Category Archives: Experiment

Circa 1948

1948

We break the taboo tonight and de-segregate the post-war Blues era, co-mingling  syncopations signaling a broader tolerance, “a world in which there shall be an equality of opportunity for every race and nation.”

But I do fear a social conformity will take hold with all this fear-mongering and witch-hunting!

PLAYLIST
In The Hall Of The Mountain King – Will Bradley-Ray McKinley Band
As Time Goes By – Arthur “Dooley” Wilson
One O’Clock Jump – Count Basie & His Orchestra
Butterfly Strut – Ziggy Elman And His Orchestra
Artistry in Rhythm – Stan Kenton & His Orchestra
Jersey Bounce – Benny Goodman & His Orchestra
Boogie Woogie – Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
Flying Home – Hamton, Lionel & His Orchestra
Drumming Man – Gene Krupa
Tschaikowsky (And Other Russians) – Danny Kaye
Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition – Kay Kyser & His Orchestra
I’m My Own Grandpaw – Guy Lombardo
You Keep Coming Back Like a Song – Dinah Shore
Don’t Get Around Much Any More – The Ink Spots
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah – Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers
Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much) – Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra
Brazil – Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
Heartaches – Ted Weems & His Orchestra
Ciribiribin – Harry James & His Orchestra
C Jam Blues – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
Canned Heat – Chet Atkins
That Lucky Old Sun – Frankie Laine
Deep In The Heart Of Texas – Horace Heidt And His Musical Knights
Riders In The Sky – Vaughn Monroe
Pistol Packin’ Mama – Al Dexter and His Troopers
Detour – Spade Cooley
Move It on Over – Hank Williams
Cool Blues – Charlie “Bird” Parker
Sophisticated Lady – Duke Ellington
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Les Brown
Bebop – Charlie “Bird” Parker
Elmer’s Tune – Dick Jurgens And His Orchestra
Snowfall – Claude Thornhill And His Orchestra
Stardust – Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
Do You Dig My Jive – Sam Price and his Texas Bluesicians
Mean Old ‘Frisco Blues – Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup
Knockin’ Myself Out – Lil Green with Big Bill Broonzy
Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
Open the Door, Richard – Count Basie Orchestra
I Wonder – Cecil Gant
Laura – David Raksin
Nature Boy – Nat King Cole

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-03-09: Circa 1948 by The Stranger on Mixcloud

The convention of Americans for Democratic Action was winding up today in a lather of resolutions giving scant sign of enthusiastic support in November for President Truman. The ADA, heavily representative of the old Roosevelt New Deal group, gives the back of its left hand to the Wallace third-party people the back of its right hand to the Taft Republicans. Yet in three days of debates seemed to bury Mr. Truman in censure rather than praise him. A phrase borrowed from Europe may have political significance here, “the third force” which is used to describe the non-communist left, intellectuals opposing “both the tyranny of reaction and tyranny of Communist totalitarianism.”

While Senator McGrath of Rhode Island sounded off against Henry Wallace’s third party, saying “a third party has as much place in American politics as does a third party on a honeymoon” adding the Wallace campaign and supporters “will either waste their votes or give aid and comfort to reactionary candidates.”

Speaking of those Reds, the Communist Police State Action in Czechoslovakia was legalized as the Czech President accepted the Red Cabinet and their brutal plot, who will not be working with any opposition parties, whose ministers turned in their resignations last week. New Cabinet members told foreign reporters that the events of last month giving Communists controls were the ‘will of the people.’ There are no numbers on how many persons in the former government got the bum rush from their positions/arrested as “reactionaries”. Legal elections have been promised the Czechs by Communists, but many other grand promises to workers and farmers have also been made by the Soviets.

Finland, conversely, has turned down Stalin’s request to join a Russian Defense Pact Ring, fearing a loss in their liberty.

The pressure, many Washington correspondents in-the-know fear, may quicken the pace towards a shooting war, and a military pact aimed at Russia.

So while the US has written off Czechoslovakia, here at home Gov. Arthur Coolidge of Massachusetts charged that Russian agents are busy in Hawaii. He claimed to have evidence, but hasn’t spilled it to the public as of yet.

(We remember well how) Soviet diplomats obstructed the UN founding meeting in San Francisco, dormy spy rings uncovered…

Meanwhile, the United States called for nation-wide elections in Korea in defiance of a Russian boycott. China immediately joined with the United States in the proposal laid before the United Nations little assembly. Both powers agreed that steps toward establishment of a free and independent Korea were of utmost importance to world peace, and that Soviet non-cooperation should not be allowed to stand in the way.

(As for Russia, I do highly recommend reading ‘A Russian Journal’ by John Steinbeck with photographs by Robert Capa of that country’s reconstruction, a special correspondence with the New York Herald Tribune).

The U.S. may also remain isolationist regarding the Palestine issue, declaring it firmly stands for diplomatic peace; this despite a recent bomb plot in the Holy Land admitted by Arab hatchetmen. The United Nations is holding special sessions to consider and cope with the crisis. The surprise resolution moves that a council be formed to set up a committee to study the advisability of such a special assembly. The Jewish Agency for Palestine had no comment pending a full study of the speech, but there are those contending that a Palestine partition and peace are inseparable. The British, for their part, have declared that they will fire upon both Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land.

So support the United Nations as they punish future aggressors before they launch WWIII. See “a world in which there shall be an equality of opportunity for every race and nation.” (Wendell Willkie’s One World)

All while Truman chops are busted by segregationist southern governors who came to Washington to protest civil rights legislation. Here is the exchange from the stenographic record, Gov Strom Thurmond: “Will you now, at a time when national unity is so vital to the solution of the problem of peace in the world, use your influence, as chairman of the DNC, to have the highly controversial civil rights legislation, which tends to divide our people, withdrawn from consideration by the congress?” Senator McGrath: “No.”

