Fractured Fairy Tales: The Democratic Party

Once upon a time a real novelist wrote 1984, giving humanity an Orwellian view of post-WW2 politics. By the time 1984 arrived in our Gregorian calendar, the Democratic Party had completely collapsed, with Mondale/Ferraro winning only 13 electoral votes (Minnesota & DC); to 525 for Republican incumbents Reagan/Bush. No one ever mentioned Walter Mondale or Geraldine Ferraro again.

In 1980, Democratic incumbent President Jimmy Carter was routed by Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bush, sweeping anti-working class conservatism into the 1980’s. Ronald Reagan began as a Hollywood B-movie actor (mostly westerns), who is clichéd & tiresome in every performance– and there were far too many. No one watches his movies anymore, and very few ever did in the first place.

Anti-communism was Democratic President Harry Truman’s post-war doctrine, a pivot from FDR’s alliance with the Soviet Union. Containment became rollback, and Ronald Reagan & John Wayne were the Hollywood faces of this ideology. Actors suspected of socialism were blacklisted by Hollywood & the music industry in NY, LA & Nashville. If you wanted back in, you had to go to both their mansions and kiss their rings while pleading for mercy. It wasn’t pretty for those who did. Many talented blacklisted actors left Hollywood, or committed suicide. It was an ideological war back then, and it remains that way today. Inane performers write silly songs longing for these good old days to return…

In the 1980’s, Paul Voelker and the Federal Reserve were in step with Reagan/Bush, jacking up interest rates to 20% and bankrupting huge swathes of American industry. They were “fighting inflation” they claimed. Farmers lost their farms, auto plants shut down in Detroit/Flint, steel manufacturing left Pittsburgh & the Ohio valley, etc. This was a capitalist era of de-industrialization by exploiting modern globalization to pit one nations’ work force against another in a race to the bottom in terms of wages & working conditions.

By the 1980’s, China’s super-cheap & ultra-exploited work force in capitalist-allowed zones produced record profits for auto manufacturers, electronics, the fashion industry, etc. For example, a small shoe company Nike, became an industry giant and made a fortune off the toils of Chinese workers when Air Jordan took off.

Capitalist rule was consolidated during & after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Chinese workers were (still are) organized under a brutal Maoist bureaucracy (mirroring Stalinism) which super-exploits the vast majority who must work. The corporate mantra is: US workers need to catch up to the Chinese to be more ‘competitive’. Jeff Bezos & Elon Musk have been working on this, and are hailed as entrepreneurs & visionaries in the fake press.

Reagan/Bush triumphing in November 1980, mirrored Margret Thatcher becoming the UK Prime Minister in May 1979. In this era of modern globalization, where technology had advanced to the point where computers were beginning to become mainstream, global production & distribution made a qualitative leap. By the mid-1980’s, computers were being introduced in schools, universities, public libraries, etc. This replaced typewriters, card catalogs, cash registers, paper appointment books, etc.

The modem was being introduced, meaning a user had to attach a touch-tone phone’s receiver & microphone ends to suction cups in order to send & receive data. It was slow & unreliable. A few years later, Microsoft’s Windows95, AOL, and the Mac came into existence. The information superhighway & Napster succumbed to iTunes, MySpace & Fakebook. It all started with Pong, Star Wars & Space Invaders.

China’s ruling bureaucracy reunited with capitalism when Richard Nixon formally recognized them as a nation at the UN. Before this, the official US policy on China since 1949 had been that China didn’t exist. This denial of the elephant in the room was part of the ruling establishment’s virulent anti-communist campaign.

In popular music, the Weavers were blacklisted because Pete Seeger was a socialist. Red Scare anti-communist campaigns, red-baiting of anti-war protesters, blacklisting artists, HUAC, etc, were tenets of good government in Washington, New York, Hollywood & Langley back in the day. Nothing’s really changed with those institutions, who maintain their 20th-century backwardness into the 21st century. Today, American politics is a two-sided bitcoin with Democrats/Republicans. When they flip it in cyberspace, it’s heads they win, tails you lose.

Richard Nixon’s China recognition strategy outflanked the liberal hippies, and got him easily re-elected in 1972. It should be noted that this is when the DSA came into modern existence, organizing around Michael Harrington, a supporter of US imperialism. Despite all the so-called ‘left-wing’ hype, populist Democrat George McGovern never had a chance– Electoral College results: Nixon 520, McGovern 17 (Massachusetts & DC). For the record, Rolling Stone magazine was all-in on the McGovern 1972 campaign. In fact, it established the publication as a major cultural & political influencer, a status it maintains up to the present.

In 1972, Hunter Thompson wrote whacked-out essays for Rolling Stone that were presented as “Gonzo counter-culture” in the mainstream. DSA supporters would pontificate on them from the fake left. Jan Wenner, Dave Marsh, Robert Fricke, etc, never had talent, but they became rock stars in their own minds. In reality they were/are misinformation influencers. Rolling Stone magazine is still a major industry player, even though no one reads it anymore. They control the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, by deciding who gets in, and when. Once your act has that union card, it’s cha-ching when you tour. Every music act covets that.

Rolling Stone magazine’s coverage of the George McGovern presidential campaign influenced a generation of writers, actors, musicians, etc, in the same way William Burroughs, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, etc, influenced the beatnik/psychedelic generation before them. Rolling Stone was the first monthly publication dedicated to recognizing artistry in popular rock music & such, and in that sense it was progressive. It had sexy images, and it’s critical reviews were (are?) considered classic rock gospel. To dispute them critically & publicly is considered heresy within the industry.

Music & television became forever degraded when American Idol (2002-2016) became the industry Death Star. This is American entertainment after the stolen election of 2000, and post-9/11– the era of ‘war on terror’ propaganda. The Masked Singer is perhaps the nadir culmination of all this. Oh look– it’s Sarah Palin… it’s Rudy Giuliani… it’s Adolph Hitler! Who knew they could be so foppish & lovable in costume?

If Simon Cowell disapproves, you’re out forever. That is the modern incarnation of a music industry gatekeeper. Industry power players must look good on TV. This is where the mafia goombas who control the music business need pretty faces & squeaky-clean front men. It’s kinda been like ever since MTV came along.

