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Member since: Tue Jun 16, 2009, 03:09 PM
Number of posts: 2,152

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Mark E. Smith, Prolific Singer of Post-Punk Group the Fall, Dead at 60

Source: Rolling Stone

Fiercely independent Mancunian frontman used dry witticisms and plays on words to create singular musical career

"It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E. Smith," the band's manager Pam Vander said in a statement. "He passed this morning at home. A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, Pam & Mark’s family request privacy at this sad time."

Part musical hypnotist, part ranting madman, Smith was a singular figure in post-punk. His Mancunian accent, dry witticisms and plays on words were one of the Fall's most constant characteristics. Their songs were odysseys into his ever-verbose psyche, marked by repetitive rhythms and melodies. His influence resounded in the music of Pavement, Sonic Youth and the early 2000s New York dance-punk scene.

A fiercely independent thinker noted for his temperamental nature, Smith ushered the Fall through countless lineups and guises as the band's sole original member. The group began with a slightly off-kilter take on the punk sound, in line with Britain's musical revolution of 1977, but quickly became artier, focusing on forceful rhythms that owe equal debt to skiffle, Krautrock and Smith's omnipresent oration.

Read more: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/mark-e-smith-post-punk-singer-for-the-fall-dead-at-60-w514673

Blind man... Have mercy on me


Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice


Feeling a little leftier-than-thou today? How about some chill-out tips from a wedding website?

The experience of oppression does not grant supremacy, in the same way that being a powerful colonizer does not. Justice will never look like supremacy. I wish for a new societal order that does not revolve around relations of power and domination.


Discipline and punishment have been used for all of history to control and destroy people. Why is it being used in movements meant to liberate all of us? We all have made serious mistakes and hurt other people, intentionally or not. We get a chance to learn from them when those around us respond with kindness and patience. Where is our humility when examining the mistakes of others? Why do we position ourselves as morally superior to the lowly un-woke? Who of us came into the world fully awake?


When Everyday Feminism articles are shared among my friends, I feel both grateful that the conversation is sparking and also very belittled. Nearly all of their articles follow a standard structure: an instructive title, a list of problematic or suggested behaviors, and a final statement of hard opinion. The titles, the educational tone, and the prescriptive checklists contribute to the idea that there is only one way to think about and do activism. And it’s a swiftly moving target that is always just out of reach. In trying to liberate readers from the legitimately oppressive structures, I worry that sites like Everyday Feminism are replacing them with equally restrictive orthodoxy on the other end of the political spectrum.


At this year’s Allied Media Conference, BLM co-founder Alicia Garza gave an explosive speech to a theatre full of brilliant and passionate organizers. She urged us to set aside our distrust and critique of newer activists and accept that they will hurt and disappoint you. Don’t shut them out because their politics are outdated or they don’t wield the same language. If we are interested in building mass movements to destroy mass oppression, our movements must include people not like us, people with whom we will never fully agree, and people with whom we have conflict. That’s a much higher calling than railing at people from a distance and labeling them as wrong. Ultimately, according to Garza, building a movement is about restoring humanity to all of us, even to those of us who have been inhumane. Movements are where people are called to be transformed in service of liberation of themselves and others.


FBI raids Sovereign Health rehab

The recovery industry has come under fire of late for widespread insurance fraud, patient dumping and poor quality of care. Though many legitimate operators remain in the industry, long-time rehab consultants complain that recent changes in federal health care and lack of oversight by state and federal agencies are making it tougher for rehab companies to turn an honest profit. They say “body brokering,” in which drug-addicted patients are wooed to specific rehab centers with promises of cash payments, free health care and luxurious accommodations, has become increasingly common.

An investigation by The Southern California News Group recently found that the Los Angeles and Orange County area is known in the industry as Rehab Riviera, and is a key part of the national problem.


This is the place I went to in 2011; it was A LOT smaller back then. The "rehab industry" has really transformed parts of SoCal into a "boom town." (note: boom towns aren't a good thing... well, maybe for a couple of people)

Let me know what you think of this track I produced...

...for my friend Keith Jones. It's called "Ways of Spirit" and I did practically everything on it except for the singing and mastering.

After we did this track, I moved away for a while and Keith completed 9 other tracks with bassist/producer Fully Fullwood. These 10 songs are on Keith's debut album "It's about time..."

If you like this song, you can check out the rest of the album on Keith's website: https://keithjonesmusic.net/music

Was the Rise of Neoliberalism the Root Cause of Extreme Inequality? (UPDATED with link)



Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

*snip* Lots more... http://evonomics.com/rise-of-neoliberalism-inequality/

"The Handmaid's Tale" in the age of Trump


Is “The Handmaid’s Tale” a prediction? That is the third question I’m asked — increasingly, as forces within American society seize power and enact decrees that embody what they were saying they wanted to do, even back in 1984, when I was writing the novel. No, it isn’t a prediction, because predicting the future isn’t really possible: There are too many variables and unforeseen possibilities. Let’s say it’s an antiprediction: If this future can be described in detail, maybe it won’t happen. But such wishful thinking cannot be depended on either.


I don't vote for Republicans.

