Three Members of the Council on Foreign Relations

Part 2 in a Series on The Movies, Politics and Predictive Programming


by Not Sure

18 June 2023


                The Miracle is an Italian short film which was made in 1948 and imported to the U.S. in 1950.  Here’s a summary:


A simple-minded, homeless peasant girl is a goat herder.  One afternoon a bearded stranger appears with a bottle of wine.  The shepherd girl mistakes him for the incarnation of St. Joseph and begs him to take her to heaven.  The stranger gives the young girl wine and then in an implied and “discreet” sequence, he rapes her.  She wakes up and when she later realizes that she is pregnant, she assumes that she is the incarnation of the Virgin Mary, and this is an Immaculate Conception.  Ridiculed by the townspeople, she delivers her baby alone in the village church, attended by a goat. 


            The American distributor screened the film at his theatre for twelve days in 1950 before the censors stepped in with a notice that the film was “officially and personally blasphemous…sacrilegious.”  The New York appeals court agreed the film was sacrilegious and stated that “no religion, as that word is understood by the ordinary, reasonable person, shall be treated with contempt, mockery, scorn and ridicule.”  The case made its way to the Supreme Court.  Earlier appeals to the Court dating back to the 1930s were not met sympathetically; indeed, the Court ruled that movies were “business, pure and simple,” subject to federal regulation.  But when the Supreme Court heard Burstyn v. Wilson (The Miracle) in 1952, times had changed.  The Court voted unanimously that film was now entitled to freedom of speech protections.  “It cannot be doubted that motion pictures are a significant medium for the communication of ideas,” the opinion read. “Their importance as an organ of public opinion is not lessened by the fact that they are designed to entertain as well as inform.”


            I have never seen The Pawnbroker, released in 1964.  There is nothing about the description or reviews that would compel me to watch this story of a spiritually dead Holocaust survivor; no moral redemption, no saving grace, no love of humanity expressed.  I know of this film because of the place it occupies in the history of cinema.  It was amongst the first American films to depict homosexuality and it featured nudity (bare breasts) during the Production Code Administration era.


            The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), now known as the Motion Picture Association (MPA), which oversaw the Production Code, voted to allow the film to be granted an exemption from censorship and be called a “special and unique case” because it dealt with a Holocaust survivor.  The bare breasts and homosexuality were allowed only if the exception wasn’t “precedent setting.”   According to JSTOR Daily, “Burstyn v. Wilson sent the local censor boards down individual paths to irrelevancy and death. The PCA would hobble into the 1960s, but by the time it was abandoned in 1968 to make way for a new MPAA ratings system, it had already lost the culture war. The films that mattered were violent, foul-mouthed, and sexually frank: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Blow Up, Bonnie and Clyde. They found their audiences despite “immoral” and “harmful” content. It only took a few Supreme Court cases to get them there.”  As it turns out, The Pawnbroker was precedent setting.


            Recap from Part 1 in this series:  What is now known as the Motion Picture Association (MPA) began in 1922 to make the movies a viable business. The first CEO was Will Hays, who was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1918-1921, had managed Warren Harding’s successful U.S. presidential campaign in 1920 and then was appointed Postmaster General of the U.S. Postal Service.  Under Hays, a Production Code for industry self-censorship was instituted in 1934 and stayed in effect until 1968.  In 1945, Eric Johnston, became CEO and oversaw a major revision of the code, allowing abortion and narcotics to be depicted “within the limits of good taste.”


            More about Eric Johnston, the second CEO of the MPAA.  Johnston enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps when the United States entered WWI.  He fought with the American Expeditionary Force, Siberia in the Russian Revolution, was named military attaché in Peking (Bejing) and successfully speculated in Chinese currency.  He became a business owner and rose the ranks through his local Chamber of Commerce in Spokane, Washington, eventually becoming the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  There he vowed not to antagonize labor organizations and secured a no-strike pledge from labor federations during WWII.  I’ve not uncovered a high-level Chamber of Commerce statement on Freemasonry, but if you look at local lodges across the United States, you will find that many of them proudly publicize their membership in their local Chamber.


