Saturday, June 15, 2013

Jazz Pick Of The Week: Barnacle Bill The Sailor

Hoagy Carmichael fronts this May 21, 1930 jazz novelty recording with early jazz greats Bix on cornet, Tommy Dorsey, trombone, Benny Goodman, Clarinet, Gene Krupa, drums, Bubber Miley, trumpet, Joe Venuti, violin, Bud Freeman, tenor sax and Eddie Lang, guitar. The 3 soloists are Bix, Benny and Bud. A fourth solo occurs at the very end. Instead of the whole gang repeating the refrain "Barnacle Bill the sailor", they all drop out except for Joe Venuti who subs an expletive for "sailor", that was missed by the recording engineer. Methinks they all enjoyed a jug of prohibition gin before recording this one.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Where was Rep. King when we really needed him?

Rep. Peter King (GOP, NY) sure has a selective sense of indignation...and the truth. King has Long been known as the pre-eminent Islamaphobe in the US Congress for his endless fear mongering and hyped investigations of American Muslims. King has now disgraced himself with his call for prosecution of Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the massive NSA spying scandal with leaked documents from CIA contractor Ed Snowden. King is not stupid enough to demand Greenwald's prosecution for doing his job as a journalist investigating government criminality, because that would not set well with the media who tend to support their most valuable employees. Instead, King simply lied by saying Greenwald's prosecution is justified because he intends to expose CIA operatives, putting them in danger of being killed.

There are two problems with King's charge. First, it is false based on Greenwald's emphatic denial, his long history of responsible journalism, and King's inability to back up his preposterous claim with a shred of evidence. Second, it reflects King's breathtaking hypocrisy on the issue of exposing CIA agents. When Valerie Plame, a real CIA agent was outed by the likes of Vice President Dick Cheney and his top aide Scooter Libby; from the mouth of Rep. King... not a single peep.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

More Mannings, substitute Snowdens out there

Uncle Sam may toss Pvt. Bradley Manning in the brig for life after his kangaroo courts martial finds him guilty of leaking classified war crime documents to Wikileaks, and Ed Snowden can suffer a similar fate for outing massive NSA eavesdropping on everyone, but there's one thing our Uncle cannot do. He can't prevent the next Pvt. Manning or the next security contractor Snowden from following his conscience and shining a light on our senseless, criminal wars of empire, or our trashing of the 4th Amendment guaranteeing privacy.  There are over a million government employees and private contractors with national security clearance. A few, possibly dozens, maybe even hundreds are pondering the risks and the consequences of coming forward as I write this, to rid themselves of the haunting guilt of aiding and abetting criminal wars against defenseless civilians, or constructing the post 911 surveillance state ensnaring every single American without their consent. They follow the dictates of the Constitution, international law and common decency infinitely more than governmental officials and their sycophantic defenders in the media who prosecute those wars and demolish 222 years of our sacred right to privacy. They, and not proponents and defenders of these policies represent the best of America.

They remind me of the brooms that came to life in Walt Disney's Sorcerers Apprentice. The more apprentice Mickey broke them, the more they reformed to increase the groundswell of floodwater in the Sorcerer's workshop. But no magical Sorcerer will appear to help Uncle Sam stop the floodgates of truth that must and will come out. We can end senseless war by learning the truth about it. We can regain our right to privacy by uncovering the despicable lies we've been told for years denying its abridgment. Armed with the truth we must work to steer the floundering ship of our fading democracy around. And when we do, lets not forget the pioneers who gave up their freedom to inspire us to salvage ours.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Snowden joins Manning as true American hero

Pvt. Bradley Manning will likely be sentenced to life in prison when his foreordained guilty verdict is handed down in his ongoing courts martial for releasing thousands of military documents to Wikileaks. Now he's joined by Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor, who may also, if Uncle Sam can get his tentacles around him in his Hong Kong hideout, end up in the pokey for life. Snowden outed the National Security Agency's (NSA) program of massive surveillance of every American phone call in the claimed interests of national security, effectively ending the 4th Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing privacy for the last 222 years.
Both of these men are true American heroes. Manning, ensnared in helping carry out our criminal Iraq war, followed his conscious and gave us a painful opportunity to see aerial footage of American gunships blasting innocent civilians, including 2 news correspondents, to kingdom come. Snowden, by spilling the surveillance state story, denied by all manner of governmental officials for years, revealed that this includes, besides every phone call, access to search history, the content of emails. file transfers and live chats. Snowden, in an interview with American journalist Glenn Greenwald, summed up his breathtakingly courageous action thusly:

“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

Mainstream media pundits are already currying favor with the government by employing character assassination against Snowden just like they did against Manning, calling Snowden bizarre and exhibiting an incoherent ideology. These folks don't know the meaning of patriotism or courage or decency when they engage in such shameless shilling for a government that makes senseless war permanent policy and tosses the 4th Amendment on the trash heap of history. There aren't too many folks I look up to on the national scene today. But when Pvt. Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden stood up and sacrificed their freedom to the bullies prosecuting those wars and eliminating privacy, they earned my complete respect. They've earned the respect of every American who cares about the future of this country.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Jazz Pick Of The Week: Louis Armstrong at Symphony Hall

1947 began the third and longest phase of Pops career. From 1923-29 he revolutionized jazz and laid foundation for the Swing Era. From 1929-47 he fronted big bands and became world fa...mous crossover star. He busted up his big band in '47 and reformed his Hot Five/Seven format from the twenties as The All Stars, which continued till his death 24 years later. This track is from their first major concert hall appearance, Nov. 30, 1947. The unusual spontaneous applause that erupts in the middle of the song after Pops' vocal is a testament to why he's considered one of the best singers ever. I've heard that on several of his concert vocals but never for another singer before a tune finished.
See More

Bushwacked: 4,422 GI's die in Iraq; China gets the oil‏

Remember back in 2003 when George W. Bush administration war mongers were bragging how Iraqi oil would pay for our criminal war of conquest in Iraq. Ten years later it turns out China is the big winner in Bush's bungled bash in Iraq. Over half the oil produced in Iraq's oil boom sails straight to China and new China-Iraq deals look to expand that advantage. China has already made a fortune loaning blood money to fund our murderous venture. They didn't lose a dollar or a doughboy fighting it, and are laughing at America for building a $250 million dollar library honoring a man who should be in a prison cell instead of roaming his gigantic Texas ranch.

I'm betting Bush won't be inviting Chinese dignitaries to visit his book edifice in Dallas anytime soon. They might slip up and publically thank The Decider for spilling all that blood and treasure so they could slip slide in and snatch the spoils of senseless war.