Just who is dividing the people, and on whose terms is this so-called unity, and whose problem with peace? Our strength is in democracy, a spiritual strength that derives from our freedom, fair-play, tolerance, and the guarantee of civil rights in our Constitution. Though we have not achieved these things completely, that is the ideal we raise before the world. What would the world say if we went backward as that chiseler Governor Thurmond suggests? We can only move forward, even if slowly. Who is dividing the people; those who want to realize our ideals, or a few noisy Southern politicians and a minority of southern people.

The Dixie Democrats are hopping mad over at least four of the 10 points in Truman’s proposal, and began serious talk of convening a split from the Democrats on the civil rights issue. (1. federal anti-lynching law, 2. permanent fair employment practice commision, 3. and end to Jim Crow laws and 4. outlawing state poll taxes). The remainder of the points were a permanent commission on civil rights, a joint congressional committee on civil rights, a civil rights division of the justice department, toughening of existing civil rights statutes, home rule for the District of Columbia, statehood for Alaska and Hawaii, equalization of naturalization opportunity, settlement of evacuation claims of Japanese-Americans (who got a bum rap). The program is in particularly hot debate due to the election year.

But I worry that the conservative con to brand New Dealers out of touch, arrogant bureaucrats is a short hoof from labeling them Communists! How soon they forget! Look! Truman didn’t keep government-built or backed plants at the war’s end! They went right back to private owners.

You’ll remember how Daddy Warbucks was revived, gloating at the corpse of FDR!

And the fix is in, government contracts were rescinded, plants closed up, flat soldiers come home expecting jobs instead to join picket lines against fat head moneymen. Gallup polls show 62% of the public fears another Depression in the next ten years.

“Yet once the war is over its backwash smears over us, and the nation succumbs to greed, fear, ineptitude, fumbling of the morning hopes, shoddy dispersal of the evening dreams. That in late 1946, the two most painful and pressing shortages in the land should be the most primitive necessities of life; food and housing, is evidence enough of the disintegration, no matter how temporary these shortages may turn out to be… Does show that to become efficient this country needs the stimulus of war? Does it mean that 295,000 Americans have to be killed in order to give us true effectiveness as a nation?” -journalist John Gunther, 1946

So Truman places a $15 billion ceiling on defense spending, bolsters social welfare. Truman; small-business populist, anti-monopoly, distrusting of Big Trust, Big Labor and Big Business.

Indeed, 1947 had seen a boom set off by the savings of both war worker and war profiteer, pent-up demand and rising wages! And demand means more jobs! Hundreds of houses built in a day! But it’s not all silk!

Truman lifted price controls on meat when conservative businessmen raised prices and fears and turned up the heat. He blamed “reckless group of selfish men”, the same group that “has opposed every effort of this administration to raise the standard of living and increase opportunity for the common man.” By appeasing them, Truman tipped his mitt again, his policies gummed up by cheap flimflam! Inflation accelerated, cost of living up, special interests feeding frenzy, prices raised by the greedy.

Federal subsidies work when directed and divested correctly; housing, swimming pools, playgrounds, baseball fields, suburbs accessible by highways… Mortgages guaranteed by the GI Bill.

Hayek (free market anti-socialism enthusiast) and Keynes (that economic interventionist) both agree that antitrust laws and minimum wages are necessary!

Blind ‘stereotypes’, referred to by head shrinks, are fixed attitudes towards an idea, event, or person. A blind spot in the mind, the cause of which is emotional and irrational, disallowing the person’s attitude to change with changes in factual evidence pertaining to the object of prejudice. Pertinent illustrations such as race prejudice, an extreme sort where individuals are vilified in generalities incorporating all the evil traits which may have ever been found or imagined in any one past member of the race. Attitudes expressed about the late President Roosevelt and his ideas often fall into this same category. His name has been slandered with such intensity and emotion that one could almost feel the murderous hatred in their hearts; there is nothing analytical or thoughtful in what they say.

It’s an excuse to ally political highbinders with big business high pillows and their dough, fear-mongering the pliant into cheesy loyalty, making chop suey of the rest. Right-wing groups are firing off their ‘confidential’ (re: unsubstantiated) dope to HUAC and the FBI, fueling Hoover’s inquisition. Now we’re grilling not only union leaders but teachers, book reviewers, social workers, and librarians. the Chamber of Commerce is demanding that authorities ban whomever they deem too pro-Communist off of radio airwaves. Even social gospel ministers ousted from their pulpits! No totalitarianism or infringement on freedom of speech here, my friends.

I do fear a social conformity will take hold.

The jingle-brained conservatives are enjoying a counterrevolution with William Jenner, John Bricker, William Knowland, Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon… even the once pro-New Deal Hollywood liberal Ronald Reagan is espousing more conservative malarkey, see what they know!

Texas Tom Clark (Attorney General) architect of the list of subversive organizations, making guilt by association a national security policy.

And Adolph Menjou (Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals) spilled to HUAC last year, “I am a witch hunter if the witches are Communists”.

They dress it up as a Christian crusade to despoil your children. But they’re putting the screws on the working man, gunning for all of us, with the convenient moniker that they’re protecting us from the reds, when they’re really putting us behind the eight ball. One of HUAC’s loudest mouths, John E. Rankin, is a notorious racist and anti-Semite, as are several other committee members. That’s why they’re spending so much energy giving the up-and-down to Jews who escaped Germany. It’s all pretty hinky, I tell you.

After all, unemployment for blacks is three times that among whites; their pay only 30-70% what whites make.

