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Sunday, December 30, 2018


   The Smithsonian on line just included an article by Meilan Solly on the growing problem of sleep deprivation, with some saying they sleep less than 5 or 6 hours a night.(26 Dec. 2018)  The author found nearly a third of Americans sleep deprived, especially in the Black and Hispanic communities.  I posted a comment, which I also post below:

A decade ago, I taught in China. There was a 2-hour break after 12 noon, when I did some shopping and ate lunch. But the supermarket was quite empty of customers, and most cashier aisles were closed. Some workers napped near their cashier. On the walk to and from the market, some folks slept on their carts. When I sought to have office hours from 1 to 2, students complained that would interfere with their naps. I had not thought of the word SIESTA for China, but clearly many took the mid-day snooze. Now retired, I sleep only 5 or 6 hours at night. But in the day, I take a nap. Is the Western notion of 8 hours sleep a night simply a cultural norm, that may or may not be better than societies that have a broken sleep pattern, of some hours at night with a daily siesta?---Hugh Murray

Saturday, December 1, 2018

"The Green Book" movie and an earlier,1962 integrated road trip in South

To All,  I went to a movie last night and saw one I heartily recommend, The Green Book.  It is "based" on a true story.  I assume there were many, stronger, bitter words between the 2 main characters that are not mentioned in the film.  I suspect it is sanitized.  BUT IT IS STILL A GOOD FILM.  No special effects.  But the basics are there; the basics are true.  If you can, see "The Green Book."
     All that reminded me of a car trip I took in the South.  The Green Book takes place in 1962; my trip was 1960.  Hugh Murray

Hugh Murray
 In August 1960 the Congress of Racial Equality, which had been involved in student sit-ins that had begun earlier that year, decided to hold a training institute in Miami, Florida.  I desperately wanted to go, and the newly formed CORE chapter in New Orleans was preparing to send some people.  I assumed there would be about 1,000 people from all over the nation who would meet in Miami.  I was living with my parents who were not enthusiastic.  Would I be the only white going?  They asked.  I told them another white from Loyola U. of the South (a Jesuit institution) would be going.  He probably made it easier with his parents by telling them I was going.
8 from the NO area were finally set to go - one who was not an activist but he had a car, Marvin Robinson, a student at Southern U. (in Baton Rouge, which was then the largest Black university in the world).  I think he had been arrested in some of the SU protests in the spring of 1960, and he also had a car.  Ruth Dispenza, a young Black woman (though physically very light), from New Orleans; another young Black woman, I think it was Joyce Taylor; Rudy Lombard, leader of NO CORE, and a student at Xavier U. in NO (a Black Roman Catholic univ.), Archie Allen, a Black student at Dillard U. in NO (a Black Protestant univ.), and the 2 whites.
We were to depart from NO early in the morning.  I did not want the car to come to my parents home, where a possible argument and scene might erupt.  Oliver and I decided to stay the night NOT at our homes, but renting a room at the Negro YMCA.  He did not stay the night, but went out the the French Quarter with friends for a drinking session.  I stayed but got little sleep.  The room had a large window, it was hot, humid summer night in NO, and no air con or fan.  Just outside my window was the big lighted sign for the YMCA, the light filling my room.  Far worse, there was no screen on the window, and mosquitoes buzzed all night.  I got little sleep.
Oliver would not be driving (I learned later he was legally blind).  He would be in the car with the 2 young women and the driver (who may have been related to one of the women.  So in that car was Oliver (white), Ruth (looking, most would think who was white, though she was not), and Joyce (Black) and the driver.  I was in the car with Marvin, Archie, and Rudy (they were all Black).
In those days one could travel rather comfortably in an American car. There were 3 seats in the front, 3 in the back, and one did not worry with the discomfort and hassle of seat belts and other tortures imposed on the modern riders. In our car, Archie had brought an over-sized trunk that was too big for the automobiles boot or trunk, so it lay on the back seat, occupying what would normally be the seats of 2 people. So we only had room to seat 4 people. Archie did not drive, and since his trunk made it impossible for anyone to sleep in the back seat, he volunteered to sit in the middle front seat, least comfortable on the 22-hour journey.
I was not driving when we first had to stop for gas (petrol) in the very conservative state of Mississippi. In those days a gas station was a “service” station, and a young man would first come out to wipe the windshield, before asking how much gas to pump into your car. Before he came, I rushed out to the restroom (toilet), hoping he would not realize we were a mixed (racial) group. The others then followed. I tried to reenter the car only after the clerk was returning to the cash area of the station. We ate in Tallahassee, a diner operation, and perhaps Marvin knew of it through the Green Book, so it was mainly a Black eatery. I was driving deep into the night going south down into Florida. I went to sleep at the wheel. Happily, the car veered slightly to the right, we went only slightly off the paved highway and the right tires hit gravel, which caused noise and the car to jostle a bit waking all the occupants. Someone else decided to drive after that.
We arrived safely at the Negro motel where we would be staying and where CORE had scheduled its conference. It took 22 hours for our road trip. Not much happened to make it a topic for a movie – happily. The conference was nothing like I expected, for instead of a thousand participants, there were only about 50. It was a 3-week training session in non-violence. Most of our session were held during the day in the motel's cocktail lounge. One day our teacher was baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who was also promoting the cause of Richard Nixon and the Republicans (August of 1960 was a presidential election year). On another day, the teacher was Martin Luther King, Jr., who at that time was only quietly for John Kennedy and the Democrats. His father, an influential minister in Atlanta, had been for Nixon, as he was worried about a possible Catholic president. However, once his son was jailed and the Kennedy's made phone calls to help him, the elder King openly supported the Democratic candidate.
Part of our learning was testing. In Miami there was a major supermarket with a restaurant inside. The restaurant was segregated. We were divided into groups and entered the restaurant and took seats. Most of the CORE groups sat at tables to integrate the eatery. Police were called, and many of our group were arrested. Only 2 were at our table, Ruth and me, but as most assumed she was white, we were not arrested (though, in fact, we were integrating the restaurant).
A few Miamians joined the CORE institute, including the son of A D Moore, who was a student at Dillard in NO, and Bob Kunst, who in the 1970s would lead the campaign against Anita Bryant and for gay rights. One organization very sympathetic to ours was the Jewish Culture Society, which lent us their main room for a dance. You could easily distinguish between the 2 groups, their youngest member was about 60, while most of ours were early 20s. I do remember learning how to do the twist from Ruth at that dance.
I recall little of the return trip. I think we had more in the car, so perhaps Archie's trunk went in the other car. Coming with us was a white young woman from NY, Dottie Miller, who would later marry southern white Bob Zellner. The Zellners were leaders in the early days of the civil rights movement in SNCC and in the Mississippi Freedom Summer efforts of 1964.
Back in New Orleans, Rudy Lombard continued to lead NO CORE. NO, the largest city in the South for over a century, was soon to lose it place with the upcoming census. NO had had no sit-in. In early September 1960, Ruth was the chosen leader, as 7 of us were arrested after being read the law, literally, by the then DA of NO Dowling. Archie Allen, Joyce Taylor, me, another white from Tulane Bill Harrell, and 2 others were arrested. The local NAACP opposed us and our sit-in. But soon the Youth NAACP supported us, and more people joined CORE.
We 7 were convicted of a felony. During the trial, we had all sat together with our attorneys, who were Black. When the judge saw this, he threatened us with contempt of court for race mixing his courtroom. So Bill Harrell and I moved away from the others and from our attorneys. Our convictions were upheld on the local an state levels, but eventually, after some years, the US Supreme Court made a decision in our favor.
       In 1961 CORE would originate the Freedom Rides of the 1960s, in which integrated buses from the North were sent south to end in New Orleans, but often they were attacked along the way in Alabama or Mississippi when they sought to integrate bus terminal facilities along the way.  CORE National leader James Farmer beginning in 1961 would eventually furn for Congress in Brooklyn as a Republican, but he lost.  He then had an office in the Administration of Republican Richard Nixon.
This summary of events is written 58 years after the events, so there may be some errors.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


My comment on Yahoo re a news story.
The :eft is upset because likely Muslim Brotherhood member, Jamal Khashoggi, was apparently brutally murdered in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey with the approval of Prince Mohammad bin Salmam. Democrats and pro-Iranian Republicans (Flake) are basically demanding the US cut relations with the Saudis, a most important ally. But the Left screams, Prince MbS is a murderer- we cannot be an ally of him or his nation. Turkey's Pres. Erdogan says he has a tape of the murder. But Turkey has at least 20,000 political prisoners now jailed. And Turkey is an esteemed member of NATO! Almost in the EU! In 1941 Winston Churchill said he would make a deal with the devil to defeat Hitler. He made the deal with Stalin, who murdered millions more than Hitler. And America's great liberal FDR? He called Stalin "Uncle Joe," and at least one in the White House during the war was making sure uranium was being transferred to Stalin's USSR.
There are few democratic nations in the Middle East. The most democratic, Israel, is denounced and boycotted bu the Left and many Democrats.
Trump is correct in not wanting to alter American foreign policy because of the murder of one man. Stalin killed about 20 million and FDR and most Democrats were happy to have him as an ally. Obama was making deals on behalf of Iran, sending millions of dollars in unmarked bills to its leaders. Trump rejects Iran whose leaders chant "Death to America."
The US should stay the course under Trump with Israel and the Saudis.
     Before the elections, the Republicans hoped to repeal Obamacare and set up an alternative.  The Republicans had only a 1-vote edge in the Senate, so every vote was needed.  With great publicity, at around 1am McCain would appear in the Senate to cast his vote, which would make it a tie, and Vice-President Pence could then cast a deciding vote to repeal Obamacare.  McCain arrived, and voted.  But he voted to save Obamacare.  Since there was not tie vote, VP Pence did not vote.  The US was stuck with Obamacare.
     The Mid=term elections are 531 Congressional elections, with many local issues in terrains from ocean-side to mountainous, snowy to semi-tropical.  But everywhere the Democrats had one powerful isssue,  Obamacare provides insurance to those with pre-existing conditions.  Democrats had their other usual issues - global warmin (what I call a hoax), pro=crime, reduce size of prisons, more money for schools, but the hot issue in all their ads, the issue that resonated with those who were ill, or with those who had a relative who was, or those who thought they or their loved ones might become ill, that issue was pre-existing conditions.  McCain prevented the Republicans from enacting an alternative to Obamacare.  McCain, who had voted several times to repeal Obamacare earlier, who had campaigned on repealing Obamacare, but whose ego had been tarnished by a comment by Pres. Trump, McCain took his hatred out on Trump and voted to keep Obamacare.  All Americans must now suffer because of McCain's reveng against Trump.  That is McCain's vindictive legacy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


