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THE FASCIST WHITE HOUSE COUP – No, Not Romney’s Ham-Fisted Recent Attempt; A Real One, in 1933

“Mmm, yes, good right-wing material this”

The gent above, fingering a young Tricky Dick’s brim, is none other than Prescott Bush, whose loins spawned a better-known twig, George H.W. Bush, our 41st President, who, in turn, cream-pied a shrub known as “W”, our 43rd Head Honcho.

Quite the dynasty, eh pop-pickers.

A dynasty based upon, as these things tend to be, two essential and fundamental ingredients – money and power.

In regard to the latter, the fact that he had joined the choir invisible before the Bush family achieved ultimate power was not for lack of trying on Prescott’s part. Back in 1933, the less-than-cuddly Prescott spearheaded a nefarious coven of one-percenters (allegedly including the heads of Chase Bank, GM, Goodyear, Standard Oil and DuPont family members) who attempted to recruit Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler to lead a military coup against President Franklin Roosevelt and install a fascist dictatorship in the United States.

Yup -it’s a fact.

Can you believe it?  Respected members of our business community -leaders of industry and men made wealthy by America – plotting to destroy democracy?!!

Boy, things ain’t changed much in the last 75 years!

From left – Deadwood; Birch; Plank; Hybrid of all three rolled into one … Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bush Family Tree!

The early 1930s was a time of hardship and misery. The world was enveloped in the deepest of economic recessions, caused by the 1929 collapse of the stock market (oh-oh).

Black Tuesday”, as the Wall Street crash of 1929 is dubbed, triggered the Great Depression which economically throttled America and the rest of the globe throughout the 1930s, throwing millions out of work and into abject poverty while inflation spiraled, trade withered and personal income, profits and tax revenues plummeted.

These harsh times also germinated extremes in politics, notably in Germany, where inflation and its handmaidens, joined by German resentment over the harsh peace terms dictated to the country by the victors of World War 1, led to the mercurial rise of the loathsome and murderous Nazi party.

The rapid ascent to power of Hitler and his henchmen did not go unnoticed in the U.S.A. The devastation of the Great Depression had caused many Americans to question the foundations of liberal democracy. Many traditionalists toyed with the ideas of Fascism and National Socialism and some American business leaders viewed fascism as a viable system to both preserve their interests and end the economic woes of the Depression.

Count Prescott Bush among them.

The Business Plot was born.

An iconic image from The Great Depression – Prescott Bush wanted to make sure he would be driving the car!

Bush and the aforementioned venerable doyens of society dreamt of a fascist America a la Hitler’s Third Reich – which would handily have taken care of such inconveniences as elections, rival political parties, freedom – that sort of thing.

That does not mean Prescott and his cronies were ready to order up their own jackboots, brown shirts and leather coats from their tailors. Their fascism was more of a business decision.

For Bush Sr. and Co. worshipped at the altar of business and high finance with a zealot’s passion. Money – and the preservation of their fortunes – were their deities.

A tawdry bunch of traitors without doubt, but practical men too, who had more than just a passing interest in the tenets of Nazism. They also had a substantial business interest, maintaining financial ties with Hitler’s Germany up through America’s entry into World War II.

Indeed Prescott Bush went further. He didn’t let the fact that America had joined the fight against Hitler’s murderous regime deter him from the quest for profit.

Recently declassified files from the National Archives have revealed Prescott’s business dealings with the Nazis continued on after war engulfed America, sailing on until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

You’d think the name of the Act itself would have tipped old Prescott off to the inappropriate nature of his dealings.

Apparently not.

Bush carried right on representing the interests of German corporate concerns such as Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border, a company which made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, well after war was declared and didn’t stop until he was forced to by the asset seizure.

Not that his dirty but expertly manicured hands were smacked or anything for such noxious activities. No action was taken against Prescott for his despicable behavior.

Indeed, the frozen assets were maintained intact and eventually returned to the American shareholders after the war. Some claim that Bush sold his share thereafter for $1.5m – a huge amount of money at the time. It has also been suggested (or logically deduced) that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty, which was to subsequently visit upon us the twin curses of the Georges.

