Friday, August 31, 2007


Last official day of winter - excellent!
L.E.D.S gig in town tonight - cool
Sublounge with cheap beer for a warmup - damn thats good
A day of work ahead - well ya can't have everything

happy friday

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tiki - Tangaroa (God of the Sea)

Stunning video and track from Tiki Taane's debut solo album.

Shame its a low resolution version of the video, but hey its the internetweb, use ya imagination.

The music reminds me of Cabaret Voltaire, I can't help but wonder how Yashar and this would sound together..... :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Great Iraq Swindle

How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the U.S. Treasury --From Issue 1034 of the Rolling Stone

How is it done? How do you screw the taxpayer for millions, get away with it and then ride off into the sunset with one middle finger extended, the other wrapped around a chilled martini? Ask Earnest O. Robbins -- he knows all about being a successful contractor in Iraq.
You start off as a well-connected bureaucrat: in this case, as an Air Force civil engineer, a post from which Robbins was responsible for overseeing 70,000 servicemen and contractors, with an annual budget of $8 billion. You serve with distinction for thirty-four years, becoming such a military all-star that the Air Force frequently sends you to the Hill to testify before Congress -- until one day in the summer of 2003, when you retire to take a job as an executive for Parsons, a private construction company looking to do work in Iraq.

Now you can finally move out of your dull government housing on Bolling Air Force Base and get your wife that dream home you've been promising her all these years. The place on Park Street in Dunn Loring, Virginia, looks pretty good -- four bedrooms, fireplace, garage, 2,900 square feet, a nice starter home in a high-end neighborhood full of spooks, think-tankers and ex-apparatchiks moved on to the nest-egg phase of their faceless careers. On October 20th, 2003, you close the deal for $775,000 and start living that private-sector good life.

A few months later, in March 2004, your company magically wins a contract from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to design and build the Baghdad Police College, a facility that's supposed to house and train at least 4,000 police recruits. But two years and $72 million later, you deliver not a functioning police academy but one of the great engineering clusterfucks of all time, a practically useless pile of rubble so badly constructed that its walls and ceilings are literally caked in shit and piss, a result of subpar plumbing in the upper floors.

You've done such a terrible job, in fact, that when auditors from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction visit the college in the summer of 2006, their report sounds like something out of one of the Saw movies: "We witnessed a light fixture so full of diluted urine and feces that it would not operate," they write, adding that "the urine was so pervasive that it had permanently stained the ceiling tiles" and that "during our visit, a substance dripped from the ceiling onto an assessment team member's shirt." The final report helpfully includes a photo of a sloppy brown splotch on the outstretched arm of the unlucky auditor.

When Congress gets wind of the fias­co, a few members on the House Oversight Committee demand a hearing. To placate them, your company decides to send you to the Hill -- after all, you're a former Air Force major general who used to oversee this kind of contracting operation for the government. So you take your twenty-minute ride in from the suburbs, sit down before the learned gentlemen of the committee and promptly get asked by an irritatingly eager Maryland congressman named Chris Van Hollen how you managed to spend $72 million on a pile of shit.

You blink. Fuck if you know. "I have some conjecture, but that's all it would be" is your deadpan answer.

The room twitters in amazement. It's hard not to applaud the balls of a man who walks into Congress short $72 million in taxpayer money and offers to guess where it all might have gone.

Next thing you know, the congressman is asking you about your company's compensation. Touchy subject -- you've got a "cost-plus" contract, which means you're guaranteed a base-line profit of three percent of your total costs on the deal. The more you spend, the more you make -- and you certainly spent a hell of a lot. But before this milk-faced congressman can even think about suggesting that you give these millions back, you've got to cut him off. "So you won't voluntarily look at this," Van Hollen is mumbling, "and say, given what has happened in this project . . . "

"No, sir, I will not," you snap.

". . . 'We will return the profits.' . . ."

"No, sir, I will not," you repeat.

Your testimony over, you wait out the rest of the hearing, go home, take a bath in one of your four bathrooms, jump into bed with the little woman. . . . A year later, Iraq is still in flames, and your president's administration is safely focused on reclaiming $485 million in aid money from a bunch of toothless black survivors of Hurricane Katrina. But the house you bought for $775K is now ­assessed at $929,974, and you're sure as hell not giving it back to anyone.

"Yeah, I don't know what I expected him to say," Van Hollen says now about the way Robbins responded to being asked to give the money back. "It just shows the contempt they have for us, for the taxpayer, for everything."

Read the full article it really is rather depressing

Morning :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

George Clinton on hip-hop and politics

Hip-hop needs to find the next subject. Politics and social stuff--those are going to be the next real subjects groups get into. Soon as they realize you might have some hip-hoppers informed on foreign policy, then you're gonna have the '60s back here for real.
George Clinton to the Detroit Free Press

Monday, August 27, 2007

More Fisk...

Even I question the 'truth' about 9/11

By Robert Fisk

08/25/07 "The Independent" -- - Each time I lecture abroad on the Middle East, there is always someone in the audience – just one – whom I call the "raver". Apologies here to all the men and women who come to my talks with bright and pertinent questions – often quite humbling ones for me as a journalist – and which show that they understand the Middle East tragedy a lot better than the journalists who report it. But the "raver" is real. He has turned up in corporeal form in Stockholm and in Oxford, in Sao Paulo and in Yerevan, in Cairo, in Los Angeles and, in female form, in Barcelona. No matter the country, there will always be a "raver".

His – or her – question goes like this. Why, if you believe you're a free journalist, don't you report what you really know about 9/11? Why don't you tell the truth – that the Bush administration (or the CIA or Mossad, you name it) blew up the twin towers? Why don't you reveal the secrets behind 9/11? The assumption in each case is that Fisk knows – that Fisk has an absolute concrete, copper-bottomed fact-filled desk containing final proof of what "all the world knows" (that usually is the phrase) – who destroyed the twin towers. Sometimes the "raver" is clearly distressed. One man in Cork screamed his question at me, and then – the moment I suggested that his version of the plot was a bit odd – left the hall, shouting abuse and kicking over chairs.

Usually, I have tried to tell the "truth"; that while there are unanswered questions about 9/11, I am the Middle East correspondent of The Independent, not the conspiracy correspondent; that I have quite enough real plots on my hands in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Iran, the Gulf, etc, to worry about imaginary ones in Manhattan. My final argument – a clincher, in my view – is that the Bush administration has screwed up everything – militarily, politically diplomatically – it has tried to do in the Middle East; so how on earth could it successfully bring off the international crimes against humanity in the United States on 11 September 2001?

Well, I still hold to that view. Any military which can claim – as the Americans did two days ago – that al-Qa'ida is on the run is not capable of carrying out anything on the scale of 9/11. "We disrupted al-Qa'ida, causing them to run," Colonel David Sutherland said of the preposterously code-named "Operation Lightning Hammer" in Iraq's Diyala province. "Their fear of facing our forces proves the terrorists know there is no safe haven for them." And more of the same, all of it untrue.

Within hours, al-Qa'ida attacked Baquba in battalion strength and slaughtered all the local sheikhs who had thrown in their hand with the Americans. It reminds me of Vietnam, the war which George Bush watched from the skies over Texas – which may account for why he this week mixed up the end of the Vietnam war with the genocide in a different country called Cambodia, whose population was eventually rescued by the same Vietnamese whom Mr Bush's more courageous colleagues had been fighting all along.

But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It's not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I'm not talking about the crazed "research" of David Icke's Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.

I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower – the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) – which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering – very definitely not in the "raver" bracket – are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be "fraudulent or deceptive".

