Of Muscovies & Musicians

I like the birds for many reasons. First, they don’t have petty egos. Individual members are never placed above the good of the species. There are clearly defined rules of engagement & cooperation with birds. The pecking order is always respected, and if a member gets out-of-line, they get clipped by an alpha. And when the fight is over, everything is back to normal, with no grudges. Muscovies, mallards, mockingbirds, cardinals, and even a red-headed woodpecker peacefully share this feeding area I’ve established. That’s what can be learned from this photo above.

But this poster (above) bothers me, and I’ll explain, since it’s complicated. I’m not the biggest Drivin N’ Cryin fan, but I’d like to see them, because I like a few of their songs & respect them. They fit in with the BoDeans, Connells, Soundgarden, etc, back in the day of “120 Minutes” on MTV, when “Honeysuckle Blue” broke them into college rock.

Drivin N’ Cryin played in Sanford, at West End Trading Co about 3 years ago. I saw the flier the night of the show, it was $18. I had at least a twenty, but decided against it, because I was tired and it was already late as the opening band was still onstage. As I said, I’m not a HUGE fan, but I also knew I missed an opportunity to see a name band and judge for myself.

So now they’re coming around again, so I gotta go, right? This venue is about a mile from where I live, so I’ll walk downtown, as usual. This is to be an outdoor show on Sunday at 1:00 PM, and the weather forecast is 80 degrees & sunny. Here’s the thing, the venue is trying to sell tickets for the event! In this era of coronavirus, where smart people want to be socially distanced, these owners think they can get people to pay $7-20 to pack-in close to the outdoor stage. I promise you that Drivin N’ Cryin will have stack amps & a monster PA system that will be heard distinctly for hundreds of yards in all directions. These are the kind of promoters who wanted to charge patrons for Woodstock.

And finally there’s the Saturday line-up. A veritable who’s who of Orlando-area musical gatekeepers, gathering & reforming old projects to make themselves look new again. It’s a tired act, I must say. I may stop by to see a few familiar faces, who like to pretend they never worked on Electrified!, and refuse to respect the album. To me, these are overinflated musical egos mixing with rotten politics. I don’t kiss that ass because I’m WAY too good for that, and besides, it’s toxic. It’s up to them to come around, and show some respect for a change, otherwise I mostly ignore them.

It’s not like the good old days when you could call up some friends and say, “Hey let’s go see a cool band!” There are no cool bands anymore. Corporate has killed the growth of new ones, while commodifying all the old ones by the mid-2000’s. Who are the great rock bands of the 21st century? Coldplay? Wilco? Please.

It takes will & perseverance, along with talent, to keep a good band together– and a little luck doesn’t hurt either. Every member has to be committed to the cause, whatever it is, whether it’s to be artistic or commercial, or some kind of hybrid.

It’s hard to write original music that grabs the kids, and hold everything together under the pressure of making money, when the only way a band/artist is allowed to perform is by being corporate. This means blandish, non-inflammatory originals, with traditional covers for all the genres. That’s the way it is everywhere.

Things have gotten far too complicated with rock music. Too much of it doesn’t really rock. Too many old folks unwilling to give it up, are sucking-up all the money, media & venues for themselves & their cronies. This is a venue system which encourages mediocrity, and seeks to exclude anything exceptional, which will reveal them as phonies. When people wonder why rock ain’t what it used be, THIS is why?

I’m beyond heckling (which I’m aces at) for all these Saturday acts. As soon as you see me yawning, it’s getting time for me to go. I can’t stay awake for weak stuff anymore. All this is taken by them as a great affront, when they are the ones boring everybody to tears. Like I said, it’s not easy going to these local shows anymore. They aren’t fun.  Everything lacks originality and/or energy.

As long as artists such as myself are blacklisted, this musical suckitude will continue. This is by design, with bitter politics keeping fans away from artists with revolutionary meaning & youthful energy.

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Amazon unionization campaign fails in Bessemer, AL

Of nearly 6,000 Amazon employees at the Bessemer, Alabama facility, only about 55% of the workers cast ballots, all by mail. A simple majority is needed to approve unionization under the RWDSU. So far the “no” votes lead 1,100, to 463 for pro-union. The unionization campaign, backed by significant elements of the state, is heading towards catastrophic failure.