Prescott had his revenge!

However, the so-called “Business Plot” – Prescott’s own power grab – failed. His fascist dream for this country stumbled out of the blocks.

In fact, it was never got out of the blocks, not because of a failure of resolve, but primarily because the conspiring oinks overlooked a rather pertinent (and well-known) fact in attempting to recruit said Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler to lead the coup.

Major General Smedley Butler (left); and a youthful Prescott Bush, looking, one has to say, rather psychotic

Smedley Butler, it turns out, was not only a patriot …. he had also been a prominent and vocal FDR supporter who had actively stumped for the President during the 1932 presidential campaign!

Upon reflection, Prescott old boy, not the best pick to commit the ultimate treasonous act – the removal of a democratically elected President from office by force and against the will of the nation.

The full story of this sordid plot to overthrow democracy in the U.S. of A. is told below in a BBC documentary. It is a cautionary tale well worth your time and attention. As I said earlier, some things never change, no matter how far we may think this society has progressed since the dark days of the 1930s.

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Such traitorous malfeasance, you would imagine, would result in immediate dispatch of the odious plotters to a 1930s Guantanamo-type detention facility, regardless of their wealth and position, and a liberal tarring-and-feathering from the black pot of treason.

Erm …., not quite!

A slow-moving Smedley Butler spilled the whole can of worms before a congressional committee in 1934. However, everyone he accused of being a conspirator vehemently denied it, and none of them – these princes of business – were brought up on criminal charges.

Try that one in court the next time you get a ticket. (“Didn’t do it, Your Honor, so go fuck yourself” … “Why, of course, Mr. Average, case dismissed. Now off you go and don’t get caught again” …. Yeah right!)

Oh, there was a investigative committee set up alright. However the House McCormack-Dickstein Committee, who did at least acknowledge the existence of the conspiracy, did what Congress still excels at doing – sweet fuck all!.

Not so far-fetched as you might think – this could have been Congress had the “Business Plot” succeeded

That was the end of it.  The whole matter was swiftly swept under a very expensive rug and is now largely forgotten.

Forgotten …. or buried?

How many of you out there have ever even heard of The Business Plot?

Was it taught in history lessons in school, this plot to overthrow the democratically elected government of America?

“Prescott Bush? That’s in Arizona, right?”

Didn’t think so.

That, of course, is the point.

The super-wealthy believe they can act with impunity, cooking up insidious schemes designed to fundamentally re-align the political system of this country in their favor, and at the expense of democracy and individual freedom.

You know, like the sinister bunch lurking in the shadows behind Romney during Mad Mitt’s recent failed power grab, who would meet to discuss (and no doubt plot) just how to pull off their shrouded secret aspirations of taking over the reins of power by whipping-up white fear and hysteria over shifting demographics through an incessant deluge of lies, misdirection, trumped-up sleaze and cynical, hypocritical holier-than-thou fundamentalism, all the while hurling money at the machines of propaganda like it was going out of style.

Not money; democracy.

Which, if they had had their way, would be now way out of style and consigned to the dumper of history, never to be rediscovered by a soon-to-be barely-educated mass of serfs broken on the wheel of greed.

Leading cast members from “The Business Plot 2; The Sequel”, a recent abject failure at the (ballot) box office.

History appears to support the idea the rich and powerful can conspire directly against the fundamental tenets of this nation without fear of repercussions. Look no further than the quiet snuffing-out of scandal after the 1933 Business Plot for proof.

The rich and powerful will continue to pursue power and influence, and will be remorseless in doing whatever it takes to preserve their wealth and status against all real and perceived threats. The obscene sums spent by such persons of the political right during the 2012 Romney campaign was simply the tip of the iceberg of manipulation.

Gotta do something with all that money, lest it be wasted through some sort of “trickle down” leakage, eh boys?

Or by paying your fair share of taxes.