Journalistically, there were many odd things about 9/11. Initial reports of reporters that they heard "explosions" in the towers – which could well have been the beams cracking – are easy to dismiss. Less so the report that the body of a female air crew member was found in a Manhattan street with her hands bound. OK, so let's claim that was just hearsay reporting at the time, just as the CIA's list of Arab suicide-hijackers, which included three men who were – and still are – very much alive and living in the Middle East, was an initial intelligence error.

But what about the weird letter allegedly written by Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian hijacker-murderer with the spooky face, whose "Islamic" advice to his gruesome comrades – released by the CIA – mystified every Muslim friend I know in the Middle East? Atta mentioned his family – which no Muslim, however ill-taught, would be likely to include in such a prayer. He reminds his comrades-in-murder to say the first Muslim prayer of the day and then goes on to quote from it. But no Muslim would need such a reminder – let alone expect the text of the "Fajr" prayer to be included in Atta's letter.

Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious "war on terror" which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East. Bush's happily departed adviser Karl Rove once said that "we're an empire now – we create our own reality". True? At least tell us. It would stop people kicking over chairs.

© 2007 Independent News and Media Limited

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Iraqis Don't Deserve Us, So We Betray Them

Robert Fisk, Independent UK

Always, we have betrayed them. We backed "Flossy" in Yemen. The French backed their local "harkis" in Algeria; then the FLN victory forced them to swallow their own French military medals before dispatching them into mass graves. In Vietnam, the Americans demanded democracy and, one by one -- after praising the Vietnamese for voting under fire in so many cities, towns and villages -- they destroyed the elected prime ministers because they were not abiding by American orders.

Now we are at work in Iraq. Those pesky Iraqis don't deserve our sacrifice, it seems, because their elected leaders are not doing what we want them to do.

Does that remind you of a Palestinian organization called Hamas? First, the Americans loved Ahmed Chalabi, the man who fabricated for Washington the"'weapons of mass destruction" (with a hefty bank fraud charge on his back). Then, they loved Ayad Allawi, a Vietnam-style spook who admitted working for 26 intelligence organizations, including the CIA and MI6. Then came Ibrahim al-Jaafari, symbol of electoral law, whom the Americans loved, supported, loved again and destroyed. Couldn't get his act together. It was up to the Iraqis, of course, but the Americans wanted him out. And the seat of the Iraqi government -- a never-never land in the humidity of Baghdad's green zone -- lay next to the largest US embassy in the world. So goodbye, Ibrahim.

Then there was Nouri al-Maliki, a man with whom Bush could "do business"; loved, supported and loved again until Carl Levin and the rest of the US Senate Armed Forces Committee -- and, be sure, George W Bush -- decided he couldn't fulfill America's wishes. He couldn't get the army together, couldn't pull the police into shape, an odd demand when US military forces were funding and arming some of the most brutal Sunni militias in Baghdad, and was too close to Tehran.

There you have it. We overthrew Saddam's Sunni minority and the Iraqis elected the Shias into power, and all those old Iranian acolytes who had grown up under the Islamic Revolution in exile from the Iraq-Iran war -- Jaafari was a senior member of the Islamic Dawaa party which was enthusiastically seizing Western hostages in Beirut in the 1980s and trying to blow up our friend the Emir of Kuwait -- were voted into power. So blame the Iranians for their "interference" in Iraq when Iran's own creatures had been voted into power.

And now, get rid of Maliki. Chap doesn't know how to unify his own people, for God's sake. No interference, of course. It's up to the Iraqis, or at least, it's up to the Iraqis who live under American protection in the green zone. The word in the Middle East -- where the "plot" (al-moammarer) has the power of reality -- is that Maliki's cozy trips to Tehran and Damascus these past two weeks have been the final straw for the fantasists in Washington. Because Iran and Syria are part of the axis of evil or the cradle of evil or whatever nonsense Bush and his cohorts and the Israelis dream up, take a look at the $30bn in arms heading to Israel in the next decade in the cause of "peace."

Maliki's state visits to the crazed Ahmedinejad and the much more serious Bashar al-Assad appear to be, in Henry VIII's words, "treachery, treachery, treachery." But Maliki is showing loyalty to his former Iranian masters and their Syrian Alawite allies (the Alawites being an interesting satellite of the Shias).

These creatures -- let us use the right word -- belong to us and thus we can step on them when we wish. We will not learn -- we will never learn, it seems -- the key to Iraq. The majority of the people are Muslim Shias. The majority of their leaders, including the "fiery" Muqtada al-Sadr were trained, nurtured, weaned, loved, taught in Iran. And now, suddenly, we hate them. The Iraqis do not deserve us. This is to be the grit on the sand that will give our tanks traction to leave Iraq. Bring on the clowns! Maybe they can help us too.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Sore, head, not enough sleep... turtles rushing past me....
one of them days ahoy

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Minesweeper the movie

I should really try to find something other than another video clip from the same site for todays post, but this is simply too good not to share...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

You either get it or not

Hat tip to Sideswipe in the HEarld, Public Address, Biggie and about 15 other forums for this clip

Bloody funny if ya get it

And whilst in posting mode, not to be outdone by our Politicians, Bob too has visited a strip club, inhaled and done all manner of things that would alienate the religious right... however I am not running for public office, thankfully, cause I sure don't want nor need the large dose of LAME politicans carry

more Padilla

"The jury did seem to be an oddly cohesive group. On the last day of trial before the Fourth of July holiday, jurors arranged to dress in outfits so that each row in the jury box was its own patriotic color -- red, white or blue."

" closing arguments prosecutors mentioned al-Qaeda more than 100 times, by one defense count, and urged jurors to in essence think of al-Qaeda and groups affiliated with it as an international murder conspiracy."

"After the verdict, they attributed the jury's findings to "scare tactics" by the prosecution -- specifically, the playing of a 1997 CNN interview with Osama bin Laden.

The prosecution introduced the video as a way of providing context to a wiretapped conversation in which Padilla's co-defendants appeared to discuss the al-Qaeda leader with approval."

- snip-

"Since none of the defendants is alleged to have spoken with bin Laden, defense lawyers complained that the interview was used only to arouse in jurors passions and memories associated with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

"Following a bitter, complicated trial that lasted three full months, it took jurors less than a day and a half of deliberations -- they made sure to stay for their free lunch on the second day -- to declare to their government and to the world that the men were terrorist-wannabes. The defendants illegally walked and talked like terrorists back in the 1990s, the jury decided today, and even though that was long before any of the rest of us had heard of Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, and even though there was a paucity of good evidence, it was enough.

For this jury, the simplest explanation was that these guys were up to no good. They were acting suspiciously (or at least not innocently). They were talking like spies (or at least not like relief workers). Teenagers are expected talk and text in code so that their parents don't know what they are up to. Makeshift humanitarians are not.

None of this in my view necessarily justifies today's verdicts -- but it certainly in my mind helps explain them."

Interrogators Destroyed the Mind of Jose Padilla

"...the protective features of law had been seriously eroded prior to the Bush regime’s assault on civil liberty in the name of “the war on terror.” The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights rest on Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. Blackstone explained law as the protective principles against tyranny--habeas corpus, due process, attorney-client privilege, no crime without intent, no retroactive law, no self-incrimination.

Jeremy Bentham claimed that these protective principles were outmoded in a democracy in which the people controlled the government and no longer had reasons to fear it. The problem with Blackstone’s “Rights of Englishmen,” Bentham said, is that these civil liberties needlessly limit the government’s power and, thus, its ability to protect citizens from crime. Bentham wanted to preempt criminal acts by arresting those likely to commit crimes in advance, before the budding criminals entered into a life of crime. Bentham, like the Bush regime, the “Padilla Jury,” and the Republican Federalist Society, did not understand that when law becomes a weapon, liberty dies regardless of the form of government. If they do understand, they prefer unaccountable government power to individual liberty.

