'Spartan' Director Mamet Spins Tale of Conspiracy, Corruption
by Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press, Posted on Wed, March 10, 2004
(Posted here by Wes Penre for www.illuminati-news.com, March 20, 2004) 

"Write it down, Oct. 17," says David Mamet, when asked to defend the 
presumption of his riveting new thriller, "Spartan," which is that 
the American public is blissfully unaware of how its government 
really operates.

"That's the day they (meaning the Bush administration) 
announce that they have found bin Laden," says Mamet. 
"If I'm wrong, it will only be because its hand has 
been forced by a reporter with no one's water 
to carry or a turncoat. This is a vicious game and it 
always has been, and most of the time the public would 
just rather not know."

Mamet may be one of the few show business figures 
worth taking seriously on such subjects, and not 
just because he can claim among 
his writing credits the all-too-prescient satire "Wag the Dog," about 
an administration that invents a war to distract the public from a 
sexual scandal.

For one thing, Mamet has never been burdened by a liberal agenda. For 
another, he immersed himself in the history of the military and 
espionage before writing "Spartan," which is not about a Michigan 
State athlete.

"I read reams," says Mamet, rattling off a long list of tomes, from 
books on the CIA and military defense to international political 
histories, investigations and memoirs. His conclusion is that anyone 
who doesn't acknowledge the existence of government-approved or -
assisted conspiracies and off-the-books missions is either hopelessly 
or purposely naive.

Not that all conspiracies are created equal, Mamet allows: There's 
far more evidence, for example, of an agreement to prevent the 
release of the American hostages in Iran until after Ronald Reagan's 
inauguration in 1981 than there is of any involvement by Lyndon 
Johnson and the CIA in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Mamet bows to no one in his explorations of men and power, 
but "Spartan" is first and foremost a thriller. It bears a far 
greater resemblance to the intricate macho manipulations of 
his "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "House of Games" in content and style 
than to recent plays like "Boston Marriage," a period piece about a 
lesbian relationship, and semisweet confections like the film "State 
and Main."

"Spartan" stars Val Kilmer as a special operations officer called to 
duty when "the girl" goes missing. Her identity is kept a mystery for 
some time, but from the presence of high-level government officials 
at every level of the investigation, we can assume it is not the 
niece of an agriculture secretary.

With its machine-gun dialogue, unabashed masculinity and moral 
dilemmas, "Spartan" will almost certainly be compared to the work 
that made Mamet a brand name. He views it, not surprisingly, as 
completely contemporary, a reflection of the present, though one 
viewed through a cracked mirror.

"To run for office in this climate, one has to either join or accept 
the reality of secret societies and make constant decisions about 
secret knowledge. Not that the movie business or the real estate 
business isn't similar, it's just that the stakes aren't as high when 
you're using currency as opposed to human beings as your game 
pieces," Mamet says.

Mamet wrote "Spartan" at the suggestion of producer and fellow 
Chicagoan Art Linson, who shares Mamet's fascination with power and 
moral corruption (his credits include "Fight Club" and "Heat"). He 
has teamed with Mamet on projects including "The Untouchables" and 
the con-man caper "Heist."

It was Linson who suggested Val Kilmer for the role of the secret ops 
agent who ends up a target of the people he supposedly works for, and 
if Mamet knew about Kilmer's reputation as a problem child, he didn't 

"I had an absolute blast working with Val," says Mamet. "One of the 
most pleasurable experiences with an actor I've ever had."

Though Kilmer is notorious for rewriting the dialogue of his 
characters, Mamet's rhythmic, percussive approach to writing and 
directing (he does both here) does not lend itself to too much 
interpretation, which is one reason he tends to use the same actors - 
including William H. Macy, who has a pivotal role in "Spartan" - over 
and over.

Kilmer says he had no reason to want to rewrite a word.

"Come on, this guy's the best at what he does, and he has something 
most writers and directors don't these days, which is backbone," says 

"When you're dealing with somebody who is actually in charge, and who 
knows what he's talking about, you can have a real collaboration 
without having to go to the mat."

While Mamet was putting the finishing touches on "Spartan," he was 
also in preproduction on his version of "Dr. Faustus," which opened 
in San Francisco last month to mixed reviews.

Meanwhile, he is at work on his next film script, which he says tells 
the story of Joan of Arc's dog, Fluffy, "the dog who saved France." 
Assuring the writer he is not pulling his leg, he says the film has 
already been shopped to, and rejected by, most of the Hollywood 

"When they can't understand it, I figure I'm on the right track, so, 
so far, so good."

