JERRY LEE LEWIS died on Friday, October 28th. And while there are those who will remember him only for the scandal of marrying Myra Lewis Williams, his 13 year old cousin in 1957; Lewis was a true pioneer of rock n’roll music. His influence and style can be heard and seen across the music spectrum; from punk and garage to glam and heavy metal. Lewis’ pounding (often violent) piano style is at the bedrock of a music genre that once prided itself on the primal and true instinct of a performance. It’s fair to say that bands like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls wouldn’t exist as we know them today without the attitude and showmanship that Lewis brought to the music.
So a flawed but extraordinary man has past from the world; a man with many noteworthy shortcomings. And a musical icon of the first order. Let us take a moment for “The Killer” (as Lewis was affectionately known)andwish him safe passage on his journey. Below is a link to Lewis performing “Whole Lota Shakin’ Goin’ On” on the Steve Allen show in 1957. No lip-singing or pyrotechnics. Just three musicians on stage at the height of their magicus.
I don’t know if Lewis should be labeled a poet; let’s leave that description to those schooled in such important matters. But watching Jerry Lee Lewis perform, I’m struck by the thought that his music was as close to the essence of artistic creation as rock n’ roll ever came. His performance is nothing short of a ritual between the musician and the audience; an act of communion. Lewis walking the hallowed hallway’s of legend and myth whenever he strutted onto the stage. RIP
A major announcement was made today by NATO ( NATO being the platform used to project US military power into Europe): The new headquarters for the United States’ 5th Army Corps is being built in Poland; a “permanent” U.S military base with additional deployments to be spread throughout the region. Discussions are taking place to have as many as 50,000 American service-personnel on the new base within a few years. Of course, that’s in addition to the 55,000 American soldiers currently stationed in Germany. The total number of American troops now occupying Europe will be well over 150,000. Which European country can claim to act independently while hosting such a military force within their border? The question is no longer, has NATO changed from a defensive military posture to a offensive one. We know too well the answer. The question becomes, does Europe realize it is being occupied?
And let’s not forget the other announcement made (quietly) on the same day; there will be two US F-35 squadrons sent to the UK. With this strategic move, the US will have 50 Stealth Fighter Jets stationed inside the UK before the end of the year. The purpose of the deployment is the 24/7 observation of Europe. (Not only Russia but Western Europe). The F-35s will provide the capacity for electronic warfare and intelligence surveillance to American intelligence agencies. We can’t help but ask, why are Europeans so quick to surrender their autonomy to the US Empire? Finally, the U.S. will ”enhance” the deployments of U.S. troops in Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Those enhanced deployments will bring the total number of NATO troops on the border of Russia to over 300,000.
That’s a lot of forward military deployment for a defensive alliance. Or is the real announcement a plan for permanent colonization of Europe? Is that the true purpose of the Ukrainian War? We know one thing for certain; once the U.S. military enters a country, they are extremely reluctant to leave. And soon after their deployment, U.S. business interests in conjunction with CIA operated NGO’s will begin funneling onto the continent to help shift cultural and political environment to one more suitable for domination by the Empire. So expect a wave of right-wing violence and privatization to destroy whatever cultural sanity remains.
Shireen Abu Akleh / شيرين أبو عاقلة / January 3, 1971 – May 11, 2022
Shireen Abu Akleh, American-Palestinian journalist/ reporter assigned by Al Jazeera News to cover the Israeli occupation & military raids on Palestininan residents in Jenin, was murdered by Isreali soldiers yesterday (May 11). As usual, the initial response from the Israeli governemnt was to deny any involvement in the shooting of Akleh. Instead, they attempted to float a fake news narrative that Akleh was shot by someelse. It’s a ploy that has been used successfully in the past to obscure the truth about the brutality of Israeli occupation. Shireen Abu Akleh has been a reporter for Al Jazeera New for over 25 years. Earning a reputation across the Middle East and the world for her courageous reporting in the occupied territories of Palestine. However, Akleh was much more then a brave reporter. Akleh was an inspiration to all Palestinians. Giving them hope that the horrors of the Israeli occupation wouldn’t / couldn’t be washed away by their occupier.
