America’s Homeless Middle Class

How Poor People Survive in the USA

DW (2019)

Film Review

This documentary is about homeless members of middle class America whose wages are too low to cover rent. Filmmakers visit San Diego, Los Angeles, Richmond Virginia, Appalachia and Waco Texas.

In San Diego they film a parking lot in which thirty people working as Uber drivers, security guards, secretaries, cleaners, carers and computer technicians sleep in their cars overnight. A charity provides them with portapotties, a water point, and an open air kitchen facility. One of the carers who sleeps there works nine hour days seven days a week.

In Los Angeles, which filmmakers refer to as the homeless capitol of the US (with 59,000 homeless), the documentary profiles a full time volunteer who builds wooden tiny houses (which have been legally banned by the city council) for people currently living tents.

In Richmond, filmmakers follow local sheriffs carrying out an eviction at gunpoint. They also visit one of the budget motels that have sprung up in the Richmond outskirts due to the city’s high number of evictions.*

In Appalachia, they visit one of the poorest counties in the nation, where volunteers run a daily food truck to distribute food to the area’s children. They also profile a military-style field hospital that provides once-a-year medical and dental treatment for the uninsured. The field hospital, held on a local sports field, is funded by a national charity and staffed by volunteer health providers.

In Waco, the filmmakers visit a church program that recruits candidates from all over the US to pay 60 dollars to experience sleeping rough first hand.


*In Virginia, a landlord can legally evict a tenant once their rent is five days past due.

 

Hidden History: The 1992 FBI Assault on Ruby Ridge

Ruby Ridge

PBS (2017)

Film Review

In this documentary Ruby Ridge survivor Sara Weaver relates the history of the 1992 FBI assault on her home that killed her mother and her 14 year-old brother Samuel. It provides a a very different view of the incident than the mainstream media.

First and foremost the Weavers weren’t heavily armed white supremacists linked with the Aryan Nation, as claimed by the FBI and corporate media. Despite attending Aryan Nation meetings, the Weavers declined to join because they didn’t share the group’s white supremacist views.

Weaver Declines to Infiltrate the Aryan Nation

Former Green Beret and Christian fundamentalist Randy Weaver ran afoul of the US government after an undercover Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent asked Weaver to acquire a shotgun for him. The agent claimed Weaver illegally sawed it off (at the agent’s request), an assertion Weaver has always disputed. The ATF then threatened to arrest Weaver and confiscate his property unless he agreed to infiltrate the Aryan Nation as an undercover informant. When Weaver refused, he was arrested.

Fearful (understandably) that the federal government was trying to frame him for a crime he didn’t commit, Weaver failed to appear for trial. After a two year attempt to serve a a bench warrant on the family’s isolated mountaintop home, federal marshals turned the case over to the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (ie FBI snipers).

The family tell a very different story of the assault than the FBI – with a federal jury ultimately siding with the family. According to Sara, after the FBI sniper shot the family dog, 14 year-old Samuel returned fire and killed one of the snipers. At this point, the other snipers shot and killed his mother Vicky,, whom was holding his baby sister in her arms.

The standoff continued until highly decorated former Green Beret Bo Gritz intervened and persuaded Weaver, his friend Kevin and the remaining children to surrender.

Weaver Family Receives $3.1 Million Settlement

Both Weaver and Kevin were charged and acquitted in the death of the FBI sniper. Weaver was also acquitted on the charge of illegally sawing off a shotgun. He ultimately served 18 months for failure to appear.

In 1995, the family received a $3.1 million settlement for the wrongful death of Vicky and Samuel.

Although the FBI allegedly undertook major policy changes after Ruby Ridge, they undertook a similar military-style assault in 1993 against fundamentalist Christians in Waco Texas.

 

Who Really Controls America?

The Hidden History of the United States

John Judge (1994)

 

What I find most remarkable about this 23 year old presentation by late assassination researcher John Judge is its amazing grasp of facts and concepts that have only become public knowledge with wide popular access to the World Wide Web and social media.

John begins his presentation with the assertion that secret assassinations and other conspiracies aren’t the handiwork of secret societies and cabals, but of America’s wealthy elite. He maintains the US elite is split into two factions that frequently go to war with each other via the intelligence agencies they control. The CIA is run by the old Eastern banking families, whereas military intelligence is run by the new money Southern rim economy, consisting mainly of oil, aerospace, munitions and real estate.*