The 1933 Business Plot may seem like ancient history but take heed – the 2012 election was a close run thing …. astonishing when one considers Obama’s challenger refused to tell the nation anything of substance about his policies as if they were state secrets of the highest order.

Well, they were, actually – only the right-wing extremists didn’t yet have a state for their secrets. But they sure as hell knew they would have no hope of hoisting a nitwit like Mitt into the White House as their dancing puppet had their true autocratic intentions become known.

We only narrowly avoided this far more sinister covert attempt to tear down the halls of democracy this November by turning out to vote and showing, despite all the repugnant right-wing efforts to suppress the vote, that there is still power within the ballot box.

As long, that is, as a democratic nation insists upon governance by elected men and women beholden to the electorate – and government with the power and authority to control and regulate the behemoths of industry and the gorgons of Wall Street.

Don’t ever forget or neglect to vote.

Resist all attempts to dilute the power of your electoral voice and guard against disenfranchisement.

The plotters will continue to plot. They will continue to chorus private interest over public good.

Our best weapon against these dark dealers of greed is vigilance to, and involvement in, the political process, coupled with a social conscience that implicitly recognizes that freedom requires tolerance, consideration for others and recognition that there is morality only in equality for all.

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The details of Prescott Bush’s business dealings with the Nazis can be found in an excellent article in the U.K. newspaper, The Guardian, here.

Prescott Bush is a fascinating historical figure and, for a sense of the man, it is instructive to watch the interview below, which dates from the mid-1950s, but sounds distressingly similar to the right-wing blethers and hocus pocus of today.

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As they say, the apple never falls far from the tree!

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Prescott Bush as grave robber: Did the father of George dig up the remains of Geronimo? That story here.

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Category:  Film & TV ,History ,Opinion ,Topical      Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

AMERICA SAVES ITSELF AT THE BALLOT BOX – A Vital President Prevails Over A Dying Breed

Cuteness counts!

Three cheers for the voters of America! Democracy has been preserved (for the time being) by the power of the people through the ballot box – a process likely to have been eliminated in all but name had the insidious reactionary hordes of the right taken Election 2012.

It’s time the Republican Party and the loathsome baggers got the message – this country is changing in exactly the way any functioning democracy should evolve. Our elections should reflect the shifting demographics of this nation and yesterday proved that point.

Take a look at the photo gallery from today’s Los Angeles Times. It says everything you need to know about this country. Just click the pic:

Every picture ….

On the left, a multi-cultural, multi-gender, multi-ethnic, youthful celebration.

On the right, a bunch of scared old white has-beens gape vacantly at a result confirming their time at the top is over.

America is changing for the better. Same sex marriage initiatives passed in three states, an openly gay woman was elected to the U.S. Senate by the voters of Wisconsin, and anti-abortion, bible-thumping absolutists got handed their pink slips.

And Elizabeth Warren, a rising political star brimming with integrity and intelligence, put to the sword the unctuous Scott Brown in Massachusetts by standing up for the “core of liberalism”, as she put it.

Joyous news indeed!

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I’m a W.A.S.P. and I am aware of all the advantages that accident of birth has generated for me in my now-lengthy lifetime. But I do not seek to preserve such false privilege. I want to live in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, vibrant country where all are presumed equal and treated as such. It’s not simply the temper of the times – it’s moral, caring and in line with the values this country purports to stand for.

White hegemony is in the process of being consigned to the pages of history.

It’s not before time.

Bless the United States of Multi-Everything America!

 

Category:  History ,Opinion ,Topical      Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

OHIO: ONLY ROMNEY CAN STOP THE BUDDHIST INVASION OF AMERICA – But There’s Other Stuff Too Why We, Uh, Mitt Lovers, We Just Can’t Recall What Right Now

This video is, well, jaw-dropping, to say the least.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

These people apparently are loose amongst us – and can vote!

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Sometimes one is simply rendered speechless.

On the other hand ….

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If you do vote for Romney today, please seek immediate professional help, even though brain-death has, in all probability, already occurred.