Whatever statements the U.S State Department may or may not issue regarding Akleh’s murder; the United States is directly responsible in every way imaginable. Encouraging the brutal nature of occupation by provides an annual $3.8 billion in military aid to fund the occupation of Palestine. But the U.S. role is greater. The occupation has “razed the homes of 40 Palestinians yesterday (Tuesday), leaving them homeless. And as they plan to evict 1,000 from the West Bank—the largest mass expulsion since 1967”, according to US Representative Ilhan Omar. The systematic murder and displacement of the Palestinian people is more then occupation. When will the U.S leadership be held responsible for their corrupt actions? After all, Israel is the best funded territory of the American Empire. Which brings us to this final question; would the reaction of the American press (and leadership) be any different if the assassination of Akleh had happened in the Ukraine?
Breaking News – An additional $33 40 billion in military aid from the United States to the Ukraine: money sent to assure that the homes, schools and neighborhoods of Київwillsoonlook similar to those of Detroit (pictured). And when you look very close, you can see the reason that Russia does not need to worry about defeating the United States on a battlefield. The US is on the road towards it’s own defeat. Nearly every neighborhood in the city of Detroit is littered with the remains of burnt and abandoned homes, businesses and schools. The result of decades of predatory public policy from corrupt, thoughtless and decadent federal leadership; Biden, Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton…
The US military budget is now pushing towards nearly $1 trillion every year. That’s more then ten-times larger than the Russian military ($65.9 billion). The chart below includes budget numbers from 2021. The three NATO countries listed (U.K, France and Germany) have all significantly increase their military expenditures for 2022.
This massive increases in US military spending has triggered an interesting domestic economic policy; a consistent reduction of the top-level tax-rates on wealthy individuals and large corporations coupled with an sever erosion of public services across every community. The wealthiest portions of the population will never see the results; poverty, crime, homelessness, illiteracy and incarceration. In fact, the internal portion of most American cities are strictly avoided by anyone who does not live there. Highways and freeways drive around or over these disregarded populations. Many Americans remain unaware of what is happening in their own country or community. Worse yet, most wouldn’t care if they did know.
Nearly the entire public-sector of the US economy has been privatized and sold to the highest bidder. Privatized healthcare, prisons, mail service, schools, garbage collection, libraries, parking meters, community parks, utilities, museums, lakes and roads are increasingly run by private corporations. Prices go up and wages come down. Of course, access to these service depends on who you are and your level of income.
And this is most important because, if successful, these are political, economic and cultural policies that the land-of-the-free will be exporting across the globe
Very little has been mentioned in the American press regarding a series of Israeli attacks at the Al-Aqsa Mosquein Jerusalem. The attacks came again last Friday during evening prayers with more then 300 Palestinian worshippers injured at the Haram al-Sharif (Noble/Holy Sanctuary). A location considered to be the third holiest site in all of Islam. Israeli soldiers entered the Mosque and used tear-gas and flash grenades on the worshippers. Many of whom were elderly and children praying and fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. The raids are yet another example of the Israeli government policy called collective punishment that is inflicted regularly on the Palestinian population of Jerusalem.
As the global war of 2022 continues to unfold, each phase of the battle takes on its own characteristics; a coup in Pakistan, a missile attack in Somilia and the proxy wars in Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine. But it’s the Palestinianpeople that have faced the full brutality of war for decades. Every manner of violence has been inflicted; racism, imperialism, economic sanctions, executions, religious terrorism, drone attacks and military occupation. Of course, the American government always does it’s finest Scranton Two-Step when asked about Israeli violence; US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, stated that he has ”serious concerns” about the recent attacks at the Mosque. No follow-up. No consequences.