To illustrate how censorship works in the online age, “Atheist Psalm” is now labeled ‘explicit’ by all the streaming services even though there are no swears in it. It used to be one swear got you banned, then they relaxed that so the Steve Miller Band’s “Jet Airliner” can be played on classic rock radio without having to be patched with funky kicks. Now you’re allowed a swear or two, if it isn’t too explicit [?!]. Multiple swears are explicit. Got that? It’s “Pay To Play” it’s always been that way, so “Obvious.” Indie artists can’t compete in the capitalist market with the industry’s “Millennial Whoop” machine.

Getting back to our political fairy tale, those in Generation X have been bombarded all their lives with state propaganda which declares the Democratic Party is progressive in its liberalism and pro-worker in its unionism. In turn, there is nothing to the political left of the Greens & DSA. Of course, the trade unions from the AFL-CIO, to the UAW, Teamsters, AFT, etc, are entirely staffed with corporate-oriented bureaucrats, backed by organized crime, and infiltrated by agents of the state, who sell out the rank-and-file. This enforced arrangement ensures those who faithfully pay their dues every paycheck always get fucked.

In this information age, where the internet can change everything in a hurry, the ruling classes of all nations, and the US most acutely, are preparing for all-out war on their working populations. Police and paramilitary groups such as the MAGA’s who stormed the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 are Nazi shock troops charged with terrorizing workers and keeping them in line. The Coronavirus War has raised fascism as the bourgeois political order of the day to be carried out. The rest is just hot air and only adds to global warming, misinformation & the criminal conspiracy against the international working class & youth.

Perhaps the biggest myth is to promote the Democrats in November as the only practical political solution to oppose fascism. The Democrats have been funding & supporting MAGA Republicans in their primaries, calculating they’ll be easier to defeat in November. This strategy of betraying the will (& donations) of ordinary Democrat voters, to give a microphone & platform to right-wing filth, is contemptible. That is their response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. No consideration is given to promoting left-wing policies within the Democratic Party. That is a fiction Joe Biden is having a difficult time maintaining.

For instance, a wildcat railroad workers strike could really mess up the Democrats in the midterms. Democrats funding pro-Trump candidates in Republican primaries is a warning to workers– don’t trust the Democrats! Workers must be vigilant and organize rank-and-file committees to take control of their workplaces. Once the Democrats lose the illusion of union control, all they have for a political base are a bunch of useless upper-middle class philistines & bureaucrats. A wildcat railroad strike could kill the Democrats and they know it. That would end their fairy tale.

………..<><><><><><><><><><><>…………

Fractured Fairy Tales: Camelot

Once upon a time there was a handsome young prince who was destined to become president. His father was a rum runner during Prohibition– made a fortune. This was parlayed into American royalty, and Papa Joe (September 6, 1888 – November 18, 1969) had many children, including our presidential prince. This young prince had the requisite credentials– he was a war hero from a rich family & dashing. Every young princess swooned and he never lost an election.

One day he entered an infested jungle and contracted a venereal disease from which he was never cured. But this presidential prince still married well and had many extra-marital affairs. The number of girls/women he infected was prolific, for sure.

This presidential prince fucked like he politicked: kinda all over the place with unhealthy consequences. Yet he’s considered a liberal pioneer. The prince president assigned his hot-headed brother to be his Attorney General, and together they promised to take on the mafia. This rubbed the Black Hand the wrong way, since they had partnered with Papa Joe during Prohibition. The epigones of Al Capone had also won JFK the presidential election in 1960 by pulling the machinery in Chicago his way, and thus stealing the presidency from Richard Nixon. “Never again,” said Tricky Dick.

These intrepid princes were both virulent anti-communists, but J. Edgar Hoover still didn’t trust them, so JFK & RFK were fighting a multi-front war against powerful figures in the ruling establishment during their administration. To the US military/intelligence apparatus, being anything less than 100% pro-war on Vietnam is another red line not to be crossed. This must be clearly understood, because it can NEVER be stated to the public.

The myth of Camelot begins in earnest with the cover-up of the Bay of Pigs Invasion (Apr 17, 1961 – Apr 20, 1961), JFK’s first real foray into international politics as president. This was a CIA-backed fiasco invasion attempt that went wrong from the start, and ended ignominiously for all its participants.

On the ground it was CIA handlers leading a few hundred fanatics in an ill-planned invasion of Cuba with intent to kill Castro and take power. Boots on the ground were militant right-wing Cuban exiles, anti-communist mercenaries, etc, a veritable cornucopia of reactionary adventurers.  As with every right ring coup attempt, from the Bay of Pigs Invasion to Donald Trump’s coup attempt on 1/6/21, there is much dirt that remains secret & hidden from the public. It’s classified: murky murky.

When things went from bad-to-worse, the prince president & his hot-headed Attorney General brother abandoned the Bay of Pigs adventure. After the capture of the entire invading hoard, they pointed their fingers as US intelligence. This notorious embarrassment & betrayal infuriated the CIA, which is something a president should never do. Neither of these pampered & temperamental princes respected the Black Hand, which is a fatal error.

The second test of JFK’s political mettle was the Cuban Missile Crisis (Oct 16, 1962 – Oct 28, 1962). The crisis began when US intelligence learned (too late) that the Soviet Union had installed missile launch pads in Cuba. It was considered a political & military disaster.

The entire US political establishment had turned anti-Cuba since Fidel Castro came to power during the Cuban Revolution of 1959, in which US-puppet Fulgencio Batista was ousted. Since then the goal of US imperialism has been regime change in Cuba.

Missile capabilities in Cuba would be comparable the the US arming the Ukraine against Russia. Such a close threat could never be allowed by either side. In 1962, the prince president & his hot-headed brother needed to show strength, and these philistines responded in full force, since they knew nothing else and their authority (manhood) was being questioned.

They loudly demanded the Soviet Union remove all missile capabilities in Cuba, and US warships were dispatched to intercept any Soviet ships & planes trying to reach Cuba. The president threatened nuclear war, and human civilization was brought to the brink for the first time in its existence. The political term ‘nuclear brinkmanship’ had been coined. Today, as routine, we get nuclear war public serviced announcements from identity politics obsessed Democrats, and this is called “progressive.”

