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Friday, September 30, 2011

Execution Without a Trial: The United States vs. The Bill of Rights.

The recent report that a United States born Yemen terrorist named Anwar al-Awlaqi was killed in a targeted attack by US forces holds unique importance primarily because he was a US citizen. Yes, he was a terrorist and vowed the destruction of the United States and its citizens.

But the precedent that has been largely ignored because he was a bad, bad man: Citizens of the United States are entitled to a trial. This fundamental right is outlined specifically in the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution so it is an absolute certainty that the killing of Mr. al-Awlaqi was in violation of the 6th Amendment. 

All a mere technicality these days however. The Constitution is just a piece of paper now only to be obeyed when convenient.  Advocates for this killing, especially on the political Right, say that it's the terrorists who flout our laws and so the ends justify the means in the killing of al-Awlaqi. This is very short sighted. If chaos should come to the United States, there are people in our ranks that could suddenly find themselves branded as terrorists. Radio talk show host Michael Savage is banned from traveling to Britain right now and is prominently featured on a list of known terrorists and murderers. I imagine if he traveled there he'd be arrested. The Right Wing talking heads on FOX News should think about this.

Could al-Awlaqi have been tried in Absentia? Most certainly he could have and should have and people have been tried like this in the past as fugitives from justice but ever since 9/11 2001, the United States government has been short on trials and due process and long on imprisonment and stonewalling.

George W. Bush made a colossal error in never putting the prisoners of war held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba on trial. This left things uncomfortably in the hands of the next president and which still sees no sign of resolution despite the Department of Justice saying they want to now try them as criminals to much uproar. President Bush should have had them tried and sentenced before the end of his second term. Even the POWs of WWII were eventually given hearings and either sentenced or sent home, certainly none but the worst had been held for 10 years like now.

But the killing of Anwar al-Awlaqi is something else indeed. He was clearly not like the rest of his terrorist brethren and being tried when he was alive one way or another would have served a nation like ours better than just killing him without his Constitutional right to due process. Mr. al-Awlaqi never renounced his US citizenship so to this we were bound. Even Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh got a trial. But that was then, this is now. Due process has been cast out the window.

Our ability to survive as a civil society today is not guaranteed. If we are destined to survive then the rule of law and equal justice under the law must be something we still must still strive to achieve. And if the Constitution of the United States is to remain our guiding template, it must be adhered to.

What's the difference if we ignore the 6th Amendment, the 4th, the 1st or perhaps the 2nd? No difference. None at all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The ObamaCare Pyramid Scheme

The “Individual Mandate” is the cornerstone of Obama’s national healthcare program. It is the key element to have the full weight of the Federal government behind the enforcement of mandating participation of every man, woman and child in America in this “Healthcare” program. 

The purpose of this is, of course, to keep this new pyramid from tipping over too quickly, much like the older Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare scams before it, by insuring a steady flow of cash from everybody into the program even though some will pay more and others will pay not at all. 

Taxpayers must be compelled to pay into the system so that the government can continue to give away healthcare for “free” to their core constituency groups, mainly illegal aliens and their support groups, sympathetic businesses like MacDonald’s Corp, GE, General Motors, the Catholic Church and the Public Unions in every state in the nation. Given that only about 50% of the American population even manages to pay taxes anymore, participation by people who do pay taxes is a necessity. Not for it to work in the long run, because really there is no long run, but for the plan to work right now because once it gets going, people will grow to expect it and it can always be "fixed" down the road, right?

So to make Socialized Medicine work, people must be forced into the program, and private insurers out of it. There must be plenty of bricks to kick under the pyramid in the event it starts to hemorrhage red ink. And it will take a lot of money. In truth it will take more money than the world currently has to keep this boondoggle afloat for even a couple of years of full operation never mind into perpetuity. There will be shortages of everything from cancer medicines to doctors. Finding a doctor will become a big issue and the prices of  pharmaceuticals will climb.

And this administration makes no bones about how the Affordable Care Act is based soley upon a Pyramid Scheme of epic proportions. Every Commie associated with this deal, from Kathleen Sebelius to Charles Schumer has said that the plan will work "if" many able bodied young people sign onto the plan. That's a pretty big IF concidering that under ObamaCare, todays 20-somethings don't even have to participate since they can stay on their parents healthcare plans until they're 26 years old. How's that for farsightedness?

