Monday, October 26, 2020

The Taj


Politics, religion and history apart, the Taj Mahal is close to my heart for some very personal reasons. 

Agra. My dad was transferred to this place soon after he got married and my parents moved there, nay, here, to begin their married life. 

Those good old charming days, all they had was a radio for entertainment, a tape recorder and a cassette. 
Evenings were all free and the Taj Mahal was nearby. Every week, here is where they would go. 

I was conceived in Agra. I was delievered in Hassan, in the South, but within months, I was back in Agra. 

Their visits to the Taj now had me bundled along. The lawns were not off limits unlike today, and we would sit on the lawn before the Taj. They would hand me a ball and I would play with it. 

We must have been there 60 to 70 times or more, recalled my dad once. 

I have no memory of it but perhaps it was dissolved into my subconscience. For whenever I looked at the Taj again, my heart was heavy with an ache inexplicable. 

My dad took us to Agra again when I was a teenager. It was my brother's first time, but for me, it was deja vu. And a poignant one. 

We brought home a picture of the monument as a souvenir. It was a black silhouette of the Taj against the background of an orange evening sky. I would look at that picture with a heavy heart. 

It was there in Agra that I had been conceived. Just before then I must have died in that place an old woman in my previous life. I must have been part of all that history somehow. For when I walk among the ruins of history, the tombs and the forts, I want to be there forever, savouring an unfathomable longing and never return. It's uncanny, eerie even, but that's how it is. 

When I look at the Taj from this place where life has swept me, I find myself looking at happier and hopeful times. My parents must have been happy and smiling, having been newly married. I was an infant, a bright and beautiful one, their first born, and there was a lifetime yet to unfold; a lifetime of possilities, of dreams to come true, and complete innocence about all the disappointments that the future had in store. A point from where our life story could have developed in a thousand different ways, other than the one in which it did. One of those stages of life at which you look back and think, Kash....., with a sigh. 
Sitting on that lawn before the beautiful, flawless Taj, were a pitiably happy three of us who had no clue that life was going to unfold evenings that would not be rosy, but grey and quiet, that we wouldn't be huddled together like that looking at a thing of beauty together, but apart, brooding, wishing, hurting...
.
.
.
We must raze all the mosques that were built upon the ruins of our heritage, we must reclaim our important sites and temples but I hope we leave the Taj alone...for my sake.

Monday, July 08, 2019

JFK (1991)





Watched ‘JFK’ (1991) on Primevideo.

A must watch Oliver Stone political thriller.
Even if you have no interest in Kennedy or politics, you must watch the film to understand America, the rogue State and the brute force that every country in this world must reckon with.
The movie begins with the Kennedy’s victory in the Presidential elections, his policies towards Cuba and Vietnam followed by his assassination.
The rest of the movie portrays the unrest of Jim Garrison, a New Orleans DA, over the suspicious Warren commission investigation of Kennedy’s killing and his own private investigation that ends in a courtroom trial, 3 years after the killing.

Most of the movie is the revealing and stringing together of facts by people that Jim (Kevin Kostner) contacts so there isn’t much of a story to be enacted.

The summary of findings is as follows.
Those who were committed to war, those in the ammunition industry whom war had made rich saw an enemy in Kennedy who had closed the training camps that prepared for an all out invasion of Cuba, and who had issued orders to pull American troops out of Vietnam.
The CIA that had become all powerful suddenly had its wings clipped by Kennedy. He had transferred most of its power to the military, fired the top two, the director and deputy director of CIA. The CIA incurred millions of dollars of budget cuts.
Anti Fidel Castro Cubans in America who were all set for an all out invasion of Cuba were thwarted by Kennedy.
Kennedy even had meetings with Russians to end the cold war, to end the moon race and to begin cooperation. He was seen as soft on Communism and those who hoped to perpetuate the cold war or to rekindle it, saw a huge obstacle in Kennedy.
Oswald was just a patsy, a pawn who had been set up since the time the plan had been conceived. The purpose of his coming into the world, it seems, was to be the dummy killer, so the real criminals would never ever be caught.

And there is the summary of the summarization.
Corruption in India is at a kinder garten level compared to corruption in the US. I used to think how outrageous it was that the tobacco tycoons like ITC must make their millions by pumping poison into the lungs of the children of their country.
This is nothing when compared to the American millionaires in the weapons industry who want to turn cities into rubble, spray bullets into the flesh of men, women and children, have houses and fields going up in flames, so they may make more millions, and will kill a good man who will try to end the bloodbath!
What a race, what a civilization the west must be, to breed such demons. How completely they lack a moral compass, what a rogue state, what a terrorist state the US is!

To give credit where it is due, I must admit there are people like Jim Garrison, who will risk their lives and the lives of their women and children, in order to seek justice, who will spend years of their precious lives, do not relent, fear, or give up, in their quest for Truth so their children and all future generations may live in a better world where good deeds are not trampled under the jackboots of selfish, greedy wicked men.

As the movie ends, some facts are revealed.
In 1979, Richard helms, director of covert operations in 1963, admitted under oath that Clay Shaw had worked for the CIA.
Clay Shaw died in 1971 of lung cancer. No autopsy was allowed.
In 1978, Jim Garrison was elected judge of the Louisiana state court of appeal in new Orleans. He was reelected in 1988. To this date, he has brought the only public prosecution in the Kennedy killing.
Southeast Asia: 2 million Asian lives lost, 58000 American lives lost, 220 billion dollars spent, 10 million Americans air lifted there by commercial aircraft, more than 5000 helicopters lost, 6.5 million tons of bombs dropped.
A congressional investigation from 76 to 79 found a ‘probable conspiracy’ in the assassination of Kennedy and recommended the justice department investigate further. As of 91, the justice department has done nothing. The files of the House Select Committee on assassinations are locked away until 2029.

As a result of this film, Congress in 1992 passed legislation to appoint a panel to review all files and determine which ones would be made available to the American public.

From my notes…

(I made extensive notes, in the order in which they appear in the film…read only if you like details)

To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

‘3 and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend, on military security alone...
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence, economic, political even spiritual is felt in every city every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence whether sought or unsought by the military industrial complex. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes…’
- January 1961, Dwight D Eisenhower's farewell address to the nation

November 1960
Senator JF Kennedy of Massachusetts wins one of the narrowest election victories in American history over vice president Richard Nixon by a little more than 100000 votes.

He inherits a secret war against the Communist Castro dictatorship in Cuba, a war run by the CIA and the angry Cuban exiles.
Castro is a successful revolutionary frightening American business interests in Latin America.
This war culminates in the disastrous Bay of pigs invasion in April 1961 when Kennedy refuses to provide air cover for the exiled Cuban Brigade.

Kennedy takes public responsibility for the failure, privately claims the CIA lied to him and tried to manipulate him into ordering an all out American invasion of Cuba.

In October 1962 the world comes to the brink of nuclear war when Kennedy quarantines Cuba after announcing the presence of offensive Soviet missiles 90 miles off American Shores. Soviet ships with more missiles sail towards the island. But at the last moment they turn back. The world breathes relief.
In Washington, rumours abound that JFK cut a a secret deal with Russian premier Khrushchev not to invade Cuba in return for a Russian withdrawal of missiles. Suspicions abound that Kennedy is soft on communism.
Kennedy is also embroiled in Laos and Vietnam.

At the American University in Washington, Kennedy speaks of peace. 'what kind of peace do I mean,... not a pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war...we must examine our own attitudes towards the Soviet Union, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, we breathe the same air, cherish children's future... '

Dallas, November 22, 1963
3 bullets in the head.

President was rushed by secret service to Parkland Memorial hospital, 4 miles from Dealey Plaza.
Blood transfusions are being given. A priest has administered the last rites.

Kennedy is dead.

'Father Oscar Hubert of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church says, his men have administered the last rites of President Kennedy'

Most of the people are heartbroken, they sob and wail, but some are happy.

‘Bullshit President! I don't see anybody crying for all those thousands of Cubans that bastard condemned to death and torture at the bay of pigs. Goddamn peace treaties. (someone is a bar talking) That's what happens when you let the niggers vote. They get together with the Jews and Catholics and elect an Irish bleeding heart’

‘Camelot in smithereens. I'll drink to that’

‘I didn't shoot anybody, they have taken me in because I've lived in the Soviet Union’ says Oswald.
‘Were you ever in the free Cuba movement?’

'After a stint at the Marines, he apparently became fascinated by communism.
Supporter of Castro... ' (about Oswald)

‘The rifle, a cheap world War 2 Italian made Mannlicher-Carcano was ordered from a Chicago mailing house and shipped to Oswald alias A Hidell, post office box in March of 1963’

Someone shoots Oswald on TV. Jack Ruby.

New president comes in. The US would continue its policy of aiding the new government of Vietnam in its war against the Communist insurgents.

‘Blue Ribbon’ presidential commission headed by chief justice of the US Supreme Court, Earl Warren, to investigate the assassination.

3 years pass.