There was no admission of any direct or indirect American role in the nonstop escalation of violence. Not even a call for the attacks to stop. Nor is there any mention of the long-term policy of expelling Palestinians from their homes and territory. For example, in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Palestinian population is increasingly being evicted from their homes by the Israeli military. These random evictions are often executed in the dead of night withthe families forced to watch as their homes and possessions are destroyed by bulldozers.
And despite the non-stop media outrage over the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, there is hardly a whisper of the occupation of Palestine. In fact, based on the massive amounts of military aid ($4-5 Billion since the Biden Administration ) being pumped into the Ukraine, you could get the impression that Palestinians lives are less worthy. (Perhaps their eyes aren’t blue enough?) Of course, there are many reasons, including racism/imperialism. But let us consider another reason for media silence on the Israeli crimes. The Israeli state is the most important military outpost of American Empire. And it’s continued existance is pivotal to projecting American military power throughout the Middle-East. Coincidentally, a region rich with massive reserves of oil. And in return? A big red, white and blue pass.
If you are not famIlar with the al-Aqsa Mosque, then perhaps some background information would be helpful to understand the importance of the location. The Temple Dome or the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The original Islamic Temple was built in 691–692 CE and then rebuilt between 1022–23. It is perhaps the oldest remaining example of the artistic beauty and influence of the original Islamic architecture. The Dome itself is built over the Foundation Stone, which lays beneath the floor of the Mosque. The Foundation Stone is said to be the actual site where the Prophet Muhammad began his Night Journey (as detailed in the Hadith); a physical and spiritual journey that brought greater knowledge of truth and a deeper understanding of Allah / God.
Most music fans will recognize Kim Fowley’s name as the exploitive Svengali behind the Runaways; the all-female rock band that release four studio albums between 1975-1979. And perhaps best known for the lolita-single, Cherry Bomb from their debut. According to the band members, whose were intense years they spent together. Signed to a major record label, Mercury Records, and touring the globe. The Runaways never really achieved the breakthrough to fame and fortune which they had been promised. And there are those who would say that was true of everything Kim Fowley touched. He never had to mainstream success the music industry expected. Somehow, Fowley was always the guy standing on the outside of the party looking in at the beautiful people. Fowley was the ultimate outlier. I suppose it all depends on your point-of-view. Because long before he ever met the Runaways, Kim Fowley had secured a place for himself in music history. Writing, producing and performing a string of unique cult rock songs throughout three decades.
Born July 21, 1939 in Los Angeles, California, Fowley began a career in music at the tender age of 18. By his own account, he took a job as band manager for a local group, the Sleepwalkers and began “assisting” with music producer’s Phil Spector, Alan Freed and Berry Gordy. Eventually producing a single with the Renegades in 1959. An impressive achievement for an ambitious young man. Within the year he produced a number of singles in the Los Angeles area. Notably, recording the single “Alley Pop” with Gary Paxton for a band that never existed, the Hollywood Argyles. The track went on to reach the number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The music industry certainly seemed receptive to Fowley as a fresh, new talent and he continued to produce singles throughout the early sixties; including; Like, Long Hair for Paul Revere and the Raider and Papa-Onm-Mow-Mow for the Rivingtons. Eventually Fowley relocated to London, Engalnd to take advantage of the exploding music scene. Even writing a b-side single with Yusuf Islam (Cat Steven) and working with Richie Blackmore, Soft Machine and member of Them.
In 1965 Kim Fowley wrote and recorded his first song as a solo artist; “The Trip” becoming (perhaps) Fowley’s most unique and intersting contribution to music. A genuinely outstanding single, The Trip is fine early example of the experimental and psychedelic music that was becoming so popular. Incorporating distortion, reverb and guitar effects that attempt to evoke the altered consciousness of the true psychedelic experience. All produced safely in just 2 minutes; “Summertime’s here, kiddies, and it’s time to take a trip. If you feel so bad, if you feel so sad…” The song is actually much more strange then any psychedelic track I have ever heard. Providing the listener with a very unique (flying dogs anyone?) description of what hallucinogenic experiences would be coming their way. The song feels more like a fake come-on or exploitation then an actual endorsement of the drug experience. Which is exactly why the song is so brilliant and uniquely Fowley. Whatever The Trips actual intent, the song is a wonderful slice of trash-psych rock still sounds great today. Even earning a place on the expanded Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era compilation and, in a different versions, on the Pebbles album series, Volume 1 and 3. And finally, the song was feature in the 2008 Guy Richie’s film, Rocknrolla.
