October 12, 2012
SAY NOTHING: WE ARE MADE OF ST(A)R STUFF - Statement by Leah-Lynn Plante

leahxvx:

On the morning of July 25th, 2012, my life was turned upside down in a matter of hours. FBI agents from around Washington and Oregon and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents from Washington busted down the front door of my house with a battering ram, handcuffed my house mates and me at gunpoint, and…

March 15, 2012
Facebook Comment

I don’t remember our government ever protecting the rights of people from those with money. I think from the beginning it was set up to prevent those with money from losing it to the masses. But the people with money no longer have physical bodies. It has reached a tipping point, one so severe, that there is not even any satire of it. At some point, we quit being able to laugh at our politicians and those in power for their ridiculous stances as the crushing reality of the situation became, and continues to become more clear. 

It does surprise me that people think that continuing the voting charade will fix these fundamental flaws with and in our government. If only [insert favorite candidate] gets elected, maybe then, all of congress will begin tackling tough issues, stop red-herring legislation and the dissolution of the Bill of Rights, maybe then, our Army’s leaders will quit lying to the president, congress, and our nation as a whole, the international community will begin to respect us once more, we will quit funding the Zionist cult’s invasion of Palestine, our infrastructure will be improved, and the drug war will be about fixing the problems of drug dependence instead of a moneymaking situation fostered by the war itself, maybe then, the investment bank CEOs will stop caring about adding zeroes to their asset accounts, maybe then those in power will begin to care more about what is right than about being in power, maybe then, if my candidate wins.

No. That is dumb.

March 7, 2012
Night before the Nashville Rally, and no sleep.

1:41 remaining on my unreliable 3 year old battery.  I hope things go well tomorrow, I am bringing a friend who I am completely responsible for, and who will be unable to deal apart from me.  I hope that things go well.  I do not know.  I am standing in solidarity with all those throughout the world who are exploited by the system we were all born into.  The rules we are afraid to break were made by those who own the game.  The Dalai Lama said “Know the rules, so that you know how to break them properly.”  I am standing with all oppressed. I am wearing a khafia, which is associated with Islam, which is associated with terrorism, which is the eminent other.  I imagine that I will be targeted.  All actions I take will be peaceful, however, I do not know how the police in Nashville relate to their city.

I cannot sleep.

Palestine is taken by a Zionist cult without feeling.  Those in power do not care for those who give it to them.  Those who give power to them must begin wrenching it back, learning from every time in history this drama has unfolded.  Our oppressor is overreached and is buckling under the heavy strain from the mass of data they collect and do not have the algorithms to sort.  Though I am watched, and are many others, we cannot all be watched as we move by a percieving and understanding eye.  Yes, there are technologies more insidious than the bomb, and there are friendlier cameras and microphones carried with us wherever we go, one watches my facial expressions as I pen this, who knows who or if someone is on the other side of the wifi resonance.  This is all free thought.  Penned or vomited, as it hits my mind.  I am preparing for the day, and must watch the sun rise to silence my anticipation.  I am not going to take my computer with me, and will only have my phone.  I hope to record as much of my experience as possible, but I am unreliable about these things.

I hope all is well with you reader, you and I must have a toast to this spring if I see you when I see you.

In solidarity.

February 26, 2012
A summary of the report of Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis

First, here is the link to the full pdf.

The opening paragraph really does a good version of a summation of what the report is trying to convey.  There are plenty of specific references throughout the report that support his conclusion and he cites every one of them.  Essentially, “Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions of the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable.” (pg. 2)

I will do my best to summarize the major topics he discusses.

Why we should listen to him.
The author of the report (Lt. Col. Daniel Davis) is in the US Army, serving as a Regular Army officer.  He recently completed his fourth combat deployment.  (Desert Storm, Afghanistan in ‘05-06, Iraq in ‘08-09, and Afghanistan in ‘10-11)  He also served in a civilian manner as an aide for US Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison (Legislative Correspondent for Defense and Foreign Affairs.)  In his most recent deployment he traveled extensively throughout Regional Command and covered 9,178 miles conducting mounted and dismounted combat patrols, spending time with conventional and Special Forces troops.  Throughout he interviewed or conversed with more than 250 soldiers from 19-year old privates, to sergeants and platoon leaders, company commanders, battalion commanders, brigade commanders, and division commanders, in addition to staff at every level.  Also he has talked with Afghan security officials, civilians, and village elders.  He stresses that the report was not made by an officer with a limited location, but one given a rare opportunity to see and participate in operations in almost every significant region of Afghanistan.

General Abstract
In the recent surge into Afghanistan, the US military leadership tried to replicate the tactics used in Iran that seemed so successful and apply them to the situation in Afghanistan, especially the “Protect the population”  which most people assume is why 2007 Iraq surge was so successful.  This was not the case in Iraq and it never worked in Afghanistan.  He begins with focusing on the lengths to which our current military leadership went to keep the “facade of success alive despite the presence of considerable quantitative and qualitative evidence to the contrary.” (pg. 6)  He quotes both General David Petraeus’ and the DoD’s statements made in March and April of 2011. (pg.6-7)  He then demonstrates that “much of the two public statements above are either misleading, significantly skewed or completely inaccurate… (and that) …this pattern of overt and substantive deception has become a hallmark of many of America’s most senior military leaders in Afghanistan.

Deception
He begins with a focus on the Deception at the Strategic Level, delving into terms that “have been used by many senior leaders and pundits when talking to the American public in regards to combat actions in Afghanistan since 2009 that are being used in lieu of tactical terms.” (p. 8)  “Momentum" for instance is often used as a tactical term, but unlike most tactical terms, the meaning of "momentum" can neither be proved nor disproved.  Momentum cannot be applied to a war fought with guerrilla tactics like it could in WWII because there are not obvious fronts in the modern war.  There are "few identifiable actions that have unambiguous tactical meaning" during a guerrilla war.  In addition he talks about an equally undefinable term "fragile and reversible" that nobody can be pinned down, "if it goes well, they cite the drop in insurgent capability as evidence they were right, but if it goes the other way, they have simply to say ‘I told you this was fragile.’" Another repeated stance of representative officials switches between "since there are more US boots on the ground, there are more targets to hit, or alternatively, ‘when we take away his sanctuaries, he’s going to fight back." (p.8) He discusses a phrase that was often repeated in early 2011 by ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), "We killed a significant number of insurgent (INS) leaders and foot soldiers, we took away his former sanctuaries, cut off his supply routes, took away his freedom of movement, discovered a huge number of weapons and ammo caches, and captured hundreds of insurgent fighters."  He replies, "if these things are so, the expectation of yet another all-time record of violence warned by the leaders was illogical…. if I have tens of thousands of additional ISAF boots, I kill hundreds of INS leaders and fighters, I capture huge numbers of caches, take away his sanctuaries, and deny him freedom of movement how could he significantly increase his level of attacks as the Taliban did in the first half of 2011 (p.9)  Later he begins “contrast[ing] what our leaders have said in the media with numerous unclassified reports that accurately portray the truth on the ground. (pg. 14) Quoting General Caldwell “We really are starting to see a security force there that understands they are there to protect and serve and not to be served themselves.” and “the Afghan army and police had made ‘tremendous’ progress, adding ‘Today, I can say the return on the investment that we’re starting to see is pretty significant from these efforts made over the last two years…” (p.15)  The author then says he, “…can personally attest to seing a large number of Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and Afghan Border Police personnel who were either unprofessional, unwilling to work, or in once celebrated case in the Zharay district of nothern Kandahar Province, in league with the Taliban.” (p.15)  He then gives two specific instances in the following pages.  Closing the section with, “The general theme ISAF and US military leaders stress are: the Afghan government will be at least minimally capable by 2014 and is trending in that direction; the violence is waning in AFG specifically as a result of the surge; and the people recognize the way of the Taliban is a dead-end.  None of those characterizations are accurate.” (p.22)

