Is Obama weak or WILL he become the Peacemaker-in-Chief?


by Richard Saunders – June 20, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Would the REAL U.S. Patriots PLEASE stand up?!!  I said—would the REAL U.S. Patriots PLEASE stand up?!! My fellow PATRIOTS and REAL Americans, my objective for this article is to significantly clarify America’s position and options with its current foreign affairs.  Our 24-hour news cycle and our current politicians have devolved our society into reflexive and short-term thinking with misinformation and conspiracies running amuk.  Almost every politician or 24-hours news segment attacks the opposite side with so much righteous vigor—claiming how evil and wrong the other is!  Self-evidently, this cannot be productive yet we still allow our politicians and 24-hours news channels to sow their destructive and venomous anger throughout our society.  In our society, the most negative political campaigns win so WHY would any political consultant strategize to do anything different?  Do we really believe that all this vilifying of our politicians doesn’t have any negative effect on our society?  I say absolutely—Congress’s approval rating is an abysmal 12 percent!  We have vilified the other side so relentlessly that now nothing can be accomplished in Washington because our politicians can’t even be seen working constructively with the other side.  Equally baffling is how POSITIVE words like “compromise,” “empathy,” “fairness,” and “government” have been corrupted to be deemed NEGATIVE behaviors in our political discourse.  You think this isn’t affecting them from getting anything done?  Absolutely it is!  Yet why do we continue to elect divisive and unconstructive politicians??

With that said, the first topic that I would like to discuss with you is the crisis in Iraq and Syria with the extremist ISIS group wreaking havoc and unrest throughout the region.  Let’s start with a long-term and informed perspective (rarely seen in today’s instant informational society) on WHY we are currently in our present situation in Iraq and Syria.  Just like everything in life, if you don’t understand why you find yourself in a particular situation, then you will never know how to appropriately and constructively respond.

In 1951 Iran elected Mohammad Mosaddegh prime minister.  But because he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves, we helped in orchestrating a coup d’état (violent overthrow of a government) of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.  Do remember that America was extremely frightened at the time with the Soviet Union’s growing influence around the world and we were quick to side with any leader opposed to communism—feeling confident that communism was the greater evil.  However, this doesn’t change the facts of what happened in Iran.  After this coup in 1951, we helped to install the Iranian Shah (the leader), who crushed all forms of political opposition and greatly repressed his people until the 1979 Iranian revolution, which was a direct result from their disdain of their Shah and the American/West foreign policies of interfering.

During the 1980s—soon after the 1979 Iranian revolution—The United States supported the thuggish Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, with his war against Iran providing him chemical weapons that he used not only against Iran but also against his own Iraqi people.  About a million Iraqis and Iranians died in this Iran/Iraq War in the 80s.  Obviously, we must interject that America didn’t cause or fight this war—but its actions, undoubtedly with hindsight, were NOT helpful.

After allying with Saddam Hussein in the 80s, we became bitter enemies—attacking Iraq in the early 90s for trying to annex Kuwait and then invading and taking complete control of Iraq in 2003 on the false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq’s connection with September 11, 2001.  The accusations of weapons of mass destruction were our knee-jerk reaction after 9/11 happened.  Our collective fear at the time greatly distorted any rational thinking on our part.  You could say that we were collectively making a very difficult decision under the influence of emotions, which rarely pans out well.  Since we went into Iraq COMPLETELY on false pretenses, a JUST war became untenable for us.  And since we completely blundered the rationality to make Iraq a JUST war, misstep after misstep would inevitably ensue us in Iraq.  A non-exhaustive list of our many blunders in this Iraq war below:

1.  Not following the military’s recommendation for more troops to stabilize Iraq after invading

  • Outcome: led to mass looting and chaos, which bred anger and frustration

2.  Not being greeted as liberators as many foreign “expert” predicted

  • Outcome: bloody insurgent campaigns quickly commenced—Fallujah, Sadre City

3.  Torturing and mistreating prisoners of Abu Ghraib Prison (complete debacle)

  • Outcome: foamed mass anger and trust greatly deteriorated—terrorists created

4.  Disbanding the Baathist Party from Iraq’s Government because Saddam Hussein was a Baathist

  • Outcome: disenfranchised a whole segment of Iraqi’s society that definitely enhanced sectarian divisions between Sunnis and Shiites

5.  Not holding Saddam’s trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands

  • Outcome: Saddam was ruthlessly hanged by Shiite thugs and this enhanced even more sectarian divisions.  World never got a chance to see any righteous with our invasion

6.  Grossly failing to realize that a democratic Iraqi government would undoubtedly be run by the majority Shiites

  • Outcome: Iraq and Iran are allies now

It’s not too difficult to ascertain what a mess this war has been from the onset.  Abraham Lincoln said it perfectly, “RIGHT makes MIGHT.”  Well, we didn’t have the RIGHT in Iraq; therefore, we don’t have the MIGHT now—it’s that simple.  And NOW we have the same characters (let’s call them the “misguided ones”) who led us into Iraq having the audacity and chutzpah to blame President Obama for the current Iraqi situation!  Amazing!  Let’s all remember that Obama was a staunch opponent of the Iraq war—a very unpopular position at that time—endlessly and righteously criticizing the invasion into Iraq.  These “misguided ones” who led us into Iraq fervently complain that it’s all Obama’s fault that:

  • ISIS, the radical group that exists PRIMARILY because of our Iraqi invasion, is taking over Iraq
  • The U.S. didn’t leave troops in Iraq past December 2011—even though Bush signed the agreement for our troops to leave after 2011 AND the political climate in Iraq due to our numerous blunders (see blunders’ list above) NEVER politically allowed us and Iraq to extend this agreement.
  • The U.S. is weak because of Obama’s policies.  This is completely empty rhetoric—although I’ve heard this countless of times.  The United States strength comes from its constitution, economy, military, and its people—not its President.  The President is strictly a byproduct of its people.
  • You name it—just turn on Foxnews and you’re guaranteed to see numerous individuals blaming the President for God knows what EVERY single day.  Anything good that happens, Obama has nothing to do with it—anything bad that happens, he is directly at fault.  Such a shame and a disservice…Foxnews sells fear (this is precisely and undoubtedly what they sell) and we all need to understand this so that we can move past all these nonsensical arguments and get something constructively done.

So let’s bypass the petty arguments and conspiracies espoused on a daily basis and take a REAL constructive look at what Obama has done since day one of his presidency with his foreign policy.  Obama rode into office with the principles of mutual respect and talking with our enemies—most notably Iran—to resolve world conflicts.  Obama received immediate criticisms from all sides—just like his opposition to the Iraq war—because this wasn’t at all a popular position at the time.  BUT he continued pursuing a desire to negotiate with Iran.  How did Iran respond?  Initially dismissively, with the Iranian President Ahmadinejad continually stating inflammatory remarks towards America, Israel, and the West.  However, these inflammatory remarks by Ahmadinejad obviously didn’t work anymore to increase his stature among the Iranian people because they sparked their 2010 Green Revolution against their Iranian leaders.  And because Obama rightfully chose not to invade Iran during their Green Revolution (contrary to the loud and warmongering“misguided ones”), anti-Americanism in Iran didn’t grow.  In fact, anti-Americanism has decreased in Iran because we know that in 2012 the Iranian people chose the much more moderate and Western friendly President Rhouhani, who immediately sent conciliatory tweets to both the American and Jewish people after being elected.  Today for the first time since 1979, the American and Iranian governments are speaking directly on a range of issues—Iran’s nuclear program, Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s instability, and others.  The permissible political climate for Iran to finally speak with the American Government is unquestionably and directly correlated with Obama’s principles of mutual respect and talking with enemies—to understand why the other thinks the way they do.  Enough with saying this country or that country is evil—this is absolutely not constructive!  We need to know and understand Iran and its people so that we can resolve our differences and find solutions that move us towards a more stable and fairer world (we both want this)—just like you would with someone with whom you want to resolve differences in order to create a better work or living environment.  Have you really ever resolved differences with someone if you never talked and understood that person?  Absolutely not!  It’s the exact same thing with countries and peoples too.

Where does the United States find itself today from Obama’s foreign policies?  A list for clarifications:

  • The U.S. has ended two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
  • The U.S. has mobilized the international community to implement crippling sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program—these were not achievable in past administrations
  • The U.S. has avoided going to war in Iran, Egypt, Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq (again)—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
  • U.S. troop deaths and injuries have dramatically decreased
  • Osama Bin Laden killed—never achieved under the previous administration
  • Benghazi attack mastermind had been captured in less than two years
  • The U.S has avoided another costly and bloody war with Russia and has mobilized the international community to implement economic sanctions against Russia—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
  • The U.S. and Iran are negotiating for the first time since 1979 over Iran’s nuclear program and potentially cooperating together on the Iraq and Syria conflict—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
  • The U.S. has kept its people safe thwarting numerous terrorist plots on its soil

However, if you were to turn your TV to the strictly “fear-selling” news channel or listen to any conservative talk radio, you would begin to think that Armageddon or World War III were just around the corner.  These outlets continually push their same empty rhetoric and statements over-and-over that—I believe—they themselves begin to believe these petty arguments and conspiracies as news-worthy topics.  Have you ever heard of the Pygmalion Effect?  This is the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform.  Have you ever heard of the Golem Effect?  This is the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the lower the expectations placed upon people, the worse they perform.  Studies have shown these hypotheses to be true YET we have convinced ourselves that our politicians are worthless and evil.  We reap what we sow.  No wonder our politicians can’t get anything done when we continuously demonize them into evil doers along with our OWN Presidents—in particular Obama.  The political opportunists who should know better somehow have convinced large swaths of our population about the “evilness” of our President.

Calling countries “the axis of evil” or demonizing whole peoples is also just as destructive for resolving conflict. Let’s not pretend that Iran doesn’t do things that aren’t extremely destructive—to say the least—because it supports Bashir Assad (Syrian’s ruthless dictator), Hezbollah (Lebanon’s radical Islamic militia), Hamas (Palestine’s radical Islamic militia), and Shiite Militias that fought American troops in Iraq.  However, we must truly understand that Iran’s main objective is to protect their sovereignty and national interests.  Try to think about the psyche of the typical Iranian—remember: the United States supported Iran’s previous ruthless Shah for over 20 years, supported the Iraqis during Iran’s war against Iraq, invaded both of Iran’s neighbors (Iraq and Afghanistan), and threatened the Iranian government on multiple occasions with potential military involvement.  We need to get past the rhetoric that Iran is evil or the United States is evil—obviously, neither are true.  We need to focus on what the United States and Iran both want:

  • Stability in the middle east and world
  • Sovereignty over its own land and government
  • Economic progress
  • Assurances that the other side won’t attack them
  • Decreased hostilities towards each other—the people at least

If you believe like I do that these WANTS of both the United States and Iran are a great foundation to move forward constructively to resolve century old conflicts, then we actually can and should move forward cautiously with Iran.  Again—it must be repeated: based on his doctrine of mutual respect and talking with our enemies, Obama has given Iran—and America—a golden opportunity to get things RIGHT in the Middle East.  Enough of the empty rhetoric that Obama is the weakest President of all time—this means absolutely nothing.  Once again, America isn’t strong because of who is sitting in the White House; America is strong because of its ideals derived from its divinely inspired constitution, its economic power, its military power, and its political relationships around the world.  So, once again, let’s just bypass these silly criticisms that Obama isn’t macho enough or is the weakest President ever!

The Dick Cheney conceived principle of pre-emptive strike must cease to exist for the United States.  John 8:7 He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.  Is any country without sin to be allowed to cast the first stone?  NO!  Jesus believes we all have sinned; therefore, no one should cast stones.  We must understand others to make better decisions collectively.  We need less judging and demonizing of others and countries.  We need Patriots that support our President and Government instead “faux” Patriots who constantly criticize them.  We need humility and accountability to understand why we are in our current situation—we reap what we sow.  And we need faith and patience to understand that we DO move forward in providing a better tomorrow.  Obama has provided this real opportunity for the United States and Iran to take this GIANT step forward to improve the lives of millions in the Middle East and around the world—with potential stability, potential economic progress, potential partners, etc.  Obama received the Noble Peace Prize in 2009—will this be another Pygmalion Effect moment.  Self-fulfilling prophecies are funny how often they come true.  We in America believe we can achieve what we believe.  In America perhaps we need to believe Obama CAN achieve great things instead of constantly tearing him down because he has already achieved so much that we can all be proud of.  As I started this paper, would the REAL Patriots please stand up?!!  I said—would the REAL Patriots please stand up?!!

Closer Look – how art shaped us: Painting

Paintings (last supper painting)

According to Nigel Spivey, “we humans are alone in developing the capacity for symbolic imagery (art).”  Art, therefore, separates humans from animals, because animals don’t create observations or perspectives of life.   To build upon BBC’s How Art Made the World, a five-part documentary series looking at the influence of art on today’s life, we will explore further the many disciplines of art.  Let’s first discuss how painting has shaped and influenced our lives.

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color, or other medium to a surface.  Paintings are  creative expressions or observations of moral dilemmas, religion, politics, emotions, humor, life experiences, awareness, and beauty.  The history of painting dates back to pre-historic humans from artifacts found and spans all cultures—therefore, it’s universal to us humans.

The oldest known paintings are cave paintings from Grotte Chauvet in France ca. 32,000 B.C. depicting images of large mammals from the area—horses, rhinoceros, buffalo, and mammoths that were often hunted.  Interesting, these same types of cave paintings have been found all over the world—India, Spain, China, Australia, etc.  These were probably observations of daily life as hunter and gatherers with appreciation of these great creatures.

From the conception of painting over 30,000 years ago until the early 20th century, it’s doubtful any other form of communication had a greater impact on a society’s thinking and ideas than painting.  Before the 20th century, much of the world was illiterate.  Paintings, however, could be interpreted regardless of one’s illiteracy.  People of power quickly understood this and, therefore, many used and exploited paintings for their benefit—propagating power, fear, glory, duty, justice, protection or love to the public.  As the art of painting evolved over time, more-and-more complex messages could be conveyed to the public through paintings.

Images (paintings) dominate our lives. They tell us how to behave, even how to feel. They mold and define us. But why do these images, the pictures, symbols and the art we see around us every day, have such a powerful hold on us? The answer lies not here in our time but thousands of years ago. Because when our ancient ancestors first created the images that made sense of their world, they produced a visual legacy which has helped to shape our own.

–Nigel Spivey

Perhaps no other organization used paintings more effectively than the Catholic Church.  Even with a mostly illiterate population over thousands of years, the Catholic Church was able to communicate what the bible stated with countless paintings of stories from the bible, culminating with the ceiling paintings of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City by Michelangelo—telling the story of the creation of Adam, the exodus from Egypt, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  The Catholic Church’s expertise and brilliance with its art paintings surely has contributed to the success of Christianity…so we can say, paintings have surely greatly influenced our lives and the world we live in.

Thanks for following us,

Eventsfy Team / / /

Spotlight: what is Oscar winning ‘Gone with the Wind’ film about?


Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell‘s Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel. It was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures and directed by Victor Fleming.

Set in the 19th-century American South, the film tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, from her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, to her marriage to Rhett Butler. Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, the story is told from the perspective of white Southerners. The leading roles are portrayed by Vivien Leigh (Scarlett),Clark Gable (Rhett), Leslie Howard (Ashley), and Olivia de Havilland (Melanie).

The film received positive reviews upon its release in December 1939, although some reviewers found it dramatically lacking and bloated. The casting was widely praised and many reviewers found Vivien Leigh especially suited to her role as Scarlett. At the 12th Academy Awards held in 1940, it received ten Academy Awards (eight competitive, two honorary) from thirteen nominations, including wins for Best Picture, Best Director (Victor Fleming), Best Adapted Screenplay (posthumously awarded to Sidney Howard), Best Actress (Vivien Leigh) and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, becoming the first African-American to win an Academy Award). It set records for the total number of wins and nominations at the time. The film was immensely popular, becoming the highest-earning film made up to that point, and retained the record for over a quarter of a century. When adjusted for monetary inflation, it is still the most successful film in box-office history.

The film has been criticized as historical revisionism glorifying slavery, but nevertheless it has been credited for triggering changes to the way African-Americans are depicted on film. It was re-released periodically throughout the 20th century and became ingrained in popular culture. The film is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time; it has placed in the top ten of the American Film Institute‘s list of top 100 American films since the list’s inception in 1998, and in 1989, Gone with the Wind was selected to be preserved by the National Film Registry.


part 1

On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, Scarlett O’Hara lives at Tara, her family’s cotton plantation in Georgia, with her parents and two sisters. Scarlett learns that Ashley Wilkes—whom she secretly loves—is to be married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and the engagement is to be announced the next day at a barbecue at Ashley’s home, the nearby plantation Twelve Oaks.

At the Twelve Oaks party, Scarlett secretly declares her feelings to Ashley, but he rebuffs her by responding that he and Melanie are more compatible. Scarlett is incensed when she discovers another guest, Rhett Butler, has overheard their conversation; nevertheless, a smitten Rhett promises Scarlett he will keep her secret. The barbecue is disrupted by the declaration of war and the men rush to enlist. As Scarlett watches Ashley kiss Melanie goodbye, Melanie’s younger brother Charles proposes to her. Although she does not love him Scarlett consents and they are married before he leaves to fight.

Scarlett and Rhett at the charity dance

Scarlett is widowed when Charles dies from a bout of pneumonia and measles while serving in the Confederate Army. Scarlett’s mother sends her to the Hamilton home in Atlanta to cheer her up, although the O’Haras’ outspoken housemaid Mammy tells Scarlett she knows she is going there only to wait for Ashley’s return. Scarlett, who should not attend a party while in mourning, attends a charity bazaar in Atlanta with Melanie where she runs into Rhett again, now a blockade runner for the Confederacy. To raise money for the Confederate war effort, gentlemen are invited to bid for ladies to dance with them. Rhett makes an inordinately large bid for Scarlett and, to the disapproval of the guests, she agrees to dance with him.