But also this young demographic is most likely the largest group of underemployeed and unemployeed people that reside in this nation. Many are carrying crippling college loan debt that they won't pay off for over a decade and so how are they going to pay the premiums when they turn 26? Perhaps the Federal Government will then enact yet another loan program so that they can borrow money at low interest from the government to pay for their health plan that, since they are young and healthy, they won't likely be using so that they can pay for other people to use the plan. This is a bad deal for America's young people no matter how you look at it. For them it's a robbery.
Usually bad policy takes decades to start to smell bad. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are prime examples. They started small and unobtrusive but they slowly grew over decades to be the national budget busters they are today. But its the newer bad policies coming out of Washington that just stink right away like GW Bush's “No Child Left Behind” and the “Drug Benefit Plan” tacked onto Medicare which were labeled failures the day they were passed into law. 

And on the local level the predecessor to Obama’s health plan, an entity that is referred to as “RomneyCare”, started in the red and has been running deficits ever since. Contemplate this for a moment: The MassHealth plan started losing money right from DAY 1 and has gone downhill ever since. It has only been held up by Obama's friend, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick with funds from somewhere else in the state's general tax fund. They're not about to release that information.

But the National Healthcare Plan, slap-dashed together by a Leftist Congressional majority and even then only barely rammed through over every reasoned objection has reached the pinnacle of bad policy and bad precedent. It will stand as the biggest increase in taxes that the American public will have ever seen and the final straw.

The ACA is yet another Federal plan that the American people are forced by the stern blade of an overlord government to pay for even if they never receive a dime from it. I was going to say that never before in the history of the United States of America has there ever been a product or plan that made it mandatory that a citizen to participate in but I’d be lying. Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are all plans that a majority of citizens are pushed into participation and have to pay for. With the exception of public employees that is. Public employees are exempt from being forced to pay for Social Security and Medicaid taxes. 

So ObamaCare is not so much a health plan as it is a DRAFT. We are all now Conscripts in Obama’s war against private markets. We are now destined to be Cannon Fodder, thrown to the front and compelled to go over the top in Obama's Communist power grab and the struggle to keep what we as individuals have worked for our whole lives. We have been impressed into this monumental economic error and will be sacrificed on its altar of failure. 

And it will fail. The takers will always outnumber the payers.

So is it Constitutional?  Never mind that there is no Constitutional mandate that the Federal Government should even get involved in providing healthcare to individuals. All federal duties not specifically outlined in The Constitution are left to the States, so to mandate state participation in a Federal plan not therein outlined, and that includes Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, would be unconstitutional out of hand.
But it makes no difference if the Supreme Judicial Court lets the Individual Mandate stand or not since ObamaCare is already inflicting its economic damage on our lives. 

It would be great if the SJC would strike down not only the IM but ObamaCare in its entirety but it’s a Dead Plan walking regardless. The only difference would be the level of pain it would cause if allowed to go forward.

And it doesn't stop here. The next step is the so called "Single Payer" plan where the GOVERNMENT is the sole provider of health care in the country. Look at how well the Veteran's Administration has handled the Single Payer system with America's verterans.

Don't get sick.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Time to Boot the United Nations...

It’s time to send that den of iniquity, the so called “United Nations” to some other country. Let these near do wells and universal haters go to some other country to have their tantrums. That is, if another country will have them.

Let these "people" drive on the sidewalks of some other nation and get them the hell out of New York and out of the US entirely. We don’t need these yoyos putting Iran on the Council for Human Rights or giving Arabs a say in what Israel can or cannot do. We don’t need to pay these nutjobs for the privilege of being in our country all the while their people are out in the streets burning our flag at the drop of a hat. Let them go pull Diplomatic Immunity in Thailand and see where that gets 'em.

They hate us for what we have all the while living over here enjoying the finest the world has to offer in New York City. Let these hypocrites find a fancy restaurant in Romania or Iceland if they hate us so much. Get them out of here. 
Why do we give weight to an organization that would otherwise be widely ignored if we didn’t participate in it? Oh yes, the UN does our bidding when push comes to shove but that’s more about the money we give them to say yes. But do we really need that? We’re an autocratic empire after all and nobody believes the UN actually gives us permission to do anything nor that they are anything without us. Let them go to China and see if they all still strut. 