1) I don't vote Republican because I don't want to see more US soldiers dying in the Middle East for regime change.
2) I don't vote Republican because they'll put the same megabanks in charge of Treasury that destroyed our economy the last time they were in charge of Treasury.
3) I don't vote Republican because I've always supported gay people's civil liberties and the Republicans who've barely come around to supporting gay marriage this decade are doing so only because the polling now supports it.
4) I don't vote Republican because they keep telling me they "need more research" to believe cannabis is a medicine.
5) I don't vote Republican because they institute terrible "free trade" deals that destroy jobs and wages.
6) I don't vote Republican because they support the increase of fracking worldwide, an environmentally disastrous policy.
7) I don't vote Republican because they don't believe America can be like every other modern democracy and provide universal health care coverage.
8) I don't vote Republican because they enjoy and exploit the campaign finance shenanigans made legal by Citizens United.
9) I don't vote Republican because they think a $15 minimum wage is too high and at best it ought to only be $12.
10) I don't vote Republican because they endorse and approve of NSA's warrantless spying on American citizens.
11) I don't vote Republican because they created and supported the USA PATRIOT ACT that is used far more against drug "crimes" than terrorism.
12) I don't vote Republican because they believe that "the era of big government is over" and work to destroy welfare.
13) I don't vote Republican because they believe in being "tough on crime" to the point of supporting mass incarceration of mostly black and brown people.
14) I don't vote Republican because they use racist dog whistles like calling black kids "superpredators... that [we have to] bring to heel."
15) I don't vote Republican because they opposed closing Gitmo.
16) I don't vote Republican because they want to cut Social Security, or at the very least, refuse to consider lifting the income cap on contributions to make rich people pay their fair share.
17) I don't vote Republican because people with net worth that requires two or three commas to print don't understand what people like me go through living paycheck to paycheck.
18) I don't vote Republican because I can't stand privatized prisons and they take lots of campaign donations from them.
19) I don't vote Republican because if we're not going to have socialism for the poor, why should I support those who voted to bail out the big banks and refuse to break them up?
20) I don't vote Republican because they supported the bankruptcy bill that made it harder for poor working people to discharge debt, while their hyper-rich friends make use of bankruptcy restructuring all the time.
21) I don't vote Republican because they oppose reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act that would separate investment and commercial banking.
22) I don't vote Republican because they support the death penalty.
23) I don't vote Republican because they vote for stupid things like a border fence with Mexico.
24) I don't vote Republican because they get most of their campaign donations from the big banks, instead of typical Democratic sources like unions.
25) I don't vote Republican because they would lock up Edward Snowden and throw away the key.

Those are 25 pretty good reasons why we Democrats don't vote for Republicans, don't you think?

So why would we vote for Hillary Clinton, the Rockefeller Republican who exemplifies every one of those 25 statements?


Fire Dept. Experts: A Question.

I live in San Clemente, CA. Why would an investigator from the Riverside Fire Dept. be rolling through our apartment complex in his official truck?

To All The Baby Boomers Lecturing Us About Supporting Bernie Sanders

Thanks for the concern trolling. It’s nice to know you care.

What we really wish, however, is that you’d cared a little more when it mattered.

We wish you would have cared more in 1979, when a relatively decent man was our President, and he lost an election to a criminal who would go on to set in motion a revolution for the rich in this country.

You were too worried about the price of gasoline to keep him in office.


Thank you also for failing to elect Mondale 4 years later when we really could have used the break as a nation from Reagan’s anti-poor, anti-justice, oligarchy-strengthening policies. Thanks a lot for that.



Hillary Clinton Is Whitewashing the Financial Catastrophe

 She has a plan that she claims will reform Wall Street—but she’s deflecting responsibility from old friends and donors in the industry.


 Candidate Clinton is essentially whitewashing the financial catastrophe. She has produced a clumsy rewrite of what caused the 2008 collapse, one that conveniently leaves her husband out of the story. He was the president who legislated the predicate for Wall Street’s meltdown. Hillary Clinton’s redefinition of the reform problem deflects the blame from Wall Street’s most powerful institutions, like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, and instead fingers less celebrated players that failed. In roundabout fashion, Hillary Clinton sounds like she is assuring old friends and donors in the financial sector that, if she becomes president, she will not come after them.

The seminal event that sowed financial disaster was the repeal of the New Deal’s Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which had separated banking into different realms: investment banks, which organize capital investors for risk-taking ventures; and deposit-holding banks, which serve people as borrowers and lenders. That law’s repeal, a great victory for Wall Street, was delivered by Bill Clinton in 1999, assisted by the Federal Reserve and the financial sector’s armies of lobbyists. The “universal banking model” was saluted as a modernizing reform that liberated traditional banks to participate directly and indirectly in long-prohibited and vastly more profitable risk-taking.

Exotic financial instruments like derivatives and credit-default swaps flourished, enabling old-line bankers to share in the fun and profit on an awesome scale. The banks invented “guarantees” against loss and sold them to both companies and market players. The fast-expanding financial sector claimed a larger and larger share of the economy (and still does) at the expense of the real economy of producers and consumers. The interconnectedness across market sectors created the illusion of safety. When illusions failed, these connected guarantees became the dragnet that drove panic in every direction. Ultimately, the federal government had to rescue everyone, foreign and domestic, to stop the bleeding.

Yet Hillary Clinton asserts in her Times op-ed that repeal of Glass-Steagall had nothing to do with it. She claims that Glass-Steagall would not have limited the reckless behavior of institutions like Lehman Brothers or insurance giant AIG, which were not traditional banks. Her argument amounts to facile evasion that ignores the interconnected exposures. The Federal Reserve spent $180 billion bailing out AIG so AIG could pay back Goldman Sachs and other banks. If the Fed hadn’t acted and had allowed AIG to fail, the banks would have gone down too.

More at link: http://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clinton-is-whitewashing-the-financial-catastrophe/

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