So the fat cats have ginned up big support for their Crusade, even though a few short years ago in 1945, Americans sick of war, some 70%, opposed a “get-gashouse” approach with the Soviets, lousy with post-war blues: triumphalist despair. But ever since Dean Acheson said we have to be on ‘permanent alert’ against some unknown phantom forces, resources and scratch are diverted to purely military industry. They see their support now against the Communists as an egotistical Holy War to save Christianity and Civilization. There are those who don’t believe the War ever ended. We’re being given a Hobson’s choice between appeasement and containment, disarmament and military strength- ignoring all diplomatic alternatives. They’ll use the crack-up in Czechoslovakia as a crummy excuse to drop atom bombs on more babies.

And that means there’s little bumping gums for progressive programs without a crisis. Truman’s campaigning on the messages of national health insurance, federal aid to education, and civil rights. He may be in the right, but he’s in real Dutch if the guys in graft tell him to take it on the heel.

It doesn’t seem like much of the Fair Deal or New Dealer policies have much tooth any more, the final being the GI Bill. We still do not have an Economic Bill of Rights.

Gin up Solidarity among veterans, workers, the common man. The saps.

1947 Gallup poll shows one-third of veterans feel estranged from civilian life, either in a jam or off their noodle, and 20% feel ‘hostile’ to civilians. War Department survey replicates this; one in five is “completely hostile” to civilians. Survey finds there are 15.8 million vets, average age 29, 80% of them under the age of thirty, 33% went directly into service from school, only 25% finished high school. Veterans and their families make up one-fourth of the population.

The divorce rate today is more than twice that of 1939. But the marriage rate and birth rate are also spiking. So is the homicide rate, as any of these Joe Palookas could go off the track in a moment!

HUAC and the blacklists has made it impossible for any picture to get made taking the side of the workers, who for their part have seen hourly drops in pay since VJ Day.

And Truman himself overestimates the power of the unions to make his points. He wants to draft men who strike during peacetime, as in Germany or Russia! That’s the crop of it! He seized the mines after criticism that he was too pro-labor. Most unions are on the square, hostile to Communists, fearing it damages their cause.

A late challenge to the Taft-Hartley law is entering our courts. The act restricts the activities and power of labor unions. Named after sponsors Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr., overcame Truman‘s veto last year; labor leaders called it the “slave-labor bill” while President Truman argued that it was a “dangerous intrusion on free speech”, and that it would “conflict with important principles of our democratic society”. The latest orderly and properly challenge is by CIO News and its president Philip Murray, trying it in the courts in a democratic manner. Mr. Murray said he and the CIO were acting in complete respect for the “law of the land” and not in a spirit of “defiance or bitterness.” This refreshingly constructive and calm way of tackling the issue hits on all eight, and may end up in the Supreme Court, a matter on which Congress will be called upon to expand, condense or clarify.

In Chicago, the National Lawyer’s Guild charged in a policy statement that there is a ‘co-ordinated and unrelenting’ attack being made against civil liberties in the U.S. Over 200 delegates to an annual meeting voted their approval yesterday calling upon Congress to repeal the Taft-Hartley law and abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities, for violating four amendments to the Constitution. Benedict Wolf, New York lawyer, read that recommendation to Congress to investigate the Federal Bureau of Investigation itself.

This is the Age of Distrust – engineer enemies for the upcoming election; if the Nazis and Japanese won’t do, use Communism. Without recommending an advocation of the tenets of Communism, one does not need then to fly into the arms of right-wing fascism or “narrow nationalism” (Wendell Willkie’s One World). Upton Sinclair warned us that it can happen here. Fears of totalitarianism abound when there are disingenuous geezers in charge! Hard facts have a way of melting into the shadows of ambiguity.

Ah, TINSEL TOWN!



Stay tuned for all that plus hokum, bunkery, science and more! On this time-displaced episode of a Stranger in a Strange Land!

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-03-09: Circa 1948 by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

The Future

future

This week, aaron.Jacob and I look to the future of hoverbikes, robots, augmented reality and bio-hacking. Forecasts and predictions exceed our wildest imaginings, but will they prove realistic or surrealistic?

Try not to get too future shocked as we set the dial on our experimental time machine and hope for the best… tomorrow!

PLAYLIST
In The Hall Of The Mountain King (Terramix) – terraon
Future Shock – Curtis Mayfield
“The Daleks” (Serial B): TARDIS Computer – Brian Hodgson
Past Present and Future – Demon Fuzz
Tank! (TV Edit) – Seatbelts
Robot Parade – They Might Be Giants
2014 – The Unicorns
Idioteque – Radiohead
Violent – The Faint
Remember The Future (part 1-2) – Nektar
Buffalo Stance – Need New Body
In The Bio Burbs – PASSAGE
Energy Traffic – The Mole
We Are the Future – Non Phixion
Virus – Deltron
Seventeen Years – RATATAT
Friends 4 Ever – Girl Talk
IBM MT/ST The Paperwork Explosion (instr.) – Scott, Raymond
Uske Orchestra – Pel-Pun
Polka Electronic Death Country (Otto Von Schirrach remix) – Mochipet
Laser Eyes Clip – Sifl & Olly
Cyborg Control – Man Or Astroman
Look Back And Laugh – Minor Threat
Jetson’s Theme – Man… or Astroman?
The Future – Leonard Cohen

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-02-23: The Future by The Stranger on Mixcloud

In the not-too distant future, political scientists have reason to suspect what the major issues of the next few years will be. Climate, Drones and Terrorists, Pentagon Spending, Agriculture/Energy, and Campaign Finance Reform.

This all seems a little optimistic to me. But as we’ll soon see, these wonks aren’t the only big dreamers.