Time for the UN to go. The time has come for them to enjoy some other fine city. Preferably somewhere far, far away. Perhaps even move them around every couple of years like the Olympics but get them out of here. They’re tiresome to watch and unnerving to put up with. Never before has the world gathered a more insufferable bunch of professional lollygaggers and men of non-action.

And just what has the UN ever achieved? Every conflict they have ever been involved with lingers on and on without a victor and the people suffer and suffer. Wars need victors, without which there can never be a resolution and eventual peace. Enter the UN who never gives one side or the other the satisfaction of victory so what would have been a short war becomes a very long one. Good show!  They're still glowering at each other in Kosovo after 25 years. Yet the UN wouldn't dream of saying a thing about the Chinese oppression in Tibet or the Russians in Chechnya. And Mormar Ghadafi is bad to the point of intervention yet Bashir al-Assad, not so much.

What has the UN done to relieve the "suffering" of the Palestinians? Have they lobbied Egypt, that vast and expansive country, for perhaps room for a state? Have they inquired to Saudi Arabia to perhaps support a Palestinian business community? Have the Palestinians themselves set up a Chamber of Commerce to solicit businesses from around the world to invest and purchase the goods that the Palestinian businesses themselves have produced? The answer is no, no, and “What do the Palestinians actually make besides tunnels, rockets and bombs?

No, really, do they even make pocket combs over there? They must have a flag company because they have such a ready supply of US flags to burn at the drop of a hat but I have yet to see a shirt or pair of slacks that say “Made in Palestine” on the label. Why? Because there isn’t any, outside of local date farming, they don’t make squat!

After 65 years of existence, the Palestinians remain single-mindedly devoted to the destruction of Israel to the exclusion of all else. Think about this for a moment. Generations of a people wasted for lifetimes. What could these people have built in all this time had they decided on a greater purpose for their lives. It’s incredible. And where do they get their money from if they don't possess a productive economy? Hmm?

Yet it is Israel, a free and democratic society, that is called upon to give precious territory for people who have vowed their destruction, who fire rockets into Israel EVERY DAY. Who would defend this? The UN does.

The UN has destroyed more than it has ever built, denied more than verified and have never defeated a foe. Let's face it, the UN is a pimple on the ass of human progress.

Let’s finally end this charade. I won’t miss them. Not for a minute.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Government Sponsored Solar Power Company Pleads the 5th...

Much like the Wikilinks release of the Anti-Capitalist Environmental "Scientists" emails, revealing collusion and the spread of propaganda as fact, let today mark the first day of the end of the Green Movement.

The executives of Solyndra sat before Congress and said...nothing. Nothing about what happened to the $535 Million that they secured through the Obama administration. Nothing about how they got the money and nothing about how they behaved and how they feel now. Nothing.

Yes, a company, any company going out of business is the natural act of capitalism. But this is not. Solyndra was heavily subsidized by taxpayer money through a government who constantly is trying to pick the winners and losers of industry. This wasn't just "seed" money, this was money taken from every town in America, from every street and from every pocket that could have been better spent if it were left where it was in the first place. But now is wasted. Thrown down the rathole of a Big Lie: That solar power can make money. It doesn't and it can't.

Oil is the atom of industry. It's cheap, it's plentiful and it carries more energy per ounce than any other substance on the face of the earth. Somebody dispute this. Go on, lets hear it. It's a fact.

Until we can find something like that, oil isn't going to go away. We in the former Republic of the United States now have an Autocratic government that can declare oil off limits with a wave of a hand, an executive order. They can order to ban the distribution and use of oil in the United States. But they can't stop the world. The world will continue to use oil even if we don't. The difference is that we as a nation will be competing against a world that has cheaper energy. This will never work.

Solar and Wind power are expensive. Very expensive. And to a business that expense goes into something called "Overhead". Overhead is the cost of a business to bring a product to market. And since we now live in a global marketplace, that product will sit on a shelf with other products from around the world. Products with lower overhead. Which prices will be lower? Good answer.

Not so say Solar and Wind aren't a good idea since clean energy is a worthy pursuit but the Federal Government should not be in the business of subsidizing business. The Solyndra deal smacks of corruption, party patronage and the systematic central planning that ran the Soviet Union right into the ground.

But the most insidious crime against the American public is that we never got to see what all this $535 Million never got the chance to do had it been left in the hands of the people to spend and invest in whatever power they would like. We never got the chance to see all this take flight since it was confiscated and given to the politically connected. People who obviously didn't know what to do with it and squandered it all.

