Monday, September 21, 2009

Rant & Rave 4 Enabling Chamelons

Enabling chameleons? The state of the Republican party is such that If it’s members would enter a stable nuclear energy site alarms would go off warning that radio active beings are nearby. It has become a party without any significant leadership; in fact it has been reduced to a regional party. The chatter from their base are words we have not heard in America since before the civil war and before civil rights, the wishful operative word here is, civil.
Let’s be honest, the current batch of Republicans that are left in Congress and the Senate are southern based who have found themselves with a black President and angry, misinformed constituents. Instead of correctly informing them they choose to echo their words, stoke the fires, appeal to and enable the lowest common denominators in mankind, fear and hate.
“We want our country back, it is being taken over by Muslims, we want our freedoms back too,” one lady yelled at a recent gathering of Dick’s Army of nut jobs. Dick let me ask you are there no principals that you won’t sell out for a check from the insurance industry?
Jim DeMint an elected U.S. Senator spoke to this rally of loons, and told them, “ I’m here to stand with you, as there are no freedoms in congress in fact this Congress stands against freedom, the very freedoms we stand for.” I don’t blame the confederate flag holding crowd, carrying pictures of Obama as Hitler, they are being enabled and in essence told that they are correct. I blame these leaders who know better.
How does DeMint think that congress got there, how in fact did he get there? Real freedom is the right of the people to vote for their leaders. He practically told this riled group that Obama is a dictator who has been imposed upon us by force against our will and by force we shall remove him. This was a not so subliminal message at the rally of loons. Where are the reasonable Republicans and why are they allowing their party to be hijacked by this lunatic fringe? Those who make their fortunes by being divisive like crazy radio hosts and TV talking heads are inciting poor ill informed souls to show up at these rallies. Is this really the face the Republicans want? Why are reasonable Republican leaders silent, silent even as the loons carry assault weapons to Presidential events? The answer to it all is MONEY.
The Republicans are so reduced in stature that this fringe is now their base and by enabling them they raise money for their campaigns. Both parties are full of so called “leaders,” who run for office not as a principled candidate but as Manchurian Candidates. They profess to believe what they are paid to say by corporate interests, from Healthcare reform to Wall Street reform money is the culprit. Over a half billion dollars has been donated to the campagain coffers of representatives of both parties by Wall Street since January, to block regulations. Just think, the future could bring another collapse of the economy as our “leaders,” sit on fat bank accounts and enjoy government run healthcare that we paid for.
A chameleon is a creature that changes colors according to their needs of any given moment, and right now their only color seems to be green. A majority of Americans voted for Obama we are the majority, where are our rallies? Where are our voices?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rant & Rave 4 Two Gross National Products

Two Gross National Products

I always thought the true gross national product was spam, and in a way I wasn’t wrong. What is spam? It is an indefinable blend of things that are evidently so harmful that the ingredients have been a closely guarded secret for 70 years. A closer analysis will reveal that spam is not unlike our political process. Pollen Ticks would be a more appropriate title for our election and governing system. Tick – a small wingless bloodsucking insect that lives on the skin of humans. Not to say that good decent well-intended leaders don’t appear with selfless motives from time to time, but this is not only rare but also dangerous for them as the special interests try to take them apart piece-by-piece so their unbridled quest for more greed will not be impeded.
Our system is based solely on MONEY. We have enabled our election process to become a cottage industry in the U.S. In the U.K. if someone runs for Prime Minister they are given equal funds, a level playing field by the government and the whole process takes a couple of months. It always astounds me how we feel that we have nothing to learn from other nations whether it be healthcare, or their electoral process when we are only a couple of hundred years old to their thousands of years of experiences.
So much money is needed to run for any office in America that if one succeeds they need to spend most of their time in office not serving the people but raising money daily for their next election. If you should have an endless supply of money like Bloomberg in NYC you can spend any and all of it to get yourself elected, in his case the amount exceeds 20 billion. Where is the outrage? Do we understand the precedent this kind of money can set? In NYC term limits are in place, voted on by the people. Well Bloomberg decided that after two terms he wanted this toy for himself one more time, ok, so far so good, except he could not legally run, so instead of having the people reverse the term limits they put in place he went to the city council, cut deals, donating to their campaigns, or “foundations,” and got them to clear the way for him to have another run for mayor. He is spending so much for so long that one barely knows who if anyone is opposing him; some very fine people took themselves out of the race, as they could not compete with this kind of money. I won’t get into my personal feelings about the mayor of NYC as there is not enough room here to do so, but like him or not, shouldn’t this perversion of our system be alarming to everyone? The very premise of his campaign should set your hair on fire; is his whole basis for another run “everything is so bad after my two terms that only I can fix it?” Come on everyone wake up!
Until money is removed from our system we will never have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Washington has become a city of lobbyists. Some say “what’s wrong with that?” they present other sides of the debate, well if that was the case we would only need one for each cause or industry. NOT one who bares gifts in the form of trillions of dollars to influence our representatives. Forget the NRA, or any other lobbyists there are an average of 6 lobbyists for each Senator and Congressman representing the Healthcare/Insurance industry alone So if we don’t get a decent Healthcare bill don’t blame our President, he is only one man, blame your self. Power to the people!