Impossible but True: The Kim Fowley Story is a unique listening experience that really shouldn’t miss. The CD on ACE Records pulls together 32(!) tracks that journey through forgotten and overlooked portion of Fowley’s amazing career in music. This is music for anyone who can appreciates the strange and brilliant vision of a unique talent. Great tracks like the Seeds’ “Fallin’ off the Edge of my Mind” and the Hellions’ “Dreaming of You” sharing space with all the obscurities, novelties and oddities that Kim Fowley helped to create. One additional point, if you are taken by Kim Fowley’s iconic career then check out Caroline Now! A tribute album dedicated to the songcraft of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. Why the connection to our hero, Kim Fowley? Hidden away on the final track is Fowley’s rendition of Almost Summer from the band Celebration. A group front by none other then the Beach Boy’s own, Mike Love. With the original track being co-written by Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. Making Almost Summer an (Almost) Beach Boy’s reunion. Worth seeking out, if you are inclined to indulge such frivolities.
KlingKlang Produkt in 2022? After 50 years of producing the most groundbreaking sounds of the century, Ralf Hutter has allowed the studio vault to open, if only a tiny bit. Kraftwerk Mixes can easily be seen as a follow-up to The Mix from 1991. An album that played an important role in my personal introduction to the band. The Mix featuring entirely re-recorded and re-mixed versions of tracks that had originally appeared on the most well known period in the bands history; Autobahn (1974) through Electric Cafe (1986). More than a simple remix album, The Mix saw new melodies pulled from within the songs. And in many ways the record was a completely unique listening experience. It could be argued that, in some cases, the new re-modeled tracks are better then the album counterparts. The music providing an interesting update on the brilliance of the original sound.
Mr. Hütter and Company has stated that he considers The Mix as a “live” album. Recorded to demonstrate the bands improvisational skills within the “live” studio setting. Certainly the album does provide insight into the possibilities of how the Kraftwerk songs could be handled in the future. Mostly recently, The Mix was reissued as a stand-alone double album on white vinyl. A luxurious release.
Unlike The Mix, Kraftwerk Remixes collects the band’s own remix efforts alongside the work of DJ’s and producers from across the globe; including Detroit’s own Underground Resistance collective, William Orbit, François Kervorkian,Étienne de Crécy, Orbital, DJ Rolando and Hot Chip. Mixes are taken from various singles and digital only releases since The Mix album to 2021. Remixes also features the groups latest studio output with Non Stop, and Home Computer and Tour De France (Etape 2). The Non Stop track is actually a small sample recorded for MTV in the 1980s. In 2020 Kraftwerk reworked the 30 second sound-sample into a full 8 minute adventure into a Kraftwerk future. The new track doing what fans want the most; veering into odd, adventurous and challenging territory.On the down side, several of the track are cut from the original single release. For example, the Hot Chip Mix of La Forme is missing 5 minutes from the original vinyl release.
Closing Note: Tour de France is the band’s most current music with most of the members. Three out of the four classic member’s of the band are still contributing to the album( Florian being the missing member). If you have not heard the band’s last full length album, Tour De France Soundtracks it’s more then worth your time. The melodies are unique and it’s a treasure to hear the band to update their sound in a modern studio. Kraftwerk currently consisting of founding member Ralf Hütter with Fritz Hilpert, Henning Schmitz, and Falk Grieffenhagen. One last note, Kraftwerk will embark on a 24-date North American tour this summer. And then in August with the Chemical Brother in London.
