(-Gregory D. Foster, a former Army officer and West Point graduate who now teaches national security studies at the National Defense University in Washington)
It is not true that Barack Obama single-handedly destroyed the rule of law in the United States. The savaging of the Bill of Rights was, in effect, a tag team effort between Obama and his predecessor, George Bush, two presidents united in a single-minded quest to remove all barriers to the imprisonment, without trial or charge, of persons anywhere in the world, including U.S. citizens. George Bush did the initial groundwork, interpreting the 2001 congressional mandate to strike militarily against al-Qaida as giving the president the power to hold foreign prisoners without charge in Guantanamo, and, in theory, to treat American citizens the same way. But that was a stretch, and only a presidential opinion.
George Bush knew that it would be very difficult to get a preventive detention bill through Congress; Democrats would raise holy hell, and protesters would call for his head. But Barack Obama accomplished what Bush could not: On New Year’s Eve, Obama signed a preventive detention law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Under a Black Democrat, the rule of law ceased to exist within U.S. borders. Obama had already declared the rest of the planet a killing ground.
Then, back in August, a federal district judge in New York, Katherine Forrest, slapped a temporary restraining order on preventive detention, ruling on behalf of a group of activists and journalists who said the they could be thrown in prison permanently simply for speaking or writing about groups targeted by the United States. What, precisely and under the law, constituted providing “support” for al-Qaida or related groups? Obama’s Justice Department lawyers refused to say, claiming they had not thought the question through. Clearly, President Obama, like President Bush, wanted leeway to interpret the law any way he sees fit, so he can lock up whoever he wants, whenever he wants, for whatever reason, or for no stated reason at all. But Judge Forrest wasn’t having it. On September 12, she made her injunction permanent, ruling that Obama’s preventive detention law was unconstitutional.
‘Under a Black Democrat, the rule of law ceased to exist within U.S. borders.’
For less than a week, the Bill of Rights returned to U.S. soil. But, this past Monday, a federal appeals court judge put the Constitution back on hold, removing Judge Forrest’s injunction  on preventive detention. The entire three-judge appeals court will begin hearing the case on September 28. Obama’s lawyers say the government needs to be allowed to detain certain prisoners without charge or trial in Afghanistan . But Bruce Afran, the lawyer for the American plaintiffs in the case, thinks Homeland Security is gearing up to make lots of arrests of U.S. citizens, in anticipation that Middle East protests will spread to American soil.
That’s the evil beauty of these Bush-Obama laws: they cut across international borders and render all the people’s of the world equal in one important respect: President Obama claims the right to kill each and every one of them, or lock them up forever, on his own say so. In that sense, Obama recognizes no legal difference between U.S. anti-war protestors and anonymous targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia. All of our lives and freedom are subject to the whims of an American president.
(-Glen Ford; www.BlackAgendaReport.com)
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
“ME AND THE MOONLIT GHOST”…GARY SUNSHINE (is one of Anguish Young’s favorite American artists…)
Well it ain’t gonna be easy to write that much about Mister Gary Sunshine, he ain’t what you call a real go getter when it comes to publicity and audacious self-promotion. He writes these songs, records ’em, throws ’em up on-line, and then it’s up to those of you who know how to burn C.D.‘s, or purchase downloads, or who have decent speakers on your computers, to figure out how to listen to ’em. Seldom have I seen a guitarist of Gary Sunshine’s stature become such a strong lyricist and singer/storyteller. His newer originals are reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Neil Young, and Shane MacGowan. I saw Circus Of Power less than a dozen times, but they always blew our young minds with their swampy, blue collar motor rock, a greasy hybrid of MC5 dueling guitars, sixties blues, punk and hardcore, and Stonesy honky-tonk. They had one of the top ten singers of the hair-metal era, a Morrisonesque cosmic crooner by the name of Alex Mitchell, who was a soulful, baritoned poet-warrior, and two utterly badass guitar heroes, Gary Sunshine and Ricky Beck Mahler. My favorite line-up also included Ryan on drums and Zowie on bass. Their first album is better than the Cult’s “Sonic Temple” approximately as good as “Electric”, not quite as good as “Love”.
