Oh, the alcoholic afternoons
When we sat in your rooms
They meant more to me than any
Than any living thing on earth
It had more worth
Living thing on earth, on earth, on earth
Vivid and in your prime
You will leave me behind
You will leave me behind
HAWKWIND, MIND DUST MUSIC RECORD STORE, MY PURPLE APARTMENT & THE YELLOW HOUSE
One of my lifetime’s dearest friends died a couple Christmases ago, our dearly beloved old brother D.A., his stagename was Billy Ray Bogart, and his band was called The Hot Rod Gang, man, I still wrote him postcards like I had since I was a kid. He worked at this old hippie record store in the middle of nowhere-I met him when I was I dunno, 12 or 13 and he taught me all about all those sixties “Nuggets” style garage bands, the blues, so much. From Iggy and The Doors to John Lee Hooker and Love and Blue Cheer. When his parents died, he moved in with me to my purple apartment, I was about eighteen. You could still get good acid back then usually from his guitar teacher friend, ya know, and we would drink beer and whiskey and trip on acid and it was so much fun. You ever see one of those comicbooks, “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”? That’s what that dude was like, just a lovely, lovely sweet, shy, smart, hippie, space traveler. My time on earth has become a lot lonelier since he split. We used to watch old wretling videos he collected on VHS and get high and listen it Hawkwind, baby. Good times. I wish I could go back and see that little apartment we shared but it burntdown. All the places I used to live are vanishing. They even painted over the Gringo mural on St. Mark’s Place. What the fuck is wrong with people? Nothing’s sacred to the dollar worshippers. These greedhead scumbags call themselves developers but they are more like destroyers. History erasers.
Not that much I’m all that interested in owning, I’m not really all that much of a materialist or collector, but I do still really, really, really wanna copy of that THEE HYPNOTICS boxset and I’d also love to see that movie about them.
Paradise Lost was what we all called my old yellow farmhouse on the edge of town that was pretty much ground zero for the punk rock in my era in that state. Lotta people are still trying to repeat what we had conjured there. It was a magical time and we were foolish and naieve for maybe kinda thinking it would never end.
Ain’t it weird how that’s what we all called my old bandhouse-they tore it down after it sat empty for years and years cause the landlords wanted like some farout high rent and the place was completely deteriorated like thirty years ago. First they turned it into a nail salon, a tanning bed place, a cell phone store, and then it became home to a group called, “Teens For Christ”, which always makes me smile. Lotta the people who used to hangout there are dead, now. Some of the others are like these straight capitalist businessmen. It blows my freakin’ mind. I’m still the outsider lunatic fringe! Silver machine, baby! Headlines say Olivia Newton John is dead-I had that poster of her from Grease on my bedroom wall as a kid. In the third grade for Halloween I had a little girlfriend who was Sandy and I was Elvis.
Black people need some peace. White people need some peace. And we are going to have to fight. We’re going to have to struggle. We’re going to have to struggle relentlessly to bring about some peace, because the people that we’re asking for peace, they are a bunch of megalomaniac warmongers, and they don’t even understand what peace means. Fred Hampton
During the furor over Nancy Pelosi’s incendiary Taiwan visit last week, I was watching an appearance by Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp on the show Rising which brought up the under-discussed point that US officials going to Taipei is actually a continuation of a trend that had already been happening under the Trump administration.
DeCamp pointed out that China began regularly flying planes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone after Trump administration officials made similar visits to Pelosi’s.
“That started happening regularly after August 2020 when President Trump sent Alex Azar to Taiwan,” DeCamp said. “He was his health secretary. He was the highest-level cabinet official to visit Taiwan since 1979. The following month, in September 2020, they sent Keith Krach. He was the undersecretary for economics in the State Department, and he was the highest-level State Department official to visit Taiwan since 1979. So these are unprecedented steps, and since then we’ve seen more Chinese military activity in the region.”
Later in the interview Rising’s Briahna Joy Gray asked DeCamp if these escalations against China from the Trump administration into the Biden administration were a “kind of blob foreign policy decision that is not partisan.” DeCamp explained how in 2018 the US military began officially transitioning from emphasis on “counter-terrorism” in the Middle East toward “great power competition” with China and Russia, with the ultimate target being China.
“If you look at all the really hawkish think tanks in Washington that are funded by the arms industry, it’s all about this so-called great power competition,” DeCamp said. “Russia right now seems to be the more imminent issue I guess, but China seems to be in the long run. And we’ve seen this from just about every government agency — the Pentagon, the FBI, the State Department, the CIA — say that China is the long-term so-called threat. And we’ve seen Biden say this, and this is kind of the name of the game in Washington right now.”