The tide of war turns against the Confederacy after the Battle of Gettysburg in which many of the men of Scarlett’s town are killed. Scarlett makes another unsuccessful appeal to Ashley while he is visiting on Christmas furlough, although they do share a private and passionate kiss in the parlor on Christmas Day, just before he returns to war.

Eight months later, as the city is besieged by the Union Army in the Atlanta Campaign, Scarlett and her young house servant Prissy must deliver Melanie’s baby without medical assistance after she goes into premature labor. Afterwards, Scarlett calls upon Rhett to take her home to Tara with Melanie, her baby, and Prissy; he collects them in a horse and wagon, but once out of the city chooses to go off to fight, leaving Scarlett and the group to make their own way back to Tara. Upon her return home, Scarlett finds Tara deserted, except for her parents, her sisters, and two servants: Mammy and Pork. Scarlett learns that her mother has just died of typhoid fever and her father’s mind has begun to fail under the strain. With Tara pillaged by Union troops and the fields untended, Scarlett vows she will do anything for the survival of her family and herself.

part 2

Scarlett sets her family and servants to work in the cotton fields, facing many hardships along the way, including the death of her father after he is thrown from his horse in an attempt to chase away a scalawag from his land. With the defeat of the Confederacy Ashley has also returned, but finds he is of little help at Tara. When Scarlett begs him to run away with her, he confesses his desire for her and kisses her passionately, but says he cannot leave Melanie. Unable to pay the taxes on Tara implemented by Reconstructionists, Scarlett dupes her sister’s fiancé, the middle-aged and wealthy Frank Kennedy, into marrying her, by saying Suellen got tired of waiting and married another beau.

Frank, Ashley, Rhett and several other accomplices make a night raid on a shanty town after Scarlett is attacked while driving through it alone, resulting in Frank’s death. With Frank’s funeral barely over, Rhett proposes to Scarlett and she accepts. They have a daughter whom Rhett names Bonnie Blue, but Scarlett, still pining for Ashley and chagrined at the perceived ruin of her figure, lets Rhett know that she wants no more children and that they will no longer share a bed.

One day, Scarlett and Ashley are spied in an embrace by Ashley’s sister, India, and harboring an intense dislike of Scarlett she eagerly spreads rumors. Later that evening, Rhett, having heard the rumors, forces Scarlett to attend a birthday party for Ashley; incapable of believing anything bad of her beloved sister-in-law, Melanie stands by Scarlett’s side so that all know that she believes the gossip to be false. After returning home from the party, Scarlett finds Rhett downstairs drunk, and they argue about Ashley. Seething with jealousy, Rhett grabs Scarlett’s head and threatens to smash in her skull. When she taunts him that he has no honor Rhett retaliates by forcing himself onto her, kissing Scarlett against her will, and states his intent to have sex with her that night. Frightened, she attempts to physically resist him, but Rhett overpowers her and carries the struggling Scarlett to the bedroom. The next day, Rhett apologizes for his behavior and offers Scarlett a divorce, which she rejects, saying that it would be a disgrace.

When Rhett returns from an extended trip to London, Scarlett’s attempts at reconciliation are rebuffed. She informs him that she is pregnant, but an argument ensues which results in Scarlett falling down a flight of stairs and suffering a miscarriage. As Scarlett is recovering, tragedy strikes when Bonnie dies while attempting to jump a fence with her pony. Melanie visits their home to comfort them, but collapses due to complications arising from her pregnancy.

After visiting Melanie on her deathbed, Scarlett consoles Ashley, resulting in Rhett returning home. Realizing that Ashley only ever truly loved Melanie, Scarlett dashes after Rhett to find him preparing to leave for good. She pleads with him, telling him she realizes now that she has loved him all along, and that she never really loved Ashley. However, he rebuffs her, saying that with Bonnie’s death went any chance of reconciliation. Scarlett begs him to stay but to no avail, and Rhett walks out the door and into the early morning fog, leaving her weeping on the staircase and vowing to one day win back his love.


At the 12th Academy Awards held in 1940, Gone with the Wind set a record for Academy Award wins and nominations, winning in eight of the competitive categories it was nominated in, from a total of thirteen nominations. It won for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Interior Decoration, and Best Editing, and received two further honorary awards for its use of equipment and color (it also became the first color film to win Best Picture). Its record of eight competitive wins stood until Gigi (1958) won nine, and its overall record of ten was broken by Ben-Hur (1959) which won eleven. Gone with the Wind also held the record for most nominations until All About Eve (1950) secured fourteen. It was the longest American sound film made up to that point, and may still hold the record of the longest Best Picture winner depending on how it is interpreted. The running time for Gone with the Wind is just under 221 minutes, while Lawrence of Arabia (1962) runs for just over 222 minutes; however, including the overture, intermission, entr’acte, and exit music, Gone with the Wind lasts for 234 minutes (although some sources put its full length at 238 minutes) while Lawrence of Arabia comes in slightly shorter at 232 minutes with its additional components.

Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Academy Award—beating out her co-star Olivia de Havilland who was also nominated in the same category—but was racially segregated from her co-stars at the awards ceremony at the Coconut Grove; she and her escort were made to sit at a separate table at the back of the room. Meanwhile, screenwriter Sidney Howard became the first posthumous Oscar winner, Selznick personally received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his career achievements, and Vivien Leigh won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actress.

Box Office

Upon its release, Gone with the Wind broke attendance records everywhere. At the Capitol Theatre in New York alone, it was averaging eleven thousand admissions per day in late December, and within four years of its release had sold an estimated sixty million tickets across the United States—sales equivalent to just under half the population at the time. It repeated its success overseas, and was a sensational hit during the Blitz in London, opening in April 1940 and playing for four years. Its worldwide distribution returned a gross rental (the studio’s share of the box office gross) of $32 million during its initial release, making it the most profitable film ever made up to that point.


Across all releases, it is estimated that Gone with the Wind has sold over 200 million tickets in the United States and Canada, and 35 million tickets in the United Kingdom, generating more theater admissions in those territories than any other film. In total, Gone with the Wind has grossed over $390 million globally at the box office; in 2007 Turner Entertainment estimated the gross to be equivalent to approximately $3.3 billion when adjusted for inflation to current prices, while Guinness World Records arrived at a figure of $3.44 billion in 2014, making it the most successful film in cinema history.


in popular culture

Gone with the Wind and its production have been explicitly referenced, satirized, dramatized and analyzed on numerous occasions across a range of media, from contemporaneous works such as Second Fiddle—a 1939 film spoofing the “search for Scarlett”—to current television shows, such as The SimpsonsThe Scarlett O’Hara War (a 1980 television dramatization of the casting of Scarlett), Moonlight and Magnolias (a 2007 play by Ron Hutchinson that dramatizes Ben Hecht’s five-day re-write of the script), and “Went with the Wind!” (a sketch on The Carol Burnett Show that parodied the film in the aftermath of its television debut in 1976) are among the more noteworthy examples of its enduring presence in popular culture. It was also the subject of a 1988 documentary, The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind, detailing the film’s difficult production history. In 1990, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp depicting Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh embracing in a scene from the film


In a nationwide poll of Americans undertaken by Harris Interactive Gone with the Wind was voted the most popular film in 2008, and again in 2014. The market research firm surveyed over two thousand U.S. adults, with the results weighted by age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income so their proportions matched those of the population. The film has also featured in several high-profile industry polls: in 1977 it was voted the most popular film by the American Film Institute (AFI), in a poll of the organization’s membership; the AFI also ranked the film fourth on its “100 Greatest Movies” list in 1998, with it slipping down to sixth place in the tenth anniversary edition in 2007; in 2012, Sight & Sound ranked it 235th in their prestigious decennial critics poll, and 322nd in their directors poll; in 2014, it placed fifteenth in a poll undertaken by The Hollywood Reporter, which ballotted every studio, agency, publicity firm and production house in the Hollywood region. Gone with the Wind was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry in 1989

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Spotlight: What’s America’s most influential move of all time – according to many movie critics?



Citizen Kane (1941): one could easily conclude this movie would be relevant to today’s media titans.

Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced by, co-written by, directed by and starring Orson Welles. The picture was Welles’s first feature film. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories; it won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles. Considered by many critics, filmmakers, and fans to be the greatest film ever madeCitizen Kane was voted the greatest film of all time in five consecutive Sight & Sound‍ ’​s polls of critics, until it was displaced by Vertigo in the 2012 poll. It topped the American Film Institute‘s 100 Years … 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as AFI’s 2007 updateCitizen Kane is particularly praised for its cinematography, music, and narrative structure, which were innovative for its time.

The story is a film à clef that examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a character based in part upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick, and aspects of Welles’s own life. Upon its release, Hearst prohibited mention of the film in any of his newspapers. Kane’s career in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but gradually evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power. Narrated principally through flashbacks, the story is told through the research of a newsreel reporter seeking to solve the mystery of the newspaper magnate’s dying word: “Rosebud”.

After the Broadway successes of Welles’s Mercury Theatre and the controversial 1938 radio broadcast “The War of the Worlds” on The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Welles was courted by Hollywood. He signed a contract with RKO Pictures in 1939. Unusual for an untried director, he was given the freedom to develop his own story, to use his own cast and crew, and to have final cut privilege. Following two abortive attempts to get a project off the ground, he wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane, collaborating on the effort with Herman Mankiewicz. Principal photography took place in 1940 and the film received its American release in 1941.

While a critical success, Citizen Kane failed to recoup its costs at the box office. The film faded from view after its release but was subsequently returned to the public’s attention when it was praised by such French critics as André Bazin and given an American revival in 1956.

The film was released on Blu-ray Disc on September 13, 2011, for a special 70th anniversary edition.



The film opens with shots of Xanadu, a vast palatial estate in Florida with a “No Trespassing” sign on the gate. Inside the estate’s mansion an elderly Charles Foster Kane on his deathbed holds a snow globe and utters a single word, “Rosebud”, before dying; the globe slips from his hand and smashes on the floor. A newsreel obituary tells the life story of Kane, an enormously wealthy newspaper publisher. The newsreel recounts Kane’s entire life, including his mysterious last words. Kane’s death becomes sensational news around the world. The newsreel’s producer tasks reporter Jerry Thompson with discovering the meaning of “Rosebud”.

Thompson sets out to interview Kane’s friends and associates; he approaches Kane’s second wife, Susan Alexander Kane, now an alcoholic who runs her own nightclub, but she refuses to talk to him. Thompson then goes to the private archive of the late banker Walter Parks Thatcher. Through Thatcher’s written memoirs, Thompson learns that Kane’s childhood began in poverty in Colorado. After a gold mine was discovered on her property, Mary Kane sends Charles away to live with Thatcher so that he may be properly educated. The young Kane is seen happily playing with a sled in the snow at his parents’ boarding-house and protests being sent to live with Thatcher. After gaining full control over his trust fund at the age of 25, Kane enters the newspaper business and embarks on a career of yellow journalism. He takes control of the New York Inquirer and begins publishing scandalous articles that attack Thatcher’s business interests. After the stock market crash in 1929 Kane is forced to sell controlling interest of his newspaper empire to Thatcher.

Thompson then interviews Kane’s personal business manager, Mr. Bernstein. Bernstein recalls how Kane hired the best journalists available to build The Inquirer’s circulation. Kane then rises to power by successfully manipulating public opinion regarding the Spanish American War and marrying Emily Norton, the niece of a President of the United States.

Thompson also interviews Kane’s estranged best friend, Jedediah Leland, in a retirement home. Leland recalls Kane’s marriage to Emily disintegrates over the years, and he begins an affair with amateur singer Susan Alexander while he is running for Governor of New York. Both his wife and his political opponent discover the affair and the public scandal ends his political career. Kane marries Susan and forces her into a humiliating operatic career for which she has neither the talent nor the ambition. Susan consents to an interview with Thompson, and recalls her failed opera career. Kane finally allows her to abandon her singing career after she attempts suicide. After years spent dominated by Kane and living in isolation at Xanadu, Susan leaves Kane. Kane’s butler Raymond recounts that after Susan left him Kane began violently destroying the contents of her bedroom. He suddenly calms down when he sees a snow globe and says “Rosebud”.

Back at Xanadu, Kane’s belongings are being cataloged or discarded. Thompson concludes that he is unable to solve the mystery and that the meaning of “Rosebud” will forever remain an enigma. As the film ends, the camera reveals that Rosebud was the name of the sled from Kane’s childhood in Colorado. Thought to be junk by Xanadu’s staff, the sled is burned in a furnace.



At the 14th Academy Awards Citizen Kane was nominated for:

It was widely believed the film would win most of its nominations, but it was only awarded the Best Writing (Original Screenplay) Oscar.  Wise recalled each timeCitizen Kane‍ ’​s name was called out as a nominee, the crowd booed. According to Variety, bloc voting against Welles by screen extras denied him Best Picture and Actor awards. British film critic Barry Norman attributed this to Hearst’s wrath.  During the ceremony Welles was in Brazil shooting It’s All True and did not attend.

The film was more successful at film critics’ awards. The National Board of Review named it Best Picture of the Year and gave Best Acting awards to Welles and George Coulouris. The Film Daily and The New York Times named it one of the Ten Best Films of the year, and it won the New York Film Critics Circle Awardfor Best Picture.



Citizen Kane marked a decline in Welles’s success. Author Joseph McBride said the problems in making the film caused damage to his career. This started in 1942 when RKO violated its contract with Welles by re-editing The Magnificent Ambersons against his will. That June Schaefer resigned from RKO and Welles’s contract was promptly terminated.

Welles himself has been retroactively compared to Charles Foster Kane. Wise believed that Kane resembled Welles’s life story more than Hearst’s and said “Orson was doing an autobiographical film and didn’t realize it, because it’s rather much the same, you know. You start here, and you have a big rise and tremendous prominence and fame and success and whatnot, and then tail off and tail off and tail off. And at least the arc of the two lives were very much the same.” Bogdanovich disagreed with this and said that Kane “had none of the qualities of an artist, Orson had all the qualities of an artist.” Bogdanovich also noted that Welles was never bitter “about all the bad things that happened to him” and enjoyed life in his final years.

The 1999 HBO film RKO 281 depicted the making of the film and Hearst’s attempts to prevent its release. It was based on the documentary The Battle over Citizen Kane, but differed from its source by “downplaying [Mankiewicz’s] role in bringing the idea of a Hearst-based movie” and inventing such historically inaccurate incidents as Welles visiting Hearst Castle and meeting Hearst before writing the film’s script.



Citizen Kane has been called the most influential film of all time. Richard Corliss has asserted that Jules Dassin‘s 1941 film The Tell-Tale Heart was the first example of its influence and the first pop culture reference to the film occurred later in 1941 when the spoof comedy Hellzapoppin’ featured a “Rosebud” sled. The film’s cinematography was almost immediately influential and in 1942 American Cinematographer wrote “without a doubt the most immediately noticeable trend in cinematography methods during the year was the trend toward crisper definition and increased depth of field.”

The cinematography influenced John Huston‘s The Maltese Falcon. Cinematographer Arthur Edeson used a wider-angle lens than Toland and the film includes many long takes, low angles and shots of the ceiling, but it did not use deep focus shots on large sets to the extent that Citizen Kane did. Edeson and Toland are often credited together for revolutionizing cinematography in 1941. Toland’s cinematography influenced his own work on The Best Years of Our Lives. Other films influenced include GaslightMildred Pierce and Jane Eyre. Cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa said that his use of deep focus was influenced by “the camera work of Gregg Toland in Citizen Kane” and not by traditional Japanese art.

Its cinematography, lighting and flashback structure influenced such film noirs of the 1940s and 1950s as The KillersKeeper of the FlameCaughtThe Great Man and This Gun for Hire. David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson have written that “For over a decade thereafter American films displayed exaggerated foregrounds and somber lighting, enhanced by long takes and exaggerated camera movements.” However by the 1960s filmmakers such as those from the French New Wave and Cinéma vérité movements favored “flatter, more shallow images with softer focus” and Citizen Kane’s style became less fashionable. American filmmakers in the 1970s combined these two approaches by using long takes, rapid cutting, deep focus and telephoto shots all at once. Its use of long takes influences film’s such as The Asphalt Jungle, and its use of deep focus cinematography influenced Gun CrazyThe Whip HandThe Devil’s General and Justice Is Done. The flashback structure in which different characters have conflicting versions of past events influencedLa commare secca and Man of Marble.

The film’s structure influenced the biographical films Lawrence of Arabia and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters – which begin with the subject’s death and show their life in flashbacks – as well as Welles’s thriller Mr. Arkadin. Rosenbaum sees similarities in the film’s plot to Mr. Arkadin, as well as the theme of nostalgia for loss of innocence throughout Welles’s career, beginning with Citizen Kane and including The Magnificent AmbersonsMr. Arkadin and Chimes at Midnight. Rosenbaum also points out how the film influenced Warren Beatty‘s Reds. The film depicts the life of Jack Reed through the eyes of Louise Bryant, much as Kane’s life is seen through the eyes of Thompson and the people who he interviews. Rosenbaum also compared the romantic montage between Reed and Bryant with the breakfast table montage in Citizen Kane.

Akira Kurosawa‘s Rashomon is often compared to the film due to both having complicated plot structures told by multiple characters in the film. Welles said his initial idea for the film was “Basically, the idea Rashomon used later on,” however Kurosawa had not yet seen the film before making Rashomon in 1950. Nigel Andrews has compared the film’s complex plot structure to RashomonLast Year at MarienbadMemento and Magnolia. Andrews also compares Charles Foster Kane to Michael Corleone in The GodfatherJake LaMotta in Raging Bull and Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood for their portrayals of “haunted megalomaniac[s], presiding over the shards of [their] own [lives].”

