Deep in the Heart of Taxes


Remember me? I’m the guy who wrote Alongside Night, a novel about the United States’ economy collapsing due to the Federal Reserve inflating the dollar to pay for the government spending far more than taxes collected.

What is the national debt today? Somewhere around 23 trillion bucks? And if you figure in future obligations — Social Security, Medicare, promises made to veterans for wounds sustained in endless undeclared wars — I hear the debt comes to somewhere around 160 trillion bucks.

President Donald Trump is calling for significant tax cuts to attract foreign investment, give corporations reason to build new factories in America, bring jobs back to America.

Of course I noted in Alongside Night — published in 1979 — that if the government keeps spending more money than it collects in taxes and tariffs the only way to pay for that spending is for the Federal Reserve to make each dollar worth less, a hidden tax.

So anyone who claims that tax cuts “have to be paid for” — while making the obnoxious claim that anything the people say they own has a lien from the goddam guvmint — they are in fact pointing to a basic principle of reality: you can’t get something out of nothing.

What’s a libertarian to do?

How about this? Tell the truth.

Cutting taxes leaves people and financial institutions with more money to spend. That’s money that can be paid to executives to live a more lavish lifestyle, and the Democratic critics do have that right. Just because a corporation has more money on its balance sheet doesn’t mean they’ll use it to make anything or create new jobs. That’s mostly what happened when in 2008 banks were forced to take taxpayer money that was supposed to be used to make consumer loans.

But let’s say that individuals in the “middle class” — the Marxists used to call that the bourgeoisie — take that money and instead of buying new cars, phones, and toys — they use that money in ways the crats don’t like. They start-up unlicensed and unregistered home schools. They use spare rooms and vacation cabins to compete with hotel chains, use their mommy vans to compete with medallion taxis. They sell jams, pies, home-brew beverages to local stores.

And conceal all this entrepreneurial activity financed with the money not being turned over to Uncle Sam from Uncle Sam.

Same for “small businesses” doing home repairs, or plumbing, or rebuilding car transmissions, or rigging your automobile’s computer to lie to the State about the CO2 emissions because CO2 emissions being the cause of climate change is anti-science globaloney.

Agorist trading floor
The Agorist Trading Floor in Alongside Night the Movie

Yes, President Trump. Bring on the tax cuts. The economy that the tax cuts will save is the one that exists in spite of Jekyll Island and Wall Street.

The economy run by Washington crats? The swamp you talk about? That official economy is doomed and I think you’ve already figured that out.

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Childish Things

A challenge from award-winning authors/filmmakers, J. Neil Schulman and Brad Linaweaver

Words matter. Without clear definition there is no communication, only blather. Even blather has a definition.

As authors who respect language we have always resisted the idea that a word can mean anything the speaker or writer wants it to mean, as Humpty Dumpty does in Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found there. The most misused word today is pedophilia.

Alice as drawn by her author

An accusation has been made that an Alabama politician had some kind of sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. All sorts of negative language can be used here without confusion. Instead, the talking heads in the media keep using the term “accused pedophile.”

The word used to mean “an ongoing sexual attraction to pre-pubertal children.” Human experience has long used biological puberty as the dividing line between childhood and adulthood. This is a case where creationists and evolutionists agree 100%. We see this preserved in religious traditions such as the bar mitzvah where a boy becomes a man at age 13, and the more recent bat mitzvah where a girl becomes a woman at age 12. We see it in classical literature where in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is considered in jeopardy of being an old maid at age 13.

Today “childhood” ends whenever a public official wants it to end. We see that when even a six-year-old can be tried for a felony as an adult and 14-year-olds are commonly transferred to be tried in adult criminal courts. See Wikipedia.

Apparently the parameters of pedophilia have changed. William Alan Ritch has been endeavoring for years to figure out the new meaning based solely on age difference. By that standard, the most notable example of age discrepancy is between God and Mary in the New Testament. We can use the Bible if everyone else does.

Here’s an idea. We would like to see the new definition of pedophilia in a law book, a medical journal, a dictionary or encyclopedia, a charter or other authoritative treaty. We need to know before we continue the hunt for pedophiles. Where is the definition of pedophilia? What the fuck is it?

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Sex Hunt


Back in the late 50’s / early 60’s, when I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was Sea Hunt, starring Lloyd Bridges (long before he picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue) as ex-Navy and now free-lance frogman Mike Nelson.

Now suppose that in every episode Mike Nelson, instead of SCUBA diving to retrieve lost bicycles or sunken nuclear missiles, had been hunting for sea witches: mermaids and other supernatural beings who by controlling waves and weather could capsize boats and murder sailors.

We only need to go back as far as 1692 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony town of Salem — only eight decades before delegates from Massachusetts signed the Declaration of Independence — to find the executions of women accused of using sexual wiles on innocent men, killing cattle and crops, and otherwise practicing evil sorcery.

Oh, but the idea of sea witch hunts as a TV premise in the 1960’s would have been more ridiculous than Gilligan’s Island, right?

Wrong.

The mentality that practices witch hunts is still with us today. Every day. On TV shows labeled as news and comedy, on the front page of the remaining daily newspapers, on the most advanced of communication media: the Internet.

It used to be that at least in Western post-Enlightenment cultures Radical Christian theocrats were the driving force behind witch hunts. Today the hunters — while as hostile to human sexuality as radical Islamic theocrats — represent themselves as secular modern protectors of women and children.

It would be easy for me to widen this article into writing about misguided hunts for all sorts of evildoers and evil-doing.

Yes, the Soviet Union embedded spies in Western governments and trade unions (including in Hollywood) but nonetheless non-Soviet-agent screen actors and screenwriters, some Communist fellow travelers, others just ordinary Hollywood liberals, were swept up onto hysteria-driven black lists.

As a libertarian I’ve been blacklisted from the other end of the political spectrum; my sympathies are never with those putting people on no-hire lists regardless of personal beliefs.

I could take us back to the 1980’s McMartin Pre-school trial, where accusations of day-care workers sodomizing pre-school children were brought to trial by the Los Angeles district attorney with testimony from toddlers also testifying about elephants being paraded across their romper room.

It would be easy for me to turn this article into accusations and counter-accusations about the political dirty-tricks used in the 2016 presidential election.

But if I’m going to take a blast from the past the most relevant is the 2006 Duke lacrosse case, a completely trumped-up multiple-rape prosecution based on a lying accuser, a case so egregious in its malicious prosecution the district attorney was disbarred.

Accused three

Rape, like murder and robbery, is a ubiquitous crime. My second novel, The Rainbow Cadenza, published in 1983 a few years before liberal-feminist Margaret Atwood’s ballyhoo’d paranoid anti-Christian / anti-male screed The Handmaid’s Tale — is a projection of a future rape culture, with all the implications explored.

Human beings can, and often do, lie, for all sorts of reasons. Revenge. Money. Fame.

Women are human beings, thus subject to the same motivations to lie as are men.

While some men are physically stronger than some women, many men are fat, deconditioned, and weakened by age. I know all about that: I’m a 64-year-old deconditioned male.

