Saturday, July 12, 2008

Slavery Is Back In Effect

I was listening to Mike (Who, I have repeatedly said, I think is
probably the best DJ on KXLU) on Part Time Punks on Thursday and he said some
things that, as a political junky, caught my attention.  After a
particularly angsty set he announced (and I am paraphrasing), “You may
have noticed that I’m playing an angry set.  Well, I’m angry.  Iran
launched 8 missiles yesterday and now Bush is getting upset and
sticking his nose in every other country’s business”.  Always excited
for lively debate, even if it is alone in my head, I responded to this
to myself (and now, again, here).  I think
this is misguided anger.  Frankly, Iran’s missiles were very much our
business, as they were very purposefully a message to us and to
Israel.  The tests were done as a show of strength after Israel ran
some tests of their own, flying their aircraft within firing range of
Iran’s nuclear program. 

Admittedly, I fall into the typical American viewpoint of skepticism
about Iran’s nuclear ambitions being solely for energy (I am not
ignoring the findings that Iran is at least 10 years away from
developing nuclear weapons if they so desired…I am merely questioning
the ambition).  To quote Dennis Miller (and I can’t believe I would
ever positively quote him!) when questioning Iran's desire for alternative energy, “These people are living on top of the
biggest dinosaur mausoleum in the world”.  The point is, this is
business as usual in the game of brinksmanship.  Iran wants to be a
nuclear force, and due to the moronic foreign policies of this
administration, pre-emptive action has sort of gotten a bad wrap over
these past few years as has unilateral action in terms of world opinion
and support.  This, effectively, leaves our hands tied to stop Iran
without direct proof of nuclear armament ambition…Iran knows this.
Israel, of course, is the immediate target…everyone knows this.
Israel, who has been known for having a pretty short fuse, has to make
some kind of a show of force and hope that the bluff of World War 3
will be enough to make the Iranians stand down (and I’m sure even
Israel didn’t think that this would actually work).  So Israel ran test
flights within striking distance of Iran’s nuclear development
program.  Iran, in turn could not let Israel push and not push back, so
they made a symbolic show of force and launched test missiles. Iran’s
missile tests are with the hope of drawing Israel to attack.  If Israel
attacks, then destroying Israel (or severely damaging it) will be
retaliation, therefore, the world’s reaction will be divided and weaker
against Iran.  However, were Iran to attack unprovoked, Iran knows that
they will be attacked and destroyed by the world community, especially
if they don’t have nuclear weapons to defend themselves with. 

Now, here is my point (sorry it is so laborious): this is absolutely
our business.  Feelings on Israel aside, I do not want Iran to have
nuclear missiles.  I don’t want us, Pakistan, India, Israel, England,
Russia…anyone to have them.  The recent missile tests were an
intentional display, a note on an arrow, if you will, in the game of
brinksmanship.  The purpose was to let us and the world know that our
hands are tied to stop Iran from achieving their goals, for the time
being.  This is not a new game, nor is it one we are unfamiliar with,
this is another cold war…and I hope that it stays cold if it has to
exist at all.  Now, if we had attacked Iran over these tests, I would be
furious.  What we have done is issue a statement, essentially, that we
don’t like that Iran fired missiles.  If a president failed to do that,
I would be equally furious. The larger discussion, of course, is the
state of international diplomacy, the United State’s go it alone cowboy
politics, the reduction of the UN to a League of Nations style piece of
worthless real estate, etc.  We could talk for hours about these
issues, but they are long-term agenda issues and it would turn this
blog into a novel (it is also largely why I support Obama and hate the
current standard of politicians on both sides of the aisle…more on that
later).  Frankly, Mike, getting mad about Bush’s reaction is missing
the forest for the trees.  The real outrage is that we as humans (as
represented by our leaders, who tend to be caricatures of our own
despicable nature) are so stupid that we miraculously survived a 50
year cold war and not 20 years later can’t wait to jump into another.
With that in mind, I opened my show by stating that I am not angry about Bush’s
statements, they had to be made.  Instead, I offered a few reasons to
really be mad.

1)    John McCain was recently informed, that despite our
Jets/Sharks-like diplomatic relationship with Iran, our export business
has actually risen.  Specifically, American cigarettes are now our biggest
export to Iran. Caught off guard by this information McCain quipped,
"Maybe that's a way of killing them” before his wife poked him in the
back, frantically searching for his “off” button.  **Slow clap**.
Bravo, Mr. McCain.  How do we intend on diplomatically solving our
problems when you, if elected to lead, make horrific statements about
the death of a country’s innocent citizens?  When Ahmadinejad or Chaves
say anything remotely close to this it is a call to arms and a road to
war, but you can casually defecate from the mouth like this and expect
that it’s not in every news paper in Tehran?  Bravo!

2)    Karl Rove ignored a congressional subpoena to testify about
the firing of eight federal prosecutors.  Siting, “executive
priveledge”, Rove refuses to discuss these actions under oath...AND CLINTON
a world are we living in?  (P.S. please do not reference my above
tirade on the rules and theater of brinksmanship to claim that Rove is
just playing his role.  It’s not that the argument is incorrect, I just
hate having my words thrown back at me.  K? Thx)

3)    Barack Obama voted for the new federal wire tapping bill (Mike
mentioned this too, I believe).  I could forgive him, painfully albeit,
for his turn around on public funding for campaigns (but come on, he
HAD to do it).  I certainly understand his Falstaffian denouncement of
his former reverend.  I even get the subtle softening of his rhetoric
on leaving Iraq.  But come on…the wire tapping bill…with immunity to phone
companies?!?!  As mentioned, I can understand and justify all of the
above actions because, frankly, this is politics.  But politics have
eroded the content of civics beyond the point of recognition.  I AM
VOTING FOR CHANGE.  Obama seems to be moving towards the center in
order to seal his victory, but this involves promises to the
center…promises that contradict the spirit of the promises he made to
us on the “fringes”…promises of change, promises of hope and promises
of a new kind of politics.  The reason any of us still have faith in
Obama is that we feel that he is saying and doing all of these things
to get elected, and when in office he will be the president that he
promised US.  This sounds like old politics, and he sounds like he is
getting mired in it.  I hope that he will be different, I hope that we
as Americans will demand that he be different, I hope that the burden
of change will remain on our shoulders and that we will continue to
rise to that challenge as we all seemed to do after Super Tuesday in
February.  But I’ve been burned before.

