Tag Archives: music

Austere Warnings

sun ra

Danger signs abound reminding us of the context of our austere, violent, unequal world. Politically-motivated reasoning disenfranchises voters, consumers, workers, people of color, the impoverished, whistleblowers, dissenters, journalists, and any citizen who wants their free civil rights.

PLAYLIST
In the Hall of the Mountain King – Duke Ellington
Sunshine Of Your Love – Ella Fitzgerald
Other Planes of There – Sun Ra And His Solar Arkestra
Pinetops Boogie Woogie – Pinetops Perkins
Big Chief – Professor Longhair
I Smell A Rat – Big Mama Thornton
Drunk – Jimmy Liggins & His 3D Music
RL Burnside – Boogie Chillen
Bass Solo – Larry Graham
What About You (In The World Today) – Co Real Artists
fruitman – kool and the gang
Acid Lady – San Francisco T.k.o.’s
Message From 9 To The Universe – Jimi Hendrix & friends
Get Off Your Ass And Jam – George Clinton & Parliment Funkadelic
Look What You Can Get – Funky Nassau
Symphonic Revolution – Mandrill
It’s A New Day – The Skullsnaps
Do The Sissy – Albert Collins
Sunset – Yusef Lateef
Goodmorning Sunshine – Quasimoto
Crosshairs – DANGERDOOM
Chemical Calisthenics – Blackalicious
Spiritual Healing – Dälek
Bounce – Jay Dilla
Lazy Confessions – The Moldy Peaches
Lonlon (Ravel’s Bolero) – Angélique Kidjo

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-02-02: Austere Warnings by The Stranger on Mixcloud

Even the jobs numbers belie the myth, with Economic Policy Institute’s Heidi Shierholz noting that “the jobs deficit—the number of jobs lost since the recession officially began plus the number of jobs we should have added just to keep up with the normal growth in the potential labor force—remains nearly nine million.” With certain politicians stamping out that growth to the labor and middle classes, the labor market will not fill that gap until the end of 2021.

The conservative-led drive in Congress for more federal budget-cutting will reduce demand, stifle growth and choke off job creation, at a time when we need much higher levels of investment and jobs growth.

This jobs deficit is directly affected by the blind austerity hysteria (or austeria, eh? eh?), with our U.S. economy lagging in response to the declining markets in Europe, suffering a costly recession inflicted by misguided austerity policies.

I can’t repeat it enough: cutting government spending in a weak economy costs jobs.

Via The Campaign for America’s Future:

  1. Austerity costs jobs. More than 20 million people are in need of full-time work.  While corporate profits are at record heights as a percentage of the economy, wages are at record lows and falling.  cuts in government spending and hikes in taxes on working people cost jobs.  Government workers and contractors get laid off.  Small businesses feel the pinch as the afflicted tighten their belts.  Interest rates can’t go lower; business doesn’t get any more confident.
  2. More austerity is already being inflicted. Last quarter’s decline took place before the tax hikes agreed to in December’s “fiscal cliff” deal.  The increase of tax rates on the top 1 percent will have little effect on demand, since someone making over $400,000 can afford the hit.  But the end of the payroll tax holiday cost the typical family 2 percent of their income, with the change visible in their January paychecks.  For a family earning $50,000, that represents a $1,000 loss of income
  3. Even more austerity will soon come. House Republicans devoted their retreat to reordering the fiscal hostage crises they have planned for the next five months. – the sequester, they believe, will give them greater leverage to extort deep and unpopular cuts in spending, particularly Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
  4. The deficit hawks are delusional. Out-of-control inflation hasn’t broken out.  Investors are not panicked.  They are still willing to park their money in U.S. bonds for essentially no real return. One reason is that the deficit isn’t out of control.  As the Congressional Budget Office reports, the annual deficit is down by 25 percent since 2009.    It is coming down faster than any time since the demobilization at the end of World War II.   Our mid-term debt is essentially stabilized as a percent of gross domestic product.  Our long-term debt projections are completely a question of fixing our broken health care system.
  5. Stop the austerity hysteria. Stop paying tribute to the austerity lobby. return to sensible governance.  Repeal the sequester – deep across-the-board cuts are idiotic. Commit to growing our way out of the hole we are in. Invest in areas vital to our economy and to our people.  Pay for those commitments in ways that makes sense.  Put people back to work and watch the deficits come down.  Crack down on overseas tax dodges. End the obscene subsidies to Big Oil, Big Pharma and Big Agra.

