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WEEKEND SOUNDTRACK – How’s Your Debt Ceiling Feeling?

The Republican concept of ceiling repair

The War on Terror has come to these home shores.

It is being fought, somewhat tepidly, by the Democrats right here in America against massed forces of evil masquerading as Americans.

The Republicans, goaded on by their Tea Party Gollums, have declared a Jihad against the working and middle classes of this nation. They are traitorous wretches, intent on  undoing the work of our founding fathers while mugging on about their adherence to our Constitution.

They are hypocrites of the first order.

They are being found out and called out.


The face of a modern-day traitor - Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, deeply unpatriotic and Un-American

Mind you, there appears to be no pretense anymore – the Republicans and the Baggers are happy to be seen as the bumboys and girls of the filthy rich. They do not even attempt to pretend they represent their constituents anymore. They are “going for it” – it being the final destruction of the values this nation holds dear.

It’s nothing moire than a blatant attempt to topple our democracy and replace it with an autocratic dictatorship of the rich and privileged.

Feudalism, in other words.

They are willing to do what it takes, and are currently engaged in an attempt to force America to default on her debts, most of which (hell, just about all) were run up by the vanguard of this anti-American revolution, the Bush Administration.

Do you know what such a default would do to the lives of you and me, the people of the working and middle classes, who still believe in American democracy?

We would be ruined – and that is what these pariahs want. They are perfectly wiling to let your grandparents starve when their social security checks don’t arrive (talk about death camps for grannies – this is worse; the Republicans want your aged relatives to die alone in their homes).

They are willing to have interest rates spiral out of control.

They are willing to ruin America’s credit rating, leaving this country unable to borrow money to pay for programs millions of Americans depend on for basic survival.

The forces of evil are storming the very walls of this Jerusalem.

Take Steve King (R) for instance as a poster boy for this fundamentalist Jihad. (Please take him and dump him somewhere remote, please!).

King will do anything to avoid raising taxes on the rich or closing any of the loopholes that allow many of his masters to avoid paying federal tax at all.

Un-American, undemocratic, and against the basic tenets of this nation - the loathsome Steve King (R)

Says King:

“I’m not for raising taxes. I won’t support anything that raises taxes. Revenue increases are a euphemism for raising taxes. Closing loopholes, one person’s loophole is the other one’s legitimate business expense. And tax deduction or tax credit as the case may be. That doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Let’s send a constitutional amendment to the states for ratification and then start talking business.”

This was in response to a question as to whether he’d trade $3 trillion in cuts for just $8.00 in ye olde “revenue increase” on his buddies, the uber-rich.

As columnist Hunter wrote on the Daily Kos blog:

“A few terms come to mind when considering Steve King. Things like “frothing madman” or “delusional Randian cultist.” If someone asks you if you’d be willing trade a three trillion dollar deficit reduction plan for, oh, the change in your pockets, the appropriate answer is at least to give it it a good long think.

But this is what we’re dealing with: this “debt ceiling” debate has gone from a regular (though unappetizing) government function to becoming the cornerstone of a new class war that preaches austerity for everybody, but not even eight damn dollars more in tax increases on the wealthy.”

That’s right – it’s up to us to grovel and scrape for a living to facilitate the rich and to perpetuate an economic system that has never worked to anyone’s benefit except the filthy rich since its first disastrous trial run in 1973 in Chile after the CIA-backed overthrow of that country’s democratic government.

It was apparent then, as Chile spiraled into jaw-dropping inflation and resulted in the impoverishment of her working and middle classes, that the free market economy was an unmitigated calamity for everyone except the callous, exploitive rich. Yet we have allowed its adherents to march on, and now they think they are so close to the subjugation of the world, they are happily spitting their vile programs right in our face and telling us to roll over and do what we’re told.

The Tea Party's vision for America

As Hunter notes in his Daily Kos piece:

“These people are nuts. There’s no grand plan involved, there’s no supposed economic theories they can wave their hands at: they’ve just gone nuts. They are so devoted to this notion of protecting the rich and the corporate from even the slightest supposed injury that their entire duties towards governing, towards the country, towards the rest of the citizens—it all has vanished. The one and only duty is to protect the rich, and Steve King is proud—proud—to declare that he would rather bring the entire economy to its knees than compromise on that all-important goal.

