Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BREAKING - Jello Biafra Cancels Tour Date in Israel

Statement from Jello Biafra Wednesday June 29 2011

(follow his band Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine on Facebook)

Dear Friends,

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine are not going through with the July 2 date in Tel Aviv.  This does not mean I or anyone else in the band are endorsing or joining lockstep with the boycott of all things Israel.

I am going to Israel and Palestine to check things out myself and may yet conclude that playing for people in the belly of the beast was the right thing to do in the first place.

The toll and stress on the band members and myself has been huge, both logistically and as a matter of conscience.  I can't drag anyone any further into rough waters without being better prepared than some of us thought we were.  A responsible leader does not go, 'Hey, check out the storm at the top of Mount Everest.  Let's go up anyway just in case we don't die.'  Some members are angry with me for this decision, let alone how long it took me.  I don't blame them.

It would have been so easy to quietly pass on the gig out of fear someone might get upset, and no one would have been the wiser.  We could have flown under the radar, left the date off our tour postings and not bothered with a statement, but how honest is that?

Our intention in going was that we thought we could do some good , speaking truth to power, fans and impressionable young minds in a way that most bands don't.  What about the people on the same side of the human rights fence we are who now don't get to see us play?  Should they be boycotted too?  What about the even larger atrocities of the Bush regime and by extension Obama?  Should we turn off our mouths of anger and boycott our own country too?

We tried again and came close to landing a Ramallah show, but again, we needed to be better prepared.  How fair is it to the organizers to demand a full-on rock show on a few days' notice with a type of music they may not be familiar with?  More importantly, how much are we really doing for Palestinian rights if people there don't seem interested in our kind of music at all?

I've been doing this long enough to know better than buy into hardline absolutes such as playing in Israel automatically supports apartheid or Israel's government.  That threat is ridiculous.  I know far more about this issue than some people think I do, and I am not a poodle for Hasbara, Peace Now, BDS or anyone else.

The first people contacting us went out of their way to be diplomatic and communicate how they felt.  Then our Facebook page went from eye-opening and educational to a childish bickerfest between a handful of people, to the point where we had to try something else just to reclaim our own Facebook page.

As the gloves came off, unfortunately so did some of the masks.  Calling anyone speaking up for Palestinian rights a 'terrorist' is dumb.  So are the blanket condemnations of everyone who happens to be Israeli that seem to be coming from the 'drive all the Jews into the sea' crowd.  I also even got an invitation from a self-proclaimed fan to 'come meet the Israeli right' and see the settlements through their eyes, complete with a wine-tasting party. Whew!

Whoever started now admits it was aimed solely at one person - me.  It is obvious that not everyone signing the petition has any idea who I am, or knows anything about punk, possibly the majority.  The last time I looked I could only find three names of people I actually knew.  Some made it clear that I will be on their bad list no matter what I do because I dared to even think of playing in Israel.

I can't back anyone whose real goal or fantasy is a country ethnically cleansed of Jews or anyone else.  Where people who think for themselves or talk to the wrong person are automatically a sell out.  Speaking personally, I currently favor two democratic states in the admittedly naive hope that in our lifetime they can somehow evolve into one.  Where race or religion does not matter because people have learned to work with each other.

I think back to last year when JBGSM played in Serbia.  The locals we spent time with were not monsters, and filled me in on how they risked their necks for years opposing and demonstrating against Milosevic and were not down with ethnic cleansing at all.  But they weren't too happy about being bombed by NATO for over 2 months straight either, and showed the ruined buildings to prove it.

I also heard comments like, 'The Croats killed my grandfather in World War II.  I can't forget that...' and 'There's another war coming soon.  I can feel it.'  The most I could do from the stage is say that I do not know what I would do if the Croats or Serbs killed my grandfather, or a suicide bomber or occupying army killed my child.  But I would hope I would be one of those people who could somehow say, 'Can't we have some peace?'  The audience seemed to appreciate that.

The next day I laid out my thoughts and emotions to the person giving me a ride in Slovenia. She turned ice cold and said, 'Maybe next time you should play in Bosnia.' Good point. The nightmare continues.

Rise Above,

Jello Biafra

Friday, June 17, 2011

Da Bearz Are Back - Peak Oil Transition

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Friday, June 3, 2011

The Reality Detached American

A powerful video urging people to stay hopeful and keep preparing in the face of all the uncertainty and denial in the world today.  Please share.

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TRC is run solely on donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!

Mitch Daniels Not Running for Captain of the Titanic [Update]

Aside from the recent news from Washington that The Health and Human Services Department rejected changes in Indiana's Medicaid plan Wednesday, saying it illegally bans funding for Planned Parenthood, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has also made headlines by stating he will not be running for the White House next year.

Good news for women on both counts...but I'm not getting too excited, Hoosier ladies...he is still in office, can still pander to the Right and can still touch stuff.

What caught my eye recently were statements he made regarding his decision not to run in 2012.  Specifically, in regards to the economy; something Mitch should know something about as former Budget Director for the Bush White House.  This also means he's familiar with changing the story when it suits PR.

My question is if he's not running and can't seek re-election here in Indiana, these recent statements and pandering are all for what, exactly?

In a recent piece of commentary in my blessedly local county paper; respect for Gov. Daniels shines through as well as disappointment for Mitch not taking that 'road untraveled' to the White House.  I myself have much more relief than disappointment.

After doing a lot of research about the current Gov. Daniel's time in the former Bush White House, I wasn't surprised to find myself looking directly at yet another inconsistency in his statements.  I can't escape fact checking over morning coffee with a weekly suburban paper. One of Daniels' statements makes me scratch my head as to what on earth he's planning to do next because I don't trust the man as far as I could throw him. I don't care how cool his motorcycle is.

