Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael
A Gun in My Gucci: Two Outsiders Take Down the Chicago Mob w/ Former FBI Agent Elaine Smith

A Gun in My Gucci: Two Outsiders Take Down the Chicago Mob w/ Former FBI Agent Elaine Smith

January 4, 2021

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If you appreciate Parallax Views and the work of J.G. Michael please consider supporting the show through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/parallaxviews

Parallax Views returns from a New Year's break with a brand new and exciting episode detailing how one of the FBI's most successful female agents joined forces with a Japanese mobster to take down Chicago organized crime. Former FBI Agent Elaine Smith (aka E.C. Smith) joins us to discuss how she became involved in the FBI and ended up on the tail of Ken Eto, a Japanese mobster who acted as a gambling kingpin for the Chicago mob. Eto, after the mob attempted a hit on him in fear he'd rat on them, turned to Elaine Smith to get his revenge on them in court. What followed is a story that is fit for a major motion picture and led to dozens of organized crime figures to be taken down by this duo of two very different kinds of fish-out-of-water outsiders.

Elaine also discusses what it was like getting into the FBI, the training (including brutal boxing matches she had to have with men), and her approach to FBI work. Did she experience sexism in her career and struggles as a female in the FBI? Find out in this fascinating conversation. If you're interested in Mafia tales, organized crime, FBI crime busts, or any other matter of true crime stories.

REPLAY: The Sordid Saga of Jeffrey Epstein: The Les Wexner Connection

REPLAY: The Sordid Saga of Jeffrey Epstein: The Les Wexner Connection

January 1, 2021

On this edition of Parallax Views, Les Wexner, the founder of L Brands and former CEO of Victoria's Secrets, has come under scrutiny in the past year for his close association with the late billionaire pedophile "International Man of Mystery" Jeffrey Epstein. In some ways Wexner's association with the wealthy abuser can be considered the "Ohio Connection" to the sordid saga of Jeffrey Epstein. Lawyer, professor of political science, and maverick Columbus, Ohio-based journalist Dr. Robert Fitrakis joins, who has been investigating the Wexner/Epstein story since the 1990s, joins us to discuss this aspect of the Epstein scandal. Our resident Epstein correspondent in France, Marlon Ettinger, joined J.G. to co-host this episode.

In this conversation we discuss:

- Bob's background in journalism and how he got on the trail of the billionaire Les Wexner in Columbus, Ohio

- How Epstein and Wexner met

- The 1985 mob-style murder/hit carried out against Wexner's tax attorney Arthur Shapiro and "The Shapiro Murder File"

- Wexner's connections to public corruption and organized crime in central Ohio

- State of Ohio Inspector General David Sturtz, who went after Epstein and Wexner and referred to Epstein as Wexner's "boyfriend"

- Wexner's ties to the scandalous Iran/Contra affair through the CIA-connected Southern Air Transport (SAT)

- The Wexner Foundation's involvement in the selling of the Iraq War

- Epstein and sexual blackmail operations; the large sums of money transferred from Wexner to Epstein; why Bob believes that Wexner is still worth looking into rather than someone who didn't know Epstein's true nature; the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell (does she have the goods?) and much, much more.

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REPLAY: Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented? w/ Former FBI Agent Mark Rossini

REPLAY: Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented? w/ Former FBI Agent Mark Rossini

December 30, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views, was 9/11 preventable? Our guest on this September 11th anniversary edition of Parallax Views, Mark Rossini, who worked as the FBI's point man in the CIA's Bin Laden Unit (aka ALEC Station), makes the case it was in his piece "In Re: 9/11". As an FBI agent working in ALEC Station alongside fellow FBI agent Doug Miller, Mark became privy to the CIA's monitoring of two 9/11 hijackers, Flight 77's Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, and a "Terror Summit" in Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia from January 5th-8th, 2000. Through their monitoring of these activities, the CIA discovered that the two future 9/11 terrorist had VISAs to the U.S. When Doug Miller wrote a report on the summit, however, the CIA told both he and Rossini not to send it to the FBI.

For 19 years Mark Rossini has been troubled by the question of WHY the CIA did not share this vital bit of information with the CIA. His conclusions, which were independently corroborated by National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke, is that elements of the CIA made a catastrophic decision after the Kuala Lumpur Summit that they kept under wraps to preserve their own careers and reputations. This decision, which Rossini makes a strong circumstantial case for having occurred, involved an illegal recruitment operation and Saudi Arabia's intelligence services aka the Mabahith. Rossini believes that, if this circumstantial case is true, then 9/11 may well have been preventable.

And yes, this is the same Mark Rossini featured heavily in Lawrence Wright's book The Looming Tower and as a character in the TV series of the same name.