In the lead-up to Pelosi’s visit, Moon of Alabama spotlighted this strange phenomenon where US foreign policy moves along the same trajectory regardless of political party or election results with a collection of recent articles that have all raised this subject independently. This one from Naked Capitalism stands out the most right now:
National leaders never have complete freedom to act; even autocrats have constituencies or power blocs they have to appease. In the US, it has become clear that the President has limited degrees of freedom on foreign policy matters; the military/intel interests call the shots. Mind you, there are factions so a President can push the needle to a degree; that’s why, for instance, Obama was able to check Clinton’s plans to escalate in Syria. But the flip side is that Presidents who want to improve relations with pet enemies get nowhere. In the Oliver Stone interviews, Putin recounts how he had productive discussions with Bush and they agreed on concrete de-escalation measures. Follow ups were unanswered. Eventually Putin got a written bafflespeak climbdown. That and other examples led Putin to conclude that US presidents are hostage to bureaucratic and commercial interests.
Biden is a visibly very weak president. And it appears that that has enabled the neocons to have an even bigger say over foreign policy than usual.
One assumes Xi has to understand that. Yet the Chinese readout has Xi starting from lofty first principles to contend that the US and China, as leading world powers, have a duty to promote peace, global development, and prosperity. From that, Xi reasons that seeing China as a strategic rival is “misperceiving” US-China relations and misleading the world community.
Who is Xi talking to when he goes on like that? It certainly is not to Biden.
— Moon of Alabama (@MoonofA) July 30, 2022
An example of the aforementioned comments by Putin was when Oliver Stone asked him, “You’ve gone through four U.S. presidents: Clinton, Bush, Obama and now Trump. What changes?”
“Almost nothing. Your bureaucracy is very strong and it is that bureaucracy that rules the world,” Putin replied.
It’s that “bureaucracy” that is responsible for the fact that the US-centralized empire continues to move in the same way along the same trajectory regardless of political parties and election results.
Nobody elects that bureaucracy. You can’t even see most of it behind the veils of government and corporate secrecy. You can study it your whole life and at best you’ll come away with a list of opaque government agencies, longtime military and intelligence operatives, plutocrats, corporations, banks, war profiteers, think tanks, lobbying firms and NGOs with ties to different nations and governments around the world, but exactly who is responsible for what specific decisions behind each specific move of the empire will remain shrouded in mystery to you. It’s just a jumble of names and words with no useful application.
Westerners are fond of crowing about the freedom they have to criticize their president or prime minister in whatever way they want, saying that if you tried to criticize the leadership of one of the foreign regimes we are all trained to hate you would be thrown in jail for it.
And depending on the nation that may be true, but is it really “freedom” to be able to criticize an elected official who is nothing more than a figurehead? Sure, you can criticize the president all you want. You can stick googly eyes on a sock and criticize that all you want, too; it will make the same amount of difference. At least people who live under more overtly authoritarian governments know who rules over them and who’s calling the shots. In that sense, they have more freedom than us.
As an Australian I know live in a member state of the US-centralized empire which is functionally just a US military base with kangaroos, but I can’t see who’s making the actual decisions about how the empire will act, how capitalism will move, and whether my children will be conscripted into the military to fight some idiotic war with China provoked over Taiwan or the Solomon Islands. If I were Chinese I would know exactly who is ultimately responsible for making the important decisions about economics and foreign policy in my country, but as an Australian I don’t get to know those things.
The truth is westerners live in a giant empire loosely centralized around the United States whose operations they have literally no influence over, whose operators they’re not even get to know, and whose mechanisms are entirely hidden. If you call that freedom, I call you a fool.
We can see that the empire moves the same way on important matters regardless of who we elect by simple naked-eye observation of the empire’s behaviors from year to year. We can also see it in the fact that the official leader of the most powerful government on earth is obviously suffering from some kind of dementia and is clearly not the one calling the shots.
All this makes me wonder: at what point will foreign leaders begin demanding to speak to those who are calling the shots? At what point do Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping begin saying, “No, we’re not doing another fake phone call with America’s fake government. Put me in touch with the actual people who are responsible for the issues I am concerned about. Who is making the actual decisions on these specific matters? Let me talk to them. I demand to speak to your real government.” (-Cait Johnstone)
“I fought for liberty and was deprived of all liberty. I fought for freedom of speech and was deprived of all speech. I fought for the truth and became the subject of a thousand lies.” (- Julian Assange)
“Julian Assange shouldn’t be the subject of a grand jury hearing, he should be given a medal. He’s contributing to democracy.”