The films of Paul Thomas Anderson have been compared to it. Variety compared There Will Be Blood to the film and called it “one that rivals Giant and Citizen Kane in our popular lore as origin stories about how we came to be the people we are.” The Master has been called “movieland’s only spiritual sequel to Citizen Kane that doesn’t shrivel under the hefty comparison” and the film’s loose depiction of L. Ron Hubbard has been compared to Citizen Kane’s depiction of Hearst. The Social Network has been compared to the film for its depiction of a media mogul and by the character Erica Albright being similar to Rosebud. The controversy of the Sony hacking before the release of The Interview brought comparisons of Hearst’s attempt to suppress the film. The film’s plot structure and some specific shots influenced Todd Haynes‘s Velvet GoldmineAbbas Kiarostami‘s The Traveler has been called “the Citizen Kane of the Iranian children’s cinema.” The film’s use of overlapping dialogue has influenced the films of Robert Altman and Carol Reed. Reed’s films Odd Man OutThe Third Man (in which Welles and Cotten appeared) and Outcast of the Islands were also influenced by the film’s cinematography.

Many directors have listed it as one of the greatest films ever made, including Woody Allen, Michael AptedLes BlankKenneth BranaghPaul GreengrassMichel Hazanavicius, Michael Mann, Sam MendesJiri MenzelPaul SchraderMartin ScorseseDenys ArcandGillian ArmstrongJohn BoormanRoger CormanAlex CoxMilos FormanNorman JewisonRichard LesterRichard LinklaterPaul MazurskyRonald NeameSydney Pollack and Stanley KubrickYasujirō Ozusaid it was his favorite non-Japanese film and was impressed by its techniques. François Truffaut said that the film “has inspired more vocations to cinema throughout the world than any other” and recognized its influence in The Barefoot ContessaLes Mauvaises RencontresLola Montès, and 8 1/2. Truffaut’s Day for Night pays tribute to the film in a dream sequence depicting a childhood memory of the character played by Truffaut stealing publicity photos from the film. Numerous film directors have cited the film as influential on their own films, including Theo Angelopoulos Luc Bessonthe Coen brothersFrancis Ford CoppolaBrian De PalmaJohn FrankenheimerStephen FrearsSergio LeoneMichael MannRidley Scott, Martin Scorsese, Bryan Singer and Steven Spielberg. Ingmar Bergman disliked the film and called it “a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie has is absolutely unbelievable!”

William Friedkin said that the film influenced him and called it “a veritable quarry for filmmakers, just as Joyce’s Ulysses is a quarry for writers.” The film has also influenced other art forms. Carlos Fuentes‘s novel The Death of Artemio Cruz was partially inspired by the film and the rock band The White Stripes paid unauthorized tribute to the film in the song “The Union Forever“.

thanks for following – the eventsfy team





Spotlight: FallingWater architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright (1935) – who’s been there?



Fallingwater or Kaufmann Residence is a house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, 43 miles (69 km) southeast of Pittsburgh. The home was built partly over a waterfall onBear Run in the Mill Run section of Stewart Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains.

Time cited it after its completion as Wright’s “most beautiful job”; it is listed among Smithsonians Life List of 28 places “to visit before you die.” It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects named the house the “best all-time work of American architecture” and in 2007, it was ranked twenty-ninth on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture according to the AIA.


At age 67, Frank Lloyd Wright was given the opportunity to design and have constructed three buildings. His three works of the late 1930s—Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wisconsin, and the Herbert Jacobs house in Madison, Wisconsin—brought him back into prominence in the architectural community.

Edgar Kaufmann Sr. was a Pittsburgh businessman and president of Kaufmann’s Department Store. His son, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., studied architecture briefly under Wright.

Edgar Sr. had been prevailed upon by his son and Wright to subsidize the cost of a 12 foot square model of Wright’sBroadacre City. The model was initially displayed at an Industrial Arts Exposition in the Forum at the Rockefeller Centerstarting on April 15, 1935. After the New York exposition, Kaufmann Sr. arranged to have the model displayed in Pittsburgh at an exposition titled “New Homes for Old”, sponsored by the Federal Housing Administration. The exposition opened on June 18 on the 11th floor of Kaufmann’s store.

The Kaufmanns lived in “La Tourelle”, a French Norman estate designed by Pittsburgh architect Benno Janssen (1874–1964) in the Fox Chapel suburb in 1923 for Edgar J. Kaufmann. Wright visited Bear Run on Tuesday, December 18. The Kaufmanns and Wright were enjoying refreshments at La Tourelle when Wright said to Edgar Jr., in tones that the elder Kaufmanns were intended to overhear, “Edgar, this house is not worthy of your parents…” The remark spurred the Kaufmanns’ interest in something worthier. Fallingwater would become the end result.

The Kaufmanns owned property outside Pittsburgh with a waterfall and cabins they used as a rural retreat. When these cabins deteriorated, Mr. Kaufmann contacted Wright.

On December 18, 1934, Wright visited Bear Run and asked for a survey of the area around the waterfall. One was prepared by Fayette Engineering Company of Uniontown, Pennsylvania including all the site’s boulders, trees and topography, and forwarded to Wright in March 1935.

As reported by Wright’s apprentices at Taliesin, Kaufmann Sr. was in Milwaukee on September 22, nine months after their initial meeting, and called Wright at home early Sunday morning to surprise him with the news that he would be visiting Wright that day before lunch. He could not wait to see Wright’s plans. Wright had told Kaufmann in earlier communication that he had been working on the plans, but had not actually drawn anything. After breakfast that morning, amid a group of very nervous apprentices, Wright calmly drew the plans in the two hours in which it took Kaufmann to drive to the Taliesin.

Wright intended to build the home above the falls, rather than below them to afford a view of the cascades as he had expected. It is said that Kaufmann was initially very upset that Wright had designed the house to sit atop the falls. He had wanted the house located on the southern bank of Bear Run, directly facing the falls. He had told Wright that was his favorite aspect of the Bear Run property.


The original estimated cost for building Fallingwater was US$35,000. The final cost for the home and guest house was US$155,000, broken down as follows: house $75,000; finishing and furnishing $22,000; guest house, garage and servants’ quarters $50,000; architect’s fee $8,000. From 1938 through 1941 more than $22,000 would be spent on additional details and for changes in the hardware and lighting.

The total project price of $155,000, adjusted for inflation, is the equivalent of approximately $2.6 million in 2014. A reflection of the relative cost of the project in its time is that the cost of restoration alone in 2009 was reported at $11.4 million.

Thanks for following – the eventsfy team


Best 10 Venues to see a Live Show


The Gorge Amphitheatre, George, WA

The Gorge is considered one of the most scenic concert locations in the world. The venue offers sweeping and majestic views of the Columbia River. Upcoming shows @

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado

Red Rocks is a rock structure near Morrison, Colorado. There is a large, tilted, disc-shaped rock behind the stage, a huge vertical rock angled outwards from stage right, several large outcrops angled outwards from stage left and a seating area for up to 9,450 people in between. Upcoming shows @

Hearst Greek Theatre, Berkeley

The style of the theater is based on the ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus. The outdoor venue is becoming a top place to experience some of the Biggest names in music. Upcoming shows @

Severance Hall, Cleveland

Located in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, Severance hall has been the home of the Cleveland Orchestra since its opening on February 5, 1931. The Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Upcoming shows @

Billy Bob’s Texas

Billy Bob’s is a popular country & western nightclub in the Fort Worth Stockyards, Texas. It promotes itself as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk”. In addition to several dance floors, musical stages, arcade games, and billiards tables, Billy Bob’s is the home to a small indoor rodeo arena.Upcoming shows @

The Troubadour, West Hollywood

The Troubadour was a major center for folk music in the 1960s, and subsequently for singer-songwriters and rock. It played an important role in the careers of many prominent and successful performers, who played performances there establishing their future fame. Upcoming shows @

The Fillmore, San Francisco

The Fillmore is a historic music venue in San Francisco, made famous by Bill Graham. It is known as a hot spot with frequent shows. The Fillmore is also well known for its psychedelic concert posters by artists. Upcoming shows @

NorVa, Norfolk, VA

The NorVa building is often noted by its patrons to be charming and aesthetically pleasing due to its rustic and old-style appearance. Many bands have regarded the NorVa as one of the best venues in the United States, due not only to its great sound and intimate setting, but also to its many backstage amenities. Upcoming shows @

Ryman Auditorium, Nashville

Ryman Auditorium (formerly Grand Ole Opry House and Union Gospel Tabernacle) is a live performance venue in Nashville and is best known as the most famous home of the Grand Ole Opry. Upcoming shows @

Bluebird Café, Nashville

The Bluebird Café is famous for intimate, acoustic music performed by its composers. Some performers are established singer/songwriters, and others perform hit songs written by other artists. At fifteen years old, young singer/songwriter Taylor Swift was discovered at the Bluebird Café. Upcoming shows @

Why Conservatism Isn’t Right for America


by Richard Saunders – November 28, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)
Opening Argument

Every great movement forward throughout history has been an immense struggle.  And at the very root of every movement forward throughout history, it has been the Idea of Progress.  The Idea of Progress isn’t—by definition—more government.  In fact, progress could mean less government. Progressivism (the Idea of Progress) is the theory that advances in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition.1 The Idea of Progress is based on five guiding values—value of the past, worth of economic and technological growth, faith in reason and scientific knowledge, intrinsic worth of life on earth, and nobility of Western civilization.1

Progressivism believes we can become happier by improving quality of life (social progress), economic development (modernization), and the application of science and technology (scientific progress). The assumption is that this process will happen once people apply their reason and skills, for it is not divinely foreordained. The role of the expert is to identify hindrances that slow or neutralize progress.

Progressivism gained prominence during the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century, but the Idea of Progress has defined Western civilization for three thousand years.1 Some scholars consider the Idea of Progress as a secularization of ideas from early Christianity and a reworking of ideas from ancient Greece.  Charles Darwin’s (1809–82) theory of evolution by natural selection made progress a necessary law of nature and gave the Idea of Progress doctrine its first scientific formulation.1

We must understand that Progressivism—learning from the past on how to perpetually create a better future—should always be the main objective of our federal government and society.  And we must understand that Conservatism—which greatly values established and traditional practices in politics and society, and which greatly dislikes change or new ideas3—shouldn’t ever be the main objective of a federal government and society. Conservative Ideology, at its essence, seeks to preserve things as they are—emphasizing stability and continuity—and many times seeks a return to “the way things were.”4 Therefore, we can easily conclude that Conservatism—at its roots—is anti-progress.  So let’s review how the Idea of Progress—not Conservative Ideology—has continuously succeeded with providing us a better tomorrow throughout history.  In fact, Conservatism often has been a great hindrance to our progress.

We must follow science—not entrenched traditions

Who were the people initially against the idea that the earth was round and not flat ?  Conservatives.  Who were the people initially against the idea that the sun was the center of our universe and not the earth?  Conservatives.  Who were the people initially (and some still are) against the idea of natural selection (evolution)?  Conservatives.  Who were the people initially (and some still are) against the idea that the earth is much older than thousands of years?  Conservatives.  And who are the people that still adamantly oppose the idea that humans contribute to the earth getting warmer?  Conservatives.  History has clearly shown us—beyond any reasonable doubt—that Conservatism has been an immense impediment at almost every major scientific breakthrough.

Evolution of our democratic government

The changing from a monarch/dictatorship government to a democratic government was a progressive idea—not a conservative one.  Conservatism–-remember—looks to its past traditions and culture to solve current problems, because past traditions were successful answering past problems.  When we decided to change from being a British colony to becoming an independent and sovereign nation—this was a radical and progressive idea.  If you fervently believe in The U.S. Constitution and The Declaration of Independence, then you must understand that these revolutionary and inspired works were progress—inspired from earlier works and ideology (such as the Bible, the Magna Carta, past democracies, past writers, past philosophers, the British Common Law, and many others). Our forefathers didn’t come up with all these brilliant and enlightened governing principles themselves—although they were indeed remarkably brilliant and enlightened.  The point here is that we have created a far-superior and better government today by learning and improving upon past governments—not by re-establishing a past government.

Perpetual improvements to our democratic systems

Any new type of system within our government is Progressivism because it changes the status quo (i.e. not conservative).  The changing from a barter-and-trade system to a currency system for trading everything was absolutely a progressive idea.  The changing from a feudal system to a free-market (for-profit) system—along with the creation of the stock market—was absolutely a progressive idea.  The changing from an agricultural to an industrial to a technology-based economy was absolutely a progressive idea.  Evidence-based improvements to our current systems with the creation of the Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations are all absolutely progressive ideas that have helped our country and world in immeasurable ways.

Amendments to The U.S. Constitution (and most laws)—propel us closer to a more perfect union

Amendments to The U.S. Constitution have morally and permanently propelled our country towards the original intent of The U.S. Constitution.  The following progressive laws—none which were conservative—include passing of the 13th Amendment of The U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery (not originally a conservative idea); passing of the 15th Amendment of The U.S. Constitution, which gave blacks the right to vote (not originally a conservative idea); passing of the 19th amendment, which gave woman the right to vote (not originally a conservative idea); passing of the Civil Rights Law, which helped to desegregate the segregated South (not a conservative idea); passing of the 26th Amendment, which allowed 18-year-olds to vote (not a conservative idea); and the passing of many other law.  The Civil Rights Law—along with all these other Amendments to The U.S. Constitution—inarguably changed our society for the better.  Perhaps not so much with just the statutory law being passed through Congress and signed by President Lyndon Johnson, but more importantly with tangibly changing society’s perceptions towards race—because if the Civil Rights Law were repealed today, there would most likely be only a few businesses in the South that would actually revert back to segregating their customers.

Government-created services (Technology/Education and Welfare)—should always be temporary
Technological and Educational programs

Government-created services are always progressive—not conservative.  Government-created services, however, should only be temporary until the private sector can adequately provide these services to the public.  With that said, government-created services have provided so many positive benefits to our Great Nation yet today so many people believe as religious doctrine that our government has no role with progressing our society forward—this is fundamentally incorrect.  In America’s brief history, our government was instrumental with creating our railroads, our roadways, our universities, our utilities (hydro/nuclear electricity, telephone lines, internet, mobile technology from satellites, space travel, and the most advanced weaponry ever conceived).  All these undeniably successful government-created services have propelled our society forward positively.  And as with so many of these government-created services, our government continuously steps aside and allows the free-market to take over these services when it has the capacity to do so (i.e. railroad, building roads, energy, telephones, mobile technology, Internet technology, space travel, etc.).  Contrary to the pervading myth in our society, the American private sector is growing far faster than the American Federal Government and continuously provides services that were once provided by the federal government.  After countless immensely successful government-created services, why now do so many Americans incorrectly believe that our government doesn’t still have a constructive role to play?

Welfare programs

All the above government-created services are widely accepted to have been appropriate and were the right things to do.  Unlike the above mentioned government-created services, government-created services of welfare (social programs) are contentiously debated.  But empirical evidence still clearly shows us the huge positive impact these welfare programs have had on our Great Nation.  These progressive social programs include Social Security (imagine the poverty of our elderly without Social Security); The GI Bill (arguably the most influential Bill passed to improve our middle class—providing college education and business start-up benefits to our veterans); Medicare, Medicaid, and now Obamacare (health care should absolutely be a right for the richest developed country in the world); Urban-housing development; food stamps; and other welfare programs (can anyone really argue intelligently that the poor would be better off without these programs?).  As our free-market continues to grow with evermore capacity to provide needed services to our society, we may not need any more government-social programs.  And once our society finds a way to increase wages and revert back to full employment, so many of these social programs just go away and disappear.  Eventually, as our country continues to prosper—like it always has—these programs do go away.  Hence these social programs are and should be only temporary.  But that doesn’t negate the fact that these social programs have provided so much help to countless individuals who really needed the help—like we all need from time to time.

Progress through smart governance

In the past our federal government has helped to teach our society right from wrong by implementing laws to combat wrongs—i.e. Emancipation Proclamation, Abolishing Slavery, Woman’s Suffrage, Civil Rights Law, Gay Rights, and others.  Today, the American government has taken the military option off the table with Russia over its dispute with Ukraine, and is establishing new precedencies on how the world should engage with its enemies—not militarily anymore but economically and ideologically. This is good because it reduces world stress of potential military war with a major foe

Progressivism uses government—not just the free market—to push society forward positively, because progress happens more efficiently and effectively this way than progress without the use of government.  History tells us that major leaps in progress (advancement in technology, science, living conditions, etc.) has happened under strong central governments–-i.e. Greeks, Romans, Persians, Ottoman, England, America, etc.  And sometimes smart governance and progress is regulating certain industries of the private sector.  Some examples:

President Theodore Roosevelt said that “great corporations are creatures of the state and the state not only has the right to control them but is in duty bound to control them wherever need of control is shown.  Regulations are needed when major problems arise from business conduct (financial calamities, air/water/food pollution, widespread business malpractices, etc.).  However, after federal regulations are implemented, they should be removed once an industry successfully proves to society that it can prudently and appropriately regulate itself.  The federal government should be the people’s conscience to help guide the free-market system to an ever-more prosperous state.

After the Great Depression of 1929 when 80 percent of the stock-market value evaporated, the unemployment rose to 24.1 percent, and our country’s Gross-National Product decreased in half, 5 President Franklin D. Roosevelt was able to understand and see clearly that a collective external force (the government) could, in fact, help guide our free-market system when the private sector fails our society with its booms and busts.  FDR so eloquently said during the Great Depression, “I paint the one-third despair in our nation so that we all can see that we can collectively with government paint it out.”  Therefore, FDR correctly believed that people who could see the problems could figure out how better to solve the problems.  Therefore, government obviously has a role to assist us forward—we just need to continuously debate what that government role is.  And that’s exactly what many Americans are doing today—albeit quite ungracefully.

Conservatism is not the path forward

The main problem with Conservatism is that it essentially believes only past generations had the knowledge and capacity to create a better society—why?  Most of us are nostalgic of the past but conservatives are just much more nostalgic of the past. Conservatives are against change—that’s the fundamental definition of a conservative: one who believes the past had the best ways.  Throughout history, conservatives have been against progress with science, the evolution of governments, improvements to our systems, new laws, and new government-created services and social-welfare programs. Therefore, it has taken much longer for past successes and acknowledgments to prevail as obviously right and correct.  Conservatives don’t understand that we have been constantly building upon prior successes since the beginning of time.