It seems the Amazon workers don’t want the retail workers union bureaucrats representing them, and they certainly don’t want to have to pay union dues to these corrupt betrayers.

The campaign to bring the RWDSU in at Amazon is supported by Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders & Marco Rubio– all of whom are enemies of the working people. It’s an attempt to bring the workers under control of a corrupt union apparatus.

The SEP/WSWS has countered this campaign with a call to form rank-and-file workers committees, which the ruling class fears above all else. The SEP activities have been entirely blacked-out in the fake media. The apparent defeat of this unionization drive is largely due to WSWS organizing efforts, which is alarming to the elites.

For more background see: “The class issues behind the unionization drive at Amazon,” published by the World Socialist Web Site on March 26, 2021. They have published other articles on this too.

This is all part of a much wider struggle to organize workers of all industries, races & nationalities under the banner of revolutionary socialism. It’s called Trotskyism, and it lives in the Fourth International, whose daily political organ is the World Socialist Web Site. Become a reader, supporter & member. It’s the only place to get real labor news & analysis. This is the only way forward, as opposed to the never-ending barbarisms of capitalism.

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, mostly uncontrolled, it’s the workers who are facing the brunt of its consequences. Increasingly unsafe working conditions, with double the work at half the pay, is the “new normal” from corporate. More & more, it’s becoming about survival. The working people must realize that this is a war, and that the dividing line is economic class. Workers of the world must unite in order to win the Coronavirus War.

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The unreality of identity politics in sports

You don’t think we asked for more money? I mean, what are we screaming about? Nonstop! –– Megan Rapinoe

In case you haven’t noticed, women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe has been on the offensive in the media. She claims the USWNT deserves equal pay to the men, when it has already been proven in court that the women have been paid MORE than the men in the past decade. This lesbian athlete, now activist, has Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton & Joe Biden behind her, so she’s hard to stop at this time.

Draymond Green is correct in what he says, but politics are there in the media to distort the argument in favor of Megan Rapinoe’s reactionary agenda. All this is being driven by something much bigger than her.

It’s so easy to be bold when the field has been cleared for you. Megan Rapinoe always claims to be so educated, as compared to whomever she’s attacking. Yet she distorts facts, and won’t listen to reason, in any sense. For example, under capitalism (and Rapinoe is surely a capitalist), you are paid as an athlete according to what you can bring in economically. That was Draymond Greens’ central point during his Twitter storm, and Megan Rapinoe never honestly addresses it.

The NCAA basketball tournaments have just concluded for the men & women. Both were broadcast on TV networks & big cable channels. They were also available for free streaming on the internet. Basically, everyone who wanted to watch had access.

The 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship game attracted 16.9 million viewers to CBS on Monday (April 5), as Baylor beat undefeated Gonzaga 86-70. It wasn’t even that close, as the refs really helped the Zags stay in it. That hurt the ratings as Gonzaga had an Off Night.

This was a 14% decline from the 2019 game. The 2020 tournament was canceled due to the pandemic, and the Virginia-Auburn (2019) championship game went into OT.

The two women’s Final Four games on Friday (April 2) averaged 2.2 million viewers for ESPN, and Sunday’s championship game between Stanford–Arizona brought in 4.05 million viewers. Both are up from 2019, with the semifinals improving by 22%, and the title game by 10.5%.

The men’s Final Four average audience for Saturday’s two games on CBS (11.81 million) was down 14% from 2019. The men’s Final Four suffered smaller drops than the most recent World Series, NBA & NHL finals, and college football’s national championship game.

But as we can see from the raw numbers, even under these media trends (women up, men down), women only draw ~ 20-25% of the viewers that men do. The truth is the interest isn’t as intense for the women sports, unless there’s a transcending superstar such as Mia Hamm, the Williams’ sisters, Maria Sharapova, or Danica Patrick.

