Marjorie Cameron-Jack Parsons-Babalon Rising

Cameron’s Connections to Scientology and Powerful Men Once Drew Headlines, But Now Her Art Is Getting Its Due

Cameron's East Angel

Cameron’s East Angel
Courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation, Santa Monica

Marjorie Elizabeth Cameron Parsons Kimmel always detested her first name. An artist and cult figure, she preferred simply “Cameron,” the name she used when signing most of her captivating, often phantasmagoric and occasionally pornographic drawings, paintings, watercolors and poems. Of “Marjorie,” she joked in a 1995 interview, “I call her my secretary. She deals with that world out there.”

Nearly 20 years after her death, Cameron’s unique body of work has finally landed the artist a museum retrospective at MOCA — “Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman,” which shares a title with a new book published by U.K.-based Fulgur Esoterica, featuring art by Cameron and poems by her first husband, Marvel “John” Whiteside Parsons, also known as “Jack.”

Cameron lived one of the 20th century’s more remarkable lives, and was a contemporary to some of its most prominent men, beginning with Parsons, a rocket scientist and occultist, who co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In postwar Los Angeles, she hobnobbed with actors Russ Tamblyn and Dennis Hopper, worked with prominent artist Wallace Berman, participated in occult rituals with L. Ron Hubbard and starred in a film by underground auteur Kenneth Anger.

But why wasn’t Cameron’s work recognized while she was alive, and why is that changing now? The clues are in the artist’s own life story, recorded in interviews by friends Carol Caldwell and Scott Hobbs (Hobbs later founded the Cameron Parsons Foundation, which maintains an archive today), as well as an interview conducted by author and art historian Sandra Leonard Starr, who donated the tape to the Getty Research Institute.

Marjorie Cameron

Marjorie Cameron
Courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation, Santa Monica

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Along with firsthand accounts given to the Weekly by Cameron’s surviving colleagues, friends and family, the interviews help paint a portrait of a dedicated artist who nevertheless had a tortured relationship with her work — and who couldn’t help but bear scars from the tragedy that made her an independent woman.

When he met Marjorie Cameron in 1946, Jack Parsons was living in an impressive, 11-bedroom house, which Cameron later described as “a big old mansion on South Orange Grove Avenue,” also known as “Millionaire’s Row.”

The home was the U.S. headquarters of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a Masonic-inspired fraternal society then under the leadership of British occultist Aleister Crowley, who developed the complex religious philosophy of Thelema. Its tenet is, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.” Crowley was grooming Parsons to be his successor, even though the two had never met, corresponding mostly through letters.

Parsons also had fallen in with a crowd of science-fiction buffs who were intrigued by Parsons’ involvement with both science and the occult. Among them was L. Ron Hubbard, who would later form the Church of Scientology.

According to George Pendle’s comprehensive 2005 biography of Parsons, Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons, the rocketeer had been trying to conjure an “elemental mate” with Hubbard’s assistance. Inspired by “an old magical system” devised by Queen Elizabeth I’s astrologer, Hubbard and Parsons went to the Mojave Desert and positioned themselves at the crossing of a pair of huge power lines. After two weeks of prolonged experiment, Parsons said, “I turned to [Hubbard] and said ‘It is done,’ in absolute certainty that the operation was accomplished. I returned home, and found a young woman answering the requirements waiting for me.” It was Cameron.

For Cameron, the story is perhaps less romantic. She wasn’t the result of a magical experiment; she came from the Midwest, raised in a family that later moved to Southern California. And in her version, Cameron, then 24, met Parsons through a mutual acquaintance.

“When I got out of the Navy, I came home to Pasadena and went to the unemployment office to collect my check, and somebody I had known in the service — who I had never really liked — contacted me and told me about this mad scientist that [lived] in Pasadena that he wanted me to meet,” she said in a 1995 interview with Caldwell and Hobbs.

The oldest of four children, Cameron was born in 1922 and raised in the small town of Belle Plaine, Iowa. Her precocious talent as an artist and a provocateur had been apparent even as a student in the second grade.

Cameron's Black Egg

Cameron’s Black Egg
Courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation, Santa Monica

“I was sitting in the back row and I drew a picture of somebody shitting,” she later recalled to Caldwell and Hobbs. As a crowd of classmates inevitably gathered, the budding artist caught the attention of her teacher, who tried to confiscate the image. “She took me to the principal’s office and I sat there all afternoon with that paper in my hand, refusing to give it up…,” Cameron said. “I call that my first exhibit.”

As a child, she was restless and rebellious. She hopped freight trains for fun, had vibrant dreams and thought about magic on long, moonlight walks. And after one of her closest friends killed herself in high school, Cameron admitted she too had tried to commit suicide a number of times. “I became the town pariah,” she told Caldwell and Hobbs. “Nobody would let their kid near me.”

After high school graduation, she enlisted in the Navy, joining the WAVES. She worked in the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, followed by a period in a naval photographic unit near Washington, D.C. After the war, Cameron moved to the Los Angeles area, where almost all of her immediate family members had found jobs at Caltech or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

When Cameron met the lab’s co-founder, Parsons, she would later tell Caldwell and Hobbs, they immediately spent two weeks together holed up in Parsons’ bed.

Parsons was already in the process of divorcing his wife of a decade. Within a year of meeting, in October 1946, Cameron and Parsons were married in a civil ceremony in San Juan Capistrano.

It was shortly before this time that Cameron participated in a ritual on which sci-fi fans would fixate for decades to come. With L. Ron Hubbard as “the Scribe,” Parsons as “High Priest” and Cameron as the “Scarlet Woman,” Parsons hoped to manifest a goddess in human form through what he called the “Babalon Working” ritual.

The ritual, Pendle explains to L.A. Weekly, was “Parsons’ attempt to usher in a new era in mankind’s history. He believed that this age would begin with the arrival of Babalon, a female goddess in human form.” Parsons’ “Babalon,” inspired by the “Babylon” in the Bible’s Book of Revelations, “was to bring about a new libertarian age of free love and anti-authoritarianism, a world vision that was fulfilled, to a certain extent, with the arrival of the ’60s.”

He continues, “Cameron was an intrinsic part of this summoning, and Parsons bound her to him through this epoch-changing event. This was not just an intense relationship, it was an apocalyptic one. Even after Parsons’ death, the Babalon Working would stay with Cameron, infusing her life with a narrative of epic proportions.”

In interviews, however, Cameron was more circumspect: “They worked with me without telling me what was going on. Everybody assumes that I was in on it — that I really knew. But I didn’t know.”

According to Cameron, Hubbard ran off to Miami soon after the ritual, and “the communications got more and more weird.” A Ouija board instructed her and Parsons to get rid of Hubbard’s stuff and get the hell out of their house, she said, so they did.

While Cameron described her relationship with Parsons as a love story, it wasn’t without drama. Beginning in 1948, she lived in Mexico for two years after she and Parsons agreed to an open marriage. “I associated with homosexuals, I had lovers among bullfighters, I went nude bathing with mariachis, I danced in a whorehouse…” she recalled in a 1977 recording. After an impassioned letter–writing affair with Parsons, however, Cameron moved back to California to physically reunite with him.

Around that time, Cameron and Parsons met Wallace Berman, who was at the center of a creative scene that was to become the de facto SoCal chapter of the Beat movement. At the time, though, he was still making ends meet as a professional furniture distresser.

His widow, Shirley Berman, now 80, recalls first meeting Cameron and Parsons at one of the couple’s Pasadena parties. Berman says, “She was this beautiful, flaming redhead, and she had this husband that, when we were introduced, I almost fainted. He was, like, the most gorgeous movie star. I mean, he was really good-looking,” Berman also remembers the couple’s enchanting home inside a three-story coach house: “If I had a place to live all my life, it would have been that house. It was just unbelievable.”

Cameron and Shirley Berman would remain in contact until Cameron’s death, though Berman says her friend would disappear for months at a time. Cameron’s broad interests and subsequent association with different social groups is one of the things her surviving contacts remember most about her, Berman included.

“Cameron had many different crowds of friends, and I think she was a different personality with each crowd,” Berman says. “She wasn’t an even personality at all, but she was always a very gracious person, and I think that’s what I really loved so much about her.”

Cameron’s controversial Peyote Vision (1955)

Cameron’s controversial Peyote Vision (1955)
Courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation, Santa Monica

On June 17, 1952, the unthinkable happened: Jack Parsons was killed in an explosion in his home lab. He was just 37. He and Cameron had planned to travel to Mexico the following day, and the explosion happened while she was out putting gas in their car.

Officially, the cause of death was an accident brought on by mishandled chemicals, but Cameron always felt there was something else going on. According to Parsons’ public FBI file, the bureau had been investigating Parsons and suspected he was a communist, which fueled her paranoia. “See, my husband died violently in an explosion and it was at the height of the witch hunt here in California, and I have no doubt that my husband was murdered,” she told art historian Starr in the late 1980s.

But given Parsons’ track record with explosives, it’s not implausible that it was simply an unfortunate incident. A near-deadly gas-apparatus explosion in 1939 involving Parsons and his partner in rocketry, Edward Forman, had earned them the dubious nickname “suicide squad.”

Forman, who was Parsons’ best man at his wedding to Cameron, believed his death was an accident, too. “I think it was just wishful thinking on her part, in a way,” Berman agrees.

Cameron was devastated by Parsons’ sudden death. So was Parsons’ mother, who immediately committed suicide after receiving word that her only son was dead.

The media hounded Parsons’ widow. A photo of a distraught Cameron appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times under the banner headline, “Rocket Scientist Killed in Pasadena Explosion.” Within three days after Parsons’ death, news of his occult ties had reached the media. “Slain Scientist Priest in Black Magic Cult,” the Los Angeles Mirror exclaimed, running a picture of Parsons alongside a photo of a turban-clad Crowley smoking a huge pipe.

Cameron fled to Mexico but later returned to the United States and stayed with friends before heading off to the desert town of Beaumont, California — soul-searching, painting and writing poetry while also developing her own brand of ritual magic and becoming further involved in astrology, tarot and astral travel.

Cameron felt her late husband wanted her to carry on his mystical legacy while establishing a name for herself. “The last year that my husband and I were together — all the time that we had been together — he had been preparing me for a public role, which he believed I was destined to fulfill,” Cameron later told Starr.

Back in Los Angeles, a friend introduced Cameron to eccentric experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger, who himself returned to Los Angeles in 1953 after having lived in Paris.

Anger would later gain notoriety as author of Hollywood Babylon, which chronicled some of the city’s most salacious scandals. At the time, however, he was cultivating a career as an underground auteur and set out to make an art film called Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, planning to feature French erotic writer Anaïs Nin as its star.

Upon meeting Anger, Cameron harnessed her singular flamboyance and theatrical eloquence to proselytize the works of Aleister Crowley, which she’d embraced following Parsons’ death. With Crowley’s influence, the plot of Pleasure Dome quickly changed to accommodate Cameron and her occult rhetoric.

Anger reminisced about his first encounter with Cameron in an unreleased 2001 videotape kept by the Cameron Parsons Foundation: “I believe in reincarnation, predestination — and I had recognized Cameron from someone I’ve known in several past lives.”

Because Nin had already achieved fame as a writer and the lover of Henry Miller, she had been mollycoddled by the cast and crew. “And so suddenly, Cameron blew in unannounced,” Anger said. “And there was this little shrunken creature which was Anaïs Nin in front of the majesty of Cameron, because Cameron wiped her out, you see.”

The petite 51-year-old Nin then quietly picked up her heavy makeup bag and retreated, leaving 32-year-old Cameron to star as the Scarlet Woman while Nin was demoted to a much less dynamic part. (The 38-minute avant-garde film is available today as part of a two-disc DVD set of Anger’s films, “The Complete Magick Lantern Cycle.”)

Some in Cameron’s circle weren’t impressed. Wallace Berman, for one, “didn’t like [Anger] and felt that I was wasting my time,” Cameron told Starr. But this didn’t stop Cameron from drifting between their respective creative orbits, and by 1955, she seems to have been equally involved in both Anger’s and Berman’s social spheres.

In addition to the occult, another one of Parsons’ passions was peyote, so in 1955, Cameron decided to mail-order the hallucinogenic from a botanical garden in Texas and try it for herself. “I got these nine big, juicy green buttons as big as apples, and I cooked them and ate them like vegetables,” she told Starr. “The walls disappeared.”

After taking the drug, Cameron found herself sick in bed, which is where she created the drawing Peyote Vision. It depicts a naked woman who strongly resembles the artist, having sex doggy-style with a translucent alien. The piece was a bold visual representation of repressed sexuality, a work ahead of its time.

Cameron’s drawing so impressed Wallace Berman that he reproduced it in the 1955 debut edition of Semina, a self-published magazine. Two years later, in 1957, when Berman included it in a show at the Ferus Gallery on La Cienega, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department shut down the exhibition, saying it was pornographic.