To better understand why Conservatism isn’t the correct pathway forward for America or the world, take a minute to record your feelings or perspective of the conservatives of other countries. Who are the conservatives of Russia?  Putin and his ilk who want to revert back to the Soviet Union and are the biggest enemies of America.  Who are the conservatives of Iran?  The Ayatollah and the Old Guard, who both adamantly oppose change and who both are the biggest enemies of America.  Who are the conservatives of China or North Korea?  The most traditionalists that oppose change.  It’s the conservatives in other countries that Americans have the most problems with. And it’s the American conservatives that foreigners—including the majority of Americans—have the most problems with.  Shouldn’t this tell us something?  Why is it so difficult for conservatives to understand they’re so wrong on so many things?

Progressivism always does win eventually—Conservatism always does lose eventually.  Progressivism believes diversity is for the better—Conservatism is not convinced of this.  Conservatism, however, absolutely plays a constructive role in preventing our Great Nation from implementing any ill-conceived policy.  Every new policy idea—especially today—has to have overwhelming public support before it can be implemented into law because conservatives so rightly revere the past.  Conservatives are so afraid to implement any new policy into law—fearing policy changes make things worse.  This entrenched Conservative Ideology in America is definitely inhibiting our federal government from making any progress.  Every country has conservatives that undeniably hinder their countries’ progress as seen in China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc.  However, these same conservatives do prevent their countries from changing too quickly, which could potentially have devastating consequences to a country’s cultural and traditional systems as we’ve witnessed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, etc.

Progressivism Principles

We are all the sum product of past humans and their achievements (creation of language, ideology, information, science, education, governing systems, etc.). Therefore, we should all be extremely thankful for all the past progress and achievements for which our forefathers worked so very hard—providing us today with so many more opportunities and blessings.  From nothing to a single cell to a multi-cell organism to eventually a human, reveals to us just how powerful nurture (environment) has had and will always have on us.

We all must understand that we really just need to build upon prior successes—this is Progressivism.  We are not asking for any revolution here, we are asking for you to do only your duty—as an American endowed with its great history and riches—to help progress our society forward.  Be more engaged within the American political system—educate and learn about the issues that matter so that you can help make a difference.  We have many problems that America faces today, and America needs help from its citizens to help her perpetually progress. Be blessed and build upon all of our past progress that we’re so fortunate to enjoy now. We have to respect our ancestors for what they’ve built and we have to have prudence for our heirs for what they will inherit.

As stated earlier, the Idea of Progress is based on five guiding values—value of the past, worth of economic and technological growth, faith in reason and scientific knowledge, intrinsic worth of life on earth, and nobility of Western civilization.  Through evermore evidence, we can conclude that the fundamental principles of these five guiding values of Progressivism are accountability (personal responsibility), empathy, fairness, faith, free-will, integrity, reason, service, and transparency. If we all follow these principles, we will achieve great progress in America and the world—this is each of our duty.

Free-will (free market)—increases innovation and creativity

Fairness of laws—reduces conflicts and improves performance because more people buy into the system

Service or work—improves the quality of life for someone or many people

Transparency—decreases suspicions of others so that more work can get done

Accountability of ourselves (personal responsibility)—decreases dependencies on the government

Empathy of others—increases understanding of others so that win/win compromises can be reached

Faith that we perpetually progress—increases our hopes, which decreases are fears, which increases progress

Integrity of ourselves—increases right, which makes might

Reason—decreases emotions from clouding our judgments and actions



Spotlight: Louis Armstrong (learn more of this American treasure)

Louis 2 Louis

Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and an influential figure in jazz music.

Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an “inventive” trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also skilled at scat singing (vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics).

Renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong’s influence extends well beyond jazz music, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to “cross over”, whose skin color was secondary to his music in an America that was severely racially divided. He rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African-Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation during the Little Rock Crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society that were highly restricted for a black man.

Early Life

Armstrong was born into a very poor family in New Orleans, Louisiana, the grandson of slaves. He spent his youth in poverty, in a rough neighborhood, known as “the Battlefield”, which was part of the Storyville legal prostitution district. His father, William Armstrong (1881–1922), abandoned the family when Louis was an infant and took up with another woman. His mother, Mary “Mayann” Albert (1886–1927), then left Louis and his younger sister Beatrice Armstrong Collins (1903–1987) in the care of his grandmother, Josephine Armstrong, and at times, his Uncle Isaac. At five, he moved back to live with his mother and her relatives, and saw his father only in parades.

He attended the Fisk School for Boys, where he likely had early exposure to music. He brought in some money as a paperboy and also by finding discarded food and selling it to restaurants, but it was not enough to keep his mother fromprostitution. He hung out in dance halls close to home, where he observed everything from licentious dancing to thequadrille. For extra money he also hauled coal to Storyville, the famed red-light district, and listened to the bands playing in the brothels and dance halls, especially Pete Lala’s where Joe “King” Oliver performed and other famous musicians would drop in to jam.

After dropping out of the Fisk School at age eleven, Armstrong joined a quartet of boys who sang in the streets for money. But he also started to get into trouble. Cornet player Bunk Johnson said he taught Armstrong (then 11) to play by ear at Dago Tony’s Tonk in New Orleans, although in his later years Armstrong gave the credit to Oliver. Armstrong hardly looked back at his youth as the worst of times but instead drew inspiration from it, “Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans… It has given me something to live for.”

He also worked for a Lithuanian-Jewish immigrant family, the Karnofskys, who had a junk hauling business and gave him odd jobs. They took him in and treated him as almost a family member, knowing he lived without a father, and would feed and nurture him.[8] He later wrote a memoir of his relationship with the Karnofskys titled, Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family in New Orleans, La., the Year of 1907. In it he describes his discovery that this family was also subject to discrimination by “other white folks’ nationalities who felt that they were better than the Jewish race… I was only seven years old but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the White Folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for.” Armstrong wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life and wrote about what he learned from them: “how to live—real life and determination.” The influence of Karnofsky is remembered in New Orleans by the Karnofsky Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to accepting donated musical instruments to “put them into the hands of an eager child who could not otherwise take part in a wonderful learning experience.

Armstrong developed his cornet playing seriously in the band of the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs, where he had been sent multiple times for general delinquency, most notably for a long term after firing his stepfather’s pistol into the air at a New Year’s Eve celebration, as police records confirm. Professor Peter Davis (who frequently appeared at the Home at the request of its administrator, Captain Joseph Jones)[12] instilled discipline in and provided musical training to the otherwise self-taught Armstrong. Eventually, Davis made Armstrong the band leader. The Home band played around New Orleans and the thirteen-year-old Louis began to draw attention by his cornet playing, starting him on a musical career. At fourteen he was released from the Home, living again with his father and new stepmother and then back with his mother and also back to the streets and their temptations. Armstrong got his first dance hall job at Henry Ponce’s where Black Benny became his protector and guide. He hauled coal by day and played his cornet at night.

He played in the city’s frequent brass band parades and listened to older musicians every chance he got, learning from Bunk Johnson, Buddy Petit, Kid Ory, and above all, Joe “King” Oliver, who acted as a mentor and father figure to the young musician. Later, he played in the brass bands and riverboats of New Orleans, and began traveling with the well-regarded band of Fate Marable, which toured on asteamboat up and down the Mississippi River. He described his time with Marable as “going to the University,” since it gave him a much wider experience working with written arrangements.

In 1919, Joe Oliver decided to go north and resigned his position in Kid Ory’s band; Armstrong replaced him. He also became second trumpet for the Tuxedo Brass Band, a society band.


Through all his riverboat experience Armstrong’s musicianship began to mature and expand. At twenty, he could read music and he started to be featured in extended trumpet solos, one of the first jazzmen to do this, injecting his own personality and style into his solo turns. He had learned how to create a unique sound and also started using singing and patter in his performances. In 1922, Armstrong joined the exodus to Chicago, where he had been invited by his mentor, Joe “King” Oliver, to join his Creole Jazz Band and where he could make a sufficient income so that he no longer needed to supplement his music with day labor jobs. It was a boom time in Chicago and though race relations were poor, the “Windy City” was teeming with jobs for black people, who were making good wages in factories and had plenty to spend on entertainment.

Oliver’s band was the best and most influential hot jazz band in Chicago in the early 1920s, at a time when Chicago was the center of the jazz universe. Armstrong lived like a king in Chicago, in his own apartment with his own private bath (his first). Excited as he was to be in Chicago, he began his career-long pastime of writing nostalgic letters to friends in New Orleans. As Armstrong’s reputation grew, he was challenged to “cutting contests” by hornmen trying to displace the new phenom, who could blow two hundred high C’s in a row. Armstrong made his first recordings on the Gennett and Okeh labels (jazz records were starting to boom across the country), including taking some solos and breaks, while playing second cornet in Oliver’s band in 1923. At this time, he met Hoagy Carmichael (with whom he would collaborate later) who was introduced by friend Bix Beiderbecke, who now had his own Chicago band.

Armstrong enjoyed working with Oliver, but Louis’ second wife, pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong, urged him to seek more prominent billing and develop his newer style away from the influence of Oliver. Armstrong took the advice of his wife and left Oliver’s band. For a year Armstrong played in Fletcher Henderson’s band in New York on many recordings. After playing in New York, Armstrong returned to Chicago, playing in large orchestras; there he created his most important early recordings. Lil had her husband play classical music in church concerts to broaden his skill and improve his solo play and she prodded him into wearing more stylish attire to make him look sharp and to better offset his growing girth. Lil’s influence eventually undermined Armstrong’s relationship with his mentor, especially concerning his salary and additional moneys that Oliver held back from Armstrong and other band members. Armstrong and Oliver parted amicably in 1924. Shortly afterward, Armstrong received an invitation to go to New York City to play with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, the top African-American band of the day. Armstrong switched to the trumpet to blend in better with the other musicians in his section. His influence upon Henderson’s tenor sax soloist, Coleman Hawkins, can be judged by listening to the records made by the band during this period.

Armstrong quickly adapted to the more tightly controlled style of Henderson, playing trumpet and even experimenting with the trombone and the other members quickly took up Armstrong’s emotional, expressive pulse. Soon his act included singing and telling tales of New Orleans characters, especially preachers. The Henderson Orchestra was playing in the best venues for white-only patrons, including the famed Roseland Ballroom, featuring the classy arrangements of Don Redman. Duke Ellington’s orchestra would go to Roseland to catch Armstrong’s performances and young hornmen around town tried in vain to outplay him, splitting their lips in their attempts.

During this time, Armstrong made many recordings on the side, arranged by an old friend from New Orleans, pianist Clarence Williams; these included small jazz band sides with the Williams Blue Five (some of the best pairing Armstrong with one of Armstrong’s few rivals in fiery technique and ideas, Sidney Bechet) and a series of accompaniments with bluessingers, including Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Alberta Hunter.

Armstrong returned to Chicago in 1925 due mostly to the urging of his wife, who wanted to pump up Armstrong’s career and income. He was content in New York but later would concede that she was right and that the Henderson Orchestra was limiting his artistic growth. In publicity, much to his chagrin, she billed him as “the World’s Greatest Trumpet Player”. At first, he was actually a member of the Lil Hardin Armstrong Band and working for his wife. He began recording under his own name for Okeh with his famous Hot Five and Hot Seven groups, producing hits such as “Potato Head Blues”, “Muggles”, (a reference to marijuana, for which Armstrong had a lifelong fondness), and “West End Blues”, the music of which set the standard and the agenda for jazz for many years to come.

The group included Kid Ory (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Johnny St. Cyr (banjo), wife Lil on piano, and usually no drummer. Armstrong’s bandleading style was easygoing, as St. Cyr noted, “One felt so relaxed working with him, and he was very broad-minded . . . always did his best to feature each individual.” His recordings soon after with pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines (most famously their 1928 Weatherbird duet) and Armstrong’s trumpet introduction to “West End Blues” remain some of the most famous and influential improvisations in jazz history. Armstrong was now free to develop his personal style as he wished, which included a heavy dose of effervescent jive, such as “whip that thing, Miss Lil” and “Mr. Johnny Dodds, Aw, do that clarinet, boy!”

Armstrong also played with Erskine Tate’s Little Symphony, actually a quintet, which played mostly at the Vendome Theatre. They furnished music for silent movies and live shows, including jazz versions of classical music, such as “Madame Butterfly,” which gave Armstrong experience with longer forms of music and with hosting before a large audience. He began to scat sing (improvised vocal jazz using nonsensical words) and was among the first to record it, on “Heebie Jeebies” in 1926. The recording was so popular that the group became the most famous jazz band in the United States, even though they had not performed live to any great extent. Young musicians across the country, black or white, were turned on by Armstrong’s new type of jazz.

After separating from Lil, Armstrong started to play at the Sunset Café for Al Capone’s associate Joe Glaser in the Carroll Dickerson Orchestra, with Earl Hines on piano, which was soon renamed Louis Armstrong and his Stompers, though Hines was the music director and Glaser managed the orchestra. Hines and Armstrong became fast friends and successful collaborators.

Armstrong returned to New York, in 1929, where he played in the pit orchestra of the successful musical Hot Chocolate, an all-black revue written by Andy Razaf and pianist/composer Fats Waller. He also made a cameo appearance as a vocalist, regularly stealing the show with his rendition of “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, his version of the song becoming his biggest selling record to date.

Armstrong started to work at Connie’s Inn in Harlem, chief rival to the Cotton Club, a venue for elaborately staged floor shows, and a front for gangster Dutch Schultz. Armstrong also had considerable success with vocal recordings, including versions of famous songs composed by his old friend Hoagy Carmichael. His 1930s recordings took full advantage of the new RCA ribbon microphone, introduced in 1931, which imparted a characteristic warmth to vocals and immediately became an intrinsic part of the ‘crooning’ sound of artists like Bing Crosby. Armstrong’s famous interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” became one of the most successful versions of this song ever recorded, showcasing Armstrong’s unique vocal sound and style and his innovative approach to singing songs that had already become standards.

Armstrong’s radical re-working of Sidney Arodin and Carmichael’s “Lazy River” (recorded in 1931) encapsulated many features of his groundbreaking approach to melody and phrasing. The song begins with a brief trumpet solo, then the main melody is stated by sobbing horns, memorably punctuated by Armstrong’s growling interjections at the end of each bar: “Yeah! …”Uh-huh” …”Sure” … “Way down, way down.” In the first verse, he ignores the notated melody entirely and sings as if playing a trumpet solo, pitching most of the first line on a single note and using strongly syncopated phrasing. In the second stanza he breaks into an almost fully improvised melody, which then evolves into a classic passage of Armstrong “scat singing”.

As with his trumpet playing, Armstrong’s vocal innovations served as a foundation stone for the art of jazz vocal interpretation. The uniquely gritty coloration of his voice became a musical archetype that was much imitated and endlessly impersonated. His scat singing style was enriched by his matchless experience as a trumpet soloist. His resonant, velvety lower-register tone and bubbling cadences on sides such as “Lazy River” exerted a huge influence on younger white singers such as Bing Crosby.

The Great Depression of the early 1930s was especially hard on the jazz scene. The Cotton Club closed in 1936 after a long downward spiral, and many musicians stopped playing altogether as club dates evaporated. Bix Beiderbecke died and Fletcher Henderson’s band broke up. King Oliver made a few records but otherwise struggled. Sidney Bechet became a tailor and Kid Ory returned to New Orleans and raised chickens.

Armstrong moved to Los Angeles in 1930 to seek new opportunities. He played at the New Cotton Club in Los Angeles withLionel Hampton on drums. The band drew the Hollywood crowd, which could still afford a lavish night life, while radio broadcasts from the club connected with younger audiences at home. Bing Crosby and many other celebrities were regulars at the club. In 1931, Armstrong appeared in his first movie, Ex-Flame. Armstrong was convicted of marijuana possession but received a suspended sentence. He returned to Chicago in late 1931 and played in bands more in the Guy Lombardovein and he recorded more standards. When the mob insisted that he get out of town,Armstrong visited New Orleans, got a hero’s welcome and saw old friends. He sponsored a local baseball team known as “Armstrong’s Secret Nine” and had a cigar named after him. But soon he was on the road again and after a tour across the country shadowed by the mob, Armstrong decided to go to Europe to escape.

After returning to the United States, he undertook several exhausting tours. His agent Johnny Collins’ erratic behavior and his own spending ways left Armstrong short of cash. Breach of contract violations plagued him. Finally, he hired Joe Glaser as his new manager, a tough mob-connected wheeler-dealer, who began to straighten out his legal mess, his mob troubles, and his debts. Armstrong also began to experience problems with his fingers and lips, which were aggravated by his unorthodox playing style. As a result he branched out, developing his vocal style and making his first theatrical appearances. He appeared in movies again, including Crosby’s 1936 hit Pennies from Heaven. In 1937, Armstrong substituted for Rudy Vallee on the CBS radio network and became the first African American to host a sponsored, national broadcast.

After spending many years on the road, Armstrong settled permanently in Queens, New York in 1943 in contentment with his fourth wife, Lucille. Although subject to the vicissitudes of Tin Pan Alley and the gangster-ridden music business, as well as anti-black prejudice, he continued to develop his playing. He recorded Hoagy Carmichael’s Rockin’ Chair for Okeh Records.

During the subsequent thirty years, Armstrong played more than three hundred gigs a year. Bookings for big bands tapered off during the 1940s due to changes in public tastes: ballrooms closed, and there was competition from television and from other types of music becoming more popular than big band music. It became impossible under such circumstances to support and finance a 16-piece touring band.

Armstrong and race

Armstrong was largely accepted into white society, both on stage and off, a privilege reserved for very few African-American public figures, and usually those of either exceptional talent or fair skin tone. As his fame grew, so did his access to the finer things in life usually denied to a black man, even a famous one. His renown was such that he dined in the best restaurants and stayed in hotels usually exclusively for whites.