Let today mark the beginning of the end of the government's distribution of wealth, of it's interference in the marketplace or it's heavy handed regulatory roll. Let's get government out of the way of industry. It's time to end the Obama regime's anti-capitalist ideas that clearly have no place in a free society. Let us begin today to return to a free market that will give all forms of energy an opportunity and so we can see the best American can produce.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Liberals Blame the Other Guy...

It happens every time. When the Left's Liberal policies crash and burn, it's everybody else"s fault. It can't be that the President does not know how to actually fix the financial mess created by his own runaway spending plans, can it? No, it's GWB's fault, it's the Republican's fault or it's the Tea Party's fault. Blame the other guy. "It would have worked if it wasn't for X, Y or Z.
This is why the Left never changes their view of things. They're in denial. They believe that their beliefs of wealth distribution, welfare and a "depend on gov't" state would work if only it was allowed to be implemented correctly. If only it wasn't held back by the "Non-believers".
Well it has been applied correctly this time and many times before this and it not only doesn't it work, it really can't work. You can't suck money out of the productive sectors of our economy and give it to the unproductive. You can't lift a people up by tearing the prosperous down. We can't spend ourselves into prosperity. No, it has never worked and talk of people paying "their fair share" hasn't proven to be very fair at all in its distribution and use by the government. If fact it's been wasted.
Like Obama said, it's not class warfare, it's math. And the Left, apparently, can't do math.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Status Quo of Republicans and Democrats

For way too long in this country we the people have been thinking in only a two dimensional fashion. We think that in the realm of politics there is only two sides, the Democrats and Republicans or as I refer to them, the Demilcans and Republocrats and finally, I’m not alone.

There’s a hand in my pocket. What do I care if it’s a Democrat hand or a Republican hand? There’s a hand in my pocket!

Hasn’t anybody noticed that no matter what party the president is from, the same things happen? Obama wants to legalize the illegal aliens currently residing in this country, boo hiss. Ronald Regan DID legalize 10 million illegals when he was president. What’s the difference? Both presidents spent money that wasn’t produced yet. GW Bush spent more money than any other president right up until Barack Obama broke that record this year. And what did they spend all this money on? Entitlements and Stimulus. Money that went out and has never found it's way back. Money for THEIR interests, not the interests of the American public.

Each “Party” spends taxpayer money. The Democrats on their social “services” which serves to buy the vote of the “downtrodden” of the American culture and, of course, fuel the public jobs sector which vote in lockstep with the people who keep the money coming. They’re all about Welfare, Public Education and Government Services such as Unemployment, Medicaid and Medicare. All giveaways designed to strengthen their political hold.

The Republicans spend on “Defense” and the “War on Drugs” and other Red, White & Blue pursuits and have also created their own public sector loyalties. This may explain why we’ve been at war since I’ve been alive and have huge bloated bureaucracies like the Department of Defense and the giant Corrections sector.  Then there are all those “Resort” style military bases we have all over the world complete with clubs, spas and weight rooms. All set up to bolster their political position.

And each party has managed, through it’s building up of government and by spending Billions in taxpayer dollars, to increase taxation and regulation to the point where businesses are strangled. The cost of doing business in America is just too high. 

Enter the Libertarians. Libertarians know that no matter who occupies the office of the presidency, he’s essentially the same guy. He works for the same people and the same interests that put him where he is and the same things happen for the American public: War or Welfare. 

The Tea Party is made up of mostly working people registered as Independents and it is they who are fueling the current Libertarian revival. There is much common ground but without having to read a book to explain the way they feel let it be simply put that they are a representation of a public that is sick of seeing their interests ignored and their money gone to pay for the usurping of the basic principles of work, prosperity and sacrifice. This movement has come about because of a government that no longer promotes the principle that a person stand on their own two feet, be responsible for their actions and not doing even it’s most basic job of protecting the rights and beings of it’s citizens. We are a public grown tired of a government that acts more like an Empire than a representative Republic. 

The last thing we need right now is another Demilcan or a Republocrat in the White House. There’s another choice out there.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ron Paul’s First Mistake…

This year has proven a boon to Libertarians everywhere. Long in the political shadows, Libertarians have looked to Ron Paul’s resurgence in a war weary nation ten years on in wars that see no end in sight.