In 1992, during his campaign for the presidency, Bill Clinton
publicly denounced the lyrics and statements of hip hop artist Sister
Souljah.  In particular, he lashed out at a specific quote, "If black
people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white
people" taken out of context, that was a reaction to the Los Angeles
riots.  Clinton's reaction was purposeful and successful.  Known later
as “America’s first black president”, Clinton had a problem in his
general election strategy.  He was seen as too far left, black people
loved him and many white people were afraid that he would remain too
beholden to them.  By publicly repudiating a sentiment from the
community largely viewed as his base, Clinton symbolically re-assured
white people that he was one of them.  This would famously be known as
Clinton’s “Sister Souljah Moment”.  Today, in politics, a denouncement
of the actions of one’s base with the pointed goal of appealing to
centrist voters is called a Sister Souljah Moment. 

It was in this spirit that I dove straight into Sister Souljah’s,
“Slavery Is Back In Effect” as the first song of my show (also, I know
that Barack Obama always tunes in on Friday mornings to
between 2-6am PST.  Truth be told, he’s just listening to Metal Storm,
but doesn’t bother turning the stream off by the time I come on.  I hope he got the reference).  I
don’t want to be abandoned for center again.  Centrist politics have
gotten us where we are today.  I want a more educated electorate to
vote on elegant and nuanced policy and to vote intelligently.  I
believe Democracy is less flawed than anything else that has been established to
protect the virtues that we claim, but it depends on the electorate. 
For tyranny and corruption to take power one needs only keep the voters
ignorant and scared.  For a just and free society to emerge (which, I
have been told, is what we want) the electorate must remain vigilant
and educated.  This is why I quit the music industry and am becoming a
teacher.  I want to be part of the solution.

Okay…I’m sorry.  I know this is a music blog.  I promise to keep
next week’s blog entirely on music.  The show had a bunch of
highlights, I’ll just stick to one because I’ve already taken up so
much space with political rants:

I Am Spoonbender remixing The Locust’s well I’ll Be A Monkey’s
Uncle.  Loud, dark and terrifying used to be the way to describe early
Marylin Manson tracks, but if you add the word “cool” then you can
actually be talking about I Am Spoonbender’s remix of The Locust. 

Here's a clip of JP from the Locust and Lost Film Festival’s creator Scott Beibin on Springer…just to lighten the mood a bit:

JP from THE LOCUST + Scott Beibin on Jerry Springer (Part 2)

Next week (the show is moving to Tuesday Nights/Wednesday Mornings
2-6am) will be all about the music again and I’ll make sure the blog is
extra music-nerdy…I promise.  Special thanks to Peter Choice (my other
favorite DJ on KXLU) for hanging out and making me a better DJ for it!
Oh, and Matt Gangi of Gangi will be coming onto the show in two weeks.

Here’s the playlist:

Sister Souljah – The Final Solution (Slavery’s Back In Effect)
Wire – Mercy (Angry set part 1)
Minor Threat – Minor Threat (Angry set part 2)
Trail Of Dead – Totally Natural (Angry set part 3)
Vaselines – Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam
Geraldine Fibbers – Lilybelle
Powdered Monster – Big Halo
Daniel Johnston – Devil Town
Tom Waitz – Singapore
Olivia Tremor Control – Memories of Jacqueline 1906
Pram – Bewitched (Screwed up and wanted to play The Owl Service to transition into Broadcast…next time…damn you fatigue!!!)
Broadcast – Unchanging Window
Sonic Boom (Spectrum) – Rock ‘N Roll is Killing My Life
Acid Mother’s Temple – Pink Lady Lemonade
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog – Party Intellectuals (Holy S*#t is this good!)
Locust – Well I’ll Be A Monkey’s Uncle
I Am Spoonbender – Remix of Locust – Well I’ll Be A Monkey’s Uncle
Leila – Mettle
Cornelius – Drop
El-P – Delorean
Los Flores Project – Sounds From Behind Closed Doors
Danger Doom – No Names
Battles - ??? (unmarked burned CD)
Kites – The Hidden Family
Wolf Eyes – Stabbed In The Face
Flying Lotus – Gng Bng
The Gang – Heaven’s Happenin’
Sigur Ros – Olsen Olsen (compare and contrast to Heaven’s Happenin’)
Spiritualized – Sweet Talk
The War on Drugs – Arms Like Boulders
Talking Heads – Houses In Motion
Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players – European Boys
Dr. Dog – From
Fleet Foxes – White Water Hymnal
Television – Careful
Make A Rising – Sneffles Yokul
Abe Vigoda – Animal Ghosts
Aqui – Here
Rainbow Arabia – Omar K
My Bloody Valentine (Covering Wire) – Map Coordinates 41N 93W
Bardo Pond – Cross Current
Built To Spill – Conventional Wisdom
Belle and Sebastian – Me and The Major
Wolf Parade – You Are A Runner and I Am My Father’s Son
Entrance – Grim Reaper Blues
The Make-Up – Live In The Rhythm Hive
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Art Star

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