'we have bitten off more Vietnam than we could possibly chew'

'Picking gnat shit out of pepper'
(The act of being nit-picky to a ridiculous degree. To meticulously analyze minutia)

Many being suspicious about the official theory
'Average man would be lucky to get two shots off. The first shot would always be the best. Here the third shot's perfect.
Then they got that crazy bullet zigzagging all over the place so it hit Kennedy and Connally seven times'

‘I'd round up one hundred of the world's best riflemen and find out which ones were in Dallas that day’

Oswald was interrogated for 12 hours after the assassination with no lawyer present, and nobody recorded a word of it. With no record, the police and FBI would know anything he said would be inadmissible at court.

‘In and again, credible testimony is ignored. Leads are never followed up, it's conclusions selective. There's no index. It's one of the sloppiest disorganized investigations I have ever seen.
Lots of witnesses said the shots came from the front, from the grassy knoll, not the bookstore behind’

‘A Lieutenant colonel testifies that Lee Oswald was given a Russian language exam as part of his marine training only a few months before he defects to the Soviet Union.
I have never heard of it. Oswald was a radar operator. He'd have about as much use for Russian as a cat has for pyjamas’

‘You want to be the only man in America who's read all 27 volumes of the Warren report?’ asks the wife, of Jim Garrison.

‘Oswald was no ordinary soldier, he was probably in military intelligence. Hence trained in Russian. It was no accident he was in Russia’

‘It is suggested Oswald is arrested in a street scuffle that was a set up where he was being attacked by anti Castro exiles for being pro Castro. The FBI after interrogating him, destroys all the notes. He then appears on television declaring he is not Communist but Marxist-Leninist’

‘Once ONI always an ONI’
ONI - Office of naval intelligence

Kevin Kostner takes his team mates to a crossroads in new Orleans where the offices of FBI, the CIA and ONI are across the street from each other. In the middle of all those buildings was a building that was supposed to be Oswald's office!
‘A rather strange place for a Communist to spend his spare time?’

They were going to train these Cuban exiles for another invasion of Cuba.
(guy banister's office)
That office was part of the supply line from Dallas through New Orleans to Miami. They were stock piling arms, explosives.
All this under the nose of the intelligence community in Lafayette square.

Training camps where soldiers, Americans, mercenaries were training, shooting in tropical areas (like Cuba) were shut down by Kennedy.

Oswald was there too, sometimes meeting with Banister.
When secretary tells banister Oswald is distributing Communist pamphlets, banister laughs and says it's okay he is with us.

Clay Bertrand. Supposedly asks this fat guy Deano to go to Dallas to represent Oswald as his lawyer.

Willie is doing time for homosexual thing with Clay Bertrand

Dave was at a party with Cubans, Oswald, Clay, Willie
After the party Dave and all of them get excited and angry about Kennedy taking away all their weapons, obstructing the liberation of Cuba, and Kennedy making deals with Russians and say that an inspired act of God must put a Texan in the Whitehouse.

The railroad man Lee Bowers who saw men at the picket fence is dead.
Rose Cheramie a whore, she said she was a dope runner for Jack Ruby. she said Ruby knew Oswald for years. She's dead too. She was pushed out of a car, and was crying ‘they were going to kill Kennedy’ and crying for help.

Oswald. Lonely kid, no father. Joins the Marines at 17, learns Russian, acts overtly Marxist, but he's stationed at a top secret air base in Japan where U2 spy flights over Russia originate. He's discharged from the Marines supposedly because his mother's sick, stays home 3 days and then with a $1500 ticket, from a $203 bank account, he goes to Moscow.
He disappears for 6 weeks, presumably with the KGB. Finally they shuttle him to a radio factory in Minsk where he lives as high on the hog as he ever has.
He's given 5000 rubles, a roomy apartment with a balcony, has affairs with local girls. But he never writes speaks or does any propaganda for the Russians. He meets Marina whose uncle is a colonel in Soviet intelligence at a trade union dance. They marry, have a daughter.
The explanation for the royal treatment, he gave them US radar secrets (perhaps they were fake secrets)
6 months after his arrival in Russia, Francis Gary Powers' U2 spy flight goes down in Russia. That plane was untouchable.

Powers hinted that Oswald could have given the Russians enough data to hit it.
As a direct result, the peace summit between Khrushchev and Eisenhower failed.

Someone in our military didn’t want the peace conference to happen.

How does he get back to the states?
Within 48 hours, the state department issues him a new passport and loans him travel money.
He is never investigated by the Navy for revealing classified information or debriefed by the CIA. Marina has no problems getting out.
It's bizzare because it's impossible to get Russian sweethearts out.

Next thing, he's living in Dallas Fort Worth, October 62, working 6 months at JAGGARS CHILES STOVALL, a photographic firm that contracts to make maps for the US army.
Oswald becomes chummy with the Russian community of Dallas, all rabid anti communists.
His closest friend is an oil man named George who is 35 years his senior.
George is a member of the Dallas petroleum club, speaks 5 languages and was in French Vichy intelligence during the war, also rumoured to have been a Nazi sympathizer.

George draws a picture of Oswald as someone who adores JFK.
'I think he has made some mistakes regarding Cuba', Oswald is shown saying.

George was the same man who told the Warren commission Oswald was a violent man, had a rifle.

Oswalds were introduced by George to Janet and Bill Williams. Bill was engineer for Bell Helicopters.
Through Janet, Oswald in October 63, gets the job at the warehouse at the book depository. To exercise his intellect stacking school texts at 1.25 dollars an hour!

Marina has fights with him over his secrecy, his lack of money. And says he is sexually inadequate.
At 24 he rents a room in Dallas under alias of O H Lee

Williams’ tax records are classified. Bill Williams has CIA links through his family. And does classified work for Bell helicopters.

Marina and Janet become best friends.
When Oswald is arrested, Marina denounces him as a violent man.
After two months of being locked up by FBI, she gives a statement that she has facts that tell her Oswald killed Kennedy.

‘Maybe Oswald didn't pull the trigger. Nitrate tests indicate he hadn't even fired a rifle on November 22nd’ (Says the DA, Jim)
‘When the rifle went to the FBI, they didn’t find a thing. A week later one guy in Dallas police department finds a palm print on it’
‘It could have been taken from Oswald in the morgue’

‘Why would he order a traceable rifle and have it posted to an address, when he could walk into a store, give a false name and buy a rifle that could never be traced back to him?’
It was done to frame him.

Jack Ruby was the man in the green truck behind the wheels. Someone got off his truck with a weapon in hand. It was after the crime.

He had introduced Beverly to Oswald. He frequented this nude club.

Zapruder film establishes 3 shots in 5.6 seconds.
When the DA's men tried blank shots again, it took 6 to 7 seconds, and that, without aiming.
And then, the second and third shot came on top of each other.
And there is a tree there blocking the first two shots when they occur in the film.
Edgar Hoover said something about leaves falling off in November.
But then it was a Texas live oak. It's sheds it's leaves the first week of March.

Take the carcano, the world's worst shoulder weapon, you try to hit a moving target 88 yards, through heavy foliage? No way.
The FBI tried two sets of tests. Not one of their sharp shooters could match Oswald's 'supposed' performance.

The DA must now get hands on the Zapruder film, which means they must sub poena Time-Life

They could have shot him when he was on The Houston street. The only reason to do it on Elm street was you got him in a triangulated cross fire.

They changed the parade route because the original route meant impossible shots.

Who changed the parade route?
Secret service, city officials, Dallas police?

Pyle Cabell was the mayor at the time, brother of general Charles Cabell. Deputy director of CIA. Kennedy fired him in 61 because of Bay of Pigs fiasco. He moved back to the Pentagon and called Kennedy a traitor.

His boss Allen Dulles who handled all the leads in the intelligence community was part of the Warren commission. Head of the CIA since 53. Kennedy fired them both. Cabell was his deputy for 9 years.

Talk about the Fox investigating the chicken coop.

September 63 on, two months before the assassination, (someone posing as) ‘Oswald’ is all over Dallas, buying ammo, getting a telescopic sight fix, going to rifle ranges.
Goes to a car dealer when he doesn’t have a license, doesn't know how to drive according to wife Marina but test drives a car like a mad man. Dealer remembers him as 5 7 but his record says 5 11
He also says an honest man in the country cannot buy a car so he is going to Russia. (trying to get noticed)

He is seen in shooting ranges. Shoots a neighbour's target and then says ‘Oh I thought I was shooting at Kennedy’
(Subtle as a cockroach on a white rug)

Then he (calling himself Oswald) shows up at Sylvia Odio's, a Cuban lady in Dallas anti Castro underground. The two Cubans introduce him as Leon Oswald.
She doesn't like him.
Later one of the Cubans calls her back giving info she didn't ask for. That he said Cubans don't have any guts, else Kennedy should have been killed after Bay of pigs.

Sylvia sees this Oswald in the paper but Warren commission says she has bad sight because they have Oswald in Mexico at this time trying to get back into Cuba.
The CIA has a camera outside the Cuban embassy and they say this(picture) is Oswald in Mexico now. (the picture doesn't look Oswald at all)

The point of the Mexican episode was to lay the blame on Fidel Castro. If someone purporting to be Oswald went to Cuba, came back and killed Kennedy, the American public would have supported Cuban invasion.