I keep calling it class warfare, because it plainly is. In the case of people like Steve King, though, it’s devolved into something more than that. It’s gotten quite nearly to the point of being a form of monarchism or feudalism, where the elites and the landed gentry govern the land, write the laws, and literally everyone else in the nation are just serfs, lucky to get any scraps that might fall their way. He is insistentthat these people pay nothing, but that we balance the budget right here, right now, on the backs of literally everyone else but them.

After years of having my own patriotism questioned for not waving a flag proudly enough during one of Bush’s ridiculous speeches, or not sufficiently insulting the French or whoever the latest conservative enemy of the week is, I have to say: how does this count as “patriotism?” How does this represent even the thinnest hints of responsible governance? How can an asshole like Steve King pin an American flag to his chest and strut around spouting asinine odes to feudalism without being universally reviled by everyone who comes even momentary in contact with him?

What kind of tea party revolt is it when you intervene to protect the rich and tax the poor? What kind of hollow-headed idiots are these people?”

So you better party like it was 1999 all over again – because the 21st century has been nothing but an unrelenting slide towards totalitarianism by the forces of repression abroad in this American land. Make no mistake -


Have a good weekend.


Getting the Togs On:

Drive-By Truckers – Never Gonna Change

(From the album, “The Dirty South”, on New West Records and available here)

Esteemed grunge gods, Drive-By Truckers, have reached that moment in their career where a retrospective is not only an appropriate release, but also, with such a superb back catalogue, a prime slab of genuine Deep South dirty-ass rock ‘n roll genius.

And the title of their “Best of” fits right in thematically with this weekend’s soundtrack – “Ugly Buildings, Whores & Politicians”.

The album is slated for release on August 2, 2011 and the track featured here is one of sixteen spanking selections found thereon.

Plenty of whores, plenty of whorish politicians

They are revisionists, are Drive-By Truckers – they record all their albums in analog for that warm, fuzzy, immediate sound.

Bless ‘em.

Based in Athens, Georgia, with roots in Alabama, the band amply illustrate that all is not murk and questionable politics in the Deep South. Social consciousness is alive and well in their beat.

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Mind you, their lyrics can be dark – 2003′s “Decoration Day” was a concept album revolving around characters living through hell in a swirling morass of broken marriages, incest, harsh separations, revenge, murder, and suicide.

Oh, happy day!

Drive-By Truckers – Sink Hole

(From the album, “Decoration Day”, on New West Records and available here)

The band’s shining diamond is generally considered to be “Southern Rock Opera“, a concept double-album which weaves the history of Lynyrd Skynyrd into a narrative about a fictitious rock band, whose story unfolds within the context of the Deep South during the 1970s.

For God’s sake, don’t let that put you off. It’s a classic.

Drive-By Truckers – 72 (This Highway’s Mean)

(From the album, “Southern Rock Opera”, on Lost Highway and available here)

Drive-By Truckers are a revelation. They prove that Southern Rock doesn’t have to suck like a stagnant Mississippi swamp. They are simply one of America’s best bands.

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Plenty to see and hear on the band’s website. Go here.

Home, But Still Sparking:

The Clash – Clampdown

(Recorded live in Amsterdam, 1981)

Boy, could we do with the strident, no-compromise militancy of The Clash today.

The force of nature that was the four-strong amalgam of Strummer, Jones, Simenon and Headon were a late ’70s-early ’80s sledgehammer to the faces of those that would elect repression over democracy. Their clarion call was heeded by millions worldwide.

That call needs to be heard again loud and clear today.

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We lost Joe Strummer at Christmas in 2002. Here was a man unafraid to tell it like it is and damn the consequences. If only such honesty could be found among the politicians of 2011, the world would stand a better chance of survival through understanding and tolerance – two words seemingly outdated and almost laughable to the jackasses up on Capital Hill.

The Clash – One More Time

(Recorded live in Amsterdam, 1981)

Joe Strummer - the future is unwritten; let's write it

Beginning to See Non-Existent Shapes:

The Horrors – Dive In

(From the album, “Skying”, on XL Recordings, and available domestically on August 9, 2011. Get it here)

The Horrors seem to be generating the buzz for album of the summer with “Skying”, their third effort.