Fortunately in October 1962, cooler heads prevailed and a tenuous peace was negotiated. The Russians abandoned their missile pads in Cuba, while the US abandoned more-capable missile sites in Eastern Europe. The Cuban take-down was allowed to be known publicly, but the European take-down by the US wasn’t, so by manipulation of information flow, the myth of Camelot was born. The prince president was declared a hero and his subjects cheered triumphantly.

Of course myths never last, and Camelot was shattered by the bullets of assassins in November 1963, and again in June 1968. Chappaquiddick (July 1969) was their Waterloo. The Warren Commission and other myths were produced to cover-up these fatalities, criminal conduct & violent attacks on American democracy. Since Camelot, it’s become harder & harder for people to live happily ever after.

…………..<><><><><><><><><>…………..

The significance of Roger Waters

Roger Waters commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall in July 1990, and used it to promote his music. The destruction of the Soviet Union (1989-91) and collapse of the Eastern Bloc was a reactionary event in world history. Any Trotskyist will tell you that. It was a degenerated workers’ state falling back into capitalism because the Bolshevik revolution had been strangled & betrayed by the Stalinist bureaucracy.

Since 1992, NATO has expanded some 800 miles eastwards up to Russia’s border, finally provoking Putin’s reactionary (but politically understandable) invasion of the Ukraine. Roger Waters is surely better than these modern musical clowns he publicly cites, and his support of Julian Assange proves it. But there are flaws in his overall politics, combined with monetary incentives, which tie him to the rotting corpse of capitalism.

The question wasn’t whether the fall of the Berlin Wall was a good/bad thing. All such walls are inherently bad. The historical question was: Who did the pushing and upon whose heads did the rubble fall? The standard-of-living for the vast populations in every former Eastern Bloc nation has declined, wars have flared up & never stopped, all while a corrupt billionaire class has been created which embraces neo-Nazi ideology with funding from the CIA/Pentagon complex.

Roger Waters got upset that the latest teen flavor was interviewed before him in Toronto. But the truth is Roger Waters isn’t significant to 16-24 year olds, and that’s the only demographic that matters in music. Waters doesn’t speak to them convincingly. If he was significantly influential with his anti-war message, he would have been cancelled like all the rest.

He’s allow to exist & go on because kids don’t care about him. It’s all “I, me, mine…” in that notorious interview, which tells you it’s more about promotion than anything else. Pink Floyd was never a political band, they were artistic stoners who hit the jackpot. Then punk/post-punk showed the world how stale they were, and they’ve been dinosaurs since.

Pink Floyd is a staple of classic rock, whose playlists were ossified by mafia programmers in the early 1980’s to the benefit of Roger Waters. He never objected that well-deserving artists such as the Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart, the Stooges, Modern Lovers, Sex Pistols, Wire, etc, never get played on classic rock stations, even though their music is of their era. Why is that?

As a middle-aged man, I can definitively say that I am sick & tired of hearing Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Boston, etc, over & over forever on rock stations. There HAS to be more to music than that, and in fact there is MUCH, MUCH more. All you need to do is turn off that boring classic rock you’ve gotten so comfortable with and try something new & different. It’s actually the music industry you’re listening to when you dial in the classic rock format. You’re feeding Clear Channel & EMI, who have an unlimited supply… of bullshit. Here’s the 2003 re-issue cover of Roger Waters Live in Berlin.

It’s capitalism you’re feeding. The music industry needs you to forever tune into their stale stuff, and they surely DON’T want you seeking an alternative. That’s why Husker Du & Sonic Youth were called “alternative” in the 1980’s and still are today. Never to be heard on programmed XM Satellite radio. Either you love the music or you don’t. To those who do, I’m with you.

Roger Waters has the right to be heard, and he has been. The rest of us have the right to criticize him because we bought his records a long time ago and have listened to them. I like Pink Floyd as a group. I like the fact that David Gilmour took care of Syd Barrett (as best he could) after he left the band. I didn’t like Roger Waters suing Pink Floyd after he left the band, over their name. He lost that one because he was selfish & wrong. Today, I view Roger Waters as selfish, but at least on the correct side politically– for now. We’ll see how things go. We’ll see if anyone cares.

For over 40 years now, punk rockers have considered Pink Floyd irrelevant. They were a decent band who made a few great records back in the day, then slowly disintegrated. Pink Floyd was often a Rogers Waters’ studio project more than anything else, and that’s why he finally went solo. For better or worse, that’s how I see this band and the creative force behind it. Over & Out

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,<><><><><><><>……………

Elon Musk drops Twitter bid / Pussy Riot launches NFT

This is now a bizarre situation, where up to 3 months ago Elon Musk had pledged to buy Twitter and then fire the entire board of directors upon takeover. Tensions flared, tweets were exchanged, etc; but a stock-price agreement was reached sometime in April/May and it was big news.

The crypto crash has changed the landscape for Musk, who is now looking for an exit, with Twitter’s board, shareholders, etc, demanding he complete the agreed-upon deal. It’s a bit surreal, and it’s already ending up in court.

On May 14, 2022 this author published Crypto Crash on this site, in which the following was written:

Everyone in the crypto industry now knows Elon Musk is the Bitcoin whale. That explains why he just backed-out of buying Twitter for $43B, after planning its takeover for months and putting it into motion. His supposed $240B is mostly a giant asset bubble, built on fictitious capital in the form of crypto currency. The rest of Elon Musk’s wealth is stolen from super-exploited workers. With what he owes to banks, he’s probably bankrupt when the crypto market implodes.

Nearly two months later, nothing needs to be changed or added to that analysis. Just follow the drop of bitcoin in mid-May, and then again in mid-June 2022 on Coindesk, as shown in the screenshot above. This is exactly when Elon Musk started waffling on buying Twitter. Spam bots, etc, are merely his pretext to back out of a deal he can’t afford, because he’s actually broke. The Fed raising interest rates has burst the crypto bubble. All his money is fake.

Speaking of fake, Pussy Riot has launched their own non-fungible token (NFT) following their ‘Matriarchy Now’ publicity stunt (pic above) in Austin, TX which coincided with a big crypto convention held in town that week. Pussy Riot’s playbook is this: Unfurl a meaningless banner in a prominent public place such as a capitol building. Make sure you photograph/film the event, or else no one will notice/care. Photos add ‘proof’ that you are an ‘activist,’ which has currency in crypto & the fake left.