Only the Four Horsemen really rivaled Circus Of Power in their hell defying heyday. Yeah, Zodiac Mindwarp were fun, but they never had the humanity or soul of Circus Of Power. After a few solid major label albums and a live e.p., Circus broke up in L.A., and Gary went on to work with glam goddess, Brigitte West in NY Loose, he also did time with the Silos, managed an adult gift shop for Larry Flynt, and even worked with Axl Rose in Guns N Roses. I can’t tell you much about why they broke up, or what Gary’s been doing ever since then, because well. he’s just not a big chatty Cathy media whore, he’s a mystery man, a lone wolf, the enigma, but I can assure you he is not only one of the top guns of sleazy rocknroll, but he’s steadily evolved into a talented and prolific, cinematic songwriter at a breathtaking level. He’s an under-rated, detail oriented, yarn spinning artist like a John Fogerty, or Steve Earle, quietly crafting a wide body of songs, that leave corporate rock wankers and nostalgia circuit headbangers, in the dust. And he’s a Dad. You never hear his tunes and connect them to “Beavis & Butthead” or the Aqua Net era. His songs resonate with a world weary defeatism and sly charm like Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits.
He’s definitely got a Mexican beer suppin’ beat-poet thing goin’ on. You ain’t the only one with the blues, kid. He’s cool like a Long Island ice tea. Circus Of Power have one of those extremely passionate, hardcore cult followings, with an unshakable devotion to that band, and I know many who were disappointed when Gary chose not to join the old gang for an anniversary reunion show some years back. You don’t have to abandon the dream of experiencing a genuine Circus Of Power reunion, to enjoy the contemporary works of wonder being constructed by the Circus alumni, for your listening pleasure, wolf brothers and moon sisters. If you’re familiar with Circus Of Power vocalist, Alex Mitchell’s sensational more recent works, with his various bands, Fat Nancy and Captain Zapped, and you hear Gary Sunshine’s solo music, you will inevitably be somewhat awed that these guys were so successful at merging their combined talents, for as long as they did. They’re both truly GREATS, in their own right. Yeah, Alex is my favorite hard rock vocalist besides oh, maybe Frank C. Starr (R.I.P.), Billy Idol, or Tex Perkins, as I have trouble fully connecting to whatever Ian Astbury sings about these days, but Captain Zapped provide all the crunchy kickass comicbook metal you’ve been missing since Iggy was screamin’ for “Power & Freedom”, and their freakolicious psychedelic biker punk is easily purchased online, and highly reccomended, but Mister Gary Sunshine’s moody music is equally as valid, it’s just coming from a less extroverted place. Gary’s like the quiet older cat you wanna be friends with at the bar, who rolls his eyes when you’re being loud in your pink shirt, cause he’s just not up for that much frat-boy buffoonery anymore; who is more serious and soft-spoken than you and your belligerent crew, and talks about old timey music and jazz and film and poetry and shit. Definitely a finger-poppin’ hepcat jazzbo bohemian dude but he ain’t no poseur beret, he’s one of those old-school NY downtown people. Only downtown ain’t downtown no more. So ya gotta go lookin’ for him on-line.