Simon Price, for example, writing in U.K. newspaper, The Independent, has this to say:

“(T)his, this is the one. Skying is an album which sees The Horrors take the Big Music of the Eighties, from the adored (Talk Talk, Blue Nile, Simple Minds before they went rubbish) to the maligned (Black, Then Jerico, Simple Minds after they went rubbish) and put it through a Nineties noisenik filter. When this sort of thing is done badly – the name “The Big Pink” springs to mind – the results are beyond appalling. But, as the lead track “Still Life” proved, The Horrors are – if you’ll pardon the cheap gag about their privileged upbringings — of an altogether higher class.”

Alt Sounds goes as far as to call the new record “arguably the finest post-punk revival album anyone has ever heard”, whatever that means.

Well, they (sort of) go on to explain:

“It’s like Professor X woke up from a purple haze session and decided that making a super group was his new life’s work. A rabble incorporating the most essential bits of The Smiths, New Order, My Bloody Valentine and Echo and the Bunnymen.”

“Skying” is certainly packed with anthemic-sounding shards of granite and there is a hazy, “days past” feel to the production, as if you are hearing fondly remembered sounds from a different era playing on a radio perched on a window ledge as you pass.

The Horrors – Changing The Rain

(From the album, “Skying”)

The Horrors, then, appear to have progressed from a band that raised more than a few chortles to producing one of 2011′s most significant albums. I’m not so completely convinced but there good noise a-plenty on “Skying”.

The Horrors do their level best to visually live up to their name

More Horrors-related guff is to be found on their website here.

The Edge of Oblivion:

Solar Fields – Something Crystal

(From the forthcoming album, “Cybereye”, on Ultimae Records)

Swedish electronic music composer and graphic designer Magnus Birgersson launched solo project Solar Fields in 2001 with the album “Reflective Frequencies“. Poles apart from current trends in the genre, he explores the wide possibilities of electronic ambient; atmospheric, deep, ecstatic, industrial yet organic, cultivating contrasts and subtlety with brio.

This man are Solar Fields

Don’t look at me – it was his record outlet, the wonderful France-based Ultimae label, that penned that screed.

I can, however, certainly confirm that Magnus, as Solar Fields, composes some of the most sublime electronic ambient soundscapes available for your listening pleasure today.

Cybereye” has a more techno and urban motif going for it than most of the Solar Fields’ musings but that’s not a bad thing. Bad things do not emanate from Solar Fields.

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So, if you’re feeling restless, chill yourself out by slinging some Magnus on your player of choice and drift off into peaceful nothingness.

Solar Fields – Home

(From the album, “Leaving Home”, on Ultimae Records and available here)

Sleep well, my little serfs-to-be.


"No, no, keep going, you spoilt little rats of the right, I like that you're making yourself unelectable for generations to come"


Welcome to another Sunday in the dog days of American democracy.

Or is there light ahead – a clear white light at the end of this particular tunnel of crass self-interest and callous disregard of the nation’s population by the revolting (in both senses) right?

President Obama seems to be rearing up on his hind legs finally and talking the right smack to the loathsome creatures across the table from him, telling House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., that he will “take this to the American people” unless the Republicans showed a real inclination to compromise.

Why the delay?

The Republicans may well be making themselves utterly unelectable for decades with their power play. The American people are not stupid – they know a rabid dog when they see one and will not tolerate such a creature in their back yard.

So I say keep on calling them out, Obama, keep on telling the nation the Republicans are acting like brats. Make it clear that they aim to destroy the working and middle classes of America and that they care not one whit for the average citizen.

Tell the people exactly what their tactics are designed to achieve – they’ll be hounded from their lairs and hunted down like the execrable rats and venomous snakes that they are.

We can do very well without their malign interference with our democratic ideals. Let’s be shot of them.

C’mon, Obama, destroy the Republican Party and the odious Tea Party goofballs for the foreseeable future by telling the truth, no holds barred.

They deserve their public crucifiction.

With that, I’ll say …..

Good Morning!:

Claudia Scott – Northern Sky

(From the album, “Soul on Soul”, available here)

With so much ugliness erupting like an angry pox in Washington, I thought I’d seek some Sunday beauty in the music of Nick Drake; not from the man himself, but from the interpretive efforts of other artists.

Been too long without beauty - the lost boy, Nick Drake

The works of Nick Drake, scant pickings that they are, collectively comprise perhaps the most beautiful and poignant set of songs ever committed to analog. Just three official albums released during his lifetime, none of which sold more than a handful during his short life, Nick Drake’s afterlife continues to grow as each generation is introduced to the timeless and quite staggering beauty of his compositions.