Information Operations
He then transitions into a discussion of Information Operations (IO) which is “designed to protect the support of the American people for our troops in contact. ” (p.23)  “IO becomes a core competency.  The importance of dominating the information spectrum explains the objective of transforming IO into a core military competency on par with air, ground, maritime and special operation.” (23) “IO are described as the integrated employment(emphasis mine(the author)) of electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), psychological operations (PSYOP), military deception (MILDEC), and operations security (OPSEC), in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.” (23) “Public Affairs is also closely associated with the IO cell - and is charged to ‘(JP 3-61) provide information to the media, to the commander, and to the supporting forces in near real time.  The key to success … (is) integrating PA operations into all levels of the command.”  (23)  He quotes Colonel Richard Leap’s recommendation that PA gets involved in more than their charter requires.  “Affairs organizations must devise new means and methods to better ‘frame’ issues for domestic and international audiences on policy successes… …to safeguard US national will.” (24)  “military commanders must ensure their ‘intended messages are driven home repetitively to the target audience.’ In explaining the third point, he wrote, “the most common mistake committed by units when executing information operations is the failure to achieve sufficient repetitious deliver[y] of messages to their intended audiences.  Repetition is a key tenet of IO execution, and the failure to constantly drive home a consistent message dilutes the impact on the target audiences.” (25)  General Baker emphatically suggests that standard marketing strategies are the “very same” for combat operations as he says, “I cannot overemphasize the importance of such ‘message saturation.’ Such repetition and constancy is a critical prerequisite to influencing a targeted audience.” (25)  He ends this section with the conclusion that “the claims they repeatedly make in public have little to no correlation with actual events on the ground.” (26)

Public Media
He then focuses on the role of major media in the country. He says “It was a cumulative failure of our nation’s major media in every category: network news, cable news, magazines and major newspapers.  America has long been proud of its open and free press, and we not infrequently boast about it to other countries around the world. … If today’s journalists believed that [the code of ethics of The Society of Professional Journalists] and actually acted on it, we would almost certainly have a more honest and accountable group of senior leaders. Based only on observed action, however, too few of today’s journalists live their code.” (26)  “In the world of major journalism, it’s all about viewership ratings which directly drive the bottom line: advertising revenue.  If CNN doesn’t put more news shows on that draw larger audiences than FOX News, they’ve got to adjust.  One of the key permutations of this requirement comes in when reporters get the best most accurate news and in the world of military and defense news, that means access to senior leaders, whether uniformed or civilian.  The military, of course is well versed in this game and is keenly aware of the power that gives them.  If reporter A does not cover a story the way senior military leader B desires, reporter A suddenly finds his access to B greatly reduced - or in some cases outright eliminated - even if A works for a major outlet.  If reporter X shows he or she will routinely give the slant that is supportive of the IO outlined in the section above, military leader Z will not only find time for them, but will from time to time give them a scoop.  Other times reporter Z will be invited to a VIP-level tour of certain locations on the battlefield, sometimes with a three-star general as an escort.  These are not hypothetical possibilities but occur frequently.” (26-27)  “A Pentagon media outreach program only uses spokesmen who are willing to speak the bullet points provided by the Secretary of Defense, and if those spokesmen don’t act as ‘team players’ and say what the Pentagon wants, they are dropped” (28)

Casualty Reporting
The next section shows the misleading way which casualty figures were presented to media and the public.  “General Petraeus claimed in his 10 July 2011 interview with Carlotta Gall that casualty rates were falling and that the insurgency had been ‘degraded somewhat.’  Even a cursory examination of the publicly avaliable casualty data, however, reveals total US casualties were up, not down.” (30)  “Thus it has been that with each sucessive increase in the number of US troops our casualties have increased, but the people have to date not ‘come to our side’, the afghan security offices have not achieved satisfactory development (even by Afghan standards), the Afghan government continues to prove itself incapable of rising above corruption, and the Taliban (and greater insurgency) shows no signs it will not be able to remain effective and resilient. Yet our senior leaders continue to claim otherwise.” (34)  He then proceeds to quote 10 different Generals, a DoD publication, and the Undersecretary of Defense all testified either misleading presentations of the facts or outright lies in this manner.  He quotes General David Petraeus multiple times from 2008-11 and lists what we are being asked to believe.  “1 - The Taliban survived the  near-annihilation inflicted on it by the US in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  2 - Between 2005 and 2009 the Taliban increased in strength and capacity, despite an annual increase in American and later NATO troop strength. 3 - After General Stanley McCrystal warned in 2009 that we were in danger of losing the war, we surged a combined 40,000 additional US and NATO troops, bringing the total number of uniformed ISAF personnel to more than 150,000. 4 - Despite this surge of men and material, the Taliban weathered this storm also and somehow managed to continue increaseing both in terms of number of attacks and numbers of casualties inflicted on NATO.  5 - We have already withdrawn 10,000 surge troops and over the next nine months will pull out the next 23,000 (along with a withdrawal conducted by our allies of some of their troops). 6 - After all the foregoing, the American people are being asked to expect that with the removal of the surge troops that General McChrystal said were necessary to prevent defeat and which in fact failed to accomplish the objectives on which they were deployed in the first place, that somehow the Taliban will now fail!” (41)

