Jean-Luc Godard: 1930-2022

Jean-Luc Godard: 1930-2022

Counter vague ideas with sharp images.

Posted on September 14, 2022
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Letter From LA – Summer 2022 – The Crime Issue

When I was growing up in Los Angeles, there were certain parts of the city you just didn’t go to — the bad sides of town: Watts, East LA, parts of Venice and Culver City, Pacoima, Gardena. The stigma never really bothered me: I hung out with bikers in Culver City, surf bums in Venice, partied in South Central, went to topless bars in Hawthorne, wandered Skid Road. I even lived in Echo Park way before it was fashionable, when the hills were ruled by the Frogtown gang. But times have changed — as we finish up the first quarter of the 21st century, all of Los Angeles has become “the bad side of town.”

Crime is up all over the city, crazies roam the street ala “Night of the Living Dead,” homeless encampments (many of them hotbeds for drug use and crime) have taken over some city parks and jam up side streets and some main thoroughfares, blocking sidewalks with tents and sleeping bags — even a famous intersection such as Hollywood and Vine is not immune to hosting the homeless.

According to a June report in Bloomberg News, murders in Los Angeles are surging on a wave of gun violence, following a spike in crime last year. The city saw 172 homicides through June 18, marking a 5.5 percent increase over the same period last year, which saw a 30 percent jump from the first half of 2020. According to Los Angeles Police Department data, overall violent crime is up about 8 percent.

There has been a raft of armed robberies at mini-marts, gas stations and liquor stores (during one night over a five-hour period in the early part of July, a pair of criminals held up six 7-Eleven stores in Southern California, killing two people); there have been police shootouts with robbers on Melrose in the Fairfax district; follow-home robberies in Beverly Hills and the Beverly Grove areas; people have been accosted at outdoor restaurants and robbed of jewelry and expensive watches; there have been numerous shootings (not gang-related) on weekends in various parks across the city; muggings, car-jackings, dognappings, home invasions, and general assaults and mayhem are on the rise; more so in Hollywood where people are continually assaulted by crazies and homeless as they stroll the city streets.

In mid-July Knott’s Berry Farm had to close early for the night because there were numerous fights throughout the park.

The new Downtown Sixth Street bridge — which replaced the old unsafe Sixth Street Viaduct built in 1932 that connected Downtown Los Angeles with Boyle Heights and spanned the Los Angeles River, the Golden State Freeway (I-5) and Metrolink and Union Pacific railroad tracks — had to be intermittently closed just two weeks after it opened. The problem: the bridge was taken over four nights out of six last month by groups of people whose illegal activities included dangerous speed maneuvers (“car doughnuts”) and racing , scaling the bridge’s arches, partying in the roadway, tagging, and other nonsense (Apparently, street takeovers in LA are not so uncommon. According to CBS Los Angeles, police have documented 657 street takeovers so far this year, with 352 misdemeanor arrests, 2,000 citations and the impounding of 439 cars).

And speaking of cars, road rage is on the rise in LA. According to the LAPD, there were 459 reports of road rage in the city in the first half of the year, up 32.7 percent over the same period last year … and 136 of those incidents involved a firearm. Driving in general has become more hazardous as more and more people disobey the law: speeding, running red lights, cutting in and out of traffic. Some of this is residue from the early months of the pandemic, when people could speed down virtually empty city streets and “own” the road.

Eleven smash-and-grab robberies in Los Angeles last year involved over hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods and property damage. Targeted stores included Nordstrom at the Grove (where at least 18 thieves used sledgehammers to smash through windows), Nordstrom at the Westfield Topanga shopping center in Canoga Park (where a security guard was assaulted with bear spray), Ksubi on South La Brea Avenue, Bottega Veneta on Melrose Place, and several stores in the Beverly Center.

But wait, there’s more:

A couple of weeks ago a homeless man pounded on the glass doors to my security building for five minutes, screaming to be let in; he then walked to the next apartment building and did the same there.

Last month I was waiting in the lobby of a veterinarian on Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood when a  man tried to force his way in to the building. He was clearly delusional and said “is this the hospital; I want to get my meds.” The receptionist had to block the door and explain that it was a hospital for cats and dogs; the man left.

Neighbors in near-by residential areas reported a man running from rooftop to rooftop to peer into the backyards of homes; half-naked men and women wander around screaming to themselves (and the gods).

Two months ago I had to chase three homeless men (one with a bicycle) out of our parking garage when I came home at about 1:30am. They were going through the trash cans and peeking into car windows and looking through things people had stored in boxes stacked against the walls.

A couple of nights later when I came home around midnight a young man was slouching in a corner near our building’s front doors. I asked him to leave but he said he was doing nothing wrong. I said you’re trespassing. He wouldn’t move. I went upstairs and got my next door neighbor, Michael, who used to front a metal-hair band in the 1990s and now lives a quiet life with his pitbull Santo, to help — Michael leaned over the second-floor-outside balcony and asked the guy what he was doing. “I’m waiting for a friend,” he said, and Michael said, “well, you better go wait somewhere else because you don’t belong around here.” Michael is tough looking. The guy left.