The choice is clear to those capable of informed choice:

Stay the course.

Care for your fellow citizens.

Yes, even those unfortunates in Ohio.

 

Category:  Comedy ,Opinion ,Topical      Tagged: , , , , , , ,

ROBERT REICH ON “ROMNEYISM” – Democracy Or Totalitarianism Is Tuesday’s Choice

Peas in a pod?

Well, here we are. On the doorstep of recovery …. or radical change.

At the precipice; deciding whether to bridge the gap …. or tumble headlong into an abyss, at the bottom of which lies waiting a societal structure that we, as freedom-loving Americans, purport to despise.

It’s very simple – a vote for Obama is a vote for America; a vote for Romney is a vote for …. well, a brand new, and far more intrusive, system of governance, best described, despite Mad Mitt’s zealous obfuscation of his actual presidential plans if elected, as:

It seems extraordinary to me that half the country appears prepared to vote for this far-from-harmless dolt without asking him to explain, in real terms, exactly how he intends to implement his vague – and frankly ludicrous – manifesto.

Can you even begin to explain the nuts and bolts – you know, the workings – of his economic plan?

Go ahead, try. Here’s a handy guide to assist you. Just click on the pic:

Clear?

That’s about as forthcoming as the Republican candidate has been to date – and the election just two days away!

There’s a reason Romney refuses to lay out specifics – it is mathematically impossible to implement his so-called economic plan without raising taxes (anathema to Republicans) or, alternatively, without throwing a substantial proportion of the American populace to the wolves.

And you just know, don’t you, that Romney ain’t gonna be throwing his super-rich buddies to said wolves.

They ARE the wolves.

Projected members of Romney’s Cabinet should he win the Presidency on Tuesday.

I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that this election campaign has conclusively established Romney to be an:

A.

And, unless you live is some uninformed parallel (Fox) universe, a self-serving, noxious;

B.

No matter what your politics might be, it is simply absurd to place your trust – and your future wellbeing – in the hands of an individual who would tell you Tuesday is Wednesday if it suits his purpose.

So, before making your mark on that (hopefully) secure ballot, perhaps you should spend a few moments with Mr. Robert Reich. You really owe it to yourself and your loved ones.

Who is Robert Reich?

Glad you asked.

This is Robert Reich:

And this, Mr. Reich calmly, clearly and logically explains, is your future should you let Mad Mitt slip under the wire and into the White House:

Romneyism
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2012

By now, in these last remaining days before the election of 2012, we have learned enough about the beliefs of the Republican presidential candidate to see them as a worldview all its own – a kind of creed that explains Mitt Romney. Those who say he has no principles are selling him short.

Despite its contradictions and ellipses, Romneyism has an internal coherence. It is different from conservatism, because it does not intend to conserve or protect any particular institutions or values. It is also distinct from  Republicanism, in that it is not rooted in traditional small-town American values, nationalism, or states’ rights.

The ten guiding principles of Romneyism are:

1. Corporations are the basic units of society. Corporations are people, and the overriding purpose of an economy is to maximize corporate profits. When profits are maximized, the economy grows fastest. This growth benefits everyone in the form greater output, better products and services, and higher share prices.

2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits. If workers do not contribute to that goal, they should be fired. If they cannot then find other work that helps maximize profits in another company, their wages must be too high, and they must therefore accept steadily lower wages until they find a job.

3. All factors of production – capital, physical plant and equipment, workers – are fungible and should be treated the same. Any that fail to deliver high competitive returns should be replaced or discarded. This keeps an economy efficient. Fairness is and should be irrelevant.

4. Pollution, unsafe products, unsafe working conditions, financial fraud, and other negative side effects of the pursuit of profits are the price society pays for profit-driven growth. They should not be used as excuses to constrain the pursuit of profits through regulation.

5. Individual worth depends on net worth — how much money one has made, and the value of the assets that money has been invested in. Any person with enough intelligence and ambition can make a fortune. Failure to do so is sign of moral and intellectual inferiority.