The incompetent “Padilla Jury” has done Americans and their liberty far more damage than will ever be done by terrorists, other than those in our criminal justice (sic) system who now wield the powers that Bentham wanted to give them.

The Padilla case was the way the Bush Justice (sic) Department implemented its strategy for taking away the legal principles that protect American citizens. Padilla is an American citizen. He was denied habeas corpus and his rights to an attorney and due process. He was tortured in an attempt to coerce him into self-incrimination. In treating Padilla in these ways, the US Department of Justice (sic) violated both the US Constitution and federal law. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Justice (sic) Department committed far more crimes than did Padilla.

By the time the Supreme Court finally intervened, Padilla was universally known as the demonized “dirty bomber,” an ”enemy combatant” who was arrested before he could set off a radioactive bomb in a US city. The Injustice Department could now simultaneously convict Padilla and enshrine Benthamite law simply by appealing to fear and patriotism. And that is what happened.

Under Benthamite law, the individual has no rights. The new calculus is “the greatest good for the greatest number” as determined by the wielders of power. On the basis of this new law, not written by Congress but invented by the Injustice Department and made precedent by the “Padilla Jury” verdict, the US can lock up people based on the percentage of crime committed by their race, gender, income class, or ethnic group.

Under Benthamite law, people can be arrested and prosecuted for thought crimes. Under Benthamite law, it is the government that protects the people, not the Constitution and Bill of Rights that protect the individual. Benthamite law makes “advocacy speech,” for example, a call for the overthrow of the US government, upheld in the 1969 Supreme Court decision, Brandenburg v. Ohio, a serious federal crime.

The “Padilla Jury” has opened Pandora’s Box. Unless the conviction is overturned on appeal, American liberty died in the “Padilla Jury’s” verdict."

War on terror my arse... war on freedom and liberty for sure!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thought Crime... so hip right now

The central charge against Mr. Padilla was that he conspired to murder, maim and kidnap people in a foreign country. The charge is a serious one, and it can carry a life sentence. But prosecutors needed to prove very little by way of concrete conduct to obtain a conviction under the law.

“There is no need to show any particular violent crime,” said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at Wake Forest University and the author of a recent law review article on conspiracy charges in terrorism prosecutions. “You don’t have to specify the particular means used to carry out the crime.”

Indeed, the strongest piece of evidence in Mr. Padilla’s case was what prosecutors said was an application form Mr. Padilla filled out to attend a training camp run by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2000.

“It is a pretty big leap between a mere indication of desire to attend a camp and a crystallized desire to kill, maim and kidnap,” said Peter S. Margulies, a law professor at Roger Williams University who has also written on conspiracy charges in terrorism prosecutions.

The conspiracy charge against Mr. Padilla, Professor Margulies continued, “is highly amorphous, and it basically allows someone to be found guilty for something that is one step away from a thought crime.”

NY Times

With habeas corpus a thing of the past, with arrest and detention without charge permitted, with torture and spying without court oversight all the rage, with prosecutors free to tape conversations between lawyers and their clients, and with the judicial branch now infested by rightwing judges who would have been at home in courtrooms of the Soviet Union or Hitler's Germany, for all they seem to care about common law tradition, the only real thing holding the line against absolute tyranny in the U.S. has been the jury.

Article Here

In the next cold war, what side is the bad guys? I think its the side by tradition we here in New Zealand are on.

I really must stop reading science fiction, for today the realities of this world are way more mind bogglingly strange.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Geopolitical Intelligence Report - Subprime Geopolitics

The subprime crisis is worth analysis in its own right, though it also gives us the opportunity to discuss our own approach to economic issues. Stratfor views the world through the prism of geopolitics. In geopolitics, there is no such thing as separating a country's economy from its national security or its political interests. A nation is a nation. Academic departments divide themselves nicely into areas of study. In the real world, things are much too intertwined and sloppy for that. Geopolitics views the international system and nations as consisting of a single fabric of relationships, with economics being one of the elements.

Not all events have geopolitical significance. To rise to a level of significance, an event -- economic, political or military -- must result in a decisive change in the international system, or at least a fundamental change in the behavior of a nation. The Japanese banking crisis of the early 1990s was a geopolitically significant event. Japan, the second-largest economy in the world, changed its behavior in important ways, leaving room for another power -- China -- to move into the niche Japan had previously owned as the world's export dynamo. The dot-com meltdown was not geopolitically significant. The U.S. economy had been expanding for about nine years -- a remarkably long time -- and was due for a recession. Inefficiencies had become rampant in the system, nowhere more so than in the dot-com bubble. The sector was demolished and life went on. Lives might have been shattered, but geopolitics is unsentimental about such matters.

The Russian default of 1998 was a geopolitically significant event. It marked the end of the post-Cold War period and the beginning of the new geopolitical regime that is increasingly showing itself in Russia. The global depression of the 1920s and 1930s was enormously significant, transforming the internal political and social processes of countries such as the United States and Germany, and setting the stage for political and military processes that transformed the world. The savings and loan (S&L) crisis of the 1980s had no real geopolitical effect, and the collapse of Enron meant nothing. However, the consolidation of Russian natural gas exports under Gazprom's control is certainly a major change.

The measure of geopolitical significance is whether an event changes the global balance of power or the behavior of a major international power. Looking at the subprime crisis from a geopolitical perspective, this is the fundamental question. That a great many people are losing a great deal of money is obvious. Whether this matters in the long run -- which is what geopolitics is all about -- is another matter entirely.

The origins of the crisis seem fairly clear. Traditionally, when banks look at mortgages on homes, they carefully study the likelihood that the loan will be repaid, as well as the underlying collateral. Their revenue and profits come from the repayment of the loan or the ability to realize the value of the loan through the forced sale of the house.

Two things changed this simple model. The first started a long time ago. Encouraged by the federal government, banks that issued mortgage loans began selling those loans to other entities. This, then, created a large secondary market in bundled mortgages -- huge numbers of mortgages grouped together and sold and traded as if they were simply financial instruments, which, of course, they are.

As a result, banks began to view mortgages less as long-term investments than as transactions. They made their money on closing costs, rapidly selling the mortgages to aggregators, which in turn passed them on to others. The banks then loaned the money again. The more mortgages banks racked up, the more money they made. The risk was transferred to others.

In the past few years, two new groups of players entered the scene, one on either end of the spectrum. The first group comprised mortgage companies and brokers, nonbanking institutions whose business model was built primarily around the transaction. The brokers in particular had no skin in the game. Every time they executed a mortgage, they made money. If they didn't execute one, they didn't make money. The role of evaluating the borrower increasingly fell to these entities, neither of which was going to hold on to the debt instrument for more than a moment.

The second group was the final buyers of bundled mortgages -- increasingly, hedge funds. Hedge funds are monies gathered from various "qualified" investors -- otherwise known as rich people and institutions. They are private partnerships, so what they do with their money is between the managers and partners. No federal agency is responsible for protecting the private placement of money by the wealthy.

In a world of relatively low interest rates, wealth-seeking investors flocked to these hedge funds. Some of the older ones were superbly managed. The newer ones frequently were not. With a great deal of money in the system, there was a restless search for things to invest in -- and the secondary market in subprime mortgages appeared to be extremely attractive. Carrying relatively high rates of return, and theoretically collateralized by fairly liquid private homes, the risks of these deals appeared low and the returns on the mortgages -- particularly when you looked at the contracted increases -- seemed extremely attractive.

