Saturday, January 24, 2009

2008 The Year in Review (Music)

In 2008 the music industry on the whole experienced a noticeable decrease in overall sales. Some artists had tremendous sales but most did not. Retail stores offering CDs have virtually disappeared. Sam Goody is gone, Virgin is gone, Circuit City is gone, Tower Records is disappearing. Barnes & Nobles and to a lesser degree Borders seem to be the only megastores left that actively promote their CD sales. The MP3 is replacing the CD. The record buying public now prefers to purchase its music online for as little as 99 cents per song. I know that there was some beautiful music made in 2008. Unfortunately I wasn't able to hear most of it because I was too busy creating my own (I Will Be Here For You - Claude Chaney & Friends - Chaney3), but I did notice the year's biggest comeback.....Neil Diamond.
The smooth jazz outlets are disappearing with the loss of WJZZ in Philadelphia and WQCD in New York City. Clear Channel moves closer and closer to becoming a media monopoly. They own most of the radio stations and practically all of the outdoor advertisement. In most cases if you don't play ball with Clear Channel you don't play. This is just one more thing for which we can all thank George W. Bush. Minority ownership of radio stations has reached a new low. WCBS-FM returned this year, but not exactly the same as we remember it. The new format only features songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Monday, January 19, 2009

PNAC: What informed American hasn't heard of the treacherous Project for a New American Century by now?

PNAC is a small off-shoot, occupying the 5th floor, of the American Enterprise Institute which has been around since 1943. The AEI has 12 very busy floors where its operative have had plenty of time to send their operatives over to infiltrate the Democratic Party, or leave them in to be more accurate since the PNACers & AEIers are ORIGINALLY DEMOCRATS. To this day Richard Perle, Fieth and Wolfowitz are still Democrats. The day the Republican party, which they hijacked also, no longer suits their needs, they'll follow other PNAC neo-cons like Marshall Wittman back to the Democratic Party where the neoliberal Democratic Leadership Council is laying out the welcome mat for them.

The AEI, the PNAC & the DLC were founded by Scoop Jackson democrats who follow the philosophy of Leo Strauss. To this day the DLC is stacked with neo-conservative ideologues, who maintain deep personal ties to the war-mongers in the Bush Administration.

The DLC is following the footsteps of its neo-conservative, war-mongering predecessor organizations of the 1970s: the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM)((also see )), founded in 1972 by the likes of Richard Perle, Midge Decter, Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, among others; the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) ((also see )), founded in 1976 by Richard Perle, Midge Decter, Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, et al; and the Committee for the Free World (CFW) (( also see )), founded in 1981 by exactly the same crew. Rounding out the picture, CFW's chairman was none other than Donald Rumsfeld.

The "missing link" between the "Democratic" DLC and the now "Republican" CDM/CPD/CFW neo-cons, is the Social Democrats-USA, (SDUSA), whose chairman, Penn Kemble, was the Executive Director of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority in 1972, until he brought in Richard Perle's underling Stephen Bryen to take his place. Bryen, who created the hawkish Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) in the early 1980s, when he served as Perle's aide at the Department of Defense, is another leading member of the neo-conservative gang that wants to go to war against the entire Arab world in the name of anti-terrorism. Providing daily coordination between Perle and Bryen would be Joshua Muravchik, a fixture at nearly every American Enterprise Institute event--but also a leader of SDUSA since its creation.

The DLC and SDUSA both maintain extremely close links to Tony Blair's British "New Labour" party faction, and in parallel, are out to recreate a new version of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority in time for the 2004 elections. The battle cry for this effort is to follow the "strong defense" lead of the original CDM's heroes: the late Dem Senators Henry "Scoop" Jackson, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

The CDM's two leading lights in Congress were the Democratic Senators Jackson and Moynihan. The Cold Warrior and fanatically pro-Israel
Jackson remains the model for the DLC crowd today. Former DLC president Joe Lieberman declares he is proud to be identified as a
"'Scoop' Jackson Democrat." It was these two Senators' offices that housed the Straussians behind the no-exit Iraq War. -

From Jackson's office:
Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Frank Gaffney