Mr. Paul has never been more articulate, succinct and, for the most part, brief in explaining his Libertarian ideals and values as he has been this year. This is far beyond his 2008 efforts what found him at times struggling to put into words the principles that unite our belief system. It is these core values that make Libertarianism a consistent thought process and Ron Paul has been our leading spokesman for decades.

But last night he made a critical error.

He tried to answer a difficult question that he did not have enough time for.

It is obvious that Ron Paul is not against America. It is also obvious that he is not blaming the American people for 9/11 and he should have just said so when challenged by Rick Santorum. But the long answer does not work on television debates and so he got nailed.

To say that our dealings with the Arab world had no bearing on the attacks of 9/11 would lack credibility. The U.S. is Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner and the Muslim radicals are no friends of the house of Saud but to use this to justify the murder of over 3000 people is only the lip service of tyrants.

Al Qaeda has attacked every foreign country that has entered their country for whatever reason. To say the U.S. has dealt with Arabia unfairly, building a nation of sand and oil deposits into a country of riches albeit poorly distributed, and that the UAE is an exploited region is an unimaginable stretch. Osama bin Laden is a great example since he was raised in a very well-to-do family as an aristocrat really.

Outside of the ruthless U.S. backed rule of the Shah of Iran, it is folly to compare the conflagration of 9/11 to our dealings with Arabia itself, the home of the Taliban/Wasabi cult. They had no legitimate justification for their attacks.

And Ron Paul never got the time to explain it and he knows it. Now he may never get another chance.

Right up until his gaff, he had nailed the question and was cheered. There is indeed a difference between Military spending and Defense spending. We do have too many military bases all over the world and it’s costing us Billions of dollars and adding not one farthing to the Treasury. This has to end. It will end one way or another because we can’t go on in this fashion. 

He is right again when stating that if we as a nation continue in this way we will have nothing but turmoil overseas. This has proven to be so very true since we have had nothing but war since I was born. 

I know Ron Paul as a man of principle and as an American first. I never for a moment believe that he thinks America is to blame for 9/11.

I just wish he said it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Obama's Jobs Plan is a Trap

President Obama’s second massive spending plan is only a ploy to force his tax raising agenda. Mr. Obama’s real plan is to raise taxes, continue unbridled spending and to have the deficit “Super Committee” vote for tax increases it since it is they who he has burdened with the responsibility to “pay” for the spending the bill provides to the tune of $447 Billion.

Once again there is no step back for Obama. It’s always full speed ahead with the spending and full speed ahead with his calls for taxing the “wealthy”. He has to keep the spigot on to fund the bloated bureaucratic mess that the United States government has become over the last 50 years since the advent of Medicaid and the modern welfare system that enlists hundreds of thousands of people in the vast money transfer system we refer now only in passing as "Government" .

Even just a surface glance of the proposal will tell you of this plan’s predicable failure. 

Example 1: If the Social Security system is suffering from lack of money coming in vs. going out, then how will giving people a break on how much people have been forced to put into the system help cure it? Answer: It can’t! They'll just have to get that money from someplace else won't they?

Example #2: How will eliminating tax breaks that will raise $400 Billion over the next 10 years balance the $447 Billion the plan will spend right now? Answer: It can’t! They'll just have to find the money somewhere else, won't they?

So how to make up the difference between what the Obama plan spends and what the government spend and what will need to be raised to balance it? I know, RAISE TAXES! And what group is in charge of deciding if taxes should be raise and who shall pay them? I know that too, it’s the Super Committee!

But whatever the Committee comes up with in the form of tax increases, assuming they even decide for tax increases, still has to pass Congress and the new Congress has a mandate from the American people, the ones who actually pay taxes, not to raise taxes. So here we are. The Obama regime will continue to spend and spend until Congress says "Uncle" and votes to raise taxes. This should not happen and only the belief in the new people in Congress sustains my feeling that they won't buy what the President is selling. I don't think the American people buy what the President is selling either.

The Obama plan is nothing but a trap to force the Committee and Congress to go along with the tax hikes he has proposed all along.

What a colossal waste of time and energy.

Why is Obama doing this? He and his abettors must know it won’t work yet it’s still full speed ahead?
It makes no sense.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Payback is Obama...

The term I first heard for what is taking place in American society today is “Comupins” or rather “Comeuppance”. To shorten the definition by a lot, it means “Payback”. And that’s just what is happening to the working taxpayers of this country or in another view, the “Privileged”.