When in the late 1990’s I conducted an independent journalistic investigation of the Brown-Goldman murders that O.J. Simpson had been criminally tried and acquitted for — later resulting in my 1999 book The Frame of the Century? — the Los Angeles Times‘s editors informed me they could not join in my investigation of an alternate suspect because unless the police were investigating my suspect for a crime a newspaper could not do their own investigation.

Yet today Woody Allen accuser Mia Farrow’s son — Ronan Farrow — having joined in his mother’s never-tried accusations against Allen — is published in The New Yorker now having moved on to making criminal accusations against Harvey Weinstein, as of now not brought before a grand jury or brought to trial.

Weinstein’s accuser now being listened to by New York City police and prosecutors made no criminal complaint against Weinstein at the alleged time of the rape. There was no session with the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit. There was no forensic rape kit done to support the accusation. There is now only a years-belated accusation when it is popular in the media to hang the witch.

Harvey Weinstein has lost his much-honored production company over these media-carried but as yet uncharged accusations, published without proof in major media

Now Kevin Spacey has lost his Netflix series House of Cards and future Netflix production relationship because of decades-old gossip that he made homosexual advances toward a biologically post-pubescent man. Fourteen isn’t a man? Tell that to Blaize Teague, a 14-year-old being tried as an adult for murder in Oklahoma.

I am a political enemy of Harvey Weinstein, who supports nullifying the right to keep and bear arms. Nonetheless accusation by major media prior to trial is the method of witch hunters and blacklisters.

I have never worked with, met, or ever been in communication with Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, or people who might have put my work in front of their eyes.

Libertarians have argued that reputation is an idea that exists only as an idea in people’s heads, and is therefore not subject to action to prevent people from writing or talking about it.

But this is the same intellectual bullshit that is used against a novel, song, or movie once it no longer is confined to someone’s brain as an ineffable idea but exists as an observable and quantifiable artifact in the common world.

Once the accusation against someone exists in the real world it has real-world effects, and should be subject to the same limits as any other assault and battery. You’re free to swing your arm only until it hits someone else.

You’re free to spread accusations only insofar as you can prove them true, otherwise if it’s costing your victim her or his ability to work you’ve become the criminal.

Woody Allen, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Spacey are victims of criminal libel until that moment that a jury finds them guilty of criminal conduct.

Anything less than that standard is granting to accusers the right to be believed without the proof a civilized Enlightened society demands.

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Condolences

My deepest sympathies go out to Donald. J. Trump.

Not to the President of the United States, who is a crat.

But Mr. Trump, who I liked for years as star of The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice, made the worst decision of his life in deciding to give up show biz for politics and doing it in a spectacular reality-TV coup of starting out his political career as President.

Mr. Trump’s dire fate would have been halved if he’d managed to get the nomination of the Democratic Party instead of the Republican Party.

But it would have been impossible.

Mr. Trump knew the GOP primaries were honest races while the Democratic primaries were corrupt farces where superdelegates — as Bernie Sanders later learned — rigged the party nomination for their annointed candidate.

The Bush family dynasty to this day knows Jeb Bush would have assumed his rightful place as the party’s nominee if only the GOP had the foresight to have superdelegates just like those who gifted Hillary with the Democratic nomination.

So Donald J. Trump became the communist/nihilist left’s latest Evil Republican, in line of succession of Nixon, Reagan, Bush — evil because the Republican Party still wears the Uncle Sam suit for the troops, the flag, the cops, the Star Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance — everything the commies have been trying to destroy for over a century — in essence, trying to bring down America and Americanism.

By the 1930’s the Democratic Party had adopted all Norman Thomas’s Socialist Party planks.

By the 1950’s Democratic Party operatives were pushing the Soviet Union’s attempts for unilateral American disarmament.

Today the Democrats line up with opposing the foundations of this country — anything named after Columbus, honoring the Founders, sports teams named after Native American symbols — because to the hateful left America isn’t the country whose brand-new states were the worldwide first to prohibit slavery but in a despicable propaganda lie the foundation for White Supremacy.

And all the establishment Republican Party can do is try to conserve their privilege. They no longer have principles as actual conservatives to conserve.

The Democrats are scum.

The Republicans make the profession of whoring look good.

Into this political cesspool — more accurate than swamp — came a successful businessman trying to Make American Less Scummy.

Donald J. Trump
Donald J. Trump

Hollow Talking Heads lie about him every day.

They lie that the totality of Donald J. Trump’s business practices were fraudulent.

They lie that he had no success in business.

They lie — based on a hidden mike recording in which Trump told the truth about groupies, that “if you’re a celebrity they let you grope them” — and these propagandists won’t acknowledge that the word “let” means permission — and claim that Trump is a rapist.

Oh, and their lie that Trump is a hired stooge for the third-world strongman, Vladimir Putin?

Forbes Magazine reports Donald Trump’s wealth has decreased by 16% — $600 million — since he became president.

Yeah, Putin made Trump rich.

Lying scumbags.

So we get to Trump making a phone call to a recent widow of a fallen soldier, while she’s sitting in a limousine waiting for an Air Force jet to bring his body home. It’s not a phone call that Donald Trump even needs to make. It’s more traditional to write a letter. But Trump is a hands on guy who likes to bring on the personal.

What Mr. Trump doesn’t know — what his White House staff either fucked up on or because their loyalty is to party apparatchiks deliberately fucked their boss on — is that there’s an opposition party Congressional representative sitting in that limo listening in — and whatever Mr. Trump says in condolence is going to be spun against him in the Never Trump Media.

I’m an anarchist. Mr. Trump is the Head of State.

But even I have to feel sorry for the poor son of a bitch.

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Ten Things That Could Have Stopped the Las Vegas Massacre


Of course we’re hearing “gun control” as a solution to the Las Vegas Massacre. But if we’re looking for things that can be curtailed or outright prohibited, that would have stopped this massacre, let’s think outside the box.

1. Live music. The Bataclan Theater in Paris. The Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, UK. And now the Route 91 Harvest Festival. All of these live-music events drew large crowds creating a target-rich environment for terrorists seeking mayhem and death. Ban live-music events and these target-rich environments disappear.

Tent Revival

2. Open-air events. If there had been a roof or even a tent over the Route 91 Harvest Festival the sniper could not have aimed at the crowd. Concealment, if not actual cover, would have curtailed the number of victims.

3. Tall buildings. The sniper used 32nd floor windows to shoot down at crowds. If buildings were limited to a single story this could have been prevented.

4. Elevators. To get to a 32nd floor by stairs carrying many pounds of firearms, ammunition, and related equipment would have been very difficult for a 64-year-old man.

5. Hotels. Renting rooms to anyone with the money to afford one enabled this massacre.

6. Room service. A hotel room-service cart was placed outside the shooter’s hotel suite carrying a camera the shooter is alleged to have used to see approaching police.

7. Cameras. See. No. 6. Other cameras were found by authorities within the shooter’s hotel room.

8. Money. The shooter used money to purchase all the equipment, plus pay for the hotel room. As well, the shooter is said to have wired money to an account in the Philippines, which may have something to do with the massacre.

9. Tools. The shooter is alleged to have used “a hammer like device” to have broken out the windows of the hotel room, enabling shooting out the now-broken windows.

10. Possession of air. If there had been no oxygen available to the shooter, the shooter would have been dead and unable to commit the massacre.

