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We saw what happened in Copenhagen. The politicians caved into the commercial interests who ignored the obvious lessons for all humanity. The angry, powerful men really care less that we are bankrupting the essence of our home, this planet. They want now and will not be around to see the effects of long term lack of change. We must slow down. We must curb consumption of our resources not only for climate change but to be able continue life. There exists a lack of leadership in the world of those who are prepared to say 'the hell with being re-elected' we need to solve these problems now. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Sunday, December 20, 2009
Promised this sometime ago. I wanted to find an article which would really clarify this subject. I know many will consider this subject is not appropriate for our country. Disabuse yourself of this opinion. What we have seen in the last 40 years as been a steady erosion of democratic principles. If I were a believer in totalitarianism I would have followed the path of the last four decades. Do beware, it can happen here. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Sunday, December 13, 2009
Memories, Fred Hampton was part of our 'cause' meeting at Natoma House in Oak Brook, IL the summer of 1969. Peter Yarrow, Tom Smothers, Michael Gifford and myself were the other members.He was already a marked man. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Sunday, December 6, 2009
This is one of the problems we must address. It can help to clarify how desperate is the current lack of understanding the path to follow. There is little question that Change is/has been the mantra for our future. The current system is not sustainable. Simply take one aspect, the world's resources. What our plant possess cannot survive at the current rate of consumption. That is only one aspect of our dilemma. What about the humanistic aspects of our current system? Push for evolution. Otherwise we will have revolution. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Saturday, November 28, 2009
Our empire building targets the drive to our domination of the world. Do we truly want the responsibilities which go with that authority. By what divine right is our system the way for all the world. The private military is one of the most dangerous movements in the world today. It can be the ruination of this country. It goes counter to 'citizen army' conceived by our founders. Political ambitions of the military is as dangerous to our liberties as are political ambition of the clergy. More so, as all the time they are moving together, in creation of America as a fascist state. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Have you ever thought that there is some other way to live? Creating some benign philosophy to make our lives more humanistic. We all know there are many approaches to life which are not dominated by commercialism. Humans have such a short span of life on this planet. Why not concentrate on developing an existence which is more pleasurable in the 'pursuit of happiness'. And let us not forget an ancillary benefit of slowing the despoiling plunder of our common home - the Earth. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Friday, November 6, 2009
video sent by maylouise sillman. My comments:
You can be a hawk, an RRR (Religious Right Republican) or a stockholder in the MICC (Military Industrial Congressional Complex) you cannot escape coming to the same conclusion - a question? What are we getting or plan to get from the Afghan War? Flag drapped coffins, crippled bodies and a staggering war debt are just part of benefits we can accrue from this conflict. Mark my word the Afghan situation has become, as for many others, a graveyard of empire. Pray that we get out now! mb Posted by Michael Butler, Sunday, November 1, 2009
Well, another great one from one of my favorite bloggers.
Ronald Reagan, a charming celebrity huckster sold millions in this country on a political philosophy which was/is a disaster. A chaming man with a lovely wife, he really lead us down a garden path. Nixon was evil, Bush was the worst in history (particularly with Cheney running the government). Ronald Reagan was really dangerous. His philosophy still is. I really liked both of them, but not as my leader, mb Posted by Michael Butler, Monday, October 26, 2009
In full disclosure, I have known Gore Vidal for at least 50 years. I first got to know him when I optioned his book "Messiah". It is about a religion which takes over the world. I wanted to film it with Tyrone Power, my Godfather. Ty passed away on a film set in Spain. So the option passed and the project lanquished. i never forgot the book. As religion has become ever more controversial the suject of "Messiah" has emerged even more apropos. I saw Gore recently and spoke with him on his birthday.