Cameron believed that Berman himself called the lawmen. “When he exhibited it at the Ferus Gallery, he fully intended that show to get busted,” she told Starr. “He wanted to provoke the cops.” (Berman’s widow blames one of the gallery’s owners.)

The provocateurs evidently hoped Cameron would defend the drawing in court, but she refused. She told Berman that her uneasy relationship with the press following her husband’s death left her with no desire to make a scene.

A month after Cameron’s peyote experience, she became pregnant by a man she never identified, and on Christmas Eve 1955, she gave birth to her only child, Crystal.

In 1959, Cameron married 33-year-old Sheridan Kimmel, and Crystal took his surname. But “Sherry” also died mysteriously, just seven years later. For the most part, Cameron was a single mother, long before such a role was commonplace.

Cameron in her Navy uniform in the early 1940s

Cameron in her Navy uniform in the early 1940s
Courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation, Santa Monica

It wasn’t easy. Early in her motherhood, an exasperated Cameron called the Bermans, asking if she could come to their home to sleep. The couple took her crying infant on a long drive, which calmed the girl down. Meanwhile, Cameron collapsed at the Bermans’ house and literally slept for days. “I felt so sorry for her. I’ve never seen her in that state,” Shirley Berman recalls ruefully. “She was just absolutely exhausted.”

Though weary, Cameron carried on with her migratory lifestyle and indulged her urge to create. Not long after Pleasure Dome, she made another short film with Anger’s longtime acquaintance, filmmaker Curtis Harrington. The Wormwood Star is a stunning 10-minute visual essay coupling Cameron’s poetry with her art. “I was very taken with her immediately, by her presence. It was something,” Harrington said in a videotaped 2002 recording kept by the Cameron Parsons Foundation. “You couldn’t take your eyes off of her.”

But more than her striking looks, Cameron’s work is what impressed Harrington: “I had the idea of making a film about her painting — a kind of a tribute to Cameron, a poetic tribute. And that is how The Wormwood Star came about.”

Since her art was inexorably tied to her esoteric beliefs, it was always difficult for Cameron to sell it. She didn’t see her work as a commodity but rather as part of her very existence. That prevented her from being able to detach herself from her creations, and also threatened the attachment itself. In response, she often burned her own art.

Shirley Berman remembers Cameron calling shortly after she burned her art in an incinerator in the mid-’50s. When the Bermans arrived at Cameron’s home, they found a fragile, trembling artist, her work destroyed.

Decades later, Anger explained, “She [was] releasing the spirit that she put in the drawing into the fire,” meaning Cameron sacrificed her art as an act of conscious, occult-inspired transmutation. Once the art moved beyond her imagination, it had also served its purpose and became unnecessary, providing Cameron the opportunity to emancipate herself from it physically.

“It was release,” Anger continued. “In other words, if she’d kept them as drawings or paintings, she would have been enchained to them.”

The destroyed art includes much of what’s featured in The Wormwood Star, which has since become a rare visual record of Cameron’s earlier works.

Nonetheless, Cameron created even more, and continued her peripatetic existence, even with her daughter in tow. In 1957, the two moved in with Cameron’s friend David Meltzer, a poet, in San Francisco.

Today, Meltzer laments the fact that interest in Cameron’s work has become so entwined with Crowley and Parsons rather than standing on its own.

“I must admit that anytime I’ve run into a person who’s interested in Cameron — and they’re usually guys — it’s because they’re interested in Parsons and black magic and Crowley, kind of like Beavises and Butt-Heads,” 77-year-old Meltzer quips. “I had great regard for her work, both graphic and written, and I’m sorry, in a sense, that her past involvement with Crowley … seems to be one of the primary ways that she’s perceived rather than really as a very fascinating and worthwhile artist and poet. I mean, yes, she was a practitioner of the hermetic — the occult — but it’s unfortunate that she’s not regarded as the creative artist and strong spirit that she is.”

During the early 1960s, though, Cameron cultivated the image of herself as a witch. She appeared as an eerie, black-clad siren in Harrington’s first feature, Night Tide, which starred a young Dennis Hopper. “I couldn’t think of anyone whose image was more sinister or mysterious than Cameron,” Harrington said in a 2002 interview. “I was delighted that she agreed to be in the film; I think she’s quite a remarkable presence in it.”

Meanwhile, Cameron was still a peripheral part of Berman’s coterie, which had grown to include Hopper, Dean Stockwell and Russ Tamblyn, best known for playing Riff in West Side Story.

“She was one of a kind. It was like she just came from another planet,” Tamblyn recalls today. “There weren’t many women like her.” But because of Cameron’s association with Crowley, Tamblyn acknowledges that he was somewhat put off by her: “She was kind of weird and a little spooky, to me, that side of her. Very strange — and her daughter was pretty strange, too.”

Throughout her life, Cameron rebelled against mainstream society. She was among the first women to join the armed forces; she lived a free-spirited, transitory existence when most females were expected to get married and settle down; and she was a single mother decades before such a thing was acceptable.

Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron, 1946

Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron, 1946
Courtesy of the Cameron Parsons Foundation, Santa Monica

But her unconventional lifestyle wasn’t without its consequences.

Cameron’s experimentation with drugs didn’t abate once she had her daughter. In artist John Chamberlain’s unfinished 1969 film, Thumbsuck, made in Santa Fe and kept at the Cameron Parsons Foundation, Cameron is filmed applying kabuki-style makeup and smoking a blunt, while the filmmaker’s children and Cameron’s daughter gather around, mesmerized.

She also didn’t enroll her daughter in school, preferring a sort of freestyle homeschooling. “Cameron’s attitude was, the only way Crystal could learn anything was just to engage with it,” Meltzer remembers. “If people didn’t like it, they’d have to tell her they didn’t like it, but that Cameron wasn’t going to intervene as the mom figure in any of these cases.”

Today, Crystal Kimmel, 58, lives in Desert Hot Springs with her 32-year-old son. “She let me stay out of school,” Kimmel says of her mother. “I started being bullied because I couldn’t read or write back in first grade, because I had dyslexia, and they didn’t know that it was dyslexia. They thought I was retarded. … So instead of her pushing me to stay, she kind of just let me, you know, do what I wanted.”

Another of Cameron’s longtime friends was Patricia Quinn, ex-girlfriend of Marlon Brando and the actress who played the title character in the 1969 film Alice’s Restaurant. Quinn met Cameron in the late ’60s, when both were living in Santa Fe, and found herself impressed by Cameron’s integrity as an artist. “I recognized her as an original; a pioneer in feminism,” Quinn says. “We were both rebels fleeing our traditional backgrounds and making a new path for ourselves.”

Still, Cameron’s odd parenting style worried Quinn. “I had intense feelings about her mothering skills. She seemed to distance herself from any responsibility for Crystal’s actions. I was no expert myself, but I couldn’t understand her lack of concern…” In the end, though, Quinn stresses that Cameron was an honorable woman: “She was true to herself, and that’s why she was a great artist.”

Cameron’s daughter still laments never having had the structure she feels she needed. “I think she could have taught me more things than I taught myself. You know, I had to grow up fast,” Kimmel says. “She didn’t leave me the tools to sort of get through everything on my own.”

She adds, “She let me experience things with her that maybe other mothers would say, ‘Why did Cameron do this?’ You know, she let her daughter experience LSD with her when I was about 9 years old.”

Kimmel has raised six children of her own; she’s earthy, strong and straightforward. But Cameron’s devotion to her art clearly had a destabilizing effect. As an adult, Kimmel found herself in abusive relationships and taking heavy drugs, although she says those days are behind her.

“While she was hiding out drawing, I was out there causing a ruckus,” Kimmel says. “She really didn’t … have a leash on me.”

By the end of 1973, Cameron was a grandmother, and she settled into the role by forgoing her nomadic lifestyle in favor of fostering bonds with her grandkids.

Her first-born grandchild, Iris Hinzo, now 40, has a unique impression of her grandmother, one that’s in blunt contrast to the witchy, itinerant, art-destroying Scarlet Woman and negligent parent. “My grandmother was the backbone of the family,” Hinzo says. While Hinzo’s parents were freebasing, brawling and calling the police, Hinzo found refuge in Cameron’s charming home in West Hollywood. “It’s just, she was very safe. My mom’s home wasn’t safe for me,” she says. “My grandmother raised me, pretty much.”

In her later years, Cameron gardened, cooked organic food, drank tea, smoked pot and earned a teaching certificate in Tai Chi. She also became interested in the Hopi culture and homeopathy. She’d still perform rituals at every solstice, burning candles, lighting incense, chanting and ringing bells, “like priests do,” Hinzo says with a smile.

And Cameron still made art. In 1989, she had a show at Barnsdall Art Park. “The Pearl of Reprisal” was the only real exhibit to feature Cameron’s work during her lifetime. (She also read her poetry.)

By then, the artist’s flaming red hair was long and gray. Decades after the love of her life died so violently, Cameron still avoided strangers who wanted to talk to her. “I guess she always felt that people would exploit her,” Hinzo says.

Cameron in 1969

Cameron in 1969
Photo by A.R. Tarlow

As it turned out, Cameron had good reason to worry. When she died, both Kimmel and Hinzo recall random people showing up and taking Cameron’s stuff and suddenly, as Hinzo says tearfully, “All these things [went] missing.”

Kimmel agrees. “After she died, they kind of just came like vultures. … Like, artists wanted pieces of her.”

An exception was Scott Hobbs, an expert Iyengar yoga instructor and confidant, to whom Cameron became close in the 1980s, later entrusting him with her life savings. Hobbs has since made it a mission to reassemble Cameron’s scattered art and preserve her legacy with the nonprofit Cameron Parsons Foundation, established in 2006. Co-founders include artist George Herms and the late Rockie Gardiner, whose “Rockie Horoscope” column was a mainstay of L.A. Weekly for 25 years until the astrologer died in 2008 at the age of 70.

The Cameron Parsons Foundation has helped bring Cameron’s work out of the shadows, and in 2007, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in New York presented an exhibition titled simply “Cameron.” In a sign of growing interest in Cameron’s work, an unofficial biography, Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron, was published in 2011 (the book is not endorsed by the Cameron Parsons Foundation).

Most recently, curator Yael Lipschutz worked with MOCA director Philippe Vergne to organize a new show, which showcases more than 90 pieces of Cameron’s work. “Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman” finally gives Cameron the recognition she lacked while she was alive.

“Cameron was under-recognized during her lifetime, in part because of her own rejection of the commercial art world, and in part because that world set up structures that did not embrace an independent-minded female artist whose work did not follow the trends of the day,” Lipschutz says.

Jack Parsons’ extraordinary career, brief life and dramatic end was another factor. Coupled with his fervent devotion to mystical practices, Parsons’ story made him an L.A. cult figure and led to Cameron’s lifelong reticence with the press. Even as an older woman, she continued to be wary of reporters, who’d pursue her about Parsons’ mysterious life and death. And Cameron’s strong reluctance to sell her work and her history of destroying it made public appreciation even more difficult.

That’s all changing. As Lipschutz explains, “The type of intensely personal, visionary explorations spearheaded by artists like Cameron is rare today, and her re-emergence into the light indicates how hungry young artists and intellectuals are for a more vital path. It is this exhibition’s aim that Cameron’s transcendental art will illuminate this road.”

Cameron died from a brain tumor on July 24, 1995, at 73. The only person present was her eldest granddaughter, Hinzo, then 21 years old and eight months pregnant.

Hinzo recalls being inexplicably drawn to the VA Hospital where Cameron lay, bald and unable to speak. She sat down on Cameron’s bed, took her grandmother’s weak hand into hers and looked out the hospital window. There, Hinzo observed an odd whirlwind — a curious kind of funnel stretching to the sky. She looked over at Cameron, saw her chest heave and, at that moment, she was gone.

“Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman” is on view through Jan. 11 at MOCA Pacific Design Center.

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Whatever Happened to The Way International?
Whatever Happened to The Way International?

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The late 1970s and early 80s were exciting times of growth in evangelicalism. On the heels of the Jesus Movement among young people in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many new Christian organizations sprang up, particularly among Pentecostal and Charismatic communities. As with virtually every revival in Christian history, not only are new Christian churches, denominations, and missions organizations birthed, but inevitably counterfeit movements ride the tide deceiving many new believers. One such counterfeit group was The Way International (TWI) founded by a self-proclaimed Bible scholar named Victor Paul Wierwille (1916 -1985). In this article we will examine the history and current status of TWI and analyze its doctrines from a historical Christian perspective.

History of The Way International
Victor Paul Wierwille was born in New Knoxville, Ohio, on December 31, 1916. He and his family were members of an Evangelical and Reformed Church (ERC). The ERC is now the United Church of Christ, perhaps the most liberal Protestant denomination in America. He attended Mission House (Lakeland) College and graduated in 1941 from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Wierwille claimed that on October 3 of the next year (1942), he heard God speak to him audibly. God told Wierwille that He would guide him to understand and interpret the Bible more accurately than anyone since the apostolic age. As a result, Wierwille claimed he dumped 3,000 of his theological textbooks into a trash heap and set on an independent study of Scripture.
In 1948 Wierwille received a Doctor of Theology degree from the unaccredited (and now defunct) Pike’s Peak Seminary in Colorado. In 1951 he visited a Pentecostal evangelist named J.E. Stiles and learned his technique for teaching people to speak in tongues.