From Moynihan's office:
Elliott Abrams
Abram Shulsky
Gary Schmitt

In 1999, Norman Podhoretz, known as the "father" of neo-conservatism, wrote that the CDM was created to destroy the policies of 1972 Dem nominee George McGovern in the Democratic Party, especially because of McGovern's opposition the CDM was a flop that "never got off the ground." But in the mid-80s, the DLC certainly did get off the ground, and controls the Democratic Party today. -

"...In the 1970s, under the leadership of Carl Gershman, SD/USA ((Social Democrats-USA)) became a supporter of Sen. Henry Jackson and his contingent of conservative, hawkish "defenders of democracy." As such, they gained a great deal of political experience and savvy, but little political power. It was not until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, that the SD/USA achieved positions of power and influence in both the labor movement and the government. (2)..."

" "

Some SD-USA members:

"Carl Gershman, chair of SD/USA from 1974 to 1980, was an aide to Jeane Kirkpatrick when she was the U.S. ambassador to the United
Nations. In 1984, he served as an adviser to the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (the Kissinger Commission) established
by President Reagan. (2) Penn Kemble was on the advisory committee of the U.S. Information Agency's (USIA) Voice of America. (34) Arch
Puddington worked for USIA's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (35) Elliott Abrams was Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican
Affairs in the Reagan administration. Prior to that he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and as a staffer for
Sen. Henry Jackson. (40) Abrams was a major figure in the Iran-Contra Affair. (41) Bruce McColm served as a consultant to the U.S. Senate's
Central American Monitoring Group and has taken congressional representatives on fact-finding tours in Central America. (11) Jeane
Kirkpatrick was the U.S. delegate to the United Nations during the Reagan administration. (53) Max Kampleman was a legislative counsel
for Sen. Hubert Humphrey and a chief U.S. negotiator to the Geneva arms talks with the Soviet Union. (40)

The anti-communist, anti-left fervor of SD-USA is no second to PNAC (or the DLC, for that matter). Members were leaders in the AFL-CIO's efforts in overthrowing Allende in Chile, and later in anti-left action in Central America; they have been in the leadership of the
CIA's subversion wing -- the NED -- since its inception; they have been on the board of the terrorist Mas Canosa's Cuban-American
National Foundation; they supported the 2002 coup against Chavez in Venezuela and continue to support opposition terrorists, purging
unions in Venezuela (just as everywhere else) of any "left" leadership or influence by whatever means necessary. -

Michael Lind for instance traced their roots back to the right wing Shactmanite faction of the American Trotskyite movement who entered the Democratic Party in the 1960s and then split with the Left over the Vietnam War. Many members of this group continued their rightward itinerary by rallying to Senator Scoop Jackson’s campaign against the New Democrats. Some finished with the Democratic Leadership Council, while others found a home in the Reagan and now the Bush fils administrations. Other critics who promote an “Iran-Contra bis” scenario for the current flap over intelligence trace the group back to the policy cabal that had promoted the Contra war against the Sandinistas and who had lost their power and influence in the second Reagan Administration as a result of the Iran-Contra hearings of the late 1980s.
Let me point out, that another committee spawned from the same hellish cancer was the Balkan Action Committee which brought us step one of the PNAC wars, the one against Yugoslavia, and was staffed by the same neo-Cons. Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Abramowitz, Carlucci were all on its executive Committee.

They're pretty much the same. Both the same cancer, coming from the same place & destroying both parties.

If I were a Republican, I'd be pissed as hell at the Democrats from whom this stuff spawned. But as such I'm just a Progressive Democrat determined to keep that vermin out and toss out the ones they left behind warming their butts in my party. Lieberman, Feinstein, Kerry- ever wonder why they really went along with the war? It had nothing to do with being fooled! These wars were planned long ago with full complicity of the Democratic Leadership Council which firmly endorsed this war and has endorsed every scheme against the people that the Bush Administration has wanted.