The real Oswald emphatically denied that his photo on Time magazine was not him. They said it came from Janet Williams’ garage.

The pictures when shown to experts by DA's aide,
The shadows on the nose fall in a straight line like it's high noon. The shadow on the ground reads like late afternoon. Or early morning. So the face was superimposed on the body.
The body is holding the rifle and the gun. The face was superimposed to implicate Oswald.

In Jan 1961, when the Oswald we know is in Russia, someone's using his name to buy trucks for the friends of democratic Cuba. And who's on the articles of incorporation of the friends for Democratic Cuba? Guy Banister. He has someone using Oswald's name to buy trucks. Hoover at the FBI writes a memo dated June of 1960 that someone could be using Oswald's passport and identity.

Clay Bertrand is Clay Shaw.

Italian newspaper article says Clay Shaw was member of the board of central mondo commerciale in Italy, that this company was a creature of the CIA for the transfer of funds in Italy for legal political espionage activity. It says the company was expelled from Italy for that activity.
The company is also linked to the Schlumberger tool company in Louisiana which provided arms to David Ferrie (Joe Pesci) and his Cubans.

'People like you just walk between the raindrops'

'Shaw is untouchable. Highest clearance'

David’s Cuban paymaster in Miami Eladio del Valle

'(The language is) pretty flowery for David Ferrie ' says this guy, reading David’s suicide note (fabricated)

David dead, Eladio hacked to death.

A gentleman X who meets Jim in Washington.
‘I was the secret guy at Pentagon who supplies military hardware, planes, bullets, rifles for what we call Black operations, Black Ops. Assassinations, coup d'etats, rigging elections, propaganda, psych warfare and so forth.
Helped evacuate part of the Nazi intelligence apparatus, just before the end of the war. We used those guys in the fight against the Communists. In Italy, 48, we stole the elections, France, 49, broke the strikes, overthrew Quirino in the Philippines, Arbenz in Guatemala, Mossadegh in Iran. We were in Vietnam in 54, Indonesia 58, Tibet 59, got the Dalai Lama out.
Then we got into the Cuban thing. We were all set for invasion, Khrushchev sent missiles to resist invasion, Kennedy didn't invade.
A lot of pissed off people.
I spent much of September 63 for working on the Kennedy plan for getting all US personnel out of Vietnam by end of 65. He ordered home the first 1000 troops for Christmas.
In November, one week after the murder of Vietnamese president Diem in Saigon and two weeks before the assassination of Kennedy, a strange thing happened.
I was sent to the south pole as the military escort for a group of international VIPs.
I was on my way back, in New Zealand, when Kennedy was killed.
Oswald was charged at 7 pm Dallas time, with Tippet's murder. That's 2 noon, next day in NZ. But already their papers had the entire history of this unknown 24 year old Oswald, and were sure he killed the President alone although it took them 4 more hours before they even charged him with that crime in Dallas.

And why was I, the chief of special ops, sent to South pole? Because if I had been in Washington at that time, one of my routine duties would have been to arrange additional security in Texas. Sure enough, someone had told the 112th military intelligence group at 4th army head quarters at Fort Sam Houston to stand down that day over the protest of unit commander colonel Reich. It is standard operating procedure, especially in a hostile city like Dallas to supplement the secret service

Even if we had not allowed the bubble top to be removed from the limousine, we would have placed at least one hundred to two hundred agents on the sidewalk without question. Only a month before in Dallas, UN ambassador Adlai Stevenson was spit on and hit. There had been several attempts on de Gaulle's life in France.
We would have arrived days ahead, studied the route, checked all buildings, never allowed wide open empty windows overlooking Dealey. We would have had our snipers covering the area. The minute a window went up they would have been on radio. We'd watch the crowd packages, rolled papers, coats. We would never let a man open an umbrella. Never allowed his limousine to slow down to 10 miles an hour.

That day there were army intelligence people in Dallas. But they weren't protecting the client.
They had the entire cabinet on a trip to the Far East. They had one third of a combat division returning from Germany, in the air above the US at the time of the shooting. At 12:34 pm, the entire telephone system went out in Washington for a solid hour. And on the plane back to Washington, word was radioed from the White House situations room to Lyndon Johnson that one individual performed the assassination.

The cabinet was out of the country to get their perceptions out of the way. Troops were in the air for possible riot control. The telephones didn't work to keep the wrong stories from spreading if anything went wrong with the plan. Nothing was left to chance.

In 1961 right after the Bay of Pigs... Kennedy instructed general Lemnitzer, chairman of the joint chiefs, that from here on, the joint chiefs of staff would be wholly responsible for all covert paramilitary action in peacetime. This ended the CIA's reign, splintered it as JFK promised he would, into a thousand pieces. Now he was ordering the military to help him do it. Unprecedented.
His directives were never implemented because of bureaucratic resistance. But one of the results was, the Cuban operation was turned over to my department as operation Mongoose. It was pure Black Ops. Secretly based in the south campus of Miami University, which was the largest domestic CIA station, budgeted annually over hundreds of millions of dollars. 300 agents, 7000 select Cubans, 50 fake business fronts for laundering money. They waged non stop war against Castro. Industrial sabotage, crop burning, the works, and all of this came under the control of general Y, my boss (the boss of X, the speaker)

All he did was take the rules of covert warfare he'd used abroad and brought them into this country.
Kennedy called for budget cuts in 63.
52 military installations in 25 states, 21 overseas bases. Big money. 3000 helicopters lost in Vietnam so far. Who makes them? Bell helicopters. Who owns Bell?

Bell was nearly bankrupt when the first National Bank of Boston approached the CIA about developing the helicopter for Indochina usage.
How about the F-11 fighter? General dynamics, Fort Worth, Texas. Who owns that?
Find out the defense budget since the war began. 75, going on a 100 billion. Nearly 200 billion will be spent before it's over. In 1949, it was 10 billion.
The organizing principle of any society, is for war. The authority of the State over its people resides in its war powers.
And Kennedy wanted to end the cold war in its second term. He wanted to call off the moon race in favour of cooperation with the Soviets. He signed a treaty with the Soviets to ban nuclear testing. He refused to invade Cuba in 62 and set out to withdraw from Vietnam.

The above was X talking to Jim, our DA, in Washington.

'Son of a bitch has got his hands on the chicken switch' about Kennedy not going to war in Cuba, Vietnam

Kennedy brothers target voting districts for those defense dollars. They give TFX fighter contracts only to those counties that are going to make a difference in 64. People in the loop fight back.

'I want Max Taylor on him night and day like a fly on shit'

You control MacNamara , you control Kennedy.

It started like that. Defense contractors, big oil bankers. Just conversations, nothing more.

Kennedy announces Texas trip in September. A second Oswald starts popping up all over Dallas where they own the mayor and cops.

The day after they buried Kennedy, Lindon Johnson reverses Kennedy's withdrawal policy from Vietnam, provoking the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

‘What Martin Luther King called his beautiful dream, expressed so dramatically during the 1963 March on Washington, was shattered tonight in Memphis, Tennessee, by an assassin's bullet. Police think the single shot came from across the street.

‘The US attorney in Washington declines to serve subpoena on Allen dulles, Charles Cabell, CIA director Richard Helms, any FBI agent we name’, says Jim’s aide.

‘Oswald and Shaw were seen together in Clinton in early September. The civil rights movement was running a voter's registration drive. Rumour is Shaw was working on some arms deal to discredit the civil rights movement’

Oswald went to see the FBI two weeks before the assassination. To see special agent Hosty. Hosty had made 3 visits to Janet Williams' house supposedly to keep an eye on Marina.
Oswald left a note for Hosty. It was a warning to stop questioning Marina at home.
Hosty destroyed the note. It probably wasn't a warning, but had some info about assassination which is why it was destroyed.

There was a telex dated Nov 17 warning of Kennedy's assassination in Dallas on November 22nd.
The telex went all over the country, nothing was done. The motorcade went ahead on schedule. This wasn't even mentioned on the Warren report.
After the assassination, the telex was removed from all files in all cities. May be it was Oswald who sent this telex. Oswald had probably infiltrated this group. Cubans, right wing extremists.

He was told to be at the book depository that day by his handlers to either prevent the killing or to take part in it.

‘Lyndon Johnson got one billion dollars for his Texas friends Brown and Root to dredge Cam Ranh Bay for the military in Vietnam’

‘Your faith in the veracity of the media is touching. It indicates that the age of innocence is not yet over’

‘With 53% of the precincts reporting, Senator Bobby Kennedy continues to hold a lead of 48 to 41% over senator McCarthy…’
Even as Bobby addressed the country (after his victory, it seems) they shot him. On national television.