But Obama is not and will not be our savior on this subject. He has flip-flopped enough on the issue of Too-Big-to-Fail banks and money in politics enough to appear entirely culpable.

Like many presidents before him, he is using the guise of ‘nonprofits’ to turn what was once lucrative campaign cash into unlimited corporate donations. Just as he has ‘devolved’ on SuperPACs, Citizen’s United, special interests, and other contributions. At this point, it is no longer questionable or dodgy to call him a Wall Street co-conspirator, as the President rakes in massive Wall Streetcontributions and paying back donors with immunity from prosecution.

He hasn’t prosecuted a single banker and has appointed a scandal-plagued Wall Street defense lawyer to head the SEC. He has whined that he has been blocked by the intransigent Congress, but still refuses to exercise executive function (you know, his fucking job) in areas that he does have direct influence.

Via Salon:

A president, for instance, has the unilateral power to at least propose tough Wall Street regulations, even if Congress is too corrupt to pass them. A president, likewise, has the unilateral power to nominate genuinely independent regulators, even if a Wall Street-dominated Senate might try to halt such a nomination. In short, a president has the unilateral power to at least force a serious fight over these issues — and Obama has refused to even do that. Instead, he championed bailouts and a Wall Street “reform” package that let the banks off the hook, and he has appointed Wall Street pals like Lanny Breuer at Justice andMary Jo White at the Securities Exchange Commission.

The ‘President is weak and blocked’ defense doesn’t make much sense either in the context of one of the most powerful presidents in recent history, on leveraging reforms, increasing the surveillance state, national security and foreign policy.

In fact, this Treasury Department has approved excessive salaries for the very same executives of the very same financial firms that received taxpayer funds as part of the 2008 economic bailout of Wall Street.

The news comes in a report authored by the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which said that “Treasury approved all 18 requests it received last year to raise pay for executives at American International Group Inc., General Motors Corp. and Ally Financial Inc,” according to the Associated Press.

14 of the requests for executive pay raises were over $100,000, and the biggest raise was $1 million. All this while employee and consumer protections are set adrift and ignored, or worse; the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are set upon and impugned by cruel Republicans. The unemployed are even cannibalized by the major banks taking their cut wherever they can get it.

Via AllGov:

A new report (pdf) from the nonprofit group National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) says Americans out of work are paying millions of dollars in unnecessary fees as part of receiving their unemployment payments. This is because many states encourage or even require the jobless to use bank-issued payment cards to access their funds.

The NCLC found that many states, like Arizona, make it difficult for residents to sign up for direct deposit with the state government. And in at least five states—California, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland and Nevada—direct deposit is not an option at all.

The consumer group contends that this situation is illegal under federal law prohibiting states from requiring benefits recipients to open an account with a specific bank, such as JPMorgan ChaseU.S. Bancorp and Bank of America.

But ignore the hypocrisy. Congress does whatever it wants, breaking the very laws it legislates, or at least, exempting themselves at the expense of the fleeced classes.

And while those Chief Execrable Officers in Congress “battle“, they hope to silence large swaths of the voting population. It isn’t enough that they overlook the poor and favor those who can afford hefty bribes, they still want to entirely disenfranchise the hated plebes with voter ID laws. There is much that can be done to prevent this tampering, but injustice is frequent.

Because the status quo machinery cannot be stopped. Even when outspoken cogs decry the monstrousness of it, they make such admonitions within the context of authoritative paradigms.

Via Danger Room:

Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

Emmerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body.

If the facts show that the US is committing war crimes, then so be it, that is what he will unearth.

And AlterNet:

A military judge overseeing September 11 pre-trial hearings revealed Thursday the government had censored them from outside the courtroom, and angrily ordered that this stop immediately.

The proceedings at the high-security, high-tech courtroom due to host the trial of five alleged plotters in America’s worst terror attack are heard in the press gallery and in a room where human rights groups and victims’ families sit, with a 40 second delay.

This is done so a court security officer, or CSO, sitting next to the judge can block anything deemed classified.