It was a power and privilege that he enjoyed, although he was very careful not to flaunt it with fellow performers of color, and privately, he shared what access that he could with friends and fellow musicians.

That still did not prevent members of the African-American community, particularly in the late 1950s to the early 1970s, from calling him an Uncle Tom, a black-on-black racial epithet for someone who kowtowed to white society at the expense of their own racial identity.

He was criticized for accepting the title of “King of The Zulus” for Mardi Gras in 1949. In the New Orleans African-American community it is an honored role as the head of leading black Carnival Krewe, but bewildering or offensive to outsiders with their traditional costume of grass-skirts and blackface makeup satirizing southern white attitudes.

Some musicians criticized Armstrong for playing in front of segregated audiences, and for not taking a strong enough stand in the civil rights movement.

Billie Holiday countered, however, “Of course Pops toms, but he toms from the heart.”

The few exceptions made it more effective when he did speak out. Armstrong’s criticism of President Eisenhower, calling him “two-faced” and “gutless” because of his inaction during the conflict over school desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 made national news.

As a protest, Armstrong canceled a planned tour of the Soviet Union on behalf of the State Department saying “The way they’re treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell” and that he could not represent his government abroad when it was in conflict with its own people. Six days after Armstrong’s comments, Eisenhower ordered Federal troops to Little Rock to escort students into the school.

The FBI kept a file on Armstrong, for his outspokenness about integration.


The influence of Armstrong on the development of jazz is virtually immeasurable. Yet, his irrepressible personality both as a performer, and as a public figure later in his career, was so strong that to some it sometimes overshadowed his contributions as a musician and singer.

As a virtuoso trumpet player, Armstrong had a unique tone and an extraordinary talent for melodic improvisation. Through his playing, the trumpet emerged as a solo instrument in jazz and is used widely today. He was a masterful accompanist and ensemble player in addition to his extraordinary skills as a soloist. With his innovations, he raised the bar musically for all who came after him.

Though Armstrong is widely recognized as a pioneer of scat singing, Ethel Waters precedes his scatting on record in the 1930s according to Gary Giddins and others. Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra are just two singers who were greatly indebted to him. Holiday said that she always wanted Bessie Smith’s ‘big’ sound and Armstrong’s feeling in her singing. Even special musicians like Duke Ellington have praised Armstrong through strong testimonials. Duke Ellington said, “If anybody was a master, it was Louis Armstrong.” In 1950, Bing Crosby, the most successful vocalist of the first half of the 20th century, said, “He is the beginning and the end of music in America.”

In the summer of 2001, in commemoration of the centennial of Armstrong’s birth, New Orleans’s main airport was renamedLouis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

In 2002, the Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings (1925–1928) are preserved in the United States National Recording Registry, a registry of recordings selected yearly by the National Recording Preservation Board for preservation in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

The US Open tennis tournament’s former main stadium was named Louis Armstrong Stadium in honor of Armstrong who had lived a few blocks from the site.

Today, there are many bands worldwide dedicated to preserving and honoring the music and style of Satchmo, including the Louis Armstrong Society located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Thanks for following – the eventsfy team


America “Weak?” Evidence convincingly says otherwise


Lincoln - America quote

by Richard Saunders – September 28, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

My fellow American Patriots, we must understand our present situation more clearly so that we can make better choices as Americans going forward.  There’s a pervading false narrative that America is getting “weaker” or is “weak.”  As usual, false narratives that penetrate the many consciences of our society are conceived by FEAR.  It has been well documented that fear is one of the most powerful human emotions; therefore, fear convinces us of a false reality.  And “fear-selling” is rampant in our free-market society because fear can easily attract our attention to people’s products, ratings, and ideology/message.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,” said Influential American author, H.P. Lovecraft.  Marketing wizard Martin Lindstrom—author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy—said, “fear absolutely sells! Our primal instinct as human beings is to survive; therefore, fear is key to influence people’s behavior.  Fear relates to our survival: Do I have enough to eat? Will I have enough money when I retire? Is that product safe?”  In this respect, Lindstrom claims that political fear-based advertising is effective because it taps into our primal concerns of survival.

The bottom line is that fear is an easy sell or a quick way to make a buck for any corporations or individual trying to sell their product, ratings, and ideology/message.  We must understand that this constant peddling of fear causes enormous anxiety within our society and produces so many false realities that many Americans don’t know what’s real anymore.

We must understand true reality so that we can calm down and make logical and rational decisions—not fear-based decisions, which blind the truth.  This is fact: our decisions as a society are greatly impaired anytime emotions are involved.  So let’s look at the overwhelming evidence, which categorically reveals that America is absolutely stronger since the 2008 Great Financial Recession—contrary to what so many media outlets espouse.

What really makes America strong?

So many media outlets incorrectly and overly attribute America’s strength to our current President.  They have all these arguments and analyses that overly scrutinizing the “weakness” of our current President (“leading from behind”) as the sole and fundamental reason of “America becoming weak.”  Almost always they fail miserably to explain what really makes America Strong—which are our democratic and free-market system, our economy, and our military power.

Who our current President is matters far less than our democratic and free-market system, economy, and military power. Think of our worst president in recent history—let’s say Richard Nixon.  Were we stronger or weaker as a nation after Nixon left office?  During Nixon’s Presidency (1969 to 1974) the Equal Rights Amendment was implemented, segregation ended, and tensions between Beijing and Moscow decreased—a precursor to ending the Cold War.  During Nixon’s Presidency, American’s economy (Gross Domestic Product—the most revered economic indicator for individual countries) grew from $901.5 billion to $1,486 billion (a great increase) and NASA had the remarkable technological breakthrough of landing the first human on the moon—greatly improving our National Defense’s technological advantage in the world.  Could anyone really argue intelligently that America became weaker right-after Richard Nixon Presidency?

Although America has experienced an undeniable and perpetual progress towards a better and stronger country since its independence in 1776, it appears, however, that America hasn’t made much progress with our over-the-top FEAR-based rhetoric.  In Nixon’s inaugural address in 1969, he said the following, “In these difficult years, America has suffered from a fever of words; from inflated rhetoric that promises more than it can deliver; from angry rhetoric that fans discontents into hatreds; from bombastic rhetoric that postures instead of persuading. We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another, until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices, however.”

We’ve been brainwashed by much of our political media and politicians—overly emphasizing that America’s strength comes from smaller and temporary things (such as one President—as if one American President can really destroy our democratic and free-market system, economy, or military power).  Ronald Reagan is deserving a cherished American President—however, did Ronald Reagan really defeat the Soviet Union or was it America’s superior economy, military power, and free-market system?  I think we all can conclude the ultimate reasons for American’s triumph of the Cold War.  Think about what really makes a country strong (recently China, Germany, Singapore, etc.): the overwhelming factor that creates a strong nation is its economy – more than anything else.

Since the 2008 Great Financial Recession, America has created a fairer democratic system of equal rights—marriage and woman’s pay equality, and closer to healthcare for all.  Since the 2008 Great Financial Recession (worst recession in 80 years), America’s economy (GDP) grew from $14.2 trillion to $17.6 trillion (2014 forecast)—an astonishing increase of 24 percent after this horribly deep 2008 recession—although most Americans wouldn’t know how well our economy has done since 2008 from listening to our media (especially, when comparing America’s economy with other developed nation’s economies—America’s economy has greatly outperformed the other developed nations since 2008).  And finally, America spends on its military power more than the next nine highest-spending military nations combined—does anyone really believe that America’s military power has become weaker since 2008?

So where do these nonsensical arguments that “America has become weak” come from?  Simple: we must remember that it comes from these fear-selling individuals and companies that are trying to sell their product, ratings, and ideology/message to make money or gain power.  fear tends to be more easily persuadable than hope in short-term to motivate the public to act.  Right after the 2008 Great Financial Recession, fear became ripe for MANY to capitalize on its power—we just must know the truth so that we can be calmer and make wiser and less-reactionary decisions.

Stop FEARING and start HOPING…



Spotlight: The Persistence of Memory painting by Salvador Dali (1931)

The Persistence of Memory Painting - 1931

The Persistence of Memory is a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí and one of his most recognizable works in the world.

First shown at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City since 1934 which received it from an anonymous donor. It is widely recognized and frequently referenced in popular culture.


The well-known surrealist piece introduced the image of the soft melting pocket watch.  It epitomizes Dalí’s theory of “softness” and “hardness”, which was central to his thinking at the time. As Dawn Ades wrote, “The soft watches are an unconscious symbol of the relativity of space and time, a Surrealist meditation on the collapse of our notions of a fixed cosmic order.” This interpretation suggests that Dalí was incorporating an understanding of the world introduced by Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.

The orange clock at the bottom left of the painting is covered in ants. Dalí often used ants in his paintings as a symbol of decay. It is possible to recognize a human figure in the middle of the composition, in the strange “monster” that Dalí used in several contemporary pieces to represent himself – the abstract form becoming something of a self-portrait, reappearing frequently in his work. The figure can be read as a “fading” creature, one that often appears in dreams where the dreamer cannot pinpoint the creature’s exact form and composition. One can observe that the creature has one closed eye with several eyelashes, suggesting that the creature is also in a dream state. The iconography may refer to a dream that Dalí himself had experienced, and the clocks may symbolize the passing of time as one experiences it in sleep or the persistence of time in the eyes of the dreamer.

The Persistence of Memory employs “the exactitude of realist painting techniques” to depict imagery more likely to be found in dreams than in waking consciousness.

Thanks for following – the eventsy team


Spotlight: Billie Holiday – how could such a tragic childhood produce so much beauty?

Billie Holiday1 billie holiday2

Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan; April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.

Early Life and Education

She was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Sarah Julia “Sadie” Fagan (Harris). Her father, Clarence Holiday, a musician, did not marry or live with her mother. Not long after Holiday’s birth, her father left her and her mother to pursue a career as a jazz guitarist. Sarah Fagan had moved to Philadelphia at the age of 19 after being evicted from her parents’ home in Sandtown-Winchester, Baltimore for becoming pregnant. With no support from her parents, Holiday’s mother arranged for the young Holiday to stay with her older married half sister, Eva Miller, who lived in Baltimore. Holiday, who was of African American ancestry, was also said to have had Irish ancestors through her mother’s mixed heritage.


Holiday at the age of two, 1917


Billie Holiday had a difficult childhood. Her mother often took what were then known as “transportation jobs”, serving on passenger railroads. Holiday was left to be raised largely by Eva Miller’s mother-in-law, Martha Miller, and suffered from her mother’s absences and leaving her in others’ care for much of the first ten years of her life. Holiday’s autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, first published in 1956, was sketchy about details of her early life, but much was confirmed by Stuart Nicholson in his 1995 biography of the singer.

Some historians have disputed Holiday’s paternity, as a copy of her birth certificate in the Baltimore archives lists the father as “Frank DeViese.” Other historians consider this an anomaly, probably inserted by a hospital or government worker. Frank DeViese lived in Philadelphia and Sadie Harris may have known him through her work.

Sadie Harris, then known as Sadie Fagan, married Philip Gough, but the marriage was over in two years. Holiday was left with Martha Miller again while her mother took more transportation jobs. Holiday frequently skipped school and her truancy resulted in her being brought before the juvenile court on January 5, 1925, when she was not yet 10. She was sent to The House of the Good Shepherd, a Catholic reform school. She was baptized there on March 19, 1925, and after nine months in care, was “paroled” on October 3, 1925, to her mother, who had opened a restaurant called the East Side Grill, where she and Holiday worked long hours. By the age of 11, the Holiday had dropped out of school.

Rape and Prostitution

Holiday’s mother returned to their home on December 24, 1926, to discover a neighbor, Wilbur Rich, raping her. Rich was arrested. Officials placed Billie in the House of the Good Shepherd under protective custody as a state witness in the rape case. Holiday was released in February 1927, nearly twelve. She found a job running errands in a brothel.During this time, Holiday first heard the records of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. By the end of 1928, Holiday’s mother decided to try her luck in Harlem, New York, and left Holiday again with Martha Miller.

By early 1929, Holiday joined her mother in Harlem. Their landlady was a sharply dressed woman named Florence Williams, who ran a brothel at 151 West 140th Street. Holiday’s mother became a prostitute and, within a matter of days of arriving in New York, Holiday, who had not yet turned fourteen, also became a prostitute at $5 a client. On May 2, 1929, the house was raided, and Holiday and her mother were sent to prison. After spending some time in a workhouse, her mother was released in July, followed by Holiday in October, at the age of 14.

Early singing career

In Harlem she started singing in various night clubs. Holiday took her professional pseudonym from Billie Dove, an actress she admired, and the musician Clarence Holiday, her probable father. At the outset of her career, she spelled her last name “Halliday,” the birth-surname of her father, but eventually changed it to “Holiday,” his performing name. The young singer teamed up with a neighbor, tenor sax player Kenneth Hollan. From 1929 to 1931, they were a team, performing at clubs such as the Grey Dawn, Pod’s and Jerry’s on 133rd Street, and the Brooklyn Elks’ Club. Benny Goodman recalled hearing Holiday in 1931 at The Bright Spot. As her reputation grew, Holiday played at many clubs, including Mexico’s and The Alhambra Bar and Grill where Charles Linton, a vocalist who later worked with Chick Webb, first met her. It was also during this period that she connected with her father, who was playing with Fletcher Henderson’s band.

By the end of 1932 at the age of 17, Billie Holiday replaced the singer Monette Moore at a club called Covan’s on West 132nd Street. The producer John Hammond, who loved Monette Moore’s singing and had come to hear her, first heard Holiday in early 1933.  Hammond arranged for Holiday to make her recording debut, at age 18, in November 1933 with Benny Goodman, singing two songs: “Your Mother’s Son-In-Law” and “Riffin’ the Scotch,” the latter being her first hit. “Son-in-Law” sold 300 copies,  but “Riffin’ the Scotch,” released on November 11, sold 5,000 copies. Hammond was quite impressed by Holiday’s singing style. He said of her, “Her singing almost changed my music tastes and my musical life, because she was the first girl singer I’d come across who actually sang like an improvising jazz genius.” Hammond compared Holiday favorably to Armstrong and said she had a good sense of lyric content at her young age.

In 1935, Billie Holiday had a small role as a woman being abused by her lover in Duke Ellington’s short Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life. In her scene, she sang the song “Saddest Tale.


Her delivery made Billie Holiday’s performances recognizable throughout her career. Her improvisation compensated for lack of musical education. Her voice lacked range and was thin. Years of drugs altered its texture and gave it a fragility. Her voice also included a raspy sound. Holiday said that she always wanted her voice to sound like an instrument and some of her influences were Louis Armstrong and singer Bessie Smith.  Her last major recording, a 1958 album entitled Lady in Satin, features the backing of a 40-piece orchestra conducted and arranged by Ray Ellis, who said of the album in 1997:

I would say that the most emotional moment was her listening to the playback of “I’m a Fool to Want You.” There were tears in her eyes … After we finished the album I went into the control room and listened to all the takes. I must admit I was unhappy with her performance, but I was just listening musically instead of emotionally. It wasn’t until I heard the final mix a few weeks later that I realized how great her performance really was.

Frank Sinatra was influenced by her performances on 52nd Street as a young man. He told Ebony in 1958 about her impact:

With few exceptions, every major pop singer in the US during her generation has been touched in some way by her genius. It is Billie Holiday who was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me. Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years.

Hit Records

In 1986, Joel Whitburn’s Record Research, Inc. company compiled information on the popularity of record releases from the pre-rock and roll era and created pop charts dating all the way back to the beginning of the commercial recording industry. The company’s findings were published in the book Pop Memories 1890–1954. Several of Holiday’s records are listed on the pop charts Whitburn created.

Holiday had 16 best selling songs in 1937, making the year her most commercially successful. It was in this year that Holiday scored her sole number one hit as a featured vocalist on the available pop charts of the 1930s, “Carelessly”. The hit “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”, was also recorded by Ray Noble, Glen Gray and Fred Astaire whose rendering was a best seller for weeks. Holiday’s version ranked 6 on the year-end single chart available for 1937.

In 1939, Holiday recorded her biggest selling record, “Strange Fruit” for Commodore, charting at number 16 on the available pop charts for the 1930s.

“God Bless the Child”, which went on to sell over a million copies, ranked number 3 on Billboard’s year-end top songs of 1941.

On October 24, 1942, Billboard began issuing its R&B charts. Two of Holiday’s songs placed on the chart, “Trav’lin’ Light” with Paul Whiteman, which topped the chart, and “Lover Man”, which reached number 5.

thanks for following – the eventsfy team


Spotlight: The Chrysler Building – voted favorite New York City Building

Chrysler1 Chrysler2 Chrysler3

The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area.  At 1,046 feet (319 m), the structure was the world’s tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is still the tallest brick building in the world, albeit with an internal steel skeleton. In addition, The New York Times Building, which opened in 2007, is exactly level with the Chrysler Building in height. Both buildings were then pushed into 4th position, when the under construction One World Trade Center surpassed their height.

The Chrysler Building is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City. In 2007, it was ranked ninth on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. It was the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s. Although the building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for the construction of it and never owned it, as Walter P. Chrysler decided to pay for it himself, so that his children could inherit it.

The Chrysler Building was designed by architect William Van Alen for a project of Walter P. Chrysler. When the ground breaking occurred on September 19, 1928, there was an intense competition in New York City to build the world’s tallest skyscraper. Despite a frantic pace (the building was built at an average rate of four floors per week), no workers died during the construction of this skyscraper.


Construction commenced on September 19, 1928. In total, almost 400,000 rivets were used and approximately 3,826,000 bricks were manually laid, to create the non-load bearing walls of the skyscraper. Contractors, builders and engineers were joined by other building-services experts to coordinate construction.