To All, I forgot to mention that in English, the phrase "behind the 8 ball" refers to the game of pool, when it's your turn and the cue ball (the white one) is behind the black ball (#8) and thus restricts your range for a good shot.  My comment was a play on that using my age of 80.
     In my reflection on my birthday, I forgot something very important.  I added it here in bold print.  Hugh

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
From: "hu.murray@netzero.com" <hu.murray@netzero.com>
Subject: Behind the 80 ball?
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 06:48:33 GMT

To All,  Wednesday morning I received a phone call from a cousin in Louisiana.  She told me Jim, another cousin had just died.  He was 80.  I told her that tomorrow (today) was my birthday, and I would turn 80.  We chatted some, and when we hung up (a strange term for the mobile phones), I thought about the contrasts between Jim and myself.  He was a good Roman Catholic; I was not.  He attended Jesuit High School in New Orleans; I attended public schools.  He had been a marine;  I had not.  He had been a successful business man; I not.  He even ran for a seat on the New Orleans school board; I was more "run out of town" with some of my political activities.  After a police helicopter followed my car, and when I let out a passenger, the police swooped down and arrested him (and planned to deport him), I thought it about time to get outta Dodge (a phrase from old, US Western movies).
     Don't misunderstand - I am not jealous of Jim's success.  I am happy he was successful.  He and I were different, and we had different goals, different talents, etc.  Basically, I do not judge myself against others, I judge myself against me, against what I might have done.  I was a rebel, and that can bring problems.  I have had a few terrific days and many painful ones.  Most days were so-so, like those of most people most of the time.
     Jim died at 80 and today I AM 80.  When writing something, there is often a deadline, but Jim reminds me now of a real deadline, the deadline we all face.  For me, time is running out.  At 80, some of you might ask, display some of your wisdom of age.  In reality, I am older, but no wiser.  If I could live my life again, I might try to avoid some mistakes, but if I did so, I might make others just as bad if not worse.  I am as flawed at 80 as I was a 8.  As are we all.  Rarely, are our choices black and white - more often this gray or that gray.  But we can still try to choose the best of the grays.
     Overall, I have been fortunate to have met some wonderful people along the way.  Many of those friends are now dead; they were kind to me and most.  (I was remiss, forgetting something obvious, which I now add to the letter.  I owe much to my family who had to endure some of the painful consequences of my rebelliousness, my "criminal" actions.  Even tho they did not agree with me, they were often supportive in important ways.)  I have been lucky with health, even tho I now have eye problems.  Sure, I still have a deadline, but how much can I do before night falls?
     All the best,  Hugh Murray

Dear Professor Hugh,

I still remember the days when we together played the tennis. Hope you are well. 

Best regards,
Mr. Kang Zhenguo,   Deputy Director, 
Division of International Cooperation & Exchange
...Shijiazhuang, (China)

From Tony Flood, an old friend. (We met in the early 1970s doing research for the editor of the W E B Du Bois Correspondence and reprints of many of his works funded by U. of Massachusetts and Kraus-Thompson Publishers.  We had lost contact for decades and when we re-met, discovered, that he. like me, had moved from Left to Right politically.):

A poignant birthday reflection, one that hits home. A milestone. You've been blessed with life and have blessed others with yours. Happy Birthday, Hugh. May you have many more in good health, pain-free. I'll give you a call midday. Tony 
From Irwin L. (he and his wife were co-workers when we were young and began teaching in elementary school in New Orleans. We went on strike together.)

Hi Hugh

I appreciate what you just put together. I am just a bit older than you and in the process of losing an old friend of about 50 years. Getting older is not fun. Nevertheless, i have produced a booklet i call Hebrew Pronunciation Guide, containing everything significant that i have been able to find on that subject. I am working on my third edition. It is a never ending task but i want to leave something hopefully useful behind to make it easier for others to obtain what i have taken in without my struggle. It keeps my mind busy. I would like to think that my being here was not only to partake but to give something back. If you can find the time and energy i suggest you put something together showing where you were and where you now are. I believe that yours is a very interesting story, much better than most of the stuff that comes out today. Furthermore, i believe that you are honest and anything you put out would be spin free, something uncommon nowadays. Keep on trucking. Irwin

From Pat Conery, a co-worker at the court and union representative at the court in Milwauakee.

Happy Birthday, Hugh!!!!
That was a good reflection of life.  Although I am not 80, I'm trailing you by 11 years and reflect on my life and think about my expiration date as well - maybe more than I should. There are mistakes I've made during my life and a few that still slaps me in the face when I think about them.  The key I guess is to let those thoughts go and go forward.

You should be a writer.  Your emails are very interesting and informative and the books would be best sellers.  Just think there are some people that did great things at 80!  I just pray I can make it to 80 and still take care of myself and have my sound mind.

Enjoy your day whatever you decide to do.  Who knows, with all the walking you do, you might live to be 100! Have a happy birthday!

From Huy (I met him in a free tourist-helping group in Saigon, and he was my tour guide in Thailand. Now he has been awarded a scholarship and is a grad student at World Maritime U. in Sweden.)


You called me Mr.28! Now you are Mr.80! 80 is a nice number with a lot of experiences in life! I still remember about your story with Luther King! I admire you And keep a lot of memories with you in Thailand, Vietnam! Enjoy your life!

I wish you a a happy day, better health and beautiful trip...!

From my Cousin Merle (though the name can be ambiguous, she is a very feminine lady, like her mother and sister with a flair for art and beauty.)

Happy 80th birthday. Been there- done that. We are fortunate we have the abilities to stay active both physically and mentally. Slowing down a bit-yes, forgetting some things-yes but it's okay. Enjoy the day. ‚Merle

From Cousin Debi D.

I  am proud of many of your accomplishments: Woolworth-standing ground for what you believed in the 60s. Taught at Tulane [no, only studied and received a BA and MA at Tulane but was there long enough to help force the Board to change the rules of the university; I did teach], in Germany, China, and other places abroad (I'm sure). I believe you were a large influence when the World
Trade Center got lighting in the stairwells.  You saved many people in 9/11. You are very intelligent/ you still review novels today and share your viewpoint. Not counting all your published works. You are accomplished world traveler who shares his adventures with all. I could go on & on. All of us are flawed . There are many things we all wished didn't happen in our lives. All things good & bad make us who we are today. I'm so glad I got to share many of your travels, novels, stories, reviews, and visits to New Orleans. I am excited you are family.
Thanks for being you-Hugh 
Love, Debi 

From Mollie G., a friend

Happy 80th birthday, Mr. Hugh!! What an insightful, thought-provoking reflection. Hope there are many more before night falls.
Can't wait to see you next Thursday for Thanksgiving!...
Mollie G
Some of the emails included photos and composite pictures, but I don't know how to paste them on this properly, so I didn't. A friend took a photo of me with a phone on 14 November, and I had hoped to include that, but don't know how. Perhaps in future. ANYWAY ALL THE BEST TO ALL OF YOU! hugh murray

Friday, October 26, 2018


(Litchfield, CT.: VDARE.com Books, 2018)
Rev. by Hugh Murray

This book is an over-view, a barely filled in outline. Yet, one can learn from it, especially in areas where one is unfamiliar. Thus, in his section on America's Golden Age, he lists the many inventions by Americans, and when some items were not invented here – such as the automobile, the production process of the assembly line was streamlined by Henry Ford so that the auto became cheaper and more accessible to many more people in America than elsewhere. Many of us are old enough to recall the names of Edison, McCormick, the Wright Brothers, but text books in modern public schools tend to skip over such important contributors by Americans to mankind. I wonder if these inventors are even taught in many public schools today. The reason their accomplishments are de-emphasized and their names possibly omitted is because they were mostly white men, and the educational establishment, infused with multiculturalism and political correctness, seeks to spotlight the inventions of minorities and women, even if they be far less consequential.

In a short summary work, inevitably there will be omissions and differences of what is important. I will include some of the statements I found questionable. Hart utterly fails to evaluate the implications of the Louisiana Purchase.(pp. 57 & 63) To examine this properly he would have to discuss some ramifications of the French Revolution, especially the Jacobins, the Rights of Man, and the push of the French anti-Christian radicals to abolish slavery in the colony of Haiti, then one of the richest areas of the New World. With the guillotining of Robespierre, the Jacobin “Reign of Terror” sliced to a close in France, but in Haiti the Jacobin ideals had already spread and soon a slave uprising was upon the island.

When Napoleon rose to become Emperor of France, he dreamt of an empire in the New World, based in Louisiana (since the conclusion of the 7 Years War, a Spanish colony, but Napoleon had placed one of his brothers upon the Spanish throne and could easily demand the return of the large New World territory). However, before such a project could begin, Napoleon would have to reconquer Haiti from the slaves. An army of 13,000 French troops was dispatched to the island, but between warring with the Black slaves, yellow fever and other tropical diseases, the French Army disintegrated; and it failed to wrest the island from the slaves.