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2008 The Year in Review (Movies)

There were several movies I saw in 2008 that I thought were quite good. One of the best would have to be Tyler Perry's "The Family That Preys" This poignant tale of a friendship that transcends time, race and greed showed that Perry can not only do comedy but he can do drama too. The performances by Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates were outstanding.
"Soul Men" gave us the final look at two legendary performers, the late Isaac Hayes and the late Bernie Mac. This film which, I believe to be loosely based on the lives of Sam Moore and David Prater (a.k.a. Sam & Dave) shows us another side of Samuel L. Jackson not previously seen.....the dancer.
Meryl Streep was convincing in the role of the determined nun fighting injustice against overwhelming odds in "Doubt" which deals with a very touchy subject that most people would rather avoid.....sexual advances on youth by people of authority within the church.
I was surprised that the late Heath Ledger was not given Oscar consideration for his role in "Batman: The Dark Knight" This was the first time that I've seen a villain so diabolical that he attacks not only his adversaries but his accomplices too. This is a stark contrast to Cesar Romero who played the role of the Joker on the Batman television series in the sixties.
My favorite movie of 2008 would have to be "Cadillac Records" primarily because it focuses on a era that I lived through and fondly remember. This was the music that my father and my uncle listened to. It's the music that I remember as a child. Chess Records had a roster that could rival Motown; Chuck Berry, Etta James, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, The Dells, The Moonglows, Ramsey Lewis, Fontella Bass, Billy Stewart, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Pigmeat Markham, Little Milton etc. The triumphant, yet tragic life of Leonard Chess left its mark on American popular music in the 50s and 60s at a time when Blues was making that transition to Rhythm and Blues. Although many critics downplayed Beyonce's portrayal of Etta James I felt she was quite good in the role of the young biracial singer with the famous white father who didn't want anything to do with her. Although he didn't have much screen time Mos Def was both believable and hilarious in the role of Chuck Berry. This was unquestionably one of the year's best.....especially if you lived through the era.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

2008 The Year In Review (Politics)

The Bush Administration will always be remembered for its campaign against terrorism. We must have heard the phrase "Weapons Of Mass Destruction" a million times or more. It appears as if we actually do have a problem with weapons of mass destruction, but it doesn't come from Iraq, it comes from right here in the good old USA. McDonald-Douglas and Boeing have created the most devastating weapons ever and most US citizens don't know anything about them. Illegal White phospherous bombs penetrate flesh straight to the bone. Water and Oxgyen only enhance the destruction of these merciless weapons which may be used by Israeli forces in Gaza due to the unusually high numbers of amputations reported. There are also deadly Tungsten weapons designed to kill huge numbers of people quickly. Polls indicate that a majority of the Israeli people do NOT approve of the carnage perpetrated by the Israeli government, but they are helpless in their attempts to stop it.
In 2008 we were able to see the bloodlust of our own government with the events of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo yet the Bush Administration points a finger at Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Our hypocrisy knows no bounds. Technological advances have been made in crowd control to the extent that massive demonstrations are no longer a concern for right wing elements within the state and Federal government who have perfected the art of crowd control. With the media barrage of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'reilly, Michelle Malkin and Anne Coulter the US viewing and listening public became overwhelmed with right wing rhetoric. Crucial events continue to remain unreported or underreported. Progressive outlets like "Air America" and "Pacifica" are drowned out by the far right. This resulted in millions of people being uninformed or misinformed. Many of us had to read the Observer or The Guardian to find out what was really happening in the US in 2008. Even after all of this I am still cautiously optimistic. I have nothing but goodwill towards the incoming President Barack Obama. I am glad I voted for him, but I am even happier that so many white people voted for him because it shows that for once "content" triumphed over "race". I did not vote for Obama because he is Black and I am Black. Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly and
J. Kenneth Blackwell are all political figures of my race. I have an intense dislike for all three of them and their ilk. I wouldn't vote for them to be dogcatchers. My original choice for president was a white man....Dennis Kucinich. When he dropped out of the race he advised his supporters to vote for Obama.
Barack Obama comes into to office with great expectation. At the same time we must be keep in mind that he is only human. No one man can undo the damage George Bush has done to this country. It will take decades to achieve that miracle, but I do believe we will see an end to the Iraq war by 2011 and I also believe (based on his own statements) that Barack Obama is committed to putting people back to work and protecting the middle class. I am not pleased with many of Mr. Obama's cabinent choices and I have to admit that besides Iraq, I really don't see much signicant "change" in foreign policy under an Obama administration. Let's face it, in the past three decades when it comes to foreign policy there's not a dime's worth
of difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. But when we look at the whole picture Barack Obama is a welcomed improvement from George W. Bush. William Rivers Pitt put it best when he accessed the George W. Bush reign of terror by telling Mr. Bush "Something like you must never again be allowed to happen to this country, and if we save ourselves by preventing you from ever happening again, your greatness is assured. You are the tallest of all possible warnings, and a promise all of us must solemnly and stalwartly keep. If we can damn you to the past, we will save our own future.