On Monday part of the proceedings were censored when the discussion touched on secret CIA prisons where the suspects were held and abused.

The judge said he was surprised and angry that the censoring mechanism was activated from outside the court, without his knowledge.

And the only official who has been officially punished for the illegal CIA torture program was the whistleblower who talked about it.

Via Glenn Greenwald:

John Kiriakou is not a pure anti-torture hero given that, in his first public disclosures, he made inaccurate claims about the efficacy of waterboarding. But he did also unequivocally condemn waterboarding and other methods as torture. And, as FAIR put it this week, whatever else is true: “The only person to do time for the CIA’s torture policies appears to be a guy who spoke publicly about them, not any of the people who did the actual torturing.” Despite zero evidence of any harm from his disclosures, the federal judge presiding over his case – the reliably government-subservient US District Judge Leonie Brinkema – said she “would have given Kiriakou much more time if she could.” As usual, the only real criminals in the government are those who expose or condemn its wrongdoing.

This is why whistleblowing – or, if you prefer, unauthorized leaks of classified information – has become so vital to preserving any residual amounts of transparency.

“when our sources are prosecuted, the news-gathering process is criminalized, so it’s incumbent upon all journalists to speak up” 

~the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer

“People are feeling less open to talking to reporters given this uptick. There is a definite chilling effect in government due to these investigations.” ~Washington Post

“the president’s crackdown chills dissent, curtails a free press and betrays Obama’s initial promise to ‘usher in a new era of open government.'” ~Bloomberg report

So the powerful call for more cyber-warfare, more government surveillance of the citizenry, and to privatize that surveillance state the way they are privatizing everything else in our rapidly corporatizing fascist nation.

The comfy relations between the private sector and law enforcement poses a risk to the rights and freedoms of the individual. But authoritarians accept government power as inherently valid and government claims as inherently true. It’s easy for them to accept the secrecy, and to punish defiers as traitors.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-02-02: Austere Warnings by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

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War of the Worldviews

PLAYLIST
In the Hall of the Mountain King – The Ratmen
Grim Grinning Ghosts – Barenaked Ladies
The Dragon – Vangelis
The War of the Worlds Musical Version – Jeff Wayne
The Horror – RJD2
The Boogie Monster – Gnarls Barkley
Ghost Of Frankenstein – Scientist
Dracula – Gorillaz
Season of the Dead – Gein and the Graverobbers
Haunted House – Lee Oskar

There’s plenty to be frightened of in the real world this Halloween season. Both candidates, in the shameful final debate, expressed their love of drones and Israel‘s war crimes. It wasn’t a debate so much as an agreement.

An Israeli human rights organization, Gisha, sued in Israeli courts to force the release of a planning document  for ‘putting the Palestinians on a diet’ without risking the bad press of mass starvation, and the courts concurred. The document, produced by the Israeli army, appears to be a calculation of how to limit Palestinians’ calories, the Israeli military was actually plotting to keep Palestinians in Gaza (half of them children) permanently on the brink of malnutrition, what health professionals call “food insecurity”. And, it was foreseeable that sometimes they would slip into malnutrition, since not as many trucks were always let in every day as the Israeli army recommended (106 were recommended, but it was often less in the period 2007-2010).

Planning for keeping people on the edge is nearly as bad as planning actually to starve them. And at the same time, both Obama and Romney called for harsher sanctions against Iran, while misleading the American people about a nonexistent nuclear weapons program.

OOOOOH! BE AFRAID!!

Obama, on a recent Daily Show appearance, used the only halfway hard-hitting question (on extending Bush’s illegal wiretapping) to mislead once again:

“The truth is we have modified them and built a legal structure and safeguards in place that weren’t there before on a whole range issues.”

No, the truth is, there’s no indication that the still-active warrantless wiretapping program—a dragnet on millions of innocent Americans’ communications—has significantly changed from the day Obama took office. With regard to the FISA Amendments Act, the Obama Administration has actively opposed all proposed safeguards in Congress, his Administration has been even more aggressive than Bush in trying to prevent warrantless wiretapping victims from having their day in court and has continued building the massive national security infrastructure needed to support it.