Pussy Riot has had extensive coverage on all this (& more) in the NYT, Guardian, Pitchfork, American Songwriter, etc, and still no real buzz on the street. It’s a mystery to the liberal Democrats why Pussy Riot is so ignored. Maybe it’s because they’ve been outed as agents of imperialism. That cuts into the hip credentials Pussy Riot have been trying to establish for themselves.

Here is Pussy Riot’s latest video, which is part of their first [!!] mix-tape. If you see & hear K-pop production, hustling NFT’s, then you’ve got it. Make sure you check out Pussy Riot’s fake YouTube comments from their bots. It’s a slick & well-financed operation, no question.

While Google lists Pussy Riot as a ‘musical group’ it’s worth mentioning that they still don’t have an album release. Many of us are still wondering who wrote their songs, including “Punk Prayer,” etc?

It remains all-so-vague with Pussy Riot, but they are prolific according to Wikipedia, etc. Pussy Riot is hard to figure out for a reason, as they keep changing & shape-shifting with help from the black hand. The agents-of-imperialism known as Pussy Riot are now calling themselves a “protest collective,” and that’s their latest.

……………<><><><><><><>…………

 

Political guide to being an artist

Music is personal and everyone does it for their own reasons. Everyone who has tried knows that. This essay is to concisely explain my reasons, which are mostly misunderstood. I started like everyone else because I love music and wanted to do my own thing. At first the goal was to be a rock star. I eventually learned that wasn’t possible, so I outgrew the idea and became something more. I became an artist with socialist consciousness.

In the history of popular music, this has only been tried a few times, and it has always been met with virulent hostility & blacklisting from the entertainment industry & ruling establishment. The surrealists led by French writer André Breton were the earliest 20th century example of art & socialist politics meeting (through Trotsky), and their movement was deeply influential, though it was finally overwhelmed by fascism across Europe in the 1930’s. The surrealist movement deserves careful study today in terms of content, revolutionary potential, and its inherent limitations.

Mexican painter Diego Rivera, whose frescoes & murals dazzled the art world in the 1930’s, flirted with Trotsky, but eventually retreated to his mansion as World War II broke out in Europe.

Post-war art has been kept under the thumb of anti-communism, ever since President Truman laid out US Cold War policy, which has continued up to this day. Cold War policy can be summed up as: Russia is the evil enemy, and Marxism is never to be tolerated. If you were an advocate for civil rights (women, blacks, immigrants) & anti-war in this era, then you were branded as a godless communist that must be expunged from the Earth [!].

Popular folk music group, the Weavers, whose best known song was “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” were blacklisted because leading member Pete Seeger was a socialist. The Weavers had a “clean” playlist for live performance, but it didn’t matter to the anti-communists in 1950. The original Weavers disbanded in their prime by the summer of 1952, due to no gigs. They revived themselves a few years later with their famous Carnegie Hall performance, recorded Christmas Eve 1954, but not released by Vanguard Records until April, 1957.

* As a footnote. these irrational hysterics & witch hunts were brought back to life by today’s anti-communists with the Black Lives Matter & MeToo campaigns in the 2010’s. Their goal (as always) is to artificially divide the working masses through identity politics. No serious discussion of class inequality & imperialism is allowed with anti-communists. That’s when they get hostile & violent.

Bob Dylan’s working class appeal in his early to mid-1960’s era made people take sides on issues like racism, class society, the Vietnam War, etc. Fans & the establishment turned on him when he electrified (which magnified his message), to the point where he finally had to retreat & hide away.

On July 29th, 1966, a month after his final classic-period masterpiece Blonde On Blonde was released, Bob Dylan crashed his motorcycle near Woodstock, New York. He used this (relatively minor) accident as a pretext to remove himself from the political discussion in the mainstream. He did this to save his life. At this point, Vietnam was becoming out in-the-open & overwhelmingly polarizing. Bob Dylan risked being killed like Malcolm X, as he was the white equivalent at the time with his songs. MLK, and Democrat for President, Bobby Kennedy were gunned down in 1968, just to give you an idea of the times.

I don’t blame Bob Dylan for doing what he did to save his life, and neither should you. There was no organized political party on the left that he could have joined to protect himself and his political convictions. In revolutionary terms, Bob Dylan was too far ahead of his time. He had to retreat back into capitalism to carry on.

In the jazz realm, Sun Ra (pic above) stands as the shining star of revolution, with a catalog & body-of-work too vast to discuss here. His avant garde piano/electric keyboard/synthesizer style, backed by his Arkestra, seems to have come from another planet, which he claimed it did. Everything he did, from Saturn Records, to how he recorded & marketed himself, while holding his Arkestra together for 40+ years until his death (and then beyond), deserves careful study.

Sun Ra approached music as a conscious objector to WWII. He lived with, then ran afoul of the Black Panthers, a point ‘Afro-futurist’ racialists avoid. Sun Ra created his myth, to protect himself, and it worked. He died naturally in 1993, and never had to change his message.

If you are not a myth, whose reality are you?
If you are not a myth, whose reality are you?
If you are not a reality, whose myth are you?

— Sun Ra

Let the verse cited above roll around in your head for awhile, while contemplating deeply. I love Sun Ra, but I don’t want to be a myth, I’m a reality, so the question eventually became for me, as Ric Size: How do I become a revolutionary artist without having to retreat politically or descend into mysticism?

First, you must educate yourself in all spheres. You can’t be fooled by the bullshit, old & new, and you can’t rely any anyone else to tell you the truth. You must discover it for yourself & always keep it close. You must know yourself completely.

But beyond that you need help. No one is an island, and eventually everyone dies. You need to affiliate yourself with an organization that represents your political values and will survive into posterity. By the time I became serious about being an artist in the late 2000’s, such a political entity had come into existence– the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS).

The WSWS has had an Arts section from the start, at the insistence of Arts editor David Walsh. As I understand the discussions which took place back in 1998, (and I wasn’t present), it was David Walsh who insisted on the inclusion of an ‘Arts’ section as essential, and he had to convince David North & Nick Beams (among others)– and finally did. It was a far-sighted inclusion which deserves socialist merit, because it is art that sparks revolutions by defining it to the masses through songs, film, literature, paintings, etc. You can’t separate art & revolution.