Advanced Warfighting Experiment/Future Combat Systems
After this he begins discussing the Advanced Warfighting Experiment which began in 1997.  AWE was pushed through because “no legitimate experimentation was actually conducted.  All parameters were carefully scripted.  All events had a pre-ordained sequence and outcome… …[it] was an expensive show, couched in the language of scientific experimentation and presented in glowing press releases and public statements, intended to persuade Congress to fund the Army’s preference.” (42)  This then lead into the creation of Future Combat Systems (FCS) organization, and the same methods to pass AWE were now being applied on a larger scale with FCS.  As the program progressed, and yearly negative reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed constant negativity, but the Army’s senior leaders convinced Congress that the GAO didn’t really understand the full picture of FCS and that the program was, “on schedule, on budget, and headed for success” (43)  “As a result, Congress funded the FCS program for more than six years, squandering more than $18 billion, before the Secretary of Defense finally pulled the plug….  Meaning, senior Army leaders’ deception has cost us virtually a full decade of development.  Had we been honest in the program’s failures in the early days, we might have been able to cauterize the damage and refocus on other methods and means that had a chance of success.”  (44)  “This deception by the Army’s senior program leaders was effectively setting the stage for worse deception later.” (44)  “The Army conducted extensive and expensive simulation exercises ostensibly designed to discover whether the system as designed would perform as needed in combat.  When the exercises didn’t return “the right answer”, however, the tests were buried and never repeated.” (46)  In June 2008 a personal friend from the House Armed Services Committee attended a briefing for Congress where what those officers told the Members “bore almost no relation to the truth…”(47) That same month, the Chief of Staff of the Army announced, “We are listening to our Soldier and commanders in the field, and we are giving them the capabilities they need-as fast as we can so that they can win in the current fight.  We are able to do this due to the technologies that have matured over the past few years.” (47)  “The tests that were actually performed demonstrated precisely the opposite of what those general officers told the Congressmen in that meeting.  The details of the test showed that the sensors failed in almost every test, that critical information necessary to share on the network did not function, and repeated re-runs to give the system ‘second chances’ likewise failed.” (48)  He then provides a few excerpts of the raw test results.  He continues to point out gulfs between the facade and the truth of FCS citing extensive intra-army reports and contrasting with media reports. 

Failure to objectively analyze Iraq 2007 surge and it’s consequences in Afghanistan
The next section is about the failed analysis of the success of the 2007 Iraq surge and the consequences of its application to Afghanistan.  “The Army’s most celebrated senior leaders were instrumental in propagating a deeply flawed understanding of why the 2007 Iraq surge had succeeded.” (55)  “With the help of a small number of influential media personalities, a popular understanding of the main causality for the 2007 surge’s success was cemented into the public consciousness: superior US generalship, a strategy of ‘protect the population’ and the introduction of 20,000 additional US combat troops.  Evidence conclusively refutes this view and will here be detailed.” (55)  “If it can be shown that we fundamentally failed to account for the main causal factor in explaining the success of the Iraq surge, then it isn’t hard to understand how the foundation for our 2010 Afghan surge was similarly flawed.  Meaning, the strategy chosen for our Afghan surge never had a chance to succeed - and this knowledge was available and known beforehand, but it was so powerfully advocated by the military heavy-weights any President would have been hard pressed to oppose.” (55)  Those supporting the strategy especially included; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, General Stanley McChrystal and General David Petraeus. He then discusses their presentation of the strategy to the President, and the opposition of Lieutenant-General Douglas Lute, though Lute was a lesser voice when up against the other five.  “The turning point in 207 Iraq came when the heart of the Sunni insurgency turned against al-Qaeda (AQI) and joined with US Forces against them, dramatically reducing the violence in Iraq almost overnight.” (57)  The main reason the Sunni insurgency turned toward the United States was due to the increasing brutality between al-Qaeda and the greater Sunni insurgency.  On 23 Jan. 2007 Gen. Petraeus told the Senate committee that “the mission of the Multinational Force Iraq will be modified, making security of the population … the focus of the military effort (author’s italics).” (57)  This strategy eventually was credited with the success of the surge, and he quotes General Odierno saying “I think it’s safe to say that the surge of Coalition forces - and how we employed those forces - have broken the cycle of sectarian violence in Iraq.” as he was giving a speech to the Heritage Foundation on March 5th 2008.  He then talks about the fact that the apparent success of this tactic silenced any public dissenters of the strategy.  “the most important lesson everyone learned: never, ever question General Petraeus or you’ll be made to look a fool!” (62)  He then demonstrates with physical evidence that an objective analysis of the 2007 surge in Iraq reveals that the strategy chosen by General Petraeus only played a supporting role to the success we achieved.  He then presents the story of four Iraqi Arabs who fought in the insurgency or AQI at one time and later became part of the Awakenings or Sons of Iraq programs.  “According to every Iraqi source I have read about or interviewed, there was never a coordinated plan to engage in insurgent warfare after the US ground forces captured Baghdad during the initial invasion in 2003.” (63)  After a prolonged occupation however, sentiment began changing and shortly after the beginning of the insurgency, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi arrived with his jihadist background and joined al-Qaeda in order to “win over the young to his organization and make the other groups weaker. … He then began imposing his international AQ ideology on Iraqis who were only interested in their national issues.  After the Second Battle of Fallujah (7 Nov-23 Dec 2004) Zarqawi intensified his campaign of terror to intolerable heights. … Several of the Iraqis said the level of brutality went beyond what anyone would ever have imagined possible. … In one case a bride was taken away, had her breasts cut off, and left to die in the streets.” (63-64)  He points this out so that the reader understands that in early 2006 the Iraqi Sunni resistance still was focused on the occupying Coalition, but by mid ‘06 the “brutality of an out-of-control al-Qaeda finally became worse to the Sunni population than their hatred for ‘the invading American.’” (63)   “Sterling Jensen has conducted literally hundreds of hours interviewing Iraqi participants of the war.. …not one Iraqi person he has ever talked to has suggested there was ever the slightest change of their view of the US military occupation: they continued to despise it. … There was one other unanimous position communicated by these Iraqi men, and this may very well prove to be the single most significant factor: had AQI not turned to such  brutality and begun slaughtering what ought to have been their natural Sunni allies, they would have almost certainly never come to the American’s side.”(65)  From the Iraqi perspective it was the almost two years of increasing brutality and mindless slaughter by AQI that led to the partnership with the US.  He then discusses two US ground commanders who were instrumental in the surge.   Col. MacFarland was involved in using the “protect the population” tactics and said, “Maybe 75-80% of the credit for the success in the countersurgency fight in Ramadi goes to the Iraqi people who stood up to al-Qaeda and joined us in common cause. …without the fuel provided by the various Awakening groups, we would not have achieved anything lasting or widespread.” (67)  The author then discusses that both, “Sunni and Shiia were powerfully motivated against what they viewed as the US “occupation” of their country and were engaged in what they viewed as a just and patriotic duty to liberate Iraq of “foreign forces”. They were clearly willing to pay any price, even up to their own lives to accomplish that end. So when we examine the calculus necessary to get the very group of people who were fighting us to the death for the liberation of their country to instead join with us, you must understand how excruciatingly difficult that decision was for them.” (68)  “Their desire wasn’t to tie their future to ‘the coalition’, but to get rid of the foreign military presence in their country.  In order to trump the powerful emotion of defending one’s own country against an invading, foreign army it took a stunningly powerful countervailing motivator: al-Qaeda bestiality that rivaled - and in some cases exceeded - the worst of Nazi atrocities.  LTC Dale Kuehl was the Squadron Commander of the 1st Squadron, 5th United States Cavalry that was charged with defeating the insurgency raging in Ameriyah, a suburb of northwest Baghdad.   He wrote about an important event that occurred around the beginning of 2007 when Imams in his area began meeting other Sunnis who had direct information about the expanding success of the Anbar Awakening.  A few months after their return one of the Imams, Abu Abed approched Kuehl and explained he was willing to go after AQI operatives.  Kuehl said in an interview with the author, “If Abu Abed or someone else would not have come forward, we would nhave never been able to secure the population.  They were essential in giving us the vital information we needed to effectively target AQI. … In the end, I think getting locals to actively support our efforts was probably the most important factor.” (69)  In the past as soon as they cleared the enemy out of an area and left, the enemy would return.   But, as soon as Abu Abed offered to help LTC Kuehl, however, the cycle of returning violence suddenly stopped.  To believe that somehow throughout the entire nation of Iraq insurgent fighters simultaneously “realized their future lie with the coalition” really stretches credulity. (69)  “In my (the author) honest and very frank estimation, American Service Members are dead today - and hundreds more have had limbs blown off as payment for the perpetuation of this myth, for we built the 2010 surge in Afghanistan on the belief that the same ‘fundamentals that served us so well in Iraq’ could be adjusted to fit the new effort… Iraq was never the primary causal factor leading to success as has been claimed.  Instead, it was an event entirely beyond our ability to influence or control: America’s main international terrorist enemy al-Qaeda became such a heinous animal that the brutality they inflicted on our local enemy (the Iraqi national insurgency) cause the latter to turn against what ought to have been their natural ally.  By burying that truth and instead elevating the myth to the status of doctrine, we have set the conditions for our own harm in Afghanistan.”  (71)