In 1953, Wierwille developed and began teaching his “Power for Abundant Living” (PFAL) classes, a series of lectures highlighting his unusual doctrinal views. In 1955, Wierwille incorporated his ministry as The Way, Inc. in New Knoxville. A few years later he formally withdrew from the Evangelical and Reformed Church denomination. Over the next few years Wierwille took the title of “Teacher” as his theology increasingly deviated from orthodox Christianity, particularly his views of the Trinity and the nature of Christ.

As we mentioned, Wierwille’s influence grew as a result of the late 1960s “Jesus Movement.” A number of former hippies were attracted to his authoritative teaching style and experiential emphasis on spiritual gifts. In the early 1970s the group adopted the name The Way International (TWI) and began holding annual “Rock of Ages” music festivals at Wierwille’s farm in New Knoxville. In 1975 The Way College was opened in Emporia, Kansas with 350 students.

During the 1970s, the movement grew rapidly reaching a maximum of about 20,000 attendees at the 1982 Rock of Ages festival.

That same year Wierwille officially retired as president of TWI. He was followed by his hand-picked successor, L. Craig Martindale. Martindale was a former Baptist Student Union and Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader at the University of Kansas where he played football in the early 1970s. After his retirement Wierwille’s health deteriorated rapidly. He died of ocular cancer on May 20, 1985, at age 68.

Following his death, several former leaders of TWI leveled charges against Wierwille and TWI trustees including accusations of extreme authoritarianism, plagiarism, false teaching, and even adultery. As a result, the group lost many followers, had to sell its college in Kansas, and spawned several like-minded splinter groups led by former TWI staffers. Those included Christian Educational Services and Pacific West Fellowship.

The movement continued to dwindle and in 1995 the annual Rock of Ages festivals were suspended. In 2000, amid charges of sexual improprieties, L. Craig Martindale resigned as TWI president and was succeeded by Vice President Rosalie Rivenbark.

Current Status
In recent years the group has been led by a Board of Directors headed by Rivenbark as Chairperson. It is still headquartered in New Knoxville, Ohio. Twig groups continue to meet in this and other countries. TWI claims as many as 100,000 followers worldwide, but that number is likely exaggerated.

Ministries associated with The Way International include American Christian Press (ACP), The Way of Abundance and Power Classes (formerly PFAL), and The Way Corps (TWI’s officially commissioned cadre of ministers and missionaries).

TWI’s key publications include The Way Magazine and books written by Victor Paul Wierwille (all published by ACP). His books included The Bible Tells Me So (1971), The New, Dynamic Church (1971), The Word’s Way (1971), Receiving the Holy Spirit Today (1972), Are the Dead Alive Now? (1973), Jesus Is Not God (1975), and God’s Magnified Word (1977).

Beliefs and Practices
Authority and the Bible
The Bible, as God’s inspired and infallible Word, is regarded by TWI as “God-breathed” and perfect as originally given. The King James Version is usually quoted in TWI literature. However, Victor Paul Wierwille taught that most Hebrew and Greek texts used by Bible scholars have been distorted, and thus textual research is needed to clarify certain passages and doctrines. He relied heavily on the controversial biblical research and Bible translations of the late Turkish-Armenian Aramaic scholar George Lamsa (1892 – 1975). (For more information on Lamsa and his Bible translation go to
Victor Paul Wierwille’s interpretations, as stated in his writings are authoritative for all TWI students. Wierwille taught an extreme dispensational interpretive method which regards only portions of the New Testament (Paul’s letters to the churches and the Book of Acts) as relevant to Christians. The Old Testament, the four Gospels, and Paul’s letters to individuals are regarded as nonessential.

Biblical Response: The Bible is indeed God’s infallible and inerrant Word as given in the original autographs. The textual integrity of the Bible is well established; however, no one translation and no one interpreter are regarded as infallible. Many of Wierwille’s interpretations of certain passages are incorrect, and his extreme dispensationalist approach must be rejected. Both the Old and New Testaments are relevant to Christians when studied in context, utilizing sound principles of interpretation (see Luke 24:27, 44-45; 2 Tim. 3:15-17).

God Is One
Like other cults, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Oneness Pentecostals, the historic Christian understanding of God as Trinity is rejected by TWI. God is regarded as a unitary being who is the creator of the universe. The Trinity is deemed unbiblical and reflects the influence of pagan Roman emperors and the creeds of 4th and 5th century church councils.

Biblical Response: There is only one true God (see Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10-11). However, the doctrine of the Trinity is taught in Scripture. The church creeds affirmed the biblical teachings and did not create them. God is one in three and is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is one God in three Persons (see Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:3-14).

Jesus Christ Is Not God
TWI maintains that Jesus Christ did not actually preexist, but was only conceptually “The Word” in the foreknowledge of God. Thus, He was totally created at His miraculous physical conception. Nonetheless, He was born a perfect man whose soul was specially created by God and given “holy spirit.” Therefore, Jesus can be regarded as the “Son of God” but not “God the Son.”

TWI affirms that Jesus lived a sinless life but, in agreement with Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim He was crucified on a stake, not a cross. TWI also argues that Jesus was executed between four criminals on Wednesday, not Friday. It says he was crucified with “two thieves” on one side (see Matt. 27:38; Mark 15:27) and “two (additional) malefactors” on the other side (see Luke 23:32).
TWI also says Jesus was resurrected physically on Saturday (not Sunday).

Biblical Response: Jesus is the eternal, preexistent Word of God. He is the second Person of the Holy Trinity. He was, is, and always shall be God. In His earthly life, Jesus had two natures: human and divine. He lived a perfect, sinless life and was crucified on a Roman cross between two thieves (i.e. malefactors) as a substitutionary atonement for mankind’s sin. Jesus rose from the dead physically on the third day (the first day of the week: Sunday [the Lord’s day]) and ascended to heaven (see John 1:1-18; 5:17-18; 8:56-59; 10:30-33; 17:5; Col. 1:15-17; 2:9).

Holy Spirit and “holy spirit”
The term “holy spirit” is used in two distinct ways in Scripture according to TWI. Holy Spirit (capital letters in TWI literature) is merely a synonym for God. It is a name of God describing His nature as Spirit (see John 4:24). The other use of the term “holy spirit” (not capitalized in TWI literature) refers to the gift of God given to believers by the Holy Spirit. It is the power of God given on the inside of the believer but manifested on the outside by speaking in tongues (SIT).

Biblical Response: The New Testament indicates that the Holy Spirit is both a person and fully God. He is capable of speaking, teaching, grieving, and being lied to (but not being fooled). There is no distinction made between “Holy Spirit” and “holy spirit” as maintained by TWI (see Matt. 12:31-32; 28:19; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:12; John 14-16; Acts 5:3-10; 13:2-4; Rom. 8:4, 26-27; 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 2:18-19; 4:30; 5:18-21).

Mankind’s Problem: Lost “Spirit”
According to TWI, mankind consists of a three-fold nature: body, soul, and spirit. God created Adam with a body and soul (mind), to which He added spirit. This is the essence of the image of God. Adam lost “spirit” when he sought knowledge through the soul.

Jesus thus made a legal transaction to redeem mankind from Satan by taking the sins of the world upon Himself at His crucifixion. This made “holy spirit” available to mankind by believing in Jesus Christ (see Acts 2:38).

Biblical Response: All have sinned and are lost without Christ (see Rom. 3:23; 6:23). Jesus’ death on the cross was a substitutionary atonement to pay fully the debt of sin (see Rom. 4:25; 1 Pet. 3:18). Only by putting one’s faith in Christ alone and receiving Him as Savior and Lord can a person be saved (see Eph. 2:8-9).

No Need for Water Baptism
TWI teaches that water baptism is not needed in the church era. That was for Israel only and ended with John the Baptist and at Pentecost. The reference to baptism and the Trinity in Matthew 28:18-19, TWI claims, was probably not in the original text. Other references in the New Testament to baptism are likewise rejected.

Biblical Response: Water baptism is a symbol of the believer’s identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the act of Christian initiation into the body of Christ (see Acts 8:12, 36-39; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:12). All credible biblical scholars agree that the textual integrity of Matthew 28:18, 19 is fully affirmed.

The New Birth and a Renewed Mind
TWI says that the new birth initially comes by verbal confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. A person “renews” their mind for abundant life, however, only by taking TWI’s “Way of Abundance and Power” class. The sign of the renewed mind for all believers, according to TWI, is the nine manifestations of the gift of holy spirit as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

TWI states that the primary and necessary expression of holy spirit manifestation is speaking in tongues (SIT). Only by verbally speaking in tongues can one see outward, visible proof of the inward power of holy spirit. SIT is not a spontaneous experience. Students are taught a specific technique for speaking in tongues during The Way of Abundance and Power classes. All TWI students are expected to demonstrate the ability to SIT before graduating.

Biblical Response: TWI’s two-stage concept of redemption is without biblical support. One is fully born again by trusting in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior and Lord, and receiving salvation by grace through faith alone (see Eph. 2:8-9). At that moment, our sins are forgiven, we are saved from our sins, and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us to empower us for living the Christian life. There is no indication that speaking in tongues or any other outward sign is necessary to confirm the Spirit’s presence. The Holy Spirit sovereignly distributes His various gifts as He wills to all members to minister to the whole body of Christ (the church) (see Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12-14; Eph. 4:11).

The Dead Are Now Asleep
TWI maintains, as do Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists, that there is no conscious existence after death. When believers die they do not go immediately to be with God or Jesus. Rather, they await the future resurrection when their bodies, souls, and spirits will be reunited to live again.

Biblical Response: At death, believers in Christ maintain a conscious relationship with Him while awaiting the resurrection (see Matt. 22:32; Luke 16:22- 23; 23:43; John 11:26; 2 Cor. 5:8; 12:2-4; Phil. 1:23-24; 1 Thess. 4:14; 5:10).

Organization: The Way Tree
TWI is organized along the lines of the metaphor of a tree. A small cell-group fellowship of followers is a “Twig” and is led by an experienced elder. The local Twig association is a “Branch,” and a state association of Branches is a “Limb.” All the Limbs in a specific country comprise a national “Trunk,” and the world headquarters is the “Roots.”

All policies and doctrinal positions are transmitted from the Roots through the various levels of authority to local Twigs. All leaders are appointed by various levels of authority and approved by the Roots leadership.

Biblical Response: TWI’s centralized and authoritarian system of organization contrasts to the locally led and based churches of the New Testament. No one leader or leaders since apostolic times can claim exclusive authority over local congregations of believers. The biblical model for church structure is the body of Christ. Jesus referred to Himself metaphorically as the vine and His followers as the branches who produce good fruit (John 15: 1-8).

The Way International is a shell of what it was during the lifetime of Victor Paul Wierwille. It has shrunk in size and, as often is the case in cults when the original leader dies, splintered into several movements. All claim to hold the true legacy of Wierwille’s teachings. That being said, it is possible that we may encounter people in TWI or one of its progeny. In those cases we should be ready to witness to them using the following principles.

1. Have a clear understanding of your own faith and the Bible.
2. Study the beliefs and practices of The Way International and Victor Paul Wierwille in order to communicate intelligently with those involved in it.
3. Determine the level of involvement of the person in TWI. Have they been through The Way of Abundance and Power class? Are they involved in a Twig fellowship? Are they in some position of TWI leadership?
4. Define all terms carefully. TWI members often use Christian terms but have different meanings. For example, when they talk about Jesus as “the Son of God,” they do not mean “God the Son.”
5. Seek to build personal relationships and sincere friendships with those in TWI. Remember, patience is a key ingredient.
6. Avoid arguments, and let love be your true motive for witness.
7. Share your personal testimony of God’s grace and assurance in your life. Tell what Jesus means to you personally.
8. Affirm the reliability of the biblical texts. Use a modern and reliable translation of the Bible in your discussion and check all passages for correct context.
9. Focus your discussion on the essential biblical issues including the nature of the Godhead (the Trinity), the deity and saving work of Jesus Christ, and the basics of the gospel message.
10. Pray and trust the Holy Spirit to lead in your witness encounter.

© 2014 Tal Davis
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The Power of Mystery Babylon

The Power of Mystery Babylon

The Power of Mystery Babylon

January 21, 2017 By Rattler Rider 1 Comment

*Editor’s Note* This editor did not compose and compile this information. I requested it from some of the best researchers on this topic and others that there are around today. This information is intended for a reader’s resource to help better explain and define the global power structure. This page is something that should be bookmarked and accessed for easy reference while studying and doing research. I thank those responsible for composing this information.

It is my intention to keep this information as updated and current as possible and continue working on this page to provide links to sources, as well as the creation of other web pages of information on this and related topics.