Thus, if France could not reconquer an island, how could it establish an empire in the center of North America? So Napoleon, to prevent Louisiana from falling to his English rivals in another war, - Napoleon was willing to sell the whole vast territory to the new American nation.
The US bought all of Louisiana; Spain transferred it to the French, who presented it to the Americans. Hart utterly fails to note another most salient aspect of this transfer – the US promised not to mistreat the French colonials. It should be stressed that in 1803, there was not a single, legal Protestant church in the whole Louisiana Territory, from New Orleans to Montana, to Minnesota. No synagogues either. By contrast, the new American states were overwhelmingly Protestant (even Maryland, originally established for Catholics, had passed legislation restricting them). At the time of the purchase, many Americans began moving across the Appalachian Mountains, and found it necessary to sell their produce down the rivers, down the Ohio to the Mississippi, and thence to New Orleans. There, they sold their goods and enjoyed some of the delights of a different culture. Making matters even more complex, there was a huge influx of immigrants to New Orleans and Louisiana , but not what one expected. About a fourth of the New Orleans population was suddenly composed of refugees, Black and white, from Haiti.

Because this point is taken for granted, it should be stressed all the more – at a time when in the Western world there was little to no religious toleration, America was embarking on a great experiment. Religious wars had decimated Europe following Luther's nailing his 95 theses to the church door in 1517. In Europe, nations, provinces, free towns, cantons, were either Roman Catholic or Protestant. Those who dissented faced discrimination, or they had to be very discreet, or in some places, they would be exiled or killed. The Netherlands and a few other areas were more tolerant, but they were much the exception; the rule was legal intolerance against religious minorities. This was true, too, of South and Central America. Even during the French and Indian War (7 Years War) French colonists from Acadia (today's Maritime Provinces of Canada) were ethnically cleansed in the 1750s and distributed among the 13 English colonies. The French Catholics, treated as a subversive element, disliked this, and many soon departed for Louisiana (where they became Cajuns). So even as late as the 1750s, an attempt to have Catholics and Protestants live together in the soon-to-be American states did not fare well.

The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the US, and though the European population of Louisiana was much smaller than that of the US, it was all Catholic. How would this work out? Once Louisiana was American territory, Americans came to settle too; Protestants and even a wealthy Jewish businessman, Judah Touro. So began the experiment – unusual for that era – of trying to have Protestants and Catholics (and others) live in relative harmony.
Of course, there was natural friction among many different groups, and elsewhere the religious differences had caused injury, death, and wars. Even in 1950s New Orleans, I recall being teased by other neighborhood kids because I attended public rather than Catholic school. In that same era, in most of the South, the Bible Belt, Catholics endured a suspicious, minority status. But the thrust of American history was to overcome religious prejudice. Staunch Protestant Andrew Jackson asked for the help of all New Orleanians in winter 1814-15, as the British prepared to capture the city, and Jackson received the help, even from the Ursuline nuns. A few decades later, as President of the US, Jackson appointed the first Roman Catholic to his Cabinet, and later appointed Catholic Roger Taney to be Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. A short time after, the State of Louisiana elected Judah Benjamin, the first practicing Jew, to the US Senate. In the early 1860s Benjamin would serve several positions in the Cabinet of Pres. Jefferson Davis of the CSA. The Irish fleeing the famine of the 1840s came to the US, but they tended to be poorer, remained in cities rather than purchasing lands to farm, and quickly became known for drinking. In the North, they tended to support the Democrats, and some Irish perceived the possibility of abolition of slavery as a threat to their status and jobs. Some partook in the NYC anti-draft (and anti-Black) riots during the Civil War. In time, the Irish generally assimilated; to be followed by other immigrants – many of whom were Catholic. The Italian immigrants were often poor too, from Sicily and southern Italy. There were accusations about a “Black Hand” secret society (probably Mafia) that roused such hostility that in New Orleans 7 Italians were lynched in the 1890s. However, by the mid-20th century, entertainers Bing Crosby (Irish) might sing White Christmas compoased by Irving Berlin (Jewish), while Frank Sinatra (Italian) and Louis Armstrong (Black) waited to appear next on stage. All were popular. Surely, in having 2 very powerful religious groups live in relative peace for so long over a continent is a great accomplishment of the United States.

Hart raises a point not usually considered – in most of the Spanish colonies, gradual emancipation of the slaves allowed them to achieve full freedom with less bloodshed and before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.(64) But what Hart asserts about the Spanish, was also achieved in America's North. Originally, all the English colonies permitted slavery. With the American Revolution, and passage of the Northwest Ordinance, and then some states enacted immediate or gradual abolition, and by 1860, slavery, without bloodshed, had been abolished in the North. However, 80% of the Blacks resided in the South, and most were slaves; abolition was not debatable in the South. Indeed, many Southerners sought to expand slavery, not only to the North, but to Cuba and possibly parts of Central America. Lincoln completely rejected those Southern demands, and bloodshed on a massive scale did ensue. So did Northern victory and Emancipation. Portuguese Brazil did not free its slaves until some 2 decades after Lincoln.
In a short paragraph Hart presents a good defense of Pres. Buchanan who was a lame-duck Commander-in-Chief when some southern states began to secede.(50-51) His assessment of Lincoln is also concise and accurate.(77-78)

Hart summarizes the achievement of the US during its Golden Age: “During that interval the United States stood out for its wealth, for its military might, and for its unprecedented set of practical inventions and scientific discoveries. We became a beacon of freedom ... In addition, we defeated or outlasted two of the most powerful menacing tyrannies in history...
“Our skyscrapers and superhighways impressed even our adversaries, and they were widely copied. Our music and our motion pictures were wildly popular: not just locally, but in many foreign countries as well. Sports that had originated in the United States – such as basketball, volleyball, and baseball - spread to many other countries. Never in history has a single country so dominated the world on so many different levels.”(82) Incredibly, when Hart discusses culture in American, he neglects to mention jazz!

Why was the US so inventive? Hart posits: patent laws favored inventors, free market economy, low taxes, few regulations, and a large territory and large population in a single custom union.(94)
Hart contends that FDR won his 4th term in office in 1944 because his doctor “deliberately lied to the press and public concerning Roosevelt's poor health.”(129) But is this not what personal physicians of politicians are expected to do? Did JFK's doctor tell the public about the young senator's many infirmaries and the “pain killers” he was taking? Or did Bill Clinton's private physician reveal any previous STDs of the young candidate for the presidency? We know what happened when Democratic Party nominee for president in 1972, George McGovern's running mate, Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton, revealed he had undergone electric shock treatment for depression. McGovern initially backed Eagleton 1,000% when the Missourian's medical history came to light, but the media and opponents joked about a nut occupying the White House, and McGovern quickly replaced his vice-presidential running mate. Dropping Eagleton from the ticket did not help McGovern, for he lost 49 of the 50 states to Republican Richard Nixon.

Hart writes that JFK strongly supported civil rights legislation “at that time.”(147) The phrase is ambiguous – Kennedy did little for such legislation during his first 2 years in office, and even during the March on Washington in 1963, he would not have pressed for legislation as far-reaching as that eventually passed after his assassination. Indeed, some contend it was Kennedy's assassination that finally assured passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Hart follows the official line in identifying Lee Harvey Oswald as Kennedy's assassin,(174) though, even with the US intelligence agencies' continued determination to prevent release of files on the murder after all these years, I think enough has been revealed so that we can conclude that a plot resulted in the assassination of JFK in Dallas.

Hart's most controversial statement, and one which infuses his work is “By 1972 all legal restriction on blacks had been eliminated. But average black income and wealth was still low, and has remained much lower than whites. Liberals usually assert that this is entirely due to white racism; but it seems far more probable that it is due in significant part to the many lower average natural intelligence of blacks.”(149) Scientifically, this may, or may not be the case. However, since the mid-1960s the media have encouraged Blacks to act and be “angry.” Who would want to interview a Black nerd – or a white one, for that matter? Erkel was good for laughs, but not to be imitated. Black Panthers with their weapons, Leroy Jones, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, et al,…, showed the model for the New Blacks, angry, violent if necessary, and defenders always found it necessary. For the leaders, it may have been posturing, theater, but for many, violence was not merely verbal. Even before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King was mocked by the militant Blacks, with the support of white radicals and the media. Malcolm X, who had been assassinated by Black Muslims in 1965, was hoisted as the new model. The pictures of Martin Luther King, with his advocacy of non-violence, had almost faded to white when his murder resurrected his reputation as martyr. The riots throughout American cities in the wake of King's killing shattered the American image round the world. LBJ chose not to run for re-election; the Democrats lost nearly 10 million votes to segregationist candidate Alabama's George Wallace. Nixon's law and order campaign squeaked through over Hubert Humphrey's waffling over Vietnam, race, and most issues. Four years later Nixon carried 49 of 50 states.

Hart provides evidence of America's decline: we don't win wars any more (207), the end of free speech (208), rejection of the presumption of innocent until proven guilty (210), quotas, diversity, and presidential over-reach (212). And the most important causes of the decline – racial antagonism (221) and our loss of price and confidence (236).
In his last chapters Hart outlines possible (often improbable) ways in which America can fall – military defeat, division on racial lines, ethnic lines, political lines, absorption into larger units – North America, an Anglo-sphere, world government, etc. Few people predicted the collapse of the USSR and its east European satellite states. Of course, Communist Parties continue to rule in China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and there are wannabe “socialist” states like Venezuela and some African nations. Yet, the most Stalinist of all these, North Korea is now engaged Ina strange dance with Donald Trump's America.

