Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Rev. Jim Jones couldn't have asked for a more rousing endorsement.
This one, priceless: A letter from a big city official, addressed to the President of the United States.
And no ordinary politician, oh no. As one of the first openly elected Gay public officials in American history, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk surely had the attention-getting pull the People's Temple cult craved.
Milk was more than happy to dress up his ravenous wolf pal in a real nice sheep's vestment.
"There are some facts you should be informed of," he wrote to Pres. Jimmy Carter on February 19, 1978. "Rev. Jones is....a man of the highest character, who has undertaken constructive remedies for social problems which have been amazing in their scope and effectiveness."
Mind you, Milk is writing this well after Jones had escaped the country to take refuge in his Guyana Gulag, long after all the evidence was out about his fraud, extortion, sadism, and suicide drills forced on cult captives.
No matter, the big city supervisor owed his good buddy who had garnered him votes. Clearly the men, women, children, and infants now trapped in the Guyana Death Camp--with just nine months to live--were expendable.
The thrust of his letter was a withering attack on two key members of the Concerned Relatives group that was desperately trying to rescue their loved ones, only to be repeatedly scorned by California's political (with the exception of Cong. Leo Ryan) and religious leaders. The Milk Man was on a whitewash mission. So he viciously denounced Tim and Grace Stoen, who were trying to get their son--that Jones claimed as his own--out of the cultist's murderous hands.
"Timothy and Grace Stoen, the parties that are attempting to damage Rev. Jones' reputation," Milk continued in his letter to the president, "and seriously disrupt the life of his son, John, have both already been discredited by the media here." Accusing the Stoens of everything from "blackmail" to "bold-faced lies," the supervisor added:
".....the life of a child is at stake....Mr. President, the actions of Mr. Stoen need to be brought to a halt. It is offensive to most in the San Francisco community, and all those who know Rev. Jones to see this kind of outrage taking place."
An "outrage." Interesting perspective, Mr. Milk.
Now, I just wonder. You think that "outrage" would have been the same sentiment of screen writer Dustin Lance Black and director Guy Van Sant had anyone even remotely suggested including anything that might have soured their 2008 silver screen canonization, "Milk"??
All the film's propaganda signs point to YES.
They clearly wanted under no circumstances a public that would get confused or find even the smallest speck of doubt about who was their real Harvey Milk. Yes, his untimely death, along with Mayor George Moscone, was tragic. His role in the Gay Rights battle could not be understated. These aspects of the film were of course dramatic and compelling.
Nevertheless, while audiences certainly deserved to learn about all this, it was unconscionable to deliberately present an distorted portrait. Especially in light of his criminal connection to Jim Jones.
Aiding and abetting. Obstruction of justice. Ironically, unlike just about all the other accessories to the Crime of the Century (Willie Brown, Rev. John Moore, Cecil Williams, et al), soon after Milk helped ensure the worst mass murder of Americans until 9/11, he received his own death penalty, along with George Moscone.
Harvey Milk's subsequent sainthood bestowed by Black & Van Sant did not go unnoticed by Pres. Obama. I voted for Obama and think he's more conscientious than most. But he still is what he is: Another politician. Currently Obama's got some serious problems to deal with, such as steadily slipping poll numbers; some of which is attributed to policy flip-flops and betraying promises made during an inspiring campaign. The latest is his shameful surrender, of we the people, back into the rapacious tentacles of our Big Insurance/Pharmaceutical Corporate Mafia.
Obama has also angered the Gay Lobby by not pushing for repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military, as well as not trying to get rid of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
So it's predictable he tried to score whatever points he could by giving Harvey Milk a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom last Wednesday. Please note carefully if you hear one word about Harvey's pal, Jimmy:
"Gotta give 'em hope," said Milk? "Hope"--for all those doing time in that forced labor camp called Jonestown, and for the children being tortured at night, in a deep, dark well his cult playfully named "Big Foot"??
Milk's nephew had the honor of accepting America's highest civilian award for his uncle. Again, listen carefully to the voice-over. The narrative might as well have been lifted right out of Van Sant's puff piece film:
Once again, that "H" word! "Hope," said Milk, "will never be silent." Except, of course, for 900 Americans silenced forever by the maniac that our Hope Merchant so faithfully promoted, while all the time privately admitting his feelings about the "dangerous" and "wierd" cult. What integrity, eh?
It would be fair to say that had Milk not aided & abetted Jim Jones (again, not the only crooked politico to do so), he would surely deserve this presidential award for all he did for his oppressed minority group.