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Gun Rights Defender J. Neil Schulman

A video compilation of the writing, film-making, and personal addresses defending the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA), from author/filmmaker, J. Neil Schulman.

The praise Schulman has received from Academy-Award-winner and NRA President, Charlton Heston.

Pro-RKBA clips and the pro-RKBA music video, “Tried by 12.”

Schulman’s birthday remarks on the Virginia Tech massacre.

J, Neil Schulman on Concord Bridge

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Amazon Review of Dr. Patrick Johnston’s novel The Reliant

The Reliant by Dr. Patrick Johnston
Publisher: Ambassador International
Publication Date: April 15, 2017

4.0 out of 5 stars, A novel that has some important things in common with my own novel … and some important differences

By J. Neil Schulman on September 22, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

The Reliant book cover

The Reliant falls into two genres that I like:

1. Post-disaster survival fiction. One of my favorites is Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, about survival after a comet impacts earth — and this book has inspired everything from David Brin’s The Postman to the movies Deep Impact and Armageddon;

2. Christian themed fiction. My absolute favorite writer of Christian apologetics in both fiction and non-fiction is C.S. Lewis, whose Narnia books I fell in love with as a child, growing up as Jewish so I had no idea Christianity had anything to do with the stories. But as an adult I read all of Lewis’s published books and served several terms on the governing council of the Southern California C.S. Lewis Society. And that was when I was an atheist.

I’m also a writer who crosses over between novels, screenwriting, and nonfiction. Look up my Amazon author’s page for my books. I also have two movies I wrote and directed on Amazon Prime.

My first novel published in 1979, Alongside Night — which I made into a movie released in 2014 — has some significant overlaps with The Reliant.

They both take place in a near-future America where the collapse of the dollar due to hyperinflation triggers a political crisis bringing down the federal government. Both novels have as their central viewpoint character a 17-year-old — a boy named Elliot in my novel, a girl named Sophia in Dr. Johnston’s novel.

Both novels are about what you do when the crisis ends the comfortable life of the viewpoint character and your family is in danger.

Both novels portray the practical use of firearms in self-defense and could be considered “pro- Second Amendment” and “pro-Prepper.”

And both novels when turned into movies star and have as an executive producer Kevin Sorbo. My movie came out in 2014; Dr. Johnston’s is planned for release later this year. Right now only a teaser trailer is available.

The similarities between the two novels end there.

My novel takes place largely in New York City where barter and foreign currencies take the place of the dollar so the economy limps along until a new market system arises.

Lucifer’s Hammer co-author, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, gave me thirty pages of notes which I used to write my eighth and final draft, after which Dr. Pournelle endorsed my first novel, writing, “Anyone interested in freedom will find this more than readable.”

The Reliant is set in rural Ohio — most of the novel taking place at a survival encampment in the woods — because with the collapse of the dollar all U.S. civilization has instantly collapsed into total anomie.

My novel is based on projecting what might happen in the United States based on the theories of economists like Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard; historical currency collapses such as France in the 1790’s, Weimar Germany in the 1920’s, and even the inflation of the Continental issued during the American Revolution; and what then was the brand-new Agorist theory of revolution as defined by my “mentor, co-conspirator, and friend,” Samuel Edward Konkin III.

Dr. Johnston begins his novel very well with compelling action. He is a polished fiction writer in his first chapters. Then, the novel gets literally lost in the woods as the family is cut off from all communication with the outside world. Their encampment becomes dire and claustrophobic.

There is one false-to-fact plot device that enables the isolation of the family in the woods. There is not a single Ham radio in their bug-out bags. No real prepper — certainly not one trained by a father who’s as high-tech as an ER Physician — would not be an experienced Ham and train his family how to use solar-rechargable radios to network with other benevolent preppers to form larger survival teams.

The story, for each of the stranded family members, revolves entirely about how they view their situation based on biblical scripture. Much of the dialogue — all of the first-person narrative as told by Sophia — is entirely dogmatic arguments on what they should and shouldn’t do based on what I’d shorthand describe as Christian fundamentalist Sunday School lessons.

Dr. Johnston uses the collapse of the dollar to give us a post-apocalyptic mixture of John Milius’s movie Red Dawn about a Soviet/Nicaraguan invasion of the United States, Mad Max, The Road, and the Left Behind books and movies.

I spent time with Red Dawn writer/director John Milius. I gave him an autographed first edition of Alongside Night. John and I went to a firing range together where he let me shoot his own .44 Magnum, the one he gave the character of Dirty Harry. I also got to shoot John’s 1911 .45 Government Model made in 1912.

John Milius and I once walked together around one of the last Great Western Gun Shows, where John told me how if he knew how inadequate Soviet military equipment was when he wrote his Red Dawn script — he didn’t learn until surplus Soviet equipment was purchased as props for his movie — he never would have taken the possibility of a Soviet invasion of America seriously. John and I also chatted with Randy Weaver whose wife Vicki and 14-year-old son Samuel had been gunned down at Ruby Ridge in cold blood by the FBI — a precursor to the FBI’s attack on the Branch Davidian house in Waco. (Along with Mike McNulty and Randy Herrst I was one of the first three original researchers of the Oscar-nominated/Emmy-winning documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement and you’ll find me in the “Special Thanks” of one of the editions.)

And John Milius told me a story later retold by Charlton Heston (who endorsed my 1994 book, Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns) about how Steven Spielberg owned a private arsenal of guns on lists to be banned by organizations Spielberg sent money to, and when Milius asked Spielberg about it the Schindler’s List director told the Red Dawn director, “John, gun control is strictly for them.”

***BEGIN SPOILER ALERT***

The Reliant has a happy ending. Not the restoration of traditional America based on the Declaration of Independence and attempts to limit government through separation of powers and the Bill of Rights. No, it’s the institution of new government based on Biblical law.

Sophia tells us: “These men are two appointed deputies in an autonomous, self-sufficient Christian community that has been formed in Warsaw, thirty miles north. Their mission is not only to protect the innocent from roving bands of lawless thugs, but also to expand their community of peace and justice into surrounding areas of unrest, and to prepare everyone to resist the government’s predictable tyrannical remedy for the prevalent anarchy. There’s no more separation of God and government, they assure us. Not in Warsaw.”

That last statement — “no more separation of God and government” — is a rejection of the very roots of what has made America exceptional, a wall maintained between religion and government advocated by Roger Williams and handed down to the Founding fathers who enshrined it in the First Amendment.

Dr. Johnston’s ideal America doesn’t want a return of the ideals of the Founding Fathers signing the Declaration of Independence’s statement “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Dr. Johnston instead wants an America run according to Biblical law — and how is that different than Muslims who want things run according to Sharia law?

This return to theocracy — rule by religious dogma — is what Dr. Johnston’s characters call “freedom.”

***END SPOILER***

In an odd sense The Reliant is a prequel to Robert A. Heinlein’s first published novel, If This Goes On, about a second American Revolution against a Christian theocracy that’s taken over America after another Great Depression. An economic collapse leading to a return of theocracy is as much of a reason to overthrow a government as King George the Third’s tyranny.

Alongside Night is a libertarian novel.

The Reliant is not.

