Monday, April 13, 2009
In 24 hours, I will be in Detroit for the first time in quite a few years, so this will be the last post for about 2 weeks, unless I get inspired and try to do a remote post.
It's very hard for me to imagine leaving my life here in the beginning of spring. There is so much to do and I know when I return the lawn will have turned into an ungrazed pasture. I will get back just in time to start on the vegetable garden. The potatoes are all ready in and the first strawberries ar3e actually forming.
So, what can I leave you all with?
Here's some music from a very odd but oh so right transatlantic collaboration called The Solution. The name of the song is Will Not Be Televised. The Solution is a band that revolves around the members of a Swedish Band called The Hellacopters. These crazy Swedes somehow have become Detroiters through a decade long struggle to keep the spirit of the great Detroit bands of the 60's, 70's and 80's alive. They covered the MC5 and Wayne Kramer ended up playing with them. Now, they have morphed into The Solution and this is a 2008 release. The singer is Scott Morgan, who was the lead singer of the great unknown white punk soul band of the 60's from Ann Arbor, The Rationals. He went on to sing for years with the other guitarist of the MC5, Fred Smith in his Sonic Rendezvous Band. Scott still is a vocal white soul powerhouse and keeps performing. This song is pretty cool as it really captures the sound of an era and keeps it fresh into another century.
The American airmen were taken prisoner and George Bush Jr. was faced with his first international crisis.
As the crisis dragged on, with American statements of beligerance clouding the murky reality of Chinese/American relations, did we hear anything like the constant drone of criticism and outright projections of failure that Barack Obama has faced during the Somoli Pirate incident?
Did the opposition wish for his failure?
At the same time, as The Bush administration tried to project a strong offensive image to the Chinese, they were conducting negotiations with China with the World Trade Organization.
The mixture of beligerant demands for the immediate release of the airmen only hardened the Chinese stance in the trade talks and their resolve to only turn over the airmen after an apology.
Let's face it, no matter how many Americans felt about Bush at the time, he had the support of the nation.
The resolution of the crisis resulted in the release of the airmen only after a formal apology for the invasion of Chinese sovereign airspace and restitution.
If Bush had been subjected to the same standard that Obama is being subjected to now and his actions were judged the way the conservative press is judging Obama, the out cry of treason would have been ringing loudly from every television tuned to FOX!
For that matter, the problem of the Somoli Pirates has been escalating for the last few years and as the incidents occurred, we had only statements from the Bush administration about the delicacy of the situation and since their attention was elsewhere, it festered and grew into the erupting problem we are dealing with today.
So, 8 years later, Barack Obama was handed his first foreign policy "crisis". He seemed to ignore all of the criticism and acted cooly and got results. He efficiently interacted with the military and the orders which enabled the navy to take action with the pirates had already been in effect since February.
He passed his first foreign policy "crisis" test to the chagrin of all of the conservative pundits, who are still second guessing the action.
As far as I can see, George Bush Jr. flubbed his first test and really screwed up the second by ignoring the intelligence which led to a certain terrorist attact in New York City a few months later.
at The Living Room at 145 Ludlow Street below Houston
and check out the presentation of Brian Cullman and Glenn Patscha!
Both of them recorded music around the same time. sharing the same musicians and coproducing each others songs.
Glenn is the leader of the great American Band, Ollabelle as well as having a background in Rock, Classical and playing professionally as a Jazz and Blues artist for years. He plays keyboards and guitar and who knows what else and writes and sings.
Brian has produced many records over the years, rock and world music.
He has worked with some of the great Algerian Rai artists and Pakistani singers.
He is a multi talented instrumentalist and a reknown music journalist.
He has made a record called All Fires The Fire, a grand poetic, elegiac work and you can give a listen to some samples and buy the downloads here .
You can also hear Brian's Web Music presentation on Taint Radio!
Glenn has made a record called Songs From The Jefferson Highway.
The records is a brilliant mix of Heartland America, Gospel, post Psychedelia Soul and a little Jazz. Songs to stick to your ribs when you need a good meal.
You can listen to some samples and buy the downloads here.
Break a leg, guys!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Johann Hari from The Independent:
In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.
Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."
At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters."
This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence".
No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But in a telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali: "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas." William Scott would understand.
Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We won't act on those crimes – the only sane solution to this problem – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 per cent of the world's oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats.
You can read the United Nations report here.
Again, we are forced to confront the problems that corruption and our own irresponsible, convenient actions have created. We have heard about the corruption in the waste disposal industry controlled by thge Italian mafia for years. The Mafia's practice of renting rotting ships, registering and insuring them, filling them full of toxic trash and then losing them at sea and not only collecting the fees for the waste disposal but the insurance money as well has been well documented.