The Judas Economy
(Conspiracy Nation, 3/8/04) -- Writing in 1997, the authors of The 
Judas Economy warned that the "appearance on the scene of vast 
numbers of elite workers in the emerging world, willing and anxious 
to work for less, is intensifying the pressure in developed countries 
to drastically pare down and cut costs." (The Judas Economy by 
William Wolman and Anne Colamosca. Addison-Wesly Publishing, 1997. 
ISBN: 0-7382-0202-9)

Seven years later, the authors' warning is proved correct by current 
concerns about outsourcing.

The world ends not with a bang but with a whimper: "If American 
prosperity dies, it is more likely to be with a whimper, not a 
bang." "There is a quiet desperation... It's all very quiet. Very 
private. But the agony is widespread." (Wolman & Colamosca, op. cit.)

The system works to gradualize economic collapse, to prevent wide 
public outcry. On the other hand, the system is fallible and a 
revolutionary sudden collapse could occur. There is an uncanny sense 
of hope in statements by, for example, Lyndon LaRouche, predicting 
imminent global financial meltdown: "Good. Then at least the bullshit 
will end," is the implicit hope. The Capitalists have their 
government stooges working to gradualize the transition to 
hopelessness; others hope that the experts will fail so that 
meaningful change is forced to happen.

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, where wealth 
accumulates and men decay. The supposedly populist stock market is in 
fact mostly owned by a relative few. "The vast majority of stock in 
this country, after all, is held by the richest 5 percent of the 
population." (Wolman & Colamosca, op. cit.) Yet news of stock market 
gains is presented by the corporate media as if it's something we 
should all cheer about. 

The authors trace an accelerated betrayal of workers to 1988 and the 
end of the Cold War: "The sudden collapse of Communism raised the 
power of global capitalism to new heights." Whatever you think of 
Communism, the demise of Capitalism's arch-foe left it free to bully 
whomever it chose.

What has been gradually happening, say Wolman and Colamosca, is a 
synthesis of labor where an antithesis, for example, between 
conditions of Chinese workers and American workers slowly levels out: 
A "new heaven" for third-world workers; a "new hell" for workers in 
the developed world. "At the end, relative wages, heaven and hell, 
will fuse."

Other myths challenged by the authors:

...that small business is the prime generator of new jobs. This "has 
been greatly exaggerated."

The unemployment statistics are misleading. The "labor force 
participation rate for men aged twenty-five to fifty-four has been 
falling since 1971." These are the "discouraged workers" who are not 
calculated into the unemployment rate. In 1995, for example, 838,000 
men wanted to work but had given up looking for a job.

The Federal Reserve is not owned by the general public but by the 
commercial banks who hold the stock in the system. The role of 
various Fed chairmen is to "dissemble; tell the public as little as 
possible about what you are really up to..."

"In the 1990s we witnessed a concentration of wealth that is probably 
without historical precedent in the United States, one to which the 
wealth concentration [during the 1920s] was only a pallid prelude."

The low taxes granted to some are spent largely on goods and services 
not produced in the United States.

We are now in a phase of history where "finance rules all." But 
historically "the financialization of society has always been a 
symbol that a nation's economic position has entered a phase of 
deterioration." (Wolman & Colamosca, op. cit.)

In 1997 the authors were warning of a "new crisis of capitalism." The 
only question is, will the deterioration be sudden or (relatively) 
gradual. The government stooges are working to keep things gradual 
and the corporate media strives to mask the crisis, otherwise the 
People would wake up.
Conspiracy Nation.
Think outside the box.


McDonald's to Dump Supersize Portions    
Wed Mar 3, 2004
By DAVE CARPENTER, AP Business Writer 

CHICAGO - Hold the fries - at least the super-sized version. In a 
sign of the times, McDonald's is getting rid of the extra-large 
portions that had become one of its signatures. The burger giant said 
it has begun phasing out Supersize fries and drinks in its more than 
13,000 U.S. restaurants and will stop selling them altogether by 
year's end, except in promotions.

The company cited the need to trim a menu that has expanded in recent 
years and said eliminating super-sizing is only part of that effort.

"The driving force here was menu simplification," spokesman Walt 
Riker said after McDonald's disclosed the change in strategy in a 
brief statement late Tuesday. "The fact of the matter is not very 
many Supersize fries are sold." 

But the downsizing of super-sizing comes with fast-food companies, 
especially industry behemoth McDonald's, under intense pressure to 
cater to Americans' growing preference for healthier food options. 

The move is part of McDonald's "Eat Smart, Be Active" initiative, 
which it launched last year under first-year CEO Jim Cantalupo and 
U.S. operations chief Mike Roberts in an attempt to revive then-
stagnant U.S. sales. 

McDonald's added entree salads with great success last year and has 
been moving to provide more fruit, vegetable and yogurt options with 
its Happy Meals. But the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company remains a 
lightning rod for public criticism - and legal action - when it comes 
to obesity and other health worries. 