There are ways that The Reliant is intended as a more commercial novel than my own Alongside Night. Dr. Johnston knows who his readership is and what they want reified in their reading. They’re ultra-Christian and they want stories that reflect their ultra-Christian dogma. None of the heretical C.S. Lewis’s other worlds with talking animals and witches for these earthbound readers!

Robert A. Heinlein wrote a late-in-life novel titled Job: A Comedy of Justice with a viewpoint character who’s a fundamentalist Christian minister thrown into end-time chaos. Heinlein wrote as a libertarian.

My third novel, Escape from Heaven, plunges a radio talk show host into the events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ. I wrote it as a libertarian.

I’m pretty sure that Dr. Johnston is familiar with novels and movies like these. He’s too good a writer not to.

But, man oh man, I wish the good doctor could realize that the Word of God inspired far more “scripture” — a word that literally means “writing” — to be read in more than one “bible” — a word that literally means “book.”

I’ve written extensively about my own direct revelations from God, Dr. Johnston. I’ve written about it both in autobiographical nonfiction and in fiction. You’ll find them right here on Amazon with titles like Atheist to Believer and The Heartmost Desire.

My revelation was that God is a libertarian. I think you might agree with that if you considered it. Your characters do believe in the God-given free-will choice between doing good and doing evil.

Meanwhile, Godspeed on your movie adaptation of The Reliant. Isn’t working with a talent like Kevin Sorbo just the best?

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Condemning Both Sides Now

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
–Joni Mitchell

The media firestorm condemning President Donald J. Trump is not because of what the President said last Saturday denouncing the political violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, but because Trump refused to condemn only one side’s violence.

Trump is a few years older than I am and I remember anti-Vietnam War protests infiltrated by communists carrying North Vietnamese flags. Communists also tried to take over Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights marches.

A protest against removing a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee doesn’t make all those protesters Nazis, KKK, or White Supremacists any more than communists turned anti-war protests or civil-rights marches into communist rallies

I’m a libertarian who is neither left nor right. Attempts to align libertarians with either the right or the left have repeatedly proved to be disastrous.

You go to the left and find politically-correct socialists. You go to the right and find pietistic social conservatives. You go as far as you can to the left and you find communist dictatorships. You go as far as you can to the right and you find fascist dictatorships.

Nazis don’t exist on any political spectrum. Adolf Hitler’s surreal movement might as well be the extraterrestrial Kanamit people-eaters from the classic Rod Serling-Damon Knight episode of The Twilight Zone, “To Serve Man.”

There are no neo-Nazis, just demented political cosplayers who think putting on Nazi wardrobe and performing Nazi salutes will bring them power. They might as well jump straight to worshipping H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu, which would at least have the virtue of being performance art.

The twentieth century saw rival totalitarian movements repeatedly at war. Nazis murdered many millions; Communists murdered many more millions.

In America (excluding Hollywood) it was generally understood that Nazis and Communists were equally diabolical; yet socialism and fascism managed to gain political footholds in domestic policies. Those footholds have gotten worse in the post 9/11 21st Century as an Espionage-Post-Industrial Complex that leverages all major education, communication, and entertainment media, and have turned them into engines of mass brainwashing.

Donald J. Trump is not a libertarian, nor is he an ideologue of any sort. He’s not an alien invader like Hitler; but neither does Trump exist on any conventional political spectrum. Donald Trump is not a great demented planner like Lenin, Mao, or Hitler; he’s a billionaire capitalist who learned how dysfunctional government is from direct experience and decided to make America less self-destructive. His slogan overreaches: Donald Trump wants to Make America Work Again.

But one thing Donald Trump is good at is recognizing how the Major Media is operated as a cabal that echos throughout thousands of channels only a narrow spectrum of permitted opinion, with socialism at its left boundary and fascism at its right boundary — variants only of totalitarian social control.

How the illusion of marketplace competition has constructed a propaganda engine worthy of any totalitarian regime — suppressing any actual media organs regularly voicing radical anti-control dissent — is beyond the scope of this article. (When it’s written it won’t be by me but by Brad Linaweaver.)

When across what is portrayed as a supposed political spectrum the President is universally criticized for being evenhanded in his condemnation of all evil thugs — as if an open-eyed American view of anti-individualist thugs is a crime — we have all the proof anyone needs that once again — like the Hitler-Stalin Pact 68 years ago — socialists collude with fascists in unified opposition to individual rights and liberties.

Stalin and Ribbentrop
Soviet Communist Dictator Stalin and Nazi German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop shaking hands after the signing of the pact on August 23, 1939

Let me be clear. I do not consider Robert E. Lee, general for a confederacy that maintained race-based plantation slavery, to be a hero. Robert E. Lee fought for villainy.

But if people who pay their taxes want Robert E. Lee’s statue in a tax-supported park, that’s no more a crime than favoring a statue of Union war-criminal Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.

General Sherman Memorial, Washington DC
General Sherman Memorial, Washington DC

The thing about Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists is that neither is a movement that has political reality in 21st Century America.

Real totalitarians, by a magician’s trick divided into right and left, do have political reality; and they control the media owning the stage and targeting the mirrors.

Socialism is every bit as evil as fascism; the words themselves — “socialism” and “fascism” — may make a distinction without any real difference.

Those who denounce insufficient condemnation for dead evils — Nazis, KKK, White Supremacy — yet turn a blind eye to the living horrors of socialism as we see today in North Korea, Venezuela, and on American college campuses — are the enemies of liberty and I will not rest until they are so recognized.

Trump tweet

Alt-Control-DELETE

Ironic

Athwart

NOTE: Per my previous article I’m still behind on current utility bills. Contributions using the “Like It — Reward It” link on this page, that keep the lights on while my agent seeks a sale of one of my screenplays or books, is greatly appreciated. — Neil

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Submission

Oy vey.

Look, I’m a libertarian anarchist who’s been a muckraking journalist, a magazine editor, an Op-Ed writer for major newspapers, a much-published book author and magazine writer, a network television screenwriter, the founder/CEO of two publishing companies, a blogger, a tweeter, an indie writer/producer/director of two narrative feature films — and that doesn’t begin to exhaust my experience and the jobs I’ve done both for pay and on my own dime.

I’m a professional, and amateur-for-fun, pain in the ass.

So despite my sweet nature I keep finding myself at the center of controversies.

Here’s the latest, and unless you who are reading this can figure out a way to help me, this one may finally put me out on the street with a cardboard sign, “Will Write For Food.”

Who am I kidding? I’m a 64-year-old man with ongoing health issues.

This might kill me.

For most of this year I’ve been writing new screen stories and sending them to my literary manager since 1977, Joel Gotler at the IPGLM management company in Los Angeles.

Joel is a big deal in the business. He’s represented superstar writers for decades. Joel has an executive producer credit on The Wolf of Wall Street.

After spending most of the last ten years focusing on producing my own movies I’ve spent this year trying to make a screenwriting sale to a major studio. The money is a lot better and a sale could secure the finances for my old age. But there’s a firewall in my way. I’ve been a member of the Writers Guild of America since I made my script sale of “Profile in Silver” to CBS’s The Twilight Zone series in 1985. The studios won’t read an “unsolicited submission” from a writer. As a manager, not an agent, Joel can’t directly submit my writing to the studios because it’s not allowed by Writers Guild rules. So the only way I can get a studio to read my submission is through an agent or agency that’s signed up with the Writers Guild.