This isn't about why he said he wouldn't run; this is obvious from his statements about his family, which (aside from his Planned Parenthood decision) most find noble. But it was the statements about our national economic crisis that continue to leave me questioning his logic. The same logic of wanting a "truce on divisive social issues" to focus on the financial challenge that "threatens us all" yet Indiana women got no such 'truce' when he pandered to the Right (breaking federal law) and never planned to run for the White House?

You have to wonder.

In regards to not seeking a White House run, Daniels' stated, "The answer is that I will not be a candidate. What could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women's caucus, and there is no override provision." [Mitch is the only male in his family unit. Many Indiana women are curious if the decision about Planned Parenthood was discussed with that mini-caucus.] "Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more."

Daniels continues, "I am deeply concerned, for the first time in my life, about the future of our Republic." Speaking at an Indiana Education Roundtable meeting at IUPUI, Daniels said, "This nation is facing what the president's own Deficit Commission Chairman says is the most predictable crisis in history and we're not doing anything about it. And that's why I thought about it [running] at all."

Here is the part where I explain why that particular statement made coffee come out of my nose.

After the 2003 Bush Administration budget release, Mitch Daniels went to Capitol Hill to testify and put on the most ridiculous display of his tenure, refusing to admit the role of the tax cut in the country's fiscal deterioration. When Senator Kent Conrad, D-ND, asked Daniels about the deficit during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on February 5, 2003, the OMB director simply denied the role of the 2001 legislation, claiming that "it simply is not true that any policy, let alone the tax cuts, is responsible for the deficit we're facing today." Conrad incredulously asked, "The tax cuts have no part of the deficits going forward?" Daniels denied he meant this, but when Conrad said, "I am talking about the ten years of this budget window. The tax cuts have played a major role in the return to deficits and burgeoning debt," Daniels' reply was "Well, sir, your comment moves me to use a four letter word: bunk," to which he later added, "The only deficit we know about is the deficit we're experiencing right now, perhaps the deficit for next year. Let's be a little humble about what we can and cannot see going forward."

So now Mitch is deeply concerned about the "most predictable crisis in history"? The hubris was at full speed when the Titanic slammed into the iceberg. Mitch has to see the folly of fighting for that public spot at the Captian's table, especially since he helped provide the fuel for the 'full steam ahead' Bush tax cut policy...the one that has continued to this day.  I'm sure he's deeply concerned that many of the passengers aboard know just how predictable this part of the crisis was.  Add throwing the 'national' female caucus overboard by breaking his own 'truce' during such a colossal economic disaster -- and 'humble guy on motorcycle' really doesn't fly.

It's certainly not the first time for many of us 'out here' to be deeply concerned. Media is just one aspect of my concern for the Republic. I'm glad Mitch is not running; for whatever reason it is he tells the short-attention-span press, his family or the public. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the Gov. has up his sleeve next that made him pander to the Right. A cushy corporate job promised? Perhaps a lobbyist? Or could it have been as simple as a dig at the current administration? [Update: It turned out he landed the prestigious title of President of Purdue University -- psst: it's the largest agricultural school in the midwest, if not the nation. Think big ag money/Monsanto here...]

I'd like to suggest a new line of work for the future 'former' Governor - something socially harmless, like motorcycle sales. Time to earn those cool points back, Mitch.

The last thing the Republic needs while taking on water is to watch 'yes men' rearranging deck chairs, pandering to religious zealots, worried only about keeping their political careers afloat while praying on their knees that the 'too big to fail' ship really isn't sinking, but sucking up to the shortsighted assholes that built the thing to fail without regulations in place to prevent it. But who needs regulations when you can kiss some ass to get room on the best lifeboats, right?

Most predictable crisis in history, indeed. And there are other icebergs not being discussed that led to this - but the important thing to know is how to get through it. Molly Brown would have been wise enough to see why Wall Street, Big Banks, Congress, politicians, even the President won't warn the public. It's because they don't have enough lifeboats. They are ill-prepared to deal with a panicked Republic tugging at them for safety. They are in 'save yourself' mode.

Which is where we all have to be. We are all going to have to build our own lifeboats, in our states and local communities. If the heart and soul of the Republic is going to make it, we have to focus on our local elections more than ever, grow our own food, know our local farmers, community organizations, banks, police, firefighters and our neighbors. The world is about to get a whole lot smaller and a whole lot simpler. I can't think of too many people who think that's a bad thing at all.

Does Mitch have some plan for Indiana that reflects his deep concerns? I don't know but he was certainly unconcerned about the national economy a decade ago or my health in this current economic decade. So I'm not one for waiting around in chest high water for some guy in the engine room, or Captain Obama himself to tell me I need a lifeboat. I'm happy to report that there are many of us who saw the damn iceberg and are far away from the sinking ship.

The Refreshment Center is transitioning in our lifeboat and connecting with others who are doing the same all over the country and around the world. Make no mistake, this is a global economic crisis - the Republic isn't alone but it is waking up and catching up with the rest of the world now. And we're finding we want the same things.

Democracy, accountability, sustainability and peaceful community.

We've got a lot of work to do.

What happens next is up to all of us. You can help The Refreshment Center get the word out by donating during our June 'angel donor' fund drive - where all donations are DOUBLED through June 29th to launch the The Refreshment Center - Transition News You Can Use radio station on the web. We're all in this together, let's prepare, prepare, prepare!

TRC is run solely on donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!