Citing safety concerns, Starbucks has closed six of its outlets in Los Angeles (and 10 others around the county — six in and around Seattle, two in Portland, Ore., one in Philadelphia and in Washington, D.C.). Starbucks officials mentioned drug use, threatening behavior, mental health issues and racism as some of the underlying causes for the closures. Baristas have complained of being harassed by customers; there’s vandalism, violence, theft. The August 8 issue of The New Yorker reported on the closures in LA: One barista said that “People get violent with us. People steal stuff. It’s very aggressive.” “They spit on us,” another said. Other baristas have had drinks thrown at them. According to the article, “at a Little Tokyo location, an employee was jabbed by a used hypodermic needle while emptying the trash. … Outside the Hollywood and Vine Starbucks, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a barista said, ‘People come in here, they make a lot of noise, they bang on the walls, they yell at us. There was a fight outside. A guy was completely covered in blood … We got the security guards, and it didn’t really help … People visit Hollywood and they say, “This is not what I expected.”‘”

Is there a general breakdown in the social fabric, where the selfishness and materialistic values of the so-called “me generation” have spread to the population as a whole? A breakdown exacerbated by the pandemic that left people jobless and homeless and stressed. And now aggravated by the new Monkeypox epidemic, inflation, a Southern California drought that has made local governments restrict water usage, food shortages, computer chip shortages, supply chain disruptions, the possibility of electrical brownouts as the summer progresses — is this the makings of something out of a dystopian “Mad Max” science fiction movie?

(Of course, there’s craziness the world over: incredible heat waves in Europe and Asia,
water and food shortages, war and famine, toxic air pollution, China and Taiwan, Russia and Ukraine, Iran, North Korea)

Anyone got a spare bedroom in the country?

Posted on August 24, 2022
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Letter From LA: Spring 2022

 It’s been more than six months since my last Letter; this winter was a mind-numbing jumble of ill tidings that, to paraphrase Shakespeare, was a winter of (my) discontent, with little to celebrate, to write about. I can’t remember such despair on the U.S. stage since the dark days of the war in Vietnam:

Book bannings
Library and school board battles
‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws
Assaults on voting’ rights
The imminent loss of Roe v Wade
The incredible increase in violence, with crime in general and murder in particular way up
Re-emergence of COVID and its new variations
Food and durable goods shortages
Rise in teen mental issues and suicides
Homeless numbers increasing
Republicans still threatening democracy
General craziness on the streets and roads
The Russian invasion of Ukraine
Sky rocketing gas prices
The ongoing climate emergency
Trump still not in jail
And now more and more mass shootings in hospitals, stores and schools

Sometimes it’s hard to navigate these rocky shoals of early 21st century life. So to save my sanity, I’ve promised myself that I’ll write more and more Letters, to crystalize my thoughts, get things off my chest, and entertain my friends and family. Hopefully there will be many more missives, albeit some shorter than others; like this one.

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” — Paul Theroux

That said, Tuesday, June 7, is a Primary Election in California. In Los Angeles, the ballot includes more than two dozen offices up for grabs, from Governor down to members of the California State Board of Equalization.

The choices are legion: there are 23 candidates for the United States Senate and 26 for California Governor; most offices have eight or nine candidates listed. As I read through the Voter Information Pamphlet and waded my way through the candidates’ statements, I was reminded of a quotation by Victor Hugo: “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

So, to add a little levity to the insanity, here’s some excerpts from some of the better candidate statements (copied verbatim from the pamphlet):

State Senate:

Chuck Smith | REPUBLICAN
America must be governed according to the Constitution; For the People and By the People. I am a Marine Vietnam Veteran, Retired Law Enforcement Professional and Patriot. I am also a Christian and I believe God wants to use me to help Him make America Righteous Again.

Akinyemi Agbede | DEMOCRATIC
Rescue America!!! America must be Revived from collapsing. Therefore, electing Dr. Akinyemi Agbede, for the United States Senate is the answer.

In my campaign for sanity my background and qualifcations are: The poisonous fake vaccines don’t work, stop infection or transmission. Over one million VAERS injuries. Brandon Pollet. Michael Granata. documents immediate and long term debilitation. Public are guinea pigs. Masks are useless/joke against a virus. Vaxxing children is a crime. Covid is biological warfare against humanity. Vaccines kill you (systemic infammation) and your God created immune system. Build it by natural methods. I am chairman of the Constitution Party of California and created “Contract with California” (found at and; also (Normal, Natural, Healthy, Sane);;;;;; Nationalize Federal Reserve. Get honest/real money, permanent fantastic prosperity for everyone, and stop being slaves to Fed private banking cartel. See Only 2 genders. Transgender does not exist, only psychotic broken people. Ban mutilating and indoctrinating children. “Climate Change” is a total lie—they are too cowardly to debate. Say no to Homer Simpson fake “97% science.” The sky is not falling. 2020 election stolen by Deep State including ultra-corrupt media which will steal all future elections. White Supremacy = Planned Parenthood public health menace. They have killed 20 million + blacks; see Universal soul poison = hatred/resentment of parents = personal and societal breakdown. Antidote = Use to fght Mass Formation Psychosis/Social Engineering. Free Deep State patsy Sirhan Sirhan. Reject suicidal Green New Deal Insanity. Promote nuclear fusion