The fact is that no one really worried about defaults. The mortgage originators that prepared the documentation for these riskier loans certainly didn't care. They just wanted the mortgages to go through. The primary lenders didn't worry because they were going to resell them in hours or days anyway. The mortgage aggregators didn't care because they were going to resell them, too. And the final holders didn't worry because they assumed the system would permit easy refinancing of loans at sustainable interest rates, and that -- in a worst-case scenario -- they at least owned a portfolio of houses that they could bundle and sell to real estate companies, perhaps even at a profit.

The final owner of the mortgage, of course, is the loser. The assumption that subprimes could be refinanced if need be failed to take into account that higher interest rates priced these people out of the market. But the worst part is this: Many hedge funds leveraged their purchase of mortgages by using them as collateral to borrow money from the banks.

That was the tipping point. When the subprime defaults started to hit, the banks that had loaned money against the mortgage portfolios re-evaluated the loans. They called some, they stopped rollovers of others and they raised interest rates. Basically, the banks started reducing the valuation of the underlying assets -- subprime mortgages -- and the internal financial positions of some hedge funds started to unravel. In some cases, the hedge funds could not repay the loans because they were unable to resell their subprime mortgages. This started causing a liquidity crisis in the global banking system, and the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank began pumping money into the system.

Told this way, this is a story of how excess emerges in a business cycle. But it is not really a very interesting story because the business cycle always ends in excess. As economic conditions improve, more people with more money chase fewer investment opportunities. They crowd into investments that seem to guarantee vast or sure returns -- and they get hammered. The economy contracts into a recession, as it tends to do twice every decade, and then life goes on.

There currently are three possibilities. One is that the subprime crisis is an overblown event that will not even represent the culmination of a business cycle. The second is that we are about to enter a normal cyclical recession. The third, and the one that interests us, is that this crisis could result in a fundamental shift in how the U.S. or the international system works.

We need to benchmark the subprime crisis against other economic crises, and the one that most readily comes to mind is the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. The two are not identical, but each involved careless lending practices that affected the economy while devastating individuals. But looking at it in a geopolitical sense, the S&L crisis was a nonevent. It affected nothing. Bearing in mind the difficulty of quantifying such things because of definitions, let's look for an order of magnitude comparison to see whether the subprime crisis is smaller or larger than the S&L crisis before it.

Not knowing the size of the ultimate loss after workout, we try to measure the magnitude of the problem from the size of the asset class at risk. But we work from the assumption that proved true in the S&L crisis: Financial instruments collateralized against real estate, in the long run, limit losses dramatically, although the impact on individual investors and homeowners can be devastating. We have no idea of the final workout numbers on subprime. That will depend on the final total of defaults, the ability to refinance, the ability to sell the houses and the price received. The final rectification of the subprime will be a small fraction of the total size of the pool.

Therefore, we look at the size of the at-risk pool, compared to the size of the economy as a whole, to get a sense of the order of magnitude we are dealing with. In looking at the assets involved and comparing them to the gross domestic product (GDP), the overall size of the economy, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. estimates that the total amount of assets involved in that crisis was $519 billion. Note that these are assets in the at-risk class, not failed loans. The size of the economy from 1986 to 1989 (the period of greatest turmoil) was between $4.5 trillion and $5.5 trillion. So the S&L crisis involved assets of between 8 percent and 10 percent of GDP. The final losses incurred amounted to about 3 percent of GDP, incurred over time.

The size of the total subprime market is estimated by Reuters to be about $500 billion. Again, this is the total asset pool, not nonperforming loans. The GDP of the United States today is about $14 trillion. That means this crisis represents about 3.5 percent of GDP, compared to between 9 percent and 10 percent of GDP in the S&L crisis. If history repeats itself -- which it won't precisely -- for the subprime crisis to equal the S&L crisis, the entire asset base would have to be written off, and that is unlikely. That would require a collapse in the private home market substantially greater than the collapse in the commercial real estate market in the 1980s -- and that was quite a terrific collapse.

Now, many arguments could be made that the estimates here are faulty or that different concepts should be used. We will concede that there are several ways of looking at this crisis. But in trying to get a handle on it strictly from a geopolitical perspective, this gives us a benchmark with which to analyze the mess.

Can it balloon into something greater? The big risk is that the weak hands in the game, the hedge funds, are suddenly coming into possession of a great number of houses that they will have to put on the market simultaneously in fire sales. That could force home prices down. At the same time, most homes are not at risk, and their owners are not hedge funds. Moreover, it is not clear whether most of the hedge funds that own subprime mortgages will be forced to try to monetize the underlying assets. It is far from clear whether the crisis will affect home prices decisively. If home prices were to collapse at the rate that commercial real estate collapsed in the 1980s, we would revisit the issue. But, unlike commercial real estate, in which price declines force more properties on the market, home real estate has the opposite tendency when prices decline -- inventory contracts. So, unless this crisis can pyramid to forced sales in excess of the subprime market, we do not see this rising to geopolitical significance.

From this, two conclusions emerge: First, this is far from being a geopolitically significant event. Second, it is not clear whether this is large enough to represent the culminating event in this business cycle. It could advance to that, but it is not there yet. We cannot preclude the possibility, though it seems more likely to be a stress point in an ongoing business cycle.

Apart from discussing the subprime issue, this crisis offers us an opportunity to explain how we view economic activity. First, we try to understand, at a fairly high level, what exactly happened, much as we would approach a war or a coup. Then we try to compare this event to other events whose outcomes we know. And, finally, we try to place it on a continuum ranging from fundamental geopolitical change to normal background noise. This is more than normal background noise, but it has not yet risen even to the level of a routine, cyclical shift in the business cycle.


I've been reading a lot of articles on this sub prime action, some of the lefties that I read have been predicting this meltdown for over a year...

Yet according to Stratfor this may not mean financial meltdown in the US and therefore many other countries.... sure does sound like a whole lot of people are about to suffer some more and I wonder will anyone be held accountable for the greed that ahs created a situation where those with the least get another kick in the nuts?

Hold tight things sure seem to be getting weird!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Africans to Bono: 'For God's sake please stop!'

"THE BONO WATCH… We checked out the web site of Forbes Magazine, co-owned by Bono, in late July and found an endorsement of pro-censorship lunatic Sam Brownback’s flat tax proposal and a relentless drumbeat for lower taxes for the rich. This is fine with Bono, who moved his corporate headquarters from Ireland to Holland to avoid paying a 12.5 corporate tax rate, less than Irish plumbers or teachers pay. Indeed, one reason Bono’s such a fan of George Bush is that Dubya has blocked European attempts to eliminate Continental tax havens.

Bono also says that “Bill Clinton did an incredible thing on starting this debt cancellation. He deserves real credit. And now, President Bush deserves credit for finishing it out.”

Bush “finishing out” debt cancellation? Bono is not telling the truth. The May/June issue of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting’s Extra! breaks it down: “Before the G8 summit, African countries owed a combined total of $15 billion a year on debt payments; after the vaunted debt relief agreements, they owed $14 billion a year. Only a quarter of African countries were even eligible for the debt relief program, which required them to enact harmful neoliberal economic stipulations, like privatization of vital services such as water and education, and acceptance of heavily unequal trade rules that prevent true economic development. What’s more, none of them actually received 100 per cent debt cancellation.”

At June’s Technology Entertainment and Design conference in Tanzania, Andrew Mwenda, a Ugandan journalist and social worker, spoke out against reliance on foreign charity, pointing out that it had never succeeded in reviving an economy anywhere in the world, least of all Africa. He made his points only with difficulty however because throughout the speech he was heckled from the back of the room with shouts of “Bullshit!” and “Bollocks!” The heckler was Bono, who apparently believes that the nonsense he’s been spoon-fed by the likes of Bush and Tony Blair is gospel. What Bono doesn’t want to hear is the truth: He’s not one of the oppressed, the oppressed never asked him to speak for them, and he has about as much chance of leading Africa out of its economic and political problems as his political pals do of creating peace and justice in Mesopotamia."

taken from a email list I'm on

more on the conference here

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Tony Wilson

It's difficult to see how there could be another one like him really.