It’s hard to imagine working class Middle America as oppressors but apparently that is how they’re viewed by people on what I call “The Take”. Just like the big boss at work who has the nerve to sign your paycheck, how dare we strive for better when all they’re getting is subsidized housing, health care, food and, now we know, social security and drivers licenses from the government. It hurts their self esteem.

When you grow up subsidized, you grow up thinking you can’t make it any other way. You have to have your government stipend, your government tuition money, your government union, you’re Affirmative Action because as soon as you can understand what’s being said you’re told you have to have these subsidies because others are keeping you down. The more subliminal message is: You can’t compete or not fairly at any rate because you are different because of the color of your skin.

So you have to fight for what you get…from others. And you hate them for it. And you want to get even.

And the champion of the people on The Take is Barak Obama, a man who grew up subsidized and who is not just a Marxist but a home grown race warrior. But he’s not fighting for a race of people but against a race of people: This is the “Cumupins” I was referring to. And he won't be accomplishing his goals by bringing his people up but by bringing the other people down.

The target of this derision by the government subsidized peoples in this country, the "others", is none other than the people of European decent who have formed the base of success in this country since the very beginning. Seriously though it's not just them since it takes more than one group of people to make a country run, but successful people of all colors who took risks and worked hard to make a better life for themselves and their families despite the interventions and pitfalls.  

And just like the fact that it wasn’t only white Americans that were murdered in heart-rending fashion on 9/11, neither will it only be white Americans hurt by the economic destruction that is being forced upon this country. Just as a good economy floats all boats, so will the bad crush the people on the bottom first.

Even Nicolai Lenin, once he realized his Marxist policies were killing Russia’s economy and causing businesses and people to suffer, tried to reverse some of them to ease the damages. That’s when he got shot.

But there’s no quit to Obama. His message has been unwavering and clear to all who will listen and he will never run the risk of suffering Lenin’s fate, he’s all in on it regardless of the havoc it will bring.That part does not trifle him.

This leads me to mention the African country of Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe has lead a race war against the countries minority white farmers which has resulted in white farmers being killed or chased off their lands and having their farms confiscated by organized violent mobs. This resulted in Zimbabwe, once the strongest economy in all of Africa, to plummet to being the worst with widespread shortages, inflation and disease. A country once thriving was reduced to its inhabitants drinking out of mud puddles. 

Apparently nobody else could run a farm.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Boston Rock: Boston Bands from 1979 to 1989

Played the Boston scene from 1983 to 1994 in two acts: Bass with "Cool McCool" 1983-1989 and Guitar with "The World Renowned Rythmmen!" 1990-1994. Managed to do close to 450 shows in that time and shared the stages of The Rat, Green St. Station, Chet’s last Call, The Channel, TT the Bear’s, Club III, Storyville, Jacks's and Bunratty’s with some of the best bands ever to bang their heads against the big green wall that was the Boston Music Scene. And despite all the time we spent playing in the bars ourselves, I still consider myself more of a consumer than participant in Boston music of that time period. Whenever we played, we didn't pack up after our set but stayed to see the other bands even if it killed us the next morning going to work.

There were some great Boston bands that were the best you never heard of and some that you have. Til Tuesday comes to mind as a band you've certainly heard. I still have Aimee Mann’s first EP, Bark Along with the Young Snakes, featuring a 19 year old Aimee with two anonymous band mates on the cover. Must have seen the band more than 20 times at places like Jonathan Swift’s in Cambridge, The Channel downtown and Scotch & Sounds in Brockton, MA of all places, where anybody who was anybody played including David Johansen (After the NY Dolls and before he became Buster Poindexter), The Ramones, Robin Lane & The Chartbusters, The Stompers, Face to Face and Jon Butcher Axis.

I was amazed that one night when the opening act had cancelled, Til Tuesday was asked to do two sets and came out and did the same set twice. They only had one set of material! How could this be? The hottest band in Boston! But what a set it was. A shame that “One Minute More” never made it to vinyl (that means “record” to those under 35).