“It is impossible to correct abuses unless we know they are going on.” (-Julian Assange)
“The thing that struck me when I saw Kamala Harris’s tweet and her statement expressing this outrage about Brittney Griner, first of all, let me say, I don’t think anybody anywhere in the world should be imprisoned for marijuana possession. Period. Full stop. When you look at Kamala Harris’ statement on Twitter, she is expressing this outrage about Brittney Griner. My question for her and the Biden administration is, where is your outrage for your fellow Americans who are sitting in prison today here in the United States of America because of minor marijuana violations? How come you are not fighting as hard for them to be returned home and reunited with their families as you are for Brittney Griner?” And to me, the message to the American people through their actions is loud and clear. It is that if you are rich and powerful or famous, then you will get special treatment from this administration. If you are not, we don’t care about you, and we’re going to let you sit there and rot in jail.” (-Tulsi Gabbard)
“After George W, Obama, Trump and now Zelensky can play president, I guess AOC could also. But the Sanders campaigns demonstrated that liberal/radical democrats don’t have the stomach to fight for power inside that party so she will never get close to the presidency.” (-Ajamu Baraka)
“DEMOCRATS ARE LYING TO THE PUBLIC: 1) The economy’s NOT booming. GDP has declined for 2 quarters—which means it’s in a recession. 2) Biden’s “climate” bill expands fossil fuels & drilling on public lands. 3) More people have been locked up for marijuana under Biden than Trump.” (-Ryan Knight)
Chris Hedges explains: Liberals don’t address institutional racism. All those interlocking systems to keep them poor, poor. https://youtu.be/q1PEQGg-mT0
Sabby Sabs interviews whistle blower journalist KIM IVERSON:
Max Blumenthal on Twitter: “This is the first time I’ve seen a CNN guest take one of the network’s jingoistic halfwits to the woodshed on Ukraine and Taiwan so comprehensively in such a short amount of time. And it was @rogerwaters. https://t.co/maN4DTdMhO” / Twitter
I am the people, I’m not the pig. You got to make a distinction. And the people are going to have to attack the pigs. The people are going to have to stand up against the pigs. That’s what the Panthers is doing, that’s what the Panthers are doing all over the world. Fred Hampton
I can’t believe Chrissy is no longer here, besides Vanity, she was my fave woman of the 80’s. I first discovered the Divinyls at SOUNDS record store on saint Mark’s Place as a runaway teenager way back in 84 or 85. She was the ultimate bombshell and all her troubled songs about being a misfit and a rebel spoke directly to my young heart. Ever since discovering them, ya know, her guitarist Mark has been the template for what I was always searching for in a sideman. I thought he had great style, sound, really inimitable, unique riffs, perfect hair, all the fab moves. Nobody has great bands like this anymore cause pig-media banned real rocknroll and replaced it with toxic-pop garbage. And the propertarians shamelessly jackedup rents so high muttering about “market value” and calling the kkkops everytime they spot a suspected poorer person in their zipcode-all without ever raising wages for workers so nobody can afford an apartment, let alone a rehearsal studio. In my town a couple of get rich developers moved in with big talk about how they’re gonna rebrand the place as a Brooklyn like hipster haven for “California tech-money” and five boomer rich people love that kinda talk and told city hall some changes needed to be made to the desert southwest unconforming cowboy tradition of whacky cactus and rock gardens and cow skulls and horseshoes nailed to every wall, and now code enforcers are flying drones over people’s fences and confiscating poor people’s old R.V.’s and rundown cars-EVEN FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY. partisan media stupid middle people are such short sighted asskissers that everytime the establishment rolls out another bullshit law killing our freedoms and civil liberties, while attacking the poor, they always jump up and down and applaud. “Thanks for getting rid of the eyesores!”, they all shriek, never comprehending that whenever you allow The Man to fuck over “the lesser thans” and “the others”, their NEXT TARGET will be YOU. Like all those shitlib assholes were so happy when Alex Jones and RFK got censored, now it is THE ENTIRE LEFT being purged from all platforms. And HELL NO, “Kamala!” and Pelosi ARE NOT THE LEFT! This culture war bullshit cover story works like a charm though. All the Breitbart rightwingers keep saying Biden is a radical leftist and a Marxist socialist while he keeps arresting people for reefer, mass incarcerating black people for reefer, starting wars, and taking away more rights. All the shitlibs only care about banning guns, abortion, and protecting their own privileged lifestyles to even wanna KNOW what the soldout Democrats are really doing while blaming everything on Trump, or “RUSSIA!” Nothing on tv is real anymore, it’s all corporate police state/forever war propaganda designed to benefit the super rich.
Man do I ever miss Stiv and Joe, ya know they even got Rollins helping promote wars and shit. Pretenders n Duran wavin’ flags for proxy war in Ukraine. The Divinyls are perfect to me. They wrote REAL SONGS, they had REAL HEART, they got REAL style, they played REAL ROCKNROLL. No one can ever replave Achrissy Amphlett or Stiv Bators-certainly not some muppet model paycheck cashers. My fave groups as a gutter urchin in Manhattan were the Lords, Inxs, Fleshtones, Billy Idol, and the Divinyls. That aint changed. These other motherfuckers who been reconditioned into thinking that rocknroll has somethin’ to do with Owning The Most Stuff, asskissing conformity, slavishly puking and repuking the past, or sucking up to rich people, I can’t help them. As a wise kid named Useless Bastard once said, “Fuck Those People”. Anybody else notice how deep state and secret society controlled Hollywood keeps making these movies vilifying, or at best, lampooning people like Fred Hampton, Abbie Hoffman, Che and Fidel? Why do you suppose that is? Cause Nixon and Hoover were the GOOD GUYS? Dick Cheney? Get outta here! The evil billionaires and secret societies are running shit, jacking up the costs of living, waging their imperialist wars while the people on tv are just a puppet show.