6. People who fail in the economy should not be coddled. They should not receive food stamps, Medicaid, or any other form of social subsidy. Coddling leads to a weaker society and a weaker economy.

7. Taxes are inherently bad because they constrain profit-making. It is the right and responsibility of individuals and corporations to exploit every tax loophole they (and their tax attorneys) can find in order to pay the lowest taxes possible.

8. Politics is a game whose only purpose is to win. Any means used to win the game is legitimate even if it involves lying and cheating, as long as it gains more supporters than it loses.

9. Democracy is dangerous because it is forever vulnerable to the votes of a majority intent on capturing the wealth of the successful minority, on whom the economy depends. The rich must therefore do whatever is necessary to prevent the majority from exercising its will, including spending large sums of money on lobbyists and political campaigns. The most virtuous among the rich will go a step further and  run for president.

10. The three most important aspects of life are family, religion, and money. Patriotism is a matter of guarding our economy from unfair traders and undocumented immigrants, rather than joining together for the common good. We owe nothing to one another as citizens of the same society.

On Tuesday we’ll decide whether these should be the guiding principles of America.”

Which is a nice way of saying that the Republican candidate for President is, for starters, essentially:

And a man, as his track record clearly suggests, solely motivated by:

 

A man so casual with the truth, so vague as to the details of his agenda, and with such a contempt for his fellow countryman (certainly 47% of them), his ideology veers dangerously close to:

Which, to my mind, makes Mitt Romney, above all, completely and utterly:

Do we really want to place our trust in such a man?

I think not.

Surely not.

To summarize, pictorially this time, this is the Romney/Ryan economic plan – as far as anyone can make out through the clouds of obfuscation.

Once again, Robert Reich:

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Doesn’t make for happy viewing, now does it?

They say the only things that are certain are death and taxes.

I think we can add a third item to the above.

It is a guarantee that, should the Republicans take the White House on Tuesday, the Romney/Ryan plan will negatively impact, perhaps even ruin, your life.

Unless you count yourself among the 1% who appear to believe they are privileged and inviolate merely by the fact of their enormous wealth.

Frankly, I wouldn’t treat a dog the way Mad Mitt proposes to treat America …. and we know how Mitt treats mutts!

So, please, the choice is clear, people.

If you are a rational and compassionate person – and Americans excel in these virtues – vote for Barack Obama for President this Tuesday and give him four more years to rectify the ghastly economic shambles the last Republican administration left us.

Another term for our present incumbent will, with patience, bring change for the better – change you can believe in, and share in.

Vote for Romney and, yes, you’ll get change all right.

But it won’t be change you will believe in.

And it won’t be change you can do anything about because its is the aim of the extreme right to take hold of this country by the scruff of its multi-racial, multi-cultural neck and mold it into a singular fundamentalist State, lousy with intolerance, repression and inequality of and towards all genres (except theirs) where you may still have a “vote”, but one which will be legislated into irrelevance.

It is a vision of utopia to the absolutists now in control of the Republican Party.

It is, to 99% of the American population, a nightmarish vision of hell a la Hieronymus Bosch.

Don’t believe me? Well then, go ahead, vote for Mad Mitt and see how your future unfolds.

Because, if there’s one thing we can be clear on when it comes to Mitt Romney, it is that he is, from day one in power:

Election 2012 is upon us.

Keep the recovery train on the tracks. Don’t be lured into taking the Last Exit to Crooklyn.

Stay the course, care for your fellow citizens, be true to the core American values we all hold dear – and preserve our democracy.

Vote our incumbent President back into office this Tuesday.

We’ll see you on the other side of Tuesday.

Hopefully.

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Robert Reich‘s blog may be accessed here.

He is also a very regular contributor to the Nation of Change daily blog, which can be found here.

His latest book, “Beyond Outrage”, an essential read if you care about your future and the future of this country, is available for purchase here.