            The year is 1966.  MPAA’s Johnston died in 1963 and the CEO position has sat vacant for three years.  Enter Jack Valenti.  Who was Jack Valenti and why was he selected for this role and by whom?  Lew Wasserman – a little Wiki:


            Lewis Robert Wasserman (March 22, 1913 – June 3, 2002) was an American talent agent and studio executive, described as "the last of the legendary movie moguls" and "arguably the most powerful and influential Hollywood titan in the four decades after World War II".  His career spanned the nine decades from the 1920s to the 2000s; he started working as a cinema usher before dropping out of high school, rose to become the president of MCA Inc. and led its takeover of Universal Pictures, during which time Wasserman "brought about changes in virtually every aspect of show business".  In 1995, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.


            If Hollywood had a godfather, it was Wasserman.


            More from Wiki:

            In 1966, he singlehandedly installed Jack Valenti as head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  Together they orchestrated and controlled much of how Hollywood operated, and was allowed to do business, for the next several decades.


            In 2011, Wasserman’s widow, Edie, died.  Her various obituaries described her as a philanthropist, a patron of the arts and education and “Hollywood’s first lady.”  According to The Hollywood Reporter, Edie was “…the daughter of a man who was the attorney for Moe Dalitz, head of the Jewish mob in Cleveland, she was born Edith Beckerman on Nov. 4, 1915, in Cleveland. She married Lew Wasserman in 1936 when he was a young agent at the MCA talent agency. She assisted him [Lew Wasserman] in his rise to power, first at MCA and then at Universal Pictures, which MCA took over in 1962, and where Lew Wasserman reigned as chairman from 1969-98.”


            Jack Valenti was awarded for distinguished service in WWII, he graduated Harvard University and returned to his native Texas where he went to work doing advertising for Humble Oil.  As an aside, in 1919, Humble Oil was acquired by Standard Oil of New Jersey.   Under the Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1892, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust was dissolved and reconfigured as Standard Oil Interests.  When the public realized that it was the same old monopoly, there was an outcry, which led to the breakup of Standard Oil Interests into thirty-four different businesses in 1911.  It has been recognized by a few historians that John D. Rockefeller still exerted a tremendous influence on these businesses.


            By 1952, Valenti was running his own advertising firm and a top client was Conoco Oil.  It was at this time that the young businessman met U.S. Senate Majority leader, Lyndon B. Johnson, who was also a Texan.  In 1960, Valenti’s firm helped with the Kennedy-Johnson presidential campaign.  An amazing bit of Wiki on Valenti, a man who seemed to have been “right place, right time:”


            Valenti served as liaison with the news media during President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson's November 22, 1963 visit to Dallas, Texas, and Valenti was in the presidential motorcade. Following the assassination of President Kennedy, Valenti was present at Lyndon Johnson's swearing-in aboard Air Force One, and flew with him to Washington. He then became the first "special assistant" to Johnson's White House and lived there for the first two months of Johnson's presidency.  In 1964, Johnson gave Valenti the responsibility to handle relations with the Republican Congressional leadership, particularly Gerald Ford and Charles Halleck from the House of Representatives, and the Senate's Everett Dirksen.”


            Lyndon Johnson has been described as a forceful personality, someone who kept his friends and advisors close and completely dominated their time and attention.  There are accounts of Johnson calling Valenti in the late hours of an evening and insisting that he come to the White House immediately.  Johnson also had a close relationship with Valenti’s wife who had been on Johnson’s staff before she married Jack.  Johnson is said to have doted on their toddler, Courtenay (who earlier this year was named head of film, streaming and theatrical for Amazon Studios and MGM.)  You could describe Jack Valenti as part of President Johnson’s inner circle, perhaps his right-hand man, but when Lew Wasserman called Johnson and demanded that Valenti be released from his presidential commission so that he could become the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Johnson allowed Wasserman to have that “right hand.”


            The reign of Valenti (and Wasserman) over this marriage of Hollywood and Washington D.C. lasted until Wasserman died in 2002 and Valenti retired in 2004 and passed away in 2007.  As interesting as this period is (we’ve already learned about the post-Pawnbroker dissolution of the Production Code,) what I found most illuminating was who followed Valenti.  There have been three CEOs of the MPA since 2004.  They share with Hays, Johnston and Valenti, deep and strong ties in Washington, D.C.  Obviously, a lobbyist is helped by having connections, otherwise wielding influence would be difficult.  I’ll give some broad strokes on the backgrounds of Dan Glickman, Chris Dodd and Charles Rivkin.  I begin by sharing the thing they have in common that took me some digging to uncover and confirm.  Glickman, Dodd and Rivkin are members of the Council on Foreign Relations.


