Billy Bragg

The Essential Billy Bragg

By Geordie Pleathur
(SugarBuzz USA)

SugarBuzz Magazine

BILLY BRAGG "THE ESSENTIAL BILLY BRAGG" (-wakeup call by Geordie Pleathur )

"Mixing pop and politics he asks me what the use is / I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses. You can be active, with the activists, or sleeping with the sleepers...Waiting for the Great Leap Forward..." (-Billy Bragg)

"Is the Libyan war legal? Was Bin Laden’s killing legal? Is it legal for the president of the United States to target an American citizen for assassination? These are all questions raised in recent weeks. Each seems to call out for debate, for answers. Or does it? At least in terms of what used to be called 'foreign policy,' and more recently 'national security,' the United States is now a post-legal society." (-Tom Engelhardt)

“Americans who are not alarmed by all of this are either not paying close attention, or are too trusting of current government officials to be concerned. Our Presidents can now, on their own: order assassinations, including American citizens; operate secret military tribunals; engage in torture; enforce indefinite imprisonment without due process; order searches and seizures without proper warrants, gutting the 4th Amendment; ignore the 60 day rule for reporting to the Congress the nature of any military operations as required by the War Power Resolution; continue the Patriot Act abuses without oversight; wage war at will; and treat all Americans as suspected terrorists at airports with TSA groping and nude x-rays. ” (-2012 Presidential candidate Ron Paul)

"Do you remember President Nixon? Do you remember the bills you have to pay, or even yesterday?" (-David Bowie)

"The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans' privacy and violate their constitutional rights." (-Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office)

"Do we fear terrorism so much that we will not have debate. Do we fear terrorism so much that we throw out our Constitution, and are we unwilling and afraid to debate our Constitution?" (-Rand Paul)

"We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." (-George Orwell)

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." (- Noam Chomsky)

"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery..." (-Frank Zappa)

"The Israeli Lobby owns the Congress, media, Hollywood, Wall Street, both political parties, and the White House. This kind of talk will get people fired by this lobby, as we have seen recently with White House correspondent Helen Thomas and CNN anchor Rick Sanchez. However, many Americans are growing tired of the arrogance of the Israel Lobby and their bigoted attitudes toward anyone who challenges their influence-peddling and their ridiculous insistence that Israel must be supported because of some ancient fairy tales involving some tribes who wandered the deserts of the Middle East and saw and heard non-existent things because of sun stroke, drinking bad water, and smoking local hallucinogenic plants." (-Wayne Madsen)

“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says. When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.” (-Sen. Wyden on the so-called Patriot Act, extended by Obama and the sold-out Dems )

"The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain’s 46th military 'intervention' in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain’s goal is to control Africa’s oil. Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form.

And as 'Mr. Hopey Changey' (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones – a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama. For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalizing of dissent to the incarceration and impoverishment of his own people, mostly black people, Obama is as bad as George W. Bush.

The Palestinians understand all this. As their young people courageously face the violence of Israel’s blood-racism, carrying the keys of their grandparents’ stolen homes, they are not even included in Mr. Hopey Changey’s list of peoples in the Middle East whose liberation is long overdue. What the oppressed need, he said on 19 May, is a dose of 'America’s interests [that] are essential to them'. He insults us all." (-John Pilger)

"It was an address with no destination, filled with lies on top of lies and illusions heaped on illusions. Only rarely is a foreign head of state invited to speak before Congress. It's unlikely that any other has attempted to sell them such a pile of propaganda and prevarication, such hypocrisy and sanctimony as Benjamin Netanyahu did yesterday.