THE UNITED STATES IS STILL A BRITISH COLONY AMERICAN LAND OWNERSHIP, A TRUE OXYMORON, I call it the Babylonian governmental pecking order structure in a nut shell. Last Chapter INTRODUCTION by the Informer; What Mr. Montgomery is trying to convey in this, his final writing on this subject, is the laying of the foundation for how this country operates today. Not that you can go into a court and present these arguments today, you can’t.. If you don’t know the power structures beginnings then you are doomed forever to repeat the same mistakes as those that preceded you in their quest to seek justice.

To truly win in this situation there must be a concerted effort of at least 70 percent of the people to overturn the present state of affairs. That will not happen because of the ignorance of the masses that are so easily led by those in power. The people have truly forsaken the true Sovereign, namely the Lord Almighty. Without going into the so-called “religion” aspect, let me just pose some questions. Did not the Lord Almighty create the land? Yes. Did the Pope create the land? No! Did the King or President create the land? No! Did any other man create the land? No! Did any group of men called State create the land? No! Now that I have answered the questions for you then here are some that you are to answer.

Who is the real owner of the land? Did not the creator of the land bestow it upon all men and their heirs to be stewards of the land, granting to no one man or group of men, absolute dominion over any land? When man dies who does the land escheat to? For those not familiar with that term escheat, it means who does the land go back to when all men die? Your answers can only show that no Pope, King, Man himself, or group of men called State can ever claim they own the land and charge another man a fee to live on that land. Mr. Montgomery in his book THE UNITED STATES IS STILL A BRITISH COLONY is showing you the progression from a certain period of time that certain mere mortal men have decided that they were granted certain rights above all other men in claiming dominion over all land. The pecking Order starting from the top in controlling land are;

1. The Pope
2. The Kings of all lands, but we are talking specifically England here.
3. Knights
4. Lord Proprietors of the King, in America
5. Royal Governors of the King, in America
6. Administrative officers of the corporate colonies of America
7. Freeholders/Freemen of granted property in America.
8. The officers of the newly constituted States of America which, gave way to the;
9. Officers of the United States which now reverses 8 and 9 due to the States joining Union.
10. The County officers which are the corporate instrumentalities of the State.
11. Simple man, meaning you, reading this. You, number 11, are so far removed from the land that the Lord Almighty gave to all men, that essentially you have no claim but as a squatter on someone else’s land and have no control whatsoever in saying you have the right to not pay taxes for the use of the Pope’s land.

But the Pope is the figure head of a corporation called the Vatican consisting of men forming a “WHICH THE LORD ALMIGHTY NEVER CREATED A RELIGION”, claiming complete dominion over all land in the world. When the Pope dies another of these men are chosen as the new Pope. There is one little quirk that needs to be mentioned. That is, a group of men exist that has control of even the Vatican, therefore every chain holder on down to number 11 on the list is controlled. That group of men are called Bankers. The Pope and the King, in 1213, on to a period just past 1218, lost a lot of money fighting each other and drew on a group of men, one in particular, that loaned to each side money.

When neither could pay the loans back and defaulted, the money lender foreclosed. He foreclosed in agreement by not taking all the property, except for England, as is done today on foreclosures, but an arrangement was made that satisfied the so called “holy trinity” that is espoused by Mr. Montgomery below. That “Holy Trinity” is mentioned in the Treaty of 1783. Who do you think the Holy Trinity consists? So the list above from 1 to 11 needs another entity. I did not put him in so I could make it clear who is in order of claim to the land you live on as a tenant. Now number one has been replaced by “The Banker” and everyone has shifted down a notch. Hello number twelve! How do you like your position on the list? No number twelves hold Allodial Title to anything!! See Number one.

Now number twelve, listen up, it does not matter what you personally believe concerning God, Evolution, any man made religious doctrine, science, what have you. The above pecking order cannot be refuted, you number twelves can say it’s not true all day long, you’ll never ever prove it wrong, and if you research it you’ll find out you’re just number twelves, citizen serfs under eleven, the number of judgement.—The Informer- I know this guy, he is a retired fortune 500 lawyer. I trade with him.

My conclusions;

Wherever possible “from the horse’s mouth” evidence, from mainstream and official sources around the globe, are used for maximum credibility and verifiable authenticity. Such examples are not usually given the front-page headline prominence they deserve, but nonetheless much evidence of the links that facilitate the covert global power structure’s manipulation, direction and control is essentially “hidden in plain sight”.

It is the assessment of the men and women who have researched the evidence of the many available resources, in plain sight, that the spiritual controllers behind the dark forces of the Illuminati are Luciferian and Satanic elements within the so-called Society of Jesus a.k.a. the Jesuits and the so-called Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church, oftentimes referred to as the Vatican. The current and 30th Jesuit Superior General is Adolfo Nicolás, who was elected on January 19, 2008. The Jesuit Superior General is traditionally nicknamed the Black Pope.

After much consideration of the evidence, it is the firm conviction of the many researchers involved in seeking data for the exposure of the globalists, that this Rome-based nexus acts via major players and place-people within Papal and Royal knighthood orders, hierarchic Satanic orders and high-level Masonic rites, orders, obediences, the Frankist Sabbataian Papal-loyal Masonic Labor Zionists, and then through the elite policy management groups and intelligence, financial, military and political place-people to create what is referred to as the New World Order.

The mystical-religious impulse behind this Jesuit/Vatican-planned New World Order – contrary to the in-house rhetoric of the Papacy and their false opposition of the occult secret societies – is not that of Christ, but the spirit of Antichrist.


God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)

Humanity has turned their back upon this for the below power structure. Which by the way asks permission of the above before advancing their corporate model. That’s why the baby steps of this corporation slowly leading humanity to its end goal. Their total annihilation.
Fallen Angels/Demons
Gray Pope
Papal Nobility/Gray Jesuits
Black Pope
Black Jesuits
White Pope
(Un)Holy See
(Un)Holy Roman Emperor King Juan Carlos
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
The Alliance of the Orders of St John of Jerusalem
The Crown
The Military-Industrial-Financial-Pharmaceutical-Educational complex aka Worshipful Company of Fuellers-Mercers-International Bankers-Apothecaries-Haberdashers
Multi-national Corporations
Rich people
Middle Class
Poor and Welfare.


We continue here with the list of operatives in control of Satan’s Kingdom.




– The Order of the Holy Sepulchre:

Grand Master: John Patrick Cardinal Foley.

Grand Master Emeritus: Carlo Cardinal Furno.

Grand Prior: Fouad Twal (Latin Patriarch, Archbishop of Jerusalem).

– The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (Franco-Neapolitan branch):

Grand Master of the Franco-Neapolitan branch: Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro.

Grand Prior of the Franco-Neapolitan branch: Albert Cardinal Vanhoye, S.J. – a French Jesuit.

Prior of the Franco-Neapolitan branch’s British, Irish Delegation: Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster.

– The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (Hispano-Neapolitan branch):

Grand Master of the Hispano-Neapolitan branch: Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria;

Grand Prior of the Hispano-Neapolitan branch: Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos from Colombia.

Vice President of the Deputation and President of the British Association of the Hispano-Neapolitan branch: Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein (also SMOM Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion, former President of the British Association of the SMOM, Knight Commander with Star of the Papal Order of St Gregory, Knight of St John, Knight of St Januarius, Knight of St Stephen and the money-man to the Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger since 1971 – nicknamed “Rupie the Groupie”).

-The Sovereign Military Order of Malta:

SMOM Prince and Grand Master: Matthew Festing (also a Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Franco-Neapolitan branch of the Constantinian Order).

SMOM Grand Prior of England: Fredrik Crichton-Stuart (also a Knight Commander of Justice of the Franco-Neapolitan branch of the Constantinian Order).

– Opus Dei:

Prelate: Javier Echevarría Rodríguez.


– The Order of the Garter: The Sovereign of the Garter is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

– The Most Venerable Order of St John: The OSJ’s Grand Prior is the Queen’s cousin, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

– The Royal Order of Scotland: The Governor is Sir Archibald Donald Orr-Ewing, 6th Baronet.


– Skull & Bones,

– The various orders of the Ordo Templi Orientis, the Gnostic Catholic Church,

– the Martinists, Societas Rosicruciana, AMORC,

– The Temple of Set, the Theosophical Society,

– Universal Unity.

– the Rite of Memphis-Misraim: overtly a 99° system, but covertly going up to the rare 100° – the highest of the Masonic system – given out in Palermo, Sicily headquarters.

– Turkish Ottoman Freemasonry: a 7° system with two branches controlled by Fethullah Gülen & false anti-Mason Adnan Oktar a.k.a. Harun Yahya.

– 32° & 33° Scottish Rite Freemasonry: key Sovereign Grand Commanders include Ronald A. Seale, US Southern Jurisdiction Supreme Council 33° – Mother of the World – in Washington, DC; John William McNaughton (also a York Rite Mason & Shriner) US Northern Jurisdiction Supreme Council 33°; Rev. Canon Richard Tydeman, Supreme Council 33° for England & Wales; Corrado Ballaco Gabrieli, Italian Supreme Council 33°. There are Supreme Councils all throughout the world, among them are Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Russia, Israel, Brazil, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg, Romania & over 40 others.

– 11° York Rite Freemasonry: comes under the United Grand Lodge of England, overseen by the Duke of Kent & the Marquess of Northampton, respectively Grand Master & Pro-Grand Master of the UGLE.

– The Shriners: all Shriners until recently had to be of the Scottish Rite 33°, this is a Masonic-created & controlled body, all members must be “regular” Master Masons; Imperial Potentate of the Shriners of North America & highest-ranking Shriner in the world: Douglas E. Maxwell.

– Prince Edward, Duke of Kent: Cousin to both Queen Elizabeth II & the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent is the “Most Worshipful” Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) & is also First Grand Principal of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England & Grand Master of the Order of St Michael & St George. Note that his wife Katharine, Duchess of Kent converted to Roman Catholicism in 1994, as did their son Lord Nicholas Windsor in 2001, who then went on to get married in the Vatican in 2006.

– Spencer Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton: The UGLE Pro [Deputy] Grand Master & is also the Pro [Deputy] First Grand Principal of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England.

– Prince Michael of Kent: The Duke of Kent’s brother, Prince Michael is the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. His wife, Princess Michael of Kent, has always been a Roman Catholic & is a Dame Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the (Papal-loyal) SMOM, within the Order’s British Association. Princess Michael is also the senior Dame (Dame Grand Cross of Justice) of the British and Irish Delegation of the Franco-Neapolitan branch of the (Papal-loyal) Constantinian Order.


The Pilgrims Society (Patron: Queen Elizabeth II; President: Lord Inge),

– The Bilderberg Group (Chairman: Étienne [Viscount] Davignon),

Chatham House/the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chairman: DeAnne Julius),

The Council on Foreign Relations (The CFR; based in New York City; President: Richard N. Haass),

The Trilateral Commission (The TC’s three current chairmen: Joseph Nye [also an active Bilderberger], Jesuit-educated Peter Sutherland & Yotaro Kobayashi),

The RAND Corporation (President & CEO: James Thompson [CFR member]),

The Group of Thirty (G30; Chairman of the Board of Trustees: Paul Volcker, Trilateral Commission founder & member),

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (Chairman: Peter G. Peterson; also chairman of the CFR),

JPMorgan Chase‘s International Council (Chairman: George P. Schultz),

– The European Round Table of Industrialists (Chairman: Jorma Ollila, Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau),

The Bohemian Club (Bohemian Grove, California).


– The United Nations (The UN; trojan-horse Rome-created & controlled One World Government based in New York City) & associated non-governmental organisations (the Paris-based UNESCO, the Geneva, Switzerland-based WHO, et al),

– The European Union (The EU; mostly based in Brussels, Belgium & Strasbourg, Alsace, France;

– The European Council (The EU’s highest political body. Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates every six months among member states’ national governments with a nominated national minister),

– The European Parliament (The EU’s only directly elected parliamentary institution. President of the European Parliament: Hans-Gert Pöttering),

– The European Commission (The EU’s executive branch; the President of the European Commission is Jesuit-educated José Manuel Barroso),

– The Security & Prosperity Partnership (trojan-horse North American Union),

– Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).


– The Bank for International Settlements (The BIS is based in Basel, Switzerland; Chairman of the Board of Directors: Jean-Pierre Roth; also Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank),

– Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BIS/Group of Ten [G10] nations sub-committee; Chairman: Nout Wellink, Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion),

– The International Monetary Fund (The IMF is based in Washington, DC; Managing Director: Dominique Strauss-Kahn of the Socialist International-alligned Socialist Party (France)),

– The World Bank (Washington, DC) & World Bank Group (President: Robert Zoellick),

– The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; Secretary-General: José Ángel Gurría of the Socialist International-alligned Institutional Revolutionary Party),

Also worth noting are the internationalist bankers’ national & transnational central banks:

– The European Central Bank (Frankfurt, Germany; President: Jean-Claude Trichet),

– The Federal Reserve System (Washington, DC; Chairman of the Board of Governors: Ben Bernanke),

– The Bank of England (in the City of London within the metropolis of London; Governor: Mervyn King),

– & their interest-charging counterparts in virtually every country.


– NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – whose troops heavily comprise the UN “peacekeeping” forces; Secretary General: Jaap de Hoop Scheffer),

===And thus a branch of the above authoritarian world powers below;

The United States is divided into 10 Provinces called the U.S Assistancy. This Assistancy is controlled by the Regional Assistant and his President of the Jesuit Conference of the United States based in Washington D.C. These Provinces contain whatever states within their borders and are governed by the Provincials. So right now we have Regional Assistant Soldier, James E. Grummer controlling Thomas H Smolich controlling the U.S Assistancy. Smolich is the most powerful Jesuit soldier in the United States as James E. Grummer resides in Rome. Now study the roots of Washington D.C and understand why this is the true headquarters of the Society of Jesus. Note how Georgetown University, is the most powerful military fortress of the land. Washington D.C comes from land belonging to Roman Catholics, Daniel Carroll and Francis Pope. Land once known as Rome back in 1663 property records, all part of Maryland. The same Jesuit trained, Roman Catholic, Daniel Carroll linked to phony George Washington. The same Daniel Carroll who signed the Declaration of Independence! The same Daniel Carroll whose brother Roman Catholic, John Carroll founded Georgetown University! Say hello to your secret government controllers;

John P. McGarry, SJ
Provincial, California

Edward W. Schmidt, SJ
Provincial, Chicago

Timothy P. Kesicki, SJ
Provincial, Detroit

James M. Shea, SJ
Provincial, Maryland

Timothy M. McMahon, SJ
Provincial, Missouri

Thomas J. Regan, SJ
Provincial, New England

Mark A. Lewis, SJ
Provincial, New Orleans

David S. Ciancimino, SJ
Provincial, New York

Patrick J. Lee, SJ
Provincial, Oregon

G. Thomas Krettek, SJ
Provincial, Wisconsin


Africa Assistancy
Central Africa, West Africa, Eastern Africa, Madagascar, Rwanda-Burundi, Zambia, Zimbabwe

East Asia Assistancy
Australia, China, Indonesia (Malaysia-Singapore, Thailand), Japan, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam

South Asia Assistancy
Andhra, Bombay, Calcutta, Darjeeling, Delhi, Dumka-Raiganj, Goa, Gujarat, Hazaribag, Jamshedpur, Karnataka (Kohima), Kerala, Madhya-Pradesh, Madurai, Patna (Nepal), Pune, Ranchi, Sri Lanka

Central Europe Assistancy
Austria, North Germany, South Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Lithuania

East Europe Assistancy
Bohemia, Croatia, North Poland, South Poland, Romania, Russia Region, Ukraine District, Slovakia, Slovenia

South Europe Assistancy
Spain, Aragón, Baetica, Castile, Italy, Loyola, Portugal (Mozambique, Angola), Tarragon, Toledo

West Europe Assistancy
South Belgium, North Belgium, Britain, South Africa, Guyana, Upper Canada, Gallia, Maghreb, French Canada, Ireland, Malta, Near East,Netherlands

North Latin America Assistancy
Antilles, Central America, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela

South Latin America Assistancy
Argentina, Bahia, Bolivia, Central Brazil, South Brazil (Mato Grosso), North Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay

USA Assistancy
California, Chicago, Detroit, Maryland, Missouri, New England, Jamaica, New Orleans, New York (Micronesia, Nigeria-Ghana) Oregon, Wisconsin





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DuPont Rules the

Rule Pontiania, DuPont Rules the…

by T.P. Wilkinson / May 6th, 2015

Every year millions of tourists from around the world visit London, Europe’s largest city (if Britain can even be included in Europe). They do not travel there because it is cheap, like so many Far Eastern package holiday destinations; nor for the weather, which can scarcely match that of the Mediterranean or Caribbean. It is certainly not for the food, which only becomes edible above the 50 (dollar, euro, pound, take your pick) per meal price range. London’s theatre is also not what it used to be. No, London’s greatest attraction is the legacy of an empire upon which the sun never set.1

They don’t come from Jacksonville, Des Moines, or Tokyo to dine at a take-away or stroll the breadth of Clapham Junction. Instead tourism is concentrated in Central London: that is mainly ducal Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The more medievally curious may wander to the Square Mile2 to gawk at Tudor artefacts. But the most prominent tourist attractions remain the monuments, pageantry and the helmeted police constables of what is erroneously claimed by many to be the world’s oldest continuing democracy.

Tourists queue for hours to catch a glimpse of the British monarch, tour the royal palaces and photograph themselves and their friends in front of the uniformed regiments that protect the wealth of a family whose present head can be considered the richest woman in the world. London impresses the visitor, especially from less ostentatious countries, with the sheer density of its traditions. What few seem to notice, however, is that London is probably the densest concentration of stolen wealth in the world, displayed under the watchful eyes and fully loaded weapons of the most colourfully clad killers on the planet.

Imagine whether Thomas Cooke, TUI or Priceline would offer the garrisons or prisons of Africa, Asia and South America as holiday destinations. Warmer temperatures, better beaches and tropical foliage with exotic wildlife await while the visitor queues each morning in hopes of seeing the dank cells or gallows where the people Britain robbed were gaoled, tortured or hanged. It might draw the odd sadist, lynch-mob veteran or the same type of person who flies to Charleston to visit the Old Slave Market. Unfortunately those places are not likely to make it into Baedeker or National Geographic.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been fascinated by London since my first visit there as a 15-year-old. I have spent considerable time walking its streets, attending cricket matches and even hours in the Strangers’ Galleries of the “mother of all parliaments”. In contrast to most of my friends, I believe the English do brew very good beer and have made a few tasty contributions to culinary art. But I have never understood the obsession with the British monarch among so many people who claim to value democracy. Whether one lives in Germany or some other ostensibly democratic republic, one can hear people routinely chattering about “the Queen” and her royal household as if she were their queen. Perhaps it is nostalgia that leads Germans to gossip about “the Queen” since the last time Germany had a Königin was 1917. Do so many people yearn to be subjects of Her Britannic Majesty? If so, why?

Probably the most impressive demonstration of British royal tradition can be seen every June on the monarch’s official birthday. That is when she (or some day he) reviews the Household Division at Horse Guards Parade in front of Whitehall Palace. At about 10 am the royal person is borne under heavy guard to the parade ground where companies representing the regiments of foot guards and cavalry that have protected royal wealth, privilege and plunder in Central London—or Afghanistan—from those whom it has demeaned, terrorised and murdered in the thousands march past the sovereign accompanied by military bands. The event is televised and yes, I admit it, I have watched it several times on-line, not without fascination. However, I have long been plagued by the question, “What am I really watching?”

Before I return to that question I would like to consider another ignominious dynasty, also one of the world’s richest families with roots in Europe’s aristocracy. This family built its palaces on the other side of the Atlantic in a former British colony, declared a republic but governed even today by uncrowned monarchs and untitled nobility.

The Du Pont family, or correctly the family founded by a French aristocrat by the name of Pierre du Pont de Nemours, owns among other things the State of Delaware. Of course, there are no gaily-dressed soldiers or quaintly hatted police to distinguish the Duchy of Delaware from the less noble principalities in the Union. Yet I can also attest that the first time I was transported through this state on I-95 toward the republic’s capital I felt the aura of an ugly but nonetheless peculiarly aristocratic dominion. Before I had ever heard of the family behind the name of the great chemical firm, I can remember telling my parents we must be travelling through the “Duchy of Du Pont”. Little did I know then that I was not the first person to make this observation. Nor did I grasp the significance of what I only concluded from the ubiquity of the name “Du Pont” between the New Jersey and Maryland state lines.

unnamedPierre du Pont responded to the impending threat to his head in revolutionary France by sending some of his family aboard the American Eagle to the United States, complete with furniture, clothes and some 241,000 francs, in search of freedom—to live and get rich—like so many thieves who have found refuge on the Eastern seaboard. There his children brought their share of the plentiful slave labour available in the “land of the free” and began a new life.3

In 1802 the Du Ponts bought Broome farm on the banks of the Brandywine Creek, a tributary of the Christina River that flows through Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware.

“Here Irenée found Frenchmen, men who shared his culture, language, and even his political conservatism, being refugees from the successful slave revolt of Santo Domingo.”4 Within a decade Broome Farm would be the country’s largest powder plant.5 By 1810, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company was the largest producer of gunpowder in the United States.6 In 1824, Irenée du Pont was appointed a member of the board of directors of the Bank of the United States, with a monopoly over US currency. This centre of financial corruption bolstered the fortunes of many of America’s bluebloods until its charter expired and attempts to continue a second bank were defeated by Andrew Jackson’s political faction.

The US Civil War offered the Du Pont family further enrichment to the tune of more than a million dollars from the sale of powder.

In 1876 a financial crash, marked by the collapse of Jay Cooke’s bank7, started the long depression, lasting until the end of the century. As in all economic crises—perhaps they ought to be called major economic wars—DuPont was able to create the Powder Trust by sweeping together the remains of desperate or ruined competitors. Of course, the Du Ponts were not unique here. Rockefeller and Carnegie did the same thing in oil and steel respectively, joined in banking by J P Morgan. It was a great time for plutocrats to make money and an abysmal time to earn wages, if one was even employed.8

However, like all trusts there remained a potential threat from small producers who did not follow the rules. Surely there were a battery of business tactics that could be used to tame or kill competitors but there is probably no better instrument for regulating commerce (for the benefit of the 1%) than the State itself. While “progressives” were beginning to agitate for trust busting, wage and hour laws, and edible food, the State eased the pains of its baronial class by declaring war: in this case, against Spain. As in the past, war meant gunpowder and with a little help from their friends, the company’s coffers were brimming while at the same time ruining those with no access to the Treasury or War Department. A war to seize the last of Spain’s overseas possessions gave DuPont another chance to expand at taxpayers’ expense.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders had no horses at San Juan Hill, but they did have an enthusiastic reporter, Richard Harding Davis. And “Long John” Thompson may have made only 18 cents an hour, but in four months DuPont delivered 2.2 million pounds of brown prismatic powder to the government at 33 cents a pound and Alfred (du Pont) was declared an unsung hero of the war. What also went unsung was the fraud the Du Ponts were committing. The powder they sold the government cost them only 8 cents a pound to produce. That was 320 per cent profit, extortion in anyone’s book.

From that short war, Du Ponts made over half a million dollars.9

Following a long established tradition of amassing wealth through cheap labour and government contracts, the Du Pont family would enter the 20th century as the nation’s premier weapons manufacturer.10) It also understood how to steal public assets for its own benefit. For example, despite DuPont’s claims to have perfected smokeless powder, it was the US Government that did. US Army officers had actually developed the new powder and the military actually held the patents. DuPont simply appropriated them. Friends in the military could be induced to help—with a few shares in the company.11 Afterwards they could, of course, increase the price to the government for products based on their new invention.

But as the 19th century was drawing to a close, popular opposition to the vast economic concentration that had occurred during the Long Depression was forcing even the corrupt in the nation’s capital to react. DuPont’s Powder Trust became the target of congressional investigation and prosecution under the new 1890 Sherman (Antitrust) Act. The intent of the legislation was to “protect competition” at least as an ideal. Corporate arrangements—often wholly or partly secret—which were intended to restrain competition, were to be prohibited by US law. Hence antitrust investigations were launched to determine whether business combinations restrained competition in interstate commerce (the only jurisdiction the federal government had under the Constitution) and to examine companies to identify unfair practices or arrangements. Although the Sherman Act was considered progressive in its day it was filled with ambiguities and constrained by the notion that the law should protect “competition” but not competitors.

In any case as the investigations proceeded. DuPont could again rely—at least in part—on friends. Having noted William H. Taft’s generally pro-business attitudes, DuPont donated 200,000 dollars to his campaign, a gift no doubt worthy of the friendship expected. DuPont was able to use this influence to stall and eventually neutralise the effects of trust busting directed at the firm. All it took was a tiny threat to have the investigation side-tracked. In a meeting with President Taft and his Attorney-General Wickersham, a former DuPont attorney, Alfred du Pont threatened to create a million unemployed if Du Pont were deprived of its military powder monopoly.

Do you mean to threaten the United States Government?” thundered Taft. Of course not, replied Alfred quietly, and then quietly repeated his threat of closing the plants the nation depended upon for commercial explosives; Taft’s resistance collapsed… The Dollar Diplomacy of armed intervention was for Big Business, not against it. The government of the United States, which could invade whole countries in Latin America, was simply no match for the Du Ponts of Delaware. Within a few hours it meekly surrendered.12

World War I was “a great banquet of gold” for the Du Ponts who grossed over one billion dollars during the war.13 The Du Ponts asked themselves what to do with this ever-expanding fortune—to keep it expanding, of course. The 1920s were the key years of Du Pont’s transition from powder to chemicals. The end of WWI would curtail the demand for powder in the US so DuPont went in search of foreign markets. DuPont sent its publicity chief C K Weston to find out who was representing the US at the armaments conferences in Geneva. With intensive lobbying, proposals for government control — e.g., of chemical weapons — were dropped from the agenda. DuPont owned substantial shares in the German chemical companies Köln-Rottweiler and Nobel, Ltd. (part of Imperial Chemical Industries, the successor to the Nobel dynamite firm in England). As early as 1924 DuPont’s European representative Colonel William Taylor was already confirming German rearmament to company headquarters.