I can readily understand the tone of this interview. Gore is a bitterly disappointed man about the drift of his beloved country. He, like so many of us, has almost given up. Yet he soldiers on. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Saturday, October 17, 2009
A great piece which in brief lays out the causes and results of of un-hindered violation of the primary rules of capitalism. Until our Congress does something to reverse the damages of acts by both parties we will stay in peril. Greed has brought us down. To feel that the Reagan mantra of anti-regulation will do anything but whistling in the wind is comparable to sticking ones head in the sand. The nature of the beast demands some discipline. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Monday, October 12, 2009
If you wish to go to bedrock comprehend that a major problem is our current method and mode of communication. It has become too impersonal, lacking very much as contact looses more the personal touch of the voice. Texting, Facebook, Twitter et al subject to nuances for simplification due to the desire for brevity. Soundbites prevail. Locking people out of detailed messaging. Reduce culture to common denomination. Bright or curious minds are suppressed. Such exotica as hiphop, rap are incomprehensible to many. Mussolini's, Hitler's and our own demagogues do not want the commoners to have comprehension. They want indentures to do there bidding. Rage suppressed is given appropriate sound bites.
Religion is coerced by the state through political slogan ism. Nothing new, even before Constantine, it has been going on for ages. Continues today particularly amongst illiterate clergy. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Sunday, October 4, 2009
'Empire Killers' that we should name the Afghans. No one has been able to subject gate those people. Certainly not for bringing Western democracy. They do not want our values. They want to be left alone. Notwithstanding the Al Quieda attack from their soil and under another government we should have responded by pursuing the attackers, not the local government. Instead concentrating on getting bin Laden we went after the Taliban. Instead of defeating them we attacked Iraq a far juicier target. All based on lies. Mismanagement of our military affairs by political neocons trying to remake the world in our image. Now we are in a situation which mark my words will require adding Pakistan to the equation. So you have an entire region Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan in the hands of corrupt governments supported by our politicians. All for the honor of wining, bringing democracy and keeping the MICC in business. Yes we probably will continue so the politicians can say they tried. All the while the most amateur students of geopolitics are aware that we will never win unless we keep half a million soldiers over there and spend trillions we do not have. Get out now, Mr. President, it is still the mess you inherited. Not the one you created. We can only lose if we stay in. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Monday, September 28, 2009
I keep hoping with hope that we will have a third party. Do humor me and go along with my dream. "Mouseland" is a lesson for all of us. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Sunday, September 27, 2009
You can be a Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Green, Independent, NeoCon, RadicalRight, Fundamentalist, etc., etc. it will make no difference. All types will suffer from the morass of our current politics. It is truly frightening to see the damage done by killer-politics. There is a lack of comprehension that for our political system to work consensus and compromise must be the rule of the day. We do not want fascism nor socialism. Democracy is the objective of this Republic. If we cannot have civil discourse we are going to loose our freedom and the pursuit of happiness. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Friday, September 18, 2009
During the halcyon 50’s in Palm Beach one evening CeCe Guest asked me to take her to a party. Winston was out of town. The party was at the Kennedy’s. I had never been there before. When I returned to my Grandmother’s it was early in the morning. I was going up the loggia steps when my stepmother Jeanne was coming down for an early tennis. She asked, “Where have you been?’ “I have been to the Kennedy’s.” From my Granny’s dressing room window (it overlooked the loggia stairs) came her voice, “My boy, you have been socially ruined!” My Grandparents, whom I adored, were part of the old PB Wasp FDR haters. That was my first contact with those ‘lace curtain Irish.’
It all really started in Greta Garbo’s kitchen overlooking NYC’s East River across from The River Club. There I was being mentored by Edmund Goulding, the fabled film director. He had directed Garbo in “Grand Hotel’ and Tyrone Power in “The Razor’s Edge.” Ty turned me over to Eddie. What a character, large, strong he had been amongst other things a Brit Navy boxing champion. We used to sit by the hour at the window as he would tell stories. I was mesmerized.