Armando “Mando” Perez-Serrato | DEMOCRATIC
California Proclamation—My beloved Californians, I empathize without beguilement nor prejudice how solemn my words must tender to assuage your unfeigned hardship & bereavement, cloaked in the uncertainty of loss. Our prayers & condolences illuminate many a kindred spirit with honorable presence that your noble sacrifce perpetuates our united comfort of hope. I pray our Heavenly Father will bring light to the plight of the world, ease your daily crucifxion & complete economic resurrection for our American Family—This Is The Way. Donate today on Apple Cash, Venmo, GooglePay, CashApp to 714-448-0044 or mail check/money order to address below, payable to: Armando Perez. Thank you to my parents Consuelo & Melchor Perez for a lifetime of hard work and dedication to provide an opportunity to succeed.

Daniel R. Mercuri | REPUBLICAN
We are sovereigns, not serfs, with God-given constitutionally protected rights. I’m in this race to stop the erosion of our freedoms and put oath violators behind bars! With Jesus as my foundation, I’ll bring accountability back into our government, God back into our country, and stop treating the state like a business which enslaves Californians to meet a proft margin.

And, here’s the last word (and last laugh) on this all, from Mariana B. Dawson, running for Governor with NO PARTY PREFERENCE:

“F all politicians”


Til next time,

Posted on June 8, 2022
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Milestone Film & Video: “This April, we say NO to wars past & present”

War Is Not Healthy

War Is Not Healthy

The online article accompanying Stu Levitan’s 2020 interview with author and filmmaker Gregg Mitchell describes his fascinating book about the making — and unmaking — of a postwar anti-nuclear Hollywood feature film:

War Is Not Healthy“The Beginning or the End was a B movie about the A bomb, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in February, 1947. It promised to disclose what it called ‘the biggest, best-kept secret in the history of the world – the men, the magic, the machines behind the world’s strongest force – the atom bomb.’ The movie was, the studio declared in all caps with exclamation points ‘FACTUAL! AUTHENTIC!’

Well, not quite. Because a movie set in motion by scientists wanting the world to know the truth was taken over by the military and the White House needing the world to believe a lie. How that happened is the business that occupies Greg Mitchell in The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood – and America – Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. It’s not just a great yarn with some surprising participants, it’s also an urgent warning about secrecy, manipulation and suppression.”

Listen now


Courtesy Milestone Film & Video

Posted on April 1, 2022
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In Memory of Colin Powell

Poster of the Week from the

Center for the Study

of Political Graphics


Gulf Wars Episode II
Arie Kaplan and Scott Sonneborn
Mad Magazine
Offset, 2002
New York, NY

“(Colin Powell) . . . made a career out of being a good soldier and supporting U.S. mass murder around the world, but evading the credit for it.”
— Roberto Lovato, Journalist
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
— Howard Zinn, Historian

The many eulogies for Colin Powell that poured out of the corporate media this week overflowed with praise and acclamation, from Democrats and Republicans. Flags have been at half-mast from Monday through today, and his “firsts” have been stated and restated:

  • He was the first Black national security adviser
  • He was the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • He was the first Black secretary of state.
The fact that he represented so many “firsts” sheds as much light on systemic racism as on his accomplishments.


In contrast to the adulation, Roberto Lovato, Kenn Orphan, Amy Goodman, and other journalists remind us of Powell’s war crimes which include:

  • Helping to whitewash the massacre of more than 300 unarmed civilians at My Lai during the war against Viet Nam.
  • Promoting and presiding over the 1989 bombing, invasion, and slaughter in Panama.
  • Promoting and presiding over the Gulf War in the 1990s.
  • Giving the green light to Ariel Sharon to attack the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank in 2002. Human Rights Watch called the high number of civilian casualties a war crime.
  • Lying to the United Nations in 2003, when he promoted the war against Iraq. Iraq never attacked the US and did not have “weapons of mass destruction.”

When will we ever learn?

CSPG’s Poster-of-the-Week is a Mad Magazine spoof of the actual film poster for “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” (2002). It features the whole cast of characters/collaborators listed below, including Colin Powell (lower right).

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Drew Struzman
Offset, 2002
United States

Poster Text:
Coming Soon! The Bush Administration In Association With The Other Bush Administration Presents Gulf Wars Episode II Clone Of The Attack Starring George W. Bush · Condoleezza Rice  Donald Rumsfeld – Reprising Their Roles From Episode I Dick Cheney · Saddam Hussein · Colin Powell · And Introducing Osama Bin Laden As The Phantom Menace · Based On An Idea By George Bush, Sr. Production Designed To Distract You From The Failing Economy Produced By The Military-Industrial Complex In Association With Exxon, Texaco, Mobil, Et Al. Directed By A Desire To Win The November Election The Success Of This Military Action Has Not Yet Been Rated
A Mad Magazine Poster

Posted on October 22, 2021
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