PLEASE READ MARK ROSSINI'S ANALYSIS OF 9/11

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https://undicisettembre.blogspot.com/p/mark-rossini-inre911.html

In this conversation we discuss:

- The FBI's John O'Neil, known as Bin Laden's arch-nemesis (who, after leaving the FBI shortly before 9/11 perished in the towers on that fateful day) and the conflicts between O'Neil and the CIA, specifically former BIn Laden Unit head honcho Michael Scheuer

- The concept of "The Wall", which many believe led to botched communications before 9/11 between the FBI and CIA, and why Rossini believes "The Wall" isn't a sufficient explanation for the CIA's withholding information regarding the Malaysia terror summit from the FBI

- The relationship between the CIA and Saudi Arabia's Mahabith; the special relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

- FBI agent Steve Bongardt and his angry email to Dina Corsi in July of 2001 regarding the CIA, FBI, and al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar; Bongardt wrote that, “Someday somebody will die—and, Wall or not, the public will not understand why we were not more effective.”

- CIA Director George Tenet's comments pertaining to 9/11

- And much, much more.

This Episode Brought to You By:
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The War State:
The Cold War Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex and the Power Elite, 1945-1963
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REPLAY: The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and The Rise and Fall of NXIVM w/ Toni Natalie & Chet Hardin

REPLAY: The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and The Rise and Fall of NXIVM w/ Toni Natalie & Chet Hardin

December 28, 2020


On this edition of Parallax Views, the multi-level marketing NXIVM has gained national infamy as the "Hollywood Sex Cult" that landed its founder Keith Raniere, Smallville actress Allison Mack, and others in prison on multiple counts related to horrifically abusive behaviors against its members. The sensational headlines, however, may not do justice to understanding the true depravity of Keith Raniere, known within the cult as "Vanguard", and the horror show of NXIVM. Joining us on this edition of the program to unravel the sordid story and provide insight into the mind of a cult leader is Keith Raniere's ex-girlfriend, the "Patient Zero" of NXIVM, Toni Natalie and journalist Chet Hardin, who has been one of the main journalists covering the cult. Together Natalie and Hardin have authored the new book The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and The Rise and Fall of NXIVM.

We discuss Toni's story from how she met Raniere through the company Consumers Byline Inc. to the gaslighting she experienced after crossing Raniere and finally bearing witness to the fall of NXIVM's founder at his trial. Chet fills us in on how he began reporting on NXIVM and his experiences with its members. Additionally, Chet notes that, while NXIVM may have connections to political campaigns of the Clinton family, Raniere and his cult's beliefs share a great deal in common with the right-wing ideologies espoused online by "incels" and "the red pill" in regards to women. Toni notes that the story of NXIVM is not over yet and that victims, like the late Kristin Snyder, still deserve justice. We close out the conversation by trying to offer some kind of light amidst all the darkness.


NXIVM founders Keith Raniere and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) expert Nancy Salzman, known within the cult as "Vanguard" and "Prefect"

The Smallville actress Allison was a particularly high-profile member of NXIVM and has admitted to coming up with the idea for the human branding of NXIVM members

Sara and Clare Bronfman, heiresses to the immense wealth generated by the Seagram Company, were also high-profile figures associated with NXIVM

 

THE PROGRAM:
INSIDE THE MIND OF KEITH RANIERE
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THE RISE AND FALL
OF
NXIVM
BY
TONI NATALIE
W/ CHET HARDIN
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Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas of Folklore w/ Al Ridenour

Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas of Folklore w/ Al Ridenour

December 24, 2020

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If you appreciate Parallax Views and the work of J.G. Michael please consider supporting the show through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/parallaxviews

The Parallax Views holiday series concludes with an exploration of Santa Claus's dark counterpart, Krampus. Although the figure of Krampus has become embedded in the popular consciousness in the last decade, especially since the release of the Hollywood horror-comedy Krampus, the folklore of the Krampus reaches much farther back and into the most isolated part of the European Alps. Joining us to unravel this history, and explain how remote parts of Europe still celebrate the winter season with rituals related to St. Nicholas and his dark companion Krampus, is Al Ridenour, a former member of the avant-provocateur Cacophony Society and author of The Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil (Feral House; 2016).

We begin by discussing Al's involvement in the Cacophony Society, which once boasted the involvement of transgressive author extraordinaire Chuck Palahniuk, and it's most famous avant-garde provocation: SantaCon. From there we delve into how the winter season has always had a dark side within the popular imagination and discuss the popularity of Christmas horror movies with Al recommending 1980's unusual Christmas Evil and discussing Michael Dougherty's Krampus and whether it is true to the folklore.