Included in that agency category is arguably the most powerful talent agency on this planet: Creative Artists Agency — CAA, for short. The “A List” client list of CAA includes among the most famous and accomplished actors, directors, and writers in the motion picture and television industry — “The Industry” when discussed among The Industry.

After my first two novels were in print from major New York publishers — Crown and Simon & Schuster — my first sale to The Industry was a four-page outline that Joel Gotler — when he was still an agent — sold in 1983 to movie producer Herb Jaffe at the film production company Vista Films. Vista Films had produced major box-office successes such as The Wind and The Lion, Demon Seed, and Time After Time. My outline was titled “All the King’s Horses.”

Under contract to Vista Films I turned my four-page outline into a 100-page screen treatment — just one short step from being a shooting script. You can find that treatment in my 1999 book, Profile in Silver and Other Screenwritings. It’s still in print and on sale at Amazon.com.

“All The King’s Horses” was a very commercial idea. In 1983 the two-year-old marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to Charles, the Prince of Wales — and the birth one year earlier of their first child Prince William, second in line to the British throne, was a modern fairy tale in all major media.

In 1983 the tabloids had published not the first word about marital troubles with this royal family.

So when in 1983 I wrote a romantic comedy “All the King’s Horses” about the Princess of Wales, while on a goodwill tour with her son to the United States, filing for divorce and child custody in an American court — and the Prince of Wales through derring-do winning back her heart — it was, as they say, a “high concept” movie idea.

Nonetheless — perhaps with backroom pressure from the real British monarchy, who did know what was going on behind the scenes — Vista Films was unable to find a studio to make the movie.

Seven years later the rights reverted back to me. By this time — 1990 — word of marital problems between Charles and Diana were being leaked to the media. But what was being reported as gossip was no longer ripe for a fictional treatment.

In 2017 — 20 years after Diana’s tragic death — a movie about a fictional Princess Susan and Prince Arthur from the fictional country of Wittland — struck me as once again a possibly commercial romantic comedy.

So in March 2017 I turned my old treatment into a screenplay, retitled The Princess of Brentwood.

The Princess of Brentwood

Yet the firewalls preventing my screenplay from being read by the movie studios, or by movie stars and big-name directors who only read what their agents and managers sent to them, remained.

I sent The Princess of Brentwood screenplay to Justin Ptak, who praised it, but he was still waiting for the Writers Guild to accept him as a signatory agent, so he could not yet submit it for me.

I sent The Princess of Brentwood screenplay to Joel Gotler, who on May 8th emailed me that he was too busy to take on the project. Joel’s assistant Rachel Levine told me in a phone conversation that their office was so swamped with other projects that Joel wasn’t even allowing her to read the script. My experience with Joel after many years was that Joel no longer had time to read scripts himself but sent it out for story coverage. I knew that because in the early 90’s I had been one of those who was paid to read manuscripts and write coverage reports for Joel.

I subscribe to IMDb Pro because it provides contact information to The Industry.

A legendary agent at CAA, Fred Specktor, had a direct email address listed.

Attaching a PDF copy of The Princess of Brentwood screenplay, I emailed Fred Specktor:

Dear Mr. Specktor,

Attached as a PDF is my new screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood. I’m seeking representation for this as well as other projects.

Over a four-decade career as an award-winning novelist, filmmaker, and journalist, notables who have praised my writing include Charlton Heston, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Burgess, Robert A. Heinlein, and Milton Friedman.

My past representation has included Curtis Brown and H.N. Swanson.

Sincerely,

J. Neil Schulman

The Princess of Brentwood
A Screenplay by J Neil Schulman
89 pages
Genres: Romantic Comedy / Courtroom Drama / Action-Adventure

Synopsis:

The whole world watched the fairy-tale romance of Prince Arthur and Lady Susan, their royal wedding, and the birth of their son, Prince John. But life as a Royal turned out not to be what Princess Susan expected with its relentless political control and media scrutiny.

On a two-week goodwill tour of America with her 8-year-old son, Prince John, heir to the throne after his father, Princess Susan applies for permanent U.S. residency and custody of John which would forbid him from visiting the kingdom until he’s grown up.

The consequences of this decision complicate International tensions, legal wrangling, media frenzy, a re-evaluation of his life choices by Prince Arthur, and a kidnapping which puts the Prince’s character to the test.

J. Neil Schulman is a filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, journalist, radio personality, songwriter, and actor.

His dozen published books still in print include the novels Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza, both of which won the Prometheus Award, and the anthology Nasty, Brutish, And Short Stories. His third novel, Escape from Heaven, was a Prometheus-Award finalist.

Schulman’s articles and essays have been published in magazines ranging from Cult Movies to Mondo Cult, and in newspapers including funny articles and serious Op-Eds for the Los Angeles Times.

His 1986 original episode for CBS’s The Twilight Zone, “Profile in Silver” about a time-traveler who prevents the JFK assassination played three times on CBS prime time and has been frequently replayed on SyFy and Chiller.

He’s writer/producer/director for two indie feature films, Lady Magdalene’s (2008) and Alongside Night (2014). Both are available on Amazon Video/Amazon Prime, as well as DVD or Blu-ray editions also on Amazon Prime.

A few days later I made a follow-up phone call to Fred Specktor’s CAA office and, to my amazement, Fred Specktor took the call. Initially Fred Specktor intended only to inform me that he could not read an unsolicited submission but I managed to keep the conversation going long enough to explain that the script was based on an outline that Herb Jaffe had bought back in 1983 and that my most recent credits were as the writer-producer-director of two indie feature films from 2008 and 2014.

This was enough for Fred Specktor to agree to having The Princess of Brentwood read at CAA if I’d sign a standard submssion release form. I agreed and was transferred to Specktor’s assistant, Joey Amoia, to whom I gave my email address.

Minutes later I received and replied to this email:

On 6/19/2017 4:54 PM, Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia) wrote:

Hello –

Per your conversation with Fred, in order for us to accept your project, we must have Submission Release Forms sent to you and fully executed. To expedite the process, please answer the questions below.

1. Name of the Project:

The Princess of Brentwood

2. How many pages it is:

89 pages including cover sheet

3. Name for ALL writers of the script (Please note each writer will have to sign 3 copies)

J. Neil Schulman

4. Which client the project is intended for (if any):

For directing: Danny DeVito or Paul Greengrass or Rob Reiner
For the lead role of Princess Susan: Keira Knightley or Emma Watson or Alice Eve or Emilia Clarke

5. Address of where the Submission Release Forms should be sent

J. Neil Schulman
150 S Highway 160, C8-234
Pahrump, NV 89048

Once I receive this information I will send out (3) submission release forms via mail. They need to be signed by the writer(s) and all original copies mailed back to me.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks,

Joey

Joey Amoia
Office of Fred Specktor | CAA

Now.

I’ve been in The Industry since Joel Gotler started representing me in 1977, when my first novel Alongside Night had not yet been sold to a publisher. Based on the unpublished first-novel manuscript Joel started submitting it for a film sale.

From 1977 through my phone call to Fred Specktor I’d never been asked to sign a submission release form because submissions coming through a known manager or agent never require one.