One day Eddie said, “My boy, I want to take you for a weekend with some great friends of mine. So off we went Hyannisport and I met Ambassador Kennedy and Serge Semenenko, the great banker. It rapidly became apparent that I was to be a bird-dog for these three famous roués. Well, I passed muster. Joe Kennedy was wonderful to me then and thereafter. Serge became a lifelong friend there, Acapulco, NYC, Europe wherever we might meet. His daughter and grandson remain family.
I met Jack and I was blown away. I had never met anyone like him. Not only was he handsome but what a character. Witty, sarcastic with a great sense of humor. I became a great fan. We spent many times prowling around New York City. Many evenings were spent particularly in Greenwich Village. I was not considered by Jackie to be a good influence.
During the period when Jack was on crutches recuperating from back surgery at Cap d’Antibes I was sailing my boat out of nearby Cannes. I recall one time when we were sailing so late that we missed a meal with the Shah of Iran. After that we decided to go on and sailed with my friend Genvieve to Capri.
When Jack became a Senator I was running Intrafi and Butler Overseas. We were doing increasing business in the Middle East. A major project was the rebuilding of the Hejaz Railroad which had been destroyed by the Arabs under the guidance of Lawrence of Arabia. This was a very sensitive political endeavor. Jack asked me to report to him after my trips to the region. This assignment put a more serious side to our relationship. It also increased my respect for him. Later I was stateside. I had the Coradina at anchor in Oyster Bay. Jack and I sailed to Newport and got fogged in down there for a couple of days. So fun was still possible.
Jack asked me what I would like to do in government? Go back to the Middle East? Where I was a friend of King Hussein and the Shah of Iran or Mexico my favorite country. I said neither, I would want to be the head of the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs). Jack said, “Why would you want to be in that snake pit?” My reply, “To disband it.” Such was not possible, Dad wanted me to stay home. There was a family fight brewing. He said if Jack becomes President and wants you I will pay your salary and you can work for a dollar during his second term.
Then came that day in November. I was in Oak Brook, walking across the hotel lobby to attend the board meeting of the utility company. A disturbance and one of the servants came, “Mr Michael, the President has just been shot.” He was crying as were most around. I felt a light with hope had gone out. The world would never be the same. The end of a real chance to do something inspired by the young.
I do not recall when I met Teddy. I do recall an evening at the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz when the noise next to our room was so loud I had to get up and wander in the hall to ask Teddy to pipe it down. He was a rowdy in those days. I had no respect for Teddy. Then when I was running for the Illinois State Senate Bobby sent Teddy to help with the campaign. I was running as a Democrat in the most Republican County which had never elected a Democrat. We campaigned with US Senator Douglas. I was surprised by Teddy’s persistence and dedication even though he knew I was not a fan. I began to have much more respect for him. We parted friends. The last time I saw Teddy was in Boston. The local DA had ordered that some changes be made in HAIR. He was running for reelection. The authors capitulated. I would not as the message was the reason I was producing the show. I drove Teddy to the Logan airport so we could talk privately. I said I had never asked a thing of the Kennedy’s; would he intervene. I did not want to get into a political election fight. He said he would do what he could. I have never known what he did. We mounted a legal battle, kept the tribe on pay while we fought it out and won.
Bobby I met much later than Jack. We met while skiing in Sugarbush, VT during the earliest days of Jack’s Presidential campaign. He came off as a brusque terrier who was overheard asking what has Butler been doing for the campaign. He was reminded that we were supplying planes. Then I was not too fond of Bobby. We continued our support of the campaign. When Jack won I was delighted. As so many I was quite surprised when he appointed Bobby his AG. The campaign head usually got the Post Office.
As the term began to unfold the attacks against Hoffa became center stage. The campaign on the Mafia was surprising to many. Publicly the two subjects were often linked. However it was not a state secret that Joe Kennedy had sought the electoral assistance of questionable Chicagoans. That Bobby would start this crusade was really strange. My word, J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI, had been easy on the Mafia for a long time. While many felt that Jack was assassinated by the Texans (oil buddies of Nixon) I felt all along, and still do that the Mafia was involved. Vengeance if nothing else we could add Cubans, CIA, Texans, MICC. The stakes were too large for many not to want JFK out of the way. So many warnings for him not to go to Texas. ”What’s another body when so many were being killed daily.” Hope for the world was killed that day.