We then take a deep dive into the history of the lore around Krampus and how the figure is used in festive rituals during the month of December in the Alps of Europe like Gastein in Austria. What is the function of the Krampus? His relationship to St. Nicholas? Do these rituals have an erotic and courtship element? Is there subversive, anarchic element beyond to the Krampus beyond his being used to scare children into following social norms and rules? Who are the people behind the Krampus troupes and how do they approach these events? What's the connection the the gore theatre of the Grand Guignol and these Krampus events (known as a Krampus Run or Krampuslauf)? And what can we learn from it all? All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.

BLACK CHRISTMAS Actress Lynne Griffin on Her Amazing Career

BLACK CHRISTMAS Actress Lynne Griffin on Her Amazing Career

December 23, 2020

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If you appreciate Parallax Views and the work of J.G. Michael please consider supporting the show through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/parallaxviews

On this edition of Parallax Views we continue our holiday series by speaking with an actress from a Christmas movie classic. Well, maybe not a Christmas movie classic in the traditional sense but in a more unorthodox one. No, I'm not talking about Bonnie Bedelia from Die Hard. Instead I'm talking about Lynne Griffin, the Canadian actress who played the iconic-if-short-lived role of the doomed Claire in Bob Clarke's 1974 horror chiller Black Christmas. Since it's release all those decades ago, Black Christmas has inspired two remakes/reimaginings and a high-profile fan film called It's Me Billy from noted voice actor David McRae. It's also a movie that really predates and arguably helped insprie elements of later horror movies like Halloween and the lesser slasher films that would follow. With a few plot elements reminiscent to When a Stranger Calls, Black Christmas centers on a sorority house being menaced by an obscene phone caller who eventually takes to picking off each of the girls one by one. In addition to Lynne Griffin, the movie also featured the talents of Romeo and Juliet's Olivia Hussey, Superman's Margot Kidder, 2001: A Space Odyssey's Keir Dullea, and the veteran rugged character actor John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Enter the Dragon) as Police Lt. Ken Fuller. The film's director, Bob Clarke, would go on to make a more traditional holiday classic in the form of A Christmas Story as well as helming such features Porky's, Murder by Decree, and Turk 182 among others.

Lynne joins us to talk not only about Black Christmas but also some of her other acting credits including the Rick Moranis comedy Strange Brew, the cult classic horror obscurity Curtains (which feels particularly relevant in the age of the MeToo movement), and April Mullen's criminally underrated 88 starring Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, Freddy Vs. Jason, American Mary) and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Addams Family Values). All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views

Have Yourself a Very Merry Mumblecore Christmas w/ Stefanie Davis

Have Yourself a Very Merry Mumblecore Christmas w/ Stefanie Davis

December 20, 2020

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If you appreciate Parallax Views and the work of J.G. Michael please consider supporting the show through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/parallaxviews

We begin the Christmas week run of Parallax Views with by bringing back the original Parallax Views theme as a gift to long-time listeners and then talking with filmmaker Stefanie Davis, director and writer of the unorthodox holiday-themed mumblecore movie The Christmas Ride. For the uninitiated mumblecore is a genre of independent film popularized by filmmakers like Joe Swanberg (Drinking BuddiesHappy Christmas, Kissing on the Mouth), Mark and Jay Duplass (The Puffy ChairCyrusBaghead) and Andre Bujalski that generally empashizes low-budget, dialogue over plot, naturalistic acting, and heavy use of improvisation over scripting.

Filmed with an outline of scenarios rather than a traditional script and featuring performance that were improvised and directed by the use of color psychology through color palettes meant to guide the actors in terms of what emotions they'd be displaying in the scene, The Christmas Ride isn't you're traditional Hollywood blockbuster for the holidays season. However, while The Christmas Ride may not be the Tim Allen-starring The Santa Clause movies or in A Miracle on 34th Street in terms of it's mumblecore characteristics or micro-budget, it does a sincere meditation on holiday hardships and what the Christmas spirit is really all about where Hollywood's holiday blockbuster sometimes manage to miss the mark. The synopsis, courtesy Stefanie Davis herself, is as follows:

Georgia is a hard working young woman. On Christmas Day, she decides to spend the day driving to make some extra cash. As she takes on various riders, she finds that not everyone has a very merry Christmas. Many are not with their families, experiencing loss, and just not in the spirit. As a self-aware woman, she takes on the hardship of her riders and tries her best to overcome the energy surrounding her. Strangers have a tendency to open up to her. Will the magic of Christmas be enough to keep Georgia's spirit alive?