So to expedite this process and make it more standard, more professional, I emailed Joel Gotler and his assistant Rachel:

On Jun 19, 2017, at 5:50 PM, J. Neil Schulman wrote:

Joel and Rachel,

I spoke on the phone today with Fred Specktor, CAA superagent. He’s having his assistant Joey Amoia mail me release forms so they can read my script The Princess of Brentwood. I don’t suppose you’d want to send a copy of my screenplay over there, yourself, to help this process along?

Neil

Joel replied:

Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 01:21:54 +0000
From: Joel Gotler
To: J. Neil Schulman
CC: Rachel Levine

We can.

Sent from my iPhone

Rachel confirmed for me by telephone that an email from Joel to Fred went out a few days later, containing the submitted screenplay. Rachel instructed me not to get directly in touch with Fred Specktor’s office regarding the submission release forms since this was now their submission and did not require one.

A few weeks went by during which it would have been common for CAA to have read my screenplay, and on July 6th Rachel emailed me back: “No word yet! We’ll check in with them if we haven’t heard
anything on Friday- give them to the end of the week.”

Another two weeks went by without our hearing back.

I need to tell you that every day that went by was putting severe financial pressure on me, and most important, it was passing a deadline for me to make travel arrangements to my daughter’s August 5th wedding in Seattle. If I had a pending deal on The Princess of Brentwood I could ask friends to lend me the money for the trip.

Finally, on July 26th — not being able to reach Rachel — I decided to phone Fred Specktor’s assistant, Joey Amoia, to find out what the status was of Joel Gotler’s submission of The Princess of Brentwood.

Joey said he thought I was calling about not receiving the submission release forms, because the package containing them had come back to him from the CAA mailroom. He said he knew nothing about the submission from Joel Gotler. I asked him to check the CAA computer to see if Joel’s submission might have ended up with another agent. Joey told me the title The Princess of Brentwood was not in the CAA computer therefore no CAA agent had it read.

Joey told me he’d personally re-sent the submission release forms, and in a call from him later that day he told me that regardless of the submission coming from Joel Gotler I’d still have to sign the submission release forms.

Once they were received back Joey Amoia assured me my screenplay would be in Fred Specktor’s reading for the weekend of August 5th.

Coincidentally the same weekend as my daughter’s wedding that because of this delay I would not be able to attend.

Because the submission was supposed to have been received from Joel Gotler, I emailed Joel and Rachel:

Amoia had no knowledge that Joel had sent Fred Specktor The Princess of Brentwood. The purpose of his call was to let me know that he just became aware yesterday that the CAA mail room had failed to send me the release forms allowing Fred Specktor to read The Princess of Brentwood and that Joey had today FedExed the release forms to me. When I told Joey about Joel’s submission he said I needed to sign the release forms anyway and that when he received them back he’d put the script in Fred Specktor’s weekend reading. He also checked the CAA computer to check whether The Princess of Brentwood was in their system; it wasn’t.

Apparently we’ve been waiting to hear back on a submission from IPGLM they didn’t know they had.

I told Joey that I would sign the forms and Fedex overnight them back to him so Fred Specktor could read The Princess of Brentwood this coming weekend.

Sincerely,

Neil

Joel emailed me back: “Right, just sign the release.”

Later in the day on July 26th — after the Writers Guild East offices were closed — I phoned the Writers Guild West to find out if Joel Gotler’s management company IPGLM was now possibly signed as a Guild-approved agency that could make submissions for me. I was connected to Bertha Garcia, an administrator in the WGA West’s Contracts Department, who told me it wasn’t.

It was a friendly conversation in which Bertha told me (based on my spelling my email address using the Ham Radio Letter Code) that she was a licensed Ham, and as an anecdote I told Bertha about the confusion and delay at CAA of my screenplay being read because the Submission Release Forms had been lost.

That’s when Bertha dropped a bombshell on me. I asked her to email what she’d just told me.

On 7/26/2017 5:25 PM, Bertha Garcia wrote:

Hi Neil,

This will confirm our phone conversation of this afternoon. It is the Guild’s position that WGA signatory agencies may not ask writers who are WGA members to sign release forms.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Bertha Garcia
Administrator, Contracts Department
Writers Guild of America West, Inc.
7000 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

I’d just been told that CAA, a WGA signatory agency, was asking me, a WGA member, to sign a submission release form that they weren’t allowed to ask a WGA member like me to sign and that as a WGA writer I wasn’t allowed to sign. Yet if I didn’t sign it I was also being told that Fred Specktor wouldn’t read the script that could not be sent to a studio unless it came from a WGA signatory agency.

Talk about a Catch-22!

I then emailed Joey Amoia, and cc’d Fred Specktor, Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine, and Bertha Garcia:

Dear Joey,

Houston we’ve got a problem.

CAA is a WGA signatory. I’m a WGA member. According to the email below from Bertha Garcia at WGAW CAA — as a WGA agency signatory — isn’t allowed to ask a WGA member to sign a release form and as a WGA writer member I’m not allowed to sign one.

The CAA legal department must be aware of this.

I am willing immediately to sign a CAA agency agreement making me a CAA client as a writer, producer, director, actor, multi-published-book author, and songwriter.

I am willing immediately to sign a CAA packaging agreement for my screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood.

Joel Gotler at IPGLM would remain my personal manager.

I’ve attached my WGA membership card below in this email.

Sincerely,

Neil

J. Neil Schulman

I copied in Bertha Garcia’s email to me.

I got no responses to this email before receiving an email from my mailbox service on Thursday that I’d received a Fedex package. I confirmed by phone it was the package from CAA. I decided to pick up the package, sign the release forms, and Fedex them back to Fred Specktor’s office.

I’m so broke I had to ask a friend to PayPal me to cover the cost of gas for a 120-mile round-trip drive to a FedEx Office location in Las Vegas and cover the Fedex charges.

When I picked up the Fedex package with the CAA submission release forms, and read them, I understood why the WGA would have a problem with them. The WGA has its own arbitration process regarding originality and credits.

The CAA release forms I was being asked to sign included:

6. I recognize that you and your clients have access to and/or may create or have created literary materials and ideas which may be similar or identical to said material in theme, idea, plot, format or other respects. I agree that I will not be entitled to any compensation because of the use of any such similar or identical material which may have been independently created by you or any such client or may have come to you or such client from any other source.

7. I understand that such similarity in the past has given rise to litigation so that unless you can obtain adequate protection in advance, you will refuse to consider the submitted material. The protection for you must be sufficiently broad to protect you, your related entities, affiliates and individuals, your clients, and your and their employees, agents, licensees and assigns and all parties to whom you or they submit material. Therefore, all references to you in this Agreement shall include each and all of the foregoing.

I phoned Joey Amoia from my car and told him I had signed and was Fedexing the forms and that I’d email him the Fedex Tracking Number when I returned to my computer.

When I returned home from the Fedex office I found the following email from Joel Gotler:

Neil,

This kind of letter does nobody any good. I personally sent your script to Fred last month as a favor to you (despite telling you I was passing on this multiple times initially), and if they have procedures to follow or don’t want to read, what can we do? But now you’re displaying yourself as a problem client to people I’ve known and respected for decades. I have to step aside on this.