"A truly great individual died today. Anthony H Wilson, free born man of Manchester and anarcho capitalist intellectual left this world a much richer place than when he arrived. He gave us Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, A Certain Ratio, The Hacienda and inspired a wave of bands, designers, artists, agitators, new media rebels and creative arts entrepreneurs to get their shit together and get out there and just do it!

Tony Wilson loved life, Manchester, art, football and philosophy. He also loved challenge and the last couple of years saw him facing his biggest challenge yet. He geared up for the challenge of cancer like he did everything else. He learned about it, weighed up its weaknesses and strengths, calculated the odds against beating it and then in true Wilsonian style he got on with the work of trying to overcome it.

Tony Wilson relished obstacles. His very nature was one of the pioneering “can do” spirit. Some wise person once said, “Those who kick down the doors towards progress are trampled under foot by the rush to go through them.”, well, if that’s the case, Tony Wilson’s back should be covered in footprints. Another facet of true individualism is the almost perverse sense of satisfaction of standing back and watching your vision become appropriated, copied and even pirated. The vision is all, and once it is embedded, restlessness returns and it’s time to move on to the next one.

“Visionary” often gets bandied about and the word can lose its resonance when applied to certain individuals. To me, a true visionary is one who isn’t afraid to be marginalized, ridiculed and ignored when pursuing a vision. A true visionary has no peers, constituency or market until the vision is birthed. A true visionary is a gambler, not purely in monetary and security terms, but in terms of running the risk of losing his or her objectivity in pushing the integral line of their vision forward. A true visionary is selfish in striving towards seeing their vision manifest and a true visionary can step back and watch others take the credit for their vision and the joy it brings to many. Tony Wilson ticks all the boxes.

Wilson’s impact on popular culture can never be underestimated. Whether you’re a fan of the bands he introduced us to or the people he facilitated to get their work out into the market place is irrelevant. Starting with Punk, Wilson pushed the envelope of counter culture right up into the mainstream for the mass consumerist to enjoy without alienating the more discerning creators and lovers of spontaneous independent products, and in doing so he generated an entire city both economically and culturally. If you think I’m over-doing it on the economics in this tribute, please bare with me.

No tribute to Tony Wilson would be true to his spirit if it didn’t touch upon the man’s love of liberty, freedom and marketeering. “Freewheeling” has become cognitive with those great avatars of the 1960’s counter cultural revolution: Hoffman, Thompson, Leary, Flynt, Kesey etc. In my opinion, Wilson was following on from that seeded tradition of organized anarchy. An anarchy that recognized that there was no shame in reaching a mass audience to spread the good words of “get off your arse and go do it for yourself if nothing’s speaking to you.” Create your own times. Write your own history. Go wherever it takes you and don’t be embarrassed if it becomes popular. In fact, strive towards sharing your vision with as many people as possible.

Tony’s populist credentials were immaculate. For years he fronted the cosy early evening regional TV news for Granada with stories about bins not being emptied and cats being stuck up trees and Old Dears all across the North West thought of him as a well spoken, well dressed heartthrob. Not cool, but Tony Wilson understood that the common concept of “cool” is an arbitrary and anti-individualistic concept, and that “cool” in its historical jazz age sense is about defining oneself through actions of aloofness for the integrity of a higher vision. Tony Wilson was a man with a plan.

I remember once laughing out loud after hearing that Wilson’s Factory Records was in dire financial straits again and that Wilson was planning on launching a classical music label. If that isn’t a “fuck you” to society in general I don’t know what is, and the beauty for me is the fact that an action like that actually scares the shit out of the soulless corporate careerists who run the media. It scares them, I believe, because it highlights the chasm between passionate independent individuals (who would inspire a tribute like this and the many that will follow) and themselves.

Can you possibly imagine people calling and e-mailing each other with fond memories when Simon Cowell dies? And that’s not being snobbish, I’m not questioning peoples love of X-Factor winners, each to their own, but it goes deeper than that. What we had in Tony Wilson was an autonomous objectivity that was palpable even if you have no understanding of its psychological framing. In other words, Tony Wilson’s quest for championing the art he believed in was infectious and I do believe secretly envied by those who knew they just didn’t have the nous or courage to do something really interesting, new and challenging.

It’s horrible to think that The State figured in the endgame of a remarkable individual’s life. His battle with cancer would have been prolonged by a drug that a local NHS Trust could have administered to him. They refused on the grounds of cost, even though other NHS Trusts around the country have dispensed it to those needing it. Tony Wilson was caught in what is now becoming commonly known as a grotesque post code lottery. Wilson was not a monetary wealthy man. He used money as a tool to create rather than let money use him as a tool to create more money.

Wilson’s friends rallied and managed to buy him dosages of the drug. That they should have had to do is an indictment against The State. Here was a man who economically recharged Manchester, earned The State millions in revenue and inspired thousands of young entrepreneurs up and down the land to go out and create wealth for themselves, the cities they lived in and The Exchequer.

The bureaucrats said that they were “just doing their jobs” when challenged by BBC Northwest. That phrase sums up the banality of evil, but I suppose in the final analysis we should pity rather than despise them. Think about what it must be like to be bureaucrat in a state machine that feeds on pettiness and office politics and the subjugating of the creative spirit in the name of efficiency? Ugh!

Then think what it must have been like to be Anthony H Wilson. Think of the trials, tribulations, the goals and the ones that hit the crossbar. Think of walking into a spit and sawdust pub and finding the sublime majesty that was Joy Division playing a modern day sermon on the mount to a handful of followers, think of hosting your own late night TV show and running VT of bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols, Patti Smith and The Ramones, think about discovering a modern day William Wordsworth, think about opening a club that everyone said was a white elephant and then think about the joy when you saw it bursting to the rafters with kids from all over the country turning it into their very own electronic Mecca, think about seeing the city you loved becoming famous all over the world because you had the vision to drag it out of the dark ages by uniting and nurturing the maligned and neglected talent.

No, I’d rather live a year of freedom in the smart shoes of Tony Wilson than a lifetime in the faux leather ones of a bureaucrat. Let them dream only of their handsome State pensions.

Henri Frederic Amiel said, “Great men are true men, the men in whom nature has succeeded. They are not extraordinary, they are in the true order. It is the other species of men who are not what they ought to be.” Tony Wilson was true to his nature. That’s all we can really strive for in life. He succeeded again and again and again."

Dean Cavanagh - SFGate

Yes Tony Wilson was one of my heros

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Poor Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire

It is of course far too simplistic to suggest that 1994 has that much bearing on the world post September 11.

Even if the US hadn't invaded one must ask the question - are the Iraqi's better off under the regime of a) sanctions they endured or under b) occupation... I dunno, I imagine a Iraqi would answer c) none of the above, please

If only we could turn back time... with the benefit of hindsight which of course we can't. Perhaps however it is not too much to ask our global leaders to exercise a tad more foresight - but then one would have to think the Quagmire wasn't one of the many desired results

Monday, August 13, 2007

Who is like Bob?

Which Family Guy Character Are You?

You are Peter. You are fat and dumb. You probably spend a lot of time watching TV and drinking, but that isn't a bad thing.
Find Your Character @

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tony Wilson RIP

How Tony Wilson changed music
By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Tony Wilson, the music mogul who has died at 57, leaves behind an enormous musical legacy.