 

“Robert B. Reich argues that nothing good happens in Washington unless citizens are energized and organized to make sure Washington acts in the public good. The first step is to see the big picture. Beyond Outrage connects the dots, showing why the increasing share of income and wealth going to the top has hobbled jobs and growth for everyone else, undermining our democracy; caused Americans to become increasingly cynical about public life; and turned many Americans against one another. He also explains why the proposals of the “regressive right” are dead wrong and provides a clear roadmap of what must be done instead.

Here’s a plan for action for everyone who cares about the future of America.”

Category:  Books ,History ,Opinion ,Topical      Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A LAST WORD BEFORE THE ELECTION – Democracy: Staying Or Leaving?

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He may not be perfect but I do trust that Obama believes in democracy and values truth over blatant lies and propaganda.

Romney, on the other hand, is the most outrageous charlatan with no moral underpinning whatsoever. How else can you view such a serial flip-flopper and blatant fibber who refuses to even give body to his supposed plan for America?

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Could it be his plan for America is to turn 99% of her people into vassals serving, subsisting and surviving at the whim of faceless multi-national corporations whose God is money and whose earthbound deities are their shareholders?

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Is there any real doubt Romney is a shrill for these shadowy interests?

None that I can see.

This election is all about this nation’s fundamental values …. it’s all about democracy, freedom and government for the people by the People.

Romney does not believe in such values. He thinks private concerns should be running this nation. He is the point-man for those who wish to make government subservient to the massive monetary clout of multi-national corporations, an unfettered, unregulated Wall Street and a global economy run by, and at the mercy of, the uber-rich.

His vision is an American autocracy. His cohorts are the vanguard of an American Taliban.

A vote for Romney is a vote against the power of the ballot.

The ultimate irony.

The insidious revolution of the right is nothing short of an attempt to destroy democracy by making your vote utterly irrelevant. Who do you really want looking over your shoulder – a government beholden to the electorate, or corporations run by anonymous monsters intent on enriching themselves over and above the welfare of this country’s people?

How grotesquely un-American is that?

C’mon now, think about it – which one really is the scary one?

It’s your choice – use your vote wisely.

And if you don’t vote, don’t bitch.

Category:  Opinion ,Topical      Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HAVE A BELT OF THIS, GRAHAM – Tea Party Bozo Handed His Empty Head On Irish Radio

Higgins v. Graham: A knock-down facts versus hysteria brawl.

Michael Higgins (the gent on the left) is the ninth and current President of the Republic of Ireland, elected in 2011 with a vote tally larger than any candidate in history. He is also a poet, broadcaster and author, penning numerous contributions to political and philosophical journals on a wide variety of subjects, including ideology, the sociology of literature, clientism in politics, regionalism and the politics of the media.

Mr. Higgins was President of the Irish Labour Party and spokesman on foreign affairs prior to his election to his current post.

Michael Graham (the gent on the right) is an American talk show host, an author and conservative political commentator. He is an avid Tea Party supporter and extreme critic of all things Obama. Living up to his self-proclaimed description of being “loud, obnoxious and frequently fired”, Graham has indeed been terminated from several radio jobs for reasons ranging from refusing to curtail his continual anti-Islamic rants (he has called Islam a “terrorist organization”) and intemperate remarks in the wake of the Columbine massacre.

Back in 2010, the two Michaels came together on the Irish radio program, “Newstalk“, and a glorious verbal fisticuffs broke out, with facts, firsthand knowledge and a worldview (Higgins) disposing of histrionic fear-mongering and fact-free bluster (Graham) with derisive ease.

Well worth 20 minutes of your time. Listen below (just click the pic):

The Democrats could – and should – learn a thing or two from the venerable Mr. Higgins for the run-in to this November’s election.

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Thanks to the great Exile On Moan Street blog for posting a portion of this contretemps and thus alerting me to its existence. Take a virtual wander over there – you won’t be disappointed!

Category:  History ,Opinion ,Topical      Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN – Makes Me Wanna Holler!

Wanna little Sugar in your bowl?

Do yourself one big smacker of a favor this summer and trot along to the nearest cinema that is screening the most remarkable, heart-warming and life-affirming documentary of the year 2012.