Before Til Tuesday signed with Epic records, they recorded a number of their best songs like "Love in a Vacuum" with Elliot Easton of The Cars at the studio the band had set up to record themselves and other bands. One of my menial musician's jobs at the time was driving a van for some evil corporate overlords and while driving my rounds I would listen to WNTN, a radio station out of Newton, MA that only had a license to broadcast in the daytime. They programmed mostly funk and R&B, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, The Sugarhill Gang and these recordings of Til Tuesday. Why? No clue but there they were and this was before I ever saw or even heard of the band. The Epic recordings, quite frankly, did not stack up to the production or sound of the Easton sessions. I wonder where THOSE tracks went.

Berlin Airlift, with their unheard of mix of strong vocal harmonies over absolute killer Rock & Roll was a big favorite. They weren’t just a band, they were a SHOW! This may be why they didn’t hit the big time since they were too rock for pop. This was the first band I ever saw that the guitar player (Joe Perry) had six guitars locked and loaded and was physically handed a different guitar for different songs. I was amazed! Who gets their guitars handed to them but Gods? Rick Berlin was/is the picture of what a frontman should be. I've lost count of how many times I saw them live.

Jon Butcher had a good thing going with his stellar first album in 1983 that produced the hits "Ocean in Motion", "Life Takes a Life" and "It's Only Words" and he played a great live set but things started to go south for him when his rock-solid bass player, Chris Martin, left the band and was 'replaced' by the bass player from another local Boston band who seemed more interested in how his hair looked and keeping his shirt open to the waste than actually laying a solid groove. After a short time with this lineup, management problems then caused Mr. Butcher drop the group and move to LA.

Face to Face with singer Laurie Sargent managed to produce three studio albums and a couple of solid hits like "Ten, Nine, Eight" and "Under the Gun" and I got my first glimpse into what it's about in the music business when one of the guitar players told me that they really didn't make any money on any of the albums once the recording advance was paid back. 

The song "American Fun" was a huge hit for The Stompers and it was a great single but I have to admit I wasn't a big fan of the band during their first run even though I saw them multiple times at various venues. As I have since grown into a songwriter myself, I have grown to appreciate the artistry of Sal's songwriting and their music to the point where I have sought out their albums. I was lucky enough to play a live broadcast on a Salem, MA radio show around 2004 on which Sal Baglio also appeared. He was promoting a new album of songs but was coaxed into playing one of his old songs by the radio host, Doug Mascot. So Sal plays "Rockin' From Coast to Coast" on the acoustic guitar and everybody in the crowded waiting room from the 20 somethings on up stopped what they were doing, started bobbing their heads and taping their feet. In deference to Sal's new stuff, this was a great musical moment.

We used to play this place in the North End of Boston called Chet’s Last Call which was across the street from the old Boston Garden where the Celtics and Bruins played. It stands out since we actually made money at Chet’s. It had been a disco in the 1970s and when Chet took it over he just opened the doors and DIDN’T CHANGE A THING. It still had this terrible shiny multicoloured contact paper on the walls and a stupid outdoor railing to cordon off the dance floor. Yet when we started there and began hanging out, I saw the most amazing bands. This is where The Bosstone’s played (long before they became Mighty, Mighty) and this Punkabilly band, The Wandells which tragically never put out a record and their killer tunes: “Basketcase Boogie” and “Who Cares Anyway” are lost to the world. Let this be a lesson: Record your stuff! The litany of bands that played Chet’s was a Who’s Who of the times: Scruffy the Cat, The Neighborhoods, The Flys, Valdez the Sinner, The Bent Men, The Beachmasters, and, well, us, Cool McCool.

There was also the Pajama Slave Dancers who did put out two records and had the most amazing stage show, apologizing after and sometimes before play there hits “Defreeze Walt Disney”, "Homo Truck Driving Man" and  “Farm Rap”, these guys were nuts.

Bands I also admired (meaning I bought their albums) who had big local hits and gained some national success were The Make who recorded “Aimee’s Home Tonight” in 1981 which was their big and only hit. The New Models which had a national hit in 1983 with “Say What You Want Me To Do”.  I later saw New Models founder Casey Lindstrom hit the stage on guitar with an energetic and more conventional power trio called Shake the Faith at The Channel. Then there were Rod’s & Cones which hit with “Your Infatuation Was My Education in Love” in 1985. To listen to this stuff today is to think they just were put out.