And the latter is a major factor not considered by Hart. The people of Rome, slowly, changed their empire, denying their gods, spurning their sports, rejecting their traditions to adopt an alien religion from the Middle East that elevated a convicted criminal to godhood. In the decisive military battle of that Roman civil war between tradition and the new, the defender of the new religion defeated the old, and rather quickly, the Roman Empire emerged as a Christian Empire. Constantine's empire resembled the old Roman one less and less. Part of the “Roman” Empire in the West would disintegrate in a century, but the eastern part would endure as a Christian empire for a millennium until 1453 AD.

The people of America still have a say in whether our nation lives or dies or morphs into something detached from our history. There are forces today that seek to destroy our traditional past, like the Red Guard of China's Cultural Revolution, statues of Robert E. Lee and P. T. G. Beauregard are removed, but founders of this nation Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are also under attack, and the man who most made this enterprise possible, Christopher Columbus, is often denounced. Many do want to rip America from its wonderful history. This is why the election of Donald Trump was so crucial, especially with his slogans – America First (a phrase repellent to liberals), Make America Great Again, build a wall (to prevent further invasion). The “deplorables” still have a voice and may be able to restore faith and pride in America, and end racial, ethnic, and sexual quotas, destroy diversity (anti-white discrimination), and treat all citizens equally, hiring and promoting the best qualified candidates to make America more inventive, more productive, more powerful; in sum, to make America great again. America can climb up from our fall, 1965-2016, ready to rise and soar again.

Monday, October 15, 2018


    On American public television, there is now a series aimed to encourage reading, The Great American Read.  100 novels by authors from all over the world were chosen, and the general public can vote on their favorite.  On the weekly program, some of the novels are discussed by fans of those novels nominated.
   When I was young, many considered Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn as the great American novel.  In recent decades, it has been banned in schools and even some libraries because one of the main characters in the novel is N_____ Jim, and for decades now, whites and polite society are not permitted to use the n word to describe Black people.  Just last week in a suburb of Milwaukee, Shorewood, the high school theater department had to cancel, on opening day, a production of "To Kill a Mocking Bird" because of the n word, which some found offensive, and they threatened protest!  So even if ten people out of 1,000 are offended, the school caves in, and the play is canceled!  I suspect they found the play "racist"!  BREAKING NEWS.  Shorewood High had planned to present the play based on "To Kill a Mockingbird" today, 17 Oct. 2018, just for the parents of the players and staff, but last night a threat was received.  Today, this limited-audience production of the play was also cancelled.  The 17-year-old who threatened the theater was arrested, but the school board seems to cave again.  Perhaps they can perform it next week under a different title - "To Kill a Play," or "To Kill American Culture!"
     Angry about how pc is destroying American culture, I just posted the following on the PBS Great American Read's website discussion/comments;  I tried to copy my comment and wasted half an hour trying to paste it on my blog, so I will rewrite a comment, which may not be exactly as the one I posted:  Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer is on the list of the 100 for which you can vote, but NOT Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  I suspect the reason that Huck Finn is not included is because one of the main characters is "N____r Jim" and though it is a funny and fabulous novel, the pc police will not consider its greatness.  It is often banned in schools now.  Apparently the word Injun is still allowed according to the pc crowd, as Injun Joe is a major character in Tom Sawyer.  Injun is ok, for now, anyway.
   The irony is that one book discussed on the program and among the 100 is Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None," published in the US in the early 1940s.  What goes unmentioned is that the same novel was first published in the UK under the title "Ten Little N____rs," and I saw paperbacks of the novel in British Woolworths with that title displayed on the metal, turnable racks, in the late 1960s.  But few Americans are aware of that fact.  So Christie's fine mystery novel is allowed, but Twain's great classic is barred.  PC is destroying American culture, and history, and thought.  Even the well-meaning attempt to promote reading, restricts thought and appreciation of our great culture.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


(2018) Kindle edition
Rev. by Hugh Murray

In his latest book on the JFK assassination, Jerry Kroth tries to include as much as possible of the most recent downloads of Kennedy documents by the Trump Administration. Originally, they were to be kept secret for 75 years, and then the law was changed so many records could be released earlier. Some were, but each time various agencies like the CIA urge continued secrecy. While the major media has generally ignored the most recent opening of files in spring 2018, Kroth read as many as he could and includes some of the surprising findings in his kindle book.

1. Thanks to Kroth, we now know that there were 2 American servicemen stationed in Europe in the fall of 1963 when they overheard electronic chatter. In late October and early November, one stationed in Metz, the other in Scotland, unknown to each other, both heard encrypted chatter about the forthcoming assassination of Pres. Kennedy. One heard that it would occur in Texas in late November, and the accused murderer would be either a Negro or a communist. One of the soldiers heard reference to Guy Banister, then in New Orleans, with ties to the FBI, CIA, and other agencies. (In the summer of 1963 in New Orleans Oswald ran his Fair Play for Cuba outfit from Banister's office.) The two soldiers did not know each other. When both, in different ways, sought to warn higher-ups of what they had heard, both were taken to mental hospitals where they remained for the following 6 months.

2. Kroth's detective work. A letter allegedly written by Oswald in early November 1963 to a Mr. Hunt, asked Hunt about Oswald's role in the operation. Some questioned the authenticity of the letter. However, by finding Oswald's previous unusual misspelling of a word, Kroth is convinced the letter is genuine, and later discusses who the Mr. Hunt might be and Oswald's connection to him.

3. Kroth notes that Oilman H. L.. Hunt's security chief had warned him there might be some trouble along the presidential parade route in Dallas. Kroth thinks that this would make little sense if Hunt were involved in the assassination plot.
4. Kroth believes the Oswald letter was sent to E. Howard Hunt, a man later to be arrested in the Watergate operation.

5. Kroth weaves the deathbed confession of E. Howard Hunt with that of James Files, whom Kroth has often interviewed. Files maintains he was the shooter on the grassy knoll. Kroth also presents a list of the likely assassins in Dallas on the 22 November. Interestingly, he does not include Malcolm Wallace, who some believe was a sniper on the 6th floor of the Texas State School Depository Building, and was a known henchman of Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson.
6. In one long paragraph, Kroth indicates how Lyndon Johnson intervened in planning the parade route and in disposing of the limousine following the murder. I shall quote that paragraph near the conclusion of the review.

7. Important for us all in the days of Trump and the media – Kroth indicates how NBC and Dan Rather (CBS), and major media worked to bolster the official line on Oswald, the lone, nut, communist, assassin. Rather, one of the few permitted to view the Zapruder film of the assassination, told America how Kennedy's head was thrust forward with Rather bringing his head down to his chin to illustrate what he had “seen” (visually emphasizing how the shot had come from behind). Years later, 1975, when the American public could see the Zapruder film for themselves, they could also understand how Rather had lied (if they would have remembered).

8. It was not merely the media that may have been pressured to follow the official line. LBJ wanted the special commission to be the final authority on the investigation of the assassination. When he asked Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren to lead the commission, Warren declined and wanted nothing to do with it. LBJ demanded that they meet. Before that meeting, Johnson, from his next-door neighbor FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, received a file on Warren. When Warren arrived and again refused to head the commission, LBJ reminded the Chief Justice of a little incident in Mexico City, described in the file. Warren began to cry and conceded, I will do whatever you want. The black-robed justice yielded to Lyndon's black mail. Apparently Lyndon told this story to Sen. Richard Russell on a taped telephone conversation. We still refer to it as the Warren Commission. Kroth adds that the conclusion of the Commission, while officially endorsed by most political leaders of that time, was often questioned by them off-the-record, such as Representative Hale Boggs (father of Cokie Roberts) and Sen. Richard Russell (the Senate Bldg. Is named for him). Kroth adds that the American public, when polled, also reject the official version of the Oswald, lone-nut, communist assassin. Indeed, he notes that the public usually rejects the Warren Commission version by wide margins.

9. When New Orleans District Atty. Jim Garrison sought to reopen the case and prosecute conspirators involved in the assassination, the FBI sent agents to trail Garrison and his detectives, while the CIA sought to infiltrate Garrison's investigation and sabotage it. On his YouTube discussion, Kroth asserts that many of Garrison's files have still NOT been released by Trump.

10. Kroth provides examples of the media colluding with the federal government to discredit Garrison and even to bribe and turn his witnesses. He could have added that GOP Governors Ronald Reagan of California and James Rhodes of Ohio refused to extradite witnesses Garrison sought for his trial against the conspirators in Louisiana.
11. I am 20th century and had never before used a kindle. Buying a devise and then borrowing a library book on how to read a book, I found frustrating and expensive. I also felt like a 3rd grader. Buying a book to learn how to read at my age and such a price! This book should be in paperback.

12. There are numerous errors of grammar where a word or 2 is missing. On 2 occasions, Kroth identifies George de Mohrenschildt as Oswald's friend in New Orleans. The successful, white Russian had befriended the poor Oswald in Texas, not New Orleans. Because this is an electronic book, there are no page numbers to cite. I also feel that it was rushed to publication, perhaps because of the importance of the newly revealed documents. But is this book that much more informative than Kroth's YouTube discussion of the same material?

Bottom line, this would be an essential book for all interested in the assassination of President John Kennedy, showing how the US government has manipulated the media to cover up questions and accept the official line of the Warren Commission, the FBI, and the CIA. This should be a paperback. As a kindle, its impact is restricted.

Kroth's interesting long paragraph on Lyndon Johnson's activities around the case, can be found at 62%.
“There are still a few academics that believe Johnson should be held above suspicion, but it is hard to develop empathy for their position. When we have such a long history of redacted, censored, and destroyed documents which began in earnest under his watch; when we recall the unsolved execution style murder of Mary Meyer ten months after the assassination – who was about to go public, or Dorothy Kilgallen who planned to do the same; when we learn attempts were made to bribe individuals so they would testify they saw Oswald in Mexico City; when we think of the plethora of witnesses (n=61) who said the shots came from the grassy knoll whom the Warren Commission generally ignored;61 when we recall the suspicious motorcade route which forced the presidential limousine to enter a triangulated killing zone and slow to an almost complete stop; when we reflect on the instantaneous removal of the limousine to Detroit and destruction of evidence of the crime scene, and when we review abject paranoia – every last soul who might have dissented from the Warren Commission conclusions, like Jim Garrison or Mark Lane, it is impossible to see the man who presided over all these events – and who gained so much from them- should be held blameless.”