The World Futurist Society has released their forecasts, and they are impressively grand. Some seem inevitable, others outlandish, but all of them progressively more challenging, and some beneficial, to mankind.

  1. Electric cars powered by fuel cells earn extra cash for their owners
  2. Open-source robot blueprints cut the cost of robots by 90%
  3. Smart phones help spur political reform in Africa
  4. The world’s oceans may face “mass extinction event” by 2050
  5. The “cloud” will become more intelligent, not just a place to store data
  6. 3-D Printing Revolutionizes manufacturing
  7. India may eclipse China in population and innovation by 2028
  8. Robots may become gentler caregivers in the next 10 years
  9. A revolution in smart materials creates a new energy boom

Idealistic indeed, as those of us who see their gadgets more as personal adversaries than helpful widgets.

“Technology that promises to remove small annoyances of one kind introduces small annoyances of another.” ~Pamela Haag

But there is the tendency to hope for the Best of All Possible Worlds,
in science-fiction, in science fact, and in augmenting our very reality. Soon people will be able to purchase Google Glass and make immediate (if superficial) improvements in their worldview. It gives new meaning to the concept of ‘rose-colored glasses’. I personally can’t wait for Super Saiyan mode, They Live mode, and Cyclops mode.

But the fact of the matter is, you can’t predict how new technologies will change the world until they become part of the commoner’s usage.

Tim Maughan argues in a fascinating new interview about augmented reality with the Huffington Post:

Technology becomes the most effective — and thus potentially the most damaging— when it passes that novelty stage and becomes mundane and commonplace. The way smartphones have radically changed the way we lead our daily lives is perhaps the most recent example. It’s been an incredibly short six years from revolutionary product launch to utterly mundane ubiquity.

And few of us have had time to pause and think about the effect it has had on us, either as individuals or society. When it comes to judging how technology effects us there’s an understandable tendency to look at the bleeding edge, at first adopters and hackers, those that take the plunge and dive in. I think it’s a tendency in part by academics and journalists to want to be seen as ‘cool-hunters’, finding the latest trends and speculating about what they could develop into.

The truth is until it becomes commonplace and in the hands of a massive range of people we can’t tell how it will be used. I don’t want to bruise anyone’s geek-pride here (okay, maybe I do a little) but being an early adopter only makes you special for a short while, and on your own you’re not going to make any paradigm shifts. By definition you need everyone else with you to do that.

Many people just don’t know what to do with the future transforming reality around them. It makes them uneasy, even panicked; Future-Shocked. And others worry that the technocratic digerati will forge ahead, leaving other classes behind; an ageless human problem for every era, none better than the rest.


Can Futurists even make a difference? Does science-fiction and those rosy-eyed optimists benefit the scientists in hot pursuit of tomorrow? Do they create a Utopian vision for which we aim? Or can they do more damage than good? Or are we all just way off the mark?

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-02-23: The Future by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

Alternate Reality

alternaterealityWell, the quantum experiment failed, and I’ve been so depressed about the results of the election that I haven’t done a show in two weeks. Of course, when things change, it’s not always for the better, so we’ll be looking at what dystopic world now surrounds us, and if it was really that different than the indefinite, extra-judicial despotism we were bound for, anyway.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-11-24: Alternate Reality by The Stranger on Mixcloud

PLAYLIST
In the Hall of the Mountain King – Duke Ellington
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out – Bessie Smith
Offertorium: Terra tremuit et quievit – Anonymous
Village Green/Village Green Preservation Society – Ray Davies
All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast – Bill Callahan
On A Good Day – Joanna Newsom
Meditation of the Night – Benjy Wertheimer
Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
House Of The Rising Sun – The Animals
Went Home Today – Merriday Park
Flame Sky – Santana
Lucky Man – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Kid Charlemagne – Steely Dan
Where Have All The Good Times Gone – David Bowie
Looking for Safety – Steve Roach
Rockets – Cat Power
Lachlom – Yael Naim
Troubles Will be Gone – The Tallest Man on Earth
Prayer – Kow Otani
Rusty Cage – Johnny Cash

With glitches, screw-ups, and assorted shenanigans galore, this ended up being the most expensive election ever, a whopping $6 billion. Millionaire political donors still ended the night with far more influence than the American people. Make no mistake about it, the Big Money won big, and inequality in political wealth undermines the principle of “one person, one vote” and threatens our very democracyTwo thirds of winning House incumbents outspent their opponents by a factor of nine.

As we saw on election night, Karl Rove made some absurd prediction about Ohio, which inexplicably turned out to be true! While looking at his ipad, he claimed the vote would turn out drastically different than the exit polling. At the same time, many members of Anonymous were raided by police, even as they had threatened to release proof that the election was rigged. They are not being granted interviews or media access at this time, and their computers or DOX kept under lock and key.

The results are indeed being challenged, as Voting and civil rights activists claimed that Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was causing mass confusion across the state as people tried to go to the polls. Voters waited in lines for hours, many asked for photo identification, and some were even turned away, despite a judge ruling that this was illegal.

“We’ve definitely gotten reports about voters being turned away,” Eric Marshall, co-director of the Election Protection coalition, told TPM. “We’ve had reports of people who have shown up, been asked, and when they didn’t show ID they were turned away.”

Examples abound of how easily the entire election could have been rigged, with not much more than a few dollars’ worth of parts from RadioShack.

“It’s a classic attack on security devices,” Roger Johnston tells Popular Science. “You implant a microprocessor or some other electronic device into the voting machine, and that lets you control the voting and turn cheating on and off. We’re basically interfering with transmitting the voter’s intent.”