Stefanie joins us on this edition of the show to discuss how The Christmas Ride, now available for streaming on Amazon Prime, about as well as providing details on the highly improvisational approach she took while making it including the use of color psychology and scenario outlines rather than detailed scripts in order to create a more naturalistic tone. We also delve into Stefanie's relationship to Georgia, the film's protagonist who serves as the symbolic embodiment of the Christmas spirit and experiences a crisis of faith in regards to her own holiday cheer. We also delve into the theme of active listening and empathy that pervades the film and why it is so important in this year of the COVID pandemic and political. Moreover we discuss the film's exploration of expressing vulnerability in interpersonal relationships and why we made need to apply that in our real lives much more often. All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.

REPLAY: Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley w/ Rob Larson

REPLAY: Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley w/ Rob Larson

December 16, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, Silicon Valley is often hailed as pushing the world towards a better, more prosperous future through a model creative destruction and brave technological innovation. Economics professor Rob Larson, however, offers a competing viewpoint to this rose-colored narrative of darlings of the tech world like Microsoft, Apple, and Google in his new book Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley (Haymarket Books, 2020). In many ways picking up where his previous book, Capitalism vs Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom (Zero Books, 2018), left off, Rob launches a scathing but thoughtful critique on libertarian-style techno utopianism and reveals the often ignored aspect that the public sector has played in important technological innovations. Additionally, Rob details the less savory elements of the Silicon Valley story and how historically the Silicon Valley's current position of power and the effect it has on society bears a resemblance to the Gilded Age. Rob joins us to give an overview of this fascinating new book and fills us in on how it connects to his previous book Capitalism vs Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom in the course of this fascinating conversation. All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.

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REPLAY: Yellow Earth, Storytelling, and Filmmaking w/ John Sayles

REPLAY: Yellow Earth, Storytelling, and Filmmaking w/ John Sayles

December 14, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, legendary writer and filmmaker John Sayles joins us to discus his new novel Yellow Earth and other assorted topics of interest. For the uninitiated, John Sayles is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and Golden Globe-nominated filmmaker whose social conscious cinematic credits include 1980's highly influential Return of the Secaucus 7, the critically-acclaimed 1987 coal miner union drama Matewan, 1991's City of Hope, 1992's award-winning Passion Fish, the star-studded 1996 neo-western mystery Lone Star, 1997's Men With Guns, and 2010's Philippine-American War period dram Amigo among others. Additionally, John is an accomplished short story writer and novelist whose books include Pride of the Bimbos (1975), Union Dues (1977), The Anarchists' Convention (1979), Los Gusanos (1991), and A Moment in the Sun (2011).

John joins us on this edition of Parallax Views to discuss his latest novel Yellow Earth (2020; Haymarket Books), which details the volatile social changes that occur in a small town in the aftermath of a shale oil boom. A timely novel that deals with the subject of fracking, John tells us the basic plot of Yellow Earth as well giving some details on the issues that arise from fracking and the economic impacts of boom-and-bust cycles that effect people in his story as well as real life.

John and I then discuss some biographical details of his life, including being raised in Schenectady, New York. We then talk about John's thoughts on film school and how gaining experiences outside of the film world is invaluable. Additionally John and I talk a little about his coal mine union drama Matewan, his involvement in the subversive world of Roger Corman "B-Movies", the monster movie he wrote called Alligator (1980), the Ayn Rand-inspired character in Yellow Earth and why Rand's philosophy of Objectivism is so attractive to some people, what keeps him from giving into cynicism, working with the legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, and much more.

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16 Maps of Hell: The Unraveling of Hollywood Superculture w/ Jasun Horsley

16 Maps of Hell: The Unraveling of Hollywood Superculture w/ Jasun Horsley

December 11, 2020

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If you appreciate Parallax Views and the work of J.G. Michael please consider supporting the show through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/parallaxviews

On this edition of Parallax Views, a listener recently requested that I interview Jasun Horsley, a writer who has been involved in parapolitical and alternative perceptions subculture for some time now. It turns out he has a new book out, 16 Maps of Hell: The Unraveling Superculture, so I thought this would be a good time to fulfill that request.

In 16 Maps of Hell Jasun explores his obsessions with Hollywood over the years and his eventual disenchantment with it over the years. He also deals with ideas of cultural engineering and conspiracy in Hollywood. This leads him to examining the history of Hollywood and its dark side with a particular focus on Roman Polanski, the Manson Family, the Tate-LaBianca murders, the mobbed up lawyer Sidney Korhsak, Jeffrey Epstein, and other sordid goings on in tinsel town that he believes may relate to cultural psyops. We discuss the nature of this thesis, how Jasun questioned it after writing the book, Jasun's cinematic obsessions (including his love of Sam Peckinpah), conspiracy theories and scapegoating, Nikolas Schreck's work on the Charles Manson case, writing as therapy or psychodrama, and much, much more in this fascinating conversation.

16 Maps of Hell by Jasun Horsley Available Here

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