‘The American public hasn't seen the Zapruder film because it has been kept locked away in a vault for the last 5 years. In the time-life building in NYC’

The Warren commission thought they had an open and shut case. 3 bullets one assassin. But two unpredictable things happened that day that made it virtually impossible.
1. The 8 mm home movie by Abraham Zapruder while standing near the grassy knoll.
2. The third wounded man, James Teague, who was nicked by a fragment while standing near the triple underpass. The time frame 5.6 seconds established by the Zapruder film left no possibility of a fourth shot.
So the shot that left a superficial would on Teague's cheek had to come from one of the 3 bullets fired from the 6th floor of the depository. That leaves just 2 bullets. And we know one of them was the head shot that killed Kennedy. So now a single bullet remains. A single bullet has to account for the remaining 7 wounds in Kennedy and Connally.

‘This bullet must have taken right and left turns within and without the body, left the body of one man, entered a second, exit and reentered it... Bullshit’

‘So there was a 4th bullet. And two rifle men. Which means a conspiracy’

His brain has been blasted out. A fifth or 4th of it
The body was illegally moved to Washington for autopsy
The three Bethesda naval hospital doctors picked by the military had no experience in combat gunfire wounds.

Too many people present at the autopsy.
Navy men and others meddled and obstructed proper autopsy.
President Lyndon Johnson ordered the limousine full of bullets and cues to be washed and rebuilt.

‘When we finally get a court order to examine Kennedy's brain in the national archives, we were told that the president's brain has disappeared’

‘That day, there was an epileptic seizure to distract the police so the A team could get into place for shooting in the book depository’

The fatal shot came from behind the picket fence to Kennedy's front and right.

When a patrolman saw smoke behind the fence, went up and asked a man for identification, he produced one to prove he was secret service. But he looked like an auto mechanic.
All secret service men in Dallas that day are accounted for. None were on foot in Dealey Plaza.

And where was Oswald?
Around 12 15, Oswald was seen in the second floor snack room

Hitler always said, the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it

Treason doth never prosper, said an English poet

The War is the biggest business in America. 80 billion dollars a year.

It was a public execution covered up by Dallas police department, the secret service, the FBI, the white house, J Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson.

An American naturalist wrote, ‘a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government’

Tennyson wrote, ‘authority forgets a dying king’
(Jim appeals to the jury not to forget their dying king - Kennedy)

#westerncinema

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Never Before Has the Country Been Divided Like This!


It's actually true that post 2014, there has been polarization. The people of the country are divided like never before. The divide between Hindu nationalists and leftist-liberals is clear, complete, absolute and deeper than before.
Earlier I had a few of them liberals in my circle and we used to hang out together, have coffee, lunch and debate and discuss this and that. People had a few things to say about every subject and that at times happened to include history, politics and religion. But most were apolitical. We could leave aside those subjects and endlessly discuss how plastic Aishwarya Rai was, whether Chetan Bhagat's books had any substance and so on.

2014 changed all that.
The atmosphere was charged with politics. No one could be apolitical anymore. Everyone had to take a stand and be on one or the other side of the fence. Fence sitters had no choice but to become part of the national discourse.
In fact the fence had been shifted to the right so that even those who had been masquerading as neutral all these years by saying meaningless things like 'I am not judgmental’, ‘I don't want to hate’, ‘all are children of God' now found themselves to the left of the fence, and left of centre!
You get the point, if you are not with us, you are against us.

So weeks and months after Modi won, my liberal connections left my FB wall one by one - unable to stand my strong pro BJP views and Islamic exposé, or else, I blocked them off.
One of them left bang on May 14 when BJP won. When the whole country was euphoric over the end of ten years of UPA and Manmohan, this Malayali’s was worried that Modi may ban beef. Seeing that on my wall, I told him not to worry, he could use Kerala Muslims who had connections with Pakistan's ISI and import his beef from there. And that was the end of ten years of our friendship. Now you understand what kind of a divide 2014 created!

What contributed to the divide most, was the leftist-liberal's sense of entitlement. The years before 2014, they were allowed to have their views - against Babri demolition, against post Godhra, against RSS and we right wingers dared not breathe a word or a whisper opposing those views or we would be dismissed as fanatics and fundamentalists. After 2014, when right wingers found their leader and their voice and started to express their views, the leftists would have none of that! They cried intolerance, saffronization, division and polarization and what not! That's when we saw how entitled the leftists were and that the politeness, courtesies, tolerance, accommodation and adjustment we had been extending to them all our lives, they were not ready to extend to us. Not an inch, not a needle tip!
And that made us angry and indignant!

Now when I bump into some liberal here or there, I don't bring up the subject of politics, in fact I don't talk to them at all, and if they happen to be discussing their beef (pun intended) in a group, I leave the place. Because they are not worth my time. I dismiss them as pseudo seculars; as low IQ cowards who piggy back on political correctness and don't have the courage for the truth, nor the intelligence to have an opinion of their own other than the media manufactured ones kept on the shelves, and hence not worth talking to. And I'm sure they dismiss me too.
As they raise the pitch and oppose even national anthem and Vande Mataram, I am offended by their very existence, and they are perhaps offended by mine. So we are divided. To the extent we don't even want to have coffee or lunch together, because we just don't see the point of it all.

But then when doodh ka doodh and pani ka pani happens, when the unmixable oil and water are separated, then you don't call that division, do you???
You call that clarity you call that disillusionment. You call that the moment of truth. Awareness. End of confusion. You call that focus. Direction and purpose. You call it the end of pretence and meandering. End of fence sitting. End of leftist hegemony over viewpoints and opinions.
And that's what Modi has done. He has mobilized even the most existentialist apolitical commoner and made him part of the national discourse, part of history writing. Even the most bovine and asinine materialist who had been content all his life with eating sleeping drinking shopping and saving money, has now awakened and become passionate about the nation and its leaders, for the first time in his life.
The right wingers who had been sidelined and even oppressed by Nehru and his likes are now confident about their views and unapologetically voicing the same.
So like I have said before, most of the good and bad aren't unconditional. Division an polarization too, can be a good thing when they divide what must never be mixed up in the first place.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Snakeling of Andhra


This character Jaganmohan Reddy with a benign name and a smarmy saintly smile gives me the scare.
'God has done justice, I read the Bible everyday', he says to Rajdeep Sardesai, as he proceeds to explain how Chandrababu Naidu, who poached 23 MLAs and 3 MPs from his party is now left with exactly the same number of MLAs and MPs after the recent elections.
Does he realize that the same God crashed his father's chopper and dispatched him to his specially reserved place in hell for all those Christians he sent into Tirupati temple and all those churches he built on the Seven Hills that make Tirupati sacred? Historically, those who meddle with Tirupati Balaji's affairs or take even one rupee from his coffers meet with doom.

He goes on to admit that he prayed very hard to his God that BJP or any other party may not get more than 250 seats in the Lok Sabha elections so that they may need his support to form a government at the center and then he may make them dance to his tunes and get his Andhra state that special status they have been clamouring for.
He admitted that on national television! What a wretched diabolical fellow! I mean, he prayed hard for a hung Parliament!
His God obviously did not listen to him.

Looks like he will continue the good work of his father who converted people in the state to Christianity on war footing and doubled their numbers in ten years when Sonia barmaid was lording them all.
My colleague K who was from Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, told me in 2009 that her maid was from a slum nearby. Missionaries converted people routinely in that place. As part of the conversion ceremony, the slumdwellers were made to walk on photos of Hindu Gods so they would never be able to go back to those Gods after using up the rice or money that the church had given them, as incentives to convert.

When YSR's chopper crashed, K's sister S who also was my colleague in the same firm had jumped up with excitement saying 'Yeaaaay, hamara CM mar gaya'!

After the father died, Jagan was rumoured to have reembraced Hinduism, performed rituals and all, but only yesterday he told Rajdeep Sardesai in his interview that he reads the Bible everyday. So just like Rahul Gandhi had become Janeu Dhaari for some time, he too had put up a show, a publicity stunt. Now that elections are over, he no longer needs the pretence and boldly declares his loyalty to the church!

We need a regulation to criminalize faking Hinduism - we are a tolerant religion, the only one in fact, but that doesn’t mean you can abuse Hinduism, exploit it, and make slight of it.

This Jagan snake-ling is one fellow you want to watch out for.
If he spreads his missionary poison, I hope the God of Tirupati will send him to the mouth of tigers that roam the forests into which his father dropped from the skies!

If BJP decides to grant him special status, they must do it on the condition that he will arrange for the Ghar Wapsi of all those thousands of people who his father hijacked from Hinduism and threw at Sonia Gandhi's Vatican feet. Otherwise he can go fuck himself. We don't need his support.

Saap ke pet se sapola hi bahar nikalta hai.

If BJP looks the other way as he goes on converting more people, just because he is their ally, BJP will let down those of us who voted it to power solely to protect Hindu Dharma from the erosive Abrahamic cults. They must watch his interview in which he says he would support anyone who gave him ‘benefits’.
They must realize he is ideologically promiscuous, the kind who could be your ‘friends with benefits’, but never a devoted lover.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Modi 2.0. Let's Not Forget to Thank These People...