In his YouTube discussion, Kroth criticizes various mainstream historians. Thus Arthur Schlesinger wrote hundreds of pages about “John Kennedy's Thousand Days” in the White House, and never discussed the President's many trysts with women. Schlesinger contended, they were not important. Kroth retorted that when JFK was bedding a woman who at the same time was mistress to a powerful Mafia boss, that is important. (And J. Edgar Hoover thought it important that Kennedy had a fling with a woman thought to be an East German spy.) Helen Kearns Goodwin, another “court” historian who used to frequent PBS and other television newscasts, may have been too close to some of the subjects of her biographies to be objective. Indeed, like most popular historians, they treat presidents with great respect if not awe.

It is unlikely that the mainstream historians will recognize that in 1963 America experienced a coup d'etat, killing President John Kennedy and covering up the crime with the patsy of Oswald. A Deep State – intelligence officials, high military figures, the Mafia, and Vice-President Lyndon Johnson, with varied motivations, were all in on the plot.

A counter-coup occurred beginning in June 1972 with the arrest of the Watergate burglars at the offices of the Democratic National Committee. The robbery, in itself, meant little. However, those arrested included some linked to the White House and some whose names had already been heard in connection to Dallas. Soon the Deep State was on the defensive; was its lawlessness indicative of utter contempt for law. Democrats began investigating this, probing that. Now, the media took the side of the counter-coup. It seemed that the President was involved in the cover up. Support for Nixon, who had been reelected with an overwhelming majority in 1972, plummeted. Finally, Republican Senators informed him, they did not have enough votes in the Senate to stave off an impeachment vote to remove him from office. In August 1974 Nixon resigned. The counter-coup had partially succeeded.  Nixon was removed, but he was replaced by Gerald Ford, a former member of the Warren Commission.

In the 21st century there were changes – in the world, in America, and in the Deep State. In 1990 the Soviet Union unraveled, defeated by Pres. Reagan's hard-line policies against “the evil empire.” While one academic proclaimed “the end of history,” Pres. George H. W. Bush had a chance to restart history with unrivaled power. The Bush family had CIA connections going back decades. He would lead America into a new global era, the New World Order, making alliances of an expanded NATO in both western and eastern Europe, and, following an alliance against the Soviets in Afghanistan with the Muslim Mujaheddin, new possibilities opened. But some of those Muslims also saw new opportunities; they defeated the Soviet Communists in Afghanistan, and beyond. Now they would attack the decadent West. Several illegal aliens flew passenger planes into the World Trade Center, demolishing them, and into the Pentagon, destroying part of it. Another target was spared when passengers fought with the hijackers, leading to the death of all on that plane. But Pres. George W. Bush did not blame Islam. He even walked, hand-in-hand (meaning friendship) with a Saudi prince. On the other hand, Bush led the US into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

With the election of Pres. Barack Hussein Obama, the pro-Muslim aspects of the new era continued. An Arab Spring led to changes in governments, which brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt. The Obama Administration overthrew Libya's government, had subrosa intervention in Syria, helped overthrow Ukraine's pro-Russian leadership, and sought rapprochement with Iran. Obama also tried to defeat Israel's Netanyahu at the polls. Obama had been a boy in a Muslim country, in Hawaii had been mentored by a Black who was a member of the Communist Party, USA, and when he resided in Chicago, was befriended by former terrorists from the Weather Underground. It is not so surprising that under Obama, John Brennan, was promoted to CIA chief, even though (or because) he had voted in 1976 for Gus Hall, candidate of the CPUSA. Indeed, by the close of the Obama Administration, the new Deep State was composed of the old Left, Brennan, anti-Vietnam War veteran John Kerry, and other high officials in the State Dept., FBI, and military.

This Deep State is the enemy of Donald Trump. They went after his advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, to destroy someone who would contribute to dismantling their New World Order. They would use a story of Trump hiring prostitutes to piss on the bed where the Obamas had slept in Moscow to promote media reaction against Trump and stories of Russian collusion. I need not go on, as it is a continuing story. The new Deep State is determined to sabotage the nationalist, populist administration of Pres. Trump. The question is, how far will they go to prevent him from changing course, from withdrawing from global warming treaties, from opposing Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and such groups while supporting Israel and other Muslim groups. From closing the borders to invaders. Will the new Left Deep State and its media minions merely obstruct, merely “resist?” Or will it redefine resist?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


     Christine Blasy Ford is not alone! The woman who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct may have support from other victims.
     Democrats are in luck. More women are coming forth to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. First, there is Crystal Mangum, whom you may recall from the incident at Duke University. She maintained she was assaulted by members of the Duke U. men's lacrosse team. Because of her, the team was disqualified for the rest of the season and members of the team were charged under various forms of sexual misconduct. Surely, she is a credible witness. She is courageous enough to add her voice against nominee Kavanaugh.
     Second, Tawana Brawley has resurfaced to say she seems to recall an incident in a trash bag in some state some years ago; her memory is fuzzy about the details, but she is sure the attacker was Brett Kavenaugh. She is willing to testify, and thinks that civil rights activist Al Sharpton, and host on CNN, will again be beside her when she makes her charges.
     A surprise note came from the elderly Victoria Price. She said she was raped on a freight train in 1931 near Scottsboro, Alabama, by several Blacks, and after the first trials, 8 were sentenced to death. (Those verdicts were overturned and the cases went on for years). Price is older now, but is certain the man who accosted her about 20 years ago in some state was Kavanaugh.  The details she "disremembers."
     And when visiting Washington, DC a few years ago, Anita Hill ordered a can of Coke in a restaurant. She spotted a pubic hair on the can. She is certain the hair was that of Judge Kavanaugh's. He was humiliating her in a sexual way, even though he was not visible at the restaurant at that time.
     Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Dem., Cal.) is urging a delay in the Judiciary Committee hearings until testimony can be heard from these courageous women to tell how they were victimized.
     By Hugh Murray
For those outside of the US who may not be familiar with the back stories, this is satire.  In these cases the charges made by the women proved to be lies (or at best, unsubstantiated) and the men were the victimes.

Monday, August 27, 2018


INDUSTRY IN THE 1930s and 1940s (Roseville, CA.: Forum, an Imprint of Prima Pub., c1998)
Written by Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley
Rev. by Hugh Murray

There is much interesting material in Billingsley's party book, but after reading it, I am convinced it should have covered much more. For example, Billingsley practically begins his account with the creation of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League (HANL), a communist-front group in 1936. However, the Depression began in 1929, and by the early 1930s, the Communist Party made strident efforts to organize sharecroppers in the South; to organize the unemployed into councils that would restore the furniture of evicted tenants into their former homes; to organize unions beyond the AFL's craft associations; and especially to appeal to Blacks to end lynching and racist “justice” in the South. One case illustrated the Party's new militancy regarding Southern injustice – the Scottsboro, Ala. rape cases that began in 1931. The Communist-front International Labor Defense (ILD) wrestled the liberal National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to defend the 9 “boys” accused of raping two young white women while riding a freight train, on which they were all hoboing. Eight of the 9 were quickly found guilty and sentenced to death; the 14-year-old merely received a long sentence. ILD attorneys appealed to the US Supreme Court, and when they won new trials, the ILD hired Samuel Leibowitz, a Democrat and noted attorney to defend the youths.

At the same time they provided a high-powered legal defense, the ILD and the Communist movement turned the case into a world-wide cause celebre, even having the mother of 2 of the boys tour Europe to expose America's racist justice. In 1932 Mother Wright addressed radical gatherings in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Britain, and Moscow, urging support for the young Blacks who might again face the death penalty. Petitions demanding freedom for the defendants were signed by many of the leading literary figures of the time, as well as Albert Einstein, Mme. Sun Yat Sen, and in America, Chief Red Cloud. Poetry from Muriel Rukeyser and Langston Hughes celebrated the Scottsboro boys. A play, “They Shall Not Die!” almost recreating one of the court rooms with testimony, ran on Broadway with a lengthy, rave review from the New York Times. But there was no Scottsboro movie.

At the 2nd trial, one of the 2 white women “victims,” recanted her accusations of rape against the Blacks; now maintaining that the jazz found in her by the doctor was the result of a tryst with her white boy friend the night before the train ride, in a hobo camp in Chattanooga. The other woman stuck to her story that she had been raped by 6 of the Blacks. She proclaimed she was a victim, even when Atty. Leibowitz tried to punch holes in her story. When pressed under oath about certain details, Victoria Price simply “disremembered.”

During the trial, the attending physician asked to speak with the judge in private. While officers held the door to the men's room shut, the doctor explained to the judge why he thought that the 2 women had not been raped. They had semen in them, but during the examination they were giggling and laughing, not the normal reaction after being raped by 6 strangers each. The judge, James Horton, instructed the doctor to repeat this on the stand under oath. The doctor explained that to do so would ruin his reputation and his practice. He would not so testify, and if called to the stand he would lie about it. The doctor was not called. The jury found the Black defendant guilty. However, Judge Horton voided the verdict, and there would have to be a 3rd round of Scottsboro trials. The government found a new judge, and Judge Horton was defeated in his bid for re-election, undoubtedly a consequence of his voiding the popular guilty verdict.