DuPont lobbying and the active support by Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover assured that the US government would do everything in its power to support American exports—including weapons. In fact, the most important interest group represented at the Geneva Armaments Conference was not the peace movement but the weapons manufacturers. Allen Dulles was chief of the Near Eastern Division of the State Department (and later head of the CIA) at the time. He made it clear that control of the arms traffic would have to ignore the fact that Germany was exporting arms and munitions in violation of its treaty obligations—arguing that from a diplomatic standpoint, to mention Germany or any of the Central Powers in this connection was impossible since they were supposed to abide by the treaties that put an end to the World War.14 This point is remarkable because it is already apparent that deliberate omission accompanies or substitutes for less seemly blatant lying.

1923 and 1925 began DuPont’s reputation as not only “the merchants of death” on the battlefield but in seemingly ordinary factories at home. DuPont’s Deepwater “dyes” plant on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River was a collaboration between DuPont and General Motors (at that time controlled directly by the Du Ponts). The Chambers Works is where tetraethyl lead was first produced, supposedly an anti-knock compound for internal combustion engines which would increase fuel mileage. Standard Oil and General Motors (run by Pierre du Pont) formed the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation in 1924 and began promotion of leaded gasoline worldwide. Gasoline was becoming a generic product reducing prices and profits for Standard Oil. Mixing gasoline with a very expensive patentable additive was one way to stabilise profitability. Building cars with motors that needed this type of fuel would certainly help. It took until 1996 before the US government banned the use of this enhanced toxin in automotive fuels—more than seventy years to counter this corporate conspiracy.15 The plant was also producing phosgene and chlorine gases and deadly benzol based chemicals.16 Workers who died in the plant were even given death certificates for such diseases as typhoid. Since not only the DuPont plant physicians knew how to behave, but also local authorities, Deepwater remained a mystery. As late as 2015 DuPont’s Chambers Works in Deepwater are still being fined for environmental violations.17

61FCH5gyPnL._SX200_Gerald Colby Tilg wrote a book that came as close to being banned as a book can come in Corporate America. There are other books about the Du Pont family. Colby Tilg wrote his without the consent or cooperation of the family. In fact, the Du Ponts did everything they could to prevent its publication and once published to inhibit its circulation. That, of course, is one reason why Open Road has reissued it as an e-book in the Forbidden Bookshelf series. The original book is even very difficult to find second-hand and then at ridiculous prices. I finally managed to find a copy—not only because I find it easier to work with hard copy books—but also because I wanted to see what was published in the original form. It is a remarkable and rare piece of investigative and historical research but even more it is incredibly well written. Nearly 600 pages describe not only the history of the family, its dynastic pretensions and intensive consanguine marriages that make one think of the Habsburgs, but the reader will find a genealogy of American capitalism. As the oldest and richest capitalist family in the United States, the offspring of Pierre du Pont de Nemours have not only played a crucial role in the organisation of the US economy, they have also shaped the character of US imperialism. Not only have the Du Ponts been the armorers of the nation, they established and controlled—and as a family owned—the world’s largest corporation, General Motors. It was only divested in 1965.

Much is made about corporate lobbying and how it corrupts the legislatures of the world. However, if one tries to argue that any given policy or action by government, whether legislative, judicial or executive, was the direct consequence of a corporate plan and agenda, the response is usually a polite smile or a jeer about “conspiracies” or an indication from some liberal that there are too many competing interests for any one company to exercise grand control over the government. Colby Zilg does not turn Du Ponts into the “power behind the Oval Office” Yet it is not difficult to see why Du Ponts or their innumerable holdings are rarely threatened by oversight and on the contrary always find a way to turn a profit.

The Cold War administrations of both Truman and Eisenhower were filled with former Du Pont lieutenants and allies. Tom Clark, a former Texas lobbyist for the DuPont–owned Ethyl Gas Corporation, charged in the 1930s with unethical practices by a Texas Senate Investigating Committee, became Truman’s Attorney General in May 1945. Dean Acheson, a lawyer for the Du Ponts, became Secretary of State. Lewis M. Douglas, a GM director, was chosen for the important post of ambassador to Great Britain. Louis Johnson, one of the key American Legion figures allegedly involved with Du Ponts in the abortive 1934 coup, was made the second Secretary of Defense in 1949, after the suicide of James Forrestal. Four years later, Charles Wilson, who had earlier won the hearts of Wilmington with his purchase of GM tires from Du Pont-controlled US Rubber, became Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense. Eisenhower’s CIA director was Allen Dulles, a Du Pont confident as far back as the 1920s and president of United Fruit, in which the Du Ponts held a substantial block of stock.18

From 1945 until 1960, Du Ponts had direct lines to the Cabinet, especially the War/Defense department where the family traditionally made its best profits. After Du Pont chemist Crawford Greenwaldt was given the task of building what would be uranium enrichment plants for the Manhattan Project, DuPont essentially obtained for free all the atomic know-how needed to corner this lucrative business in new weapons of death and destruction. Today DuPont is still churning out profits in the atomic industry running the Savannah River Site on the border between South Carolina and Georgia. Since US federal law practically immunises the companies operating atomic power plants from civil liability and “national security” interests prevail in other key decisions, DuPont can benefit from risk-free profits, too.

DuPont and Standard Oil also teamed with chemists at Harvard to invent napalm, a standard terror weapon used in the wars against Korea and Vietnam—where it became infamous through some untimely photojournalism. From 1950 – 1952, GM (still in Du Pont hands) grossed 5.5 billion dollars in war contracts. While DuPont had annual profits of 13.3 per cent, GM was earning profits at an annual rate before tax that was six times what it earned in 1929—and that had been a boom year.19

Behind the Nylon Curtain does not just tell the story of unopposed capitalist greed and unrestrained power. Every once in a while fellow capitalists have tried to teach Wilmington that discretion is the better part of valour. In 1955, Du Ponts announced they were making another major investment in GM. In the past, the US government had always found compromises in favour of the Du Ponts and to avoid disturbing this pillar of American capitalism. That included playing down Du Pont’s control of GM. The announcement of the new investment touched off a powder keg. Antitrust law had changed and a new legal consensus about tolerable monopolies had been reached which offended the paleo-conservative Du Ponts. Corporate liberals had agreed that a monopoly should no longer be held by a single family, although it was fine for many groups to exercise financial domination. Du Ponts would have to divest themselves of GM. This set Du Pont family lawyers in action to protect the family holdings, especially from taxes. The sale of the shares threatened to increase the family’s taxes—well over a billion dollars under the tax code at the time. With the help of Clark Clifford20, when the US was escalating its counter-insurgency war against Vietnam. He also served as Defense Secretary (1968-69), the year of the Tet Offensive.)), who along with serving DuPont also simplified business for ITT—and by the way was an advisor to Presidents—Du Ponts received special tax treatment, while keeping an estimated 17 per cent of GM through a network of trusts and in-laws.21 In public they occasionally were dealt a black eye, but in the corridors of power Du Pont wealth usually got its way. By 1965 the divestiture had been completed.

In 1965 the US invaded Vietnam with regular troops, landing Marines at Da Nang. Thus began the DuPonts’ next adventure in profit:

Of the top ten war contractors, three (North American Rockwell, Boeing, General Motors) represented large investments of the Du Pont family. Of the top forty Pentagon contractors, eight (North American Rockwell, Boeing, General Motors, Newport News Shipbuilding, Du Pont, Hercules, and Uniroyal) or one-fifth, were Du Pont interests.

Du Pont Company alone reaped over one billion dollars in war contracts.22

It is now forty years since the US stopped flying aircraft and dropping bombs or sending ships with troops to murder peasants in Indochina. But the US has not stopped waging war around the world or building atomic weapons, so it is certain that DuPont is still profiting from the fight against the “enemy of the day”.

Colby Zilg does not confine his story to the nearly two centuries of war profiteering. He also describes using the example of the oldest family, how the daily interlocking of private capital and the State have consistently facilitated and enhanced the exploitative capacity of a very small elite in the United States, not since 2008 or since 1972 or even since 1893 when McClure’s Magazine began publication or even the notorious Grant administration.23 No, from the very beginning the wealth, power and dignity of the ruling elite in the US has been acquired by cheap labour, “free” land, and government favours (whether political, monetary or military). This is not unlike the story Gustavus Myers wrote and first published in 1901. Myers starts with the seldom discussed colonial land tenure and labour systems, including slavery, that survived into the first years of the republic, forming the basis upon which Astors and Vanderbilts followed by Morgan, Carnegie, Mellon, Rockefeller, to name a few of the better-known names, could make the US a paradise for Capital. Myers writes this about Du Pont:

However abbreviated, a competent description of the origin and expansion of the du Pont fortune would entail chapter after chapter. It would have to begin more than a century and a quarter ago when a du Pont established the first small gunpowder plant in Delaware and give the history up to the present E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, leading manufacturer of explosives.24

Du Pont is exceptional because of the dynasty’s longevity, its peculiar family character which kept the company a partnership for almost a century, and its penetration of virtually every sector of the economy and politics. As the leading explosive manufacturer in the US it was wedded to the projects for empire and domestic repression from the very beginning.

Although the Rockefeller, Morgan and Mellon banking families probably control more corporate assets, the Du Ponts have more personal wealth. In fact, no family in America has been richer longer than the Du Ponts. They are the country’s oldest industrial family, producing gunpowder sixty-eight years before Rockefeller was identified with oil, eighty-six years before Carnegie with steel, ninety years before Ford with automobiles.

The Vanderbilts, it is often pointed out, survive as rich people; the Du Ponts survive as a corporation… It should be emphasized, however, that the company has not ruled the family, as is so commonly suggested; rather, the family has ruled the company. Throughout its history, the main concern of the family has always been the family, not the company. In fact, the main concern of Du Pont Company was always the Du Pont family.25

A cursory examination of books written about Business in the US and especially about businessmen (and women) in any bookstore will without doubt show how fantastic the leading corporate executives are, what terrific commercial and product innovations are brought to a needy (or greedy) consumer, how, in short, with all its failings there’s no business like business in the US. This is especially nauseating when it comes to the great billionaires. At the beginning of the 20th century the richest men in America—like John D. Rockefeller—were feared. Today Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are presented as a nice guy from around the block to meet for a non-alcoholic beverage and some kind of health-food sandwich, the other could come round for a round of canasta with your grandmother.

Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays began what came to be called public relations. Bernays came to use the term, although he had published a book on the subject called Propaganda in 1928, because it had fewer negative connotations. However, both Lee, who polished Rockefeller’s public image, and Bernays who helped make corporate policies seem more palatable or even popular, were in the business of deception. After Colorado national guardsmen had massacred workers, including families, during a strike at Rockefeller-owned mines in Ludlow, Lee went to work to perform damage control. Lee is credited with managing Rockefeller’s public appearance so that he seemed more like a kindly old gentleman rather than a ruthless thief. Ever since the extremely wealthy and powerful, whether individuals or corporations, spend enormous amounts to manage the way they are seen or the image of what they do. In addition to plain press and media relations work, there are charities and covert action. One of Bernays’ covert PR actions was the famous New York City Easter Day Parade in which he had selected women, dressed in a style associated with middle class suffragettes all light cigarettes and smoke while parading down Fifth Avenue. The prepared press releases spoke of women “lighting up torches of freedom”—the point was for Bernays to help his client sell more cigarettes to the as yet untapped women’s market.26)

The Du Pont dynasty had its own share of public disasters or targets to be influenced. Much of what DuPont produces may not even be noticed as such—e.g. the wide variety of synthetic materials and packaging used today.27 However, the Du Ponts have tended to use vigorous political power for the most part in immediate areas of economic interest. To protect their wealth they have created as many as thirty or more tax-exempt foundations. In contrast to some of the other super-rich families, the Du Ponts concentrate their tax-free foundations in the field of preserving the memorabilia of their ancestors and the elegant estates they modelled after pre-revolutionary French ostentation. Longwood palace has gardens that rival those of Versailles and are preserved by the Nemours Foundation. There is a “public” library at the original gunpowder mills with the family archives. However, the Eleutherian Mills – Hagley Foundation treats everything after 1933 as if it were “classified”. When Du Pont foundations award grants there are no strings, per se—but because these are mainly disbursed as “matching grants” control is always implied.28 Of course, there are endowed chairs at universities and prizes; e.g., for journalism, too.29

DuPont became a household word for products like nylon and Teflon, today a metaphor for anyone to whom nothing sticks; i.e., criticism, criminal charges, etc. The company has managed to stay in business for over two centuries. The family has ruled Delaware without serious interruption for just as long. Its palaces have been subsidised by taxes unassessed or unpaid, built with extortionate profits from government contracts and the cheapest possible labour. Princes of the realm have occasionally worked in government service, only rarely held public office outside the “Duchy” itself.30 Hence they do not appear in power and yet it is safe to assume that they hold power even today.