Meanwhile, my sincere and heartfelt thanks to all these joker villains for their cheap stunts. Each of your stunt dented your own credibility; the support you got exposed all the maggots and termites of our rotten system, as they came crawling out of the woodworks. In your desperation to bring down Modi, you strengthened him and drove the people of India to him…

1.Kanhaiya Kumar for Bharat Tere Tukde Honge; you proved what we have been saying for years, that our universities are besieged by leftists

2.Shehla Rashid for Azadi Tak Jung Rahegi; we saw what Kashmiri Muslims will do after Indian army has rescued them from flash floods

3.Hardik Patel for swine-mouthing Modi and demanding caste reservations – you were the worm that heckled an elephant and we learnt not to underestimate the worm

4.Jignesh Mevani for asking Modi to retire to the Himalayas – people were convinced that geriatric politicians were better than B Grade low class scoundrel youth leaders

5.Gauri Lankesh for asking people to send their used sanitary napkins to Modi - people could tell a rogue journalist when they saw one, and a very useful word ‘Presstitute’ was coined!

6.Girish Karnad for eating beef at town hall in Bangalore – self-proclaimed intellectuals are mostly perverts and loose cannons, you showed us

7.The Award Wapsi gang for being selective in your outrage – you committed hara-kiri and spared us the trouble of having to bury you. What more, an anti-award-wapsi gang was born, bringing together in unity, one sleeping Hindu after another!

8.Mani Shankar Iyer for going to Pakistan and asking them to remove Modi from power

9.Arvind Kejriwal for... oh, everything he did. Is this fellow Pappu’s brother from another father?

10.Sonia Gandhi for implicating Colonel Purohit in Malegaon blasts

11.Siddhu for hugging Pak Army Chief Bajwa

12.Rahul Gandhi for Rafale rumours and Chowkidar chor hai

13.Mamta Banerjee for simply being the mangy bitch and the ugly shrew that she is

14.B Grade Bollywood item girls for saying they were ashamed of being Hindu after the Kathua rape

15.Presstitutes for denying love jihad

16.Salman Khurshid for eating Biryani with Pakistanis

17.Swara Bhaskar for saying she felt like a vagina after watching Padmavati

18.Sonia Gandhi for harassing Sadhvi Prajna

19.Lutyen’s media for not reporting a word about the daily murder and rape of Hindus by Muslims – our threat perception became a confirmed reality

20.NGO’s for working against India’s development in cahoots with the Church and the West

21.Lowlifes of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh who gave power to Congress and scared the hell out of complacent Hindus and propelled them to get off their ass and go vote in 2019

22.Nitish Kumar for walking out of BJP haughtily and then doing a Ghar Wapsi – you made an example of yourself; those who oppose the BJP, politicians or commoners, have only Lallu Yadav’s stinking arms to run into

23.Joseph Vijay, Kamala Haasan, Prakash Rai - the jetsam and flotsam of the cinema world – you wasted national time and drew some like feathers from the dirty-smelly chicken pen, but most of us steered clear of your nuisance

24.Rahul Gandhi, for the twine thread he called Janeu. It was entertaining but we were warned of the wolf that was trying to be sheep

25.Robert Vadra for the impunity with which you turned your rags into riches. Even a rabid leftist or liberal cannot take your side now

26.Burqa Dutt, Sagarika Ghost, Shekhar Gupta and other faces of the enemy inside that made our blood boil

27.Renuka Chaudhary for laughing like Shoorpanakha in the parliament

28.Amee Yajnik and Priyanka Chaturvedi for being the belligerent and shameless spokespersons of the Congress party on TV debates; you have no idea how many people you repelled…

29.Presstitutes for blowing out of proportion one stray Akhlaq and slighting the matter of cow slaughter

30.Pakistan for their heinous crimes that gave us opportunities for surgical strike and Balakot

31.Muslim appeasing parties who brought Rohingyas in hordes and showed us glimpses of Break India agenda

32.Owaisi brothers who reminded us of Aurangzeb

33.Kapil Sibal for asking Supreme Court to postpone Ram Mandir hearing, revealing the Congress party's true inclinations

34.Mahathugbandhan – all sound and fury, no significance, but that was a useful alert

35.Jayalalitha, simply for dying, and hence paving the way for DMK that would misrule TN and drive it's people to the feet of BJP

36.John Dayal, for being on the TV panels and reminding us of the clout of the poisonous missionaries

37.Sonia Gandhi for proclaiming in some media conclave ‘We will not let Modi return’; you sent a shiver down my spine and I’m sure many of us ran from pillar to post and got their Voter ID done.

38.Rajni Kamal Stalin and all Madrasis, for supporting the shutdown of Sterlite factory in TN, after the Kudankulam nuclear reactor. How toxic, local politics controlled by the Christian church could get, you showed us!

39.Mehbooba Mufti for taking the side of Burhan Wani

40.Supreme Court for the ban on Diwali fireworks; those of us who had given up crackers out of boredom, exploded a few this year! What more, we got chance to clamour for bloodless Eid

41.Supreme Court for forcing women into Shabarimala, while allowing mosques to keep women out; Hindu renaissance began in Kerala

42.Supreme Court, for all your anti-Hindu judgments that convinced us that even you cannot be trusted, BJP is our only resort

43.The Gandhi family for dynasty politics – as long as Pappu remains president of Congress, the party will lose election after election and we will realize a Congress Mukt Bharat sooner than you imagined possible

44.Mayawati for blaming the EVM – Dalit or no, you are truly backward

45.Stone pelters of Kashmir. AFSPA will stay there forever

46.Leftists and liberals for coming out of their closet and showing us who our children would become if they were fed secularism for breakfast

47.Muslims, Christians and Communists, for being united in your hatred for BJP – we learnt a thing or two about unity

48.The Congress party for Hafiz Saeed Ji and Masood Azhar Ji – the political discourse was no longer about development or religion, it was now about national security!

49.Leftists, liberals and the entire opposition for opposing the National Anthem and Vande Mataram. You rekindled the spirit of nationalism in us

50.The Khans of Bollywood who raved that India was intolerant and showed us that our tolerance was being wasted on the undeserving

51.The Kapoor-Khan Jodi for naming their child Taimur and proving Vivekananda’s words –‘Every Hindu converted is not just a Hindu less but an enemy more’!

52.All those pseudo secular connections who left my life and my wall – throwing out all that clutter and political correctness made room for bold nationalists and patriots in life!

Wah, kya kulhadi maara apne paon par! Vinash Kale Vipreet Buddhi indeed!
Thank you so much!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Dangerous Beauty (1999)


Watched ‘Dangerous Beauty’ (1999) on Primevideo.

This is going to be one of my favorite movies of all times.

A biographical drama film about Courtesans of 16th century Venice in general, and Veronica Franco, in particular. It shows the position they held in society, the methodical way in which they prepared for the pleasure they were expected to offer, the reading and learning they dedicated themselves to, to offer counsel that the nobility looked up to them for, the role they played in the affairs of the State, the Church’s growing resentment towards the city’s moral degradation, the society’s changing outlook towards Courtesans influenced by the men of God and at last, the Inquisition.

This is one of the finest movies I have seen. Many movies have been made on Prostitution with the prostitute as a protagonist but no other movie pays better tribute to Prostitution than this.
Unlike most other movies that attempt to draw sympathy/empathy for the prostitute by painting her woes, compulsions, her poverty, her helplessness, and some, by showing her human side, this one celebrates her, for just who she is, and it celebrates her profession for just what it offers. Pleasure.
And expresses gratitude to her.
There is the odd man who calls her a slut and a whore but he is shown losing a duel to her in a sword fight, as the crowds fear and cheer for her.

Venice, 1583. The richest, most decadent city in Europe. (Venice may as well be deemed one large floating brothel)
It's women were treated like property - few even knew how to read.
‘Young ladies have better things to do than poison their minds with books’
‘Such as?’
‘Minding their manners’.
But there were some who enjoyed a different fate.

Veronica(Catherine McCormack) and Marco(Rufus Sewell) are in love with each other.
Says Marco To Veronica, on his return from Rome, ‘Oh,Roman women, they can't hold a candle to the Venetian. Nor French, nor Florentine, nor any woman from Europe to the Levant’
‘You've sampled them all’
‘All but idle amusement until you blossomed…’
But Marco, who will be a senator like his father, is way above her station. Veronica’s mother, Paola, consoles her daughter saying she could still have him, not as a wife but as a courtesan.
The mother, who was once a great courtesan herself, had hoped to buy her daughter a good marriage but the father drank away all the dowry so to keep the family going, she urges her daughter to become a courtesan, there being ‘no other option’.
Veronica says she could go to the convent - so the mother takes her to one. Whether it is the devil or the deep sea she chooses, she must first get a glimpse of it.
There inside the high walls of the gray and grim convent, Veronica is terrified by what she sees. A nun cutting off a girl's tresses, as the girl sobs away.

So her mother begins the training.