Two lawsuits claiming McDonald's hid the health risks of eating Big 
Macs and Chicken McNuggets were thrown out in federal court in New 
York last year. An award-winning documentary called "Super Size Me" 
then reaped more unwanted publicity for McDonald's. The documentary, 
which chronicles the deterioration of filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's 
health during a monthlong experiment eating nothing but McDonald's 
food, won a directing prize at the Sundance Film Festival and is set 
for wide release this spring. 

Riker said the phasing out of super-sizing has "nothing to do with 
that (film) whatsoever."

The company has called the documentary "a super-sized distortion of 
the quality, choice and variety available at McDonald's." It says the 
film is not about McDonald's but about Spurlock's decision to act 
irresponsibly by eating 5,000 calories a day - "a gimmick to make a 

Richard Adams, a former McDonald's franchising executive and now an 
independent consultant for franchisees, said health concerns no doubt 
factored into the decision. But he said the company has been 
promising to clear up some of the "clutter" on its menu since adding 
a slew of new products in the late 1990s when domestic sales were 

"Now that sales have improved, it's easier to pull things off the 
menu," said Adams, who operates Franchise Equity Group. "When sales 
are declining, the corporation and the franchisees are terrified at 
the prospect of selling a few less 42-ounce drinks. When sales are on 
the upswing, it's easier to admit that you can't be everything to 

McDonald's detailed the menu changes - quietly under way since 
January - in a seven-page memo to franchisees, obtained by The 
Associated Press. The elimination of the 7-ounce "Supersize" carton 
of fries is part of a switch from five size options down to three; 
the biggest will now be the 6-ounce "large" fries.

"The reason for reducing the number of fry sizes is to simplify 
operations and enhance our ability to deliver better service to our 
guests," the memo said, adding that the 7-ounce carton "will be 
eliminated as part of our healthy lifestyle initiative."

The other changes include making bagels an optional breakfast 
product, dropping 2 percent milk in favor of exclusively 1 percent 
and otherwise tweaking the size and choice of items in order to come 
up with a "core" menu that reflects customers' preferences. 

Some customers had a mixed reaction to the news.

Jamie Cox, 19, dining at a McDonald's in downtown Chicago with his 
girlfriend Tuesday night, said he normally super-sizes his meal but 
usually throws out leftover fries. "It's a waste," he 
acknowledged. "Once they get cold, they're nasty. But we would die 
without the (Supersize) drink."

Another Chicago patron who likes Supersize, 21-year-old Ward Stare, 
said he could do without the extra-large portions. 

"When you think about it, there's not much of a difference between 
the large and Supersize," he said. "You just pay more. ... I don't 
think I would miss it that much as long as you still get a good 
proportion of food." 

McDonald's shares rose 4 cents to $28.46 in morning trading on the 
New York Stock Exchange.
On the Net: 



AFL-CIO votes to spend $44m to unseat Bush
By Leigh Strope, Associated Press, 3/11/2004

BAL HARBOUR, Fla. -- Labor leaders voted yesterday to spend $44 
million to mobilize union household voters in November against 
President Bush, a record sum in an election they say is do-or-die for 
the labor movement.

The AFL-CIO's get-out-the-vote efforts on behalf of Senator John F. 
Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, are concentrated in a few 
battleground states that labor leaders believe will determine the 
next occupant of the White House. Florida, Ohio, and Missouri top the 

"People are fed up with this administration's inability to create 
good jobs and get our country back on track," AFL-CIO President John 
J. Sweeney said. "They are demanding a change, and we plan to give it 
to them."

Union leaders meeting this week at a luxury seaside resort approved 
an increase in the assessments they pay to the AFL-CIO to help fund 
the $44 million effort, which does not include money the affiliates 
will spend individually on their own programs. The 64 unions agreed 
to pay 48 cents per member.

Labor's strength in the workplace has been plummeting, but union 
members have remained reliable voters for Democrats. One in four 
voters in the 2000 election was from a union household. That year, 
the AFL-CIO spent about $41 million to mobilize its 13 million 
members and their families.

Overall, organized labor funneled $90 million into the 2000 election, 
and followed with almost $97 million in 2002, according to the Center 
for Responsive Politics, which tracks political donations. Bush 
expects to raise at least $170 million for his reelection bid.

Previous election efforts focused on registering and turning out new 
union voters. This time, the AFL-CIO is targeting undecided and swing 
union household voters.

In the battleground states narrowly won by Bush in 2000, those voters 
could make all the difference.