            Dan Glickman served as Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America from 2004 until 2010.  Early in his career he was a trial lawyer for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  In 1976, he successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives, and was a congressman from Kansas from then until 1995, through eight re-elections.  In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Glickman United States Secretary of Agriculture, a position which he held until 2001.  You can dig into his D.C. career if you like, but I will point out one thing for you, which is during his tenure as Secretary of Agriculture, genetically modified organisms (GMO,) were promoted and mainstreamed into big agricultural business.


            Chris Dodd is the longest serving Senator in Connecticut’s history, serving in that elected capacity from 1981 to 2011.  His father, Thomas J. Dodd, was a U.S. Senator from Connecticut from 1959 to 1971.  A graduate of Yale Law School, Thomas Dodd served as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1933 and 1934.  He spent fifteen months in Germany assisting the chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.  Chris Dodd’s brother, Thomas J. Dodd, Jr., has been a lifetime diplomat and academic, serving two ambassadorships in Latin America.


            Dodd’s long career in D.C. gave him an opportunity to serve on many committees over the years including the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, of which he was the Chairman.  After his 1982 divorce, he dated Mick Jagger’s ex, Bianca, and the Starwars actress, Carrie Fisher, a child of Hollywood actors.  In Washington, D.C., the word “corruption” is anathema.  They seem to prefer the word “controversy.”  For those with time and interest, look up Chris Dodd’s Wikipedia page and scroll down to the section entitled “Controversies.”  It takes up nearly twenty-five percent of the Wiki entry.  Chris Dodd served as CEO of the MPAA from 2011 until 2017.


            Charles Rivkin assumed the titles of CEO and Chairman of the MPAA in late 2017 and maintains that position.  A graduate of Yale University with an MBA from Harvard, Rivkin spent his early career as the CEO of several entertainment companies including The Jim Henson Company (“The Muppets.”)  Rivkin’s father, William R. Rivkin, was an ambassador to Luxembourg under President John F. Kennedy and an ambassador to Senegal and Gambia under President Lyndon B. Johnson.  Charles Rivkin was ambassador to France and Monaco and held the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.


            The Council on Foreign Relations is described as a think-tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international relations.  They don’t make policy decisions; they just think about them!  The CFR was started by Woodrow Wilson and “Colonel” Mandel House in 1921.  According to Wiki, “its membership has included senior politicians, numerous secretaries of state, CIA directors, bankers, lawyers, professors, corporate directors and CEOs, and senior media figures.”  In 1941, young David Rockefeller joined the CFR and was appointed director in 1949.


            In this week’s Redux #114, an RBN show from May 26, 2009, entitled “Military-Industrial Complex’s GMO Arsenal,” Alan Watt talked about the book, The CIA and Cultural Cold War, and the CIA’s involvement in funding of the arts and media in a concerted effort to demoralize the Soviets and present America as beacon of progressive ideas.  The author of the book, Francis Stonor Saunders, put together a compelling history from declassified documents.  She wrote how David Rockefeller would often lunch with high-level CIA agents and ask how various operations were proceeding.  If an agent complained about lack of funds, Rockefeller was known to whip out his check book and make a generous gift. 


            Under Charles Rivkin, the Motion Picture Association of America shortened its name in 2019 to the Motion Picture Association (MPA.)  The research that I’ve done in the past week, focusing on the six men who have headed this “lobby” or trade association, has led me to conclude that the MPA serves a much broader role in politics and international affairs than simply promoting the film industry.  Next week, let’s check into the Pentagon and its involvement in Hollywood movies.


© Not Sure


Military-Industrial Complex's GMO Arsenal:

"Doctors' Moratorium on GMO Food,

Warning the Public GMO's Not Good,

Seems the Whole Purpose of Modifying

Is to Increase the Rate of People Dying,

List of Human Symptoms Ranges

From Diabetes, Allergies and Cellular Changes,

Regards Procreation, a Huge Reduction,

In Line with the Agenda, Population Deduction,

Yet People Still Ask, When will the End Come?

Can't Believe Killing's Started, Beginning's Long Done,

And it will Continue as Long as You're Obedient,

Instead of Taking Over Matters, Action Expedient,

In Their Plan the Masters are All Resolute,

People Must Unite and Give Them the Boot"

© Alan Watt May 26, 2009


Additional reading:


The Pawnbroker (film)


The Personal Touch (2001)


Edie Wasserman obituary


Ted Kennedy Once Tried To Get Princess Leia In A Hot Tub With Chris Dodd


Christopher Dodd, His Father's Son