Americans need to look inside ourselves, reflect on our values and question: why do we allow our fellow citizens’ votes to be discounted? Why do we put up with this?

Long lines were the story for in many poor neighborhoods across the country, while Florida’s Governor Scott Brown reduced early voting times. Neighborhoods of color were disproportionately affected, a repeat of 2008:

The AFL-CIO study tracked with similar findings in other recent elections. An MIT survey of 10,000 voters in 2008 found that waits for African Americans were more than twice as long as those for white voters for both early and election day voting.

With the number of problems with the provisional ballots and inconsistencies with the exit polling in Ohio, many progressives are alleging fraud:

1. Claims of Fraud
2. Voter Suppression
3. Obama Wasn’t Progressive Enough!
4. Rich People are just going to vote for the Rich guy no matter what because he gives them free stuff!
5. There is no God.
6. The Conservative Media

But now we have to contend with the unskewed polls, that Karl Rove was right. The rich are vindicated by their love of money over country.

Fully 89 percent of Romney’s 2012 voters are non-Hispanic whites. And they rule the country. They want to shut down the government like they almost did in 2011. They want people to die from not having health care. We must not bow down to them yet.

Republicans, triumphant and spiteful, are already promising to throw us off the fiscal cliff.

In an exclusive statement to the  far-right Brietbart.com , McConnell promised conservatives that he wouldn’t be willing to raise taxes at all to avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax hike trigger that will otherwise go into effect

Now is their perfect time to make severe cuts to popular programs in the social safety net; Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, disaster relief, food assistance, housing and other threatened programs, so they can happily grant big handouts and tax breaks for major corporations.

And then there are the extremist ingrates, far-right radical Republicans that think Romney isn’t severely conservative enough. In many ways, the election did not change anything.

This year, neither presidential candidate focused on blasting a do-nothing Congress or, in Obama’s case, “Republican obstructionism”. I think it may have been this lack of energy, this satisfaction with the status quo, that lost him the vote. He wasn’t progressive enough.

Because the right will keep on moving righter now. Via TPM:

The head of Maine’s Republican Party defended himself on Thursday over comments he made about black people committing voter fraud in his state. he still insisted it was “unusual” to see so many black voters at the polls in an overwhelmingly white state.

“The reason I said it, ‘cause I don’t know where you live, but where I come from in rural Maine, it’s a small percentage of the population. I think we’re the whitest state in the country. So if you go to the polls and see people who are black, it’s unusual. And when you see a lot of people who are black, like six or eight or ten people, you think, ‘Wow, where do they live?’ That was my point.”

“Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”

And of course, those Anti-American secessionists who are fed up with “Progressives” like Obama, and apparently even “Moderates” like Romney.

Thousands of petitioners from seven states (many headed by race-baiter Matt Drudge) are demanding the White House let them secede from America. Thousands more are petitioning the White House to just kick them out already and be done with it.

Despite President Obama’s defeat, one petition demanding the administration “grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government” has secured over 83,000 signatures. The White House has said it will respond to any petitions that receive backing from 25,000 people or more.

Meanwhile, George GOPers are claiming that there has been an ‘Obama mind-control conspiracy‘ growing over the last four years. A “conspiracy to transform America from the land of the free, to the land of the collective,” and lawmakers there say that “our own governments are doing this. Our own local city councils and county commissions – they’re doing this.”

Other lawmakers in Wisconsin are backing a bill that would declare the Affordable Care Act illegal, and allow law enforcement to arrest any federal officials who try to implement it.

Many businesses are vindictively taking a stand against Obama’s health care legacy (which is going to be hard for Republicans to repeal), but threatening to cut worker hours.

  • Papa John’s CEO plans to slash workers’ hours so he doesn’t have to cover them. It’s one of the nation’s 50 biggest low-wage employers.

(You know who not to take seriously when they say they really want everyone to have health insurance and ‘it’s a shame’ Obamacare isn’t the right way to insure more people? People who run businesses where only a third of workers are insured. And do you really want potentially sick people making your food?)

  • Applebee’s New York CEO says he’ll ax jobs because of Obamacare. Zane Tankel, another so-called “job creator” who’s threatened to fire employees and freeze hiring.
  • Small business owner in Georgia says he fired workers who voted for Obama. “Yesterday I called all my part-time employees in and said because Obamacare will be enacted (despite Romney winning) I was cutting their hours from 30 to 25 a week so I would not fall under the Obamacare mandate,” said the man, who identified himself only as Stu. “I had to lay two full-timers off to get under the 50-person cap. I tried to make sure that the people I had to lay off voted for Obama.”
  • Las Vegas businessman says he laid off 22 employees after election night. ~Las Vegas business owner to radio host Kevin Wall on 100.5 KXNT, after firing 22 of his 114 workers yesterday.
  • Coal company lays off 160 workers because of Obama’s “war on coal.” Claims they laid off workers who had voters cast their ballot for the president. This is illegal, for one thing, but also idiotic. Obama’s policies had only benefitted the coal industry.

Yes, we will continue to live in an economy where most of Americans toil their lives away with few options, little upwards mobility, fewer and fewer rights, all in the servitude of the American wealthy ruling elite class. The CEOs want us to work longer hours for fewer benefits.

Lloyd Blankfein – CEO of Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs — told CBS News’ Scott Pelley that he believes the retirement age needs to be raised because “in general, entitlements  have to be slowed down and contained

Even federal judges want people to work without wages!

The corporate masters seem to have forgotten they depend on working people for their own survival.

Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. As for Obama’s legacy, hastily handed over to someone slightly more conservative but with less foreign policy knowledge, it will be a dastardly one.

It really makes you think that, no matter what Alternative Reality had happened, we’d still be screwed.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-11-24: Alternate Reality by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

Redux!