Megan Rapinoe isn’t in that class. Being hyped “elite” anymore, ain’t what it used to be. There are egos & big money involved here, so people will be dishonest, but Megan Rapinoe’s appeal is very limited. She’s abrasive, and not beautiful. How do you market that to a mass audience?

In a rare moment of candor she notes, “We are getting obnoxious to ourselves, to be honest.” Think on that for a moment. This is a half-educated individual, with half-baked ideas, fed to her from half-hearted liberal supporters. Megan Rapinoe is a puppet on a string, and the worst kind, in that she doesn’t know it.

She represents a very limited strata of well-paid American athletes who believe they should get more, and are completely oblivious to everyone outside of their own interest group. Megan Rapinoe can tap into the reactionary #MeToo campaign as a woman, AND the LGBTQ…WXYZ campaign as a lesbian. Identity politics is still searching for its Holy Grail, a gay black women who is an athletic superstar. But as the song goes, two out three ain’t bad.

So all of you women teachers, don’t be fooled by this selfish poser. She’s a jock, which means she didn’t study in school, and speaks only for herself & the sponsors. All you women Amazon workers, don’t buy into this feminist crap which only seeks to divide men & women.

Feminists don’t care about workers on the job. You’re supposed to shut up & work, and then cheer for all of them on the weekends. All you girls in school, does that colored-hair phony have anything to say concerning crushing student loan debt? How about COVID-19 in the classroom? Girls are very affected by this.

Megan Rapinoe pontificates, “You know, just generally, the issue that we have with voter suppression in this country, I think everybody and every business and everything should be at the disposal to make sure that we’re influencing those laws in the right way.”

My first questions are: Who are “we,” and in whose interests are the laws to be influenced? She’s certainly not talking about working people, who are the ones that create all the value with their labor. By “we” she means her elitist colleagues. There needs to be more diversity amongst the oppressors. That’s the bottom-line argument of identity politics.

Then there’s is the issue of voter suppression. Socialists are systematically kept off election ballots– by the Democratic Party. This is an inconvenient political fact, which the likes of Megan Rapinoe always ignore. But facts are stubborn things. Any left-wing alternative to the Democratic party is censored & attacked by the deep state apparatus.

It doesn’t matter too much who the President is, because the deep state runs the show. The proof of that is the current US president clearly has dementia, and the VP is a puppet. So who’s running the country?

On October 31, 2019, former Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin (above) said to a live audience with reporters in the room, that he was grateful for the deep state’s role in prompting the Ukraine-gate impeachment of President Trump. “Well, you know, thank God for the deep state,” McLaughlin responded, provoking laughter and applause.

Until that day, those of us who had proclaimed its existence & massive influence were deemed “conspiracy theorists.” The deep state still isn’t completely acknowledged by the liberal media, as a cover-up for this nebulous institution, where all the political & economic levers-of-power are held.

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Pay to Play vaccinating

As far as getting serviced in Florida goes, it’s pay to play, it’s always been that way. That’s why Publix, Sam’s/Walmart, CVS, Winn Dixie, etc, have made deals for exclusive vaccine distribution in many areas. The hospitals have little-to-no public vaccinations available, which makes no sense.

This is all insurance & Medicare driven, for profit, in bed with the pharmaceuticals. Of course, there is a lucrative black market too. That’s often called a “pop-up site,” and they always seem to happen in wealthy zip codes. It’s a mystery where those millions of missing doses went.

The CDC website to find vaccines in your area is by zip code. My zip code says there are 29 sites available within 10 miles, but only 4 have vaccine in stock, and none ever have appointments available. This is mostly an exercise in data collection it appears.

The pharmacy & grocery chains don’t have full-time medical staff, so this choice of distribution model is curious from a logistics standpoint. Why aren’t mass vaccinations happening at every hospital? The answer in Florida appears to be that COVID-19 vaccines are being used to draw people into stores. That’s why these ill-suited businesses, which all contribute mightily to governor Ron DeSantis, are at the center of Florida’s disastrous vaccine rollout.

In Sanford, FL a few weeks back, there was an evening event at the downtown Civic Center, where teachers who were willing to teach in-person were vaccinated. This is how the vaccine is being distributed in the Coronavirus War, which disproportionally affects the working poor.