Searching for Sugar Man“.

A Must-See!

You think Nick Drake got a raw deal, his music almost completely ignored during his lifetime? That’s nothing compared to the story of Sixto Rodriguez, a Detroit-based singer/songwriter who rose to total non-prominence at the beginning of the ’70s with the U.S. release of two extraordinary albums, “Cold Fact” and “Coming From Reality“, that managed to sell about six copies.

Not each.

In total.

And that’s a cold, cold fact.

Rodriguez – Sugar Man

(From the album, “Cold Fact”, on Light in the Attic Records and available here)

Despite the conviction of all those involved in the making of these two records that Rodriguez (as he was professionally known) was a more powerful songwriter than – yup – one Bob Dylan, the utter lack of sales led to the artist being dropped by his label – and that appeared to be that.

No sales - Harsh Reality, Cold Fact

Yet, as “Searching for Sugar Man” so eloquently details, it was hardly the end.

It wasn’t even the beginning.

The seeds of legend had yet to be sewn.

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As far as Rodriguez knew, his musical odyssey was over and he went to work doing demolition and other heavy manual labor jobs in disintegrating inner-city Detroit.

Rodriguez – Establishment Blues

(From the album, “Cold Fact”)

Yet sometimes a spark is borne on the wind to catch a-fire many leagues distant and the Rodriguez albums began to burn bright half-way round the world in Australia and New Zealand, and then in apartheid-isolated South Africa.

In the latter country, Rodriguez was to became an iconic figure, a protest singer who became the torch singer to an ever-growing white anti-apartheid youth movement. No self-respecting activist or government-loathing liberal was to be found without “Cold Fact” and “Coming From Reality” in their stack of vinyl.

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Yet, just as Rodriguez was completely unaware of his huge following in South Africa, so were his followers without a clue as to who their hero was, or where he was, or, indeed, whether he still was of this earth. Urban myth took hold and rumor took on the guise of fact that Rodriguez was dead by his own hand, an on-stage suicide, either by self-immolation or by pulling a gun from his guitar case and, as the audience looked on, blowing his head off.

Rodriguez in the early '70s during his non-ascension to world fame

Others said he was in a mental institution, or in prison for murdering his girlfriend, or had succumbed to the staple exit of the rock fraternity – a drug overdose.

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These, of course, were pre-internet days and, through the ’70s and ’80s, South Africa was furthermore the pariah of the world, isolated culturally by the rest of the planet, disgusted by the perpetuation of the country’s racist system of governance.  To be young in South Africa then was to be denied virtually any access to the latest music trends, let alone snippets of information about an obscure singer-songwriter whose career had faltered and sunk from view, wrecked on the unforgiving rocks of poor album sales.

In America at least.

In South Africa, Rodriguez’s albums went platinum.

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As the apartheid regime breathed its last, the search began in earnest among his South African admirers for the truth about Rodriguez’s demise.

And sometimes, just sometimes, reality is better than legend. And so it was to prove in the case of this forgotten singer from Detroit.

Rodriguez – Climb Up on My Music

(From the album, “Coming From Reality”, on Light in the Attic Records and available here)

Searching for Sugar Man” is the story of how the twain finally met – the artist and his massive, adoring South African audience. It is an extraordinary tale, not only in its stark depiction of a vicious South African regime not even 20 years gone, but also in the manner in which Rodriguez met with and embraced his unknown fame in that country. The contrast between the vicious barbarism of a squalid system and the humility and humanity of the man known as Rodriguez is breath-taking.

Searching for Sugar Man” is a remarkable film about a remarkable man and you will be just as thankful as all those thousands of South African Rodriguez fans when you too find the Sugar Man.

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Don’t miss Rodriguez this time around!

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Visit Rodriguez at the artist-endorsed website here.

Rodriguez’s albums and the soundtrack for the movie are available from Light in the Attic Records here.

Category:  Art & Culture ,Film & TV ,History ,Music ,Topical      Tagged: , , , , , , , ,