Today’s great magnates shun ornament and regalia, although Bill Gates has stooped to accept honorary knighthood in the Order of the British Empire. Wealth is celebrated with almost plebeian modesty. Individual American fortunes like those of Buffet, Gates, Soros, are lauded in books and magazine articles detailing entrepreneurship rather than bloodline. Their limousines are parked outside venues like the World Economic Forum in Davos or the Munich Security Conference. Warren Buffet still draws his fans to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings where the “sage of Omaha” (as opposed to the “nihilist of Nebraska”) basks in modest reputation for “value investing”. Unlike his one-time rival Steve Jobs, Bill Gates cannot animate the revival tent. In short, the wealthy and powerful today—at least in the United States—rarely hold public office. They deny holding power in public, preferring to present themselves as bearers of business acumen, commercial wisdom and financial virtue. These are purportedly qualities which make them at least potentially equal to the men and women beneath them. After all the US is the “land of opportunity” for everyone, isn’t it?

The Du Ponts are proof that it isn’t. While the Great, like Gates and Buffet, try to demonstrate that they are also the Good, Du Pont wealth stands for itself.

Behind the Nylon Curtain—the allusion to the Cold War expression might be unfamiliar to readers born after 1989—is a unique royal biography of capitalism in which pageantry and propaganda are shown for what they are. It is a story of the corporate support for radical right wing politics—as a matter of course—and the conscious funding and deployment of organised terror, like the Ku Klux Klan in Alfred du Pont’s Florida empire and the Black Legion in GM territory (Michigan). It is a sober, detailed study of dynastic power and how it has been exercised for the entire history of the United States! Colby Zilg produced a genealogy of immorality that transcends personalities and can only be understood by staring the system in the face. This book demands that the evils of capitalism be recognised in the actions of real people who can be named and whose actions can—if one pays attention—be seen and not just imagined—once one transcends the pageantry of Business.

It is a kind of “trooping of the colours” without the fancy dress. The criminal dynasty is assembled on parade. And like at the British monarch’s birthday celebration—all can see Du Pont’s weaponry and the soldiers in its employ, protecting the plunder. However, there are no uniforms and marching bands to distract the reader from the smell of powder, gas, and napalm or the cancerous contamination that accompany its grandeur. From Deepwater, NJ to Miami, from the Savannah River to the Nevada desert, from the gas chambers in Poland to the dioxin drenched valleys of Vietnam, DuPont and the Du Pont family have embodied American capitalism in all its glory. Gerald Colby Zilg’s chronicle forces the reader to see the gore at the heart of that glory.

• Dupont, Behind the Nylon Curtain was revised and reissued in 1984. It has just been reissued in 2014 by Open Roads (Forbidden Bookshelf). The e-book is based on the 1984 edition.

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The Lone Star Swan Who


The Swan Who Feeds and Cares for SF’s Pigeons

John Ratliff, the Birdman, sits on a bench on 16th and Mission Streets, watching the birds peck rice off the cement in San Francisco, on October 28, 2016. By Julio Marcial

John Ratliff reaches into the pocket of his jacket and says, “This is my latest project,” and he pulls out a young pigeon.

It rests on his hand momentarily and extends its tattered wings outward. The skin is exposed, raw, and it begins to flap its mangled wings, but it’s no use.

“It can’t fly,” says Ratliff.  “It’s a baby, musta’ fell off a tree.” He covers the pigeon’s head with the palm of his other hand and gently places it back into the pocket of his jacket.

“This is its home now,” he says as he stares off toward the BART Station in front of him on 16th and Mission streets. Dozens of other pigeons surround him, pecking rice off the cement.

People stop and stare at Ratliff. Take a photo. Leave. Point. Laugh. Go on with their days. They see a homeless man sitting on a bench feeding birds.

But that homeless man is an award-winning journalist from Springfield, Illinois, whose mind fell ill to schizophrenia, whose family left him when he could no longer control his behavior, whose few possessions include a typewriter and the bags of rice he carries with him.

The Swan

“We called him Swan,” said Andrew McKinley, surrounded by walls of novels, just past the poetry section of Adobe Books, the store he founded more than 25 years ago that is now a cooperative, relocated to 3130 24th St.

“He’s been around this neighborhood for as long as I’ve been around this neighborhood,” he said, reclining back on the couch as he began to recall how he met Ratliff who is known as the Lone Star Swan, an alias he gave himself.

In 1988, McKinley said, a Volkswagen bus appeared near 16th and Valencia streets. This was John Ratliff’s home. He’d park on either side of the road, but soon, Ratliff’s only place of refuge was towed away by the city, and he became a street person, sleeping on doorways along 16th Street.

Despite it all, in the mornings, when he wasn’t hanging out at Pícaro café, Ratliff walked into Adobe Books, then on 16th Street. Even then, Ratliff wore his black bandanna across his long wiry hair. He helped himself to a seat and began to compose on a typewriter he brought with him.

It was there that he wrote the words of the daily Rag – a personal newsletter to the community about the words circulating in his head.

His epistles discussed current events, politicians and landlords. Sometimes he announced his candidacy for president or mayor and described being chased by “agents,” who wanted to read his mind using mind rays.

Once the newsletters were written, he copied them and handed them out to people he saw in the bookstore or in the nearby cafés of 16th Street.

McKinley doesn’t know how Ratliff started using the store as his abode, but he nevertheless was welcomed.

“We allowed him to sleep in our store and rest,” McKinley said, even letting Ratliff keep copies of the Rag in the basement along with bags of rice. “He had this love of news; he had a love for animals and insects. But I guess he slowly devolved into a bird feeder.”

Ratliff took on a new epithet, the Birdman, the man who fed the pigeons of 16th and Valencia streets.

Continuing to write his daily articles, Ratliff was still the Swan, bringing his brand of culture to the neighborhood and enjoying the ambiance of Adobe Books, which became a hangout for musicians and artists.

In the mid-2000s, the history behind Swan emerged.

The Journalist

“At some point he came out here and lost connection. His colleagues at the news station were concerned. They were worried about him,” McKinley said.

Roger Wolfe, Ratliff’s best friend and news colleague at WICS, Channel 20, NBC in Springfield, Illinois, came to San Francisco to film a portrait on Ratliff, titled “Schizophrenia.”

In Wolfe’s documentary, we discover that Ratliff was a multifaceted news reporter in the early 1970s.

“Ratliff joined WICS in October, 1969, as a news and documentary writer, reporter and commentator. He has produced two documentaries for the station, ‘Drugs and the Young,’ and ‘Old Age in Springfield.’ Previously, Ratliff had worked for KELO-TV, the Associated Press and United Press International in Sioux Falls, S.D., and for United Press in Minneapolis,” wrote the Decatur Daily Review, an Illinois newspaper, on Nov. 20, 1970.

Back then, he was also a family man, a father of four. But Ratliff’s schizophrenia began to manifest, and in 1974, the uncontrollable psychotic episodes took over his mind, and he threatened his family, according to the documentary. Mary Ratliff, his wife at the time, had no choice but to leave with the children.

Between 1974 and 1988, there is a time gap. How Ratliff came to San Francisco is uncertain, but McKinley says he has heard that in the earlier days, Ratliff could be found in North Beach.

In the early 2000s, Ratliff’s distinctive presence caught the eyes of local artist Daniel Doherty.

The Storyteller: Saint Francis

During a rare sunspotted evening in December of last year, Doherty stood on his toes in the middle of Clarion Alley – a cultural, political, and historical artery of murals – trying to pull a piece of duct tape off the mural he painted of Ratliff in 2015.

“Damn it,” Doherty said. The tape peeled the paint off the wall. “Well,” he frowned, “I guess now it’s rustic.”

The mural showed Lone Star Swan reading his newsletters on the porch of Adobe Books, just like he did nearly two decades ago.

Doherty first saw Ratliff in the early 2000s while he worked at Café La Onda. The Lone Star Swan would come in nearly every day and order his coffee, maybe say a few words, and pass out the Rag, which Doherty said became a cult phenomenon.

“Every place has a history and a story,” said Doherty who considers the piece part of the narrative of San Francisco, a history that stretches back to the Ohlone Indians, to the Gilded Age and the Labor Wars, and Vietnam in the ’60s.

“This has been a place of social upheaval and conflict between the powerful and the weak,” he said. “That’s what’s happening now and what’s always happened and will continue to happen.”

In this narrative, Doherty said, Swan is a storyteller. “I titled the mural ‘Saint Francis: Past, Present, and Future,’ because I am casting him in the role of Saint Francis. He’s the storyteller to share this narrative of struggle with whoever chooses to live here.”

The Fainting Legacy

During his time at Café La Onda, Doherty amassed quite the collection of Ratliff’s work.

“I want to make a compilation, punk-rock zine style,” he said opening a bag, revealing a heap of Ratliff’s work and papers he transcribed himself.

“Once I had it as a physical object, I could pass it along onto someone who knows the nuts and bolts of how to get funding and marketing or whatever. I don’t know anything about it.”

Back at Adobe Books, McKinley agreed. “God, someone should fund collecting Swan’s writing into an archive or into a book,” he said.

“Maybe someone will reprint or collate what he’s written. But it’s also very fragile. His legacy can disappear just like that,” McKinley said, snapping his fingers.

The Rag

“Everybody wants to know where I came from, who I am, why I write, why I feed the birds,” Ratliff said, furrowing his eyebrows.

“But those, those are stupid questions.”

Ratliff leaned back on the bench and took out a cluster of folded papers.

“This,” he pointed at the papers, “this is all anyone needs to know.”

The papers were the Rag.

Reading the papers, Ratliff’s poetic voice reflects the way he speaks, disarranged but somehow steady, erratic and yet comprehensible.

“Drafted by Destiny!” shows Ratliff as totally cognizant of his past and the current election:

“76 now, kryptonited & shakey-handed, the former prize-winning wire service & CBS/NBC affiliate two-fisted reporter & News Director arose out of the mothballs today to save us from the living bowel-movement of the election,” he wrote on Oct. 28, 2016.  

Walking away from the bench, Ratliff says, “I gotta go.”

He walks through dozens of birds that have gathered near him.

They disperse.

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  1. Tony Bear!

    Cool story. However, this guy is Public Enemy #1 for anyone who wants the 16th St Mission BART plaza cleaned up. The filthy pigeons he attracts with his rice are a nuisance. And, feeding pigeons is against the law.

    2.joanna d’Arc

  2. Cool Comment, Tony Bear. Your comment is exactly what Adolph Hitler said about Poor and Ugly people in 1938, and Hitler’s ACTION T1 was a CLEANSING of UGLY, OLD. SENILE, and Mentally Ill HUMANS. almost a million were MURDERED, BY PEOPLE THAT THINK AS YOU THINK. If this seems harsh, try living on the streets for 30+ years, walk a mile in John’s Shoes, or otherwise, STFU with your CRUEL and HATEFUL Remarks. You savage hateful beast hater! Your sort of Sub Human Creature has no place in a free and just society, your speech is NAZI HATE SPEECH.
  3. You would talk that shit about Jews also, but We Jewish People would place you on a LIST.
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The Zeitgeist movement is the first Internet-based apocalyptic cult

The Zeitgeist movement is the first Internet-based apocalyptic cult, centered around a doomsday-proclaiming film and an ideology filled with classic anti-Semitic tropes

Over the last two weeks, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, the third in a series of apocalyptic cult documentaries, has been screening around the world, translated by devotees of the so-called Zeitgeist movement into more than 30 languages. There were engagements in Buenos Aires and Athens, Sarajevo and Tel Aviv, Mumbai and Tokyo, among hundreds of other cities. In the United States, it showed at indie movie houses, underground bookstores, public libraries, and universities from coast to coast, including a five-day run at New York’s Tribeca Cinemas.

About 30 people turned out for a Wednesday evening showing in Manhattan. After being greeted by earnest volunteers in Zeitgeist T-shirts and given the chance to pick up pamphlets and newsletters about the Zeitgeist movement—or TZM, as its acolytes call it—they sat through a two-and-a-half-hour film, alternately frenetic and soporific, explaining the necessary and imminent collapse of economies based on money, the root of all the world’s sufferings. The film prophesied the emergence of a superior “resource-based economy,” in which decisions about the allocations of goods and services will be made by computers free from corrupting “opinions.” Robots will do most menial work, liberating people for more creative, humanistic pursuits, and technological innovation will ensure abundance for all. The movie ends with scenes of crowds worldwide surging into the streets and, realizing that money is but an enslaving illusion, dumping their cash in great piles in front of the now-impotent central banks. Amazingly, only one person walked out.