Let me finish on musical artists with socialist consciousness by pointing out that there is revolution in the reggae music of Bob Marley & the Wailers, Scratch Perry, etc. Same with P-funk, punk & post-punk. Same with Fela Kuti’s Afro-beat. Same with Eno, Fripp, Byrne…

I affiliate myself with the ICFI, the Trotskyist party of international socialism. By doing this, I never have to walk anything back. My art isn’t perfect, and there is no such thing anyways. All it’s meant to do is inspire & educate. As a revolutionary artist, you light a candle so others can follow. Whatever comes after is left up to others, as it should be.

All an artist can do is continue to work. The critics & naysayers will always be there. You can’t have fans, without having haters. The idea is to love your fans and always be true to them, while appropriately dealing with the haters. It’s serious work, so make sure you find good help & trusting allies.

I’ve written a lot about baseball analytics on this site and for good reason. There is a truth in the numbers, that is often hidden through only observing. MLB is such a long season, and the subtle differences between good teams & the best team, are often too slight to see with the naked eye. If you can see them, it helps to have numbers to back up what you are scouting.

It’s like this with art & politics. Art is creative freeflow, where politics can be studied scientifically using orthodox Marxism, known as Trotskyism. To make sure your art stays true to the truth, you need Trotskyism (the WSWS) as a political guide. Once you are fundamentally sound (politically speaking), a dialectical change will occur, and then you will be able to write anthems that appeal to kids & the masses with a revolutionary spirit.

……………<><><><><><><><>………….

Roe v Wade overturned by right-wing packed US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court’s reactionary overturning of Roe v Wade has nothing to do with democracy. Wealthy women will still get abortions. This is an elitist attack on the rights of working people. On the ground, these elitist policies are carried out by anti-abortion fanatics who throw the Bible in everyone’s face, but don’t (refuse to) understand the fundamental democratic concept known as separation of church and state. These right-wing bigots never read Thomas Jefferson seriously, so they only quote him badly.

These right-wing terrorists call themselves “pro-life” by condoning harassment & murder of doctors (& staff) who perform public-service abortions at community health clinics. They proclaim to care so much about a fetus, but clearly DON’T care about anyone (except themselves) after they are born. Their hateful message gets amplified endlessly in the fake media from all sides. When it all falls apart, and no one believes them anymore, the far-right proclaims they are being “terrorized” by working people who are getting in-their-faces about all their malfeasance & criminality. This is only lies/flak, and a precursor to more violence the right-wing is secretly planning.

A woman has the right to control her body. That’s a Constitutional right. Anything else is bigotry & fascism disguised as “morality.” This watershed far-right ruling has been anticipated for months, after it was leaked to the public and met with mass disdain. It inevitably happened today because their is no backbone for this fight within the Democratic Party leadership. The US Supreme Court has been packed with Bush (HW & W) and Trump appointees. They get to stay for life, and in this political climate are virtually unimpeachable.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Witness everything we have learned (so far) from the 1/6 House Select Committee hearings concerning Ginny Thomas, and then her husband Clarence for not recusing himself in cases where his wife is implicated. These are reactionaries & phonies who only care about their ends, and will use any means to get themselves there. I say We the People need to overturn the US Supreme Court.

This marks a qualitative shift in the US two-party system. Grassroots liberals have been abandoned by Democratic Party leadership. Neither Bernie Sanders, nor AOC, did anything to stop the US Supreme Court from enacting its reactionary agenda. What will happen to this critical constituency in the eyes of the ruling class? This splits the Democratic party, just like Trump split the Republicans on 1/6/21. New political entities are being established. It’s now ‘Trump supporters vs. all his political opponents’ in official politics. Basically, Joe Biden has merged the Democratic Party into what’s left of the traditionally conservative Republican constituency. “Team normal vs team crazy” is how they spin it in the fake media. Joe Biden’s mantra is, “We must have unity with the fascists.”

………..<><><><><><>…………

Electrified! promo/update

I went to a Catholic high school and then a Jesuit University. I’ve recently been thinking about what I’ve done that most offends these people, and it’s probably “Atheist Psalm” from this record.

As true-believing Christians, I seek your forgiveness on this. I’m not apologizing for it. “Atheist Psalm” is rated ‘Explicit’ by YouTube, Spotify, etc, when there are no swears in it. That’s a measure of its shock value & how much the censors hate it. The rest of Electrified! (2015) does the same. That’s why it’s so hard to find.

Electrified (2015)

There is a fascist paramilitary element that wants to overthrow the US Constitution and establish a personalist dictatorship in America. The US Constitution says ALL people are allowed to express their political feelings without fear of retribution violence, blacklisting, etc. It also explicitly expresses that there needs to be a separation of church & state.

If you disagree, then consider this thoughtfully instead of resorting directly to Biblical hysterics, guns & violence. That’s the difference between acceptable political debate and what fascists did on 1/6/21. The idea that politics is ideological discussion & ethical debate of history, class inequality, etc; and NOT hand-to-hand combat, is not yet for everybody– I understand. But someday it will be. It has to be for our species survival.

………………..<><><><><><><><><>………………..

Pussy Riot & Ukrainian ultra-nationalism

Preface: Music & art are aptitudes of mine, and you REALLY can’t fool me when it comes to punk rock. I know it because I’ve loved it since I was a kid.

A few weeks back it was announced with sensational fake media coverage that two members of the so-called “art collective” Pussy Riot, Masha Alyokhina & Lucy Shtein escaped from Russia.

Pussy Riot refers to themselves as an “art collective,” but gets promoted like a band. They are neither. Pussy Riot are foreign agents, as declared by Vladimir Putin’s Justice Ministry. Since December 30, 2021, when Nadya Tolokonnikova & Nika Nikulshina were added to the Russian government list of “foreign agents,” they have been required to start every tweet with this disclaimer:

THIS MESSAGE (MATERIAL) CREATED AND DISTRIBUTED BY A FOREIGN MASS MEDIA PERFORMING THE FUNCTIONS OF A FOREIGN AGENT

“These people systematically distribute materials to an indefinite circle of persons, while receiving foreign funds,” the Russian Justice Ministry said in a statement. For the record, this author declared this conclusion a year-and-a-half earlier in this report.

These foreign agents (AKA Pussy Riot) have mostly fled Russia since Putin’s reactionary invasion of the Ukraine began in late February 2022. The NYT breathtakingly describes their escape to Lithuania as a heroic dash to freedom. “A lot of magic happened last week… It sounds like a spy novel.” Maria Alyokhina said, perhaps revealing more than she meant.