The fact that the Congress rose to its feet multiple times to applaud him says more about the ignorance of its members than the quality of their guest's speech. An Israeli presence on the Jordan River - cheering. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel - applause. Did American's elected representatives know that they were cheering for the death of possibility? If America loved it, we're in big trouble." (-Gideon Levy)

"Palestinians are reeling from the double-murder of two pro-Palestinian peace activists over the last few weeks, one in the West Bank and one in Gaza, with many believing that Israeli intelligence had a hand in the grisly killings, even if indirectly. While ubiquitous conspiracy theories regularly circulate in the Mideast, political duplicity and dirty- dealings by intelligence agencies and governments are par for the course in the region. Furthermore, a significant number of conspiracy theories have eventually been backed up by concrete facts." (-Mel Frykberg, Inter Press Service)

"Only 17 months before BP's Deepwater Horizon rig suffered a deadly blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP deepwater oil platform also blew out. You've heard and seen much about the Gulf disaster that killed 11 BP workers. If you have not heard about the earlier blowout, it's because BP has kept the full story under wraps. Nor did BP inform Congress or US safety regulators, and BP, along with its oil industry partners, have preferred to keep it that way." (-Greg Palast)

"Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) and Peter Shumlin (D-VT) to testify in a hearing titled 'State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead.' Much of the hearing was spent probing Wisconsin's spate of anti-union restrictions it recently passed. At one point, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) confronted Walker about his crackdown on public employee unions. The congressman referenced a provision Walker signed into law that would require union members to vote every year to continue their membership. Kucinich asked the governor how much money the state would save from the provision. Walker repeatedly dodged the question and eventually admitted that it actually wouldn't save anything at all." (-Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress)

"We all have scars and bruises, but still, we have our uses..." (-Paul K.)


Well, some Congressman have tried to warn us about the nasty ways the Obama administration continues to "interpret" the sinister and devious Constitution suspending of the now extended Patriot Act. The White House routinely goes to war without Congressional approval-he's now got troops blowing up brown people in Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Latin America. As well as the permanent occupations, with his colonial puppet-governments, in Iraq, and Afghanistan. The U.S. has become a "Top Secret" police state. All our friends have been "American Idolized", bamboozled, sucked in by the weapons of mass distraction and illusions of membership. The big media ignores Bilderberg, because they are owned and operated by the super rich. Viacom, Disney, Murdoch's News Corpse, G.E.'s MSNBC, etc. We are lied to everyday, and few Americans with any real profile, or influence, will stand up on behalf of the unions, against austerity, against the plutocracy sneaking their crazy middle-class abolishing agenda into all this state legislature. Charlie Sheen tried to bring people's attention to the science-based organization of thousands of "Architects And Engineers For 9/11 Truth" and got swiftly taken down, by the powers that be, like Jello Biafra, in the eighties. The Dixie Chicks shut up, under Obama. We got Tom Morello, Wayne Kramer, Steve Earle, and Michael Moore fighting the good fight for worker's rights, civil rights, human rights, and an end to all these escalating, unjust wars of occupation. Neil Young pipes up, occasionally, or his old cohorts, Jackson Browne, or Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Pink Floyd's Roger Waters is one of the only rockstars willing to draw attention to the oppression of the Palestinian people, and the U.S. sanctioned violence against humanitarian aid vessels. The so-called punks in America only care about crass consumerism, and acquiring classic automobiles, and acting-out their tedious mid-life Fat Elvis fantasies. Steve Jones tells the dirty truth on his L.A. radio show, but how many of his millionaire disciples are paying any attention? England has the genius Billy Bragg, whose songs are just amazing, inspired, impeccable, and invested with gritty truths we seldom hear uttered by American artists, he's got a divine gift, like Joe Strummer, Bob Dylan, Paul K., or Elvis Costello. He challenges the British status quo, neo-cons, hawks, and banking villains with his infectious, sing-along, melodies, and anthemic, consciousness- raising lyrics. Most Americans only know him as a flannel shirted folkie, who worked on the tribute to Woody Guthrie, with soccer mom favorites, Wilco. He's not a yuppie, S.U.V. driving, Starbucks guzzling, self-inflating, NPR celeb, like many of his drowsy, careerist, American counterparts. He's still a vital and dynamic, boisterous, full-time, punk rock, rabble rouser. Hats off to the bloke. We need to hear a lot more about people like Billy Bragg, and a lot less about apathy-inducing TV shows, and fuggin' Green Day, who've been suspiciously silent about war, torture, and the death of the Fourth Amendment, since a new figurehead was installed in the White House. Come ON, you rock'n'rollers, I wanna see you, gimee your hands, you in the glasses, get up/stand up, come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls! Where's the new John Lennon? The next Abbie Hoffman, or Woody Guthrie? Maybe the reunited Big Audio Dynamite can send a message of love to the sleeping masses, since Gil Scott Heron has sadly, passed away. Who among youse will kickstart the next Great Leap Forward?