Did President Joe Biden say the quiet part out loud? Twice?! While visiting U.S. troops stationed in Poland last week, the American President stated”you’re gonna see (the Ukraine) when you’re there“. Insinuating that NATO troops could soon become directly involved in the conflict. As if that was not enough to scare the entire planet, on the following day (March 26th), America’s Emperor Nero made another revealing statement about U.S. intentions, that “Putin cannot remain in power” in Russia. An extraordinary indication that ”regime change” in Russia is the real purpose of the Ukraine conflict. Not democracy?!
Both statements reveal much about the current conflict in the Ukraine; that the lack of meaningful negoiations with the Russians is no accident. The current conflict is actually serving important alternative purposes; Namely, 1) pushing for regime change in Russia through the use of massive economic sanctions. And, 2) reassert U.S miliary and political dominance over Europe through the structure of NATO. Current estimtes are that the U.S. has over 100,000 soldiers stationed in Europe through NATO. With additional US forces based in non-NATO countries; Kosovo, Cyprus, Sweden and Finland.
A major shift is happening; since the invasion of the Ukraine, NATO has poured thousands of additional soldiers and military equipment into Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania. And now Biden wants a permanent “longer-term adjustments to NATO force posture on the eastern flank”. Perhaps more bio labs speared across the continent? Will these “adjustments ” help bring peace? Finally, did thousands of American troops in Afghanistan help bring peace and stability?Remember, NATO is the platform used to project American military power into Europe. That must be understood. Read our full article: Mercenaries and the obligation of empire.
In the last 30 days there has been military actions taken in Somalia, Yemen, Palestine... and the Ukraine. There has been no less the 7 coups or coup attempts on the African continent in the last 19 months; Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Sudan, Niger and, most recently, in Guinea-Bissau. When we look closely at the forces behind the various bombings, drone strikes and military interventions, there seems to be certain similarities / connections. According to a January 2022 article in the Intercept, Another US Trained Soldier Stages a Coup by NickTurse,a specific group of military leaders from WesternAfrica are responsible for the takeovers. These military leaders share the common trait of having been trained through a US sponsored Defense Department initiative; The Civil MilitarySupport Element has spent more then a $1 billion in security assistance in the region. Money spent to bolster the capacity of a country’s military with equipment and training. The claim being that this program supports stability in the region. In truth, the programs leaves the military the most powerful economic and political institution with vast superiority over the often fragile civilian central government. Stability? Or a formula for a military coup?
Sadly, the western media often remains silent regarding events happening in Asia or Africa. Instead focusing exclusively on developments in Europe. Nor has there been any attempt at understanding the recent history behind the military and economic confrontation happening over the Ukraine. In fact, the very opposite has occurred; collectively the western democracies are censoring the Russian sponsored media outlets RT and Sputnik from their western audience. Apparently, alleviating a deep held fear that the population will have access to a broader view of world affairs than the one sanctioned by the US State Department.
Baker to Gorbachev: “Neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages. NATO’s present military jurisdiction will not spread in an eastern direction.” – Jim Baker, US Sec. of State, Feb. 1990.
Of course, there are still alternatives to the pro-war narrative, if we seek them out. For example, on the SheerPost website, author Chris Hedges has an insightful article, Chronicles of a War Foretold, that examines the many warnings and clues leading to this current insanity. Hedges‘ writes, “Countries that joined NATO (after the fall of the CCCP), which now include Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and NorthMacedonia were forced to reconfigure their militaries, often through hefty loans, to become compatible with NATO military hardware”. The Hedges’ article begging the following questions; What is the purpose of NATO? Is NATO a defensive organization? Or does NATO serve a larger purpose? The ever expanding NATO membership leading some to conclude that the alliance is a model or structure for a global defense system. Whatever the answers, the alliance certainly seem here to stay. To look a bit closer at the issue of NATO and the it’s evolution, attached is 2017 interview with University of Arizona, History Professor David Gibbs and award-winning writer and journalist Arron Mate’. The two discussing the long-term purpose of the western alliance; DOES NATO CONFRONT THREATS, OR CREATE THEM.