But, the Italian trash disposal industry was cheap, and there were no messy questions to be answered as to where the waste was going. Well, now you know.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
CALLER: I can really debate about how about that economic crises is because I look around and I don’t see people spending any less money than they have been.
STEELE: I’ve heard a number of people say that across the country. [LAUGHTER] The malls are just as packed on Saturday. [LAUGHTER]
CALLER: The malls are just as packed. … You still can’t get seat in a restaurant.
Despite Steele’s claim that consumers are packing shopping malls, they don’t appear to be spending their money there. Indeed, Gallup found that last month consumer spending among all Americans reached a 15-month low and is 27 percent lower than last year’s figures.
Additionally, Reuters reported yesterday that vacancies at regional and strip malls are soaring to record highs:
Vacancies surged at U.S. strip malls in the first quarter and set a record at U.S. regional malls, as the deterioration in the retail real estate sector accelerated, according to real estate research firm Reis.
“I’m extremely skeptical,” Reis Research Director Victor Calanog said. “This is the first pullback we’ve seen in 17 years that really affected retail properties directly.” Vacancies at U.S. strip malls rose to 9.5 percent, up 0.6 percentage point, the largest single quarterly rise since Reis began publishing quarterly figures in 1999, Reis said in a quarterly report released on Wednesday.
The reasons for this are clear. Just yesterday, the Labor Department reported that 654,000 Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits, while the “number of people staying on benefit rolls rose to a record 5.84 million in the prior week.”
More puzzling, however, is the fact that Steele has previously tried to portray himself as taking the curent economic crisis seriously. He’s spoken often about the need to stimulate the economy and critiqued Obama’s own attempts to do so. Now, however, Steele seems ready to dispense with the facade and admit that the economy is not something he understands as well as he should.
But even more troubling is the fact that in reality, Steele knows the facts, he cannot be ignorant and we know that. The bigger question that should concern us the role of denial of reality as a device in the toolbox of fascism.
Why is Silvio Berlusconi down playing the seriousness of the Aquila Earth quake? He has mede statements to the foreign press about the comfortable conditions of the refugees in their "camping tents". He has gone on about how the survivors need to practice positive thinking like he does. He has told the survivors that they should be grateful to the government for the assistance they are recieving. The Italian government has actually turned away foreign assistance. At noon today, we saw the local news report about how a disappointed volunteer group of firemen from Tulle in the Correze were banned from helping in the rescue and relief efforts by the Italian Army. The firefighters had paid all of their own expenses to come to the aid of the Italians.
Fascism actively engages in a war to control anger and the perceptions of the masses as a tool to shift the blame from reality to fantasy.
Why did we see Jeb Bush on Sean Hannity's show last night pleading to the administration to stop blaming his brother for the current economic problems? He actually said,
“If I had one humble criticism of President Obama, it would be to stop this notion of somehow framing everything in the context of, ‘Everything was bad before I got here,”
when, in fact, the Bush Jr. administration started right off the bat to criticize the Clinton administration for the economy it had inherited as a framework in which to couch it's tax reforms.
Indeed, after 9/11, the attempts to lay the blame at Clintons feet were non stop and over the top!
Friday, April 10, 2009
The proposed law was defeated by a brilliant "stealth" tactic by the Socialist Party minority. The UMP Party believed that the law would pass easily with their majority, as they have been accustomed to since Sarkozy took office, so the session was very poorly attended. When the vote came up, the toom was mearly empty and suddenly, in force, the Socialists came in and voted as a block, defeating the law handlely.
Of course, the UMP was "outraged" by this tactic and has spent their energy denouncing the Socialists for defeating a very repressive law that nobody wanted but the corporate interests that the UMP represents.
This is a formidable victory for all citizens. This vote shows that it is still possible to make oneself heard. It is a fantastic example of how to use the Net to fight against those who are trying to control it. Individual liberties, in the end, have not been sacrificed to try to preserve the corporate interests of some obsolete industries. The HADOPI law has been interred earlier than expected.Nonetheless, La Quadrature du Net asks its supportes to remain vigilant. The rejection of HADOPI doesn't mean the end of the government's attempts to control the Internet. We must continue to make use of our collective intelligence and the power of the net to preserve justice and the truth.
Despite the approval of the French recording industry and prominent musicians, including Johnny Hallyday, some attacked the measure.
Civil liberties campaigners and members of the Socialist party said the new surveillance powers were tantamount to "the criminalisation of an entire generation".
Others had said it could end up punishing the wrong people, for instance parents whose children download in secret or employers whose staff use computers at work to break the law.
Breaking ranks from many of their artistic colleagues, a group of French directors and actors including Catherine Deneuve issued an open letter of protest this week.
"The law comes in response to legitimate concerns which we all share - concerns that we will see our work devalued and degraded," they wrote. "However this law ... is merely imposing a punitive system whose constitutionality is dubious and practicality unclear."