‘The first secret of all great courtesans - you must know pleasure to give pleasure’
She arranges for a naked man and demonstrates how to touch his genitals as the daughter stands by and learns.
‘Use your fingers lightly first, keep him wanting more. It's wanting that keeps us alive’
She is taught to walk on very thick wedges.
‘Height gives advantage to men as well to women. Carriage creates the first impression’
She is taken to a library.
‘Ladies can't go in there, courtesans can. The emperor Pericles relied more for policy on his mistress than he ever did on his Lieutenants. Courtesans are the most educated women in the world’
And then she is taught the subtle finer aspects of her art, beyond the learning of books and accessories.
‘Courtesan is a force of nature in a civilized cloak. Any chambermaid can flop down, take off her shirt and men will come…Your true power comes from something much deeper than beauty…She could seduce a man in 20 paces. Without revealing an inch of flesh…How?…With her mind. Desire begins in the mind’
And finally, the ultimate word of caution.
‘Remember Veronica, love love, but do not love the man, or you'll be in his power’

The morning after her first client, the mother gives her a potion, saying, ‘children are a deficit….the potion is not infallible but more comfortable than a turtle shell’

Soon, she becomes famous and loved by men of high rank.
‘Every Thursday?’, asks a nobleman once, who is in love with her.
‘I should count the hours in between’ says she (such fine talking)
The gold and the gifts start pouring in. The family’s fortune changes.

It is interesting to note that even men of God consorted with these women.
‘Bishop de la Torre…It's said his collection of paintings is surpassed only by his collection of women’

Marco who cannot get over his love for Veronica, woos her.
One day, a peacock flies up into her bedchamber. 'All the best courtesans have one', reads the note tied to the neck of the peacock. She runs to the balcony and there in a boat, is Marco, wooing her.
She turns him down, still smarting from the insult of having been turned down by him.

Marco receives a proposal. His father shows him a small portrait that he holds in his hand. Marco agrees.
‘You had the feigned indifference of a man in love’ says a bystander friend.
Marco marries the noblewoman. ‘What God and greed have joined together, let no love put asunder’ says he (speaking of arranged marriage of convenience)

‘Tell me a desire’, he asks his wife on their wedding night. ‘I hope to give you many strong sons’, says she. Marco sees that she is nothing like the witty, spirited Veronica.

In between all this, there are the men from the church beseeching people on the streets to shun desires, and lament that the city is full of depravity and filth and persuade people to save themselves.

When Maffio (Oliver Platt) makes disparaging remarks about her, Veronica invites him to a sword fight.
The sword fight that grows more and more fierce, but Veronica defeats Maffio. After the incident, Marco rekindles his love with Veronica.
He cannot share her with anyone, he asks her not to see any body else, but she has mouths to feed. He is ready to support her, but ‘no money between us’ says he. At last, she consents to his proposal much to the resentment of her mother.

In the meantime, the fourth Ottoman-Venetian war breaks out.
‘The Sultan(Turk) has attacked’
Venice is ready to fight but needs France’s ships to fight the Turks. When the king visits Venice must indulge him. He must be appeased no matter what it takes.

When King Henry visits, the men of God urge him to ‘fight the infidels at home before fighting them abroad’
‘France has them too. I prefer a heretic to a zealot’ says he.

The King asks to see the courtesans that Venice is so famous for. Veronica tries to stand behind, unnoticed but he chooses her.
After their togetherness, he descends down to the waterfront.
The entire nobility and the people of Venice are standing outside, holding their breath to hear his utterance. ‘You can have the ships’, he says as he sails away.
People cheer and there s jubilation. Veronica is hailed as ‘a national asset, more than a hundred French ships, by them all’

Marco is bitter. Veronica pleads before him, saying she endures his intimacy with the wife every night, while she consented to one intimate moment with the King, just once out of duty towards the nation, ‘look, who does not forgive?’
But he walks away unable to take it…

During the war,
The ladies of the nobility and royalty summon her to hear the latest news about the war. To know if their husbands are alive. She happens to be more educated and informed than them all.
Marco’s wife insults her, wondering aloud ‘what makes their husbands go to these women, night after night, like pigs to a trough’.
In answer, Veronica peels a banana and swallows it whole, mentioning the name of the plantain tree and the banana fruit in Latin.
Marco’s wife, cringing from what Veronica had just done, says, ‘Just because you say it in Latin, it doesn’t make it less obscene’.
‘And just because you took a vow, it doesn't mean you know how to love’, retorts Veronica, adding that education is the only thing that will adorn a woman, or something to that effect. (I had become tired of taking notes by then!)

Beatrice, Marco’s sister and Veronica’s friend, asks Veronica to make her daughter a courtesan when she grows up.
‘No biblical hell could ever be worse than a state of perpetual inconsequence’ says she, speaking of the fate of married women, like herself.

The war is over and Marco returns home. Horrified and saddened by the sights that greet him. Plague has devastated the city. Courtesans are tied up in public squares and flogged by the Inquisition. ‘The inquisition? In Venice?…. Yes, 56000 dead’. Venice is the ghost of the beautiful city that it once was.

He returns to Veronica, now in plain garment, divested of all her adornments and apologizes to her for his harshness at the time of their parting.

And just then, ‘summons to appear before the tribunal of the Holy Inquisition. From the church’. Veronica is taken away.
She is accused of witchcraft and is asked to name her clients.
She denies. She refuses to repent. Or ask for forgiveness. Marco begs her to lie, just to save her life. But she chooses to be honest.
‘I chose a whore's freedom over a wife's obedience…’
‘I confess I find more ecstasy in passion than in prayer. Such passion is prayer’
When she is about to be sentenced to execution, Marco confesses to be an accomplice in her sin and urges the senators and ministers present there to stand up for her and admit their adulteries.
Bewildered to see almost all the men assembled up on their feet, including a man of God seat beside him as part of the inquisition, the inquisitor drops all charges, leaving it to Venice to decide what to do with her.
(I cant tell you what a relief it was!)

The Age of courtesans had ended. In the years to come, Veronica Franco used her home as a sanctuary for victims of the Inquisition. She and Marco Venier remained lovers for the rest of their lives.

A fine movie. I wished the movie had gone on and on.

One has to be careful not to be swayed too much. The courtesan chosen to be the protagonist in this narrative, is a paragon of virtues - she is kind, loving, she’s innocent in a way, she’s learned, brave, dignified and honest. Although reluctant to share her body with another man because of her pact with her lover, she receives the King of France out of her duty to the nation and secures naval reinforcements from him to help Venice fight the Turkish Sultan.
In our own Sanskrit literature, there was the courtesan Vasantasena, who loved the married man Charudutt, in the play ‘Mrittchakatika’. (Mrit + Shakatika, meaning, mud cart)
She was a kind-hearted woman. When a humble Charudutt’s son playing with a mud cart laments that he doesn’t have a gold cart unlike his playmates, she removes her jewelry and loads his cart with it, just to see the child happy.

It could only be delusional to assume that Veronica was representative of her ilk and that all courtesans were full of virtues like her.
As Paola (Jacqueline Bisset) herself says in the movie, most others were just two-bit ‘chambermaids that would flop down and take off their shirt’ for anyone who threw money at them.

One has also to remember that these courtesans who were respected and well treated happened to be educated, well read and offered counsel to the nobility in matters of the State. Even then there was the odd man who dismissed them as sluts and whores.
Most of the others then, the ‘two bit chambermaids’ who had nothing else to offer other than their flesh, must have received much less or no respect.
This I believe, is as it ought to be, and as it will inevitably be, when humans objectify themselves by turning into flesh alone, by preoccupying themselves and others with their body, with no manifestation of the mind or spirit.
It is because of this. The body is gross, the spirit subtle. A human life is endowed with the mind and the spirit and is meant to be lived in pursuit of the fine, the subtle - call it the soul, the Self, or God. When you divest yourself of these higher faculties that distinguish you from an animal, and reduce yourself to flesh, you reduce yourself to a lower form of life. Or, in other words, a lowlife.
Which is why, the liberal minded, for all their approval of the ‘oldest profession in the world’ upon whom ‘the sun does not refuse to shine and rain does not refuse to fall, so why should I’, will never ever hold their new born and wish, that their little princess may one day grow up to be sex worker. (I rest my case)

Which is why, the ‘models’ and ‘actresses’ of the glam industry, as well as prostitutes of today, who reduce themselves into mere flesh, and also use it for cheap purposes, to advance their material ambitions, no matter which door they use to sneak into the mainstream society, and try to sit next to you and me, and ‘act’ respectable, no matter how kind hearted they pretend to be, by having their pictures taken with starving African kids, there will be the odd man, who will call their bluff, rip off their facade, and reveal them for who they really are. The sluts and whores. Never, the Veronica, never the Vasantasena.