Our loss of Credibility in regard to the Theater of Operations
The fact that we continually try to convince the Afghan people of the “victory narrative” that is presented to the American citizenry, but they are able to easily recognize it’s fictitious nature.  After the insurgent attack on the Kabul embassy, the Afghan police and ISAF military were held for the better part of two days, all the attackers were eventually captured.  The next day the ISAF released a press release “In this attack, the insurgencey succeeded in killing Afghan civilians, once again demonstrating their bankrupt idology, which has been rejected by the Afghan people.  Afghan security forces responded bravely, contained the insurgents, and systematically eliminated the threat.  Once again, I was impressed by the courage, skill and fighting spirit of Afghan forces.  The insurgency has again failed” (72)  The Taliban published a statement the next day responding, “the recent attack [has] exposed the true face of the security situation… Although officials in the White House and Pentagon are portraying an opposite picture of the security situation in Afghanistan to the US nation and the international community, different incidents like this assault will completely reveal the real picture in such a way that a crystal-clear difference will be made between the victor and loser.” (72)  The Afghan media chose to believe the Taliban over the ISAF reporting.  General Allen was aware that the information he publicly released was grossly inaccurate, but presumable in an effort to project that we were in charge and the attack was a failure might somehow sway the opinions of the people in Afghanistan (and ‘safeguard national will’ in the United States)… Because we routinely claim as truth things the local citizens known painfully well  is not, our efforts at swaying Afghan public opinion with words has in fact been an utter failure.” (73)

Loss of Credibility: Local Impressions
There is a serious effort made to reach the Afghan population with messages that positively portray the ISAF and ANSF.  The main problem with convincing them is the obvious gulf between what the people experience and what they hear ISAF officials say. Afghan Analysts Network (AAN) released a statement saying “The big underlying question is, if there are no ways of comparing or evaluating the information that is provided and the claims that are made, then what assurances are there that they can be taken at face value - particularly in the context of consistent and often not very sophisticated efforts to ‘shape the debate’ and to engage in ‘strategic communications.’” (73)  Hasht-e Sobh reports, “the government which was created with America’s support has turned into the most corrupt government in Afghan history.”(74)  The Government daily Weesa explained their fears that civil war is possible when they wrote, “if in the past the Afghans complained against one another, today they cannot tolerate one another’s existence… Our national unity is threatened by the selfish presence of the international community.” (74)  The worst part from the American point of view, is something published in Mandegar:  "People in Afghanistan no longer believe the government, the United States and other countries when they say they will not abandon the people of Afghanistan again.  Many promises have not been kept in the past ten years and not a single explanation has been given to the afflicted people."  (74)  
"A diplomat I know from a nation very friendly to the United State recently told me how things look to even some of our best alllies.  He says many in the diplomatic community aren’t sure whether US senior leaders are knowingly saying things that aren’t true - or something worse, in my (the author’s) opinion - don’t know what they’re doing on serious international issues… many foreign diplomats thing that the US governmental officials ‘sincerely’ express their misunderstanding and misjudgment… I know some foreign diplomats and military guys who express their deep distrust of the US government’s capability to understand foreign military issues." (74)  "When the Taliban hear our country’s leaders say things with conviction that they know are bogus and untrue, then they can’t trust us on any matter… …if our current enemy can’t trust what we say, it becomes next to impossible to reach any settlement. (75)

Loss of Credibility: Domestic Implications
“If the American people do not demand their leaders be completely honest with them, we all forfeit the ability to determine our own destiny.  If our acquiescence for a war decisions is gained by some leader telling us a version of events that will result in our support - but that version is not in accordance with what really exists - how can we know whether war or supporting a war is really a good idea or not?” (76)  “When we tacitly know leaders don’t tell the truth and yet do nothing about it, we effectively surrender control to our leaders and give them free reign to do as they see fit.  Already we have gone far down this path and as a public have already relinquished considerable control that ought to reside in the people’s hands.” (76)  “Everyone who puts on this uniform knows implicitly they may one day have to sacrifice their life in defense of the country they love… …all Americans owe it to these men and women to make sure their blood is never sloshed into the muck and mire of far-flung battlefields based on inaccurate or deceptive justification.” (76)  “When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid - graphically, if necessary - in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to cost so that our people and elected representatives can decide if the price required in blood and treasure is commensurate with the risk.  Likewise when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims, or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell the US Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose.  That is the very essence of civilian control of the military… …now those roles, relationships, and obligations are blurred, obscured, or missing in action.” (77)

Recommendations
"It is my recommendation that the United States Congress - the House and Senate Armes Services Committees in particular - should conduct a bi-partisan investigation into the vearious charges of deception or dishonesty in this report and hold broad hearings as well." (77)  "These hearings need also to present at constituency that has rarely, if ever, been heard from: the platoon leaders, complny and battalion commanders who lead the combat toroops at the tip of the spear; the squad leaders, platoon seargeants, company first sergeants, and command sergeants major…  Another critical group of men and women who must be interviewed in a classified setting are the mid and senior-level intelligence analysts of several intelligence agencies." (78)  He also recommends that Congress get access to classified information, which currently they have no independent access to. 