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Crap, it's been 15 years since Kurt Cobain was found dead of a self inflicted shot gun wound. He came from a dysfunctional broken American family in Aberdeen, Washington and somehow in the short arc of his carreer managed to reinvent rock music and perfect a system of psychic semaphore, wherein only a few words, a scream, could contain so much.
I think when Kurt died, I realized tht I would never be a teen ager for ever, it was over, I was over 40 already.
I played my last official gig as a rock musician only a few weeks later...I mean, it just wasn't fun anymore...
Still an inspiration.
He used the iconic image made famous by artist, Shepard Fairey who has been sued by Associated Press in a ridiculous lawsuit which now has resulted in Fairey suing AP.
Is AP gonna sue Mr. Gullu now?
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Here we are in 1965 watching The Night Train Show on Channel 5 WLAC TV from Nashville, Tennessee. The artists are Buddy and Stacy and their killer band doing a cover of Jr. Walker and The All Stars super hit, Shot Gun.
Buddy and Stacy were a great regional show band with lots of great synchronized dance moves and the band is hot, but what makes this video really interesting is that it is the first visual record of the lead guitarist, Jimi Hendrix.
Somehow, the song seems appropriate. Why don't we all sing along?
Shotgun,shoot'em for he runs now
Do the jerk, baby
Do the jerk,now
Put on your red dress and then go down town,now
buy yourself a shotgun now
Break it down, Babydoll, load it up baby,yeah
shoot him for he run now.
Shotgun, shoot him for he run now
Do the jerk, baby
Do the jerk,now
In the coming weeks and months, hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans will exhaust their unemployment benefits, just when it's never been harder to find a job.
Congress extended unemployment aid twice last year, allowing people to draw up to 59 weeks of benefits. As the recession drags on. waves of citiizens who lost their jobs early last year, will lose them.
Wayne Vroman, an economist at the Urban Institute, estimates that up to 700,000 people could exhaust their benefits by the second half of this year.
Perhaps some will find new jobs, but the unemplyment rate, at 8.5% now, could hit 10% by the years end.
Since the recession began in December 2007, a net total of 5.1 million jobs have been shed. Vronan foresees a "monstrous problem".
As the recession goes on, and the prospect of a jobless recovery looms, the number of Americans with out jobs, the prospect of jobs and the cut off of benefits is going to grow. Rents will not be paid, more mortgages will be foreclosed. The luckier ones will be able to move in with relatives and fret about the future.
This is going to be an angry America. It's little wonder that the institutions and politicians who were responsible for the failed policies and the orgy of greed that destroyed the American economy of the 21st century are strying so hard to shift the blame and scapegoat.
It is a war for the soul of the mob. Already, the conservatives pundits are trying to shift the blame to the new Obama administration even as they work furiously to find the solution and get the economy back on its feet.
That seems to be a reason for the over the edge rhetoric, to channel the anger and the frustrations into simplistic, immature arguments and find anyone, any group to blame but the ones responsible.
There's a lot of fear here. A population that can see reality, rather than blind anger is capable of punishing the guilty party. We watch paranoid sweaty rants by John Boehner, Michele Bachman as they try to change the subject and twist simple reality into their own demented vision of manipulation.
The War For the Soul Of The Mob.....
Thgis is an excerpt from an interview with Minnesota Republican Representative, Michele Bachman, who I referred to in my last post on eliminationalism. I see that John Amato of crooksandliars.com is now using the term Eliminationism to describe this irresposible usage of free speech, with out regard for the havoc and consequences.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann says she fears the Obama administration will create “re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.”
Here’s what Bachmann said on Minnesota radio station KTLK-AM (podcast) this weekend (in reference to The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, a proposed expansion of the AmeriCorps program that Obama may sign into law this week):
It’s under the guise of — quote — volunteerism. But it’s not volunteers at all. It’s paying people to do work on behalf of government. …
I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."
This doesn't mention the FEMA Concetration Camps put that Glenn Beck hyperventilates about, but Bachman has been a guest on Becks program and has legnthily fantasized with him on the air about this demented paranoid right wing nightmare..
To take and twist a concept into something as imflammatory as Bachman has done here is beyond irresponsible. She talks of an "orderly" Revolution. She refers to herself as an enemy combatant as to her role in congress.
I believe she is an insult to the intelligence of the voters of Minnesota, but then again, I have never been there.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
We've seen a rash of violence in America inspired by the hyperbolic over the top sensationalist rhetoric of conservative talking heads. Self described "rodeo clown" Glenn Beck and his escalation of his pitch regarding the FEMA Concentration Camps that he speculates are being readied to contain conservatives who disagree with the "socialist" agenda of Barack Obama.