"....This is a moment that will transcend identity politics," writes Chuck Wolfe, head of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, "because Harvey Milk represents the aspirations of all Americans. More than 200 years ago Washington, Jefferson and Adams fought to create a more perfect union. They probably had no idea that their vision would be embodied in the late 20th century by a gay, Jewish camera shop owner in San Francisco.
Milk's story, as recounted in last year's Academy Award-winning movie 'Milk' and books such as 'The Mayor of Castro Street', involves his struggle to become one of the first openly elected gay public officials in the U.S. His political ambitions coincided with the rising gay rights movement and resulted in him winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors."
Again, however, the roughshod side of Milk's politics, even beyond his sordid connection to a death cult, is something altogether different. And few want to talk about it for fear of deflating the myth.
Except for a highly irreverent fellow named "Molotov" Mitchell. He's a self-described Conservative Film Maker (watch out when they trumpet ANY title spiked with "conservative"!) that runs "Illuminati Pictures" out of North Carolina, in which he cranks out unorthodox, extreme right-wing videos. See a few of his videos and you might even suspect that he's actually a covert progressive doing needed parodies of this country's lunatic reactionary fringe.
Part of his mainstay is nonsensical smears of Barack Obama, Islam, and just about everything else not fitting snugly into a xenophobe's microscopic gray matter. One especially inflammatory incident said it all, when an episode from his weekly show, "Flamethrower," had Mitchell munching away at a specially prepared "Mohammad" cookie.
Hmmmmm--any investors out there interested in sending this enterprising fellow over to Saudi Arabia to run a cookie kiosk??
Even Faith TV, a national Christian Right network that runs Mitchell's show, had to censor the episode, "All Things Islam," because network president Jim West said "We feel this program just goes beyond the bounds of good taste." Now just why would a good Christian say such a thing?
But it has to be said that one of Mitchell's "For The Record" videos, replete as it is with trademark offensive, politically incorrect antics, happens to be a potent, much-needed antidote to our disengenuous left-wing Hollywood cover-up. Sit down with the rampaging Molotov as he provides an eye-opening serving of "Milk and Kool-Aid." And don't worry about those scattered moments when our host's horns and forked tail pop out....
On the other hand, and I'm gonna say PLEASE --for the record (mine)-- DISREGARD completely all the rest of the utterly inane, borderline insane DEN ("Domestic Emergency Network") videos attached at the end of the Milk expose.
Unless, of course, you're in the mood for some hardcore comedy.....
There was, of all places, something incriminating in a November, 2003 edition of "The Advocate"(The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine.) It was the 25th Anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre. The article was entitled: "Death of Dreams: in November 1978, Harvey Milk's murder and the mass suicides at Jonestown nearly broke San Francisco's spirit. Eerily, Milk knew and worked with Jonestown founder Jim Jones"
"Milk was of two minds about the temple. He accepted temple members' help in his successful 1977 campaign for board of supervisors--which made him one of the first openly gay elected officials in the country and certainly the most popular. But he also reportedly said temple members were 'weird and dangerous.'
He was not alone in this assessment. As the temple grew in size and status, Jones faced increasing scrutiny from the press, which investigated reports of 'suicide drills,' physical and sexual abuse, and extortion. In August 1977 the San Francisco Examiner published a damning two-part investigation on its front page. The stories were headlined, 'Rev. Jones: The Power Broker, Political Maneuverings of a Preacher Man,' and 'The Temple, a Nightmare World.'
Under pressure, Jones and some 1,000 followers started moving to Jonestown in late 1977. A settlement in the Guyana jungle, Jonestown was promoted as a multiracial socialist paradise far from the racism and class oppression of American life. Many hundreds more temple members stayed in San Francisco, where services continued under the leadership of associate pastors. Milk spoke at a service for the last time in October 1978. He had been enthusiastically received at Peoples Temple several times before, and he always sent glowing thank-yon notes to Jones afterward.
After one visit, Milk wrote, 'Rev. Jim, It may take me many a day to come back down from the high that I reach today. I found something real today. I found a sense of being that makes up for all the hours mad energy, placed in a fight. I found what you wanted me to find. I shall be back. For I can never leave.' Milk may have been disingenuous in his praise, or perhaps the rousing services at Peoples Temple made him feel a genuine bond."
I'll put my bets on the "disingenuous," despite the real possiblity this utterly unscrupulous man could have bonded quite nicely with the "wierd" and "dangerous" cultists to whom he so readily sold himself.
- END OF PART I -
Stay tuned for Part II, when we look at another sizzling expose that takes an even deeper look at the machinations and maneuverings of The Man Who Would Be Saint.