With the mysterious digital wraith’s de-atomization of last week’s show, The Stranger attempts to quantum entangle and mystically fuse two weeks worth of music and politics into one Strange Land, an experiment that may result in a rerun, a redux, Groundhog’s Day, or an alternate parallel pocket universe.

Hopefully the eerie, lonely, pensive, eclectic and syncopated rhythms will challenge you on a visceral and cerebral level. Failing that, some monkey news!

PLAYLIST
Hall Of The Mountain King/Louie Louie – Half Japanese
Ife (Fast) – Miles Davis (Tribute)
Pink Elephants On Parade – Sun Ra
Troubleman – Nina Miranda – Buddha-Bar
Stem / Long Stem / Transmission 2 – DJ Shadow
Sordid – Amon Tobin
We No Speak Americano (Original mix) – Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup
Homesick (Bonustrack) – Parov Stelar
Kagemusha – Akira Kurosawa
Radar Maker – Mogwai
Tribulations – LCD Soundsystem
Is This The Last Time – Spoon
Cowboy Junkies – Common Disaster
Cherry – RATATAT
Emotion – Daft Punk
Necromancer – Gnarls Barkley
Quest for the 12 Monkeys – Astor Piazzolla
the count dance – (8BitPeoples) – twilight electric
Radio Nufonia – Kid Koala
Not Happy – Pere Ubu

Yet again I am forced to cover ridiculous news such as the sabre-rattling of “not if but when” in Iran, while even the president himself cannot seem to align with either direct talks or “not bluffs” on attack, “thus again routinely violating the U.N. Charter, the foundation of international law” as Noam Chomsky puts it. In fact, he writes that most of the nations in the world agree that Iran is no more or less dangerous and unpredictable than a nuclear-powered Israel.

And while I am NOT a conspiracy theorist adherent to the hoax of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion… there is a minority of powerful political elites (just like in this country) with a classist, racist, neoconservative bent in opposition of their own people and neighbors.

But isn’t it interesting that the same things that we could legitimately criticize Iran for: right-wing theocracy, crushing free speech and dissemination of information, women’s rights… are the same issues that this neoconservative government is corrupting in our democracy…

The federal government has appropriated about $635 billion, accounting for inflation, for homeland security-related activities and equipment since the 9/11 attacks. The Department of Homeland Security alone has doled out somewhere between $30 billion and $40 billion in direct grants to state and local law enforcement, as well as other first responders to build out the police state… The Obama White House itself has directly funded part of the New York Police Department’s anti-Muslim surveillance program. Top officials of New York’s finest have, however, repeatedly refused to disclose just how much anti-terrorism money it has been spending, citing, of course, security.

Drones are already patrolling our skies, the Obama admin. is looking for warrantless access to your cell phone location data, and now, only days after clearing Congress, US President Barack Obama has signed his name to H.R. 347, officially making it a federal offense to cause a disturbance at certain political events — essentially criminalizing protest in the States. Another attempt to strip the power of speech from a disenfranchised majority and limit what little recourse they have against plundering criminals.

This ‘attack the rich’ motif is nothing new. When we talk about revulsion of the extremely super-wealthy, we’re talking about accountability, we’re talking about having clear evidence that there is an entire class of people whose crimes go unpunished. And whenever there is a crime wave on, the American people suddenly get all upset and want the police to do something about it. After a wave of child kidnappings and molestations in the late 70’s and 80’s, it became our paranoid nation’s major fear. When the Saving and Loan scandal rocked the nation, people were writing their representatives. When terrorists actually dared to hit us on our own turf, people finally started to care what radical Islam was, or the names of some of those Middle Eastern countries. Riots, gang violence, murder sprees, rapists, and everything else on the evening news that scared the bejeesus out of us in a news cycle, our very life cycle! The exception here being that there is little to no law enforcement action to stop these multi-million or multi-billion or multi-trillion dollar crimes! And if nothing is being done, then it becomes a more and more legitimate concern.

We finally have the estimated data for 2010 by income percentile, and it turns out that the top 1 percent had a fantastic year. According to the data is in the World Top Income Database, as well as Emmanuel Saez’s updated “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States”, “the top 1 percent captured 93 percent of the income gains in the first year of recovery.” Pre-recession, inequality hadn’t been that high since the Great Depression, and we are quickly returning to that state.

We need more transparency, not less! We need open-source software for replicable science. We need criminals brought to justice. We need a government that is for the people, not targeting their own citizenry at the behest of the elites. We need to root out the cheats in our technologically trusting age. We need dogged journalists (which are more and more being represented by hackers and not mainstream media sellouts) to keep corporate kings and “elected” officials on their toes.

But three years into his presidency, critics say Obama’s administration has failed to deliver the refreshing blast of transparency that the president promised. “Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978. “This administration is raising one barrier after another. … It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned — I’m really stunned.”

And last September, the CIA quietly changed its long-standing policy for how it would process certain records requests by implementing a new fee structure that will essentially discourage the public from trying to get the agency to declassify secret government documents with costs up to $72 per hour, “even if no information is found or released,” wrote Nate Jones of George Washington University’s National Security Archive, a historical research group that files numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and publishes declassified documents.

At the same time, the intelligencia beat the drums of cyberwar against activists instead of attempting to fix or even address the problems that are making them activist out in the first place! And though they have recently been able to turn well-connected Anon Sabu against other hacktivists such as Stratfor-infiltrating aficionado Anarchaos, Anonymous itself has no leadership. The juxtaposition of the FBI’s triumphant announcement: “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec,” and the group’s own mantra “Anonymous is a hydra, cut off one head and we grow two back.” illustrate the disconnect between the power elite and the freedom fighters. Further undermining their goals, the FBI is making their message clear; the FBI indictment says Sabu’s crimes can get him 124 years and 6 months of prison time. Help us by turning on your fellows and go to prison for life.