A Federal judge has ruled that if an American tax-payer dances, sways, hugs, demonstrates, makes noise, dresses too flamboyantly, or otherwise draws attention to themselves, at the Jefferson Memorial in D.C., that they may be arm twisted, body slammed, beaten, and arrested by Federal park police, without being told what crime they've committed. Swat teams assassinate ex-Marines suspected of smoking pot, in quote, "botched drug raids". How often do we hear that phrase, "botched drug raid"? The TSA molests your families while travelling. You have to pee in a cup, for a minimum wage job. Dissent has been outlawed. Only eight of your so-called "representatives" voted against extending the Fourth Amendment-eviscerating, Patriot Act. Promise-breaker Obama, continues starting wars, imprisoning people without charges, spying on peace activists, violating citizen's privacy, papers, and persons. The police state has drafted laws declaring it acceptable for the domestic spy apparatus to "seize any tangible thing", they can declare anyone a terrorist, or a criminal. No fly lists, no gun buy lists, no trial, no judge. A police state judge has ruled that no citizen has the right to resist the police entering their home without a warrant. This is being protested and contested by various states, including Indiana. Similar to the way that Texas state government is challenging the rule of the TSA to fondle Texan's private parts, but the Federal police-state maintains that individual states can not overrule the Patriot Act spy apparatus shadow government. Certain Senators have even leaked that the Patriot Act contains Kafkaesque "secret laws", so anyone who disagrees with government policy, or threatens big business as usual, can be brutalized, kidnapped, gag ordered, or otherwise hassled, violated, or detained. They don't even bother denying they torture anymore. Condoleeza was still bothering to bullshit, whereas, the new regime rules with fear and intimidation, while still spewing flowery rhetoric, in teleprompted speeches. As Kucinich says, pay attention to Obama's actions, not his words. He's behind coups, invasions, killings. Muslim nations are bombed back to the stone age. Americans are tasered, daily. The Department of Education is busting down family's doors, with guns drawn, SWAT style, because somebody's defaulted on student loans? Ruby Ridge and Rodney King are the new normal. The Mossad affiliated TSA extends it's rubber gloved reach beyond our airports, at tax-payer's expense. Whistleblowers are treated like terrorists. Peace and Solidarity activists are treated like terrorists. You are considered guilty, until proven innocent, under Obama/Michael Chertoff/Dick Cheney's TSA. We can not dance in the shadow of Thomas Jefferson's statue. Corporations have rights that we, the people, do not. Endless tax breaks for election financing, off-shore corporations, and the super rich. They are clearly, spraying us with something from unmarked planes in the sky, each day, now. The Constitution all those government agents vowed to protect has been suspended, so what "freedoms" do those violence-inflicting cops, soldiers, mercenaries, and government agents tell themselves they are "defending"? If we're not allowed to protest, determine what goes in our own bodies, if collective bargaining is undermined, and we are subjected to radiation and other lethal toxins against our will, and free speech just gets you arrested, or put on a terrorist watch-list, or no fly list, what's left of liberty? If we aren't entitled to a lawyer, human rights, privacy, and our bodies, possessions, and property can be legally violated by the government, at any time, what freedom do the brainwashed talk radio listeners still believe their flag represents? The freedom of war hawks to bomb brown people? The freedom for cops to beat up peacefully protesting, unarmed people, and charge them with "resisiting arrest"? The freedom of DHS spooks to declare you an enemy combatant and take away your right to travel freely, or own a gun? Notice how it's always "thirteen" civilians who perished each day. Always thirteen women and children killed by NATO for "democracy". What democracy? Where? Lots of citizens want to flee this senselessly violent, Orwellian, permanent-war, police state, but lack the funds to immigrate. The politicians are openly in bed with the banking villains, and the bonus crazy executives, so prosecuters refuse to investigate Goldman Sachs, or any of the big corporations, or financial institutions, and they tollerate no dissent whatsoever from the serfs of Main Street.