Prior to its completion, the building stood about even with a rival project at 40 Wall Street, designed by H. Craig Severance. Severance increased the height of his project and then publicly claimed the title of the world’s tallest building (This distinction excluded structures that were not fully habitable, such as theEiffel Tower).  In response, Van Alen obtained permission for a 38-meter (125 ft) long spire and had it secretly constructed inside the frame of the building. The spire was delivered to the site in four different sections. On October 23, 1929, the bottom section of the spire was hoisted onto the top of the building’s dome and lowered into the 66th floor of the building. The other remaining sections of the spire were hoisted and riveted to the first one in sequential order in just 90 minutes.

Upon completion, May 20, 1930, the added height of the spire allowed the Chrysler Building to surpass 40 Wall Street as the tallest building in the world and the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure. It was the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet (305 m). Van Alen’s satisfaction in these accomplishments was likely muted by Walter Chrysler’s later refusal to pay the balance of his architectural fee.


The Chrysler Building is considered a leading example of Art Deco architecture. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles; on the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding. In total, the building currently contains 3,862 windows on its facade and 4 banks of 8 elevators designed by the Otis Elevator Corporation. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The Chrysler Building is also renowned and recognized for its terraced crown. Composed of seven radiating terraced arches, Van Alen’s design of the crown is a cruciform groin vault constructed into seven concentric members with transitioning setbacks, mounted up one behind another. The stainless-steel cladding is ribbed and riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern with many triangular vaulted windows, transitioning into smaller segments of the seven narrow setbacks of the facade of the terraced crown. The entire crown is clad with silvery “Enduro KA-2” metal, an austenitic stainless steel developed in Germany by Krupp and marketed under the trade name “Nirosta” (a German acronym for nichtrostender Stahl, meaning “non-rusting steel”).

When the building first opened, it contained a public viewing gallery on the 71st floor, which was closed to the public in 1945. This floor is now the highest occupied floor of the Chrysler Building, it was occupied by an office space management firm in 1986. The private Cloud Club occupied a three-floor high space from the 66th–68th floors, but closed in the late 1970s. Above the 71st floor, the stories of the building are designed mostly for exterior appearance, functioning mainly as landings for the stairway to the spire. These top stories are very narrow with low, sloped ceilings, and are useful only for holding radio-broadcasting and other mechanical and electrical equipment. Television station WCBS-TV (Channel 2) originally transmitted from the top of the Chrysler in the 1940s and early 1950s, before moving to the Empire State Building. For many years, WPAT-FM and WTFM (now WKTU) also used the Chrysler Building as a transmission site, but they also moved to the Empire State Building by the 1970s. There are currently no commercial broadcast stations located at the Chrysler Building.


The Chrysler Building has been shown in several movies that take place in New York. In the summer of 2005, New York’s own Skyscraper Museum asked one hundred architects, builders, critics, engineers, historians, and scholars, among others, to choose their 10 favorites among 25 New York towers. The Chrysler Building came in first place as 90% of them placed the building in their top-10 favorite buildings.[

The Chrysler Building’s distinctive profile has inspired similar skyscrapers worldwide, including One Liberty Place in Philadelphia.

Thanks for following – the eventsfy team


America Should Only Arm the Syrian Rebels with a Broad Intl Coalition

by Richard Saunders – August, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Let’s broaden the normal narrow perspective we usually hear from our politicians today and take a look at ALL the major foreign issues facing America now to obtain proper context why not choosing to arm the Syrian Opposition (Rebels) beyond minor assistance and small arms was the best option without broad international support.  Studies show that arming rebels rarely helps the situation unless the broad external forces are on the same page.  Beyond this Syrian issue, there are four other major foreign issues—Ukraine, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  You must know that the Syrian issue has deep ties to these other issues.

Syria is currently ruled by Bashar al-Assad—a western educated and secularist leader who many contend exploits sectarian tension.  Regardless of Assad’s crimes against his people in Syria (as awful as they are), he has built over many years strong alliances with Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah—a Shi’a Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon.

Choosing early on (or now) to GREATLY arm the ragtag Syrian Rebels without broad international support would have become not only a war against the al-Assad Regime but also a heightened proxy war against Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah—who all would be very determined (much more than we) to keep one of their few allies left in the world in power against the United States.  Do you think Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah would’ve stood idly by while their friend, al-Assad, was being overthrown by the ragtag Syrian Rebels being financed and supplied weapons by the United States?  How long and bloody would this choice have been for us?  Was there REALLY any Syrian coalition that could have stabilized Syria after toppling al-Assad?  We’ve already spent trillions of dollars in Iraq along with thousands of American lives and isn’t the situation less stable now than it was before—isn’t it?  Why do we really think that this time in Syria we could have implemented a stable government among all the sectarian divisions in Syria when facing many fiercely opposing nations?  Can’t we learn from our past mistakes?  Furthermore, how many times have we seen weapons given to our “allies” in the Middle East fall into the hands of our enemies—Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.?

Early on without any broad international support to support the Syrian Rebels, chances of success in Syria were absolutely bleak and we honestly couldn’t have known if the outcome after supplying military weapons and support for the Rebels in Syria would have created a better outcome—one could easily argue that a worse outcome would have transpired based on historical evidence and all the opposing parties (Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah).

If we had supplied military weapons and support for the Syrian Rebels, then:

  • Russia and Iran would have supplied EVEN more weapons to the Syrian Regime
  • Iran and Hezbollah would have supplied more fighters and personnel for the Syrian Regime
  • Russia would have used this pretext and moral equivalency to supply even more weapons and military support to Ukrainian Rebels in Eastern Ukraine with unforeseen outcomes
  • Iran and Hezbollah would have used this pretext and moral equivalency to supply even more weapons and military support to Hamas in Gaza with unforeseen outcomes
  • Russia would definitely have been less likely to help us eradicate chemical weapons in Syria
  • Russia would definitely have been less likely to continue supporting economic sanctions on Iran to stop Iran’s nuclear program
  • Iran would have been less likely to continue negotiations to stop its nuclear program
  • Hezbollah would have become even more radicalized against America and Israel for our trying to topple its strongest ally and Hezbollah lives right by Israel in Lebanon
  • Russia and Iran would have felt even more indignant about America eroding their power around the world causing greater desperation—desperation causes desperate actions
  • More Muslims would have absolutely been radicalized—rightly or wrongly—from seeing America interfering with another Islamic country’s sovereignty

Over these past five years, Iran has gone from President Ahmadinejad, a fiery-rhetoric and antagonist Anti-American Crusader, to President Rouhani, a measured and conciliatory-toned reformer reaching out to Americans; over these past five years, Iran has received the most crippling economic sanctions ever; and over these past five years, Iran has finally agreed to negotiate on its nuclear program.  The framework for engagement with Iran was initiated by President Obama even before he was elected President of the United States in 2008.  Much progress has been made between our two countries and toppling the Syrian Regime would have greatly undermined this progress.

This now brings us to Iraq, which Iran has benefited the most from our 2003 invasion.  Before our 2003 invasion:

  • Iran and Iraq were bitter enemies fighting a decade war in the 80s and weakening each other
  • Iraq was controlled by the minority Sunnis (34%)—now it’s controlled by the majority Shiites (64%), which also is the controlling religion of Iran (90%)
  • Iran had little influence in Iraq’s government and politics—now it has GREAT influence
  • Iran had little influence in Iraq’s military—now it supplies and supports Iraq’s military

Quick summary: Iraq used to be controlled by the minority Sunnis, who are enemies of Iran and who have been much disenfranchised with the new majority run Iraqi Shiite government.  To complicate things further, Sunnis are the MAJORITY in Syria (64%) yet the minority Shiite’s (22%) control the government run by Bashar al-Assad.  With Syria the only other Shiite controlled government besides Iran—and now Iraq—one can easily understand the desperate measures Iran would have done to maintain their ally in Syria.  All the other Middle Eastern countries besides Israel and Lebanon are Sunnis.  Confused yet?

The extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who became the victors of all the various rebel factions inside Syria, have now taken control of large swaths of land in both Syria and Iraq with military precision—not to mention seizing control over military equipment and billions of dollars provided to our “allies” (the Iraqi government) along the way.  ISIS is composed of Sunnis, who, once again, are enemies of Iran.  Iran borders Iraq.  Who do you think is more concerned about ISIS—America or Iran?  Iran IS much more concerned than the United States of ISIS insurgence because of proximity and all the historical conflicts with the Sunnis.

Because of our limited involvement in Syria, we now have:

  • A willing and eager partner in Iran to help us tame the situation in Iraq and Syria instead of an opposing partner—a chance for America and Iran to build a working relationship
  • A willing and eager partner in Hezbollah to help us tame the situation in Syria
  • A more willing partner in Russia and Iran to help us solve Iran’s nuclear program issue
  • A more willing partner in Iran and Hezbollah to not undermine any Israel/Palestinian peace agreement
  • An Iraqi government who has FINALLY recognized its need for a more inclusive government—thus nominating a new Prime Minister on August 11th

Of course, we could continue to beat our heads on the ground—not learning from our past mistakes—and continue to listen to all these neocons who haven’t found any conflict they don’t call for war.  It’s our choice to choose—old ways of thinking that don’t work need to be challenged forcefully!


Why Congress Blew Immigration Reform, AGAIN


by Richard Saunders – August 5, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Shortly after the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 signed into law by Ronald Reagan essentially providing amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, the illegal immigrant situation in America became a problem again.  After decades without any immigration bill passed in Congress to fix the root problem of illegal immigration—including George Bush’s valiant push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2007—the public has become outraged with righteous indignation towards our politicians and political system.

Recent attempts to solve this problem have been thwarted by the hyper-partisan Congress, which currently couldn’t pass a bill that would allow us to grow a new plant that could feed the entire world for fear that we’d be turned into a communist dictatorship or, worse yet, somehow become a very weak nation.

In 2013, surprisingly to all of us, the Senate PASSED a very reasonable BIPARTISAN comprehensive immigration bill—called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013—with 68 senators (Republicans, Independents, and Democrats) voting in favor of this bill.  Attaining 68 senators (out of 100 senators) in favor of any bills these days is virtually impossible but the Senate DID IT, to its credit, passing this reasonable bipartisan bill.  The bill includes:

  • The bill would make it possible for many undocumented immigrants in America before 2012 gain legal status after paying fines and back taxes, passing a background check, and applying for legal status.  It would also make the border more secure by adding up to 40,000 border patrol agents. It also advances talent-based immigration through a points-based immigration system. New visas have been proposed in this legislation, including a visa for entrepreneurs and a W visa. It also proposes new restrictions on H1B visa program to prevent its abuse and additional visas/green-cards for students with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees from U.S. institutions. The bill also includes a $1.5 billion youth jobs program and repeals the Diversity Visa Lottery in favor of prospective legal immigrants who are already in the United States –,_Economic_Opportunity,_and_Immigration_Modernization_Act_of_2013

So with such surprisingly and overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate support for this comprehensive immigration bill (not to mention overwhelmingly public support), why hasn’t this bill become law?

Well, if you thought the Senate was dysfunctional, let me introduce you to our present dysfunctional, at an unprecedented level, House of Representatives.  You must understand that Congress (both the Senate and House of Representatives) base so many of their procedural rules of passing laws on precedence—do what our ancestors did before.  Congress following precedence doesn’t mean the precedence occurred in 1776 when we passed the Declarations of Independence.  Precedence in Congress could have occurred last year if someone in Congress wanted to do things differently than before—and therefore, create a NEW precedence.

Do understand that so MUCH of our current GRIDLOCK with our Congress has to do with NEW precedencies being established over the years by random congresspersons—people who weren’t divinely inspired like our forefathers of the Declaration of Independence and Our Constitution were.  One of these very debilitating precedencies established in the mid-1990s is the Hastert Rule, which is a governing principle NOW followed by the Republicans of the House of Representatives to ONLY bring forth a bill that has the support of the majority of the majority.  Which means, if Republicans occupy the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, say 235 of the 435 total seats—therefore, controlling the Speakership—then the Republicans will ONLY bring forward a bill IF at least 118 of their 235 members support the bill regardless if ALL the other 200 members from the other party support the bill.  Therefore, a small interested minority of the entire United States can hold up legislation at unprecedented levels.  This Hastert Rule was NEVER established by our forefathers and one could easily argue its unconstitutionality because it has no principle of rightness.  There are other debilitating precedencies (i.e. the filibuster) but let’s just focus on the Hastert Rule precedence, for now.

So back to why this overwhelmingly bipartisan support for this comprehensive immigration bill hasn’t become law.  Blame the Hastert Rule because everyone knows if John Boehner (Speaker of the House) just allowed a vote in the House on the Senate’s bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill, it would pass and become law.

So instead of passing solutions in today’s Congress to the many problems we face, we are in constant gridlock.  John Boehner has the POWER and CAPACITY to bring forward this bipartisan immigration bill and, therefore, void the old Hastert Rule precedent.  However, he would undoubtedly lose his Speakership.

After all the chaos and hoopla coming from the right about all these unaccompanied children being apprehended at the border—due to doubling the number of border agents under Obama—we still find ourselves in total gridlock with no solution in sight with Republicans still constantly, relentlessly, and directly blaming Obama for this and every other perceived problem the United States finds itself in.

Even more baffling and confusing for President Obama is the fact that after the Republican House of Representatives couldn’t pass their OWN immigration bill (written solely by republicans) last Thursday (July 31st), they pleaded for Obama to take executive action to fix the current immigration problem…. This plea to Obama to use executive action was a day after the Republican House of Representatives passed the first-ever lawsuit to sue this President for using executive action were needed due to such Congressional gridlock.  Confused?  So am I…

BTW: Obama has used far less executive orders per year than his five predecessors (Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II).

GOP – STOP being outraged!


by Richard Saunders – July 9, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Do we REALLY want to live in a nation that openly and willingly allows mean-spirited bullies of a homogeneous race to continuously and mercilessly spew their vile towards our LEGALLY twice-elected President—espousing over-the-top AND out-of-bounds rhetoric that he’s Unconstitutional, UN-American, Kenyan-born foreigner, Muslim, Fascist, Communist, Dictator, Murderer, Welfare king, Liar-in-chief, American destroyer, and the Worst-President ever?  We MUST condemn these venomous and contagious arguments that only foment hate and anger within our society.  Enough is enough—REAL PATRIOTS MUST Stand-UP and push back against these destructive behaviors!  Real Patriots DON’T constantly and continuously criticize our President for every real or imagined reason (mostly imagined)—these types of behavior produce only greater divisions and problems within our society. I say:

Quit cowering and making excuses for these contemptible actions within our political discourse, stating that this is politics as usual and they’re all corrupt—this is a total cop-out to make YOU feel better!

We—as a society—can’t afford to let cataclysmic propaganda and hate to permeate our society by these constant mudslingers with NO POSITIVE agenda.  We all know that every action produces a reaction; therefore, every NEGATIVE action produces a NEGATIVE reaction.  Let’s not be naïve about this NOT being true—it’s happening in our society right NOW.  Fact: negativity begets negativity.

We’ve come too far and made too much progress as a country, since our Founding Fathers conceived our Declaration of Independence AND our Constitution.  The main guiding principles of our Declaration of Independence AND Constitution ARE Equality (fairness), Freedom (free-will), Prudence (careful judgment), and Democracy (always more good people than bad people).  So let’s use these bedrock principles from our Founding Fathers to help guide us:

  • Is it FAIR and just for individuals to contort every argument into criticizing our President?  At what costs to our Great Nation?
  • Should we use our FREEDOM of speech to distort truths and exploit fear?  At what costs? to our Great Nation?
  • Is it PRUDENT to reflexively  JUDGE our President for any perceived adverse American situation?  At what costs to our Great Nation?
  • Aren’t there many MORE individuals who subscribe to these above principles THAN those who subscribe to unfairly and imprudently using their free speech to criticize our President (DEMOCRACY)?

We are SO lucky that every decision we make isn’t scrutinized to the nth degree with what ifs, hindsight, and any perceived negative motives… Every decision ANYONE makes can be distorted and spun—when you go through an endless loop of other potential BEST-CASE Scenarios without any repercussions since these hypothetical situations are what ifs.  How do we Americans expect to attract great individuals to RUN our country if all we ever do is constantly judge them.  It’s absolutely a formula to put future less-qualified candidates to run America.

Judge less my friends—judge less.  Those who judge the most ARE the ones who WILL be JUDGED the most.  Matthew 7:1 Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged!  Our free market accurately represents our society’s virtues and vices at the primal level.  We MUST continue to learn from ourselves to understand how we can perpetually build a fairer, freer, and more prudent democracy.  In life I hope we can finally acknowledge that we should avoid constant complaining and judging (negativity) because it only increases negativity.  America is STILL the world’s conscience and its strength comes from its system and people—not the President.  However, we can’t become too prideful to blind us from what IS right.  Have these past five years REALLY been as bad as the naysayers continuously claim—I say absolutely NOT.  Look around and smell the roses once in a while, and realize just how great you may really have it in America.

I leave you with this relevant and wonderful Bible passage from Philippians 4: 6-9 to let you ponder about what is RIGHT:

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Love). And the peace of God (Love), which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.


Spotlight: Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’ (1926 AD) – a quick look at this American Masterpiece

Hemingway's 1926 Classic - The Sun Also Rises

Hemingway’s 1926 Classic – The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises – a 1926 novel written by American author Ernest Hemingway – is about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights. An early and enduring modernist novel, it received mixed reviews upon publication. Hemingway biographer Jeffrey Meyers writes that it is “recognized as Hemingway’s greatest work”, and Hemingway scholar Linda Wagner-Martin calls it his most important novel.


In the 1920s Hemingway lived in Paris, was foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star, and traveled to places such as Smyrna to report about the Greco–Turkish War. He wanted to use his journalism experience to write fiction, believing that a story could be based on real events when a writer distilled his own experiences in such a way that, according to biographer Jeffrey Meyers, “what he made up was truer than what he remembered”

The basis for the novel was Hemingway’s 1925 trip to Spain. The setting was unique and memorable, showing seedy café life in Paris, and the excitement of the Pamplona festival, with a middle section devoted to descriptions of a fishing trip in the Pyrenees. Hemingway’s sparse writing style, combined with his restrained use of description to convey characterizations and action, became known as demonstrating the Iceberg Theory.