The new judge was not as lenient as Judge Horton. He would not allow any probing into the past history of the women or any implied insults against their character. Modern feminists might cheer his shielding of the female accuser from the harsh questioning by Atty. Leibowitz. The Daily Worker had a less favorable view of the judge who upheld the chivalrous notion of the “victim” - the DW called him Judge Ku Klux Callahan. Leibowitz was limited by the judge's rulings as to how far he could delve into Ms. Price's statements that sometimes contradicted other evidence. And the other woman, Ruby Bates, did not want to return to the hostile atmosphere in Alabama, so her previous testimony denying any rape was merely read into the record. In the summary before the jury, the new prosecutor of the case, Alabama's Atty General made the issue clear, “Don't sell Alabama justice to Jew money from New York.” The jury did not, and found the Blacks once again guilty. More appeals to the US Supreme Court, which the defense won. More trials. The case went on for years. But still no movie was made.

This was the major Communist issue from 1931 through 1934 and beyond. Billingsley quotes Communist screen writer Dalton Trumbo writing in 1946 that while communists usually had the power to veto production of films critical of the Party, they did not have sufficient power to have their own pro-communist films produced. (p. 92-93) The notion of a film where 2 white women falsely accuse 9 young Blacks of rape, and the Blacks are defended by Communists, - who would have made such a film in the 1930s? And who would watch such a film? Even around 1961 in New Orleans, “Raisin in the Sun” did not play the large white movie theaters, and when a white friend and I went to the Carver, a Black theater, to see it, they would not sell us tickets to enter.

However, Scottsboro and films would have wider repercussions. Hollywood was the center of the most popular films world-wide, but especially after the arrival of the talkies, national studios produced films for their constituents in their native languages, and dialects. Germany's Babelsberg had created some of the most important films of the silent 1920s, but continued into the sound era with “Three Penny Opera,” “Blue Angel,” and others. They continued to make startling films even after many from their film colony fled Germany for Hollywood. France and Britain were centers of the world's largest empires, and they both sought to quench the thirst for films about and in the languages of empire.

And on to the London stage, and shortly after, the British film stages, appeared the American All-American foot ball player from Princeton, valedictorian there, a man with a law degree from Columbia U. with a deep baritone voice he used to sing Negro spirituals amid his blossoming acting career. The Black American, Paul Robeson, would now star in British films about Africa. He would also befriend some of the extras in these movies, often young Africans studying at British universities. In this way Robeson encountered Nnamdi Azikiwe and Johnstone Kenyatta, and later in different contexts, Kwame Nkrumah and the Indian, Jawaharlal Nehru. It was the 1930s, the Scottsboro rape cases dragged on, and to publicize the injustice, a Scottsboro Defence Committee was organized in Britain, with 2 co-chairs: Paul Robeson and Johnstone Kenyatta.

In 1935 the Hollywood musical “Show Boat” would hit the screens. Robeson had been popular enough so that the character of Joe was written into the stage version and then the film version just for Robeson. He had played it on the New York and London stages, and now in the movie in which he sang “Old Man River.” In 1939 Robeson returned to the US, and in the early 1940s, starred in Othello, which proved to be the longest-running Shakespearean play on Broadway till that time (and that record may stand today). However, because of the Hollywood blacklist of Reds, when MGM remade “Show Boat” in 1954, Robeson the radical was replaced by another baritone. When Orson Welles produced a filmed version of Othello in 1951, the Moor Wells played was quite light skinned. A very black Robeson would have been as out of place in this production as his politics. A Soviet version of 1956 also de-emphacized the racial aspects of the play. In 1965 the British did make a filmed version of the play with a Black Othello, but the Black was Laurence Olivier in make-up. If Robeson was being denied movie opportunities because of the anti-red Blacklist, he was seeking for other opportunities.

When Robeson returned to America in 1939, he was quite popular. He sang a patriotic cantata, “What is America to Me?” (“The House I Live In” is the official title) on CBS to a wide audience. He was acting in Othello. And he was speaking to young Blacks recently organized as the Southern Negro Youth Congress (the first “snick”), which aimed to increase civil rights. (In 1949, SNYC would be placed on Pres. Truman's Atty General's list of subversive organizations.) During WWII Robeson's sympathies for the Soviets, who were fighting and finally defeating the German Nazis, was often warmly received. President Roosevelt rhimself eferred to Stalin as “Uncle Joe,” and FDR's Vice President, Henry Wallace, along with many others in FDR's administration were openly friendly to the USSR. For the presidential election of 1944 conservative Democrats demanded that FDR replace Wallace on the ticket, and after a struggle at the Democratic convention, Harry Truman won the nomination for vice-president on the ticket. Wallace was demoted to Sec. of Commerce. Soon after the election, Roosevelt died and Truman became president. Then VE day, followed a few months later by the atomic bombing of 2 Japanese cities and the entrance into the war of the USSR; Japan sued for peace.

Billingsley points out, that the cold war began almost immediately. Billingsley connects the article by French Communist leader Jacques Duclos, echoing the thoughts of Stalin, that American CP leader, Earl Browder, had erred when he dissolved the CPUSA, and Browder was wrong when he implied that the friendliness of the wartime alliance would continue. Browder was ousted, and William Z. Foster, a hardliner replaced him as head of the American party. America was now viewed as incipiently fascist, and more determined Ccommunist struggle was required. So the Communist controlled unions in Hollywood looked for jurisdictional overlaps, where the red unions could push for open disputes with the non-communist organizations. The Cold War in Hollywood was evident by spring 1945 when the red-led CSU began a strike with picket lines to gain power in the film industry.

And in Europe, things were not returning to the pre-war era. Winston Churchill, who had led Britain throughout the war, was defeated at the polls by the Labour Party which discussed dismantling the British Empire! The chastened Churchill in 1946 visited the US and gave a speech asserting that an “iron curtain” had been thrust down by the Soviets, dividing Europe from Stettin to Triest. While many like Truman listened with interest, others like Sec. Wallace thought Churchill was simply trying to bolster the British Empire and promote rearmament at the expense of peace.

It was determined that the peace-loving Americans should take a stand, and to lead them, Henry Wallace showed his willingness. Truman fired Wallace from the Cabinet, and Wallace sought to create a new Progressive Party (PP), that would opposed the imperialisms of Britain, France, the Dutch, etc. It would strive for racial harmony, economic justice, even mild socialism. Above all, it would strive for peace with the USSR and hailed new “reform” elements fighting for power in China and elsewhere in Asia. To co-chair the new PP (which had the full support of the older, smaller, Communist Party, noted entertainer Paul Robeson accepted that post. The left-wing CIO unions supported Wallace, while the majority of the CIO stuck with Truman. Wallace gained the support of many civil rights organizations, the ILD, the National Negro Congress, SNYC, Robeson's Council on African Affairs, the Southern Conference on Human Welfare, etc. The NAACP, by contrast, had Democratic Pres. Harry Truman address its convention. When the only Black founder of the NAACP, W E B Du Bois, announced he was supporting Wallace rather than Truman, the NAACP fired Du Bois. With this purge, the NAACP essentially became a Democratic Party front group but it still pretends to be a non-partisan organization for tax purposes. Du Bois, openly Progressive, hostile to Western imperialism, supportive of anti-colonial revolutions, found that he was not even rehired at Atlanta U. The Progressive Party candidates campaigned in the South; it was the civil rights movement before the official movement. Many names of people involved in civil rights activities of the mid-1950s and 60s first came to prominence by partaking in civil rights connected with the campaign for Wallace and the PP. Even the enemies of civil rights. When PP Vice-Presidential candidate, Sen. Glenn Taylor visited Birmingham to campaign, he was scheduled to address a meeting of the SNYC, but Police Commissioner Bull Connor had him arrested when he entered the colored entrance of the building. Wallace, Taylor, Robeson were defying segregation laws when they campaigned in the South.

However, in November 1948 Wallace and the PP performed much below their expected vote (as did the anticipated winner, Thomas Dewey). Originally some thought Wallace might receive 5 to 8 million votes; he received only 1.1 million or 2.4%. Unions and organizations that supported the PP were now classified as subversive, and, especially in the South, jobs were lost. When Robeson scheduled a concert in a park outside of NYC, state troopers looked on as anti-Communists threw stones at the cars, blocking traffic, injuring many, and serving notice that Robeson, or any who sympathized with the Communists, would not be allowed to perform. The irony is that as Robeson thus began a period of isolation and lack of influence, blacklist, and denial of a passport, some of those whom he mentored were on the rise. Nkrumah was active in the Gold Coast, and when it declared independence from Britain in 1957, Nkrumah would become the first leader of the new nation of Ghana. Similarly, Robeson's friend, Azikiwe would soon be the leader of the new independent nation of Nigeria. It would take longer for Johnstone. He returned to Africa and was soon involved in a major uprising against British rule. But Johnstone, now known as Jomo, would give something back to the English – a new word, Mau Mau. When Hollywood made a film in 1957, “Something of Value,” it pitted 2 native Kenyans against each other – one, Rock Hudson, son of a white landowner, and the other, Sidney Poitier, a Black Kenyan who grew up on the land. Raised as brothers, they will end in a deadly struggle, one for Britain, the other for the Mau Mau. Of course, in the Hollywood film, the revolutionary Mau Mau leader looses. Yet, reality does not always follow Hollywood scripts. In time, Mau Mau leader Jomo Kenyatta would be recognized as the leader of an independent Kenya.  (In the 1950s and 60s, with the collapse of colonialism, most assumed that the newly independent nations would soon rise from the Third World to the prosperity and democracy of the First. However, for many of the new nations, independence would soon mean corruption, starvation, return to slavery, and slaughter.)