It astounds me that former bandmates and old friends of mine consent to working for the police and military, in times like these. Everyone has their reasons (fear and desire) for their choices, but these past associates do not care to devulge their calloused rationalizations to a second class citizen/lowlife/peasant like me. Reel in the billions squandered on the constant monitoring and perverse fondling of innocent Americans, and end the occupations of sovereign nations who neither invaded, nor threatened the U.S., close the stopless tax breaks for the offshore super rich, and there would be no deficit. The bloodthirsty hawks, and corporate elites don't want peace, or educated, healthy, prospering peoples. They want this lawless, dark empire, secret prisons, and slaves. The rich are never held accountable. Not Cheney, or Ashcroft, not B.P., not Wall Street's Goldman Sach's executives. Like the always eloquent Glen Greenwald opines, "the criminal justice system is for the poor, not the banking villains, or political elites...." The rogue corporate government carves up Iraq. Meanwhile, millions and millions of poor people rot in jails for violating petty, Draconian drug laws.


The big movies, video-games, tv shows, even music are used, by the permanently embedded big-media psy-op's to glorify and glamorize cops, killing, war, government kidnappings, SWAT team home invasions, corrections officers, surveillance culture, etc. Ever since Bill Clinton gave our airwaves over to the weapons manufacturers, psy-op's, and the Murdoch and the Ailes Faux-fraudcasting fear-factories, many Americans have come to believe the fictions of war, and false justifications for stripping us of our most basic civil liberties. Unfortunately, the tv programming has become so effective at distracting the people, masking the true horrors of war, hiding photographs of civilian casualties, and rolling out non-stop propaganda like the "Coming Home" and "Combat Hospital" shows, and all the "Seal Team Six" cinematic propaganda in current development...With all these soldier, and secret agent man glorifying shows, and corporate infotainment and misinformation, few among us can even remotely grasp how thoroughly, and utterly, we have been deceived. The awful truth is hard to digest without getting depressed. Left or right, you've been deceived. The corporate media pumps out lies around the clock, and it induces too much tension for most of us to even want to contemplate. As David Swanson from War Is A Lie says, "what happens when our small and committed group of (once) thoughtful individuals are all strung out on cable misinformation and government pills?"

It costs one hundred fifty bucks to visit a doctor, and wait around for two hours, in a germey waiting room, and if you aren't a middle-class, property owning, insurance holder, you will frequently be denied medication, based on your appearance, and the profitable for a few, anti-drug hysteria. I've been really sick, multiple times, in recent years, with these evil viruses, but denied meds, after my old lady took off work to get me to the clinic, because the diploma-holding, pharmaceutical gate-keeper saw my long hair, and arbitraily decided I was unworthy. I threw my back out, moving a couch, like five years ago, and every once in awhile, it kindof reoccurs, acts-up, right? So, I've had this absolutely agonizing back pain, but been denied pain pills, by these yuppie doctors, because I've been profiled as a "type". It's an outrage. I'm getting older and when my back is out, it's excruciating-no pain pills are prescribed for me. You can look at my back and visually SEE when it's out, on the left, it sticks out, like a sore, well, back. The doctors push pills all day on behalf of their big pharma sales reps, unless you fit a certain profile. Tattoos, long hair. They assume you're a dealer. No matter what Dr. Drew says, the drug laws in this nation are insane. Even NAFTA Bill Clinton has admitted that pot should be legal. I personally, don't like the Mary Jane, I've never personally cared to smoke pot, but I can not believe I still have to live in a country, where non violent pot smokers are routinely, incarcerated(!!) for profit, and where former servicemen can be executed, by SWAT teams, for maybe, getting high. Never mind the fact that the rich are allowed to snort cocaine and abuse prescription meds, on the party circuit, endlessly. Two Americas. The green zone, and out here, in the fields. Oh, my aching back. I limp around like an elderly man.

