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From the LA Free Press Archive – It’s a 50-year (!) Throwback Thursday!

“Read the New Obscenity Laws” – NOW You’re ‘FUCT’!

And it’s not just me saying it.

It was the Supreme Court, too… fully and completely overstepping the intention of these 2 50-year-old bills from the California legislature.  Is there no decency? Or, at least, any winning argument against the spewing of indecent language or the flashing of titillating images ?  Nope, not anymore, for sure.

Why? Partially because, as our Reporter said 50 years ago (yes, this IS our *50-Year Throwback to an LA FP Issue of exactly 50 years ago), you can’t impose decades-old standards on a present-time individual, they have evolved…. maybe just because other strictures loosened (as when liquor ads were on late-night TV, then prime-time series actors could drink – heck, there was even a bar where everyone knew your name – and soon beer commercials were the best part of the afternoon’s Superbowl). Or, just maybe, people actually did evolve, and came to understand that a larger picture was a better picture, and purposefully sought a wider view – not simply satisfied that barriers were being put aside at the pace of some commercial interest.

Whichever the case, anti-smut laws back then compromised the 1st Amendment, and today’s ruling makes it even more clear that that’s just not OK. And, just to be extra clear,

But wait… in this ages-old article a key point was that the major concern was ‘minors’ – and isn’t a society to stand for the protection of their younguns? Seriously, what is the consequence – beyond  the positive experience of enjoying the 1st Amendment, in this widened and more inclusive scope – when our youngest of our young see what they think is our blatant use of a naughty word?  (Which, btw FUCT is not – it is an acronym for Friends U Can’t Trust  – but, yeah, if it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably… a duck).  And, too, aren’t we all a bit compromised because there’s no place left to turn – no longer is it as easy as clicking the remote to erase the picture.  Is it?

Bottom line – 50 years ago, we (the LA FP) were saying smut was entitled to its space. that, Constitutionally, it had a place.  The F-word became ubiquitous, and this ruling inevitable. So now… do we hope for another evolution?  One where Friends U Can Trust maintain a civility that they aren’t legally bound to, but, in the greater interest of a respectful society, do?  Personally, I hope so. (And you?)

And now to that ‘*’ right by our mention that this is one of our 50-Year Throwbacks. To be clear, this is the feature wherein we find an article from that long ago Issue that, remarkably, is not far off from a contemporary concern.

That said, we have another then-published point of view.  It’s not about a contemporary news item but, instead, about the contemporary news itself. It was the written response to The Bulletin of the American Society of Editors’ (BASE) question of “Do We Really Want To Be Underground?”.

However, Art Kunkin, the then Publisher, the Chief Editor, and Founder himself, instead, answered their real question… “How can your ‘underground’ newspaper possibly fit with our goals?”
Surely, Art’s answer was not what they had expected – but that was the genius of the man.

As it turned out, after 5 years of existence because of an objective to provide a more direct connection with the community, HIS paper WAS the more direct connection to the community – and, in terms of growth,  IN FACT, THE LEADING newspaper!

Those OTHER papers hadn’t kept abreast of the changes in their readers’ ‘heads’ – had not catered to that new consciousness… where the LA FP had; the BASE’s focus should not have been on how the LAFP might fit in with their objectives but, rather, how they might fit in with its.

Along with his vision of what the LA FP was meant to be – the article is a read that is contrary to the thoughts of many then, and still now (i.e. that the paper was NOT to be partisan)- it’s principles were the very future of journalism. IN FACT, because of them, his ‘underground’ newspaper had 1. a PAID Subscriber base of about 90,000(!) – which made it one of the largest weekly community newspapers in the entire Country 2. truly local community news that was the gist of each Issue, in step with his grasp of the ‘new’ readers, a bunch whose sensibilities and lifestyle was different than the other papers’ diminishing homogeneous group to whom they were still, and solely, ‘communicating’, and 3. the LA FP was building a reputation for integrity while other papers could hardly be in the same room with the word; we always put out our real opinion as ‘commercial interests’ weren’t our guiding force. 4th: We welcomed the thoughts of all of our Readers, regardless of how they viewed the issues.