He played an integral role in establishing Manchester as a cultural centre, signing bands such as New Order, whose distinctive sound turned them into a global success.

The Factory label and the Hacienda nightclub were two of his best-known projects.

However, he was also recognised for his talent-spotting ability and his foresight in predicting the popularity of downloaded music.

Here are five ways that Wilson changed the music industry.

Wilson, who had been working as a reporter at Granada TV, gave the Sex Pistols their television debut in 1976.

He had seen the punk pioneers' legendary gig at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall that June.

And he booked them for the second series of his Granada music programme So It Goes.

The audience also included future stars such as Morrissey, Mark E Smith and Mick Hucknall, who were inspired by the event to form their own bands.

Only about 40 people were in the crowd, according to author David Nolan, who wrote a book hailing the concert The Gig that Changed the World.

"What those Mancunians did was astonishing," he told the BBC last year.

"They sent club culture around the world; they sent the independent record scene around the world; they took a style of music around the world."

Joy Division, New Order and Electronic were among the acts on the roster at Manchester's Factory Records.

It has often been said that Wilson wrote contracts in his own blood, saying the artists owned everything and the label owned nothing.

Whether this story was true or not, the principle certainly was.

It was a powerful and revolutionary statement of creative freedom - but it was also financial suicide.

Albums were overdue and over-budget when they were delivered.

New Order's Blue Monday became the biggest-selling 12" single in UK history.

But Factory lost money on every copy sold because of the intricate die-cut design of its sleeve, which looked like a floppy disc.

Wilson also claimed that Factory was on the verge of signing Oasis and Pulp before it went bankrupt in 1992.

Rob Gretton, who was the manager of Joy Division and New Order, decided there should be a venue that played the kind of music he liked to hear.

The Hacienda was funded by New Order and Factory Records, and as well as being a magnet for clubbers, it also hosted gigs - such as Madonna's first UK appearance.

"The Hacienda changed Manchester forever," said Vaughan Allen, chief executive of the city's Urbis centre, which is currently hosting an exhibition about the club.

"It did 25 years ago what MySpace does today, bringing together creative people to create something new," he told the BBC last month.

The venue was officially opened by risque comedian Bernard Manning.

He departed quickly, however - some accounts say he left his fee behind because he was so unimpressed by the sound system, while others claim it was owing to the fact that his act went down badly with the crowd.

Set up in 1992, it is the UK's largest and most influential forum for finding new talent and discussing the future of the industry.

It allows the music industry to run the rule over the cream of the UK's new and unsigned bands.

And it has helped launch the careers of almost every major British act of the last 15 years.

Oasis, Radiohead and Suede played at the first In the City.

Muse and Coldplay appeared in 1998; Snow Patrol performed in 2000; and The Arctic Monkeys put in an appearance five years later.

Wilson was renowned as "one of the great spotters of music talent", said Alan McGee, who founded Creation - the home of Oasis and Primal Scream.

"He was a complete inspiration," McGee told the NME website following Wilson's death.

Wilson was one of the first people to realise the full implications of the illegal downloading revolution that Napster ushered in at the turn of the millennium, and to turn it into an opportunity.

Back in 1999 - four years before iTunes was launched - Wilson was preparing a site called Music33, which sold tracks from local labels for 33p each.

He said the 33p price-tag was based on an honest assessment of the costs of digital delivery.

However, the site failed to take off and the cost of digital music was set much higher by the major players in the coming years.

One of his finest moments.

Wake Up America, You're Dead!

'Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the New Music Seminar. The rest of the shit going on in the rest of this building is the Old Music Seminar. This is the New Music Seminar.'

Tony Wilson, TV host, club owner, entrepreneur, pauses for dramatic effect. The Brits in the audience smile. Some applaud. We scent a wind-up. The Americans, congregated this Monday lunchtime in the Astor Room of New York's Marriott Marquis, are silent.

'The New Music Seminar was founded in 1980 to reflect, as the title perhaps would suggest, new music,' Wilson continues drily, satisfied his outrage is having the desired effect. 'There is a new music now, however it is probably only reflected in this particular room in the course of this week.

'I'd like to begin with a quote. The quote is: 'The kids wanna dance'. That does not come from Manchester or Madchester 1989 or The Haçienda or Ibiza in 1987; it comes from the Family Dog in San Francisco in 1964. You used to know how to dance here. God knows how you fucking forgot.

'What people in America don't seem to know is that the music which has come out of Chicago and Detroit in the last 10 years has so changed British pop music-not only dance music but also rock music-that now, if you're a British rock group and you cannot play rock music in the style to which you can dance and with the rhythms that have come out of America but that have been ignored here, then you aren't a rock group that matters. You're dead.

'There are groups that American A&R men go berserk over - The Sundays, The House Of Love, people like that who, in England, are so marginalised that they're completely irrelevant. It's a strange situation to be living in a country like that and then to come over here-which is why this panel is called 'Wake Up America, You're Dead!'

Tony Wilson tells us his task today is two-fold - to recount the curious history of how American House music infected the British indie scene and started making so much money and to try and discover why, if it works in Britain, it's going nowhere in the States. To this effect he has assembled a panel featuring Robert Ford, formerly of Billboard, who virtually discovered rap music: Screaming Rachel, a Chicago House DJ now working in New York: Nathan McGough, manager of Happy Mondays: Paul Dennis, who runs London dance clubs: Derrick May, a Detroit House producer: and Marshall Jefferson, a foremost Chicago House producer of whom Wilson says: 'Things are so bad that personally I'm amazed to be sitting here with this man. He was suggested as a panellist on a producers' panel at this particular seminar. A very senior A&R person from the only American record company still owned by you fucking Americans said, "No no no, he wasn't that important. He should be a reserve panellist". That man should be taken out and fucking hung.'

Keith Allen is also here. He is introduced as Dr Keith Allen of the Post-Freudian Therapy Centre in Geneva and a world expert on drugs. There's an outbreak of muttering when Wilson says this and he doesn't miss the opportunity. 'It's so strange in America,' he says, beaming. 'You're so embarrassed about fucking drugs aren't you? It didn't do Guns N' Roses any harm.'

The early years of House are quickly recounted-how Frankie Knuckles, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Jessie Saunders and others created the music in under-age, non-drinking clubs in Chicago and how it struggled and struggles still because record companies see it as a producers' medium and are not willing to invest in what they consider to be a string of one-hit wonders. Then Wilson picks up the story, citing Mike Pickering in Manchester and Graham Park In Derby as the DJs who brought this music to Britain in 1986/7.

Dr Keith Allen is now called upon to explain the history and the effects of Ecstasy and a few bums start shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

'The basic psychology was,' Allen begins, 'in 1987 in a club called Schoom, I had a load of Ecstasy topped off with a little amyl-nitrate sort of sex-inducing vibe and I would give people one of these tablets and they would give me £20. That's psychology.'

There's much laughter and clapping from the British contingent.

'And we were both very, very happy. Now I should really put this into perspective because I'm now the father of eight children cos, as you probably know, when you get on one, as we say in England, you wanna chuck it about everywhere. And I did.

'It's really weird actually, I'm not a doctor of psychology. It's obvious. I'm an airline pilot.'

Rachel interrupts him: 'I'd like to say something concerning the drug. I don't wanna sound sick and wimpy but a lot of the Chicago people thought that Acid was this natural high that you got from listening to this music.'

Keith Allen laughs: 'I don't believe in natural highs. I think you should pay for it.'