Whenever you see FREE*, check you wallet. Lots of FREE* vaccinations available, if you have insurance. All this make you wonder how the global pandemic will ever get solved? One thing that’s certain is this mess will not be resolved under capitalism. It will only get worse, until working people organize & rise up.

A global pandemic requires a globally coordinated response, but the opposite has happened. Mutating strains threaten to put humanity back at square one, precisely due to the class variegated nature of the response & rollout. The leaders of all nations are responsible and must be held accountable by the international working masses. Only a proletariat with an international socialist program of permanent revolution will conquer the coronavirus pandemic.

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Easter Sunday explained

Of all the American holidays celebrated, Easter is the most vague. What date does Easter fall on? Virtually no one can tell you that Easter falls on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere. In other words, the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after March 20. That wraps moon gazing & cyclical calendar events into the ancient myth of Jesus Christ.

For those of us who aren’t Christians, we seldom pay attention to Easter Sunday and all its rituals, such as everything with eggs– which is a traditional Church symbol of rebirth. That got extended into the Easter Bunny, chocolate rabbits, etc, which are modern marketing creations to sell us more junk.

Easter roughly coincides with Passover, as Christianity imitates Judaism. Passover is where: if you have the Jewish sign at your doorstep, then the avenging Angel of Death ‘passes over’ your home and spares your first born child. For this reason, it’s important to be Jewish during the week of Passover.

What are Christians celebrating when they assemble for Easter Sunday mass? Zombie Jesus Day. It’s been hyped as “The Greatest Story Ever Told” for nearly two millennia. Yet no Roman (pagan) scholars or recorders-of-events ever mentioned ANY of the alleged miracles claimed to be performed by Jesus Christ in the holy Gospels. There are no Christian writings before those of the gospel of Paul.

Saint Paul founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor & Europe from the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD. It is indisputable through scholarly research that one-quarter of the New Testament books are authentic writings of Paul, with possibly as many as half of its 27 books being written by him.

Easter Sunday, and in fact all of Christianity, is a worship of Paul the Apostle, who is worshiping a mythical Jesus Christ. For the record, Paul’s writing style is beautiful, and stuff like Corinthians 1 & 2 helped give early Christianity a big boost.

Are you that different sort of person who constantly gazes into the night sky, noticing the gibbous moon waxing towards fullness in early spring while saying to yourself, “What a silly & confusing way to mark an event.”

Easter was invented back when ancient societies were still using lunar calendars, and mankind had little-to-no science. Religion provided an origin explanation/myth, which we know today to be false. The real question is, “How & why does this ancient ritualistic nonsense still survive?”

Easter is an example of soft power. It doesn’t coerce you, it just is. It’s there every year, like daylight savings time, an event we must adapt to for no rationally explainable reason. The Church is the origin soft power. With its historical decline in influence, this soft power is usurped by the bourgeois state under capitalism.

For example, why the hell is a Polynesian island in the South Pacific with a thousand ancient monumental stone statues (called moai), named Easter Island? It’s because it was “discovered” by a Dutch adventurer, Jacob Roggeveen, on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722. The Rapa Nui are the indigenous Polynesian people of Easter Island, and they weren’t Christians, but they were wiped out in part by Christian slave traders. The remote Easter Island has belonged to Chile since 1966, and the US has owned Chile for much longer.

The Fabergé egg was an Easter symbol of Russian tsarism. An expensive indulgence in delicate art, meant only for the rich. As many as 69 Fabergé eggs were created, with 57 known to survive today. High maintenance & self indulgent to the extreme, the bejeweled eggs were produced by Peter Carl Fabergé from 1885 to 1917. The most famous are his “Imperial” eggs, 46 of which are known to survive, made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III & Nicholas II as Easter gifts for family.

This Fabergé egg tradition ended with the Russian Revolution, as Nicholas II & his ignorant & cruel family were shot dead as murderous criminals on March 15, 1918, just before Easter, by the newly formed Red Army under the command of Leon Trotsky.

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