Future Reform
He wants points out that there are some in the army who the author considers to have retained integrity and honor throughout.  General Peter Chiarelli, General David Perkins, and General JD Thurman all are commended for their integrity and their moral compass, in addition he gives a good outlook for the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.  “I also saw more than one senior commander or general officer who was clearly not confortable with the environment created by the senior-most leaders of obfuscation (and sometimes outright deception).  It will take the leadership of Generals like those I named above and numerous other leaders whose honor and integrity remain intact.  The sad fact of the matter is those few high ranking men wield enormous power when it comes to deciding who gets promoted and who does not; there are many officers who would have made outstanding senior leaders but did not ‘play the part’  to the satisfaction of those leaders and were subsequently passed over for senior positions. (80)

Conclusion
“The United States, along with over 40 NATO and other allied nations, possess the most sophisticated, powerful, and technologically advanced military force that has ever hit the field of combat… …and for almost 10 years we have pitted this unbelievable and unprecedented capability against: A bunch of dudes in bed sheets and flip-flops.” (81) “An unbiased analysis of the tactical situation on the ground in Afghanistan and even a cursory observation of key classified reports and metrics leads overwhelmingly to the conclusion that over the past two years, despite the surge of 30,000 American Soldiers, the insurgent force has gained strength, the number of attacks ahas increased considerably, and the number of American casualties has skyrocketed…  Taliban morale is so strong that most are reported to be utterly convinced they have already won.  Despite overwhelming physical evidence of our failure to succeed on the military front, senior US and ISAF leaders inexplicably continue a steady stream of press releases and public statements that imply the exact opposite. … Our words and actions unequivocally work to our disadvantage, as it causes both our friends and foes to question what we say.” (81)  “This report has shown conclusively… the military surge failed to reduce the insurgency, and with the drawdown in full swing, our future efforts are vitrually certain to likewise fail.  Our consistent statements to the contrary serve only to further diminish our credibility.  (82)

February 2, 2012
Occupy and Communities.

I don’t watch TV, except when I do.  But, I have heard the talking heads criticize the Occupy movement because popular media doesn’t know how to handle an organization without a PR team and regular press releases.  They seem convinced that the movement is without direction and will accomplish nothing more than a prolonged encampment of public spaces.  Of course, the idea of consensus is completely foreign to the establishment, so it is not surprising that they misinterpret what is happening.  The real value of the occupy movement is the activation of citizens both at the individual level and in groups.  We, as the employers of our politicians, have known for a long time that they do not actually represent us, though we are now realizing that we have the ability to affect change until they do.

I recently listened to a talk given by Noam Chomsky, and one of the most salient points he made was about the “atomization of the citizen.”  What he meant was that over the last 30 or so years, the American has been convinced that his or her place in the struggle of existence is framed by an “I vs them” idea.  By convincing citizens that they are alone to struggle with problems, and the red scare stigmatization of alternative ideas and groups, the Establishment (for it is not only government that we fight, but corporate business) was able to completely remove the resistance of the populous that is so necessary to a healthy balance of power.

The young generation is learning this, we have grown up with war and revolution in the backdrop and while up until recently, most of these things were foreign, they have become much less so in the past few years.  We have seen our government denounce other state’s limitation and censorship, and then we have seen attempts to control the internet here.  We have seen violation of human rights in the Arab world, and we have seen police brutality toward American activists.  We are realizing that it is no longer only international unrest that we should be watching, the revolution is now at our door.  The world watches in amazement at our hilarious parody of governance, and only a few seem to realize the depth of the issues we really face as a nation.

So then, what should be done?

Alternative lifestyles are incredibly important in the response to both runaway capitalism, and government overreach.  Communities are beginning to take hold where I am, houses operating with an anarchic/communist philosophy.  This is, in my opinion, an important response to the idea that we must own everything ourselves.  Why buy your own set of tools if the house has them available to use; why buy your own piano when there is one that is played? Almost all food gets eaten; very rarely is stuff wasted.  Our gardens allow us to supplement our food with freshly picked produce.  We are content and feel less need to fill a the void of unhappiness produced by our culture with more unnecessary consumption.  We create, we write, we read and learn, we explore ideas and art, we disagree and argue with each other, and we love and are loved.  

I hope there is a renaissance in the perception of communist ideals applied at the personal level.  Standard of Living should speak about our happiness, the amount of work we have to do to live comfortably, and the ability for us to affect change in our community.  The US’s skyrocketing mental health problems are a powerful commentary on a culture that sells both inadequacy and the purported cure, but the manufactured personal perception of insufficiency destroys our happiness.  Living in a community allows validation of people for who they are, acknowledgement of their problems, and is also an incredible opportunity for personal growth.

These are all important at the individual level, and they all are precursors to the value of the community ideal as a response to our failed culture.

I do not believe that the Red Scare was because of a fear of communists taking over the US government.  It was fundamentally because of what implementation of communist ideals in the citizenry would mean for consumerism, and the government’s need of consumption as a way to control citizens.  If we can be convinced of our inadequacies and pitted against one another in a constant struggle to have more, then we can be led with a carrot on a stick to our graves.  However, once we are self-aware and satisfied with who we are, the carrot no longer has any value for us, and the powers lose their leash with which they held us paying for our various insurances and maintenances necessary for any hope of staying ahead in the consumption competition.

Living in a community also allows for discussion and the realization that we are truly not alone.  That we have power in numbers and that we can affect change.  This empowerment that began with the Occupy movement, must have a place to flourish, and these are the places where it will. Creating the environment where outlying citizens can come together and unite is what the government fears, and what we as exploited people need.

1:49am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZkHx3wFm085o
  
Filed under: occupy communism 
February 1, 2012
Randonesia: I want to be The Big Cheese.

randonesia:

It’s 2012 now, the year some are saying the Mayan calendar predicts a cataclysmic upheaval across the board for our planet, perhaps even the end of the world as we know it. I don’t know if these doomsday predictions have any validity, but I do know one thing: the potential candidates in the race…

January 31, 2012
The Death of Due Process

January 29, 2012
The Racket to Steal your retirement.

January 29, 2012
(Value) / (Production time) = Wage :: as Production time decreases, wage (standard of living) should go up.

January 29, 2012
This newfangled blog thing.

Fuck if I know how to use it.  I’m sorry its organized poorly.  I don’t really care.

So, as you can probably tell, this is my collected published work as an intro to my writing and personal perspective.  I like to hope my style is now less tedious than some of my earlier stuff, all those dates are the last edits.  I’m not going to worry about proving that to you, but it’s true.

I will primarily post links to articles I find interesting, and probably once a week write a reasonably lengthy post about whatever, but I am making no promises… I do promise to have relevant news from multiple perspectives, hopefully presented in a somewhat lighthearted manner. 