The Obama administration is actively opposing any new privacy safeguards or transparency provisions, saying it is their “top priority” to renew it with no changes. He cites State Secrets Privilege, Sovereign Immunity, Secret FISA Court Opinions, and Secret Safeguards.

Via WIRED:

The Obama administration is again arguing that a lawsuit accusing the NSA of vacuuming up Americans’ electronic communications without warrants threatens national security and would expose state secrets if litigated.

“This case may be dismissed on the ground that its very subject matter constitutes a state secret,” the government said (.pdf) in a legal filing in San Francisco federal court.

Brought by the EFF, the case is now four years old and its merits have never been litigated. The civil rights group claims that the major telecoms provided the NSA a warrantless backdoor to the nation’s communication backbone. Despite the government’s protestations that talking about the program would expose national secrets, the program is well-known, well-documented, and as of 2008, partially legalized by a compliant Congress.

Just two weeks ago, the Supreme Court terminated the EFF’s case against the telcos for their participation in the program. The justices declined to review 2008 congressional legislation giving the telcos immunity from being sued for their participation. Congress adopted the law after a federal judge rejected the government’s state-secrets claim.

When Congress passed the law, the EFF targeted the gov instead, accusing it of running a massive dragnet spy operation without warrants. The allegations are based in part on a former AT&T technician who produced internal company documents suggesting that the NSA was surveilling internet traffic from a secret room at an AT&T switching center in San Francisco, and similar facilities around the country.

Via RT:

“Both parties are colluding in denying you your First and Fifth amendment rights under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, and both candidates refuse to discuss this bipartisan assault on civil liberties,” a message posted on the Stop NDAA website reads.

And the rules have been permanently set up by Obama’s overpowered executive branch, that any conservative president that may take office will find himself intrenched in a counterterrorism agenda that includes vague demographic profiling, secret kill lists, and robotic targeted execution. Democrats would rather remain blissfully ignorant of these civil and human rights abuses, and Republicans are drooling over the prospect of getting them for themselves.

Democrats “do not have the foggiest idea what is happening in the White House, and obviously does not care in the slightest, because the person doing it is part of their party.”

Or worse, that supposition that extra-constitutional national security and civil liberties policies are no longer permitted to be part of any “serious” national political discussion.

Luckily, if no one in the United States will step up, the United Nations will.

The United Nations plans to set up a special investigation unit in early 2013 to look at incidents of civilian death in U.S. drone strikes. Speaking Thursday at Harvard Law School, U.N. special rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC, who monitors counter-terrorism programs, announced plans for the investigative team, which will be based in Geneva. According to the UK’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, “U.N. investigators have been critical ofU.S. ‘extrajudicial executions’ since they began in 2002. The new Geneva-based unit will also look at the legality of the program.”

Emmerson said in his Harvard announcement, “If the relevant states are not willing to establish effective independent monitoring mechanisms … then it may in the last resort be necessary for the U.N. to act.” He noted:

[It is] alleged that since President Obama took office at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. [U.N. consultant, professor of human rights] Christof Heyns … has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view.

And activist groups like the ACLU, EFF, and Muckrock are continuing the fight against robotic death from above, requesting hundred of public records on surveillance drones.

The very concept is chilling, especially as the drones begin to decide for themselves who to spy on, profile, and kill. And though comparisons may be rife, the thought of hungry alien invaders this Halloween may just have to take a backseat to the reality of unfeeling war machines.

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

Expertise

“Everyone is ignorant, just in different subjects” – Will Rogers

I sometimes commiserate with other workers in the service sector of our corporate reality, that allegedly brilliant lawyers, stockbrokers, even policy-makers cannot seem to find a book or order a sandwich intelligently to save their lives. I am not implying that this invalidates their other skills, just illustrating how none of us are as smart as we think we are.

This phenomenon can be illustrated by the way people interact with my room. One friend of mine, amidst party-goers and video-game players, managed to effortlessly peruse my vinyl collection (even pointing out a miscategorization) and select three musical gems in succession. Others would not have been adept at operating a record player, no matter how new. Different people react differently and with varying levels of interest, curiosity, and affinity to my eclectic bookshelf. Even more counter-cultural types will be drawn to the sticker wall, perhaps recognizing a street art hero or adding to it themselves.