From my notes…

‘Venice. Paradise. Proud and pretty…’

‘Paradise is always frail
Against man's fear will always fail’

‘God made sin that we might know his mercy’

‘He makes my heart, my reason's foe’

‘Save your blushes veronica, they don't sit well with the bluntness of your tongue’

‘Marriage isn't romantic, that's why God invented poetry’

‘Doge - the chief magistrate in the former Republics of Venice and Genoa’

Ermine -
an Old World weasel, Mustela erminea, having in its winter color phase, a white coat with black at the tip of the tail;
any of various weasels having a white winter coat;
the lustrous, white, winter fur of the ermine, often having fur from the animal's black tail tip inserted at intervals for contrast

#westerncinema


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Two Weeks Notice (2002)


Watched ‘Two Weeks Notice’ (2002) on Netflix. (a movie in which Donald Trump has played the role of Trump! In some children's league party!)

I liked the story. Or rather, the paradigm of it. Ambitious builders razing down old buildings, even those that deserve to be preserved owing to their historical or cultural or architectural or social significance. And activists trying to save them.

Lucy (Sandra Bullock), is a lawyer who specializes in historic preservation and environmental law. A few lines of her passionate speech do the character sketching. Economic.
“When I think about how architecture can shape a community and turn strangers in to neighbours, how the right design for a park makes people feel secure, how a school building can be functional and beautiful so kids feel engaged instead of imprisoned.”

She meets the rich and spoilt George Wade (Hugh Grant) while protesting against his firm to protect Coney Island community center from his bulldozers, at a time when he was wanting to hire a lawyer.
He hires the reluctant Lucy. In course of time, he comes to depend on her advice not just on legal matters but also his personal choices.

The viewer is expected to believe that George (Hugh Grant) is a casanova, but he isn’t depicted to be one,.. he is shown indulging in some harmless flirtation but that's it.
Only after watching this movie I came to know of strip chess, because George and a woman are shown playing it. Even in that scene, Hugh Grant hardly looks casanova. More like a joker.

The traits and habits of Sandra bullock, intended to depict her as not dainty and ladylike, are agreeable - overeating, snoring, and other things.. but the scene of her struggling with pressure ‘to go', to do the big job, while in traffic, following some major overeating, and Hugh grant's carrying her to a motel having a toilet, was unnecessary, pointless, and characteristic of America's morbid fascination for the gross.

The story is set in Manhattan. I haven't done a chopper ride in new York, but this movie provides the experience.
As Lucy (Sandra bullock) remarks in the movie, God it is such a beautiful city!
The sky ride over new York skyline with ample views of the Chrysler, Empire state and wall Street skyscrapers was a real treat.
I had to note this down.. commentary between the two, while on their chopper, flying over Manhattan skies.
“My favorite building of all time (Chrysler Building)
Look, Nirosta steel, sunburst tower, gleaming gargoyles, all designed by a man called William van Alen, obsessed with beating his former partner, who was building the bank of Manhattan tower, at 927 feet, so van Alen announced the Chrysler building at 925 feet, and then surreptitiously assembled the 180 foot mast inside the tower and revealed it after the bank tower had been completed, thereby giving van Alen the tallest building in the world until of course the Empire state building.”

This song serves the movie well.

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone?

Hey farmer, farmer put away the DDT
I don't care about spots on my apples
Leave me the birds and the bees
Don't it always seem to go...

Lines I noted..

“You need someone who can write a brief instead of removing yours”

“Keep your friends close and your enemies Closer..”

“You are the most selfish human being on the planet”
“That's silly, have you met everyone on the planet?”

“I think it's immoral that any human being should acquire that much wealth. I don't know how you sleep at night”
“I have a machine that simulates the sound of the ocean”

‘I have never seen you cry. Except when Bush won.’
‘Which Bush?’
‘Both of them, so may be you cried twice’

“Philosopher yogananda says, ‘only that which is the other gives us fully unto ourselves’ !”

“You are a cause! You make Gandhi look like a used car salesman.”

Learnt that ‘Groundbreaking’is the plain Jane version of our Bhoomi Pooja

Hugh grant's has a pathetic mouth but his British accent is so good to the ears.
And how did Sandra bullock become a star with a face and a button nose like that???

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005)


Watched the movie ‘The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio’ (2005) on Netflix.

It is based upon the memoir, ‘The prize winner of Defiance, Ohio : How my mother raised 10 kids on 25 words or less’, by Terry Ryan, one of Evelyn’s children.

If this movie weren’t based on true story, it would have been exasperatingly incredible and unrealistic.
Housewife Evelyn Ryan, helped support her husband, Kelly, and their 10 children by winning jingle-writing contests. Kelly failed to support his family in part due to apparent alcoholism. He had dreamed of becoming a singer but lost his singing voice in a car accident, and was often cruel and abusive. Though not mean.

Evelyn watches these contests on television and posts her couplets, little songs, one liners, etc., composed according to the requirement of the product and the contest, to a given address.

She wins a freezer, ice buckets, a washer, a trip to New York City, sleds, boots, a pony, a palm tree, a sports car!!!, a shopping spree in her local grocery store, ice crushers, a camera, dance shoes, a case of dog food, and so on…

Like I said, if it weren’t based on true story, it would have been impossible to watch her winning so many prizes, one after another, winning a household item or money just when she needed it the most, like when she had to pay the bills, or pay the mortgage of her home, or rent a new home and so on. It would have seemed like dumb predictable boring luck.
The actual jingles composed by her, presented in the movie, help the viewer appreciate the fact that it wasn’t just luck but her talent that won her prizes but then, the her winning so many of them when there were thousands of contestants, would have made it seem incredible, if it weren’t based on true story.

Not only is Evelyn shown to have been a talented woman but very wise.
When Kelly the husband turns violent, especially after alcohol in the evening, and gets abusive and damages property she has won, Evelyn just continues doing her chores or TV watching or talking to kids, calmly, just a few feet away, as if nothing has happened, allowing him to calm down all by himself, in his own time, and at times, even talks teasingly, persuasively and amusingly, managing to turn his sneer into a smile.

A patient, mature woman, she finds a way to reconcile every unfortunate incident with a meaningful purpose or outcome.
The milkman, for instance, arrives when the baby has soiled his little sister’s hands who was untrained in nappy changing and both kids need cleaning. The milkman cant wait long as he has a schedule to follow. When she finally reaches the door, she doesn’t have money to pay him though she definitely needs the milk for her children.
Just then, the mailman arrives and delivers some prize money which she uses for paying the milkman.
Evelyn then explains to her daughter, who is feeling guilty, that it was just as well that the baby soiled her hands, for, had she not been delayed, she would have reached the door on time, before the mailman was there with the money.

In an accident caused by the roughness of her husband, she collapses down spilling ten bottles of milk, with the broken glass bleeding her hands and half a gallon a milk soaking a garment on her hip. But the next day, she composes this jingle out of the episode.

Spilled milk?, don't cry, unless of course, it's hip high
I don't cry over milk, spilled or otherwise
I just wish I had spilled a smaller other size
Spilled milk can't be poured
If it's spreading across the floor
But no need for tears or sorrow
There is always more to spill tomorrow

Julianne Moore fits the role so perfectly.

However, the shopping spree, that Evelyn won as prize in a contest, looks cheap. The only time, that she falls from grace, in my eyes.
She has made a meticulous list of things she will need; she has eleven minutes to fill her cart with as much as can, the assistants at the store are ready, and she is shown running down the aisles, as if for life, pushing the cart before her, plunging things into it from the shelves and then bringing a cartload back home.
Even today, the scramble for freebies and discounts in America is disgraceful. During thanksgiving, Americans standing and sleeping in queues night long, is a definite fall from dignity and grace. And greed of vulgar proportions.

Anyway, there is dignity when she arrives home and no scrambling at the dining table that is loaded with all the goodies from the shopping; she tries to persuade her kids, saying “US army research has shown a relationship between intelligence and the willingness to eat unfamiliar foods”

As seen in some frames, she has very freckled skin, on her arms and I don’t know why the make up artist made no effort to cover it. Was it part of the role she was playing? Or something else?

The children too influenced by her, compose their own lines now and then.
Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream…
Thrown your dad overboard
And listen to him scream…

The story is set in 1956. A period in which...

…Evelyn is shown watching a beauty contest on television.
MC: “This is a presidential election year. If a qualified woman were running for president, how would you feel about voting for her and why?”
Participant: “If the men candidates running were qualified, I feel I would vote against her, my reasons being, women are very high strung and emotional people. They aren't knowledgeable…”

…After the drunken violence of the husband, the father from the parish visits Evelyn and advises her to ‘try harder to make him a better home’.

…Evelyn has ten kids!

…Milkman would deliver milk to homes in bottles everyday. Not everyone had fridge, so milk had to be delivered daily.

…Women plead with milkmen for credit, assuring him he will be paid back, which Evelyn does routinely.

…Telephone calls were answered like this.
“Is this Mrs Ryan?”
“Yes, this is She”

Evelyn and her husband address each other as Mom and Dad.

Here are some more from her genius. Even her diary entries were poetic, out of beauty of sheer habit.