The novel is a roman à clef; the characters are based on real people of Hemingway’s circle, and the action is based on real events. In the novel, Hemingway presents his notion that the “Lost Generation”, considered to have been decadent, dissolute and irretrievably damaged by World War I, was resilient and strong. Additionally, Hemingway investigates the themes of love, death, renewal in nature, and the nature of masculinity.

Writing Style:

The novel is well known for its style, which is variously described as modern, hard-boiled, or understated. As a novice writer and journalist in Paris, Hemingway turned to Ezra Pound—who had a reputation as “an unofficial minister of culture who acted as mid-wife for new literary talent”—to mark and blue-ink his short stories. From Pound, Hemingway learned to write in the modernist style: he used understatement, pared away sentimentalism, and presented images and scenes without explanations of meaning, most notably at the book’s conclusion, in which multiple future possibilities are left for Brett and Jake. The scholar Anders Hallengren writes that because Hemingway learned from Pound to “distrust adjectives,” he created a style “in accordance with the aesthetics and ethics of raising the emotional temperature towards the level of universal truth by shutting the door on sentiment, on the subjective.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald told Hemingway to “let the book’s action play itself out among its characters.” Hemingway scholar Linda Wagner-Martin writes that, in taking Fitzgerald’s advice, Hemingway produced a novel without a central narrator: “Hemingway’s book was a step ahead; it was the modernist novel.” When Fitzgerald advised Hemingway to trim at least 2500 words from the opening sequence, which was 30 pages long, Hemingway wired the publishers telling them to cut the opening 30 pages altogether. The result was a novel without a focused starting point, which was seen as a modern perspective and critically well received.

Plot Summary:

On the surface the novel is a love story between the protagonist Jake Barnes—a man whose war wound has made him impotent—and the promiscuous divorcée Lady Brett Ashley. Brett’s affair with Robert Cohn causes Jake to be upset and break off his friendship with Cohn; her seduction of the 19-year-old matador Romero causes Jake to lose his good reputation among the Spaniards in Pamplona.

Barnes is an expatriate American journalist living in Paris. He is in love with Lady Brett Ashley, a twice-divorced Englishwoman. Brett, with her bobbed hair and numerous love affairs, embodies the new sexual freedom of the 1920s.

Book One is set in the café society of young American expatriates in Paris. In the opening scenes, Jake plays tennis with his college friend Robert Cohn, picks up a prostitute (Georgette), and runs into Brett and Count Mippipopolous in a nightclub. Later, Brett tells Jake she loves him, but they both know that they have no chance at a stable relationship.

In Book Two, Jake is joined by Bill Gorton, recently arrived from New York, and Brett’s fiancé Mike Campbell, who arrives from Scotland. Jake and Bill travel south and meet Robert Cohn at Bayonne for a fishing trip in the hills northeast of Pamplona. Instead of fishing, Cohn stays in Pamplona to wait for the overdue Brett and Mike. Cohn had an affair with Brett a few weeks earlier and still feels possessive of her despite her engagement to Mike. After Jake and Bill enjoy five days of fishing the streams near Burguete, they rejoin the group in Pamplona.

All begin to drink heavily. Cohn is resented by the others, who taunt him with anti-semitic remarks. During the fiesta the characters drink, eat, watch the running of the bulls, attend bullfights, and bicker with each other. Jake introduces Brett to the 19-year-old matador Romero at the Hotel Montoya; she is smitten with him and seduces him. The jealous tension among the men builds—Jake, Campbell, Cohn, and Romero each want Brett. Cohn, who had been a champion boxer in college, has fistfights with Jake, Mike, and Romero, whom he beats up. Despite his injuries, Romero continues to perform brilliantly in the bullring.

Book Three shows the characters in the aftermath of the fiesta. Sober again, they leave Pamplona; Bill returns to Paris, Mike stays in Bayonne, and Jake goes toSan Sebastián in northeastern Spain. As Jake is about to return to Paris, he receives a telegram from Brett asking for help; she had gone to Madrid with Romero. He finds her there in a cheap hotel, without money, and without Romero. She announces she has decided to go back to Mike. The novel ends with Jake and Brett in a taxi speaking of the things that might have been.


Hemingway’s first novel was arguably his best and most important and came to be seen as an iconic modernist novel. In the book, his characters epitomized the post-war expatriate generation for future generations. He had received good reviews for his volume of short stories, In Our Time, of which Edmund Wilson wrote, “Hemingway’s prose was of the first distinction.” Wilson’s comments were enough to bring attention to the young writer.

Good reviews came in from many major publications. Conrad Aiken wrote in the New York Herald Tribune, “If there is a better dialogue to be written today I do not know where to find it”; and Bruce Barton wrote in The Atlantic that Hemingway “writes as if he had never read anybody’s writing, as if he had fashioned the art of writing himself,” and that the characters “are amazingly real and alive.” Many reviewers, among them H.L. Mencken, praised Hemingway’s style, use of understatement, and tight writing.

Other critics, however, disliked the novel. The Nation‘s critic believed Hemingway’s hard-boiled style was better suited to the short stories published in In Our Time than his novel. Writing in the New Masses, Hemingway’s friend John Dos Passos asked: “What’s the matter with American writing these days? …. The few unsad young men of this lost generation will have to look for another way of finding themselves than the one indicated here.” Privately he wrote Hemingway an apology for the review.

Hemingway’s family hated it. His mother, Grace Hemingway, distressed that she could not face the criticism at her local book study class—where it was said that her son was “prostituting a great ability …. to the lowest uses”—expressed her displeasure in a letter to him:

Reynolds believes The Sun Also Rises could only have been written in 1925: it perfectly captured the period between World War I and the Great Depression, and immortalized a group of characters. In the years since its publication, the novel has been criticized for its anti-Semitism, as expressed in the characterization of Robert Cohn. Reynolds explains that although the publishers complained to Hemingway about his description of bulls, they allowed his use of Jewish epithets, which showed the degree to which anti-Semitism was accepted in the US after World War I. Cohn represented the Jewish establishment and contemporary readers would have understood this from his description. Critics of the 1970s and 1980s considered Hemingway to be misogynistic and homophobic; by the 1990s his work, including The Sun Also Rises, began to receive critical reconsideration by female scholars.

Legacy and Adaption:

Hemingway’s work continued to be popular in the latter half of the century and after his suicide in 1961. During the 1970s, The Sun Also Rises appealed to what Beegel calls the lost generation of the Vietnam era. Aldridge writes that The Sun Also Rises has kept its appeal because the novel is about being young. The characters live in the most beautiful city in the world, spend their days traveling, fishing, drinking, making love, and generally reveling in their youth. He believes the expatriate writers of the 1920s appeal for this reason, but that Hemingway was the most successful in capturing the time and the place in The Sun Also Rises.

The novel made Hemingway famous, inspired young women across America to wear short hair and sweater sets like the heroine’s—and to act like her too—and changed writing style in ways that could be seen in any American magazine published in the next twenty years. In many ways, the novel’s stripped-down prose became a model for 20th-century American writing. Nagel writes that “The Sun Also Rises was a dramatic literary event and its effects have not diminished over the years.”

The success of The Sun Also Rises guaranteed interest from Broadway and Hollywood. In 1956 the novel was adapted to a film of the same name. It was again adapted into a film in 1984. It was adapted into a one-act opera in 2000.

Thanks for following – the eventsfy team


The Misinformation of Obama being a BIG Spender – this & so many things


includes stimulus bill and spending cuts (sequester) during Obama’s Presidency

by Richard Saunders – June 29, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Over these past five years—since the 2008 financial recession stoked the undercurrent of fear within our society—our current far-right republicans have been peddling this fallacious narrative that our Federal Government has become increasingly overbearing, herculean, and running amuck with our tax paying dollars.

“FEAR” sells immensely well in our free-market society—this can’t be emphasized enough!  “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is FEAR,” said influential American author, H.P. Lovecraft.  Marketing wizard Martin Lindstrom—author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy—concluded the following:

Fear absolutely sells! Our primal instinct as human beings is to survive; therefore, fear is key to influence people’s behavior. Fear relates to our survival: Do I have enough to eat? Will I have enough money when I retire? Is that product safe? In this respect, Lindstrom claims that political fear-based advertising is effective because it taps into our primal concerns of survival.

So the bottom line is that “FEAR” is an easy sell or a quick way to make a buck for any corporations or individual trying to sell their product.  We MUST understand that the constant peddling of “FEAR” by the far-right and Fox News isn’t the true reality—it’s based on selling their product (ratings)!  These organizations and individuals are absolutely opportunistic—taking advantage of the “FEAR” spawned by the 2008 financial recession and the election of the first black president.

So why are there so many fearful individuals today?  It’s absolutely a direct result of the immensely successful selling techniques by the far-right media and Fox News.  Fox News continuously gloats about having the best ratings among the cable news channels, yet what DOES it really sell?  Journalism with REAL “Fair and Balance” news?  No it doesn’t. It sells a constant theme of “FEAR,” doom-and-gloom scenarios, and what ifs.  At what cost does this constant “FEAR” peddling have on us?  It should be quite obvious—look at the behavior of our politicians.  Our politicians’ behaviors are a direct reflection of what has been propagated and sold to our society and their constituents.  The root of our dysfunctional government ISN’T our politicians—it’s the “FEAR” and anger being sold to us by the far-right media.  So what are the consequences going to be to these organizations and individuals who sell exclusively or predominantly “FEAR” to us at such destructive costs?

Contrary to the “FEAR-SELLING” far-right organizations—let’s look at the REALITY of what has really transpired over these last five years of Obama’s Presidency:

  • We avoided a TRUE financial depression because of CORRECT government policies based on the tried-and-true Keynesian theory—increase demand during market crashes
  • America’s homeland has been extremely safe from foreign terrorist attacks—not easy since many more terrorists have been created since the Iraq War began
  • Al Qaeda mastermind and spiritual leader, Osama Bin Laden, has been killed
  • Benghazi mastermind and Leader, Ahmed Abu Khattala, has been captured in less than two years from the attack—much faster than typical for terrorist attackers
  • Private-Sector economy is adding around 200,000 new jobs every month—about the same rate as before the 2008 financial crisis
  • The Stock Market (Down Jones Industrial)—our most revered indicator of our economy’s health—has increased from 6,500 in March 2009 to 16,800 in June 2014 (an ASTONISHING and AMAZING 158 percent increase in just five years)
  • A record-breaking increase of 1,250,000 New U.S. household millionaires in 2013 according to Boston Consultant Group
  • The national average Real Estate Market has increased from 140 in March 2009 to 170 in May 2014—an increase, NOT a decrease, of 21 percent—based on S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home index
  • Corporation profits are at ALL-TIME record highs
  • Crime rates in America are at the lowest rate since the 1960s based on the Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Inflation has been at the lowest rate since the 1950s
  • Medical Inflation is also at the slowest pace in 50 years—according to The Wall Street Journal and contrary to any conservative talking point

Now let’s finally debunk the far-right’s MAIN “FEAR-SELLING” argument that they have been peddling these past five years—excluding their entire anti-Obama agenda, which is another whole issue that would require its own article.  The far-right has been peddling this fallacious “FEAR-SELLING” narrative that our Federal Government has been growing out-of-control—especially over these last five years—and that we should be “frightened” about our liberties being violated and this out-of-control Federal Government.

To understand if our government is truly getting larger or not, we MUST establish some consistent parameters to measure the size of our government over a long period of time—this is the only way to really understand the truth.  So what’s our baseline to measure the historical trend of our government size?  The baseline measurement should BE the  annual Federal Spending as a percentage of our GDP—Gross Domestic Product, which is a measurement of the size of our economy.  This measurement is BEST because it shows the proportion of our government spending to our GDP; therefore, if our government were ACTUALLY becoming more burdensome on the free-market economy, then the proportion of our government  spending to our GDP would be increasing, correct?  This measurement is also BEST because as our GDP has grown so has our population, companies, industries, infrastructure, and foreign affair relationships and assistance; therefore, more Federal Government overall has been needed.  A government that provides its services to a population of 100 million must increase its size to provide its services to a population of 350 million—does anyone disagree with this premise?  So if we use the annual Federal Spending as percentage of GDP to measure the size of our government, you can much more correctly measure the growth or burden, if any, of our Federal Government on our free-market economy.

Since 1974 the average annual Federal Spending as a percentage of our GDP has been 20.5 percent.  After we implemented the 2009 American Recovery Act—which was TEMPORARY spending to off-set the lack of demand due to the 2008 financial crisis and was GREATLY needed (ask any TRUE economist, not a political talking head who doesn’t have the expertise in this arena)—we are NOW back at the average annual Federal Spending rate of approximately 20.5 percent of GDP in 2014.  See chart below:

Federal Spending

A few side notes:

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office, the annual Federal Tax Revenue as a percentage of GDP has been at a historical low of 15.3 percent during the Obama Presidency yet the TEA Party (Taxed Enough Already) was created—quite baffling indeed and undoubtedly stirred up by the “FEAR-SELLING” far-right machine
  • When Federal Revenue as a percentage of GDP is lower than before, We Americans ARE KEEPING more of our money – not less as so many people believe.
  • The 2008 Financial Recession caused a fall in our 4th Quarter 2008 GDP by 6.3 percent—worst since 1982.  Therefore—using simple arithmetic—when our GDP decreases so much in any year (i.e. 2009), the annual Federal Spending as a percentage of GDP will naturally increase.  ALSO, during recessions, safety-net spending (unemployment benefits, food stamps, increase of medicaid recipients, and other Government assistant programs AUTOMATICALLY increase without any Legislative Bill

However—this CAN’T be emphasized enough—the percentage of Federal Spending in 1974 towards Social Securing, Medicare, and Interest Expense on our debt represented about 25 percent of ALL Federal Spending.  In 2014 the percentage of Federal Spending towards Social Security, Medicare, and Interest Expense on our debt represents OVER 50 percent of ALL Federal Spending—according to CBO.  Therefore, in 1974 using simple math, total Federal discretionary spending  (excluding SS, Medicare, and Interest Expense) was about 15 percent of GDP (total Federal spending was about 20 percent of GDP X 75 percent that was for Federal discretionary spending); AND NOW using simple math, total Federal discretionary spending (excluding SS, Medicare, and Interest Expense) is about 10 percent (total Federal spending is about 20 percent of GDP X 50 percent that is for Federal discretionary spending).  One must conclude discretionary spending has decreased.

DO understand that Federal Spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Interest Expense go directly TO regular individuals—NOT to governmental agencies to pay for government employees (only a fraction does)—and we have deemed these Federal Spendings sacrosanct or absolutely necessary for our society—see charts below:



entitlement-interest-budget-squeeze-data-580_1.jpg (580×380)


Therefore, we MUST conclude that the Federal Spending towards EVERYTHING else—besides Social Security, Medicare, and Net Interest on our debt—has been GREATLY decreasing.  Can anyone conclude otherwise?  I’m not at all a proponent for a larger government—quite the contrary.  In fact, I believe that the Federal Government provides its services ONLY until the private sector can provide these services instead—realizing that this is a very long view point.  This has been the long-term trend since the establishment of our Federal Government.   A non-exhaustive list of many industries that have gone from predominately or exclusively public to more-and-more private over time below:

  • Railroads
  • Universities and other Schools
  • Energy
  • Telephones
  • NASA
  • Defense Spending
  • Long-term care
  • Roads and bridges

Have we really become this paranoid nation with all this indignant anger?  We need to Stand Up and push back against this “FEAR-SELLING” far-right machine—don’t’ buy it anymore!  Don’t argue that the left DOES “FEAR-SELLING” too so why don’t you call THEM out!  Well, right now – more than I’ve ever experienced and seen before – the GOP is absolutely the perpetrators of this outrageous “FEAR-SELLING.”  Over these past five years, THESE organizations have been so destructive for our Federal Government getting anything done. – thus hurting our Great Nation  These organizations are absolutely at the ROOT of the problems of our current dysfunctional Federal Government.  You can’t be disinterested and a bystander any longer—stating that all politicians are corrupt is strictly a copout of not trying.  You have been endowed by our ancestors with the responsibility to defend our nation against any threats—both domestic and foreign—that harm our Great Nation.  The threat facing our GREAT nation right now is our inability to accomplish anything in Congress—almost SOLELY because of the “FEAR-SELLING” and misinformation of far-right organizations.  STAND UP silent majority—STAND UP and push back!


Spotlight: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) – many times “classics” take time to bloom

Original cover of 'The Great Gatsby

Original cover of ‘The Great Gatsby – 1925

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

Fitzgerald, inspired by the parties he had attended while visiting Long Island’s north shore, began planning the novel in 1923 desiring to produce, in his words, “something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned.”

First published by Scribner’s in April 1925, The Great Gatsby received mixed reviews and sold poorly; in its first year, the book sold only 20,000 copies. Fitzgerald died in 1940, believing himself to be a failure and his work forgotten. However, the novel experienced a revival during World War II, and became a part of American high school curricula and numerous stage and film adaptations in the following decades. Today, The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary classic and a contender for the title “Great American Novel.” The book is consistently ranked among the greatest works of American literature. In 1998 the Modern Library editorial board voted it the best American novel and the second best novel in the English language.

Historical Context:

Set in the prosperous Long Island of 1922, The Great Gatsby provides a critical social history of America during the Roaring Twenties within its narrative. That era, known for unprecedented economic prosperity, the evolution of jazz music, flapper culture, and bootlegging and other criminal activity, is plausibly depicted in Fitzgerald’s novel. Fitzgerald uses these societal developments of the 1920s to build Gatsby’s stories from simple details like automobiles to broader themes like Fitzgerald’s discreet allusions to the organized crime culture which was the source of Gatsby’s fortune. Fitzgerald educates his readers about the garish society of the Roaring Twenties by placing a timeless, relatable plotline within the historical context of the era.