When, today, exactly 50 years after we first published it, you read Art’s article, you’ll see how not just newspapers but media outlets of all sorts have, at last, caught up to his thinking – to their greater benefit. And, too, if they are not making the strides his paper did, where they are lacking.

In sum, he did address and answer the question – in 1969 – of “Do We Want To Be Underground?”, though it was un-expectedly affirmative as the BASE neither fully understood what an underground newspaper was, nor the reasons it would succeed.

This week, read it, and find out why LA FP did succeed. As the article is both about the LA FP itself, and by Art, rather than putting those pages in this Throwback Thursday section, they are in our Special Features section… HERE.

And, now, here’s one of several articles on LAST week’s Historic Music Festival – the Devonshire Downs’ Newport Pop Festival. It’s in THIS Issue, rather than in the previous one because… well… in 1969 ‘live streaming’ just wasn’t a thing, network news wasn’t about to spend time giving it its due, and we – the purveyor of real and hip news – regularly published but once a week. (And as that last note sounds tiny, please remember our progress noted above.)

So, how can YOU get an even better look – on this 50th Anniversary of the Devonshire Downs Newport Pop Festival – at the Festival itself? Well, about 4 years ago, on our FB LAFPMusic Page, we ran one of our ‘LIVE’ Concerts – a feature that we will soon be bringing back – for THIS Festival. Here’s that almost lost-to-history re-telling of the ‘event’ – enjoy it as if you were there, BY SCROLLING UP FROM HERE.

We’ll wrap with what’s up for ‘tonight’ (yup, 50 years ago on the dot)…

More on this is, naturally, also on our FB LAFPMusic Page – https://www.facebook.com/LAFPmusic/
Pls have a look and a listen – yes, we know they’re not the Jo Bros, but they, too, made it to TV. (And, from there, went onto Chilliwack.)

Hope you enjoy all of the links given above 🙂

I look forward to seeing you again next Thursday!

Come Together, and Give Peace A Chance, Too.

What’s ‘today’s’ 50-Year-old Issue – here featuring ‘The Bed-In’ in Montreal – have to do with our current 2019 reality? It’s a Double-Header ~ all wrapped up in those 2 song titles of this Throwback Thursday. (Ah… you hadn’t noticed?) And, I’ll say, too, that John Lennon is our central figure… as he wrote both of them.

First, I think it’s a given as to why “Give Peace a Chance” is still relevant – since it was first penned, it’s been a half-century of war without cessation. And, yet, the news of the day is that our own Administration is upping the ante – it’s fighting hard  to sell arms – 8 Billion+, as a matter of fact – with the newly raised old argument of ‘maintaining the ‘Balance of Power’ in order to prevent war’.

And, oh, yes… once the Executive Branch slaps Congress aside, it will need to (again, just like in the good old days) help out all those other countries we just put at a disadvantage. But, hey, it makes those cash registers ring, doesn’t it, Mr. Trump?
Pardon me for a moment, and let me slip in this fun fact:  in the 130 or so of these 50-Year-old Throwback Thursday Issues I’ve written since the 2016 Inauguration, I’ve not ever — not even once –  typed in that person’s name into this feature.  Does that seem odd?

Or not any more odd than the fact that Give Peace A Chance, recorded in early June ’69, was an undeniable anti-war anthem of immense popularity (hot on the Billboard Hot 100 when released in early July, sung that November by 500,000+ demonstrators on the Vietnam Memorial Day, rechartering in ’81, and making it to #1 with a Yoko Ono vocal in 2008) – ALL without ever saying that ugly 3-letter word.

Yeah, I, too, thought and did get away without pointing to the obvious  – but now it seems that not naming he who should be nameless is, essentially, pointless.  And maybe even dangerous, in that it’s important that we all recognize that this is not America’s native orientation, this is Trump’s. And it is he who has to be tossed before America is forced, by him, to take a step too far.

So let that song’s mainline hum away in your head and keep you on track,.  Let’s hope it keeps us all on track.