Another agent of Western imperialism, Maria V. Alyokhina, said, “I still don’t understand completely what I’ve done,” in the New York Times propaganda piece, again revealing more than intended, because you don’t just escape from Putin’s Russia without knowing what you are doing!

These agents were under Russian police surveillance and forced to wear ankle bracelet ID trackers, etc. You need serious help from Western intelligence to escape that. Since Pussy Riot are simply patsies for US imperialism, they don’t fully understand the “magic” that made it possible. It’s somehow connected to a Turkmenistan embezzler, Swiss bank accounts, and $20M in cash that disappeared after he turned up dead in a hotel room. Murky, murky

Getting back to what we know, it is a historical fact that US President Joe Biden provoked Vladimir Putin’s desperate invasion. Biden and his colleagues have authorized $40B (& counting) in US taxpayer money for weapons & ammo to arm the Azov Battalion, Right Sector, etc, who are all fascist SS progeny. Their historical leader is Ukrainian ultra-nationalist Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with Adolf Hitler in his war to exterminate Marxism & Jews in WWII. That is history. The rest is de-evolution.

Pussy Riot screams “Glory To Ukraine,” during all their “performances” across Europe now. This is the battle cry of the ultra-nationalists, CIA mercenary scum of the Maidan Putsch & Odessa Massacre of 2014. It is a historical fact that “Glory To Ukraine” is a Nazi anthem.

Since fleeing to the West with a lot help from their friends in Langley & Washington, Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova & Maria Alyokhina now concentrate much of their activity on their anti-Russian (CIA) propaganda outlet, Mediazona. If you were a foreign agent posing as an art collective or punk band, you would do exactly this right now.

In late April 2022, the Dartmouth Political Union hosted a virtual event with Nadya Tolokonnikova, who had been booked months in advance, well before the Putin invasion. Of course, she was not asked if she is an agent of the US, but when asked how she comes up with ideas for “art protest” Tolokonnikova said “that it is not so much about the quality of the performance as it is the quality of the protest.”

As a revolutionary artist I can tell you that it is ALL ABOUT the quality of the performance, with politics being an essential part of it, but genuine art also has humor, humanity, love, science, culture, etc. That’s the difference of thought between a real artist and agents of imperialism.

………….<><><><><><><><><>………….

Uvalde Memorial Day Services

Most people don’t really understand what war is, much less what side they are on. Memorial Day is where we remember those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can live the American dream. These dead soldiers are the latest casualties. Most of these brave heroes had reached the rank of elementary student before they were cut down in the line of duty.

We also honor those teachers killed, while the cops did nothing. To them on Memorial Day, we say, “Thank you for your service & sacrifice.” They died so fascists can be free to carry guns anywhere and shoot whomever they please. The police won’t stop that. It’s the American way under capitalism. Up until a few days ago these valiant soldiers had survived COVID-19 in the classroom, immigration discrimination, rising living costs, etc. Now they are dead, so don’t forget to wrap yourself in the American flag this weekend and drink a toast to all these brave soldiers. They died too young.

Everyone throws the word “freedom” around, especially these weekends, but do they really know what it is? Some people define freedom as the “right” to dominate, intimidate, provoke, and/or silence whomever they please by whatever means they choose. Fascists distort the true meaning of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution (which Trump tried to overthrow on 1/6/21), through the NRA, police, and far-right paramilitary groups such as the Proud Boys. That’s called fascism, expressed politically through the various right-wing power constituencies of the Republican party. It is important to understand that the Republicans have been fractured & split since 1/6/21.

On a grassroots level, Trump supporters meme, “Let teachers carry” to demonstrate their support for neo-Nazis through ignorance, while showing no respect for the dead. The sociopathic demagogue Donald Trump is at it again, after his January 6, 2021 coup attempt to become American dictator failed. Predictably, he’s been allowed to remain free & unquestioned (shielded) by the Democrats, Department of Justice, etc, so everything from Joe Biden to AOC is no better politically.

Obama/Biden and the rest of the CIA Democrats provoked Putin’s reactionary invasion of the Ukraine by orchestrating their Maidan coup in 2013-14, and generally refusing to end the Cold War. It is a historical fact that the Ukrainian Azov Battalion is Waffen SS, virulently anti-Semitic & anti-socialist. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials of 1946 established Heinrich Himmler’s SS as a criminal organization in its entirety. These are the “freedom fighters” Washington is arming to the teeth in the Ukraine to kill Russians and start World War III.

Donald Trump aims his fascist wrath at China & Hispanics due to his inherent racism. Trump insists on building walls when Israeli-occupied Palestine proves that massive security walls don’t work. Trump lost money in the casino business in Atlantic City, if you need an early measure of his business acumen. He’s never built anything of value that lasts, only his brand & führer cult.

No respect for history or science, while being completely counterproductive, makes the entire political establishment reactionary. The aim in Washington & Langley is regime change and colonial subjugation of Russia. Then it’s China, so as we can see, this is madness. The fake media on all sides NEVER allows serious discussion of the October 1917 Russian Revolution led by Lenin & Trotsky. The fact that Russia is the 2nd-largest nuclear power (China 3rd) is also minimized in the fake media. There is only freedom of speech if it’s the “correct” speech. That’s what Americans are Memorializing.

……….<><><><><><><><>……….

Universal DH Era

The MLB players & owners finally came to their senses and their lockout was settled amicably by March 2022. Opening Day was moved back only one week to April 7, with many doubleheaders to come this summer. The big story of the MLB season is the universal DH and the deadened baseball. I like both.

Slugging percentage has been quelled, and in many ways this unofficially ends (or at least suppresses) the steroid era. Owners now have the power to unilaterally manipulate the baseball as the players get stronger. That’s easier than moving the fences back in all 30 MLB parks.

Once again you have to be a true slugger to go opposite-field upper deck, and that’s the way it should be. I’m going to commend both sides, players & owners because it appears each side actually listened to the other. They both found a way to respect the game and move it forward for the fans. Analytics have been a HUGE part of this. Online criticism & commentary gets noticed when the money is this big. It certainly wasn’t the haters in the fake sports media that led the charge for this improvement. All they do is blabber & rant.