January 28, 2012
Looking up in a cove. (LE 1.18.12)

I looked up tonight, stole a valuable existence where my sight was merely tinged with technology. And sounds were real. Not binary data decoded intricately. Analog vibration caused directly by that certain object which creates the precise unfamiliar noise. Some city things I have not yet adjusted to.  Information density, the simultaneous pinnacle and underminer of the human condition.  Yin and yang.  Change.  Flow always has had troughs and peaks.

In a less poetic tone, 

The amount of information and the speed at which it is communicated allows for quick spread of ideas, allowing creativity to flourish, however, due to the same reason, the truth value of the majority of it is deflated.  Everyone agrees with their own ideas, and because of the lack of the ancient process of information vetting, today’s writing’s value often lies in the rate at which it can be shat.  However, to say this is a good or a bad thing is not only premature but presumptuous, it is reasonable to believe that an answer or judgment so simple is wrong (or at least meaningless) by default.  I feel like “different” is the best simple adjective to be paired with the increase of information density.

90% (statistic completley pulled from ass)  of our artificially created information is dedicated to fairly meaningless entertainment or diversion.  Music, The News, Videogames, Articles on whatever.  I feel like the current writing environment could be compared to the hormones cows are given to produce more milk, at a decreased content of actual nutrition.  Once again however, there is a response.  There are people who recognize superficiality, and are able to get past it.  To pay it no heed, and as time progresses, I hope and feel like they will become more honed at their craft.

To escape information for a period of time however, to bask in quiet, to see sand and dirt.  To enjoy trees and water.  To be as we were for millions of years.  Those times are valuable.

10:35am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZkHx3wFVew0D
Filed under: Beauty Old Stuff 
January 28, 2012
State of the Disunion. (God! that’s clever) (LE 12.21.11)

These days we don’t even know where to begin…

I could list the problems that we as an international community face.  I could list the problems that we as a national community face.  I could continue reducing the scope of problems, but that would get old really quickly and you have a general idea anyway.

I act like I am going to actually skip over the problems, if only you were so lucky.

Most of the people that I graduated high-school with will be finishing college in one more semester.  Many of them have had to deal with the uncertainty of what comes next for a few years already.  For me, that uncertainty is only beginning to rear its head, and it leaves me with the utmost respect for those of you who have already had to cross this river.  I haven’t reached the point of panic, and I hope it never comes to that, but it seems like the future becomes more unpredictable each week.  And trying to figure out how we got to this point is almost as frustrating as trying to figure out where we will soon be.

Lovers of history often remind us that the importance of understanding the past is that we try to learn from its mistakes.  While true in a general sense, the reality is that one never steps into the same river twice, fucking cliches…  that is that we are never met with the opportunity to make the same mistake again.  Every decision is made only ever once.  Now, before you think that I am saying there is nothing to be learned from history, let me put that idea firmly to rest.  The overarching themes in history are recurring, rich get richer, poor get poorer, power corrupts, history is written by the victor…

But, my focus is with the intent to learn the details about what we should do from history.  While a true democracy made no sense in an era when letters came perhaps twice a month and it would take a week to travel to the nearest cultural center, I wonder if the best workable system of government applicable to that period is still representative of its citizens today.  I wonder if the rigidity with which laws are implemented fifty years ago really applies to the world we live in.  I wonder all this because I feel that there is a better way of government than the one making decisions right now.  Whether that governmental structure has been distilled and defined or whether it still exists in the same way that an idea exists before it is imagined is irrelevant.  There has to be a better way.  That, though, is not my focus.

The recent economic troubles that you may have heard about in passing are harbingers of a tough future, regardless of whether we can divine the details before they pan out.  Serious economic hardship inevitably leads to civil unrest and is the mother of many of our infamous historical leaders.  Even now, there are many unsavory political groups gaining power in Europe.  At one point it would have been easy for me to imagine that most of these would be of no consequence due to the United States’ vigilance in maintaining its empire - I apologize, the modern term would be, maintaining order.  The US cannot afford to become involved in peacekeeping in Europe though.  From 2008 to 2010 publicly held debt increased from 40% of GDP to 62%.  That is, all of the debt that the government owes to entities other than itself is 62% of our economic gains.  That percentage alone is not the worrying part.  The rate of its change is.

There have been other spikes in this ratio, the most obvious one being during and after World War II when debt spiked to roughly 120% of GDP.  But, there is a fundamental difference between our situation and that one.  Since 1965, when we had basically paid off our WWII debt, there has been a gradual increasing trend in the percentage of debt vs. GDP. And, as hopefully you understand at this point, our economy is not in the shape it was immediately after the war. Dubyah was of the opinion that war was good for the economy, remembering the great boon from WWII.  The fundamental difference was that WWII is the quintessential definition of total war.  During those years almost all of our civilian industry was conscripted into the war effort if they weren’t conscripted into the army itself.  The car industry made tanks and planes that were guaranteed to sell.  The food industry pumped out rations.  You get the point. Even if you never saw combat or wore fatigues, life revolved around what was happening in Europe and the Pacific. Today, if we didn’t have the news to remind us of it, we would have no idea a war was happening at all.  This all influences heavily the effect war has on the economy.

Also, I do not believe it is our responsibility to intervene where it isn’t in American interest.  Nor do I believe that we have done any good with military interference since the Cold War.  Of course, the arbitrary deciding factor “American interest” is what is mostly debated.  Is it in our interest to keep the Middle East destabilized?  Is it in our interest to quell civil wars in Africa?  Is it in our interest to interfere with South American drug production?  Should we do more to protect human rights in Asia? Any one of these could be argued in a plurality of directions (I am sure it would be an interesting discussion), but what happened to isolationism?  Of course the world is smaller with our technology, and because of this shift we should be trying to influence other nations without “aggressive diplomacy.”  We are a cultural world, and if ours is truly the best, it should exert its influence through merit alone.  I wish I felt like the isolationist philosophy still had some shreds of influence on our foreign policy, but it seems to have disappeared completely.

American interests have ceased to mean the same thing they did during the second world war.  At some point it began to mean American business interests, and now it seems that the American people are without a meaningful voice, representation, or input.  We have polls about how current politicians are perceived, though the polls are very rarely driven by perceptiveness.  Our businesses now have unlimited political spending, and we are told to be proud of our vote, because our representatives represent us.  Right.

The war on drugs and the terrorist scapegoat have allowed for militarization of our police forces, increased surveillance, and a government that cannot accept that perhaps they might be wrong about certain things.  Government was created as a tool to serve its people, but at some point we became the servant, I don’t think that idea is even contentious any more.

Preempting your accusation that I am being too harsh in my criticism of America, let me also say, that I think we were at one point, to quote McCain, “The greatest force for good in the history of the world.”  Whether that phrase bears mantric repeating is debatable, but at some point in our past I believe it was true.  We must consider as well, who would take our place as a world leader.  China? While China has a huge sphere of influence, it would be much worse if their influence grew.  Almost anywhere that has situations where human rights have not just been violated, but completely undermined by the government it is due to China’s influence.  Regardless, it is becoming less taboo to consider publicly the failings of our once great nation.  Republicans often point to legislature written during Clinton’s era, while democrats of course blame the Bush twins.  It was in my opinion the result of the post WWII boom.