Wilson sees the discussion's heading for trouble and pulls it back on line with a bit of history about how the Ibiza attitude came back to Britain with the holidaymakers and how they latched onto House as the hippest music around. Paul Dennis explains what a rave is for the Americans who don't know, and then Keith Allen chips in again: 'For any of you aspiring promoters over here, a really good way to make money, right, is to book telephone lines, okay? We do it with British Telecom. You book telephone lines and then you give out numbers for people to phone all night long so they're phoning these numbers at 40p a call. Now I take 20p of that phone call myself and, of course, there's no party! Hahaha! I've got 20,000 phone calls between eight o'clock and three in the morning man! I was making loadsa money! It's all part of the vibe, y'know?'

Wilson: 'I went into my club, The Haçienda, two weeks ago and one and a half thousand 18-year old kids were going mental, dancing like crazy to Northside, to Mondays, to Marshall Jefferson, to Derrick May, to Pink Floyd, to The Beatles... I've never seen anything like it in my life and I felt old for the first time. The wave is that strong.

'I think if we talk about the fulcrum moments, one was when the Balearic all-night Ibiza dance attached itself to house music in the beginning of '88 and the other great moment was when people like Ronnie and Paul Ryder, the drummer and bass player of Happy Mondays, began to be able to put the dance rhythms out of Chicago and Detroit into rock music. They soon became the first generation of British groups with the Roses and Inspiral Carpets and now there's a dozen or more.'

Nathan McGough is called upon to explain how that happened and he says: 'We're not really trying to play House music with your traditional rock instruments. It's more that House music became the backdrop and the setting for the club culture which then focused and determined the new attitude and the new culture of British youth which Happy Mondays then took and expressed as a group and, through that, became the focal point, the anti-heroes for the new youth culture. '

'So, in other words,' says Robert Ford, 'your boys are drug dealers, they're not musicians.'

'Correct,' says McGough.

Once more Wilson steps into the breach to realign the row he has so cunningly contrived. 'The point is, kids in Britain for the last few years and still today and tomorrow are having the time of their lives in the words of the 'Dirty Dancing' movie. I don't see any kids in fucking America having the time of their lives.'

McGough picks up the thread: 'Eighty per cent of our Top 40 British records, according to your Billboard, are dance records. They're all records which developed from this scene. I've always hated commercial pop music and now you ask me to list my 10 favourite records, I would guess eight of them would be in the British Top 40. They would be records you could hear on national daytime radio.'

'I think that is a prime thing to say to America, ' says Wilson. 'The New Music Seminar began about a whole host of American and English groups who were still marginalised. This was a cult thing, our music, y'know...The Cure, Joy Division, Talking Heads... they were still marginal things in 1980 when we began. This thing in England and Europe is not marginal. As Nathan says, they're the only records that fucking sell in large numbers in England and in Europe. This is what has happened, the music and the rhythms that you lot created have changed British and European pop music, it's changed Australian pop music, it's happening in Japan, all over the world. Do you find it strange that it isn't strong in America, or as strong as it obviously is elsewhere?'

Derrick May has had enough: 'Ma-a-a-n,' he says, 'let me tell ya something. Dance music has been fucked up. You've got all these motherfuckers who don't know shit about where the shit comes from, they don't have no fucking idea what the fuck is happening and they're making money and they're fucking up the scene. Dance music is dead. I hate to say it. I do it for a living. I love it. I do it as an art, okay: But I know that when I have to sit back and see some bullshit Adamski shit... that's bullshit. On the charts! Number F-ing One! Okay?'

Tony Wilson rises to the challenge: 'I'm sure The Rolling Stones and The Beatles sounded pretty shitty to the real R&B people but without The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, you'd never have even known you had R&B in America.'

'Well I don't know about that,' says Derrick. 'It took some particular bureaucrat to give a nigger a chance. That's the bottom line to that, okay? They say it's not a dictatorship, but it is. We can't do anything unless you tell us to as much as we try. We can kick you in the ass, but guess what? You gonna stab us in the fuckin' back! All right? So don't tell me.

'We - and when I say we, I mean blacks - we all do something and you'll come behind us and turn it around and add somebody singing to it or some sort of little funky-ass or weak-ass chord line or whatever and get some stupid record company that doesn't know jack shit about shit to put £50,000 behind it and you got a fucking hit because you stuffed it down motherfuckers throats. So, this group, y'know, has tremendous success and I don't know what to say, man. I've just been busting my ass, it comes from the heart y'know. They do it and they just take drugs!

'Obviously dance music has to progress in one form or another and there was always some sort of relationship between pop music and dance music. But, we as black people have always had to deal with the fact that we've had to be better because, since the beginning of time, we've had to walk into a white person's house and clean a white motherfucker's ass, okay? So don't tell me.'

This is too much for Keith Allen. He says: 'Listen Derrick, I might have white skin but I'm black for fuck's sake! Look at me Derrick - look at me - I'm black.'

Nathan McGough joins in: 'None of the stuff you're talking about the money, the record industry, none of that means shit. Records in England break on white labels without any money at all. You can press up 100 records and it will go. It can go Top 10, Top five. National Radio 1 will play white labels, they don't know who mixed it or anything but they know people wanna hear it.

'I understand what Derrick's talking about - a true, pure music which is pirated and bastardised and then the record industry comes along and puts a bunch of white kids in the way and shoves it down people's throats. In England, that doesn't matter shit. The major record labels were shitting their pants for the last 12 months because they'd invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in groups which they could no longer sell because it was dead music.

'The whole Ecstasy and House culture from 1988 was like year zero, Pol Pot. The same way as '76 with the Pistols and anarchy, year zero. Anyone who's like 14 years of age, 15, 16, that's their marker, that's where they start. That's day one, year one.'

Derrick May responds: 'In America, the club scene is in trouble and, yeah, in England you have the clubs and the people but you don't necessarily have the DJs. It's typical of the world, but your DJs are more or less followers - they're very intimidated by playing anything new. Our DJs are technically better than yours.'

'Bullshit. Let's talk about DJs right?' says Wilson. 'The Haçienda played Chicago seven nights ago, it was fine. We played Detroit six nights ago, it was a bunch of shit. Your Detroit DJs didn't have one record that was made in the last fucking six months and they wouldn't play one thing under 130 bpm. They're all stick-in-the-muds and they should get themselves fucked.'

'Guess what?' says Derrick, 'None of us were there. We didn't even show up for that. I don't wanna dog you but if you want me to, I'll dog you flat-assed motherfucker.'

Wilson laughs; 'I have a TV show in England. Would you like to be on it Derrick? Every week? You and Keith? Every show?'

'What does 'Flat-assed motherfucker mean?' Keith Allen wants to know.

Derrick says; 'You got one long-assed back.'

'Right,' says Allen, 'well the reason we've got a really big long-assed back is because we can actually take the weight of the world on it. D'you know what I'm saying Derrick?'

The insults are staring to fly thick and fast. Wilson throws open the floor microphone and a Midwest jock gets well uptight with Keith Allen over the E stuff. Egged on by Derrick May, another guy gets up and says white folks think too much about it all while blacks just do it. From where I'm sitting, this sounds a tad close to the ol' natural riddim argument. But May's well into it.

'Yeah,' he shouts, 'that's also the reason why white people can't play basketball.'

Keith Allen responds in kind; 'Yeah, but that's the reason why black Americans don't ride horses. You've got to remember the reason that white guys don't play basketball is the same reason black guys don't ride horses.'

Marshall Jefferson gets up and walks out in disgust. Rachel calls after him pleading with him to return.

'He's got a point,' says May. 'This panel is ridiculous because what you've done is turned it into intimidating warfare.'

'We have?' says Wilson, all astonished like.

'SHUT UP MAN!' screams May. 'GODDAMN! SHUT THE F-UP! YOU MAKING A FOOL OUTTA YOUR STOOPID ASS!' He calms down a little. 'Goodbye,' he says. 'I don't have to argue.'