I noticed that a recent visitor, compatriot and video-game enthusiast who stayed on my couch was immediately familiar with the whirring sound an XBox makes while the controller is left in to charge. He unplugged it before drifting off to sleep, but others would’ve (and have) been confused, not knowing the sound’s origin, how to stop it, or been mistaken as to its utility. Compare this to the complex usage of remote controls on my system, which is nearly impossible for anyone to master.

At this point, my girlfriend knows nearly everything about my room, its contents and workings. I’m really not all that complicated.

Even the video games themselves offer a microcosm of the diverse talents, skill sets and interests available to the general population. Many require Halo or some other FPS to really excel and be entertained. My girlfriend and many others only seem truly fulfilled by Action/Adventure RPGs, such as Skyrim, Fable, or Fallout. Almost everyone has some patience for a good puzzle game, like Braid, but with their own level of competency. Throw in a classic copy of MarioKart, however, and you really start to see some sparks fly. A rare few seem able to dominate any gametype. And most people who visit, ‘hang out’ or party have no interest or skill in video games at all.

The possible extrapolations of which really have me thinking. It’s not that Jamie Dimon is an idiot, I’m sure he’s very skilled and competent at dominating and cheating the system. He just has no patience and knowledge of how ridiculous he looks lying in front of Congress. It’s not that Mitt Romney misspeaks when he alienates the “lower classes” using Ivy League, Ayn Rand 1% rhetoric. He just doesn’t understand, he isn’t experienced, and can’t comprehend what America means to most Americans.

This does not excuse them, of course, from pretending to know what’s best for everyone, while really only serving their own self-interests.

Whether they are attempting to preach economists (while refuting the top economic analysts), make claims about science (while contradicting leading scientists), or speak for the American people (in spite of the protests of their constituents and customers), the authoritarian types can’t seem to stop “being experts” on everything! It’s really quite remarkable, what with all the information that’s out there, that any one person could make such a claim, and assume they are 100% correct.

If I came over to your house and started rearranging your kitchen utensils based on my own knowledge of culinary efficiency, I would be in no proper context at all. I am neither a chef, nor am I as intimately familiar with your organizational comfort level and and ease-of-use as you are.

Whenever the rich, the pundits, the legislators, the lawyers, the demagogues, the elites, and the corporate mouthpieces try to appeal to authority, make sure you ask, on whose authority, anyway? More often than not, they’re speaking out of their ass, scientifically speaking.

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

Progger (Prog Rock + Prog Politics)

With so much trouble in the USA, I’ll need some complex and conceptual instrumentation to help my concentration in relation to the the shifting paradigms and persecutions perpetrated by the status quo!

With Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) holding hearings on contraception and religious freedom that produced the now-famous picture of a table full of men called to weigh in on access to contraceptives, barring women from testifying like a strict theocratic state in the Middle East!

With police arresting the victim of wrongful foreclosure simply for demanding a place to live for his family!

With our elected officials answering to the wealthy instead of the rest of us, or better, all of us equally, their priorities shift dramatically, often against the American people!

With cyberwar hype fuelling a cybersecurity-industrial complex! With private corporations pushing for stricter criminal penalties for smaller crimes to fill the coffers of their prison-industrial complex!

Angry political ranting, longform chaotic musical experimentation, space-time exploration, and run-on sentences abound in this very progressive episode of the Stranger in a Strange Land!

PLAYLIST
In the Hall of the Mountain King – Electric Light Orchestra
Departure/Ride My See-Saw – Moody Blues
Stagnation – Genesis
Dharma for one – Jethro Tull
The Idiot Bastard Son – Jean-Luc Ponty
Myopic Void – Captain Beyond
No Good Trying – Syd Barrett
Cops & Robbers – Wild Man Fischer
A Story of Mysterious Forest – Ain Soph
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-IX) – Pink Floyd
Stoned Guitar – Human Instinct
South Side Of The Sky – Yes
Alucard – Gentle Giant
2112 – Rush
Promenade – Tomita
From the Beginning – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Epitaph – King Crimson

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-02-18: Progger by The Stranger on Mixcloud

Though you may hear progressive chants on anything from income equality to prisoners, racist police brutality to corporate fraud, bought-out politicians subverting our democracy or people getting kicked out of their homes or nonviolent small-case drug offenses leading to convictions or student loan justice… the message is clear. We don’t want non-elected and/or bought power-mongers controlling us and corrupting every inch of our once-free and once-great nation of laws and justice.