I also prize my copy of The Neighborhoods' “Prettiest Girl” which we used to also cover along with “Don’t Run Wild” and “I Still Want You” by the Del Fuegos. A little known fact of the first Rock & Roll Rumble winner was that the song "Prettiest Girl" is the B side of the single. And the band is pictured on the sleeve riding the COMET roller coaster at the long defunct Paragon Park amusement park that was in Hull, MA (1904 to 1984) one of the scariest rides ever build by humankind, completely of wood. Their 1984 LP “Fire is Coming” has a bitchen jumped-up remake of “If I Had A Hammer”. It’s a killer take.

One of the first professional acts I ever saw was Shane Champagne which was put together by Gary Shane and David Champagne way back. I played a show with Gary a couple years back when he did a reunion tour with his later band The Detour and he signed my 7 inch copy of their big hit: “Shadow World”. Both these guys are still out their playing as well as Rick Berlin. To me they are kindred spirits since none of us seem to be able to stop playing. For better or worse, it’s become part of the blood.

Another person who had risen to national prominence was Jonathan Richman who is legend in musical history. Not only did he do 7 encores of “Ice Cream Man” at CBGB’s, the notorious punk haven in New York in the late 70’s (now THAT’S punk!) but was at his most outstanding in an outdoor concert where, Toot’s Hebert of the seminal reggae band, The Maytals being lost somewhere in Western Massachusetts, Jonathan’s band, including the Pailey Brothers and Barrence Whitfield, played for nearly two hours. It was the last time I saw him with a full band. We saw him a couple of times at the old NightStage concert club in Cambridge but he played as a duo with just a percussionist.

There are too many outstanding acts to list from the days where the drinking age was 18 and all you had to do was LOOK around 18 to get beer. At that time there were 16 original music clubs and on any night of the week you could go out and see a well rehearsed professional act like The Joe Perry Project (when Joe split with Aerosmith for a time), Til Tuesday, The Del Fuegos, Robin Lane, Gang Green, The Neighborhoods, Jon Butcher, Berlin Airlift, or head down to the Channel and see, Jimmy Cliff, Tommy James & the Shondell’s, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Paul Revere & The Raiders and more. You had to learn to get along at an earlier age or someone would straighten you out.

A typical weekend evening usually began by hanging out in Kenmore Square right on the steps of the Dunkin Donuts near the Pizza Pad. This gave us the best view of the square and everybody who passed through it. We were right near The Rat and directly across from Narcissis and Celebrations, the two biggest discos in town right across the square where the BU bookstore in Barnes & Noble is today. We'd get a couple of six-packs and literally drink beer in public, watch all the people streaming by, give the bums a couple of bucks for their life stories and try to figure out what club to hit that night or when our favorite band was going on.

The days where "anyone with a weird haircut could call themselves a band" in Boston have passed but there once was a time there there was a great period of creativity that washed over the city. It's still there in pockets but the heyday of working original bands who actually were making money has passed into folklore.

Great bands. Great times.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Obama's Speech on the Economy and Job Creation.

Let me see if I can guess what he's going to say. For starters:

More money for important infrastructure: Don't know if we'll hear about that hi-speed rail project again but roads and bridges blah, blah. Like we're not spending enough on that already. Where is all that gas tax money going these days?

More money for educational opportunities for the young folks: They won't have a job and they won't be smart enough to understand why the government schools haven't prepared them for the future but they'll know how to organize a "Flash Mob" outside the statehouse whenever the governor says that the schools are spending too much and achieving too little. It's all because today's students are too busy with anti-bullying, racial and sexual tolerance and environmental issues to deal with Math, Science and History.

More mortgage relief for troubled homeowners: If the banks were allowed to go out of business when the market collapsed, we'd probably be on the other side of this by now. But since the Feds devoted big heaping wads of taxpayer money to propping up financial institutions that, through their own negligence and greed would have failed, we are left with a limping and unwieldy financial system that is just stumbling along and will most likely collapse under its own weight down the road anyway.

Relief for the long term unemployed: Going on three years of unemployment benefits, whats one more year? By the way, if it's been three years it's not unemployment any longer, it's the Dole. 

So to paraphrase Obama's proposals: More government jobs. There is no ailment that government can't help.

Fast track amnesty for illegal "workers": It's naive of the administration to think that all these illegal aliens will now suddenly start paying taxes and buying Gucci bags from Macy's if only they were made legal.

Throw in an attack on the "Partisan" GOP Congressmen for not participating in the destruction of the US economy.

Saved you the time of tuning in. Now go watch the game.