“The US aids Ukraine and it’s people, so they can fight Russia over there and we don’t have to fight Russia over here”. – Congressman Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, January 2020.
In many ways the long term push for a global defense structure has already begun. The governments of the EU are under pressure to increase their military capacity. Or let’s say it another way, we are witnessing the rapid Americanization of the economic, political and military culture of Europe. Perhaps most shocking is how quickly this transformation is happening. Within days of the invasion of the Ukraine, Germany more than doubled its defense appropriation for 2022 to $113 billion. A ”lavish” increase according to one source. Can the UK and France be far behind? A massive redistribution of government spending in the upwards direction. Akin to the US policy shift with the Reagan Administration after 1980. If these trends continue, this massive increase in spending will affect every sector of European culture.
And what does a militarized society look like? Just look across to the other side of the Atlantic; a declining life expectancy, poverty & homelessness, privatization, mass incarceration and educational & cultural decline. In other words, a desperate hell-scape for the poor and working-class. In turn, this financial desperation will fuel the most politically extreme and ugly segments of society. A radicalized and angry population is an important tool used to set the game in motion. Similar to what we saw developed and used in the Ukraine with the neo-fascist Azov regiment in 2014. When the US funded the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected President for resisting integration into NATO. These non-governmental actors are the early foot-soldiers used to destabilize a country or a region. Haven’t we seen this same formula played out again and again?
“I do think the plan is to prolong the fighting…..to complete the destruction of Ukraine by turning it into a quasi-Afghanistan”. – Ret. US Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, March 7, 2022
At this point, we simply ask; who will benefit? As they say, “follow the money”. Who are the mercenaries that will benefit from this unprecedented increase in military spending? Military contractors, that’s who. Hensodt, Leonardo, Thales, BAE Systems and Rheinmetall are the top beneficiaries. And according the Yahoo News article, Germany Jacks Up Military Spending and These 5 Companies Could Be Big Winners, the ”winners” won’t just be the European military industrial complex. The increased spending will resulting in a “tailwind for many defense companies beyond those based in Europe”.
Does NATO want peace? Or is global war a miltary strategy of empire? The situation is clear to anyone paying attention. The current conflict in Europe did not need to happen. Either by design or by incompetence, the Western powers have triggered an unnecessary conflict with a nuclear superpower. And the same is true of Somalia, Palestine, Yemen and the many other brutal wars being whitewashed by western government and media.
(UPDATE: The Oliver Stone’ Ukraine on Fire has been ban by YouTube and across many media platforms. Look to alternative sources to see the full documentary).
If you are beginning to see through the empire of lies, the proxy wars and the manipulation, then Oliver Stone’s 2016 documentary, Ukraine On Fire, is a good starting point to understand how this situation was orchestrated. Below is a link to the full documentary made available for free by the director. Whatever your personal politics or point-of-view, it is well worth watching. Knowledge is power. Free link: Ukraine On Fire.
Mark Lanegan / November 25, 1964- February 22, 2022
In 1999 singer, songwriter & author Mark Lanegan recorded his fourth solo album, the stunning covers album, I’ll Take Care of You. The outside material providing the singer with a unique opportunity to focus his art on his powerful interpretive skills. The record is a complex articulation of our own human heartbreak and impossibility of redemption for all that we do to survive. Each track seems to open a different veins in a cold, often desperate landscape. The opening track, Carry Home, written by Jeffrey Lee Pierce (Gun Club), burns with the lonley weariness of a life spent on the road. Filled with internal struggle and doubt, Lanegan‘s vocal finding the strength to contine the long journey home.
Carry home / I have returned / Through so many highways / And so many tears / Your letter never survived the heat of my hand / My burning hand / My sweating hand / Your love never survived the heat of my heart / My violent heart / In the dark / Carry home / I have returned / Through so many highways / And so many tears