“I SEE SHADOWS, I SEE GHOSTS….”
review and regularly scheduled rocknroll rant by Geordie Pleathur
CAPTAIN ZAPPED “Space Age Blues” CD
ALEX MITCHELL “The Strange Case Of The Flying Meatballs” book
“People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence.” (- James Baldwin)
“I believe that the persecution of PFC Bradley Manning, from his illegal detention, torture while in military prison, and unjust sentencing, are yet more aspects of this (in)justice system that persecutes truth-tellers and protects war criminals in the prior regime. My heart, as a Mother and an American, goes out to Bradley Manning and everyone who worked so hard on his case and the movement in solidarity with him. Another shameful day in U.S. history.” (-Cindy Sheehan)
“With his ‘Insider Threat Program,’ President Obama has linked his legacy with that of J. Edgar Hoover’s crusade ‘to root out political opponents, smash political opposition, and to quell voices of dissent.’ The secret program also operates in direct contradiction to the 2002 No FEAR Act, the first civil rights and whistleblower law of the 21st century.” (-Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo)
“I feel extraordinary kinship with Edward Snowden, and I consider him a fellow whistleblower. And he’s also an NSA whistleblower. It seems like there’s been a lot of whistleblowers from NSA over the past number of years in terms of just the numbers from NSA alone compared to some of the other parts of government.” (-Thomas Drake, former NSA Senior Executive who was prosecuted following his exposure of widespread fraud)
“The Pentagon employs so many highly skilled public relations agencies to churn out the message of how wonderful and glorious it is to be a soldier and to make this heroic sacrifice for the nation that kids, from the time they’re very little kids, are playing with guns, are seeing the soldier stories, are aspiring to be soldiers. I have just heard from a veteran of the Gulf War, whose kids, two boys, want to grow up to be soldiers. And no matter how much he tries to tell them that they shouldn’t do that, they don’t believe their dad. They believe the public relations. It’s everywhere in this country. And it’s a deceit.” (-Ann Jones, journalist and author)
“In the consumer state, we are allowed to fetishize craving and we have been induced to term doing so…freedom. Unlike consumerist “choice”, Freedom involves risk, and not just your credit history. Existential emptiness is freedom’s aviary…where it nests before it can extend its wings. In contrast, consumer emptiness engenders insatiable craving that begets more emptiness.
This is why one must cultivate the existential void. Nestle deep into your hollow places — the spots within you that ache with loneliness and longing. The places that open like blossoms of evening primrose before the rising moon when in the presence of Dionysian excess and Apollonian precision.
When you stand mortified before the sterile archipelago of U.S. culture’s malls, strip malls, big box stores, subdivisions, and office parks use the numinous empty places within you as an antidote to the noxious emptiness of this dismal landscape of nada. Weep: The road of freedom will not be accessed by way of an interstate freeway. Although: The journey towards freedom can begin by weeping. Weep heaving horse sobs for the fate of the creatures of the earth. Pound the ground in lamentation for irreplaceable beauty banish forever by myopic cupidity. Weep until you are empty, then allow the void to be filled by the abiding quality of sacred vehemence that arrives when Fate has allowed you to recognize the sound of your true name.
Thus: You will be able to see through the consumer paradigm and know it for what it is: A joyless bacchanal of famished ghosts. Then you will be ready to meet the days ahead. You will gain strength enough to carry the darkness of history and the self-awareness to navigate the eros of the unfolding moment.” (-Phil Rockstroh)
“There exists in our nation today a powerful and dangerous secret cult – the cult of intelligence. It’s holy men are the clandestine professionals of the Central Intelligence Agency. Its patrons and protectors are the highest officials of the federal government, it’s membership extending far beyond governmental circles.” (-Victor Marchetti, The Cult of Intelligence)
“There are always risks in challenging excessive police power, but the risks of not challenging it are more dangerous, even fatal.” (-Hunter S. Thompson, “Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century”)
“If we do not seize this unique moment in out constitutional history to reform our surveillance laws and practices we are all going to live to regret it. The public was not just kept in the dark about Patriot Act programs. The public was actively misled.” (-Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
“President Barack Obama claims he desires to have a ‘serious discussion’ about programs such as the NSA’s acts of mass surveillance. The problem with this is, Obama’s concept of a discussion entails the proffering of reassuring gestures towards his credulous liberal base as he goes about the business of acting as bagman for a ruthless, financial elite, operative of the national security/surveillance/police state, and international, militarist bullyboy.