Many of my own relatives and other former associates were overconfident that their hard work and rigorous conformity, and status as middle class inheritors of property and tuition, would guarantee them a permanent passport to prosperity and a cozy womb full of overflowing possessions, but in mid-life, many of them are feeling shocked and betrayed, that they are actually drowning in debt and obscenely escalated insurance and health costs. They all thought they'd spend their golden years in oversized recreational vehicles, hot tubbing on oversized sun decks, going to garden shows at the fairgrounds on Sundays, taking cruises abroad, and golfing on rolling country club greens, but instead, they're struggling to get by, and the Wall Street Mafia is coming after their pensions. George Carlin tried to tell 'em. It's hard facing up to a lifetime of misinformation. Few people want to know that both Google, and Facebook, and probably Obama, are all C.I.A. fronts. Three years into Obama's term, it's self-evident that the same exact people are still running everything-we may not know the names of the people in the shadowy intelligence forces, security contractors, and banks who pull the strings of the politicians, but everyone should be hip, by now, to the sad fact that there is basically zero difference between the corporate-welfare, Patriot-Act extending, establishment Democrats, and the Pentagon's big oil, C.I.A. Republicans. If you wanna waste time and precious energy arguing with people who've been lied to all their lives, it's your choice. As far as I'm concerned, Obama is Bush, is Clinton, is Palin. Blood Money Hawks. All of 'em. Nothing ever changes, so long as the same secret societies control the Supreme Court, the elections, the big money candidates, and the entire mass-media.

Many Republicans hate being dismissed as racist greedheads, but besides the fact that Obama is part black, he has ruled exactly like Bush/Cheney. So why else would the Koch industries funded, tragically misguided, lower class, tea-party tools loathe that man, except for his mocha skin color? Think about it, his so-called, "socialist" health care reform sham was just another giant giveaway to big pharma, and the insurance companies. He let all the Wall Street shysters and B.P. polluters off the hook. His Justice Department has done nothing to punish the Wall Street scumbags who caused the economic meltdown, the Blackwater mercenaries who commit war crimes, or the Bush torture team. He's an efficient neo-con, corporatist, Zionist, war hawk, obviously in bed with the spies, mercenaries, big business, and the military industrial complex. His wife dedicates herself to glamorizing the military. They do nothing on behalf of poor people, seniors, teachers, the jobless, immigrants, non violent drug offenders, struggling middle-classers, minorities, small businesses, home owners, students, or unions. The Obama administration openly targets human rights activists, and whistle blowers, who've exposed war crimes. Why wouldn't Republicans love this man? He's been so effective at advancing their entire agenda. I'm even more confused by Obamabot Republicrat apologists, like Harry Reid and Ed Schultz----if a policy was inhumane, unethical, unfair, wrong, and immoral under Bush/Cheney, how is that the same exact policy is considered okay by some dupes, under Obama? It's insanity. The false left versus right paradigm/divide and conquer/rival sports team strategy always prevails.

