Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Way Forward


Regular readers are accustomed to me identifying a problem, then wasting about a thousand words complaining about it, and then not offering any solutions, finishing up with a “good luck!” I had an epiphany this morning. For a change, I have a suggestion about how we can move forward. You're not going to like it.

We are now quite familiar with what does not work. We have watched the people in charge (hereinafter, “TPIC,” TM Frederick Ceely, 2019) rob us all blind and weaken or close-off our constitutional freedoms continuously for about fifty years now. I've been over all of that ground many times. During the 1970s, we were preoccupied with the crash of the dollar, “terrified by” might be a better phrase, which made it hard to see the brewing political storm that was mostly behind the scenes at that point. During the 1980s, Teflon Ron raised our taxes while dramatically lowering taxes for TPIC. He also put the country disastrously in debt. During the 1990s, many of us hoped that Bill Clinton would put us back on track as a leading western democracy that was fiscally responsible and responsive to people's needs. He turned out to be a mixed blessing; it was one step forward and two steps back. As productivity shot through the metaphoric roof, real wages were stagnant while jobs disappeared and prices rose dramatically. He did balance the budget, but he did it partly on the backs of working people. The year 2000 will go down in history as the beginning of the end of American democracy. Congress entered a period of gridlock from which it has never emerged; the Supreme Court proved that it had been thoroughly politicized; and W. Bush coasted to whatever hell his handlers had in store for us. The national debt returned to a zoom-climb while Bush returned to Reagan's pattern of cutting taxes for TPIC while raising them for the rest of us. By the time Barack Obama was elected, there was no longer a functioning government in the United States.

Then the real catastrophe struck. Demons flooded out of every crack in the earth and grabbed every lever of power in the country. We now have a shell of a government that has little interest in governing and no interest at all in the welfare of the people, except TPIC. We have no Constitution that we can turn to in this emergency. Most of the countries in the world, including America, have abandoned reason in favor of one mania or another, a catalog of doom that includes, but is not limited to, greed, religion, racial “purity,” historical grievances, pure hatred, judgmentalism (moral or otherwise), or self-interest. Or it may be some combination of these things. Or it may manifest itself as pure stupidity, not apparently moored to anything in particular. All over the world, huge swaths of the earth are now governed by political entities that never give two consecutive thoughts to the general welfare of the ordinary working families that make up the great majority of the people under their jurisdiction. No, they are consumed instead by other thoughts all together, generally thoughts of money, and how they can personally get their hands on it. All of this is transpiring against the horrific background of momentous climate changes that will soon, without doubt, ceremony, or recourse, end our so-called civilization as we have known it for the last twelve thousand years.

The way forward? Didn't someone say that there might be a way forward? Yes, that was me. I remember my promise. Today's epiphany was the realization that we no longer have recourse to any solutions that are based in traditional politics.

I, like many people, have spent much of the last fifty years longing for our government to change direction. We could see that it was all going to hell. Some of us remember the tail end of forty years of government favoring the interests, security, and well being of regular working Americans. That would be from about 1930 to about 1970. (Insert standard disclaimer about minorities and homosexuals not sharing in the benefits.) We hoped, as things began to go off the rails, that our democratic institutions, using our Constitution and our political parties, would begin again to put the interests of regular people first. I longed for it until the presidential election of 2000. I increasingly feared for it for more than a decade afterwards. Now I have despaired of ever seeing it arise from the ashes of our traditional politics. That ship has sailed.

What's left? Well, revolution, of course! The people whose interests I want to see being served must themselves do something. They must take action. They must use force. But Mr. Fred, what kind of force are you talking about?

Americans are terrified of revolution. This is, in a way, odd, because the country itself was founded by a revolutionary cabal and wrested by force from a colonial power. The United States was conceived and brought forth into the world in a bloody revolution. Please let the record show clearly that I am not suggesting that we try that again. The circumstances that allowed it to happen in the late 18th Century no longer exist. The colonial power had long been at war with another large European colonial power, and that made life difficult for them and provided an ally for us. There was also the fact that three thousand miles of ocean needed to be crossed in sailing ships before the colonial power could so much as punch us in the nose. No, we won't be shooting our way out of this one, boys and girls.

Revolutions come in many styles and varieties. Shooting up the place is out of the question, and asking TPIC nicely has yielded no results. We need to find an effective strategy somewhere in the middle.

The job before us is huge, and so must our effort be huge. I'm talking about large peaceful demonstrations. Better perhaps to call it a large but unpredictable pattern of repeating demonstrations. Something along the line of flash-mobs, let's say. Enough to keep the issues that are important to us in the news at all times. Oh, I recall that the news is a wholly owned subsidiary now of TPIC, so let's say “in people's eyes” at all times. This could be accomplished in the real world, in traffic centers everywhere on an almost constant basis, or in the digital world.