The information itself, leaked like the dam in the old fable, is showing us once again which side is in the right. How soon some forget that Bradley Manning is facing trial for whistle-blowing on horrific war crimes. As more secrets are being leaked proving these conspiracy theories true (corporate spying, faked science reporting, intimidation, bribery, collusion) the old Mark Twain phrase “two can keep a secret of one of them is dead” rings more true in this digital age than ever before. Whether you’re the U.S. Military trying to cover up war crimes, or a corporation illegally spying on or manipulating the state, the citizens, their customers, and their competition.

In a post-national future, protest movements like Anonymous, Occupy, the Arab Spring, riseup.net, and others with common goals will have to learn how to overcome their oppressors by balancing mass actions with individual traditions and religions to be respected! For there have been many questions these past weeks of ideological difference, mostly from the myopic and bigoted Santorum, conservative preachers and loudmouth radio hosts, and while these GOPers are learning hard lessons about alienating the all-important independent votes, so too should progressives learn what social issues and ideologies they can share, overlook, reach out on, or reject with grass roots activists on the right.

We cannot ignore religion permeating every thing that is done in this country, and while we should keep a strict wall between church and state to restrict any one group from becoming the theocrats, it is wrong to think that religious thinking and morality are not the basis for our very system of law. The problem is, there are those who use and subvert the predominately Christian doctrine to their twisted, evil way of fundamentalist thinking, just like is being done to Islam in the Middle East. Many power-brokers in this country emphasize the angry, jealous God, and promote a dark bastardized version of the religion in which Greed, selfishness, and emphasis on the “me” economy forsake Jesus the philosopher’s greatest wisdom:

“The Jesus of the Gospels, especially of Matthew, Mark and Luke was one of the great progressive thinkers in human history. His great passion was helping the poor, the sick, those most oppressed and reviled by the rest of society. His teachings focused on mercy, kindness, forgiveness, not judging others, and loving one’s neighbors as much as yourself. His “Golden Rule” was that we should treat everyone as we ourselves would want to be treated. He taught that we would ultimately be judged by how we treated the hungry and the ill, by whether we visited those in prison and whether we treated strangers with kindness. He said we should forgive our enemies, “turn the other cheek” when slapped, and that only those who had never sinned (in other words, none of us) should cast the first stone to condemn the sinner.”

NOT the dogmatic, Draconian and Machiavellian form that has routinely taken total control and power in Western Civilization. Because of course, these monied interests don’t represent what most of America believes or thinks or aspires to. Some of them may be taken in by the propaganda machines, but don’t think for a second that this is where our true moralities lie.

It is imperative that regardless of ideology, all of us in the attacked classes remain each other’s keepers against the predators! Don’t let the federal government enslave us! This year, as many as five million eligible voters will lose their right to vote due to already passed measures to make voting MORE difficult, not less. In FLORIDA, ILLINOIS, MAINE, OHIO, TEXAS, ALABAMA, KANSAS, TENNESSEE, GEORGIA, WEST VIRGINIA, IOWA, MISSISSIPPI, SOUTH CAROLINA & RHODE ISLAND New measures include  restrictions on where people can register to vote, less time for *early* voting and stricter laws requiring people to provide government issued photo IDs. “African Amercans, and other racial and ethnic minorities are very heavily targeted,” said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau.  “The poor, those who don’t drive cars or have cars are also very heavily targeted.” In Florida, Iowa,  Virginia and Kentucky, anyone convicted of a felony has their right to vote denied permanently.

Don’t let corporations scam you! Don’t refinance you home, sending the debt into a spiral of wholly subsidiary collections and inflations! Take advantage of the desperate universities, don’t let them take advantage of you! Stanford had over 150,000 people sign up for a single course on artificial intelligence Suddenly, prestigious, invite-only events for the intellectual elite like TED are being opened up to licensees all over the world. There are even Floating Universities, offering knowledge and access to Big Thinkers from prestigious universities, all at a fraction of the cost of a liberal arts education. And now more than ever, small claims court is benefitting and helping the lower classes in their local systems to fight back against the corporate giants!

The United States Constitution is, at 225 years, the oldest of its kind, and has been the go-to model for over 160 countries wishing to write their own. By 1987, almost 95% of countries with constitutions had versions based on the American one. The oldest standing constitution had come to be relied upon as a framework to develop newer ones. And though Al Franken lauded our constitution as a ‘living document’ that can change with technology changing our lives, (in reference to consumer privacy bills), the time’s they are a-changing! With widespread realization that our democracy has been thoroughly co-opted and corropted, it might be time to bring a new constitutional document to life. One that will relevantly address the future reality we find ourselves entering.

Social media has upturned the social pecking order, with access to crowdsourcing, individual branding, prosumer equipment, instant access to formerly obscure knowledge, and a freelance economy, all coupled with the increasingly unpopularity of wealth, we are seeing dramatic changes to what status actually defines or means.

We see that protest movements and activist groups are empowered online by community, and hopefully even people with differences fight for common goals and interests, in a digital buffet of similarly-minded humans.

Anti-science quantum mysticism, synchronicity and confirmation bias may be flipped on its head! We have a populace of frail, fragile, scared humans, obsessed with the future (some go so far as to convince themselves they have some kind of psychic relationship with the future). But in the future, as advances in science, agriculture and medicine allow many of our worries to fall away gradually, we will also be so enmeshed with machine-thinking so that we will no longer obsess over such uncertainties. And while we may not be obsessed by the past either, we will have total recall of what is known or theorized at every point in our recorded history, whether the secrets of the time of Jesus, our unusual and forgotten bisected sleep patterns of old, or the obfuscated origins of our economic collapse!