Note to Obama’s apologists: Your powers of observation and capacity for denial have reached Teabagger levels i.e., analogous to working class conservatives who buy wholesale the canard peddled by the economic elite that cutting the social safety net, lowering taxes on the wealthy, and acts of market deregulation will unleash some kind of invisible army of Prosperity Pixies.”
“The struggle to defend the commons takes many forms. In microcosm, it is taking place right now in Turkey’s Taksim Square, where brave men and women are protecting one of the last remnants of the commons of Istanbul from the wrecking ball of commercialization and gentrification and autocratic rule that is destroying this ancient treasure.
The defenders of Taksim Square are at the forefront of a worldwide struggle to preserve the global commons from the ravages of that same wrecking ball – a struggle in which we must all take part, with dedication and resolve, if there is to be any hope for decent human survival in a world that has no borders. It is our common possession, to defend or to destroy.” (-Noam Chomsky)
“Well I’m sick of keeping quiet and I am the wild boy
I’m sick of keeping quiet and I am the wild boy
But if I have to die here first I’m gonna make some noise.” (-Iggy Pop)
“The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you, except yourself.” (-Rita Mae Brown)
“I think this is really the critical point that has to be understood. The reason that Edward Snowden forward, the reason that we’re reporting on this so aggressively, is because—and this is not hyperbole in any way; it’s a purely accurate description—the NSA is in the process, in total secrecy, with no accountability, of constructing a global, ubiquitous surveillance system that has as its goal the elimination of privacy worldwide, so that there can be no electronic communications—by telephone, Internet, email, chat—that is beyond the reach of the United States government. They are attempting to collect and store and monitor all of it, and that they can invade it at any time they want, no matter who you are or where you are on the planet. This has very profound implications for the kind of world in which we live, for the kind of relationship the United States has to the rest of the world, the way in which individuals feel free to communicate with one another, use the Internet. And that, I think, is why the story is resonating as much as it is.” (-Glenn Greenwald)
“Only in America can a dead black boy go on trial for his own murder.” (-Syreeta McFadden)
“The divide between the rich and the poor, between those who have a social safety net so intact they never even think about it, and those who have none, is too great. The divide between those who are able to enjoy their lives, those who live in luxury, and those who cannot keep up no matter how hard they try, is a great tragedy for all of humanity. It doesn’t need to be this way. It is possible to design economic systems that are more fair, that reward hard work, that provide a real safety net for all. It is possible for us to live with compassion, justice and empathy, but as long as wealth insulates greed and distorts reality, we will see radical inequality maintained. We will see billions people living as modern day slaves working for the elite, capitalist class, until the day they die. This is barbaric. A better world should matter to ALL.” (-Tangerine Bolen)
“It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy-the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps-to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.” (-Bradley Manning)
“I am a Vietnam Veteran. Do not thank me for my service. My service was to oil companies, chemical companies, the makers of guns and weapons, ships and fighter planes. My service was to the wealthy, the powerful and the rich.
Today is not Veterans Day but rather the old Armistice Day, a day that the powers-that-be ch…anged from a day to celebrate the ending of war to a day that commemorates the ‘pawns’ of war and this was done in the mid-50′s during the cold war and as buildup for the Vietnam War. Millions died, were butchered or maimed, homes and lives destroyed and even we returning veterans did not bring the war home with us, no, we left our souls there, in the rice field and in the faces of the women, men and children we terrorized.