May you live forever, you son of a bitch."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2008 The Year In Review (Person of The Year) Barack Obama

Barack Obama is Person of the Year for the second consecutive year. He has surprised everyone by running a campaign centered around the issues and the people of the United States listened, making him the first African-American president in the history of the United States. After a rigorous campaign against Hillary Clinton the battle against John McCain was a cakewalk.
Mr. McCain continued to shoot himself in the foot by making statements like "The economy is fundamentally sound" and "I voted with George W. Bush 90% of the time." When McCain's campaign manager stated that the McCain camp would run on personality rather than the issues it sealed the doom of the G.O.P. In a quiet eloquent fashion Barack Obama told the US citizen that a vote for McCain would be a vote for the third term of George W. Bush, a president whose poll numbers are below 30% The media and the US public agreed that Obama had won all presidential debates. Mr. Obama appears to be just what the country needs. Someone genuinely concerned with the well being of ALL the people and someone who will make the rich pay their fair share of taxes.
When McCain tried to get the country to feel sorry for "Joe The Plumber" who would see part of his anticipated $250,000 salary being taxed all the Obama had to do was point out that "Joe The Plumber" wasn't even a plumber. He didn't even have a license. For the G.O.P the 2008 Presidential campaign was a perfect storm that sank them. If Barack Obama can put people back to work the same way that Franklin Roosevelt did in another turbulent era then next year, for a unprecented third time he could be chosen Person of The Year.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Freddie Hubbard ( 1938 - 2008 )

Jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard died of complications from a November 26, 2008 heart attack. Hubbard died on December 29, 2008. The Indianapolis Indiana native began his career with two other jazz standouts, Wes and Monk Montgomery. Freddie was part of a small cadre of jazz musicians who successfully recorded for Creed Taylor's CTI label. Many of these artists (George Benson, Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine, Eumir Deodato) recorded and performed with each other and gave jazz a new younger audience. After CTI folded Hubbard went on to Columbia where his album "Super Blue" which contained a stunning rendition of Ross Vanelli's "The Surest Things Can Change" actually cracked Billboard's top 200. It peaked at #131, which is very unusual for a jazz artist. Some critics were quick to unreasonably pounce on Hubbard for becoming "too commercial" In my opinion this was garbage. Hubbard, like any other musician was in the business to make money. This was his livelihood. No one could say that Freddie Hubbard compromised the music. Freddie Hubbard was one of my favorite trumpeters. I will always remember him for the tune "First Light"

2008 The Year In Review (Census)

Levi Stubbs Jr.(The Four Tops), Al Wilson, Paul Newman, Pervis Jackson (The Spinners), Freddie Hubbard, Odetta, Miriam Makeba, Eartha Kitt, Dock Ellis, Suzanne Pleshette, Heath Ledger, Roy Scheider, Norman Whitfield, Rudy Ray Moore, Sean Levert, Paul Davis, Eddy Arnold, Dick Martin, Jerry Wexler, Bo Diddley, Yves Saint Laurent, Cyd Charisse, Bernie Mac, George Carlin, Estelle Getty, Lou Teicher, Jerry Reed, Bill Melendez, Lloyd Thaxton, Studs Turkel, Michael Crichton, Dee Dee Warwick, Clive Barnes, Robert Prosky, Beverly Garland, Van Johnson, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Harold Pinter, Barry Morse

Eartha Kitt (1927 - 2008)

2008 does not end without the passing of yet another performing legend. Singer/Actress Eartha Kitt left us on December 25, 2008, the victim of colon cancer. The South Carolinian of biracial parentage defied the odds to become one of the most sought after icons in the industry. She co-starred with such legends as Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis Jr. and Orson Welles. Ms. Kitt (along with Julie Newmar)
popularized the role of catwoman on the 60's tv show Batman. As a singer Ms. Kitt
will be remembered for the songs "Love For Sale", "C'est Si Bon" and her biggest hit of all "Santa Baby". She spoke four languages fluently and was able to sing in seven.