The first song you’ll wanna dig into is about the Ramones and Sex Pistols. It’s called, “The Sex Pistols And The Ramones”. It’s so, so good. It’s subtitled “A Love Story”. It will remind you instantly of your punk rock past and the golden Converse wearin’ romance that never faded away. His music is real gutbucket, washboard, kitchen sink oriented and brimming over with beautiful losers and recidivists and drinkers and divorcees, Gary Sunshine’s tellin’ OUR stories, and the music is equal parts Lefty Frizell, Lightnin’ Hopkins, the Pogues, and Woody Guthrie. I mean you know how there’s that bigarsed Americana scene, supposedly? Rich guys who’s NPR listening ex girlfriend hipped them to Chris Isaak and Royal Crown Review And Wilco and now they think they’re countrified downhome cowpokes? How the “NO DEPRESSION” bunch has missed Gary Sunshine is startling to me. If you like shit like the Jayhawks and Creek Dippers and Lucinda Williams and all those Replacements and Uncle Tupelo influenced, “insurgent country” bands, Gary Sunshine eats most of those bands best stuff for breakfast, ya know I can imagine Sunshine up with the cockadoodle doo, on first watch, listening to Mingus and Monk on low, slicing home fries, brewing coffee, spreadin butter on stacks of salt risen toast. Stoppin’ now and then to write something down, or honk on a harmonica. Gary is one of the tens of thousands of artists and intellectuals sadly pushed out of Lower Manhattan by the ruthless forces of po-lice state, real-estate, and billionaire gentrification, but you can put him in the Delta, down on the farm, in some dumbfuck Monsanto cornfed Midwestern football town, and all his front porch narratives are still gonna flicker with that seventies Martin Scorsese vibe. Rain wet alleyways and steam from gutters, and shifty lookin’ fellas with ducktails and porkpies and and Donnie Brascoe jackets makin’ big plans in 70’s coffeeshops. There’s just something very NY about the guy. Even when he grows a Skid Roper beard, his dignified geezer music still throbs with a Shaft pulsebeat. He was there the day the Stones made their “Waitin’ On A Friend video”. He waited on Woody Allen, who was searchin’ for cool jazz at an old Manhattan record store. He thrilled rabid heavy metal audiences all through the late eighties and early nineties, with the best band around. He’s been around. He’s definitely kept his D.I.Y. sensibility, crankin’ out song after song, long after the music machine is gone, he’s doing it all himself, just for you and you and me. “Be Careful What You Are Whispering” could be a Guy Clarke or Steve Earle out-take.
“Listening To Heavy Metal (Day After Day) reminds me of Paul K. & The Weathermen, or David Olney, or Chick Graning from Scarce, it’s effin’ genius, makes me wonder about my own mulleted, ole Gary Moore wannabe, stonewashed metal bro from way back, who joined the Marines and disappeared. It’s probably the best thing Sunshine could have done for his art-vanish into the flyover states and make Peter Laughner and Robert Johnson influenced punk rock in a squalid basement room with his two kids playin’ on the swingset in the backyard and a one eared bloodhound named Muddy, ’cause you know how every suck shit perm from the spandex era who was ever, ever on MTV in the middle of the night still gets to strut around like he’s Jimmy Page? Sunshine just cast off all that pretentious major label metal dude celebrity with a shrug, sure, he could be sittin’ on a barstool with Chris Holmes and Riki Rachtman right now, hittin’ on Bambi eyed strippers from Des Moines at the Rainbow Bar & Grill, but instead, he’s got a spiral notebook and he’s gonna use it, he’s puttin’ it down, like Dylan, and Townes Van Zandt. He’s writin’ about “Cheap Champagne & Angry Names” and “Gettin’ Used To The Finer Things”, and really stirrin’ up the beatnik ghosts. You remember that jazzy college radio band from the grunge era, Morphine? He’s got summa that in here, too. “You Made Me A Criminal”, “Did You Move To New Orleans Or Texas”, etc., etc., are the keenly observant musings of a deeply sensitive American songwriter who’s been payin’ attention, who’s gotten older with the scars to prove it, and who still likes the Clash. Here and there, summa that old risqué voodoo and brimstone from the Circus Of Power years, naturally, leaks into his acute folk songs. If you loved his old band, this is the sound of his bruised soul in middle age, and it’s not as energetic as the raging punkmetal of twenty-five years ago, but it’s full of insight and awareness, and still has all that emotional impact, it’s just the grownup side of life, like Kristofferson, Gary’s feelin’ mortal, and thinkin’ ’bout what’s most precious in his time. I love it. If ya see ‘im at the donut shop, tell him I said hi.
LEAD ME AWAY FROM THIS BAR: