Between 1999 and 2000 I made these entries, just off the cuff remarks and thoughts. Now this is known as a BLOG. Does that make me ahead of my time?
[George W.'s Killing Fields | CD Sales Down? | Hurricane and Cuba | Police State USA | Rock Radio in the USA | East Timor Debacle | VINYL LIVES! | CIA and the Shadow Government | The War, Pablo, Etc. | Living and Breathing | The Motives | My Right Leg | Songwriting | Music I Like | Balkan War Thoughts etc.]
2001 - I guess I stopped writing political pieces 'cause it took up too much time... So below is my compendium of when I was into it.
July 2000 - George W. Bush executes 135th person, more than any governor in USA history. June 22, 2000 was a day that will go down in capital punishment infamy, the possible killing of an innocent man. No one knows for sure if Gary Graham was indeed innocent but "the system" failed. There is no doubt that he did not receive a fair trial. The single eyewitness described Graham to police as having a certain hair style since it was pretty dark at the time of the crime. When the police created the photo lineup, Gary Graham was the only person in the lineup with that hair style so naturally she picked him out of the photo lineup. His "defense" attorney, aptly named Mock, never challenged the credibility of the eyewitness nor did he call other eyewitnesses who said Gary Graham was not the killer. There was a study in 1996 of 28 cases that were overturned by DNA evidence. In 24 of those cases, the perpetrator was convicted based on testimony of an eyewitness. These eyewitnesses were wrong!!! (See analysis and actual text of the study.)
The media by and large kissed George Bush's ass by trumpeting exactly what he said, that he was heard by 33 judges and 33 judges turned him down. None of the 33 judges were permitted to hear any new evidence. After the Bush-picked Texas Appeals Board turned him down, the Supreme Court ruled against Graham in a 5-4 decision along liberal-conservative lines. Gore is a wimp who is afraid to challenge Bush on capital punishment for fear of being "soft" on crime. Well, I believe in capital punishment under two conditions: 1 - the execution takes place one month after conviction and 2 - the executions should be public and shown on non-cable TV. Imagine the public seeing the electric chair in Florida when sparks flew out of a man's head! Public executions will reveal what a horrible practice capital punishment is. We'd see killings every week! Hey Jack Kevorkian had his snuff tape on 60 Minutes, why not all executions? After all we live in the most civilized advanced country in the world!
April 2000 - CD Sales down? Several reasons come to mind, notably the continuing high prices of retail CDs, especially at what are now called "brick and mortar" establishments, places where you go outside, use some mode of private or public transportation and visit an establishment where you can peruse and purchase products, a STORE. I've seen CDs for US $18 and $19. Are they worth it?
There is also another dirty secret: CDs are tiring on the ears to listen to! Major label rock CDs are mastered, meaning sonically "enhanced" at a special place called a mastering studio, not to make the music sound better (its former function) but to strip the music of any dynamics (softness and loudness) whatsoever (which is called "compression") so that the CD is as LOUD AS POSSIBLE and louder than other CDs when a song gets radio airplay. It is a fierce competition in which we, as consumers and listeners, are the losers. The sonic advantages of CDs over vinyl are its almost unlimited dynamic range. Soft passages of music could be really soft and loud passages could scream. Vinyl had limits requiring music to be compressed prior to the pressing of vinyl. Soft passages had to be made louder to mask the noise inherent in "analog" music and loud passages had to be made softer so the needle wouldn't jump off the record. The same thing is now being done to CDs which is a shame ... we is being robbed. There is an interesting interview with famous mastering engineers in the March 2000 EQ Magazine partially concerning this issue.
January 2000 - Y'know "Hurricane" Carter is in the news these days mainly due to the movie The Hurricane, but didja know that had he attempted his appeals today, he'd probably not get out of jail? The Federal Courts have been more and more reluctant to overrule state court rulings. This might be a law, I really don't know, but it's another example of Police State USA! Now the Supreme Court has ruled that "nervous or suspicious" personality traits are probable cause for cops to stop someone on the street. The specifics dealt with police having the right to chase anyone who runs away from them. It is known however that minorities don't want anything to do with cops and lawful citizens will do anything to avoid them including running away, which is now a crime...
It is a shame for anti-Castro Cubans in Miami to use this kid as a political pawn and then the US politicians fall for it! Al Gore has fallen for it by stating that Castro is telling the father what to do! It's a typical case of accusing someone else of the discretions we are committing to make our own actions valid. Now I'm not a fan of the INS but they made the right decision to send him back to his father and Clinton got this one right. The law is that boat people that don't make it to land get returned, like people recently returned to Haiti by the Coast Guard. They don't get special treatment 'cause Haiti doesn't have a Castro. When they did have a despotic leader that murdered his own people, the USA supported him. Of course, this Cuban kid should stay here with relatives that hardly know him. It's the right thing. After all, they took him to Disney World for spirituality and then to McDonald's for nutrition! Now, that's America!
December 1999 - I brought a song to The Motives called Police State USA. It became a group collaboration and we now perform it. Funny thing is, since I wrote the song, the more the song is coming true! It started when our NYC mayor Rudy Guiliani decided to poison NYC residents by spraying insecticide all over the city due to mosquito transmitted West Nile Virus. There was little warning and no concentrated spraying where the mosquitos lived, just a mass city spraying. This December Rudy has arrested homeless people by his surrogates, the NYC police, because they were sleeping in the City Hall Park, giving the City and bad "image." There's no law saying you can't sleep in a park. But, according to Rudy, there is no homeless problem when you don't see them.
Finally, Police State USA has come to a head at the recent WTO conference in Seattle where the Seattle police shot tear gas and rubber bullets at our own citizens engaged in legal non-violent protest! The violence was extremely marginalized except in the major media whose parent corporations (Disney, GE etc.) stood to make billions if China got admitted to the WTO. Of course, they would not actually report on the true nature of the protests. These protests were amazing in that they brought together regular people who stood for worldwide labor rights, worldwide environmental safeguards, farmers against genetically engineered foods being fostered upon us without our knowledge or consent. These are concerns that are neither liberal or conservative but human. Who could be against that? And why are police always on the wrong side of the protests, protecting rich corporations by attempting to restrict people's right to assembly, shooting at us and making mass arrests?
September 1999 #1 - As you might know I recently drove across the country from NYC to San Francisco and back, and then to Iowa and back and besides listening to an eclectic mix of cassettes, I tried to listen to some radio as well. When I drive late at night I have to hear classic hard rock'n'roll. In a Wyoming truck stop, I purchased a Blue Oyster Cult tape entitled "Don't Fear the Reaper." Of course it being a "truck stop" cassette, the version of Don't Fear the Reaper was a live one, not the studio hit. The cassette was a hit or miss affair, with some good rockers and a live boogie rock instrumental. Know what happened after I bought the cassette? I heard the real Don't Fear the Reaper 3 times on 3 different classic rock stations! I also heard songs you never hear in NYC like Uriah Heep's Easy Livin'. Know when it's time to change the station, whenever I hear a song by Boston or Styx. Yecchhh! Well you know I hate them already from a previous entry.
September, 1999 #2 - So William Cohen, our esteemed Secretary of War, uh, Defense, says we shouldn't send troops to East Timor; that we can't send in troops every time there is a trouble spot in the world; that the USA just can't get involved. Well WE ARE INVOLVED IN HELPING THE INDONESIAN MILITARY ("MILITIAS") KILL THE TIMORISE AND MAINTAIN AN ETHNIC CLEANSING PROGRAM, despite the election results! After all, where does despotic governments run by military regimes such as Indonesia get its weapons of war? The USA of course! How does such governments pay for its weapons, especially in light of Indonesia's economic troubles at the time of Dictator, 'scuse me, "President" Suharto's "overthrow?" They pay by continuing to receive loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, both USA controlled entities. Why do countries such as Indonesia continue to receive huge loans even in light of a deplorable record concerning human rights for over 30 years? Because USA weapons companies make a mint off all the killing and "bring home the bacon," if you get my drift. Our country in effect says, we make money off your torture and killing of innocent civilians, SO KEEP KILLING!