Among other topics John covers in this marathon three hour presentation are

  • The CIA-run international drug trade, which he describes as the most profitable industry in the world.
  • UFOs, which he maintains are secret spy satellites operated by Air Force intelligence.
  • George Orwell’s book 1984, originally titled 1948 (as it describes government monitoring of civilian populations that was already occurring). His American (CIA-controlled) publisher forced him to change the title to 1984 when the book came out in the US (1949).
  • MK-Ultra and other CIA mind control operations – John begins by describes by describing his childhood (both his parents worked for the Pentagon) growing up in a CIA bedroom community in Virginia and the heavy use of lobotomy and ECT on many CIA wives, including the World War II intelligence operative who cracked the Eastwood Code (the encoded message forewarning the US government of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. John also talks about CIA director Allen Dulles’s purchase of 150 million tabs of LSD in 1956 – a massive quantity that was clearly intended for mass consumption rather than research (see How the CIA Used LSD to Destroy the New Left).
  • The role of Richard Nixon and CD Jackson** (as naval intelligence operatives) in smuggling thousands of Nazi war criminals and scientists into the US to form the CIA and the US aerospace program”
  • Evidence (eg missing nuclear code books from all Strategic Air Command bombers) indicating that JFK’s murder was a coup authorized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the failed assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981 was an attempted coup.
  • Evidence linking notorious cult figures linking notorious cult figures – Charles Manson, Jim Jones (Jonestown), David Koresh (Waco) and others to US intelligence.

In Part 2, which launches automatically at the end of Part 1, John discusses his research into Jonestown, which he describes as a secret US intelligence concentration camp and slave colony, (which was 90% African American), and his work with his mentor, the late Mae Brussell (see Mae Brussell: Forgotten Superhero). Brussell, who subscribed regularly to 150 publications, had identified key figures in the shadow government and followed their movements closely. Based information she garnered, she gave Ethel Kennedy (in 1968) five days about her husband Robert’s imminent assassination and Mary Jane Kopechne’s mother (in 1969) three days warning of her daughter’s murder.


*Although he hails from New York, Donald Trump is most closely linked with “Southern rim” real estate interests, which would explain the current war the CIA and the CIA-controlled media are waging against him.

**CD Jackson was a psychological warfare specialist who played a major role in creating Radio Free America and Radio Free Europe and Operation Mockingbird (the operation enabling CIA control of America’s major publishing and media outlets). In 1960 he became publisher of Life magazine.

***Kopechne allegedly drowned while a passenger in Senator Ted Kennedy’s car, this Chappaquiddick incident purportedly used by his enemies to destroy his presidential ambitions.

What Really Happened at Waco?

Waco: The Rules of Engagement

Directed by William Gazecki (1997)

Film Review

Waco is a long but well-made documentary about what was essentially an FBI coverup of an unlawful military assault on innocent civilians. What immediately struck me about the film are the obvious parallels between the military assault at Waco, the 1975 incident at Pine Ridge in which Leonard Peltier and other AIM activists were arrested for resisting an armed FBI assault and the FBI/Philadelphia police decision to bomb the MOVE compound in 1985 (see The Day Philadelphia Police Dropped a Bomb on 61 Families).

The documentary is anchored around a 1995 Congressional investigation which, unlike the whitewash of the JFK assassination, the Oklahoma City bombing and 9-11, successfully unearthed most of the sordid facts about the government’s illegal (and unconstitutional) military assault in Waco. Predictably the corporate media buried the investigation and its findings. Thus the systematic disinformation the Clinton administration disseminated about David, Koresh and the Branch Davidians is what remains uppermost in the public mind.

What surprised me most about the film was learning that the Branch Davidians weren’t a cult, that the Mount Carmel church where they lived wasn’t a bunker and that David Koresh himself wasn’t a deranged psychopath who buffaloed his followers into a virtual suicide pact.

The Branch Davidians were actually an old offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church which relocated from Los Angeles to the Mount Carmel center at Waco in the 1930s. Koresh (born Vernon Howell) was raised there and eventually selected as the group’s spiritual leader.

Testimony given during the Congressional hearings establishes quite clearly that the initial ATF assault (in which the Branch Davidians defended themselves and killed four ATF agents) was a public relations stunt aimed at influencing upcoming ATF appropriations hearings.

The supposed justification for the assault was the presence of illegal weapons on the premises. As good Texans, the Branch Davidians visited a lot of gun shows and bought and sold weapons as a source of revenue. The search warrant accused them of illegally modifying automatic weapons – which Koresh denied. He invited the ATF to come and inspect their guns in mid-1992. The ATF declined to do so.

Most of the media attention (and the search warrant itself) focused on the fact that Koresh had multiple wives, included several who were underage teenagers. While both polygamy and child rape are illegal under Texas law, they in no way justify a full scale military assault that kills innocent civilians, including the rape victims themselves.

The FBI would follow up the failed ATF operation with a full scale military siege (with tanks) that lasted 51 days.

The evidence presented during the hearings includes intriguing clips from a video camera FBI negotiators gave the Branch Davidians to talk about themselves and their beliefs and infrared footage showing the FBI, Janet Reno and Bill Clinton lied through their teeth about not firing on the Branch Davidians and David Koresh deliberately starting the fire that destroyed the compound.

It also comes out that the FBI deliberately destroyed the crime scene (as Bush would later do at Ground Zero), as well as systematically obstructing efforts by the local medical examiner and the Texas Rangers to conduct independent investigations.