There is no glory in war and none should be given. War should never be fought for anything other than the direct protection of homes never so that few and prosper while so many suffer. I ask that we stop making veterans and start building soldiers for peace! Do not thank me for my service.” (-Albert Strickland)
“All my heroes are dead…I’m dying, too…”(-The Ultras)
RADIATE AND FADE AWAY…
Politics? Nooo, I never talk about politics. I just care about human rights and believe in freedom. There are certain circles, I suspect, where I have a reputation for being some diehard outsider type, but in my heart, I’ve always felt hideously compromised by a need to belong, to fit in, to be accepted, even if only, by those whose friendship, love, and loyalty were always merely for sale to the highest bidder. Awake, I wonder what I might have achieved by now, had I not wasted half my life away, missing those who’ve come and gone, like a dog howling in the rain, but people die, women leave, people change, sadness accrues. As a younger man, I was ruled by the heart, and it took decades of getting smacked around like a pinball, before I realized that in this corporate prison state, only rich people “get permission” to express themselves artistically, or purchase meager portions of freedom from the man, and that if you weren’t willing to become an eager tool of empire, you would very likely be either shut-out, or made an example of, denied all the petty privileges of membership, so conspicuously enjoyed by the local gentry conformist squares. I really took my rocknroll rebellion seriously, I was never a weekend warrior, it was always my endeavor to align my beliefs with my life, but that can be quite a restricted struggle in this cookie cutter, brainwashed-consumer, death culture. They’re dumping shit from planes over my pad and I’m too poor for organic, so I’m sick all the time. If you care about anything, really, aside from money and power, prestige and property, you will always be branded a trouble maker, or labeled, cursed, condemned, by those who prefer the path of least resistance. I believe in resistance. We need to redefine heroism—heroism is not killing people for Halliburton.
What a strange trip, still alive in another autumn, surrounded by so many transparent, ghostly apparitions, I keep the good ones close at heart. Who knows if we’ll come this way again. Life keeps slipping on into the infirm, old, convalescent, no future. Whew. It’s kind of a bummer. There’s a strange fog outside and winter is coming fast. Springsteen was right, when he said, those glory days will pass you by, in the wink of a young girl’s eye. It’s all gone now-even the photographs and souvenirs. In my youth, me and the lost boys, we had some really wild times, good times, peak moments, flag on mountain top experiences, and I guess it’s hard to surrender those desires to middle age. We shoulda, coulda…etc. etc. Remember how the Clash and Van Halen hated each other? Me, personally, I was that “Goonies R Good Enough” Goth kid with a well worn motorcycle boot in each camp. For a number of years, we were wooly chapped and leather capped, gypsy jokers, hedonistic nihilists, fulltime burning men, bedraggled scarf draped pirates, laughing until collapsing circus people, beat poets born outta time, adventuring back and forth to the coasts in a series of sketchy, spray painted vehicles, going to see concerts by the likes of Mother Love Bone, Flaming Lips, Faster Pussycat, the Waldos, or Circus Of Power; seeking suitable rhythm sections, hot death rock girls, and zany kicks in the blurry years, way before your polite society sanctioned and focus group approved of, semi-professional window smashers like Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, or Jesse Camp came along with their staged unreality cornball shticks. We had no safety nets, no credit cards, no lawyers, no contracts, no corporate cameras to capture the wild fuss for cable television’s drowsy spectators. We were glittery rock punks with big-time Clash ambitions of youth revolts and sustainable alternative lifestyles beyond the reach of the scolding committees and joy killing fun police. Where I grew up, in the conservative flyover states, the tiny tyrants and local sons of nazi business owners, man, they were driven to crazy, slobbering violence by the mere sight of working class weirdos with nose rings and mohawks, or someone joyously dancing or drinking, or wearing funny hats with peacock feathers, not in line to kiss their privileged arse. They are all correction guards, at heart. Thirty five years later–mohawks, piercings, tattoos and Manic Panic are finally mainstream now-even the lil’ nazis all have ‘em, in the small-town cesspools, but inside, they are still mooks and Orwell-icans, goose stepping, rule mongering little followers. That’s all the corporations manufacture here—robot slaves, torturers, prison guards and snitches, riot squads and drone assassins, always more fodder for perpetual war. Walt Whitman said to dismiss that which insults your soul, I have learned that hate mongers, war hawks, sadists and power trippers come in many shapes and sizes and even Smiths and Slayer t shirts. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Treachery is everywhere. United States Of Gitmo. The daytime TV vampires and flag waving, ”Dancing With The Torturers” viewers, always accuse you of being too focused on gloom and doom if you bring up Fukushima radiation, torture, the NSA, or the alarming military suicide epidemic–over 22 a day, but everything they watch is intended to make them feel obligated to buy more shit from Target, or ask their Doctor is fascism and slavery is right for them.