A technology-fueled society is even now coalescing into three distinct tiers: the hyper-connected digital elite, the well-connected middle class and the aspiring majority (who don’t have any real access to technology).

According to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, a small privileged group within society will become the new Digital Snobs:

“The privileged few, the hyper-connected, are likely to face a future that will only be limited by what technology can do. They will have access to unlimited processing power and high-speed networks in most major cities. In Schmidt’s vision, this group will soon be represented by robots at multiple events at the same time while sitting in your office. For them, technologies that once looked like science fiction, will soon be available. Driverless cars, for example, will soon reduce accidents. At the same time, though, technology will actually become much easier to use and ideally just disappear.”

Imagine if information, knowledge, education, 3-d printed goods and digital services, communications, access to legal medical or civic resources, and even the rights over your own identity were reserved for a new brand of higher ups! The same cycle of oppression and liberation must be fought anew.

So once we get past our current threats and moral imperatives, our species faces a whole set of new ones.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-03-10: Redux! by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger

thestranger@earthling.net

“Once that coup is reversed, everything else falls into place” – Chris Hedges

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Strange Days Have Found Us

Well, we’ve really done it. Ze Black Waffle and I have returned triumphant from waging the Robot War for the Future against SpaceWeb and its mechanical forces of cold calculation. We are safe from the existential threat of malevolent, artificially-intelligent automata… for now.

Unfortunately, in preventing a horrific potential future from coming to pass, we may have accidentally set into motion an equally-dystopian (if somewhat less lazer-burning) future of corporate takeover and constitutional debauchment! We sincerely apologize if the butterflies we crushed in our reckless traversing of spacetime resulted in the awful offshoot reality of japanese earthquakes, #NDAA, #SOPA, and #DNF (Duke Nukem Forever). Sorry about all that.

I am impassively dedicated to covering the disturbing developments as they formalize and gel into our present, with Mutiny News, twitter, and The Stranger in a Strange Land. We welcome your insights, shared posts, rantings, musings, and dark prophecies, as each unfolding event of doom is rewritten newly before us.

Archived Stranger in a Strange Land shows from the Imperial era are being lovingly polished, annotated, timestamped and uploaded, both on the Mixcloud and on the Stranger‘s own blog of Absurdist Noir. Sadly, the same timequake that causes the fabric of reality to tremble EVEN NOW is also responsible for the loss of several of those archived shows. We soldier on, all of us, into the dark unknown.

For the the most multifarious (that’s multifaceted + nefarious) tunes and freshly-lacquered commentary, check out the Stranger in a Strange Land, Sat. 2am-4am (that’s Friday night going into Saturday mornings). For interviews involving eclectic esoterica, write to thestranger@earthling.net. For general Mutiny Radio coverage, send your aggregated articles, accomplishments, muckraking investigations, and fluffy public interest pieces to thestranger@earthling.net. For that money I owe you, see me next Friday.

Status Impossible

I have long thought about the status bars in my life, and the appropriate relative comparisons made to video games like the Sims and Grand Theft Auto. And beyond some simple Tetris effect, as we enmesh with technology even more concretely, these descriptions become even more applicable and important.

Jesse Schell (When games invade real life) has made some excellent points about this, as well as NY Times technology blogger Nick Bilton, in his book I Live in the Future & Here’s How it Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted.

Game achievements and status completion in games can reflect what we do in our newly augmented reality; downloads of content, how much of the entertainment you have consumed, work progress, to do lists, all of it can be broken down into percentages and infographic representations. At one point, I even made little bars for my bookshelf, so that I could be reminded how many of those books I had read, and how many I still needed to crack open.

At the same time I think about my purposefully created memories in this temporary experience:

I have formed my memories by accident.
Though some I have made my own.
They stick out in a swampish sea floating like bouys against a throng
A waving flag in front of the Federal building in Pittsburgh, PA
As I was about to sign my life away
The yellow halo of a girl’s auburn hair
knowing she could never be mine but in that moment didn’t care
The evening I lost my virginity, the look in her eyes
And not knowing the role I would be doomed to reprise
Stuck in a ditch on a field trip, mud sucking at my shoe
hoping to not get caught, my friend not knowing what to do
A tree during recess, its sun-dried leaves pockmarked and empty
the hard carcasses of bugs left as the wind grew cold and wintry
A stolen toy, an unfelt guilt, a growing phobia, unheard accusations
Maroon and brown, like wood grain,
pulpy wet and bright, popping, blaring pain, light.
Or perhaps I’ve never remembered them, but simply a broken reference link,
I’ve fooled myself into remembering that I did remember them.

and how your free-roam experience in sandbox games is sometimes enhanced most by mere urban exploration. And though the work of these video game designers today is mind-boggling, it still pales in comparison by many orders of magnitude to the level of detail still available “IRL”. Geocaching, foursquare, and yelp are all allowing us to interact in new ways with terrain, businesses and environments that may have previously been background, to see more of the NPCs that make up our cities and staff its shops and restaurants.

With the nearly endless number of businesses, buildings, and public spaces in your metropolitan area, how could you ever hope to traverse them all (of those allowable), or even provide a statistic or percentage? Subdivide your map and think about how many you might reasonably explore and learn, so that when you walk by them in the future, they may each hold a particular experience or fleeting memory of this experiment.

Could you traverse or trespass every square foot? How long would it take you to fill that bar? To get that achievement?

Because after all, it all may turn out to have been a video game experience all along…