The above was a web letter I wrote that appeared in Nation on Sept 21st. See the editorial that provoked this blog, "By Any Means Necessary."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Party's Over

Following is an excerpt from my book "I Just Happened To Be There," which my agent is about to shop. See the rest of my blog for more on the book and other assorted topics.

Coming Of Age, Or When Coming Is No Longer Enough

Stanislavsky, the famed Russian teacher of the method system of acting said, “In communicating these thoughts to you, I hope that each of you possesses the sort of love that will teach him to devote all his life to the service of art. Do not try to push your way through to the front ranks of your profession; do not run after distinctions and rewards; but do your utmost to find an entry into the world of beauty. If you find it in yourself once, having achieved only for a few hours during your studies the fullest harmony of mind and heart, you will already be able to bring undeniably creative treasures into the life of the stage. And even if these do not reach the stage in your person today, they will not be entirely lost, for they will remain in your subconsciousness, and while mute today, you will project them into your life tomorrow in some other part and strike a responsive chord of beauty in the people around you”
It is over and above mere advice for a system of acting, it is sound advice for life itself. It was true when he wrote it, it perfectly describes hitting that note in the 60s, and serves as good advice today. But if all the world’s a stage, why be a mere player? Why sit in the audience? Why not star in the production of our own lives? Star in it by hitting it head on, exploring it to its fullest, being open and letting it flow through you. This is what I tried to do in the time we call “the sixties.”
In my course of experimentation with “mind-expanding drugs,” I failed to recognize that they were just what they were billed to be—mind-expanding. They were not a ticket to ride into blissful states beyond. They might expand what is there, but they do not bring anything out of you that was not there already, nor do they put anything in.
That means they can only take you so far without repeating the experience. It is said that madness is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. In this sense, I was mad.
If love is the fiber that holds us together, then those who are spiritually inclined and on a course of consciousness-raising will touch upon a state of euphoria. Tasting this nectar for even a single moment is enough to make one devote one’s life to achieving that state again—wanting to know more about it, why it feels so right, trying to touch it one more time, to verify its existence, and maybe, to stay longer next time—in the hope it can become a permanent feeling. Once experienced, it will always be there for you, acting as a shield from the difficult headwinds of life, and helping you to remember that there is more as you deal with day-to-day challenges. In 1969, I lived to recreate those moments. Another hit please! Given the times, I had a lot of company, at least for a while.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jimi Hendrix and ME Part 2

This is Part 2 of a personal story about Jimi Hendrix and myself please read part 1 below first. This is an excerpt from my book called "I Just Happened To Be There," which my agent is about to shop.
Jimi Part 2
Talk about sensory overload! Perhaps an hour or so later, it’s difficult to know, I heard a footfall behind me. When I turned to see, I just about freaked. It was Jimi. I thought I was hallucinating. He came by the hotel asking for me and was directed up to the roof. He wanted to know more about this powerhouse drug I’d given him.
“Jesus, man, what is this shit? I’m still peaking!”
When I told him it was STP, he seemed relieved. He smiled that great smile of his and giggled, as he often did, then gracefully slid down into a sitting position.
“Might as well get into it and ride it out.” He lit a cigarette. “It’s nice up here.”
He was excited about plans for his own recording digs. Apparently, he spent large sums renting studio time, and someone figured out he’d save money by having his own. He believed it was the first commercial studio owned by a rock recording artist, and had ambitious ideas for its use. He was told an underground spring ran beneath the building and spoke in very trippy terms of how that would affect the music, that the natural presence of water would have a creative influence.
At times, the intensity of the drug made it necessary to maintain some distance. In effect, we took communication breaks, one of us moving across the roof.
In a separate conversation, he shared how burnt out he felt.
“They’re workin’ me to death.”
He didn’t say who “they” were, and I don’t mean to accuse anyone of anything, I don’t claim to know, but he felt “used.” He enjoyed his drugs, but he also believed he needed them to accomplish what was expected of him.
For me, his words hit home. I was a guitar player with aspirations, and here was the best in the world, having the kind of huge success the rest of us dreamed about, and he was unhappy. There were moments where he seemed almost despondent (the drug could have been partly responsible. Hallucinogenics could easily set off mood swings, although often they simply amplify what is already there, hidden beneath the surface).
Finally, the edge came off this mega trip, and we began the journey downward. Jimi thanked me and we said our goodbyes.
“At least we won’t need any more drugs for a while,” he said on his way out, meaning the STP was so strong, who needed to get high again anytime soon?
That was the last time I saw him. His Electric Lady Studios finally opened its doors. Then came the awful news. He had overdosed and died in London. One of the greatest talents ever was gone.
At least we won’t need any more drugs for a while. His parting words still ring in my ear.