In darkening times like this, the good people who oppose war and slavery, dirty oil, fracking, and the evisceration of our civil liberties deserve a soundtrack to inspire them to organize their friends and work for peace and liberty and human rights, and these shining genius, denim clad barbarians, CAPTAIN ZAPPED, have delivered an essential full length long-player to rally the rebel alliance, called “Space Age Blues”. One of the singles already circulating on the net is called, “Brand New Revolution”, and it celebrates the youth activists and cross generational people’s movements and independent journalists who are bucking the system, making their own media and D.I.Y. edutainment, and who are idle no more. It’s good stuff. “Me And You” is pure, shimmering, beauty, and regal, psychedelic poetry, like something from the sixties. The Moody Blues, the Doors, or Love. These glorious old dudes are so far gone beyond any gimmick hungry yobs we still see digging gold from rocknroll, because CAPTAIN ZAPPED have tapped the true source, the universal ESSENCE of rocknroll. THEY ARE ROCKNROLL. This is like “Waiting For The Sun”, just majestic, elegiac, powerful. “Brothers On The Road Again” is a surrealistic, highway anthem that captures all the odd hotels and faded signs and oversized road side attractions one witnessed on the road, travelling to perform, or rendezvous with your comrades from way back when. It’s what you should blast through those cherry speakers in the back of that stinky van as you go barrelin’ down the backroads to reconvene with that disreputable old buddy who lives off the grid now, growing herbs and vegetables with his banjo, hammock, and dog, or while seeking-out the lingering remnants of the freedom rockers, who really like to get it on, but be careful, keep your wits about you, if you feel obliged to hit the road. It’s dangerous out there, in Battlefield Amerikkka. Anyone not wearing a uniform is regarded with suspicion by the goon-squads and slave-patrols.
Nowadays, unless you made your name in the seventies, or want to be a hooker, or a drug dealer, the California Dream is dead. The millionaires gated off all the beaches. Military cops roam the streets, like gangs: U.S. Police have killed over five thousand civilians since 9/11, so who are you being terrorized by? In the last 35 years, CEO pay has risen 725%, Worker pay has only risen by 5.7%. NYC is untenable. If you say you wish there were still bands like the Ramones, I mean, organically formed bands with heart, dense people always feel obligated to rattle off the names of all the suck shit Converse wearing corporate pop/punk imitators, but what I mean, when I say ‘no bands like the Ramones, or Clash, or Sex Pistols, or Damned, or Deadboys, or Smiths, or Gun Club, isn’t that there should be more jock,rip-off, copycat clone tribute bands, but that the old gangs were genuine oddballs and working class freaks and geeks who came together to create magic. Using gestalt theory, synergy, Our Gang ingenuity and guerilla style improvisation tactics. That’s what I miss, what I never stopped looking for, and trying to accomplish and recreate, myself. I failed tragically, miserably, completely. Over and over again. Long after my talented collaborators died, gave up, or abandoned the teenage dream to secure their futures with rational careers. I just kept banging my head against a wall that wouldn’t break. Even now, when it’s much too late, I look at Charlie Harper, and Julian Cope with his mystery tour, busking, Black Sheep, and TV Smith, with great admiration and appreciation. Call me sentimental. They ain’t retired from rebellion. Neither have these visionary rocknroll animals, Alex Mitchell, and Hallucinatin’ Billy Tsounis. They return from the sacred mountain with heavy tablets in hand to guide and console you in your own personal “Days Of Love & Magic”. “SPACE AGE BLUES” is the holy grail of stoner punk. It’s miraculous that these two are still conjuring deep magic like this, even in this totalitarian era of tyranny and torture. They are among the last standing, genuine article, bona fide rock wizards and their music will soothe and uplift ya. All those frothing Target shoppers, Wall Street shysters, Pleasant Valley Sunday lawn-waterers and cable tv brainwashed product-crazies need to hear more music like “SPACE AGE BLUES”, if they ever any hope to break the energy drink guzzling spell of Matrix brainwashed, Black Friday shopping riots, cancer inducing empire and zompire programming. That’s why this ain’t on the radio and MTV. It’s too potent, too wild, too vividly alive.
End of part one…..
End of intermission….