August, 99 - In late June I was in Bellows Falls, Vermont for a little vacation. It's a nice little town along the Connecticut River. As I was driving in New Hampshire looking for some cheap gas one evening, I tuned in to a New Hampshire classic rock station and heard a song I hadn't heard in a long time, Vanilla Fudge's version of the Motown classic, "You Keep Me Hangin' On." Classic rock is different wherever you go. In New York City, there is entirely too much Boston, Foreigner and Styx (yecch!). Anyway during the quiet part of the song near the end where it's just Mark Stein's hammond organ playing the signature riff of the tune, I heard the CRACKLING OF THE VINYL! VINYL LIVES IN SMALL-TOWN AMERICA!!! So there, CDs haven't taken over and neither have MP3s. ---- David Kaufman -- see you on the road or in California.
July, 1999 - Don't get me wrong. I think America is a great country where most of us live in relative freedom. Perhaps I'm listening to too much Pacifica Radio but there are divisions of the Federal government who are supposed to "protect" America's interests here and overseas but they seem to do just the opposite! Has the CIA ever done anything good for this country? Recently they provided the faulty maps causing NATO to "accidentally" bomb the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. They were responsible for the awful Bay of Pigs incident involving Cuba in the early 60's. They've overthrown governments where rulers are installed that are much worse than the people that were overthrown, far more repressive against their own people. Case in point: The Allende overthrow in Chile (1973) where a democratically elected president was murdered in place of Augusto Pinochet, who was awful. Thank goodness he was arrested in the UK and I hope Spain successfully extradites him so he gets what he deserves! The CIA was heavily responsible for starting the crack and cocaine epidemic in the inner cities. It is documented with irrefutable evidence in two books, one by Alexander Cockburn and another by Gary Webb. It might be time to dismantle the CIA...
It was right for our country to condemn the atrocities of Nazi Germany including medical experiments on prisoners, concentration camp "inmates" and so forth. German "scientists" guilty of carrying this out were convicted in the Nuremburg trials. So why did the US government do the same thing in the Tuskegee experiments, where prisoners were given diseases "just to see what would happen" and then not be treated and die? Did you know the government recently did experiments on inmates in Pennsylvania? Why does the US condemn biological warfare and then use biological warfare in Vietnam? Recent Freedom of Information Act documents bear this out. Why does the US condemn land mines but refuse to sign an international land mine treaty? Isn't basic human dignity in our best interests? Who is perpetrating these awful acts? It's the shadow dictatorship behind the government you and I see every day on mainstream TV. It's too bad.
June 21, 1999 - The war is over but at what cost? We'll see. I'm saddened to hear about Augustus Pablo, who died this past May. He was a huge influence on my keyboard stylings. Are any of you interested in my keyboard setups, studio setups or instruments I currently use? I'm not really into that technical stuff all that much but write me and I'll put it here for you.
June 5, 1999 - I want this to be a living and breathing document. Therefore all that I've written will remain on the page and move down as I add new material (same with Marc's page). I removed some stuff involving a leg injury I sustained in April which has now been restored It's all a part of my little corner of the world... speaking of which, my home recording studio is in the corner of the living room in my apartment! The Motives are rehearsing one of my songs called Whisper and it's turning into a Motives' song, much different to the clip heard here. I'm not used to a woman singing my songs and the result is the fascination of the band process. By the way the main songwriter and leader of the band is bass player Louie Fleck. His brother is jazz banjo player Bela Fleck of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones who are pretty well known, and pretty damn good!
Mid-May 1999 - I've decided to join The Motives. I wasn't sure at first and actually quit after performing with them once. The group is talented and played a special performance at Downtime in NYC that reminded me of playing 20 years ago during the punk era. There was a camaraderie between the 3 talented bands playing that I haven't experienced in a long time. All the bands also had beautiful women in them. The first band was called Stuck and had a beautiful Asian front-woman. The lead instrumentalist played a Chapman Stick and was great. The next band was Caesar Pink and The Imperial Orgy, a multimedia group that had good songs, neat movies including animals humping each during a song about sex, and two beautiful woman who sang and danced. Of course there was our band. We have the blonde, the beautiful and talented Rebecca. Of course for Nails' fans Douglas Guthrie plays sax with us and I've forgotten how great he is! We had everyone dancing on their seats including the members of the previous bands. It was a-happenin'. We're planning to tour California as part of the Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide (RAW) festival in August '99. If a Nails' reunion occurs however, I'll be there.
Early May 1999 the first installment - An injury has been occupying the last month as I tore the calf muscle in my right leg. I was on my way to play keyboards at a village nightclub with a reggae/ska group called The Motives. After running up subway steps (which I do all the time) to catch a train at 34th St./8th Ave. to W. 4th St. in Manhattan, I took 3 steps on the platform toward an "A" train waiting at the station when I heard a loud "pop." I thought I had been shot(!) but there wasn't anyone around but I discovered that my right leg really hurt. However I was still able to walk (or limp) and limped to the club. Apparently it was worse than I thought, especially after standing 1 1/2 hours playin' with the group. Instead of hangin' out with groupies I took a cab back home.... My leg swelled up and a couple of days later my right foot swelled and turned black and blue due to the internal bleeding that navigated down my leg. My right foot looked dead! I'm doing much better now. I have been walking with the aid of a cane but I don't need it no more. Swimming is my main mode of exercise and has helped me... I have some before and after pictures of my swollen black and blue cadaver of a foot. Perhaps when I get a scanner I'll put them up to prove it to ya!
As far as songwriting goes, when The Nails were rehearsing and writing it was very lassez-faire, someone would play a lick and Marc might say what was that?? We'd play it again and work it hard into a song, and then try to create a somewhat interesting bridge to "flesh it out." However, some songs were pure serendipity. Marc and I were in the studio alone for what became 88 Lines about 44 Women; the same with Home of the Brave. Bass lines drove other songs such as Juanita Juanita (me) and Things You Left Behind (George). Marc is also a formidable songwriter himself as he wrote the song Dangerous Dream. Mostly it was a band effort.
As for my own material, most of my ideas come away from instruments, walking down the street or thinking of something in the middle of the night. I then have to painstakingly use my computer canvas (Mac, of course) to put my ideas down. It is amazing that one can use a computer for a complete recording these days but it is a double-edged sword in that one must decide when a song is finished and let it go out the door.
When I'm not doing other stuff, here is the music I've been into lately. In e-mail circles I jokingly call myself "Mr. Nostalgia." However the older music I listen to I never heard way back then so they are new discoveries for me. Here is a taste of old (and newer) music that tickles my fancy:
Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus Morphine - Like Swimming (r.i.p. Mark Sandman) Hendrix - Band of Gypsies Bozzio Levin Stevens - Black Light Syndrome Pentangle - Light Flight Bloomfield Hammond Dr. John - Triumvirate Herbie Mann - Push Push (featuring Duane Allman) The Essence of Thelonius Monk Phil Ochs - I Ain't Marching Anymore Scotty Moore & DJ Fontana - All the King's Men Billy Cobham - Spectrum R. Carlos Nakai - Canyon Trilogy Johnny Cash - Unchained Nick Drake - Time of No Reply Cornershop - When I Was Born for the Seventh Time Any CD by The Stranglers with Hugh Cornwell Peter Tosh - Legalize It Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks - Striking It Rich Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart - Truth Leon Russell - Carney Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart - Beck-Ola Frank Zappa - Jazz from Hell Anything by Augustus Pablo
For some political links, why is it so hard for the US (and NATO) to stop something once it's started? It's time to stop this war! Gee we bombed the refugees. SORRY. Oops, we bombed a hospital. SORRY. Uh oh, we bombed an embassy. SORRY. Oy vey, we bombed and killed some more refugees. SORRY. Bill Clinton is an apology expert!
For an accurate slant on the news that you won't read in traditional media either in print or on the web check out The Nation and I.F. Stone's Consortium. For some news that you definitely won't find anywhere else, take a look at The Onion.
For a different view on medicine, diet, health and well-being, that you won't find in traditional sources where every new drug and medical advance is spoon-fed to the public by the media not with a critical eye, but practically unchanged from a company press release, check out Gary Null. There are some good links there as well.
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