Adolescence is hard for everybody-even my friends who were rich or large or good lookin’ TOTALLY struggled and not just cause their friend wore a lot of makeup and sequins. I had a very dear, dear, benevolent friend who died like four years ago, her name was Jan S. Last person in the world you’d think I’d get along with, or have a lifelong, intimate camaraderie with. She was a country club, show off, fur coat, diamond ring mom to my dangerous gangster friend. She was into status and titles and property and conspicuous consumption, but her deep and abiding, unconditional love for her crazy son humanized her and her love for her crazy son humanized me, in her eyes. These brainwashed, spoilt shit fuckin P.C. wokey-wokeest-pro-nounest-I’m Every woman Lil Oprahs can talk about safe spaces all day long, but man, I’ll tell ya, I was hated and hunted as a kid, and this one, bourgeoise country club foxy lady TOLLERATED me and a couple of mine and her kid’s other friends, even though we were all fuckedup and sad and weird, and she fed us freely and let us stay upstairs in his room, making mix tapes, and calling girls on the phone, and mixing heavy metal with rap and new wave on cassettes way before Ton fuckin Loc or Kid Rock or whoever. I miss her, she was a good lady, had some soul, raised my brotha’s black daughter as her own. And that was not an easy thing to accept in uptight racist White Suburbia. I guess I’m thinkin’ about all this today, because she provided one of my lifetime’s only real tollerant havens, and cause summa my extended family members and my very own mightily cherished kids are struggling to fit into this society and even at 52, I am, too. The people at the top want us all to think it’s our fault, or blame each other, but, no, my brothers and sisters and friends of the revolution, I am here to tell you again today, it is the sociopathic abusers at the top and their lyin’ ass gaslighting pimped out no soul fuckin media that’s doing it to all of us. Listen to your own conscience, your own gut instinct—trust that, not the amount of “likes” you get or anything to do with fucking Bullshit Pig-Media.
YOUR HEROES FOR GHOSTS
This is gonna be a little bit backdated by the time it “goes to press” because I’ve got about 4 prior columns in line to post, but a lotta shit is goin’ on in the crazy world and there is so much censorship on all platforms in the USA, USA, nobody even knows anything about what’s happening unless they really dig for it online. Lotta people even think their kindly deep state protectors and big-pharma investors and surveillance-tech billionaires are just buying up all the media and silencing all dissident voices for their own good, for the health and protection of the general public, and the public good, and the Gates Reset. These same liars might have lied about everything else for all these years, but NOW, THIS TIME, they’re telling us the truth, according to gullible wisful thinking blue no matter whos, the secretive billionaires are supposedly trustworthy because they are Democrats and philanthropists and woke scientific and because they love us! These same apologists try to make sense of like Taylor Swift and Kanye West and Harry Styles and Dave Grohl and shit. Man, I’ll never know how so many people can even stand all the say-nothing copycat clones and tribute bands or mediocrity imitations who just constantly regurgitate and rehash the past. I remember when the Fox tv people kept saying, “Shut Up & Sing” to the Dixie Chicks, now rebranded as The Chicks after she spoke out against Bush/Cheney and their lies for wars and dismantling of the Fourth Amendment. I even experienced first hand entire barrooms of motherfuckers who kept telling me to not be political, while applauding the local Elvis imitators who just basically did covers and copied some famous legends whole act again and again like fucking Saturday night karaoke, that was just never my thing at all. At all, at all, they all suck, mean nothing, waste everybody’s time throwing their mother’s money around, trying to buy fame and females. Not my thing at all. Growing up in the shithole Midwest I had to hear Pink Floyd‘s “Money” all day on classic rock FM until I came to hate it, but Pink Floyd‘s “The Wall”, along with The Doors debut, “Strange Days”, “Waiting For The Sun”, “Soft Parade”, “Morrison Hotel”, and “L.A. Woman”, oh yeah and “Absolutely Live” and “Alive, She Cried”, and of course, THE STOOGES debut, “Fun House” and “Raw Power” really shaped who I was to become way, way before I ever heard of The Clash or Wanderers or The Alarm or Lords Of The New Church. I think Roger Waters is one of the only dinosaur rockers who still stand for anything besides tacky millionaires doing more money gouging, big stadium, victory lap, ripoff concerts ala Guns N Roses, Springsteen, and The Stones. I salute ROGER WATERS for his courage and bravery and artistry and songwriting. I frequently think about Stiv and Strummer and Bill Hicks and Hunter and Baldwin and Malcolm and all those people who came before us, and how horrified they’d be, if they were here today, and could see how their former fans and collaborators are such eager beaver, official narrative, make a bucks and willing puppets for corporate rulers, warpigs, and known liars. Radicals and whistle blowers, truth tellers and poets and comedians get blacklisted, cancelled, banned, incarcerated, deplatformed/demonetized or straight up just outright assassinated ala Seth Rich and Michael Hastings, Berta Caceres and Dr. David Kelly and Paul Wellstone and Gary Webb, and probably JFK Jr., and Sandra Bland, while pig-media hypes and celebrates all the no talent say-nothings and fake muzak puppets and trust funded playtime costume bands. Big love to Roger Waters, each one teach one, let every performance and tv appearance, every rock column, every song that ever squeaks in despite the ruling class efforts to shut it down, be a truth telling FREEDOM SCHOOL! All the time, everyday, keep broadcasting. We aint no match for the Big machine, but we can all do a little something-say your thing, pant your garden, share your seeds. The billionaires who are buying up all the farmlands aint your friendly friends. As Texas Terri used to say, “never shut up!” FREE ASSANGE!