I've also been puzzled as to why so many military families so blindly continue to support these pre-emptive invasions and occupations, and endless wars, that were based on lies, when our veterans are treated so shabbily, here in the "homeland"? The government still officially denies that thousands of Iraq vets suffer from the Gulf War Syndrome. Our street corners are filled with homeless veterans living out of backpacks, holding cardboard signs, begging for spare change. Veterans like Col. Ann Wright, Ray McGovern, and the Veterans For Peace are routinely, roughed up and arrested, for speaking out against the cover-ups, tyranny, and criminal wars of aggression. Do you think Hillary Clinton ever apologized for having her private thug squad brutally bruise and incarcerate 71 year old, former C.I.A. and military veteran, Ray McGovern, for the crime of silently(!!!) protesting her speech about "freedom" by solemnly turning his back to her, and raising his hand in a peace sign? Nope. Do you think Rapiscan porno-scanner stock-holding, billionaire, John "Skull N Bones" Kerry ever apologized to the honor student who was tasered, on a college campus, by strongarm goons, for asking an elected official uncomfortable questions about stolen elections, abruptly abandoned recounts, and his relationship to the Bush family? 'Mighty doubtful. These people are not liberals, progressives, feminists, or Democrats. They are puppet war mongers who loathe peace activists, and free speechers. Nixonites. Spooks. Liars. Elitists. Just like Cheney and Rumsfeld. Obama's TSA is bringing the porno-scanners and government gropers to your shopping mall, schools, and sporting events. While we were watching tv, our nation was stolen out from underneath us. If you still believe in the Republican cause, you should rejoice at all of Obama's elitist escalations of the fascistic Bush/Netanyahu/Fed/CIA/School Of The Americas/JSOC/Blackwater/Halliburton/AIPAC/NSA/DHS/FBI/DEA/

TSA/ETC. agenda. "USA! USA!"

Americans are lied to constantly-remember Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch, Colin Powell bullshitting at the U.N. about the threat of W.M.D.'s, the member of the Kuwaiti monarchy-testifying about babies being taken out of incubators (never happened), building number seven, combat missions ended in Iraq (twice??!), Obama was supposed to close Gitmo/stop waterboarding, the rigged Diebold touch-screen voting boxes, the phony baloney Republican recount "riot", American employed contractors posing as Iraqi civilians pulling down that Saddam Hussein statue for the American media photo-op, Black op's in Honduras, the stolen votes in Ohio and Florida, remember "no boots on the ground" in Libya, trickle-down economics, NAFTA was supposed to "create jobs", the government was supposed to hold B.P. responsible for the ecocide in the Gulf, instead of hiring mercenaries to guard beaches, while they literally buried the oil---How can anyone still watch television and believe they're seeing anything that has even some faint relationship to the truth?! John Ashcroft ADMITTED he was ordered to manipulate his color coded "terror alerts" based on what was most expedient politically for the Bush gang. NOW, he has left his lofty perch as Home Depot C.E.O., to become the "ethics chief" of Blackwater, and the rightwing-extremist Supremes insist that Ashcroft can not be sued by any of the thousands of Americans he imprisoned and used his notorious Gitmo tactics on, under cover of the Patriot Act. Have you seen the collateral murder video, where U.S. troops shoot the journalists and a family coming to their aid, like it's a video game? All I'msaying is, if you believe in the Republicans, do your own homework, and find out how many of them stood up against the Patriot Act, and defended the Constitution. If you believe in the Democrats, do your own research, and find out: who among them voted against extending the Patriot Act, and are actively defending the unions from the billionaires' toadie gorvernors. I say we gotta get organized, and unite against the billionaire, police state, war-mongers, who are robbing us blind, and deceiving us with their big-media monopolies. If you're a true artist, writer, rebel, or punk rocker, NOW IS THE TIME to use your voice, and make a stand for liberty, peace, and human rights. Don't waste your vote on these fascist Republic-Rats. Let's unite and elect new candidates to stop the wars, quit rewarding corporations who pay no taxes and send all our living- wage jobs overseas, and restore the Bill Of Rights!

No one should get bodyslammed and handcuffed, if you get caught dancing, in the USA!

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