Less than two months into the 2022 MLB season I’m christening this the Universal DH era, as this rule change has radically impacted the game in a good way, which is refreshing. Pitchers no longer have to take batting practice, work on bunting, learn batter signs, and ultimately stand in a batter’s box and try to execute.

That’s one less place for them to get injured. The bases are another, as pitchers now don’t have to concern themselves with running the bases, unless they volunteer to be a pinch runner for their manager in need. It creates a completely different dynamic for them to channel themselves and stay healthier.

That’s a LOT off of their workload, as now they can concentrate exclusively on being a pitcher on the mound. Look at how pitchers have done in 2022 by comparing the slashline batting stats from the past five seasons this one inclusive. You would think that with pitchers not batting, the slash lines for MLB hitters would go up, since starters no longer drag down the league average. But it’s the opposite.

MLB  BA  OBP SLG

2022 .238 .309 .383    (thru May 27)
2021 .244 .317 .411
2020 .245 .322 .418   (60 game season, universal DH)
2019 .252 .323 .435
2018 .248 .318 .409

BA is down 6-8 percentage points, OBP is down 8-12 percentage points, and SLG% is down at least 30-40 points. This gives pitchers a chance again. Another thing that has helped pitchers is K-zone technology, which hold umpires accountable. It’s harder than ever to be a good MLB pitcher, or even an average one. Fielding, holding runners, avoiding sign detection, umpire performance, etc, are all measured by MLB front offices, scouts & fans*.

* To be honest, much of the fan interest in analytics is fueled by gambling promoted by ESPN, etc. This gambling addiction explosion started with fantasy sports, and was accelerated when ESPN began broadcasting Texas Hold ‘Em poker, promoting it as a mainstream sport, but I digress.

This analysis of the universal DH rule impacting MLB pitching mostly applies to starters, as relievers don’t hit as a rule, but they had to as they developed. All these distractions of being an incompetent batter are now gone at the highest professional level, so the rules for developing pitchers now change everywhere. It’s more specialized, and you have to commit to a position earlier now. MLB is a global game, with a re-codified international draft, Japanese League transfers, etc.

Now the rules are the same in the AL & NL for the first time in MLB since 1972. That makes sense. This allows pitchers to hang around longer, which is good since they don’t grow on trees. The universal DH also makes the game much easier for the manager in the dugout. No longer will a manager have to consider taking out a strong pitcher with a few innings left, for a pinch hitter. This helps the bullpens of all 30 teams, and keeps relievers healthier. Fans, players & owners like that. It took a lockout that threatened the entire 2022 season for owners & players to get this done.

The idea is that pitchers have needed a break ever since José Canseco. The newly expanded post-season, with a third Wildcard is fine too. The two teams with the best records in each league get byes, while the best-of-three play-in series are entirely at the field of the teams with the better record, or tie breaker winner.

That respects the 162-game season, which hasn’t really happened since 1993, the last season before MLB adopted the Wildcard. Expansion in the 1960’s ushered in the pennant race era from 1969-1993, where you had to win your division (East & West in each league), to get into the post-season. This set up two 7-game league championship series to determine the World Series match-up. It was cruel & elegant. But MLB expansion (Marlins-Rockies, then Diamondbacks-Devil Rays) necessitated a third (Central) division in each league, and thus the Wildcard was stillborn in 1994.

Big-spending franchises that were previously shut out (Red Sox, Giants, Cubs) by perennial powerhouses like the Yankees/Dodgers, benefited from the Wildcard system. It began in 1994, but that season was cancelled by MLB commissioner Bud Selig after his owner colleagues provoked a player’s strike, which denied the owners of their coveted post-season television, attendance and merchandising revenues. The 1994-95 MLB players’ strike was a bitter dispute that dragged on too long. Opening Day wasn’t until Tuesday, April 25, 1995 for the Dodgers-Marlins, and the next day for everyone else.

The fact that both players & owners cooperated to settle their differences (for now), and play ball brings a measure of hope to die-hard fans. They say “hope springs eternal” in baseball, but much of that is naive. Baseball is big business, just like all professional sports everywhere. Championships are won in the off-season, like when the Dodgers acquired RF Mookie Betts. Or when the Nationals let RF Bryce Harper & manager Dusty Baker go, and signed free agent LHP Patrick Corbin and brought in Dave Martinez to manage their dugout in 2019.

On the other end, there’s no hope for the Pirates or Reds in 2022. The Cubs are now almost finished dumping assets for prospects, and will be done by the 2022 trade deadline. The Rockies & Diamondbacks have no chance in the stacked NL West. The Giants, after a swan song for Buster Posey’s final season in his Hall-of Fame career, succumbed to the Dodgers in 2021, and that was that.

The Giants still spend a ton to remain respectable, which is okay, but it’s not enough to win without another HOF-er. Ever since LF Barry Bonds was retired by MLB in 2007-08, the Giants have focused on pitching, drafting & development. That’s how they won 3 WS, 2010, 2012 & 2014, one as a Wildcard. They finished 6 GB the Dodgers in 2014, won the NL West by 8 games in 2012, and by 2 games in 2010. The Diamondbacks won the NL West in 2011. There was much more inter-divisional balance back then.

Now it’s the haves & have-nots. The Brewers are the “haves” in the NL Central as long as their pitching holds up. The universal DH helps Craig Counsell manage his rotation, and gives them a better chance in the post-season where pitching matters most. The Brewers have never won a WS. I predict the Brewers or the Padres are going to be the next MLB team to lose their virginity, so to speak.

The Milwaukee Brewers have the formula with pitching and developing it internally. They get the best out of their starters and keep them relatively healthy. Can they keep it going? The LF Christian Yelich extension cripples the Brewers financially, and they really can’t afford it. His back is injured and this has sapped his power. The Brewers are paying him $26M per season through 2028, with a $6.5M buyout.

That’s why I favor the Padres in this quest to be World Series christened. The Padres have more payroll, and they need it against the Dodgers. People who don’t follow the NL West don’t fully appreciate how the Dodgers win. They have the most talent & money. They draft & develop. They’ve had an international presence since forever. If you’re bad, or even borderline, the Dodgers don’t just beat you, they punish you. It’s demoralizing if you’re trying to develop young players with fragile psyches.