I believe I’m going to die doing the things I was born to do. I believe I’m going to die high off the people. I believe I’m going to die a revolutionary in the international revolutionary proletarian struggle. Fred Hampton
MEMORIES ARE FOR LOSERS
Sunday in the desert. Bored stiff. Dread Wal Mart. Inflation is killin’ us.
Met these folks at a bar in Detroit called Lilli’s, they were exactly as you might have imagined-standoffish, dead cool, very haughty and eccentric, as one pal said, “like Warhol celebrities”, Hiawatha was way more approachable and down to earth. I was good friends with a couple of their collaborators-Mark Gilder, my shortlived Detroit based glam gang’s bassplayer and wildboy all night fun hog extraordinaire who also briefly played bass in their band and Bootsy X, the fabulous Mutants drummer who sadly passed a few years ago. Bootsy was originally in line to play drums for me, he was real gung ho about it actually and I’m still a bit salty it didn’t go down like that, he was also a real extroverted speedy personality king and loud laughs raconteur. He shared my love of Zodiac Mindwarp and Betty Davis, he had known everybody in rocknroll from Lester Bangs to Dark Carnival, obviously, he was a blast to be around, so many amazing stories-what a wild life he had. I miss ‘im, we had so much fun together.
WE NEED MORE OF THIS. NOT JUST THE GUITAR SOLOS, NEITHER! AUDIBLE LYRICS THAT COUNT!
I never liked anything about Donald J. Trump, but when the establishment and deep state pig-media start trotting out demonic forces like Dick Cheney and Lyn Cheney and pretending that they are some kind of virtuous defenders of the Constitution or election integrity or truth or civil liberties or some shit, ya gotta wonder what’s up. They are known election fixers who eviscerated the Bill Of Rights and Genevea Conventions, brought in torture and kidnapping, burn pits, and lied this country into a dozen wars based on fabrications and false flags continued under Obama/Biden. They are not some heroic figures for not liking Trump. They are some evil motherfuckers. I thought you knew.
“BILLS ARE NAMED TO DECEIVE YOU: The “Climate Bill” expands fossil fuels & is a giveaway to Big Oil companies. The “Cares Act” had little care for the people & lots of care for billionaires. The “Affordable Care Act” is unaffordable & was a giveaway to Big Insurance companies.” (-Ryan Knight)
“$60B for Ukraine. $90M for PeIosi to fly to Taiwan. $44M for Dems to fund Rep primaries. There’s plenty of money, it’s just not for you.” (Thia Ballerina)
“The War on Drugs (a war on our own people) was created to destroy Black communities & activist communities. Former Nixon aide John Ehrlichman admitted it in the 1990s.” (-Lee Camp)
We might not be back. I might be in jail. I might be anywhere. But when I leave, you’ll remember I said, with the last words on my lips, that I am a revolutionary. And you’re going to have to keep on saying that. You’re going to have to say that I am a proletariat; I am the people. Fred Hampton
Loved this one girl you probably never met, but if you did, you never could forget. It was way back in the eighties. Her sister made her cassette tapes from college, turned us on to all kinds of obscure music that was otherwise unavailable to us, from R.E.M. to the Dream Syndicate. Ya know, “I always thought we’d still be friends, someday”, like the O.M.D. song goes, but it don’t always work out just like our teenage dreams. Back then, she was the only one I knew who shared my love for the new music, the new wave and post punk, our first conversation was about The Psychedelic Furs. We would spend our time listening to music like The Smiths and Depeche Mode and U2 and Tears For Fears and Fra Lippo Lippi and talking about the lyrics, we were both really into Michael Hutchence and thought he was not just a brilliant frontman but also a wonderful poet. I don’t know why all the good music seems to come from Australia-Rowland, The Beasts. I used to think I’d visit Australia someday, but that was back when I imagined I’d have money from recording and performing all these wild rocknroll songs we wrote. Stupidly, nobody bothered to record us. Some nights, I just listen to old INXS and Duran Duran for hours, remembering all the fun we had, our little circle of friends, my bassplayer back then was the small town’s celebrity heart throb new wave DJ at the downtown preppie bar and he was famous for looking like Michael Hutchence, he’s dead, too, now, I’m having a rough time with all the loss, the grief is kindof here to stay now, I suppose. God bless us everyone. I love Michael Hutchence. And all those people I told you about.