Beck may refer to himself as a clown and as in last weeks New York Times feature on him, express wonder that there are people who believe him. Many of these statements, when reconsidered and questioned are disowned and denied. Michelle Bachman is an inept repeat practitioner of this device....or, it was just a joke, you liberals don't have a sense of humor. Besides, they get paid millions of dollars and have a responsibility to their advertisers......
You get the feeling that the ratings fueled pressure that forces these gas bags to try to outdo each other with sensationalistic hate filled anti administration rhetoric is fueling an ever speeding out of control train of paranoia among those need simple, immature scapegoating ideas to cope with the failure of their own lives. When someone snaps and lashes out in a futile gesture of senseless violence, you can bet all of the obvious perpetrators of hate speech will deny any responsibility.
That's what happened in Pittsburgh, yesterday when 23 year old Richard Poplawski, now identified as a white supremacist radical did yesterday when he killed three cops.
Well, he said Obama was going to take his guns away, and that's why he needed to kill 3 police officers today. What radio show do you think he listens to? What TV network do you think he watches? And what party do you think he votes for?
Remember what Palin and McCain were doing to their crowds during the campaign, the way they were pushing people towards viewing Obama as a terrorist hell-bent on destroying our country? The way Republicans today says that we need a "revolution" to stop the "socialism" and the "fascism" that is Obama?
And we're supposed to wonder why crazy people act out violently after being told that Obama is a terrorist, out to destroy our country, and that the only solution is to rise up in a revolution against the enemy.
Eliminationalism. A speeding train fueled by paranoiac fear on it's way over a cliff. Get on board or get crushed under the wheels....It's all the same.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Brother Wayne Kramer, a man who knows more about surviving than me, tells us about his early Detroit reality...Wayne, was the lead guitarist of the legendary MC5 and in spite of all the personal and legal problems which he has faced in his life, over came them all and emerged triumphant and is still a mover, a primeval force...a great American original artist. I remember the legendary Purple Gang house on West Outer Drive....it was the ultimate "spook house"...I wonder... what is on the corner there now?... or if the boarded up shack of my childhood still stands?....it was there in the 70's, almost 50 years after the shoot out............
In less than two weeks, I will be back in Detroit. I was born in Detroit and spent my early, formative years there. I moved when I was 18 to Ohio, but though I have lived in quite a few places, I will never be able to forget that I am from Detroit.
As a teen, I experienced the pride of the Black Renaissance and the power of Motown.
As a child in a family that grew with the auto industry, Studebaker, Ford and the Chrysler Corporation, I looked forward every year to going to the Detroit Auto Show at Cobo Hall.
There, the future was a tangible thing, covered with chromes, fantasy candy coated metal flake paint jobs. With the untouchable allure of the scantily clad girls beckoning you to partake of the fantasy, this was a future I lusted after.
I remember the Sunday comic section of the Detroit Free Press and the strip, The World Of The Future. Each week, visions of a future, the year 2000 would be tantalizingly depicted as if it were just around the corner. Of course it was all too easy to believe, living in a world of miraculous atomic energy, space flight and color television! One vision of the future comic I vividly remember depicted the evolution of the family car into a sort of living room on wheels. Who needed to drive? The entire family could play parcheesi as the car drove itself, guided by a punch card labled "grandma's house" which tracked electronic sensors laid into the pavement of the road.
The car was powered by a silent nuclear reactor which powered a highly efficient steam engine. An interesting aside, you know steam power was used for cars. In the early part of the 20th century, the Stanley Steamer built racing cars which shattered all records. The first car to break the 60 mph barrier was a steam car.
But, of course, the comic strip was all fantasy, by the mid 60's the reality of urban decay, racial inequality, the alliance of industry with the military to create an alternate government which enabled the insane foreign policy decisions which led to the War in Vietnam...........
My reality intruded very abruptly on my fantasies. My family fell apart due to pure chance and natural causes and no real social welfare safety net for a damaged, bleeding, struggling middle class family. By 1967, I was a homeless teen in the inner city. I lived in the middle of the Detroit Riots and I think at that time, I learned how to survive on my own terms.
I want to write more about Detroit, today, the past and my still active fascination with Muscle Cars, so I will leave you with a picture of what I consider the last Muscle Car......The 2010 Chevy Camaro, you have to admit, for the end of entire specie, it's got a great "attitude".
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
....and this goes out to my favorite mother and son right wing conservative fundamentalist christian tag team duo in my sincere wish that someday sonny boy will find Mrs. or Mr. Right as the case may be with out mommy scaring them away again and they will all live happily ever after, sigh....may be if you learned the words to this little jingle...it could help.
April Fools part #2
This an episode of The Fuccons, a delighfully non sequiter surreal as only the Japanese can do television series totally acted by smiling mannequins.
Each episode, no matter how little sense it actually makes, ends with all the happy American suburban mannequins laughing together...just like real life!