'Thank fuck for that,' says Allen.

Derrick May rises to leave but can't resist one more volley into the mike: 'I don't have to stand up for my manhood. You can argue with yourself. You can pull out your little two inch penis and dog yourself, okay? I'll see you later. Good night. And thank you very much, crowd. It's been nice.'

Derrick starts to leave, Rachel shouting after him;

'Derrick! Marshall! Come on! Somebody's gotta stand up for America!'

Two nights later, at The Sound Factory on West 27th Street, The Haçienda presents 'From Manchester With Love'. The club is a cavernous warehouse without a bar. The queue outside stretches over a mile down the block. Thousands can't get in. The MM contingent sneaks in the back door with Shaun and Bez, who arrive in a limo.

Happy Mondays play at 1:30, after 808 State. Everybody dances. With any luck America may never recover.

Factory Records was one of the most influential labels in my early music collecting years... Tony Wilson was a major inspiration for me.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

The future of the news

I've moaned on about News reporting in New Zealand once or twice of late

Seems a look to the future indicates that one day in the future there will be none.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Public Image - Careering

come on try to keep up would ya...

and for some light reading Steve Albini "Ask a music scene micro celebrity" some great reading and internet moments to be had in this very very long thread on a poker forum of all things.

and news just in Giant Lego man found in Dutch sea. How freakin cool is lego... you know you can make train sets!!!

update from bobs sick bed... the L.E.D.S

oh yeah much better listening at home, strange that and this is sans beer - hey I am sick and its 9.30am... alright... maybe whiskey later.. oh a hot toddy.... rubs belly, I could also be listening to it a lot louder but have a shocking headache and the panadol ain't kicked in yet

I can't help but be reminded of elements of Snapper and Neu!, Can, Suicide, Stereolab and a whole bunch of other awesome bands.

I'm still not blown away as I want to be, but am really liking it. Knowing myself as I do I can see the repeat button being pushed a number of times before I need to cleanse the palete and move onto more electronic fare.

Is there a weak track on this album.... no I don't think there is... they obviously ain't read the manual on filler tracks on albums... foolz

Yep, a great listen, a perfect album for cerain old buggers, of which I am happily one... I wonder what the kids make of it all?

damn, its finished and so am I... here that is

runs off to push the repeat button and boil the kettle again

Colour = grey

Stuck at home with the flu... bored... for the first time ever sick leave allocation is a issue in my job... first time I believe I've used all my sick leave... thus I either lose holidays or pay for being sick

This is a depressing thought.

I'm not sure if its making me feel any better.

Worse I am sick of sitting at home trying to keep myself occupied with little energy and find concentrating for long tiresome... I have books screaming to me and cannot cope with more than a few pages at a time.

I'm busy reading phillip K Dicks Minority Report - the volume of short stories that has found its way, thanks to Scott, to my fevered hands... I am trapped in a long story in it, I am unsure where the story is going and am undecided if its a awesome one or one I won't be re-reading.

I built some famrs in sim city yesterday and then gave the game away, the farmers are angry and I do believe if I leave the house I shall find tractor parts littering the driveway from a French inspired strike - come on sim city farmers I am not giving you subsidies, I is a kiwi.

I have a copy of the L.E.D.S album at the stereo and after reading a few super glowing reports of this band I am a tad concerned I won't be blown away - have listened to it twice at work and have no idea what I think yet - volume was too low and strangely my workplace is not a friendly environment for actually hearing and enjoying music. I am of the belief this album needs volume and perhaps beer, volume I can do but beer is not on the cards - can't think of anything worse right now (my god I am sick, LOL).

I have been thrashing the latest compilation Websta (he has awesome taste, across the musical spectrum - just don't ever tell him so) has given me, loving the Italoboyz – Victor Casanova track right now, tis awesome.

Douglas Lilburn's Songs Of Aotearoa is once again sitting on the turntables getting regular plays, I'm no classical buff nor generally someone who listens to this kind of music but I do adore this album.

I found out yesterday Al Jerreza is on triangle during the day, now theres a real depressing means to pass time at home - cripes there is a lot happening in the world. I watched TV3s news last night - no I am not proud of myself. I got depressed by how shoddy it was and bailed for bad US sit comland and nearly strangled myself - I was not strong enough to bring on death... do I need to visit the gym?

Yeah right do I look like I have lost the last vestage of sanity I have/had?

I shall buy a lotto ticket this weekend, for once again Bob needs to dream of a better life - one that doesn't have the normal lack of money in it, one where Bob can create his own destiny as opposed to simply being a wage slave stupidly clinging to a industry that pays him less than he earnt over a decade ago.

Christ knows what he'd do with lots of money... other than buy a shitload of music and devote too much time to discovering so much he's never had the time nor funds to enjoy.

He'd go on train trips, lots of train trips (bob likes trains, they go backwards and forwards - hed do the trans siberian railway for a start, ride the bullet train, travel from the UK to France on the train under the tunnel and and and oh so many to do... all whilst wearing I a I am a little sad T Shirt.

oh dear, Bob ya dreamer... oh well dreams are free and bob does have a overly active imagination

in short Bob is a little down today

toot toot

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Does not compute

First we had the 'anti smacking' legistlation of which 'middle new zealand' got in a uproar about - demanding their right to smack their kids.

Now we have 'middle new zealand' demanding their pound of blood for those that abuse their children.

Does anyone thing that this constant demand for violence is sending the wrong message?

There must be a better way...

No future, no future. No future, for me

The irony of our age is that for the first time in human history the science, technology, manufacturing and agriculture exist to eliminate all want. But in the context of a world also driven by the acquisition of corporate profits and deep-set class and nationalist divisions, the world's people instead face an increasingly uncertain and violent future. Or even the possibility of no future.

Is it too much to ask for us to simply get on with one another?

"This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Singer songwriter Hazlewood dies

Singer and songwriter Lee Hazlewood, best known for his work with Nancy Sinatra, has died of cancer, aged 78.

Hazlewood wrote and produced many of Sinatra's most famous hits, including These Boots Were Made For Walkin' and Some Velvet Morning.

He also produced Duane Eddy and Gram Parsons, while a number of solo albums brought him acclaim in his own right.

He died peacefully at his home near Las Vegas, his manager said. He is survived by his third wife and three children.

"He was my friend and my mentor," said Nancy Sinatra, who released three albums of duets with Hazlewood. "I always felt safe with him.

"I will miss him terribly," she added.

Hazlewood and Sinatra scored a UK top 10 hit with Did You Ever?
Hazlewood's manager Wyndham Wallace said the crooner was "without doubt one the most maverick and talented people I have ever met".

"He meant a lot to me long before I had the chance to work with him. His death is a tremendous loss for the music community."

Hazlewood's hits with Nancy Sinatra in the 1960s and early '70s included Jackson and Did You Ever?

The pair's close working relationship led to him producing Something Stupid - the duet Nancy recorded with her father Frank in 1967.

Hazlewood's music was informed by his quirky sense of humour
In later years, Hazlewood became a cult figure amongst alternative musicians.

In 1999, he returned to the stage with a sell-out show at London's Royal Festival Hall after being invited to play by Nick Cave, who was curating the Meltdown Festival.

Diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005, Hazlewood gave away his gold and platinum discs to friends outside the music industry and started worked on his final album, Cake Or Death.

Hazlewood's family have asked that people wishing to honour his memory make donations to the Salvation Army. Tributes can be left on the singer-songwriter's Myspace page.



Ya go on 'holiday' and the world changes

Seinfeld has been canned... was a wonderful means to ignore the news, replaced by rubbish.

TV programmers really are wankers!

I have found a cure

Cities Skylines: MARS (Live Stream)