Many of the events in Fitzgerald’s early life are reflected throughout The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald is also similar to Jay Gatsby, as he fell in love while stationed in the military and fell into a life of decadence trying to prove himself to the girl he loves. Fitzgerald became a second lieutenant, and was stationed at Camp Sheridan, in Montgomery, Alabama. There he met and fell in love with a wild seventeen-year-old beauty named Zelda Sayre. Zelda finally agreed to marry him, but her overpowering desire for wealth, fun, and leisure led her to delay their wedding until he could prove a success. Like Nick in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald found this new lifestyle seductive and exciting, and, like Gatsby, he had always idolized the very rich. In many ways, The Great Gatsby represents Fitzgerald’s attempt to confront his conflicting feelings about the Jazz Age. Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald was driven by his love for a woman who symbolized everything he wanted, even as she led him toward everything he despised.

Cover Art:

The cover of the first printing of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of art in American literature. It depicts disembodied eyes and a mouth over a blue skyline, with images of naked women reflected in the irises. A little-known artist named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the book while Fitzgerald was in the midst of writing it.  


Several writers felt that the novel left much to be desired following Fitzgerald’s previous works and promptly criticized him. Harvey Eagleton of The Dallas Morning News believed the novel signaled the end of Fitzgerald’s success: “One finishes Great Gatsby with a feeling of regret, not for the fate of the people in the book, but for Mr. Fitzgerald.”John McClure of The Times-Picayune opined that the book was unconvincing, writing, “Even in conception and construction, The Great Gatsby seems a little raw.” Ralph Coghlan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch felt the book lacked what made Fitzgerald’s earlier novels endearing and called the book “a minor performance … At the moment, its author seems a bit bored and tired and cynical.” Ruth Snyder of New York Evening World called the book’s style “painfully forced”, noting that the editors of the paper were “quite convinced after reading The Great Gatsby that Mr. Fitzgerald is not one of the great American writers of to-day.” The reviews struck Fitzgerald as completely missing the point: “All the reviews, even the most enthusiastic, not one had the slightest idea what the book was about.”


In 1940, Fitzgerald suffered a third and final heart attack, and died believing his work forgotten. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned Gatsby as evidence of great potential that was never reached. However, a strong appreciation for the book had developed in underground circles, The republication of Gatsby in Edmund Wilson’s edition of The Last Tycoon in 1941 produced an outburst of comment, with the general consensus expressing the sentiment that the book was an enduring work of fiction.

In 1942, a group of publishing executives created the Council on Books in Wartime. The purpose of the Council was to distribute paperback books to soldiers fighting in the Second World War. The Great Gatsby was one of these books. The books proved to be “as popular as pin-up girls” among the soldiers, according to the Saturday Evening Post’s contemporary report. 155,000 copies of Gatsby were distributed to soldiers overseas, and it is believed that this publicity ultimately boosted the novel’s popularity and sales.

By 1944, full-length articles on Fitzgerald’s works were being published, and the following year, “the opinion that Gatsby was merely a period piece had almost entirely disappeared.”  During a revival of Fitzgerald’s works in 1945, Gatsby gained readers when Armed Services Editions gave away 150,000 copies of it to military personnel in World War II.  During the 1950s, the book gradually became part of standard high school curriculum required reading in the United States. In 1951, Arthur Mizener published The Far Side of Paradise, a biography of Fitzgerald. He emphasized the book’s positive reception by literary critics who may have influenced public opinion, and renewed interest in it.

By 1960, the book was steadily selling 50,000 copies per year, and renewed interest led New York Times editorialist Arthur Mizener to proclaim the novel “a classic of twentieth-century American fiction.” The Great Gatsby has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.The book annually sells 500,000 copies and is Scribner’s most popular title; in 2013, the e-book alone sold 185,000 copies.

thanks for following – the eventsfy team


Spotligh: Bauhaus Art School (Theory) 1919 – how it has influenced us?


Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was an art school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term Bauhaus literally meant “house of construction,” and was understood as meaning “School of Building.”

The Bauhaus was first founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar with the idea of creating a “total” work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus style later became one of the most influential currents in modern design, Modernist architecture and art, design and architectural education. The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

The school existed in three German cities: Weimar from 1919 to 1925, Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and Berlin from 1932 to 1933, under three different architect-directors: Walter Gropius from 1919 to 1928, Hannes Meyer from 1928 to 1930 and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe from 1930 until 1933, when the school was closed by its own leadership under pressure from the Nazi regime. The Nazi government claimed that it was a center of communist intellectualism. Though the school was closed, the staff continued to spread its idealistic precepts as they left Germany and emigrated all over the world.


The creation of Bauhaus—Why and How?

Germany’s defeat in World War I, the fall of the German monarchy and the abolition of censorship under the new, liberal Weimar Republic allowed an upsurge of radical experimentation in all the arts, previously suppressed by the old regime. Many Germans of left-wing views were influenced by the cultural experimentation that followed the Russian Revolution, such as constructivism. Just as important was the influence of the 19th century English designer William Morris, who had argued that art should meet the needs of society and that there should be no distinction between form and function. Thus the Bauhaus style, also known as the International Style, was marked by the absence of ornamentation and by harmony between the function of an object or a building and its design.

However, the most important influence on Bauhaus was modernism, a cultural movement whose origins lay as far back as the 1880s, and which had already made its presence felt in Germany before the World War, despite the prevailing conservatism. The design innovations commonly associated with Gropius and the Bauhaus—the radically simplified forms, the rationality and functionality, and the idea that mass-production was reconcilable with the individual artistic spirit—were already partly developed in Germany before the Bauhaus was founded.

The Bauhaus was founded at a time when the German zeitgeist had turned from emotional Expressionism to the matter-of-fact New Objectivity. An entire group of working architects, including Erich Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut and Hans Poelzig, turned away from fanciful experimentation, and turned toward rational, functional, sometimes standardized building. The acceptance of modernist design into everyday life was the subject of publicity campaigns, well-attended public exhibitions like the Weissenhof Estate, films, and sometimes fierce public debate.

World Impact:

The Bauhaus had a major impact on art and architecture trends in Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Israel in the decades following its demise, as many of the artists involved fled, or were exiled by, the Nazi regime. Tel Aviv in 2004 was named to the list of world heritage sites by the UN due to its abundance of Bauhaus architecture; it had some 4,000 Bauhaus buildings erected from 1933 on.

The Bauhaus has helped produce The Aluminum City Terrace in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, the Alan I W Frank House in Pittsburgh, the Institute of Design (part of Illinois Institute of Technology), among other projects.

The influence of the Bauhaus on design education was significant. One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus was to unify art, craft, and technology, and this approach was incorporated into the curriculum of the Bauhaus. The structure of the Bauhaus Vorkurs (preliminary course) reflected a pragmatic approach to integrating theory and application. In their first year, students learnt the basic elements and principles of design and color theory, and experimented with a range of materials and processes. This approach to design education became a common feature of architectural and design school in many countries.

One of the most important contributions of the Bauhaus is in the field of modern furniture design. The ubiquitous Cantilever chair and the Wassily Chair designed by Marcel Breuer are two examples. (Breuer eventually lost a legal battle in Germany with Dutch architect/designer Mart Stam over the rights to the cantilever chair patent. Although Stam had worked on the design of the Bauhaus’s 1923 exhibit in Weimar, and guest-lectured at the Bauhaus later in the 1920s, he was not formally associated with the school, and he and Breuer had worked independently on the cantilever concept, thus leading to the patent dispute.) The single most profitable tangible product of the Bauhaus was its wallpaper.

Thanks for following – eventsfy team


Spotlight: The Armory Show – the first large exhibition of modern and provocative art in America (1913)


281px-Robert_Henri_-_Figure_en_mouvement Robert Henri, Figure in Motion (1913)


Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors—the first large exhibition of modern art in America. The three-city exhibition started in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, 1913. The exhibition went on to show at the Art Institute of Chicago and then to The Copley Society of Art in Boston, where, due to a lack of space, all the work by American artists was removed. The show became an important event in the history of American art, introducing astonished Americans, who were accustomed to realistic art, to the experimental styles of the European Avant-garde, including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own “artistic language.”


On 14 December 1911 an early meeting of what would become the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS) was organized at Madison Gallery in New York. Four artists met to discuss the contemporary art scene in the United States, and the possibilities of organizing exhibitions of progressive artworks by living American and foreign artists, favoring works ignored or rejected by current exhibitions.

Once the space had been secured, the most complicated planning task was selecting the art for the show, particularly after the decision was made to include a large proportion of vanguard European work, most of which had never been seen by an American audience.

The Armory Show was the first, and, ultimately, the only exhibition mounted by the AAPS. It displayed some 1,300 paintings, sculptures, and decorative works by over 300 avant-garde European and American artists. Impressionist, Fauvist, and Cubist works were represented. News reports and reviews were filled with accusations of quackery, insanity, immorality, and anarchy, as well as parodies, caricatures, doggerels and mock exhibitions. About the modern works, former President Theodore Roosevelt declared, “That’s not art!” The civil authorities did not, however, close down, or otherwise interfere with, the show.

Among the scandalously radical works of art, pride of place goes to Marcel Duchamp’s cubist/futurist style Nude Descending a Staircase, painted the year before, in which he expressed motion with successive superimposed images, as in motion pictures. Julian Street, an art critic, wrote that the work resembled “an explosion in a shingle factory” (this quote is also attributed to Joel Spingarn), and cartoonists satirized the piece. Gutzon Borglum, one of the early organizers of the show who for a variety of reasons withdrew both his organizational prowess and his work, labeled this piece A staircase descending a nude, while J. F. Griswold, a writer for the New York Evening Sun, entitled it The rude descending a staircase (Rush hour in the subway). The painting was purchased from the Armory Show by Fredric C. Torrey of San Francisco.

The purchase of Paul Cézanne’s Hill of the Poor (View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph) by the Metropolitan Museum of Art signaled an integration of modernism into the established New York museums, but among the younger artists represented, Cézanne was already an established master.


The original exhibition was an overwhelming success. There have been several exhibitions that were celebrations of its legacy throughout the 20th century.

In 1944 the Cincinnati Art Museum mounted a smaller version, in 1958 Amherst College held an exhibition of 62 works, 41 of which were in the original show, and in 1963 the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York organized the “1913 Armory Show 50th Anniversary Exhibition” sponsored by the Henry Street Settlement in New York, which included more than 300 works.

Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was officially launched by the engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and the artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitmanwhen they collaborated in 1966 and together organized 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, a series of performance art presentations that united artists and engineers. Ten artists worked with more than 30 engineers to produce art performances incorporating new technology. The performances were held in the 69th Regiment Armory, as an homage to the original and historical 1913 Armory show.

In February 2009, the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) presented its 21st annual Art Show to benefit the Henry Street Settlement, at the Seventh Regiment Armory, located between 66th and 67th Streets and Park and Lexington Avenues in New York City. The exhibition began as a historical homage to the original 1913 Armory Show.

Starting with a small exhibition in 1994, by 2001 the “New” New York Armory Show, held in piers on the Hudson River, evolved into a “hugely entertaining” (New York Times) annual contemporary arts festival with a strong commercial bent. The 2008 and 2009 Armory Shows did not hold back on the more crude and vulgar works, which are not unknown for the show, which has been less tame in past years.

On November 5, 2013, Swann Auction Galleries in New York will hold their Armory Show at 100 Auction, which will exhibit works by over 100 of the artists represented in the original 1913 exhibition. The carefully curated catalogue includes works by Henri Matisse, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Francis Picabia, Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis and Alfred Henry Maurer to name several. Swann is the only auction gallery that will hold a specialized auction commemorating the 1913 Armory Show.

Commemorating the Centennial

Five physical exhibitions in 2013 celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Armory Show, as well as a number of publications, virtual exhibitions, and programs. The first exhibition, “The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913,” opened at the Montclair Art Museum on Feb. 17, 2013, a hundred years to the day from the original. The second exhibition organized by the New-York Historical Society, titled “The Armory Show at 100,” took place from October 18, 2013 through February 23, 2014. The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, which lent dozens of historic documents to both the New York Historical Society and Montclair for the exhibitions, has created an online timeline of events, 1913 Armory Show: the Story in Primary Sources, to showcase the records and documents created by the show’s organizers. Showing contemporary work, a third exhibition, The Fountain Art Fair, was held at the 69th Regiment Armory itself during the 100th anniversary during March 8-10, 2013. The ethos of Fountain Art Fair was inspired by Duchamp’s famous, “Fountain” which was the symbol of the Fair. The Art Institute of Chicago, which was the only museum to host the 1913 Armory Show, presented works February 20 – May 12, 2013, the items drawn from the museum’s modern collection that were displayed in the original 1913 exhibition. The DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois presented For and Against Modern Art: The Armory Show +100, from April 4 to June 16, 2013. In addition, the Greenwich Historical Society presented The New Spirit and the Cos Cob Art Colony: Before and After the Armory Show, from October 9, 2013, through January 12, 2014. The show focused on the effects of the Armory Show on the Cos Cob Art Colony, and highlighted the involvement of artists such as Elmer Livingston MacRae and Henry Fitch Taylor in producing the show.

American filmmaker Michael Maglaras produced a documentary film about the Armory Show entitled, “The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show”. The film premiered on September 26, 2013, at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut.

 thanks for following – the eventsfy team


Spotlight: Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (the young ladies of Avignon)

Les Demoiselles

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon, and originally titled The Brothel of Avignon): 

Is a large oil painting created in 1907 by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). The work portrays five nude female prostitutes from a brothel on Carrer d’Avinyó (Avinyó Street) in Barcelona. Each figure is depicted in a disconcerting confrontational manner and none are conventionally feminine. The women appear as slightly menacing and rendered with angular and disjointed body shapes. Two are shown with African mask-like faces and three more with faces in the Iberian style of Picasso’s native Spain, giving them a savage aura. In this adaptation of Primitivism and abandonment of perspective in favor of a flat, two-dimensional picture plane, Picasso makes a radical departure from traditional European painting. The proto-cubist work is widely considered to be seminal in the early development of both cubism and modern art. Demoiselles was revolutionary and controversial, and led to wide anger and disagreement, even amongst his closest associates and friends.

Painted in Paris during the summer of 1907, Picasso had created hundreds of sketches and studies in preparation for the final work. He long acknowledged the importance of Spanish art and Iberian sculpture as influences on the painting. The work is believed by critics to be influenced by African tribal masks and the art of Oceania.  Although Picasso denied the connection; many art historians remain skeptical about his denials. Several experts maintain that, at the very least, Picasso visited the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro (known today as Musée de l’Homme) in the spring of 1907 where he saw and was unconsciously influenced by African and Tribal art several months before completing Demoiselles. Some critics argue that the painting was a reaction to Henri Matisse’s Le bonheur de vivre andBlue Nude.

At the time of its first exhibition in 1916, the painting was deemed immoral. In the nine years after its creation, Picasso had always referred to it as mon bordel (my brothel) or Le Bordel d’Avignon, but art critic André Salmon, who managed its first exposition, re-titled it Les Demoiselles d’Avignon to lessen its scandalous impact on the public. Picasso never liked Salmon’s title, and would have preferred las chicas de Avignon instead.

Impact of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

Although Les Demoiselles had an enormous and profound influence on modern art, its impact was not immediate, and the painting stayed in Picasso’s studio for many years. At first, only Picasso’s intimate circle of artists, dealers, collectors and friends were aware of the work. While many were shocked and some outraged, influential people such as Georges Braque and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler were supportive. 

Les Demoiselles would not be exhibited until 1916, and not widely recognized as a revolutionary achievement until the early 1920s, when André Breton (1896–1966) published the work.

Interpretation of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

Picasso drew each figure differently. The woman pulling the curtain on the far right has heavy paint application throughout. Her head is the most cubist of all five, featuring sharp geometric shapes. The curtain seems to blend partially into her body. The cubist head of the crouching figure underwent at least two revisions from an Iberian figure to its current state. She also seems to have been drawn from two different perspectives at once, creating a confusing, twisted figure. The woman above her is rather manly, with a dark face and square chest. The whole picture is in a two-dimensional style, with an abandoned perspective.

Much of the critical debate that has taken place over the years centers on attempting to account for this multiplicity of styles within the work. The dominant understanding for over five decades, espoused most notably by Alfred Barr, the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and organizer of major career retrospectives for the artist, has been that it can be interpreted as evidence of a transitional period in Picasso’s art, an effort to connect his earlier work to Cubism, the style he would help invent and develop over the next five or six years.


About Pablo Picasso:

Picasso came into his own as an important artist during the first decade of the 20th century. He arrived in Paris from Spain around the turn of the century as a young, ambitious painter out to make a name for himself. Although he eventually left most of his friends, relatives and contacts in Spain, he continued to live and paint in Spain while making regular trips back to France. For several years he alternated between living and working in Barcelona, Madrid and the Spanish countryside, and made frequent trips to Paris. By 1904, he was fully settled in Paris and had established several studios, important relationships with both friends and colleagues. Between 1901 and 1904, Picasso began to achieve recognition for his Blue period paintings. In the main these were studies of poverty and desperation based on scenes he had seen in Spain and Paris at the turn of the century. Subjects included gaunt families, blind figures, and personal encounters; other paintings depicted his friends, but most reflected and expressed a sense of blueness and despair.

He followed his success by developing into his Rose period from 1904 to 1907, which introduced a strong element of sensuality and sexuality into his work. The Rose period depictions of acrobats, circus performers and theatrical characters are rendered in warmer, brighter colors and are far more hopeful and joyful in their depictions of the bohemian life in the Parisian avant-garde and its environs.  While he already had a considerable following by the middle of 1906, Picasso enjoyed further success with his paintings of massive over-sized nude women, monumental sculptural figures that recalled the work of Paul Gauguin and showed his interest in primitive (African, Micronesian, Native American) art. He began exhibiting his work in the galleries of Berthe Weill (1865–1951) and Ambroise Vollard (1866–1939), quickly gaining a growing reputation and a following amongst the artistic community of Montparnasse.


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