NEW WAVE-TOTALLY DIFFERENT HEAD, MAN
We say primarily that the priority of this struggle is class. That Marx and Lenin and Che Guevara and Mao Tse-Tung, and anybody else who ever said or knew or practiced anything about revolution, always said that a revolution is a class struggle. Fred Hampton
JUST SAY NO TO GATES RESET! THOSE BILLIONAIES ARE NOT KINDLY PHILANTHROPISTS!
The CIA, MI6, Geheime Dienst, and KGB are the biggest drugs dealers on the planet! That’s how they fund their black ops. We thank them very much for the counter culture and congratulate drugs for winning the war on drugs! Keep the faith and keep fighting!” (-Elizabeth McDowell-Forsyth)
People have to be armed to have power, you see. Fred Hampton
BROTHERS & SISTERS & FRIENDS OF THE REVOLUTION, KEEP FIGHTING! IT’S UP TO US!
Sad we lost Glen Ford last year, he was one of the most important voices of our time and I think you should read his book, “The Black Agenda”.
RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA JUST MEANS DISOBEDIENCE
You can always tell how important narrative control is by watching the way people react when their control of the narrative is jeopardized.
Empire apologists are raging at Amnesty International for pausing its aggressive facilitation of western imperialism to issue one brief criticism of the way Ukrainian forces have been endangering civilian lives with their warfare tactics against the Russian military.
Amnesty is far from the first to highlight this extensively documented issue; that Ukrainian forces have been deliberately positioning themselves in civilian populations without taking proper measures to protect noncombatants is a concern that has been voiced repeatedly since the war began and reported on by both mainstream western news outlets and the United Nations.
Nevertheless, Amnesty’s claim that “Ukrainian forces have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals” has drawn fire from Ukrainian officials, from mass media pundits, from the brainwashed rank-and-file on social media, and from President Zelensky himself.
Incredible seeing Amnesty attacked for documenting what every minimally independent observer has from the start. See e.g. Washington Post, March 28 on “Ukraine’s strategy of placing heavy military equipment and other fortifications in civilian zones.” https://t.co/vu3v3UCdIq https://t.co/v0qy2ehVLV
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) August 6, 2022
A common criticism circulating among the outrage is that Amnesty is facilitating Russian propaganda, has been influenced by Russian propaganda, or has itself become an instrument of Russian propaganda.
The head of Amnesty International’s Ukrainian branch resigned as a result of the report, saying that “the organization created material that sounded like support for Russian narratives” and that in an effort to protect civilians, “this study became a tool of Russian propaganda.”
“It is a shame that the organization like Amnesty is participating in this disinformation and propaganda campaign,” tweeted Zelensky advisor Mykhailo Podolyak.
“Amnesty International can go to hell for this garbage,” tweeted Human Rights Foundation Chairman Garry Kasparov. “Or go to Ukraine, which Putin’s war is trying to turn into hell. As with their actions on Navalny, it reeks of Russian influence turning Kremlin propaganda into Amnesty statements.”
The Daily Mail called the Amnesty report “a coup for Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine.”
Pathetic. Amnesty International can go to hell for this garbage. Or go to Ukraine, which Putin’s war is trying to turn into hell. As with their actions on Navalny, it reeks of Russian influence turning Kremlin propaganda into Amnesty statements. https://t.co/KOC0S0NJOt
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) August 4, 2022
The underlying premise behind these complaints, of course, is that it is Amnesty International’s job to help Ukraine win a propaganda campaign against Russia. Which is odd, because Amnesty’s reporting on the war has actually been overwhelmingly biased in favor of Ukraine this entire time.
“Anger directed at Amnesty is surprising given that it is the first critical piece the group has written on Ukraine since the war began,” reports Unherd. “Over the last six months, Amnesty has published 40 articles on Ukraine, nearly all of which condemn Russia’s invasion, with only one exception — its latest — that could be conceivably described as critical of Ukraine.”