Just as Robeson had nurtured African students in Britain in the 1930s, the CPUSA had nurtured Black artists in New York and beyond. Richard Wright was encouraged to write by the CP, and included real Communists, like Mary Dalton, in some of his fiction. The party would review his books, help in finding publishers, etc. But by the end of WWII, Wright had turned against the CP, and one of his essays was included in the anti-communist volume, “The God that Failed.” Claude McKay had earlier left the CP for the Roman Catholic church. George Padmore had left the CP for a more Black Nationalist approach. C L R James, author of the important history of the slave rebellion in Haiti, was a Trotskyist, a heretic, and the CP sought to isolate and destroy his influence. But in New York there were those in the CP or close to it who would become influential – Lorraine Hansberry, Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier. Some of these would shoot to stardom with the Civil Rights Movement of the late 50s and 60s. Did the CP have such a group to encourage Blacks in Hollywood? I suspect they must have had special outreach for Blacks and Hispanics, but there is no mention of this in Billingsley.

There were 2 films “inspired” by the Scottsboro case, but they they were not produced until the 1950s, and the case was camouflaged to the point of distortion. In the Southern Gothic “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962), which centers on the white attorney, appointed by a local Alabama judge, to defend a Black man accused of raping a white woman. Gregory Peck played the attorney. Alabama in the 1930s and long after was a segregated society. At one point, Peck must sit guard at the jail, as local townspeople want to lynch his client. With some ice breaking by his young daughter, Peck is able to get the crowd to leave, and leave his client alone. But there are threats against Peck, too, for defending the Black. Peck's skills in court readily expose the contradictions in the woman's story. But when on the stand, the accused Black admits that she kissed him when he had helped her chop wood, a taboo was broken. The Black was found guilty. Soon Peck is informed that when being transferred to another jail, the Black was shot dead while trying to escape. Soon thereafter, at Halloween, Peck's children, in costumes, are attacked, by one, and then another man intervenes to help them. The father of the accusing woman is later found dead in that area of the forest; presumably he was trying to harm the children, while a mentally crippled neighbor came to their defense and saved them. This was a good story, set in 1930s Alabama, but a long way from the Scottsboro case. Though the Harper Lee novel is often assigned in schools, though it avoids many of the issues raised by Scottsboro, it does show the difficulties of achieving justice in the deep South of the 1930s.

A closer rendition of the Scottsboro case was made earlier, in 1955, when “Trial” starred Glenn Ford. The scene is 1947 California and a Mexican, Angel Chavez, who attends the same school as an Anglo sees her on the beach and they talk. She has rheumatic heart problems, and when his hands wander onto her, she collapses, dies. Chavez is charged with felony rape and murder. As she was underage, even if she had consented, it would have been rape, and she died, so felony murder. The locals want to lynch the Mexican, but authorities assure the crowd he will be executed after his trial. Meanwhile, Ford, a professor of law, is now required to gain court-room experience to retain his teaching post. The naive professor is hired by a small law firm led by Atty. Castle to defend the young Chavez. Castle enlists Chavez's mother to help in raising funds for the cause. He even demands Ford come to New York to appear at a rally. It is a large rally for the Peoples Party (Progressive Party), and a W E B DuBois character makes a rare appearance in a Hollywood film – as the senile de la Farge who is to keep the crowd awake droning the party line before the main event and while most are still finding their seats. The cynics then make pleas for this cause and that. Angel Chavez's is a new cause, so Ford's speech and the mother's will bring in the cash. Ford is suddenly aware he is dealing with Communists. Castle's secretary explains that Castle's goal is not to save Chavez, but to maximize the publicity when he is convicted, to show the world America's murderous, racist judicial system. Too complex to reveal the maneuvers here, but to summarize, Ford is able to foil the communist plot by preventing Chavez's execution. Both films are quite interesting, but in one, there are no Communists; in the other the Communists are the villains. In reality, the Communists saved the Scottsboro boys from execution.

It is noteworthy that in the US, Hollywood has never produced a film directly about the Scottsboro case. It would be as unacceptable today to Hollywood values as it was in the 1930s, though for different reasons. The case was built upon the lies of 2 white women. But as early as the 1991 Senate hearings to confirm Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, and Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against him, National Public Radio's Nina Totenberg assured listeners “Women do not make up stories.” In the era of “Me2!” women accuse, and men are considered guilty until proven innocent. For a man to challenge a woman on the issue, these days, only provides further proof of his guilt. Scottsboro is as politically incorrect today as it was in 1931.

Communists nurtured Black artists and intellectuals in the Harlem Renaissance and during the Depression in New York. Billingsley mentions nothing about such groups in Hollywood. I suspect they existed. Same with Hispanic groups. During the Progressive Party campaign of 1948 for the Wallace-Taylor ticket, there was a group organized, Bachelors for Wallace. Harry Hay, a Communist and a Progressive was a part of this. After the election, he wanted to organize a homosexual group. To do so he dropped out of the CP and founded the Mattachine Society, one of the first gay rights groups. While some communists might have welcomed such outreach, others probably deemed it more an embarrassment than an opportunity.

The point is, Billingsley fails to mention any of this kind of organizing in his book. He does mention several times the comedienne and actress Lucille Ball. But even this is deficient. When Ball registered to vote in California in 1936, she registered as a Communist. She did it again in 1938. Now, in Billingsley's volume, we learn that Lucille Ball was one of the first to cross the picket lines established by the communist run union the CSU in 1945. Billingsley also lists Ball voting in 1948 for Truman and the Democrats rather than Wallace and the PP. In 1951 “I Love Lucy” became the most popular program on television, and in 1953 members of HUAC quietly interviewed her at her home. She explained her grandfather had been a Eugene V Debs Socialist, and he was living with her in the mid 1930s and to keep the old man happy, she so registered. A party education program was held at her home, but she was not there at the time. Her husband said the old man might read editorials in the Daily Worker. Had she been a member of the CP, she would not have crossed the picket line in 1945 nor voted for Truman in 1948. Around 1953, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover pronounced “I Love Lucy” his favorite program.

But there is another aspect to the story. Lucille Ball is married to Desi Arnez, in real life, and in the comedy series. In 1948 when at least 30 of the 48 states forbid interracial marriages, there was Lucy and Desi. Most of the laws were to prevent black-white marriages, but in some states; Asian-white or Amerindian white. Most states had no category of Hispanics – they would be deemed black or white. Nevertheless, the Desilu production was pushing the envelop. Desi had a strong accent on the program. He did not look or sound regular American. And in an era when they could not even use the word “pregnant” on television, that couple was unique for the 1950s and long after. One of the surprises of when I moved to New York City in the early 1970s was encountering married, interracial couples. These were rare, so rare in I my experience, that I don't want to over-generalize, but in each case, the couples were Party members or in the Left-wing circles (and may have been in the Party when they married). Might the left-wing background of Lucille Ball have allowed her to open to the possibility of having a beau who was a Desi? Might that couple appearing weekly on the most popular television program of the early 1950s have changed the nation's attitudes on marriage?  Of course, in 1961 in Hawaii an interracial couple married, Ann Dunham and Barack Obama, Sr.

When the Hollywood 10 Communists were blacklisted, they raised funds to create their own movie. With the help of a progressive union, Herbert Biberman directed the 1954 film, “Salt of the Earth,” about a union strike in New Mexico. When the miners of a zinc company are forbidden by a court injunction to man the picket lines, their wives “manned” the lines instead. This caused some marital conflicts, as the men thought it inappropriate for women to do the men's protest. Most of the strikers are Mexican Americans, and they believe they are not treated equally with the Anglo miners. Eventually, the zinc mining company negotiates with the striking miners. The International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, that had supported Henry Wallace in 1948 and was subsequently expelled from the CIO, sponsored the film. Paul Jarrico produced it. He is mentioned in Billingsley's book as one of the alleged Communists. Another blacklisted actress was considered for a leading role, Gale Sondergaard, the wife of Biberman, but instead the leading roles went to Mexican Americans. Most of the cast were non-actors, and some had partaken in the strike that formed the bases of the plot. The female lead, Rosaura Revueltas, was even deported. The film was blacklisted and few saw “Salt” in the 1950s. It was not Hollywood, but New Mexico. Yet, it was the Hollywood Party that made the film, and should have been discussed more by Billingsley. It also demonstrates the Party willingness to spotlight racial as well as class issues.

The Party also viewed “Salt of the Earth” as a pro-union response to Elia Kazan's “On the Waterfront.” Kazan had been a member of the CP in New York in the mid 1930s, but broke with it. And when called before the House Un-American Activities Committee after WWII, Kazan was a friendly witness and named the names of former comrades. Kazan went on to make some of the best films of the era (some would judge, of all time). The Communists and their supporters despised Kazan, not just in the 1950s, but decades later. Billingsley writes that the Academy Aware organization had a special program, Hollywood Remembers the Blacklist, some 50 years after the investigation of Communists in the film industry. In effect, it was a celebration of the defiance of the HUAC, a condemnation of “McCarthyism” (though the blacklist preceded Sen. McCarthy's investigations). At the event the elderly who had been blacklisted won applause, and major stars read some of the defiant statements of the blacklisted who had since died. Almost no one mentioned that the many of the (if not all) blacklisted had indeed been Reds. So by 1997 the blacklisted could feel vindicated.

Kazan also directed a labor film released in 1954, “On the Waterfront.” This concerns corruption in the International Longshoremen's Assn. (ILA), the union for dockers on America's east and southern coasts. In the film, a government crime commission is investigating the union, and Marlon Brando entices a worker into an ambush, and leaves. The union thugs, Brando thinks, are going to “teach the guy” a lesson, not to testify the next day. Instead of beating the dissident, the union squad kills him. Brando had been an aspiring boxer, but his brother, determined to make more money by betting against Brando, convinced Brando to throw the fight. Brando moaned lingering resentment to the brother in a car, “I coulda been a contender.” His brother works for the corrupt union boss. Brando meets and begins to fall for the sister of the slain docker, Eva Marie Saint. Karl Malden plays a priest who knows something is wrong on the docks and presents a terrific sermon on a ship. Brando tells the priest and Eva about his role in the death of her brother, ups, downs, another murder, beatings, Brando is shunned when word gets out he may testify. The priest gets Brando to testify and Eva reconciles, and though beaten up, Brando returns to work. Kazan said that this film was his justification for testifying before HUAC.