Zeitgeist: Moving Forward is silly enough that at times I suspected it was all a put-on, a sly satire about new-age techno-utopianism instead of an example of it. But to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, the Zeitgeist movement is entirely serious. At times, it even seems like the world’s first Internet-based cult, with members who parrot the party line with cheerful, rote fidelity. In a phone conversation, Brenton Eccles, a former member from Melbourne, described how his involvement cut him off from reality. “It’s very, very, very isolating,” says Eccles, who was part of the communications team in the movement’s Australia branch. “You’re encouraged to kind of exit the real world. There’s kind of this us-and-them attitude.” A few days later, he sent me a document recanting most of his charges and claiming that his conflicts with the organization had in fact been his fault. This did not make it seem less cult-like.

There are lots of strange things about the Zeitgeist phenomenon, but strangest is how it got started. It’s a global organization devoted to a kind of sci-fi planetary communism, but it was sparked by a 2007 documentary steeped in far-right, isolationist, and covertly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The first Zeitgeist documentary borrowed from the work of Eustace Mullins, Lyndon LaRouche, and conspiracy-mad Austin radio host Alex Jones to rail against the cabal of international bankers that purportedly rules the world. It was this documentary that reportedly obsessed Jared L. Loughner, the disturbed young man who allegedly shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Since the shooting, conservatives have latched on to the Zeitgeist movement’s new-age side to argue that Loughner hailed from the left. Others, myself included, have pointed out that the original Zeitgeist film is full of fringe right-wing ideas that have migrated toward the mainstream via the Tea Party. Zeitgeist warns, for example, that the United States could soon be subsumed into a North American Union as a precursor to the establishment of totalitarian one-world government. Members of the Zeitgeist movement, not surprisingly, reject any connection between the shooting and their ideology, even as some of them welcome the new attention that it has brought their ideas. “It’s ultimately a positive thing,” says Keith Embler, the earnest aspiring actor who co-chairs the New York chapter. “It’s press. And”—with the third documentary just released—“the timing couldn’t be better.”

Meanwhile, the evolution of the movement itself remains obscure. How did a modern gloss on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion inspire a global organization of wide-eyed technophile environmentalists? What is the Zeitgeist movement?

The documentary that started it all began as an art project. “The original Zeitgeist was not a film, but a performance piece, which consisted of a vaudevillian style multi-media event using recorded music, live instruments and video,” the Zeitgeist website explains. The director, a young college dropout who goes by Peter Joseph, his first and middle names, says he “tossed” it up online, where it soon was getting hundreds of thousands, then millions, then tens of millions of views on Google Videos. It has since been removed from that site, but several people have posted it on YouTube, where various versions have received millions of views each, and on Vimeo, where it’s been seen almost 600,000 times in the last six months. DVDs of the first two documentaries are also for sale online.

“The work was never designed as a film or even a documentary in a traditional sense—it was designed as a creative, provoking, emotionally driven expression, full of artistic extremity and heavily stylized gestures,” the Zeitgeist website says. This might, however, be a bit of a post-facto rationalization, meant to distance Joseph from some of the reactionary ideas in his film. It certainly doesn’t explain how the piece made the transition from performance art to relatively coherent two-hour documentary.

The original Zeitgeist has a three-part structure, and if you just saw the first third, you might think it came from the left. It begins by arguing, using a characteristic mix of fact and invention, that Christianity is a colossal fraud, a set of myths appropriated from pagan sun cults for purposes of social control. Control is the film’s real theme: All our politics and our institutions, it suggests, derive from a conspiracy of international bankers who manipulate world events for their own profits. The second part argues that Sept. 11 was an inside job, engineered by these moneyed interests. Much of its footage was taken directly from documentaries created by the far-right radio host Alex Jones, whose work is devoted to exposing the global elite’s plan for totalitarian one-world domination.

From there, Zeitgeist launches into a pseudo-exposé of the international monetary system, a theme that runs through both its sequels. According to Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, a think tank that studies right-wing movements, much of it derives from two books: The Creature From Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin, a member of the John Birch Society, and Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins. Mullins hated Jews, but his references to Jews in the book are oblique. “It’s bait, written by one of the world’s most notorious anti-Semites to lead people into that analytical model,” says Berlet.

Zeitgeist works the same way. Though it says nothing about Jews, its analysis mirrors classic anti-Semitic canards. Immediately after footage of the twin towers falling, for example, the film features an excerpt from a speech that Charles Lindbergh gave to an America First group in 1941: “When hostilities commenced in Europe in 1939, it was realized that the American people had no intention of entering the war. But it was realized that this country could be enticed into the war, in very much the same way that it was enticed into the last one.” As his words play, headlines about Iraq float across the screen. “We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction,” he concluded. Lindbergh, of course, was talking about the Jews. Viewers attuned to anti-Semitic rhetoric would naturally conclude that Joseph was, too.

After Joseph put Zeitgeist online, it quickly became an Internet sensation. Clips appeared on the websites of Ron Paul supporters, white nationalists, and, before long, some Tea Party groups. Anarchists and anti-imperialists embraced it as well. Stories about it appeared in newspapers worldwide. Some were admiring: South Africa’s Cape Times compared it to An Inconvenient Truth. Even the debunkers testified to its reach. An article in the Irish Times described the “massive interest” the documentary had attracted before lamenting, “One really wishes Zeitgeist was a masterful pastiche of 21st-century paranoia, a hilarious mockumentary to rival Spinal Tap.”

As Zeitgeist’s audience grew, people started asking Joseph what they should do with his explosive information. He didn’t know what to tell them. He supported Ron Paul, but he believed the system to be too irredeemably corrupt for a political solution. That’s when he met Jacque Fresco, a radical futurist and would-be secular prophet who has been preparing for his moment in the limelight for more than five decades.

Born to a Sephardic Jewish family in Harlem in 1917, Fresco moved to Los Angeles after World War II. The journalist Lionel Rolfe, in his memoir of California bohemia, Fat Man on the Left: Four Decades in the Underground, wrote that in the early ’50s, “Fresco had a circle of disciples who considered him next only to Albert Einstein, although the friends and relatives of those disciples often thought Fresco was a fraud and a charlatan.”

Back then, Fresco, a self-educated industrial designer, had already developed his ideas about machines making traditional economics irrelevant. In the 1970s, he moved to a compound in Venus, Fla., where he and his partner, Roxanne Meadows, set about creating designs for the cities—and civilization—of the future. They call their work The Venus Project.

Joseph learned about the Venus Project when Fresco, having seen Zeitgeist, sent him one of his books. For Joseph, Fresco’s highly detailed vision of a world without money, a world where work itself is largely unnecessary and human ills like greed and crime are obsolete, was a revelation.

Soon, Joseph was devoting himself to spreading the word about Fresco and The Venus Project. His second film, Zeitgeist: Addendum, starts in much the same vein as the first, with an attack on the international financial system. But then it shifts to a worshipful examination of Fresco’s work, offering it as a solution to the ravages of the current system. Joseph’s latest film, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, further elaborates Fresco’s irenic vision of a “resource-based economy,” one without poverty, inequality, or environmental strain.

The Zeitgeist movement emerged in 2008, after the release of the second documentary, as chapters formed worldwide to figure out how to prepare for immanent economic collapse and technological salvation. Joseph never acknowledged his massive ideological shift from decrying a one-world system to embracing it—he just powered through the contradictions with an intense, weirdly mesmerizing self-confidence. He seems entirely sure of his movement’s capacity to fundamentally reshape human beings. In the first Zeitgeist newsletter, he explained to a letter-writer why there would be no gluttony in a resource-based economy. “[F]or a person to want ‘more’ than another is an unsustainable, conflict invoking value which serves only a selfish conditioning generated by the current cultural climate of ‘survival of the fittest’ via the Market System of Competition,” he wrote. “TZM seeks to remove this system, hence removing the distorted values that coincide and are hence imposed and reinforced.”

Lots of right-wing fans of the original documentary have since deserted Joseph, though not all—the Zeitgeist newsletter features an essay by a former Ron Paul activist who described trying to get his Tea Party group to embrace Fresco’s ideas. Meanwhile, new cadres of progressive seekers have joined, going to meetings and throwing themselves into the movement’s vibrant online community. At 96, the bearded, impish Fresco suddenly has a large global following—last year, he visited 18 countries on an international lecture tour.

Since 2009, the movement has celebrated Z-day in March, with chapters worldwide putting on events. The New York Times covered the inaugural Z-Day gathering in Manhattan, which attracted a sold-out crowd of around 900 to hear Joseph and Fresco speak. It was, wrote reporter Alan Feuer, “as if Karl Marx and Carl Sagan had hired John Lennon from his ‘Imagine’ days to do no less than redesign the underlying structures of planetary life.” This year’s Z-Day will take place on March 13, with a main event in London and local happenings worldwide.

Most members, particularly the new ones, are probably unaware of the Jew-baiting subtext of the documentary that launched their movement. Many were genuinely baffled in 2009 when a German social networking site, studiVZ, banned Zeitgeist groups because of their implicit anti-Semitism. Others seem a bit embarrassed by the first Zeitgeist; they’ll often say it’s “irrelevant”—one of TZM’s favorite epithets—because it came out before the movement got started. But no one is disavowing it, and so a growing global movement of tech-savvy idealists continues to promote a work of far-right paranoia.

“I’m willing to accept that the filmmaker is a person who has a great energy and tremendous ignorance who inadvertently replicated the Nazi view of money manipulation,” says Berlet. “In which case he needs to repudiate it.” That seems unlikely. In a video interview available online, Joseph rails against his critics, “the self-appointed guardians of the status quo.” The first Zeitgeist, he insists, “is based on pre-existing information. There isn’t one thing in that film that doesn’t come from a source.” True enough. The problem is what the sources are.

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Prison is Mental Housing

Federal court denies California’s request to lift oversight of prison mental health system

federal judge has denied California’s request to lift the court’s oversight of the state’s prison mental health system, citing “ongoing constitutional violations”.

“Systemic failures persist in the form of inadequate suicide prevention measures, excessive administrative segregation of the mentally ill, lack of timely access to adequate care, insufficient treatment space and access to beds, and unmet staffing needs,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton in his ruling in Coleman v. Brown.

Read more: ANALYSIS: California seeks to terminate federal oversight of prison mental health system

Despite some progress made by California to improve its prison mental health system, Karlton expressed concern that the state has “failed to adequately implement and administer necessary components of their suicide prevention program and other critical parts of their remedial plan.” In other words, the state has not followed through on implementing its own plan to comply with the Constitution’s Eight Amendment and “deliver adequate mental health care to seriously mentally ill inmates.”

Karlton pointed out that the suicide rate in California’s prisons has not declined much since 2005 and that more than 70% of the inmate suicides were “foreseeable and preventable” and “involve significant inadequacies [in mental health care] about which the [state] have known for years”.

In fact, the state’s 2012 suicide rate is still more than 50% higher than the national average.

Not only has the state failed to fully implement its suicide prevention program, Karlton found an “ongoing pattern of repeating inadequacies” including failure to refer inmates for appropriate treatment, failure to evaluate and screen inmates for mental health problems, failure to carry out basic clinical procedures, and inadequate emergency responses.

“Despite the fact that current evidence shows that inmate suicides are occurring at virtually the same rate and with virtually the degree of inadequacies in assessment, treatment and intervention, defendants now seek termination of all relief in this action,” Karlton wrote.

The state also lacks the necessary facilities to house prisoners with serious mental health problems.

Karlton found that the state still does not have a sufficient number of mental health crisis beds for inmates who require 24-hour nursing care due to serious “impairment and dysfunction” or who pose danger to themselves and others.

The facility shortage meant that inmates seeking mental health treatment are still being placed in solitary confinement – known as “administrative segregation” – sometimes more than 90 days while they wait for an appropriate treatment bed to open up.

Read more: California places mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement due to lack of treatment beds

“Mentally ill inmates in need of this care are held in conditions that defendants have now agreed should not be used to house inmates in need of crisis care. This aspect of the Eighth Amendment is ongoing,” wrote Karlton.

State officials pointed out that additional treatment facilities are under construction and would significantly increase the number of beds for inmates seeking care, but Karlton remains unconvinced, noting that the constructions for some of the facilities are in the “very preliminary stages.”

“Until all necessary projects are complete, the state’s prison system is operating with a constitutionally inadequate amount of treatment space and a constitutionally inadequate number of beds necessary for adequate care,” Karlton wrote.

Karlton also cited the staffing shortages of mental health professionals in state prisons as another reason why federal oversight should continue.

The state reported that the vacancy rate for prison mental health professionals – psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and et cetera – was 29% as November 2012, and even the state-hired experts found the high staffing vacancies “worrisome”.

“Chronic understaffing continues to hamper the delivery of constitutionally adequate medical care and is a central part of the ongoing constitutional violation in this action,” wrote Karlton.

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