Super-demonstrations would be part of the strategy, but not all of it. Hundreds of thousands of people have been demonstrating for the last couple of years. The reporting of it all in the corporate media has been light and condescending. Something needs to change about that.

There needs to be a focused statement and purpose for it all. It must be ONE revolution. Not a march for women over here, and for trans-people over here, and for fast-food workers over there. ONE revolution, to restore our government to the service of the ordinary working people of the United States. ONE revolution with clearly stated goals that the vast majority of Americans can support. ONE revolution that can keep the pressure on indefinitely.

One serious problem that arises immediately will be how to keep TPIC from killing it in its cradle. I suggest keeping it all very simple and unfocused; keeping it “leaderless,” so there are no particularly important people to arrest or co-opt; keeping it so simple that anyone can be a leader, locally, where it should all be focused anyway; keeping it free of any hierarchy at all, so that when one person is arrested there are many other people in that locale who can take their place.

Make no mistake, this will get a lot of people arrested, and imprisoned. I suggest that individual families nominate someone in their family who can take the hit without being destroyed by it. That's for the more serious arrests, where prison time may be considerable. For simpler arrests, like illegal assembly, or failure to disperse, or interfering with police business, I would suggest that the more arrests are made, the better. The more people who are sentenced to ninety days, or community service, the better. Get millions of people arrested, tens of millions. Let them fill up football stadiums with people arrested for demanding their government back. Let them build concentration camps. If the message has been kept simple and appealing, if the demands are reasonable and obviously good for everyone, the arrests will only bring in more Americans sympathetic to the cause.

The revolution must not be AGAINST anyone, not against the government, not against the rich. The revolution must be FOR everyone. What is demanded must only be things that will benefit everyone. They should even benefit the descendants of TPIC. Get money out of politics; restore some kind of one man one vote equality; institute a decent and fair tax system that allows the rich to profit from their ideas and hard work while providing the government with the money that it needs to maintain infrastructure and look after people who struggle to look after themselves; take profit out of the health care business. And doesn't it go without saying by now: begin an emergency program to mitigate the effects of climate change?

This post is just one man's idea of a way to begin. I start with the proposition that it is immoral to simply give up. I say this, even though giving up is obviously the only sensible thing to do. Just give up and hope for the best. So many people today are trying desperately to hold on to what they've got, waiting for their money to run out with no clear idea of what they'll do then. I'm one of them. If this is America that we're talking about, something like half of those people have guns. (I do not.) For the gun-crowd, when the money runs out, and they're still in their late sixties with no job prospects, that's a toss-up between them committing suicide and shooting up some library or something. People joke about it. “Yeah, I guess when the money runs out I'll go to Norway on a tourist visa and rob a bank. The prison cells up there are a lot nicer than my trailer.” There are alternatives! We must acknowledge that income security, health care security, education security, job security, and retirement security are important to everyone. Security for everyone enhances everyone's security. No one in our government now seems to care about those things. In fact, they are actively trying to make things more difficult for us. We have a right to those things. Don't listen when TPIC tell you that no one has a right to anything “for nothing,” that you worked hard for what you have and now people want to take it from you! TPIC want you to believe all of that so that they can continue to pick your pockets.

I'm saying that we can no longer expect any help from our democratic institutions. They have failed. There will be no help coming from the Democrats, or any upcoming elections, and certainly no help coming from the Republicans. I am also saying that we cannot just give up. We need to unite and fight this peaceful revolution together. I mean together, not as lefties or conservatives, not as workers, not as men, or women, or trannies, or Boomers, or Millennials. Together, united. We need to put our asses on the line and fight for what we all believe is right.(People who know me are laughing at that last bit. I live in Thailand, and believe me when I tell you that I will not be doing any demonstrating outside the American Embassy. So all of this is cheap-talk, I suppose.)

I was in high school when I watched Martin Luther King fight for equal rights for the former slaves. The Constitution, in its amendments, gave them all of the rights to freedom that are enjoyed by any American. As of one hundred years later, neither the Federal government nor any of the state governments had ever seen fit to allow the former slaves to enjoy those rights. They had to fight for them, and they did so peacefully, with great nobility, and with quite a bit of success. We are in an analogous situation. Greed and corruption have totally taken over our government, and our so-called representatives no longer sees fit to allow us to enjoy our rights as citizens. The Constitution has been torn up; our government officials worry only about feathering their own nests; and TPIC like everything just the way it is. All of this while our prosperity and the climate of the earth itself continue to degrade. What further sign from God are we waiting for?