In Dallas, Texas,
It was the first time that I ate
A meal I didn't have to cook,
On a plate that I didn't have to wash.
Or soaked in a tub
That I didn't have to scrub
Or slept in a bed that I didn't have to make

Every time I pass the church,
I stop and make a visit.
So when I am carried in feet first
God won't say, who is it

Interesting trivia from the movie.
"Queen Elizabeth, they say, invented ladies stockings"

#westerncinema


Friday, December 14, 2018

Clueless (1995)


Watched the movie 'Clueless' (1995) on Netflix.

This is a charming movie that I could watch again.

It’s about Cher, a sixteen year old college girl in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, born to a rich dad and adorably full of herself, full of ideas about how others should live their lives, and about how she tries to help other people, mostly classmates, live their lives the way she thinks they should live, only to be surprised when things don’t pan out according to her plan.

Josh (Paul Rudd), Cher’s step brother, who is in love with her, is very endearing. All the while she ignores him and even tries to avoid him, he watches her with mature patience and understanding, just being there for her whenever she is in need. After being done with her futile chasing and wandering, Cher realizes that Josh is the one she is in love with. His love is requited at the end of the movie in a satisfactory climax (I mean the climax of the movie).

I realized that Aisha, the Hindi film, where Sonam Kapoor played Aisha, was ‘inspired’ by this movie. Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t watch it twice. Though it was one of the better Bollywood films.

Only Alicia Silverstone, with her angelic face could have fitted in the role. Anybody else would have evoked feelings other than adoration. I think.

It is loosely based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma (I havent read it yet), updating the setting to modern-day Beverly Hills. The film's director, Heckerling studied real Beverly Hills high school students to get the lingo and feel for how real teens in the 1990s talked. The quote "as if!" came from Heckerling's study of these teens. I didn’t know it was a quote, and also that it came from Beverly Hills.

Cher plots to get her school teachers, Mr. Hall and Miss Geist, interested in each other, since they are both single and hence perhaps give the students a tough time and their falling in love should soften them. Their actually falling for Cher's tricks is very Bollywood like.

I was taken by surprise by the scene of father and stepbrother Josh rebuking Cher for a dress she is wearing while just about to head out to a party, ‘that looks like underwear, wear something on top of that’.
I didn't know that in America, there were any rules about ‘proper dressing’ other than those dictated by fashion. I thought ‘modesty’ was non existent in America, in the modern times at least.

This is epic! Cher, when asked for money by this guy, takes it from her blouse and gives it to him! I thought that was a typical Indian lower middle class Behenji thing.

A sixteen year old mocks at another sixteen year old for being virgin and for failing in driving test. ‘Why I am taking advice from a virgin who cannot drive’
This kind of peer pressure, characteristic of the western society, is both pitiable and dark.

‘I am only 16. This is California, not Kentucky.’ (marriages don’t happen at such an early age, unless you are in the bible belt?)

I love this dad. I wish I had one like that. Look how proud he is of his daughter. And how supportive.
‘Dad I like this boy and he likes someone else’
‘How could that be??!!’
‘I don't know but I feel wretched’
‘This boy is a complete moron, you are the most beautiful girl in Beverly hills; I don't want you with a stupid fellow like that’
‘He is a do-gooder types,… my after school commitments are not good enough’
‘Who said that? Who takes care of the little things at home? Who makes sure daddy eats right?’
‘Really?’
‘Yes(smiling), now get back to work’

Interesting lines that I noted, below.

‘Daddy is a litigator. He gets 500 dollars per hour for fighting with people. But he fights with me for free because I am his daughter.’

“Street slang is an increasingly valid form of expression. Most feminine pronouns do have mocking but not necessarily misogynistic undertone”

‘I want to do something good for humanity.’
‘How about sterilization?’

‘He said you gave him a toothache.’
‘How did I?’
‘You are so sweet.’

‘Play suck any blow’

‘Is she pretty?
‘No, she is a Monet
‘What's a Monet?
‘It's a painting. From far away, it's okay, but up close, it's a big mess
I didn’t know this was the perception about Monet among people.

‘Do you see any positive changes in her?’
‘Under your tutelage, she is exploring the challenging world of bare midriffs’

‘I can't believe I am taking advice from someone who watches cartoons’

‘I needed a complete makeover. Except this time, I'd make over my soul’

I learnt some cool new phrases and colloquial.
Are you being ‘Couch commando’? so saying, Cher takes the remote away from her step brother sittting next to her.
Are you suffering from ‘Buyer's remorse’? asks Cher’s friend in the mall, seeing her sullen face
There is a serious ‘babe draught’ in the place where he lives
Looking at this shoddily dressed new girl in college, they remark ‘Fashion victim or ensembly challenged?’
‘Hymenally challenged’, perhaps, says this girl of a classmate who is still a virgin at sixteen.
‘I was riding the crimson wave, I had to haul ass to the ladies (room)’ says a girl referring to her monthly period
‘Post adolescent idealistic phase’says Cher sarcastically of Josh, her step brother who watches her cluelessness with understanding and patience, trying to correct her now and then.
‘Hey, granola breath’ says someone addressing a classmate whose breath smells always of granola
‘You are a snob and a half’
‘He is a cake boy. Gay’ says Dionne’s boyfriend of this cute guy in class Cher is interested in.
‘To go postal’ is to go crazy
Ralph - vomit; I feel like ralphing
‘Icky’ means repulsive, distasteful
Montage is the same as collage
‘Damsel in distress’ act
I have been going down a shame spiral
Footsie - play footsie with someone
Ditz - you think I am just a ditz with a credit card?

New words.
Infomercials - a long commercial that informs or instructs, especially in an original and entertaining manner
Brown nose - to curry favor; behave obsequiously
Space cadet - a person who appears to be in his or her own world or out of touch with reality
Joint custody (of children of divorce)

I liked the words of this song.
If I could see into your heart
Then I would know just where to start
Cause I am lost, and I need to be found
Crazy as it sounds, I need you around
If I could stand, to be on my own
Then I would probably, Just leave you alone
But I am going to feel this way
Till I am 6 feet underground
Crazy
I need
Turning...
Tossing and turning
My love is burning me down
If I could change one thing in this world
I'd change your mind and make you my girl
Because I am lost I need to be found

#westerncinema


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Catch Me If You Can (2002)



Watched 'Catch Me If You Can' (2002) on Netflix.

Its based on the true story of Frank Abagnale (Leonardo Di Caprio) who, well by his 19th birthday, has embezzled millions of dollars through forged checks, and through posing as a pilot, doctor and a lawyer.

Tom Hanks plays Carl Hanratty, a cop out to get the bad guy, but quite fatherly, trying to help the guy because he is just a child.

The movie should have focused a bit more on the methods of the fraudster, that’s where all the spice is and that’s the most challenging part of movie making; but there are just a few scenes showing him removing company logos from souvenirs and sticking them on bank checks after which he is shown making his millions rather easily. I mean, you have to believe it without seeing it.

The movie is credible because it's set in the 1960's.
When information was confined to one file in one place. Not easily available, not shared. When the guy you were looking for was standing right before you but you could not identify him before you hadn’t seen his picture. Because his only picture that was a passport size black and white was on an old newspaper in the possession of his mother who lived in a different city.
I mean, the forged medical certificate of Frank is accepted by the hospital, without cross verification with the university. Today it would be impossible.
The movie would be laughable today. In the age of Google and smart phones and universal connectivity.
But the irony of it is, fraud has gotten bigger and better than ever before. New loopholes appear faster than you can close the older ones.

The most remarkable thing about the movie is the viewing lens.
It seems unjust and unfair.
A fraudster is depicted as this smart charming fellow cleverly eluding the nuisance of a cop.
The choice of Leo for the role was the first wrong step. He is a popular star and hence endears himself to the audience - despite being a felon who has swindled millions of dollars.
All along the movie it is the bad guy whose side you take and that's not right.
It's called glamorization of evil. Trite but that’s alright.
To keep the balance, the story should have shown the plight of an old couple who had lost all their life savings to this unthinking unscrupulous cheat.

The baddie transformed in the end alright and helped the FBI catch hundreds of fraudsters, but to depict him as a charming hero right from the beginning was a flaw in the lens.
It would have taken more talent to depict him as the criminal that he was, evoking resentment from the audience and then change that resentment to sympathy towards the end, as the boy transformed to a lawful citizen.

That apart…

Leonardo looks so young, so boyish in the movie. He plays a sixteen year old. I don't know if he really looked that young then or it is thanks to the make up artist. I love that look of his, especially his hairdo.
Perhaps they made him lose weight for that role.

A nice analogy.
“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse wouldn't quit. He struggled so hard, that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out”

The past is incredible. For being so far removed from the present.
A story of the 1960’s. Frank’s dad opened a checking account and put 25 dollars in it for his sixteenth birthday.
Frank, is asked if he is Lutheran. When he reveals to Brenda(Amy Adams) he is not, she is devastated.

New words learnt
1.Deadhead
- a person who attends a performance, sports event, etc., or travels on a train, airplane, etc., without having paid for a ticket, especially a person using a complimentary ticket or free pass.
- a train, railroad car, airplane, truck, or other commercial vehicle while operating empty, as when returning to a terminal.

2.Paperhanger - a person who passes worthless checks

#westerncinema