During the war our economy was running above our long run efficiency levels. In 1944 unemployment as a percentage of the population was 0.7%.  After hostilities had ended the soldier came home with all of his earnings and began citizen life, able to outfit his home and lifestyle comfortably.  However, the rate of economic growth during war is not sustainable, though they wanted to live like it was.  Economics is all driven by belief. Enter the proliferation of loans as a means of artificially creating economic growth.  Enter artificial economic growth.  

The most recent thing to be proud of as an American is the resignation of Nixon to avoid his imminent impeachment.  Not because of a personal distaste for Nixon, (I wasn’t even there) but because it was the last time that the structure of our government flexed its original greatness.  The strength of design it takes to remove a leader two hundred years after the architects had finished is a testament to the wisdom from which our founding documents were birthed.

But, every month it seems, there is another new bill about to be passed that infringes on personal liberty.  The Patriot Act, passed on sheer emotion, was made stronger under Obama’s administration. SOPA, the abomination that is the result of people approaching medicare age trying to regulate the internet, will be destroying the one thing that has made our age measurably better than the past, a truly open forum. Need I bring up these third world over there pictures of police brutality that are less over there than they used to be?  Now, suspected terrorists (probably me after this note) can be detained without charge until the end of hostilities.  Luckily for those detained, human conflict should be ending soon if we carry on like we are, though not in peace, but in unheard silence.  I feel like it is safe to say that the election of “free” as the best American adjective is now only due to some intense gerrymandering.   

So, with all of this, what am I doing other than complaining? Perhaps that is what I am doing. I hope I am building up to something.  If you have read anything I write you know that I meander around and then somehow find something I was trying to say at the very end, so you can skip there now if you just want to know the bit.  But fuck you as well.  

So how do we fix this?  How do we fix the fundamental greed and deceit that has apparently (due to our romanticism of the past) seeped into our system? (It was always there.)  Something about evil succeeding when good men are lazy.  Things seem to get worse, because we are able to see so many things for the first time. In reality we are living right now in the most peaceful period in human history.  But, like I said before, nobody actually learns from history.  I love asking older people what their opinion of the current cultural and political situation is.  And due to cognitive bias, I remember a lot of them agreeing with the point I am about to make.  

The point I am about to make: Things are not that bad. Money is not a big deal personally. Money is a big deal internationally.

The subtext with which that point was made: People only face a truth when forced.

The eventual inference from these statements.  I am part of the “People” set, ergo, I am potentially unwilling to face some possibly confounding truth.

The addendum to that inference.  I am a person that uses the word “ergo” on occasion.

Money, as much as we would like to pretend is not important, is; it is incredibly important.  I am not saying life cannot be lived without it.  That is not it’s value.  Money though is the modern soldier.  Economic policy and business regulation are modern war strategy.  That, is a good thing.  I am not saying that it is the best thing, but, in order for levelheaded judgment, we must compare it pragmatically to its alternative, the human soldier.  If a war, or, more directly, an economic competition (for what else is war) can be won with minimal human death, it seems to be better than a victory costing the lives of millions.  War, and human advancement, are inextricably linked.  NASA wasn’t created to put a man on the moon, it was a pissing contest for the two most powerful nations at the time.  It was the best pissing contest in the history of man, however uncomfortable (or terrifying) it was while it lasted.

It was the catalyst for earth’s attempt at the development of a meiotic structure, a now de-funded structure.  NASA, while driven by war, was the greatest giver of non-mystical hope in history.  The end of humanity is a common theme in many religions and conceptions of the world.  The zombie apocalypse is so incredibly in vogue right now it is tiresome.  NASA was our chance to try and overcome the idea of a relatively imminent end to human history.  The kilometer wide columns of methane being released from the Russian tundra are driving this point home in a much more realistic way than any of our comforting zombie stories we fantasize about where we are able to unload all of our frustration with civilization onto people who are rendered ethically permissible to kill.  

The beauty of the Cohen Brothers’ movies is often their lack of catharsis.  We don’t like those types of stories about ourselves though. We are too proud to accept that our story could end with anything other than a bang.  We, are HUMAN! The pinnacle of evolution.  I love the comparison to the great mountains, who at a different time scale are as full of motion as the sea.  Our attempt to build our own immortal pedestal on the sand.  We should be saying, “We, are HUMAN! The flower on the tree of life who never pollinated, and it is late fall!”  

It sounds so full of gloom at this point.  I was trying to pick it up and start moving the other emotional direction, build some symmetry… maybe it will still be in there.

Perhaps these assumptions I am making about the progress of the human race being a good thing are too much.  Agent Smith gave an incredibly apt description of the human species as incapable of coexistence, comparing us to a virus.  Whether or not that is the right position (listen to me, so old fashioned that I talk about the existence of a “right” position) depends on who you are.  Are you a human?  Or are you a computer?  From what stance are you doing your philosophy or theology?

Are we going to become so post-modern that we destroy ourselves?  So filled with disillusionment with the way we are, that we all laugh cynically to our graves?   Have we arrived at an age where we know enough to distrust any answers?  but learned enough to encourage the search for them?  Are we motivated enough to keep hope alive as faith dies?  Are we kept content enough with gladiatorial games and diversions that we will care for nothing of fundamental meaning?  Fuck if I know.

But.

Our music is getting good.

There is an overarching theme playing out through our generation: Anonymous, the Arab Spring, Wikileaks, Occupy, and others, a general sense of subterfuge of the status quo.  

Very interesting things are happening in the younger demographic.  How we inherit this depression from our credit crazed parents will define us culturally through things deeper than an affinity for cats, bacon, and youtube videos.  The lessons we retain from this upcoming hardship will guide the decisions we make as eventual leaders of our nation, and participants of the human experiment on earth. Buckle Up.

January 28, 2012
Stuff that sounds like it’s talking about stuff but is also talking about stuff (LE 1.2.12)

The seagulls and I,

We share a kingdom of sand,

Water reminds us.

January 28, 2012
Starkville’s Music Exception (LE 12.21.11)

**Draft, will be undergoing changes over the course of the weekend**

I am going to rewrite the status I was trying to update, completeing it with as much of the same feeling as I remember having during the show, though it is now 4 am and I am sitting alone at a kitchen table in a completely different state of mind and environs.

Starkville is in the midst of it’s most intense musical orgasm in a long time.   For too long the kids of Starkville have been consuming way too much of one musical nutrient, starving themselves from sounds just as important to a healthy musical palate.  We tasted our first glass of water realizing how refreshing it was, deciding then that we should jump into a lake. As we were drowning in the sea, we came up for a breath.  And breathed The Weeks in deeply.

When I got back to my friend’s apartment, I re-read my facebook post.