That's your choice, really. Revolution, or despair. Accept the end, or fight for a new beginning. It's up to you.

I have grandchildren, and I will confess that considering their futures was my greatest motivation in writing this thing down.

DISCLAIMER: None of the above advises anyone to break any law at all, no Federal law and no law of any of the United States. None of the above is critical of any particular law, not directly and not by implication. None of the above advises or condones the use of violence, in any way, shape, or form, against any individual person, any business entity of an form, or any government building, office, or other manifestation of government, Federal or local, literal or figurative. The writer has not consulted with any individual or organization prior to the publication of this blog post.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Nils Lofgren - Goin' Back - The Old Grey Whistle Test



This is superb. Nils, mea maxima culpa, babe. I never paid attention. I even thought that you were dead! It's been my loss over the years, obviously. This is wonderful. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Spin Easy Time!: Miharu Koshi and Haruomi Hosono - Swing Slow (1996...

This is a recent post, but the arrival of additional information has caused me to add a substantial amendment. There's much more fascination here than I realized.

Spin Easy Time!: Miharu Koshi and Haruomi Hosono - Swing Slow (1996...: This is a very Japanese record. I don't think that it could have arisen from any other musical culture. I have come to believe that th...


Shoo Rah - Chris Kenner



Instant Records, 1967. 

Surprises In English Vocabulary


Many English words do not mean what we think they mean. I am including myself in the “we.” Many of us suffer from misapprehensions. Strange shifts may appear upon closer examination, and the shifts may be moving through the language slowly by dint of daily usage, or misusage, as the case may be.

Enervate.” To enervate means, “to cause to feel drained of energy.” From the Latin, enervare (to weaken, specifically to weaken by extraction of the sinews). I've been misusing this word forever, thinking that it meant the opposite of its true meaning. I thought that it meant to energize someone or something, to add energy. Note to English learners: we are all English learners. If we keep paying attention, we continue to learn until death overtakes us.

Nonplussed.” This one I've always gotten right, but the word is now in a strange state of flux. It means, “surprised and confused.” For example, “Larry was nonplussed when the lights came on and everybody yelled Happy Birthday!” You may recall, as I do, that the word has frequently been used incorrectly over the years to mean the opposite. Nonplussed often appears when the intended meaning is that someone took a surprising event very casually, as though they expected it to happen, or were in on the joke. This opposite meaning is now simultaneously correct.

My Oxford Concise gives the original meaning to the word, so “surprised and confused” is still the preferred usage. There is now a note, however, to the effect that in “North American informal usage,” nonplussed means “unperturbed.” I do not possess the type of mind that can immediately call up a list of words that can simultaneously be taken to have opposite meanings. If you can think of some, I'd love to hear about it.

English must be watched like a naughty teenager hanging around the liquor cabinet. There is a generous layer of mischief close to the surface of English. This, I believe, is a good thing. If English were easy, it would not be so much fun.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Miharu Koshi and Haruomi Hosono - Swing Slow (1996) FULL ALBUM



This is a very Japanese record. I don't think that it could have arisen from any other musical culture. I have come to believe that there is something in the way that the Japanese language orders the information to be conveyed that lends itself to the arrangement of sound into music. As the Japanese language is unique among languages, Japanese music has an unmistakable Japaneseness to it. 

What does this sound like? Well, maybe it sounds like some kind of minimalist Shibuyakai music. There are aspects of it that reminded me of the great Cornelius. Or, it might be unique. You tell me! 

I have reminded myself that in August I posted a stand-alone song by Haruomi, a surreal version of the Carpenters hit, "Close to You," rendered as "Close to Me." ("Just like me, they long to be, close to me . . .") I have also discovered that Haruomi has been turning out cutting edge material since 1970, was a founding member of Yellow Magic Orchestra, and remains alive and sufficiently healthy to be touring Europe as we speak. 

Long ago I wondered about old age and whether it would become necessary at some point to look further afield to find new things to be fascinated by. I was thinking of extreme measures, like taking on an intense interest in opera music. Luckily, such extreme steps are not required. The world is full of things that we already love, but have not yet discovered. They are related to things that we know and love, but only as aspects hitherto hidden from us. This is a lucky break, and I am very grateful. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Goin' Back - Dusty Springfield ( Some more images of Blackburn Lancashi...



This is a Goffin/ King number and I believe that Dusty's version, this version, was the first. The year was 1966. The only reason that I can think of for including old photos from "Blackburn Lancashire" (no punctuation) would be those four thousand holes mentioned by the Beatles in their particularly pretentious song, "A Day in the Life."