We need to be wary of all kinds of things that will lead us into a totalitarian dictatorship, or the patriarchal oligarchy that enslaves us to the fanatical right-wing beliefs of a select few. Did the people of Weimar Germany know what would be coming a few decades later? And before you accuse me of unfairly applying Godwin’s Law, I’ll also use France as an example. Did the violent revolutionaries overthrowing the rich monarchs know that a militant megalomaniac would conquer much of the world in a few years’ time? I’m not invoking nazis to compare any modern group to them, (that would make me Glenn Beck) just as an example that we are NOT on some liberal march as a species to a better tomorrow. While awareness of human rights has been relatively progressive overall, heinous acts still take place not only in third-world nations but in every nation in the world, and if history is any indicator, a great period of civil liberty can be followed by evil Emperors or cruel tyranny.

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

Because “progressive” in this day and age, just means trying to keep us from going backwards.

The Hunter S Thompson Tribute Show

2010-02-20

Readings, reflections, recordings and ravings of a mad Southern gentleman and his friends, enemies, fans and musical infleunces and influencees. The Stranger gets gonzo on the air with DJ C-Foo and a whole lot of audio psychotropics as tribute to the late, great journalistic genius, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Because when the going gets weird*, the weird turn pro.

PLAYLIST
Tom Waits – What’s He Building In There – Mule Variations
Big Brother and The Holding Company – In the Hall of the Mountain King
Booker T & MGs – Time is Tight
James Booker – Gonzo
Sonny Boy Williamson – Bring it on Home
Flying Burrito Brothers – Sin City – Sweetheart of the Rodeo
Cadillac Angels – Outlaw Beatnik – 16 Tons of Twang
Hermann Thieme – Dirty Drugs – Hard Hitting: Wewerka Soul Jazz
Brewer & Shipley – One Toke Over the Line
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Long As I Can See the Light – Cosmo’s Factory
Steve Earle – Devil’s Right Hand
Laurie Anderson – Language is a Virus – Talk Normal
Elvis Presley – Promised Land
Lucky Starr – I’ve Been Everywhere
Doors – Alabama Song – Doors
Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit
Hugo Montenegro – Jilly’s Joint – Lady in Cement
Modulo 1000 – Animalia – Nao Fale Com Paredes
Steppenwolf – The Pusher – Easy Rider Soundtrack
Dick Dale – Banzai Washout – Big Surf
Lee Hazelwood – Muchacho
Ralph Steadman, Hunter S. Thompson, Mo Dean – Weird and Twisted Nights – Gonzo
Cowboy Junkies – Sweet Jane
Warren Zevon – Lawyers, Guns & Money
Green Willis – Whiskey Before Breakfast
Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In the Sky

Buy the ticket, take the ride:

Stranger in a Strange Land 2010-02-20: Hunter S Thompson Tribute by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

*”It never got weird enough for me.”
-Hunter S. Thompson

“Graffiti is beautiful, like a brick in the face of a cop.”
-Hunter S. Thompson

Commodore Bob is here

so I would like to relate to you a conversation we had a while back that can only be envisioned as we sat up on the floor eight: the Industrial Design floor, swirling our Brandy snifters, speaking as if arrogant British Gentlemen’s Club Members were we with monocles and mutton-chops.

Bresh: What is this music we are listening to on Compact Disc, Bobert?
Bobert: Ah, you know me, Breshvic. It’s just Bach again.
Bresh: You know what they say, Bobert. You can’t go Bach again.
(arrogant chortling)
Bobery: Quite right. Quite right. Still, I’d like a compilation of other classical composers, just to mix it up.
Bresh: Well, maybe I’ll make you a Liszt.
Bobert: You know, if it isn’t Baroque, I don’t fix it.
(more arrogant chortling)
Bobert: Ah, the little people!
Bresh: Yes, they’re so Goddamned little.

It’s fun to be arrogant sometimes. It waters it down so that you won’t do it all the time. Just make sure you do it around people that you don’t care too much for in the first place.