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Rush to judgement: How rock and roll became conservative

Here’s how the Canadian band Rush became the libertarian underdogs who helped change the perception of rock and roll as a leftist genre.

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When rock and roll music first came to prominence, it was considered rebellious, anti-establishment and even subversive. The product of mostly black American musicians, it quickly and sadly became a linchpin for white American racism.

When young white men started playing rock and roll, rock’s anti-establishment credentials remained much the same. A centrist or even centre-left public figure could barely embrace Chuck Berry any more than Buddy Holly without being accused of poor taste or trying to pander to ‘delinquent youth’.

It must be said that in the Soviet Union, black music was embraced without a hint of racism, although rock and roll still remained taboo, unlike for example, the vocal music of Paul Robeson which was beloved in the USSR.

When The Beatles came onto the scene in the early 1960s, things weren’t very different. The Beatles horrified many of the ‘old guard’ but throughout the 1960s as The Beatles became increasingly musically proficient, innovative and mature song-writers, they gradually became accepted by mainstream ‘centrist’ culture.

Leonard Bernstein who himself was controversial for composing jazz influenced music instead of sticking to conducting the works of Beethoven and other classical and romantic composers, famously gave The Beatles his stamp of approval , thus making it widely acceptable for parents to listen to their children’s records.

Again, contrary to mythology, The Beatles were treated much the same by the US and USSR establishments. Both broadly thought that The Beatles were a subversive influence on established culture, but Soviet kids, like American kids loved the Beatles and both got their hands on the records however they could.

The Beatles remain popular across generations in modern Russia, just as they do everywhere else. The harmless nature of the Beatles is made apparent by the fact that right-wing Americans thought the music was un-Christian, whilst many in the Soviet Union thought the music was decadent and bourgeois. It couldn’t really be both and in fact, it was generally neither, especially Paul McCartney composed tunes.

Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, when rock and rollers did decide to get political (which wasn’t as often as many would pretend to remember), it was almost always left, occasionally even far left.

But in 1976 that all changed. Whilst many remember 1976 as the year of ‘punk’, a movement often thought of as left of centre, it was also the year that rock’s first fully-fledged libertarian rock album was released; 2112 by the Canadian trio Rush.

The album, like many Rush albums after it, dealt with the libertarian themes of personal freedom against the encroachment of big government. This freedom included the freedom to play music, in this case rock music.

All of the sudden, rock music had gone from the ‘demon’  that was going to uproot civilisation, to a sacred individual right that could be infringed upon by big brother.

Just to make things abundantly clear, the album’s art work featured a lone man standing forcefully against a red star, said to represent collectivism.

2112

As Rush’s libertarian stance became more widely known, the famously snobby liberal to hard-left British music press took note. Although strictly speaking, libertarianism isn’t classical conservatism per se, many elements of libertarianism became adopted in the mid to late 20th century by the conservative movement in the US and elsewhere in the west, including in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

For the British rock press of the 1970s this was worryingly more taboo than paedophilia, something widely ignored in the British music industry of the time and for a long while after.

Things came to a head in 1978 when Barry Miles of the New Musical Express interviewed the band in London. Miles confessed that the only reason he got to interview Rush was because,

“I was the only one on NME who knew who Ayn Rand was – simple as that”.

He later described Rand (for whom Rand Paul is named, incidentally) as

“…an obscure ultra-right-wing American cult writer of the late 30s and early 40s”.

A more accurate description of Ayn Rand would be a Russian born novelist and political thinker who advocated for a kind of ultra-libertarian/hyper-individualism called Objectivism.  For the record, I do not subscribe to Rand’s views, but nor do I deride them as dangerous. Some of it is in fact quite interesting, not least because her views became increasingly influential after her death in 1982.

Rand became an inspirational force for Rush’s drummer/lyricist, the often cerebral and professorial Neil Peart.

Peart described the ‘Rush philosophy’ in 1978:

“You have to have principles that firmly apply to every single situation. I think a country has to be run that way. That you have a guiding set of principles that are absolutely immutable – can never be changed by anything. That’s the only way!

The government’s only functions are to protect the rights of the individual, therefore you need a police force and an army. You need an army to protect the individuals and a law court to settle their disputes …”

Of course this is nothing different than what one might here at a Ron Paul lecture or possibly even a Ron Paul lookalike contest. But in 1970s hard-left liberal Britain, it was sacrilege.

Of course, Miles obligatorily compared Peart’s statement to the guiding principles of Hitler. One must at this point understand that anything that wasn’t hard left in ‘too cool for school’ 1970s Britain, was automatically ‘fascist’. Hence this statement from Miles might shock, but it ought not to surprise. It wasn’t an original thought, but rather highly derivative of its time and place.

What is significant here though is not that a British leftist could misconstrue libertarianism so badly and frankly so insultingly, but rather, that rock had gone from left-wing rebellion to right-wing rebellion; at least in the eyes of the liberal elite.

Rush played complex progressive rock music and they often played it loud and fast. But it was the lyrics which raged against big government, Orwellian attitudes and venerated individual freedom from both the corporate and governmental machine, that segregated Rush from both the pseudo-Marxist lyrics of John Lennon as well as the ‘peace and love’ lyrics that many other rockers found solace in.

Interestingly, when asked about punk, which was the ‘new kid on the block’ in the UK at the time, Peart said that punk was a rebellion against socialism.

This shocked Barry Miles at the time, but interestingly, punk’s British founder, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) has come out with positions that many consider conservative. He supports Brexit and even was sympathetic to Donald Trump. Although Lydon still considers himself a leftist of sorts, he’s admitted that the socialist elite of Britain sold out the working class and turned their backs on individualism.

This tends to make Peart’s assessment of punk appear vastly more accurate than that of Miles.

Rush made it possible to play loud rock music and have a political view which many considered conservative. The final frontier was broken. The left had become the musical elite and the libertarians had become the screaming crusaders of rebellion, albeit with a polite Canadian accent.

In the Soviet Union of the 1980s, things again came full circle. Viktor Tsoi of the rock band Kino won hearts and minds throughout the world, though mainly in the Russian speaking world.

Tsoi

Tsoi’s poetic music was rebellious but also humanitarian in the most literal sense. He was not an ‘anti-communist crusader’ but rather he expressed the fact that Russians, like people everywhere, were sceptical of power and wanted to be able to connect more directly with their fellow men and women. It was classical Russian scepticism combined with classical Russian compassion, just as Rush was classical English speaking libertarianism.

In this since, Kino vindicated Rush. It was not the supposed conflict red flags or blue flags that made the post-hippy rock bands rebellious. It was daring to be human in a world of both left wing and right wing conformity that moved people and continues to do so. The music of Kino remains beloved in today’s Russia because of its universal themes.

Today, rock music has become post-political. There are still musicians writing political songs, but because the left-right controversy that burned so deeply in the 1970s and 1980s is over, it’s now ok for everyone to like rock and roll.

After many decades, rock and roll is conservative and like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky or jazz, which was once as derided as rock later became, it is for everyone, which is how it always should have been.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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