The left's hatred of Kazan, whom they deemed an informant, a snitch, a rat, was on display before a huge television audience. During the Academy Award telecast of 1999, the Academy presented Kazan with an Honorary Award, and while many stars in the audience stood and applauded like Meryl Streep, the legacy of the Left's hatred continued with some remaining seated, some standing and turning their backs to show their contempt for the many who would whistle blow on Communists. Among the dissenters – Nick Nolte, Ed Harris, and Ian McKellan. Kazan had directed numerous films, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Gentleman's Agreement, Panic in the Streets, Streetcar Named Desire, East of Eden, Splendor in the Grass, and many more. Many had received awards. One of the better parts of Billingsley's book is his contrasting the audiences of the 2 remembrances of the Blacklist era.

In the early 1930s the Communist movement was in one of its ultra-left periods, when it could have no alliance with Social Democrats because they were “social fascists,” and liberals were imperialists and defenders of oppression. However, events in Germany would revise the outlook of the Comintern. Assuming the appointment of Hitler as Germany's Chancellor in January 1933 would be short-lived, and the slogan, “Nach Hitler uns” (after Hitler, us) would be quickly fulfilled, events did not go as predicted. Following the burning of the Reichstag, Hitler was granted extra powers; he banned the powerful Communist party, organized concentration camps for dissidents, forced all unions into the Nazi approved organization, restricted the media, and prepared for rearmament. Stalin, viewing Germany as a potential threat, began a new policy for the Comintern, - to woo liberals; work together in the “popular front” against fascism and Nazism.

As part of the new Party strategy, the CP established the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League (HANL) in 1936. Billingsley describes its success in organizing rallies, relief efforts, producing radio programs, to expose the oppression of Hitler's regime. The HANL rallied protestors to condemn the leader of the Italian film industry when he visited Hollywood. This film chief happened to be Vittorio, the son of Benito Mussolini. The HANL also did what it could to demonize and blacklist (p. 70) another visitor, who was probably the most innovative woman in films in the 20th century. Her Olympic film is unsurpassed. But Leni Riefenstahl was a friend of Hitler, and arriving soon after the anti-Jewish violence of Kristalnacht, Riefenstahl's reception in Hollywood was less than spectacular. The HANL led protests against her.

Billingsley exposes the about faces of the American CP. Though CP leader Earl Browder scoffed at foolish reports in summer of 1939 that Stalin would make a deal with Hitler, after the deal was made, Browder quickly justified it. The CPUSA was no longer interested in anti-fascism, but anti-imperialism; the main enemies of the world's working class were no longer Hitler, but colonial and imperial nations like Britain, France, Belgium, etc. Although the HANL group had been extremely successful, even working with the local archbishop and with Jewish religious leaders, anti-fascism was now a hindrance. Stalin and Hitler were friends. So the Communist dominated HANL disbanded and elements were reprogrammed as the local chapter of the American Peace Mobilization, meant to prevent re-armament, and to prevent American from entering into any war on behalf of Britain or France. Because of Pres. Roosevelt's moves to aid Britain and entice the US into war, members of the APM picketed the White House with signs: “The Yanks Are Not Coming!”

During this period of German and Soviet non-aggression, there was considerable trade between the two powers. Many raw materials were shipped to Germany, which because of the British navy, could not be easily obtained elsewhere. The former foes sought to get along. After the fall of Belgium, for a time, the only legal political party in the small, German occupied nation was the Communist party. Billingsley reports: “During the Nazi-Soviet Pact the Communist Party was determined to prevent the United States from arming itself or its allies and it spearheaded strikes at defense industries,...(80) Yet Hollywood responded in a very biased way to the two tyrannies redrawing the map of Europe. Hollywood soon produced films about Nazi spies in the US and Nazi oppression abroad. The 1940 Hitchcock spy-thriller, “Foreign Correspondent” would win an Academy Award in 1941. There were also films dramatizing Nazi spies inside the US. But even during the Nazi-Soviet Pact era, Hollywood did not produce films showing Communist spies in the US. Nor were there any exposing the police-state tyranny that was the USSR. We have often heard that Hollywood is a dream factory. However, more important, it is our memory manufacturer. We may recall pictures in our minds from a newsreels or documentaries, but more likely, we will recall the incident with an image from a film that rouses our emotions, connecting that incident to us in the movie theater. So we recall, the Nazi spies of that era, both here and abroad. But there were no films made about the Soviet spies, and the far more influential Soviet agents of influence. There were a number of best-selling books in this era describing Communist spies; but none were transformed into films. The Trumbo crowd prevented such exposes of Communist perfidy. So, there are holes in our nation's memory, because those films were not made to remind us of important aspects to American history. (See Diana West's American Betrayal for her insights into this topic.)

In June 1941 Hitler attacked the USSR. The Comintern policy changed again. Now the CPUSA wanted the US to enter the war to help Stalin's domain. The American Peace Mobilization was suddenly the American People's Mobilization, and now the White House picketers demanded that Yanks be dispatched to Europe! In June 1941 the CP began to sound like other liberals – America should prepare for war and help those already fighting against the Nazi menace. The CP writers could now write war pictures, glorifying those who fought against Nazi oppression. And after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the US was officially in the war.

The Roosevelt Administration asked Hollywood for films promoting the Allied cause, and for some sympathetic to the USSR. Several such films were produced, the most famous based upon the diaries of Joseph Davies, Roosevelt's Ambassador to the USSR. “Mission to Moscow.” justified Stalin's attack on Finland in 1939, and it accepted the Stalinist view of the famous show trials in Moscow that old-time Party leaders, and leaders of the Soviet military, were German spies and Trotskyists. Billingsley includes the quip that the film might better have been titled, “Submission to Moscow.” “North Star” begins with everyone happily enjoying life on a collective farm with no scarcity in the USSR - until the barbarous German sneak attack of 1941.(89) These films were the exceptions, however, for most of the Hollywood glorified the American war effort, and Communists were doing their part in writing or acting to promote an Allied victory over fascism.

There are revisionist historians who argue that both the US and the USSR are responsible for the Cold War, or that the fault lies mainly with the United States. However, we may gain some insight into the origins by reading Billingsley's book. The Soviets controlled the CPUSA, and when in the 1920s the American leaders opposed Stalin's policies, those leaders were quickly removed from office and the Party. As the war in Europe wound down, Jacques Duclos, leader of the French CP wrote an article, undoubtedly at Stalin's behest, criticizing Earl Browder's leadership of the CPUSA. Browder had assumed the close friendly relations between the US and the USSR would continue after the war. Duclos warned that with the oncoming defeat of fascism, the US might take up its mantle; by contrast, the class struggle and the struggle to free colonial peoples would continue under the banner of socialism. When leaders of the American Party realized that Duclos was speaking for Stalin, Browder was expelled from the CPUSA, and a hard-liner, William Z. Foster replaced him.

Even before V-E Day and V-J Day, while war in the Pacific still continued, with the possible loss of millions of lives if the US would have to invade the Japanese home islands, in spring 1945 the Communists launched their effort to take control of the film industry. Hollywood was a dream factory, but Communists emphasized the factory and union workers aspect of the reality. Although there had been a no-strike pledge during the war, and though the war was still a very hot one in the Pacific with no end in sight, the Communist unions initiated labor disputes and jurisdictional conflicts with non-communist unions. On 12 March 1945 began the “Great Studio Strike,” (p. 93, 106) in which the Communist-led Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) took on the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IA). Herbert Sorrell led the CSU, while Roy Brewer, a “New Dealer with socialist leanings,” headed the IA. Sorrell could count on the help of a fellow Communist, (though kept secret at the time to avoid deportation) of Harry Bridges, leader of the West Coast dockers' union, the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union (ILWU). At times during this strike, Bridges provided Sorrell with muscle to insure that the CSU could win some of the picket battles. Also important for the CSU, a secret Communist was on officer of the National Labor Relations Board, so his rulings at time could sway things in favor of the CSU.

Sometimes there was considerable violence on the picket lines, and the CSU promised to boycott actors who crossed the lines. Despite the threats, John Wayne, Lucille Ball, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Maureen O'Hara, and others all crossed the Red-led picket lines.(121) There was violence, but the stakes were high. If the Communists could control the Hollywood unions, they could exert enormous pressure to prevent the making of any “reactionary” films, while promoting “progressive” films and insertions of propaganda into general films. Billingsley spends considerable pages on this important strike, but the times were against the CP. When Congress began its investigation of Communism in Hollywood, initially, there was considerable push-back. But when the liberals began to realize that the accused probably were members of the CP, some like Bogart simply felt “used” by the radical groups pretending to be liberals.

The Communists lost the strike, and suffered from the Blacklist. Their hope to control the film industry through their unions failed. But 50 years later, when Hollywood Remembered the Blacklist, the CP stalwarts felt vindicated. When many in another audience disrespected Elia Kazan when he received another award, the CP may have assume it had won the battle in the long run.

Some aspects of Communist activities in Hollywood are unexplored in Billingsley's book. And some of these may have actually been beneficial to America. Others, for example, the films that were not made because the Communists vetoed them, blacklisting ideas deemed anti-Soviet, probably distorted America's national memory of the era. The Communists supported Stalin's expansion in Eastern Europe, Communist expansion in Asia, and anti-colonial movements in Africa. The American CP was subsidized by Moscow, and some members were more interested in advancing Soviet interests rather than America's. I think Kazan and others did the proper thing to name names of the Communists before the HUAC. The Blacklisted suffered, but ultimately, their suffering was on behalf of a cause that was murderous and tyrannical.