Jack’s death had a major affect on Bobby. He sure changed. We had been in preliminary talks about bidding for RSVP, a French resource service. So we had some contacts. He was different and I responded in kind. Then he asked me to help him in Illinois. Governor Otto Kerner was running for reelection. He was opposed by Charles Percy (the Bell & Howell whiz CEO). Kerner was in trouble. I was made Chairman of OED. Another story but we got Otto reelected.
I decided to produce HAIR and not to run for the US Senate. I was up to my ears with the show when Bobby was killed. It just pulled the rug out from all of us. I feel there was no question that he would have been elected. There was no question to me who was behind that horrible act. Those who got to Jack could not have let Bobby go. He was far more dangerous to the Evil Empire.
In ’78 Aisha Jaipur asked me to come to her book party with Jackie Kennedy who was her editor. Jackie was so nice to me I was surprised. Later Aisha came to the Roxy (my roller rink) and told me that Jackie had said that she knew that Jack had a very strong influence over me. So I was now exonerated. A couple years later Jackie brought Caroline and John to see my musical REGGAE which they loved. They came backstage. Said we must keep the show going. The subway strike killed it.
In 1990 Christian Beltermann and I spent New Years in Jamaica at the Jobson’s with John and Daryl Hannah. What a wonderful time.
John had the charm of both his parents. What a mixture. Daryl is super, granddaughter of my Father’s best friend.
Last contact, when in mid 90’s I was cruising an outdoor charity benefit for Special Olympics when from behind was a voice, “Why, Michael what are you doing here in California?” I know that accent without turning. To see Eunice again was great.
Jack gave us hope. The world responded and loved him for that. He did not have a chance to complete what he intended.
Bobby was the cipher. Without doubt he would have had a profound effect on this country and the world. In some ways he would have surpassed Jack. Teddy accomplished more than either of his brothers. He had the fortune not be be cut down at an early stage. He however overcame more personal problems than the others.
The three of them were larger than life with wild spurts of energy and disregard for the so-called norm of politically correct behavior. Because of that it is doubtful that any one of them could be elected today. In comparison we are surrounded by plebeians.
The Kennedy’s are an extraordinary family who have given more to this country than any other in our history. Just Jack, Bobby and Teddy would deserve such an accolade. However many others of that family have made and continue to make considerable contributions.
Posted by Michael Butler, Wednesday, September 2, 2009
This article posits two positions as to humanity's future position and what to do about it. We are already there. Our leaders are running around as headless chickens. They do not want to face the consequences of the future so are doing little about change. They are fighting over approaches to whatever changes may be required. All efforts are to continue systems which are already outmoded. A continued vision that we are in control. We are not in control of nature. It is the controlling factor of our existence. When we threaten and despoil the structures of our existence we are just increasing the debacle. Our planet cannot sustain the burden of its present population. It cannot remotely support the projected increase in the number of humans living on it. Already this overcrowding has exasperated the viciousness and violence we are faced with in the affairs of living together in harmony. To begin with truth must be told, media must communicate, education must start to to create an approach to a civilization which can respect the confines placed upon us by the nature we live within. It is the young who must lead us. We need to guide them with what worthwhile experiences we can present. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Sunday, August 23, 2009
"Manifest Destiny", that is the ruling mantra of America. Worldwide as we extend our empire it has been on the backs of the indigenous peoples. I got into HAIR as I thought it was a Native American show. My grandfather was, amongst other careers, a serious cattle and horse rancher in South Dakota, Montana and Illinois. He raised me with horror stories as to our governments treatment of 'the Indians'. In this country and all over the world our treatment of the locals has been inexcusable. In this article I was particularly taken by the remarks of Mark Twain about Hawaii. mb Posted by Michael Butler, Friday, August 14, 2009