My initial thought was critical of how exaggerated the paragraph felt.  Words like, orgasm, intense, starving, drowning.  As I was rewriting this paragraph, I wondered which would more completely convey my emotions for the night.  Would an even, nicely tempered paragraph, using respectable understated prose truly say what I meant?  So, because I wrote it while it was happening I decided to leave it in.  In fact I want you to know that my experience from tonight has forced me (for I could do nothing else and remain an honest person) out of a year long hiatus on personal composition.

The Night began at the Garden Center. The first opening act (that sadly I do not know the name of - they consisted of just a drummer and guitarist - if anyone knows their name I will insert it here if you tell me) was playing for what was around 250 people when the cops arrived.

The show was cancelled by the official fun police of Starkville.  

To get an idea of the crowd, imagine guys with beards and tight pants, girls in dresses, nobody more than 4 drinks under (probably wrong about this but that was the mood),  all just standing listening to the musicians as concertgoers are wont to do.  The cops, decide that for two bullshit reasons (there were more people than the Garden Center had a license for, and they did not have licencing to charge for the event), or pretty decent reasons (they were bullshit reasons)  depending on who you are, the show is to be shut down.   I bought my tickets off of the internet, this shit was official, official shows don’t get cancelled.

But we are in Starkville.  

I don’t think I have seen a crowd cause less trouble.

As some of my friends were on their way, they passed a lifted truck, driving on the left side of the road, blasting a PA loudspeaker, or, the most obviously sober driver in the area, whichever description you prefer.  And they are shutting down the people listening to music peacefully.

Yes, I know more than once I have started a sentence with And.  I’m no longer in high-school. The Dalai Lama said to know the rules, so you know how to break them.  This is one of those that is fun and good to occasionally bend.

Eventually, a few tenacious fans got in touch with a friend of theirs who had an available spot.  State Theater is too big of a venue to convey any real intimacy in a show, and that is at least 70% of what makes a good one.  So when I was told that this was our only option, I worried a little that things would have been a fairly big letdown from the awesome familiarity afforded by the Garden Center as a venue.  But, I was just happy they were going to be able to play, and that I wouldn’t get screwed out of my online ticket that cost me a 3 dollar convenience fee for printing it out on my printer.

When we arrived at State Theater, we were led to a room that I don’t believe any of us knew about. A ballroom floor. Much better.

There was no stage, this room was merely a rose coloured cube, with carpeted walls and hanging lights.  Once they finished setting up, the best concert that has taken place in Starkvillle in the last four years began.  

The headliner of the night was Color Revolt, who did an excellent job no dobut.  But, in my opinion, the stars of the night by far were The Weeks.  I was completely blown away.

They have been playing together for six years now, and they made it obvious the nuances that come with six year’s understanding of your band-mates.  I don’t know exactly what I would label their music, but there was some definite post-punk, post-rock blend.  I’m so cool cause I talk about post- genres.  I mean, if evolution of a form is natural, shouldn’t they just be considered the current forms of punk, and rock?  (no - but im not going into it)

I am a huge Instrumental post-rock fan, and they weren’t much farther than a stone’s throw from the boundaries of that frame either.  Their songs all had lyrics, but the focus of the music was definitely on the instruments.

Colour Revolt probably didn’t realize the quality of the band they had hired to open for them this show.  They were outclassed.  

Though Colour Revolt played for more total people, the energy of the music being played to a half full ball room was absolutely refreshing.  The sound was something that could have been played in a ball room twenty years ago while the grunge movement was still young.  This is not to say they were really a grunge band, but that idea was sprinkled in there as well.  

After not writing for more than a year, I read some of my prose and realize how far I have regressed.  I am using more and larger words than are absolutely necessary, and often as I reread a sentence I notice I have managed to create such a tangled and confusing idea that I don’t know that the reader could realistically follow.  It sometimes takes me three readthroughs before I understand what I meant in a sentence and I was the one thinking it. I’m sorry. It’s a draft.

Though the bands didn’t start until eleven-fifteen, both played about a forty minute set, managing to squeeze as much as they could into the short time between then and closing at one.   

All of the guys involved with the show tonight were rolling with the punches like pros.

A lesser band, might’ve bailed after their venue was shut down, but both of these guys stayed it out until an option could be found. My respect for Colour Revolt comes directly from this.  I can think of more than one established artist who would not have handled the shutting down of their performance venue half as gracefully as Colour Revolt did.

I feel as if I have steered off the course of what I had intended to write at the beginning, I was originally planning to do more of a discussion of current music trends and while perhaps I touched on that, it has turned out to be mostly a recollection of the night.

The night for me ended around a kitchen table with some great conversations with beautiful friends.  Though they have all gone to bed, I felt a need to stay up later and write.

10:26am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZkHx3wFVdXly
Filed under: Music Old Stuff 
January 28, 2012
Because I have like 30 minutes and felt like it has been a while since I have yelled at anyone.

I hate how often it is that the world smiles maliciously at those of us who realize how completely it has us by the throat.  It is funny (only because I can’t bear to treat it as sad) to me that our generation has been so opiated by what we were born into that we think fighting is wrong.  After Vietnam, the youth began believing that trying took too much time, too much effort, we had the transition of the 80’s and 90’s where MTV destroyed art, and the 00’s where the internet possessed us.  Even now, as I write this, I am paying tribute to the very thing that I loathe.  

With the corporate control of the distribution of music, the things that needed to be said died with Cobain, as they blared Britney, N’sync, glam, the patriarchs of Gaga. Of course in the 90’s we had few options.  We took what we could get.  And many of you loved it, you absolutely gorged on the processed, homogenized food for thought that was put in front of you and it is all you can regurgitate today.

If the internet did anything it allowed everyone to be accepted in whatever community they felt was best instead of exclusion.  This was the beginning of the death of a unified youth.  At first it might seem that there would inevitably be no hope for a real movement in youth culture because we could never reach a tipping point, having such small and numerous niches, the fall of hope for our generation.  But, there are always two sides, the very disjointedness may be what brings us together.  Acceptance for those different than us is central to this far-fetched hope.  No matter what boat you are in, no matter whether you are a hipster, gamer, shut-in, party animal, dance-commander, greek, or what have you, we are all the ones that will be inheriting this increasingly uncertain future.  Now, is our chance to fight back against corporatism, against overbearing government, against those who control and have allowed the United States to sink to the verge of an unspoken and faceless dictatorship.

This is not a call to unite under a name or under a banner or under an ideal, this is a call to vote with your personal actions. This is a plea to support private business, this is a plea to organize a protest against something worthwhile, a plea to allow the possibility of your own fallibility, a plea to actually take a stand for humanity and not be too cool to care about anything other than your own happiness.  And with all of this I cry, because statistically we are too stupid to understand, too few to make a difference, and too distracted to care.  I hate my generation.  I hate even worse that there is no-one to blame.

10:25am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZkHx3wFVdPJM
Filed under: Rant Old Stuff 
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