Even the Amnesty report currently sparking all the outrage contains repeated condemnations of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, citing “indiscriminate attacks by Russian forces” and “war crimes” Amnesty has found Russia guilty of committing, as well as decrying the use of “inherently indiscriminate weapons, including internationally banned cluster munitions.”
But even ninety-nine percent loyalty to the official line is not enough for imperial spinmeisters and the empire’s useful idiots. Anything short of 100 percent compliance counts as Russian propaganda.
Zelensky now implies that Amnesty International has now fallen under the spell of Kremlin propaganda for pointing out the obvious that Western press would not report & that is Ukrainian forces have been using civilians as shields.
— Ajamu Baraka (@ajamubaraka) August 5, 2022
But that’s precisely the notion that has been drummed into western consciousness with ever-increasing fervor since 2016: that any dissent about US foreign policy is Russian propaganda. Don’t support western interventionism in Syria? You’re spouting Russian propaganda. Worried about nuclear war? Russian propaganda. Don’t think the fight for US unipolar domination is worth all this dangerous brinkmanship? Russian propaganda. Don’t like the idea of an expensive proxy war with no exit strategy whose economic fallout is making life harder and harder for more and more people all around the world? Russian propaganda.
I myself am accused of being a peddler of Russian propaganda many times per day, and have been for years. This despite my hardly ever consuming Russian media, never receiving a penny from Russia, and never having worked for the Russian government or any other government at any time. Russian media have at times chosen of their own initiative to amplify my work since I have a standing invitation for anyone to do so, but I’m literally just an Australian woman writing her opinions online with her American husband. I only qualify as “Russian propaganda” because I disagree with US foreign policy.
Ask anyone who says a criticism of the western empire’s Ukraine policy is “Russian propaganda” to name a critic of western Ukraine policy who they don’t consider a Russian propagandist. They won’t be able to. For them, disagreeing with one’s government about Ukraine is itself Russian propaganda.
For empire apologists the measure of what constitutes “Russian propaganda” about Ukraine has nothing to do with whether or not what’s being said is true or valid; it’s literally just a question of obedience to one’s government about the decisions it’s been making with regard to that nation.
So the @amnesty basically accused Ukraine of endangering civilians by continuing to resist Russian advances.
The organization gives a huge assist to Russian propaganda.
— Oleksiy Sorokin (@mrsorokaa) August 4, 2022
If the measure of whether something qualifies as propaganda is defined entirely by whether it agrees with one’s government, then that measure is itself propaganda.
That’s exactly what’s happening with criticism of the west’s interventionism in Ukraine. Something doesn’t have to come from Russia to be considered Russian propaganda, and its source doesn’t need to have any connection to the Russian government. It doesn’t even have to be false. All it needs to be is disobedient.
We saw this illustrated this past June when The Guardian published a NATO-backed claim that journalist Aaron Maté was “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” among a “Russia-backed network of Syria conspiracy theorists,” despite being incapable of citing a single false thing in Maté’s Syria reporting, and despite The Guardian having to hastily edit out their “Russia-backed” claim.
We also saw this illustrated this past June in a University of Calgary briefing paper on “disinformation” about the war in Ukraine which warns about “five primary narratives” being circulated online:
1. Implying NATO expansionism legitimizes the Russian invasion
2. Portraying NATO as an aggressive alliance using Ukraine as a proxy against Russia
3. Promoting a general mistrust in institutions and elites
4. Suggesting that Ukraine is a fascist state or has extensive fascist influences
5. Promoting a specific mistrust of Canada’s Liberal government, and especially of Prime Minister Trudeau
There are arguments of varying strengths to be made for every one of those points, but more importantly it is self-evident that all of them are matters of opinion and none of them meet any sane definition of “disinformation”. They also can’t in and of themselves rightly be called either “Russian” or “propaganda”.
“We are moving into a situation where dissent from officially sanctioned opinion can be pathologized & criminalised. Pressures for increasing censorship of dissenting opinion are becoming normalised.” Academics should be resisting this, not assisting it.https://t.co/R1tRb34D6W
— Tim Hayward (@Tim_Hayward_) July 31, 2022
Russian propaganda certainly exists, and the Russian government certainly has a vested interest in influencing western thought in its strategic favor to whatever extent it is capable. But its capability is very, very limited, especially compared to the exponentially greater influence that western institutions have over our minds.
Russia has a few trolls and some media outlets that were barely viewed by westerners even before they were banned; the US-centralized empire has the billionaire media, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the education system. Comparing the two is like comparing a candle to the sun, and the sun ain’t Russia. But that’s the one whose influence over our minds we’re meant to worry about.
In reality we are swimming in propaganda that is favorable to the US empire our entire lives; it’s so ubiquitous that people don’t even notice it. Claiming your support for US foreign policy on an issue has nothing to do with being propagandized is like someone who was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church claiming it was pure coincidence that he happens to agree with the church on the sinfulness of homosexuality. It pervades our minds and shapes our society, but they want us all freaking out about the virtually nonexistent problem of “Russian propaganda”.