Hollywood Disaster Film Set To Turn Heat On Bush
By Dan Glaister
The Guardian UK

Movie depicting horrors of global warming could boost votes for 
Democrat challenger Here's the pitch: a dullish candidate, outflanked 
by his opponent's serious money, attacked for his liberal leanings, 
is swept to an unlikely victory thanks to a blockbuster movie that 
focuses on the effects of big business and the agro-industrial 
Audiences throw their popcorn aside, pick up their ballot papers and 
realise that they too can make a difference. The studio behind the 
movie: 20th Century Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch. The director: 
Roland Emmerich; no Martin Sheen-style bleeding heart Democrat but 
the brawn behind Independence Day. 
It sounds unlikely, but this summer might just see an alliance of 
commerce, populist entertainment and feel-good concern combine to 
weaken President George Bush and hand votes to his expected Democrat 
rival John Kerry. 
On the other hand, the film could tank, like one of its director's 
other monster-budget summer openings, Godzilla. 
May 28 sees the worldwide release of The Day After Tomorrow, the eco-
armageddon story to beat all others. 
The first trailers for the film, released on the internet last week, 
give a taste of the scale of the eco-horrors to come. Filmed in a 
combination of slick computer generated special effects and faux 
newscast verité, tidal waves sweep across cities and snow piles 
halfway up the towers of Manhattan as disjointed voices articulate 
the chaos around them. 
"What you are seeing is happening now," says a breathless 
newsreader. "Look over behind me," shouts a TV reporter, "that's a 
tornado, yes, a twister." The film cuts to a volcano erupting next to 
the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. A huge flock of birds flies across 
the sky, a mass of people is seen crossing the Rio Grande between 
Mexico and the United States. 
Filmed with a budget of more than $100m (£55.6m) and special effects 
said to be the greatest thing since, well, since the last big budget 
movie, the film has one other difference from other Hollywood 
blockbusters: it has a conscience. 
"At some point during the filming we looked around at all the lights, 
generators and trucks and we realised the very process of making this 
picture is contributing to the problem of global warming," the 
director and producers say in a statement on the film's official 
website. "We couldn't avoid putting CO2 into the atmosphere during 
the shoot, but we discovered we could do something to make up for it; 
we could make the film carbonneutral." By planting trees they will 
take out the CO2 the production put in. 
The film's website includes a lengthy list of internet links to 
organisations that have researched the effects of global warming. 
During filming last year, Emmerich described the film as "a popcorn 
movie that's actually a little subversive". 
Whether this is the typical hype that surrounds a Hollywood 
blockbuster or the heartfelt statement of a tortured artist does not 
really matter. What seems certain is that the film will help to 
propel global warming and the environment high up the political 
President Bush is known to be sceptical about the possibility of 
global warming, while the environment is a traditional strong card 
for the Democrats. With issues such as oil drilling rights in Alaska 
playing strongly among some voters, the president's opponents have 
regularly attacked him for the favouritism he is perceived to have 
shown to the fossil fuel giants that dominate the US economy. 
The Pentagon even got in on the act, releasing a study last month 
that suggested that one outcome of global warming could be the rise 
of mass civil unrest. In one scenario, drought, famine and rioting 
erupt across the world, spurred on by climate change. As countries 
face dwindling food supplies and scarce natural resources, conflict 
becomes the norm. 
"Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life," says the 
Pentagon study. "Once again, warfare would define human life." 
"The climate is going to play a significant role in the campaign," 
said Luke Breit, chairman of the Democrat's environmental caucus in 
California, where the environment is traditionally a key political 
issue. "John Kerry is mentioning clean air and water at every 
opportunity. It's going to be on the first tier of issues. Our job is 
to make clear how anti-environment the government has been." 
But while it can be fortuitous for an event such as a mass appeal 
movie to come along and propel an issue to the forefront of voters' 
consciousness, there are also pitfalls. "The danger is it could make 
it look more trivial," said Mr Breit. "My guess is that people in the 
environmental leadership around the country are holding their breath. 
I'm hoping that it's going to be very good and that we have great 
entertainment value but that at the same time it treats the science 
One US environmental pressure group has already enlisted the help of 
one of the film's stars, Jake Gyllenhaal, to help promote its agenda 
while promoting the film. 
The Day After Tomorrow's advance publicity suggests a typical 
Hollywood mix of fact, fantasy and hype: fake weather reports and 
testimonies from fans about where they would like to be the day the 
world dies are mixed with earnest exhortations to help avert global 
And Hollywood has been here before. The Perfect Storm, Armageddon and 
Twister all combined Hollywood's love of little people battling 
insurmountable natural - and unnatural - powers while giving great 
special effects. 
"In Independence Day Roland Emmerich brought you the near destruction 
of the earth by aliens," says the website. "Now, in The Day After 
Tomorrow, the enemy is an even more devastating force: nature 
itself." It'll have them voting in the aisles.

Updated/Revised: Saturday, March 20, 2004 12:07:42 -0800



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