It’s why Padres GM AJ Preller had to trade young LHP Eric Lauer to the Brewers for more experience & consistency in RHP Zach Davies in 2020. After one good season, Davies was flipped to the Cubs for RHP Hu Darvish. The Padres need frontline championship starters who can face the Dodgers. That, and Coors Field with Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, etc, can blow-up a LOT of young pitchers.

That was a real possibility for Eric Lauer (above), so his brilliant GM did the right thing by trading him to a NL competitor for maximum value. The NL Central works better for Eric Lauer, so the trade benefits everyone, both teams, AND all the players involved. That’s rare, and therefore noteworthy.

It is instructive to note that the Brewers & Padres have made many recent deals with the Rays which have benefited all sides. See: SS Willy Adames, 2B/UT Jake Croenenworth, OF Manny Margot, RHP Drew Rasmussen, etc. This is a NL round-up, but I will throw-in that the Rays are a really smart organization, so GM’s need to know what they’re doing when dealing with them, otherwise the Rays swindle the other side even when they are dumping. The Rays are always dumping. Baseball Reference has the Rays around $75M for 2022, which is bottom-five (or close, it’s murky) in MLB payroll again.

The Cardinals are an organization that knows what they are doing, so they will hang around and probably snatch a Wildcard in 2022. This is a franchise that benefits from post-season expansion. This is the final MLB season for 1B/DH Albert Pujols, C Yadier Molina & RHP Adam Wainwright, so the Cardinals are in it to win it for sure.

The NL East is the murkiest division in the senior circuit. I have never believed in this version of the Phillies, as they have too many holes. The Nationals are rebuilding, and made a HUGE mistake re-signing RHP Stephen Strasburg to that crazy extension. He basically hasn’t pitched since, due to injuries, and that was the obvious risk. That may cost them LF Juan Soto.

The Marlins are futile, and new GM Kim Ng busted with her first free agent splash in LF Avisail Garcia. Historically speaking, GM’s don’t get many second chances to spend with Marlins ownership. Clearly, the Mets have the divisional edge in payroll. In March, team owner Steve Cohen said the Mets “probably will” go over a $290M payroll for the 2022 season. Spending over that threshold gets taxed by MLB at 80%. Here are the new CBA numbers on the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT):

Tax tier  Threshold    Tax rate
First        $230 million   20%
Second   $250 million   32%
Third       $270 million   62.5%
Fourth     $290 million   80%

It’s hard to determine exactly how much MLB owners are taxed when their franchise goes over the CBT, as it’s formulated by average annual value of all (multi-year) contracts, salary dumps, etc. Suffice to say I see the $270M threshold (3rd tier) as the divider for many MLB owners who don’t want to pay 62.5% tax on anything. 32% is more doable for a MLB owner willing to spend over $250M, but 62.5% bites hard at $270M. Maybe once as a final plunge, otherwise only the wealthiest, most egotistical owners will spend that kind of money. Usually it’s a bad idea that fails, but uncontrollable egos won’t listen to reason.

The Mets signed FA RHP Max Scherzer, and RHP Jacob deGrom isn’t getting any younger, so the Mets are in World Series-or-bust mode in 2022. The Mets finally have an owner who can afford to spend what their fans expect, but health remains an organizational issue they need to solve to compete for a championship again.

The Braves benefited immensely from the Padres collapse in 2021, as AJ Preller only tried for Max Scherzer at the trade deadline and he lost out to the Dodgers who also acquired SS Trea Turner in their deal with the Nationals. No one else available was worth him trading for, so AJ Preller throwing in the towel on 2021 opened up the acquisition market for GM Alex Anthopoulos, who retooled the entire Braves outfield at the deadline at a bargain, which helped them win the WS. The Braves had been languishing for much of the 2021 season, until they got reinforcements who payed-off bigtime, while the Mets collapsed. The Braves would have been buried in the NL West with the Dodgers & Giants in 2021, and through 1993 that’s where the Atlanta Braves were.

As a reminder, the previous two trade deadlines before 2021, Padres GM AJ Preller had gobbled-up much of the best available talent to surround their young phenom SS Fernando Tatis, Jr who was brought up in 2019. Short outings from their starters, inconsistent defense (Tatis, Jr in particular), and injuries derailed the Padres by August 2021. Their off-season began with Preller firing manager Jayce Tingler, and then snatching Bob Melvin from the A’s, who are again in dump mode. AJ Preller double-dipped (again) by also getting LHP Sean Manaea from Oakland, and added FA RHP Nick Martinez from Japan.

The Padres have RHP Mike Clevinger back from his 2nd Tommy John surgery, but it’s still questionable what they will get out of him. He is currently on the IL with a triceps issue. Rookie LHP MacKenzie Gore is the key for the Padres. With LHP Blake Snell, RHP Joe Musgrove & RHP Hu Darvish, the Padres have 7 starters. They are stacking the 4/5 spots in their rotation on normal rest, while being prepared for the doubleheaders to come. An example of stacking would be Nick Martinez going 5 innings, then MacKenzie Gore going 3. This gets the game to their closer, without using regular relievers.

As a note, the Brewers did this very successfully in 2021 with Eric Lauer. It’s a strategy that wins in the post-season. Bullpens are typically chewed-up by October. The trade deadline can bring in reinforcements, but as a rule, managers should stick with starters, and use 4/5 starters as relievers in the post-season.

Pitchers now must face at least 3 batters per relief appearance, and that can be an eternity when a bullpen guy blows up and loses a championship, like the Astros in 2019 to the Nationals in Game 7. RHP Gerrit Cole will never forgive Astros manager AJ Hinch for that, and he shouldn’t. The metrics have been clear on this since Moneyball (2003). As a manager, don’t use your 3rd-or-4th best reliever in an elimination situation, unless that’s all you’ve got. Starters on short rest are always better.

In conclusion, it’s the National League and this DH rule change that’s the story in MLB in 2022. The NL now has the benefit of the DH. The only other year the NL had this was in 2020, the 60-game pandemic shortened season, and it was understood that it was only for that year. It took the 2021-22 lockout with 100 days of posturing and then finally some serious negotiating by the interested parties to get uniform rules which make the game a bit more fair & interesting. As far COVID-19 goes, it’s still with us, and remains a factor in professional sports. It will be until it is eradicated, and it will take a LOT more than a 100-day stand-off between millionaires & billionaires to get that done.

………….<><><><><><><><><>…………..