This conversation is done.

Joel Gotler

I sent this next email later that night to Joey, Joel and all other parties cc’d in:

Dear Joey,

As I promised, attached is a PDF copy of my signed release form which is on its way to your office via FedEx Express, Tracking No. XXXXXXXXXXXX. Delivery is scheduled by Wednesday August 2, 2017 by 4:30 PM.

Below my signature and above my printed name I added the words “Subject to WGA rules.” That should keep the WGA off our backs.

Just for the record this has been the first time in a 40-year literary and screenwriting career — since Joel Gotler started representing me in 1977 — that I have ever been asked to sign a release form.

Sincerely,

Neil

I replied to Joel Gotler separately:

Dear Joel,

I signed the release form and Fedexed them back to Fred Specktor’s office. I copied you in to the email. Rachel is signed up for Fedex tracking updates.

I did this despite Rachel telling me a submission from you to Fred Specktor did not require a signed release from me; despite such a release ostensibly violating WGA rules; and despite the insult to you in Joey Amoia continuing to ask for a release from a Joel Gotler client after Joey Amoia had it confirmed that the submission had come not from me but from you.

There must have been a miscommunication between us at some point since not “multiple times” but zero times did you tell me you were taking a pass on The Princess of Brentwood. Here is what you did email me:

April 27, 2017: “Having it read while I’m away. Joel”

May 3, 2017: “We haven’t read it yet. You are way ahead of us. Patience, please.”

May 9, 2017: “I can’t take on another project. Ptak will have to do the selling. I am on overload with what I have on my plate, so don’t wait for me. Good luck in placing it.”

That’s it. Nowhere did you or Rachel ever tell me by email or phone that you’d read or had The Princess of Brentwood covered at IPGLM, determined the screenplay uncommercial, and were passing on it.

If that had been the case I never would have bothered you about sending the script to Fred Specktor after he asked to see it.

As things stand now my last word to Fred Specktor and Joey Amoia was to get back to you, not me.

If Fred Specktor takes this project on and you still don’t want to be a part of it, let me know.

Your friend and client since 1977,

Neil

The next morning at 8:45 AM PDT Joey Amoia phoned me and told me what he then said in email a few minutes later:

Subject: RE: Release Forms
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:39:05 +0000
From: Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia)
To: J. Neil Schulman
CC: Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine, Fred Specktor

Hi Neil,

Per our conversation, Fred has decided not to read or accept your script. Please do not send it to us.

Best,

Joey

Joey Amoia
Office of Fred Specktor | CAA

I was now being exiled from The Industry for attempting to avoid being sanctioned by the Writers Guild for violating WGA working rules.

I phoned Rochelle Rubin who’s in charge of agencies, signatories, and contracts at the WGA East.

Rochelle knew me well for several reasons, one of which was my required member endorsement for Justin Ptak to become a WGA signatory agent. But Rochelle also knew me because of emails I’d responded to earlier this year regarding the root of this problem: the studios being allowed to refuse “unsolicited” submissions from WGA members. I’d forwarded a copy of this email to Rochelle:

Subject: Re: WGA Strike Authorization Vote – PLEASE READ
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2017 13:27:54 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: Geoff Betts

Jeff,

Thanks for taking my call.

I just posted the following statement on all my Facebook pages and a jpeg is going out in my Twitter:

I just had a conversation with Geoff Betts, business manager of the Writers Guild of America, East, of which I’m a member.

The Writers Guilds, east and west, are in negotiations with the AMPTP (the major U.S, movie/TV production/distribution studios) and asking members to authorize a strike possibly as early as April 19th.

The issues the Guilds are asking the members to strike over only affect pay rates and benefits for the small percentage of members who have current paying work. The Guilds are asking the vast majority of members who like me are not currently working to authorize a strike vote on behalf of pay rates and benefits for the small minority of members who are currently working.

I explained to Geoff Betts that when I try to submit my writings — scripts, screen stories, short literary stories, and novels to a production company or studio that is contracted with the Guilds I am told that my materials are unsolicited and they will not read them.

I informed Geoff Betts that if the Guilds want my vote to authorize a strike they must make it a demand to the AMPTP that all submissions from Guild members must be regarded as solicited and given equal consideration to submissions coming from the major talent agencies such as CAA and WME.

J Neil Schulman

This is the center of my problem. After four decades in The Industry I can’t get my submissions read without going through gatekeepers — and now the gatekeepers inside are putting me on the other side of the castle moat.

Rochelle Rubins asked me to forward all the emails to her. I did and later in the day she phoned me to say this being a Friday she would take this up Monday with Writers Guild management on both coasts.

I then sent the following email to selected members of the Entertainment Business press:

Subject: WGA – CAA feud with me at Ground Zero
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:58:40 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: (Named editors) Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter

As a long-time WGA member (I joined in 1985 when I sold my first original screenplay to CBS’ The Twilight Zone) I now find myself in the middle of a conflict between the WGA and CAA, which happened when my literary manager, Joel Gotler at IPGLM, submitted my new feature screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood, to Fred Specktor at CAA seeking representation.

In a phone conversation with me on June 19th Fred Specktor agreed to read my screenplay if I executed a submission release form. I agreed but then Joel Gotler emailed me that he would make the submission to Fred Specktor. It’s universal industry practice that a submission from a major management agency to a major talent agency bypasses the need for any release forms from the writer.

Over a month went by after Joel Gotler emailed the screenplay to Fred Specktor with Joel’s office unable to get a response from Fred’s office so I phoned Fred’s assistant, Joey Amoia on July 27th, who apologized for not getting the release forms out to me in a timely manner and said he was Fedexing them to me. I informed Joey that the submission had already been sent from Joel at IPGLM to Fred but after checking Joey Amoia phoned me saying I needed to execute the release forms anyway.

In a phone conversation with WGAW contracts administrator Bertha Garcia on an unrelated matter, also on July 27th, I related the story about the delay on the release forms from CAA and Bertha informed me that as a WGA signatory CAA was not allowed to ask a WGA member such as myself to sign a submission release form. I asked Bertha to email this to me, which she did, and with an email cover of my own I forwarded Bertha’s email to all parties at CAA and IPGLM, with Bertha at WGAW cc’d.

I then received the release forms and decided to sign them anyway, with “Subject to WGA Rules” written in between my signature and printed name, and Fedexed them back to Fred Specktor/Joey Amoia. I emailed the tracking number and a PDF of the signed form to Fred Specktor, Joey Amoia, Joel Gotler, and Joel’s assistant, Rachel Levine.

That’s when all hell broke loose for me.

Joel Gotler emailed me that he was withdrawing as my manager.

And today Joey Amoia phoned me, then emailed me, saying that Fred Specktor would not read my screenplay and I should not send it to them as called for in the release form I’d signed.

I’ve spoken with Rochelle Rubin, contracts manager at WGAE (I was living in Jersey City, NJ when I first joined WGA East and have never changed my membership to WGA West even though I’m now living in Nevada) and have forwarded all the emails to her — 20 of them. Rochelle says she’ll get on this after the weekend.