This is a thought-killing dynamic, and it is a major problem. It is not good that propaganda is shoved into our minds manufacturing consent for dangerous escalations between the world’s two greatest nuclear powers while anyone who opposes any part of it is dismissed as a Russian propagandist or a useful idiot of the Kremlin.
Ten Times Empire Managers Showed Us That They Want To Control Our Thoughts
The single most under-appreciated aspect of our society is the fact that immensely powerful people are continuously working to manipulate the thoughts we think about our world.https://t.co/s9gIfQGb39
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) May 29, 2022
We should be using our minds more at this critical juncture, but these dynamics put in place by imperial narrative managers have instead got us using them a lot less.
A Russian and an American get on a plane in Moscow and get to talking. The Russian says he works for the Kremlin and he’s on his way to go learn American propaganda techniques.
“What American propaganda techniques?” asks the American.
“Exactly,” the Russian replies.
The Times has published an article titled “Lady Gaga embodies everything China fears,” subtitled “The singer’s uncompromising individuality makes her a serious threat to the mass imposition of cultural conformity through censorship,” and its contents are exactly as horrifyingly idiotic as you would imagine.
Here are the first three paragraphs of the article by Ben Macintyre, because if I had to read them then so do you:
A woman looking like an extra-terrestrial praying mantis upholstered in red leather strode on to the stage at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, jets of flame shot 100ft into the air, 50,000 outrageously costumed fans screamed, and I understood why China is so terrified of Lady Gaga.
For there is nothing so wildly individualistic, so defiant of convention, so unwilling to be regimented and controlled as Lady Gaga in full voice, an erotic, exotic ubercelebrity who also contrives to be the girl next door, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta from New York City.
Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Ball last week was the first UK performance in seven years by this raw meat-wearing, bisexual feminist who sings of liberty, drugs, addiction, mental health and the absolute right to self-expression because she, and everyone else, is Born This Way. Simultaneously channelling Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana, she is both an extreme fashion freak and defiantly ordinary, which is why she is one of the most powerful pop stars in history and, from the point of view of Beijing’s Communist leadership, a serious threat.
Lady Gaga embodies everything China fears.
“Do What U Want, she sings, and Beijing trembles.” https://t.co/Tid1FRa8ri
— Tom Harwood (@tomhfh) August 6, 2022
Macintyre goes on to explain that Lady Gaga was banned from China in 2016 for meeting with the Dalai Lama (who just between us is known to have collected a massive paycheck from the CIA for decades), which makes her a serious threat whose bold defiance and bisexual feminist individualism give Xi Jinping screaming night terrors.
“Lady Gaga poses a threat less for her political views, her visit to the Dalai Lama, and her support for LGBTQ rights than through her determination to be, and encourage others to be, entirely different,” Macintyre concludes. “Do What U Want, she sings, and Beijing trembles.”
I seriously cannot believe this article was published. Like, anywhere. I would have been surprised to see it picked up by even the most obscure clickbait blog in the seediest backwaters of the internet, much less by a prominent 237 year-old British newspaper.
But from where I sit right now, the funniest thing about it is the way the article portrays the western world as this bastion of free thought and individuality. Just that one fact alone eclipses the absurdity of the fact that the article’s author thinks the perfect symbol of this freedom is Lady Gaga strutting around in a meat dress.
I mean, just the fact that we are ingesting anti-China propaganda to facilitate the long-term strategic agendas of the US-centralized empire while reading in the Murdoch press about how free and unique we are compared to the Chinese shows you how bizarre this claim is.
In an authoritarian regime, you do what the powerful want you to do. In a Free Democracy, you do what you like, and it’s only by pure coincidence that what you like just so happens to always align perfectly with what the powerful want you to do.
The more you understand about the brainwashing effects of domestic propaganda in the west, the more adorable it is when you see westerners talking about themselves as free-thinking individualists living in a free society in contrast with the citizens of nations like China. A civilization whose inhabitants are continuously indoctrinated with power-serving belief systems from childhood until their dying breath is not individualist, is not free, and is not thinking. Its inhabitants only think this is so, and they think this is so because they’ve been programmed to.
Freedom of thought and freedom of speech only exist on the fringes of western society, in such small numbers that they make no difference. The mainstream population whose numbers could be used to effect revolutionary change are herded into political factions which are designed to prop up status quo power at every turn and corresponding media echo chambers which keep them from providing any meaningful resistance to the machine.
As a whole we are marching in perfect accordance with the will of our masters: voting how they like, thinking how they like, speaking how they like, working how they like, shopping how they like, and living how they like. It is only the power-serving narratives put in our minds by our education systems and our media which tell us we are free. And it is only those power-serving narratives which have trained us to look down our noses at people in nations like China. (-Caitlin Johnstone)