As to that other song – well, hey, it’s too much fun to miss – so I’m putting in the video link right now.  (You can go to it below.) But, first, how does it possibly relate to anything here, at all??  Well… there’s John – as mentioned previously – and Timothy (the ‘Timmy’ in GPAC) and our own, current, rush by just about everyone to run for Office.  In those days, Leary, too, had it in his head – he thought Cali was ready to have him as its Governor.

With a campaign slogan of “Come Together, join the  party.” he had John write it’s theme song!  So far, so good, right? Not quite.  He still had a date with the judge on another marijuana charge and – unbelievably – wasn’t keen on Lennon’s effort.  He turned it down, but it turned out OK – John eventually got out of bed, re-wrote, and re-purposed it. Now, too, an anthem on it’s own, here’s “Come Together” featuring its un-credited, but actual, co-writer (nope, Paul didn’t have a thing to do with this one). Enjoy – I know you know all the words 🙂

Is that all for this Issue? Heck, no.  After all, it is our largest to date ~ 72 pages divided into 3 parts. There’s our leading section of poli sci insights, this one reporting on the wide-spread Venice drug busts of John Does, a troubling coming-soon-to-us visit by the Subversive Activities Control Board, LACC campus politics, Chicanos busted by informers,  the conundrum of the 2 James earl Ray(s), the Guatemala situation, the winning ways of the GI Mutiny,  and the dangerous development of the women vs. the institution of marriage(!), and our ever-entertaining Letters to the Editor.

A section section is devoted to the art scene – what’s ‘playing’ and what can be thought about it all – by Gene Youngblood, Liza Williams, Paul Schrader, John Wilcock, Harlan Ellison, and others. The 3rd section, is our monthly Living Arts. In this one  you could find book reviews (i.e. Die Nigger Die by Rap Brown, reviewed by Earl Ofari, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution by John Womack, reviewed by Alex Apostolides, and many more by other writers you might not have thought worked for the LA Free Press), an article on the LA radio market, poetry, interviews with or pieces on artists of all genres (this edition – Ginsberg by Lawrence Lipton, and John Mayall interviewed by John Carpenter).  There’s even a serialization of an un-published book by Edmund Carpenter and Marshall McLuhan!






In Cold Blood – James Rector – 1944 – 1969

Thursday, May 15th, James Rector was shot to death.

Who’s Who in the CIA – See page 6

It’s all Old News until, once again, it becomes Today’s News. And the remarkable regularity of that occurrence is pretty much our stock in trade. We, too, often get extra attention when the timing is just so close – these regular posts are our 50-years-on-the-nose reprints – that it seems as if we are way past happenstance and right into mystical and magical cyclical circumstance.
Now for the Topper: WE were the one that was always presenting ‘alternative facts’. That’s right – the mainstream media said one thing, we said another.

How’d that turn out? (The short story – you can ask me for more some other time – is…) Art Kunkin, our Founder, Publisher, Writer, Reporter, Original (and long-time) Editor was often arrested – some of our other reporters, as well, our office was burnt-down several times, and the Feds sued us for $25 million (that, too, was – coincidentally – just about 50 years ago… August of 1969. So, now we’ll see how this August turns out 🙂
[ btw ~ in today’s $ that $25 Million was equivalent to about $170 Million! ]
And, finally, adding insult to injuries not recompensed – though we reported real news, sold at twice the price of the LA Times (‘free’ press refers to expression of opinion), and had over 100,000 buyers – 2 to 300,000 readers – EACH week… we were denied press passes!! in a local court of law!!!

On the flip side, it earned us a place in history as ‘arguably’ the Granddaddy of the Alternative Press and, certainly, the primary template for the HUNDREDS of newspapers that were then conceived to follow our Mission. What ‘Mission’?

The LA Free Press was established as an open window to the Counter-Culture … The Society that the corporate and government shape-shifters sought to sell their story to, but was always resistant to their best efforts. And, to their dismay, its free-thinkers with thoughts of peace, social justice, ecological responsibility, shared resources, panoramic lifestyles were… mobilizing. AND our readers – all welcome to be our writers – and our staff – put our readers’ views and their own INTO PRINT!
What they wrote was what they saw (police brutality, corruption in City Hall, blatant discrimination, and worse). And they were always yammering for high ideals.  They also exposed those who were trying to take them off-track. Oh, the ‘establishment’ was not keen on us.
All in all, were we just a lot of noise, or a true accounting of what was going down and, likewise, were we truly placing pieces of the puzzle out for everyone to see? The LA Free Press is in more than 60 historical collections across the Country – you do the math.