By following the advice of a WGA executive I appear to have foiled my attempt to get my screenplay read and packaged by CAA This seems fundamentally wrong to me — a lone screenwriter up against the most powerful agency in the biz — and this comes at a time in my life when I’m in financial meltdown due to having made no sales since the last feature film I wrote, produced, and directed, 2014’s Alongside Night. After a limited theatrical run and a Beverly Hills premiere in July, 2014, Alongside Night — and the other feature I’ve written/produced/directed — 2008’s Lady Magdalene’s — both currently stream on Amazon Video/Amazon Prime, and are also available on DVD or Blu-ray).

If this story is of interest I am willing to share all the emails with the three of you as well.

Sincerely,

J. Neil Schulman

I then emailed Fred Specktor, Joel Gotler and the others copied in:

Subject: Re: Release Forms
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 14:56:16 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: Fred Specktor
CC: Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia), Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine,

Dear Mr. Specktor,

If this whole matter didn’t adversely affect my career at a time when I need a new deal to keep my finances afloat I would laugh at this comedy of errors.

When a month went by without Joey Amoia sending me the submission release form you and I’d talked about I assumed CAA no longer was requesting a signed submission release form from me because instead of the submission of The Princess of Brentwood coming from me it had come to your office from my manager, Joel Gotler at IPGLM. Joel’s assistant, Rachel Levine, emailed me that she was following up on that submission. Yet when I spoke to Joey a few days ago he seemed unaware that the submission came from Joel, not me — and his email to me today telling me not to send the script once again ignores that the submission wasn’t coming from me but had already come from Joel Gotler.

So that leaves me in the middle of something, and I don’t know what it is.

Is it CAA’s procedure to request submission release forms from managers like Joel Gotler, who not only has represented superstar writers for decades but has an executive producer credit on The Wolf of Wall Street?

Or is it CAA’s procedure to request submission release forms from WGA members when Bertha Garcia at WGAW says that violates its agency rules?

Either way, I signed the form because I promised I would and it’s on its way to your office.

This matter has gotten out of hand and there’s still time to turn it around before Rochelle Rubin at WGAE takes this matter up with WGAE and WGAW management on Monday (she has all the relevant emails) and before I get callbacks from the entertainment business editors at the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter, and Variety.

I’m just a screenwriter who will lose his house if I don’t make a deal. Joel Gotler is already pissed off at me. I literally have nothing more I can lose.

Sincerely,

J. Neil Schulman

Joel Gotler emailed me:

You had better stop these diatribes.

Sent from my iPhone

I emailed Joel back:

Or what? I’ll be out of the business and lose my house?

Your office’s failure to follow up with Fred Specktor before this spun out of control has already cost me attending my daughter’s wedding in Seattle on August 5th. There’s nothing more any of you can do to hurt me.

Later that day (Friday, July 28th) the editor from the Los Angeles Times phoned me. We talked about 20 minutes. He asked me to email him the contact info for the Writers Guild executives I’d talked to and I did. He emailed me: “Thanks. We will reach out to the guild.”

And there’s where it stands: one powerless writer being kicked out of The Industry.

Again.

See my May 18, 2010 article “Yes, There Is a Hollywood Blacklist — and I’m on It

I’ve tried to continue paying my bills in any way I can think of within my skill sets.

For most of this year I’ve been putting up new Kindle books onto Amazon — all three of my novels, my short story collection, my Heinlein Interview book, and several nonfiction books.

One of my literary representatives, Justin Ptak, has been trying to gin up interest for film or series productions based on my novels, screen outlines, and finished screenplays. But until the WGA adds him to its electronic list of signed agents he can’t make any submissions for me to WGA-signed production companies or studios.

I’m living in a house in the name of my deceased parents’ living trust that has a mortgage from Wells Fargo Bank. The mortgage payments are several months past due.

I have a storage unit containing valuables, both family and literary, which is on 30-day notice of an auction of its contents if I don’t immediately bring last month’s missed payment up to date.

It’s the end of July and I have no funds to pay next month’s utility bills or Internet connection or web-hosting or car insurance.

I’m running short even of groceries.

Most heart-breakingly, I don’t have the money to travel from Nevada to my daughter’s August 5th wedding in Seattle.

In short, my failure to make a meaningful sale or obtain work doing the only things I am experienced and capable of doing is sending me down the drain.

Here’s a link to read The Princess of Brentwood.

Award-winning author/screenwriter/filmmaker/Mondo Cult publisher, Brad Linaweaver, has read it and compared the quality to classic scripts by Ben Hecht and Billy Wilder.

I’m airing all this because dignity is not on the menu for me. The trolls have everything they need to call me a no-talent or a has-been and tell me to look for a day job.

Whatever.

If there’s someone out there who both cares and has the connections to someone who might do something with this script or something else I’ve written, here I am.

And please note the PayPal “Like It – Reward It” links.

God bless you if you do.

Neil

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Moneyball Healthcare

Remember the book and movie Moneyball, about how Oakland Athletics manager Billy Beane used a microbudget (compared to far-better-funded major-league baseball teams) to bring his team to the playoffs in 2002?

The U.S. Senate is about to debate a House Republican bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.

Lobbyist TV spots I get here in Nevada are begging GOP Nevada Senator Dean Heller not to repeal Nevadans’ healthcare. The deception in these spots is the unstated communist-socialist-fascist assumption that without taxpayer funding paying for health insurance — and bureaucrats running it — there can’t be any healthcare.

Yet I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s — a time with far less robust medical treatments — when medical doctors made house calls and a hospital stay wasn’t that much more expensive than a hotel stay.

Sam Jaffe as Doctor Zorba on Ben Casey
Sam Jaffe as Dr. Zorba on “Ben Casey”

Healthcare — before government and private insurers bid up the prices with Medicare, Medicaid, and employer-paid-for health insurance — was already affordable to ordinary people.

Cuba — because of its communist economy — has to be one of the poorest countries on earth. Yet because Cuban doctors and hospitals have so little money they have done what indie filmmakers do as compared to the big movie studios: innovate cheaply. Havana’s Center of Molecular Immunology has developed an anti-lung-cancer vaccine called CimaVax that treats both current and genetically likely patients.

My point is emphatically not that a low-budget approach to finding cures produces superior results to an approach with much more money. The visual effects of a $180 million movie are going to be far superior to the visual effects of a movie made for $200,000.

My point is that for people of limited means low-budget healthcare solutions should not be driven out of the marketplace and denied them.

Have you heard of Medical Tourism? Countries like Thailand, India, and Singapore have state-of-the-art hospitals and medical personnel offering surgeries and treatments at half off or less than the equivalent care sold in the United States — and without the rationing and life-threatening delays in countries with socialized medicine.

So while Republican senators debate the replacement of Obamacare only discussing how socialized medicine can be funded without further bankrupting the United States, returning healthcare to price-suppressing market competition isn’t even on the agenda.

If a doctor in Cuba or Thailand can “moneyball” medical treatments in those poorer countries, why can’t they do it here?

Create Medical Enterprise Zones in the United States — free from taxes, regulations, and other market impediments — where foreign doctors can provide treatment to Americans at the same discounted prices they do in their own countries to “medical tourists.”

Let Cuban doctors treat Americans with their breakthrough cures right here in America.

Why should foreigners not come here with their excellent but cheap healthcare to Make America Great Again?

Liberating Healthcare

So Can Americans

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