: So if a president says, yes, I think it's a good idea to bug Democratic National Committee headquarters, or, yes, I think it's a good idea to assassinate a person, then, in that case, it becomes as if it was legal because you've gotten the corroboration...

LIDDY: Well, no. It doesn't become - we've got to distinguish here because you're getting into a legal area and a technical area, and I think it's important for us to distinguish. I was engaged in two different kinds of work when I was at the White House. One was, in my judgment, legal. It involved national security and not politics, and that was the activities of the Odessa Group when we were, for example, trying to determine whether Daniel Ellsberg was a romantic loner of the left or whether he was an agent of the KGB.

Now, that, in my judgment at that time, the state of the law at the time was clearly legal. On the other hand, when I was no longer with the Odessa Group and we were engaging in a political campaign and seeking political intelligence, clearly what was done was illegal but not wrong - morally wrong [...].

GROSS: I'd like to get back to the separation that you made between what's legally and what's morally wrong and what's legally and morally OK. One of the things that you were considering doing when you were trying to monitor Daniel Ellsberg was to put LSD in his soup before a speech that he had to give.

LIDDY: Right. That had been approved from above as a technique to disorient him. Right.

GROSS: Now, where does it fit into in the spectrum of...

LIDDY: Well, elsewhere...

GROSS: ...Legality and morality?

LIDDY: Yeah, no problem with that either because had Ellsberg been a political opponent, I would say that that would have been wrong. Ellsberg was not a political opponent. Ellsberg was someone who was stealing and had stolen highly classified information. And when one does that, when one puts oneself in the posture of an enemy or an antagonist of the state, one really ought not to be surprised when the state strikes back. It's the same situation as the thing we had in the '60s. When you, you know, riot and burn and things of that sort, you ought not to be surprised when the National Guard is called out, and you get yourself shot. You're asking for it. And I don't have any problems with that at all.

GROSS: When you, G. Gordon Liddy, put acid in someone's soup, or when you consider attempting to assassinate someone, that is different than a person who has had a fair trial, which is the demands in this country. It's something we cherish. In one case, you're taking the law in your hands, and you are being the arbiter of what's right and what's wrong and what's legally correct, what's morally correct.

LIDDY: No. You see; the difference is...

GROSS: In another, it's an organized system with checks and balances in it and either a jury or a judge. Is that correct for you to be...

LIDDY: No. If I were a gas station attendant, your argument would make sense. But I was working for the president of the United States. And the difference is, as I think I may have mentioned - Cicero said the chief law is to go to the people. And laws are inoperative in war.