It’s hard to improve on perfection – and Nick Drake’s three sequential albums are stone masterpieces one and all, from the pastoral beauty of “Five Leaves Left‘, with its erthereal string arrangements by Robert Kirby complimenting the delicate nylon picking of Drake and the gentle, lazy zephyr that informs the songs, through the bounce and gentile, urbane calm of John Cale-produced “Bryter Layter“, to the stark, agonizing, singular raw beauty of “Pink Moon“.

But the versions here are game attempts to capture the essence of Nick Drake’s soul and that is enough for the beauty of the songs to flutter through.

Claudia Scott is a Norwegian singer/songwriter from a musical family who grew up in a house filled with the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams, Josh White, Waylon Jennings, Gram Parsons and Stevie Wonder, except on Sunday when her Dad would, for reasons known to himself, opt for Sousa marches, Hawaiian and Malaysian music and the airs and dirges of Scottish bagpipes.

Claudia Scott brightens a Northern Sky

Little wonder then that Claudia was destined to follow a musical muse.

Learn more and hear more of Claudia Scott on her webpage here.

Sleepy Afternoon:

Scott Appel – From The Morning

(From the album, “Parhelion”, on One Man Clapping and available here)

The late Scott Appel was an American devotee of the guitar work of Davy Graham and Bert Jansch who became enamored of Nick Drake, so much so that his 1989 album, “Nine of Swords” included six Drake compositions, with four more on the “Parhelion” record.

Scott Appel sadly died of heart failure in 2003 but his myspace page is still up and there you can hear more of his sensitive readings of the songs of Nick Drake.

Doing the Chores:

The Walkabouts – Cello Song

(From the album, “Death Valley Days”, on Glitterhaus and available here)

Seattle’s finest, The Walkabouts, have been around since 1984 but, with its core members scattered far and wide (songwriter Chris Eckman currently lives in Slovenia), it’s been a while since any new product has been forthcoming.

The good news, however, is that a new album, “Travels In The Dustland“, is slated for an October release.

Gone Walkabout in recent years

The band have always worn their influences on their sleeve and have released several albums primarily made up of favorite songs by other artists – Americana the root influence of “Satisfied Mind“, and European melancholia the signature of “Train Leaves at Eight“.

The featured Nick Drake cover can be found on “Death Valley Days“, a collection pulling together scattered tracks drawn from demos, B-sides, unreleased albums, compilations and tribute records, plus a few covers left off the domestic reissue of 1993′s “New West Motel“.

All I can say is, for a bunch of scattered remnants, it sure beats most new releases!

The Walkabouts – On The Beach

(From the album, “Death Valley Days”)

The Walkabouts are an American treasure. They’ve been a long time gone. Let’s hope they are back in October for a long time here.

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Kicking Back, Nausea Almost Gone:

Nick Drake – Hazey Jane 1

(From the unofficial album, “Thoughts of Rain”)

And we round off the weekend with a stark rendition of the lush “Hazey Jane 1” from “Bryter Layter“.

Just the man himself and the wondrous guitar weavings he created.

Lovely, breathy, sublime.

A bastion of beauty in this ugly time.

You know, there once was an American politician who said the following – and meant it:

“The concept that motivates us is a community good as opposed to the concept of an individual pursuing their own self-interest and that somehow the public good comes out of that ….. Our concept is that a pursuit of the good of the whole produces the best conditions for the good of the individual.”

Noble words, democratic words, American words.

The man who uttered these words was the three-time elected major of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, serving from April 1948 through April 1960, a period in which Milwaukee grew rapidly as a city yet never had to borrow money to repay its loans and upgraded its infrastructure while maintaining extensive public parkland and housing the envy of many an American city.

This man’s name was Frank Zeidler, one of the best-loved political figures Milwaukee ever produced and who is remembered to this day with great affection.

"Happy Days" in Milwaukee

He was also the last Socialist mayor of a major American city.

I doubt any of the current Tea Party coven will be remembered much past their bedtime, at least not with any fondness.

Sleep well.

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~ by Fray D. Jay on July 17, 2011 . Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “WEEKEND SOUNDTRACK – How’s Your Debt Ceiling Feeling?”

  1.   Berchmans Says:

    ## their Tea Party Gollums,##

    Good one. A small property tax…tiny…a percent ..maybe less ..would solve all the US problems overnight. Beautiful music Neil .

    Had an offer for the house.