And then please keep reading past what has just been our longest post ever. BECAUSE…

I’d like you to know about some of the articles in ‘today’s’ Issue that, those 50 years ago, may have given you a different point of view than that which was  being promoted most widely at the time. But, MORE IMPORTANTLY, they may do the very same for you now!

Here they are. AND – for those of you who like surprises – I’ve put a special 4 letter word for you at the very end of this, hoping that – In The Most Admirable Tradition of The LA Free Press – it blasts you off to a realm you’ve yet to consider!

First up – Front Page. Please look up to the lower lefthand corner.
Today this would be called a ‘rant’, right? Ted – our Senior Editor – in that yet unnamed tradition – goes on for another FULL page (excellently, btw) on the sheer stupidity of a ‘primary’ policy of Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABMs) to ‘save the peace’. Now they are again proliferating as ‘we’ve’ managed to get those pesky peace treaties out of the way that restricted the first-strike capacity of Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Yes, we’re back to the days of selling arms – to everybody – so that they can, once again, all stay safe and sound.
(And, sure, you can pause a moment to peruse that interlinking agency chart… more about the CIA later.)

Next up – Page 2:
‘Rights Denied Men in Armed Forces’ regarding the status of several of the groups of military mutineers who actually stopped the war. Among them are the Presidio 27 whose non-violent anti-war protest brought sentences of upto 16 years of hard labor… and the public’s outcry from reading about them in the LA FP and other then-minted ‘alternatives’.
50 years later – in 2018 – a more diversified pool of reporters finally brought that old news to a number of mainstream publications with the announcement of the Exhibit Waging Peace: U.S. Soldiers and Veterans who Opposed America’s War in Vietnam. It was marching through VIET NAM(!!). Amazingly, here’s an Old Photo rarely seen when that very same American GI Movement was in our own streets.
The 1969 Anti-War GI Movement that the Mainstream News is just now Reporting

And here’s New News – that Exhibit, sponsored via Notre Dame, is ‘Coming Home’ for their North American Tour, quite possibly to a town near you! You’ll see notice of that right here, then, along with the LA Free Press articles that will be appearing in its upcoming book.

Next page re-published here. The top article ‘Counter Revolution in the Legislature’ is not what you think but is STRIKINGLY similar to what’s happening right now. Almost unbelievable that this is back for debate. You MUST make this your very first protest… or your next one may put you down and out.
The article at the bottom helps you see why the Presidio Protest struck fear into the very heart of our government. And why papers such as ours were a problem for them.

Now to the article that, intuitively, you think you’ve nailed – the ‘Who’s Who in the CIA’. Once again,though,the maxim comes to mind that you can’t judge a book by its cover as Art (yes, Kunkin) first lays out its true purpose before dutifully giving the gist of it. That said, within today’s context, easy to note that the year’s date has changed, and methodology has also advanced, but still, the enemy’s purpose has remained the same. Hasn’t it?








And, finally – to that… Surprise! Or maybe not, if on your trip up to that Front Page Chart your eye was caught by our 4 letter clue. (Or are you just now seeing it on a second glance? 🙂 ) Of course, it might not mean anything at all unless where it sat then, is where it remains today. And if, in this new day and age, Pence’s sudden push to the moon has nothing to do with the oval office’s need to keep an eye on not one, but now (at least) three other countries, that can fire up an ICBM in a heartbeat.
And, for those who are not yet familiar with the LA FP, fact checking was, and still is, a guideline. (Did I forget to mention that?) Please let us know in whose budget – nowadays – NASA’s budget lies (yes, that’s punny, I know 😉 ) and why the DOJ just said that they do (in more words than these) ‘understand that there may now be ramifications in ‘budget reprogramming’ – which has always been only an allowed courtesy’.

[Here’s our most recent source. What’s yours?]
NASA’s Secret Relationships with U.S. Defense and Intelligence Agencies

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