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Monday, July 04, 2011

Freedom ... So Is It All Really Just An Illusion Now?

Freedom (1989) by Neil Young -
"The rock and roll coda of the Cold War"

On this day 235 year ago -- July the 4th, 1776 -- the thirteen American colonies declared independence from Great Britain and announced they would no longer be a part of the British Empire.

Written by Thomas Jefferson, the American Declaration of Independence is now seen as a universal human rights statement:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

And on January 1st of this year, we wrote about Freedom in a New Year, which has been viewed -- in hindsight -- as somewhat prophetic for the events that would soon unfold.

Neil Young's album Freedom -- which was released in 1989 just as the Berlin Wall fell -- has been called "the rock and roll coda of the Cold War".

"Rockin' In The Free World" by Neil Young

The album contains the song "Rockin' In The Free World" and is one of Young's most popular, important and prophetic songs of his vast catalog.

The song has become an iconic anthem and it's status continues to rise as more and more artists cover the song. Young's lyrics are considered to be an indictment of the politics of the 1980's. In today's post-9/11 world, the lyrics seem prophetic and even more meaningful than when originally written on the eve of the '90's as the Berlin Wall fell.

Twenty years on, the song "Rockin' In The Free World" has become an encore finale for bands around the world, as well as, a coda for the days that used to be.

So. Freedom ... Is It All Really Just An Illusion Now?

Here's a look back as we look forward...

U.S. President John F. Kennedy - 1961
The President and the Press:
Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York City, April 27, 1961

Addressing the American Newspaper Publishers Association at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on April 27, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy said at the peak of the Cold War's Cuban Missile Crisis:
"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it."

Freedom: Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, CA - November 1966
For what it's worth...

Buffalo Springfield: "For What It's Worth" - Monterey 1967

"Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know."

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's "Chicago"

Freedom: Chicago - August 1968
"We can change the world, re-arrange the world"

"[We have an] obligation to inform and alert the American people -- to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well -- the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution -- not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants" -- but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion."

kent state
"But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead."

Freedom: Kent State University, Ohio - 1970

"And so it is to the printing press -- to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news -- that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent."
JFK - 1961

"We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man"

Freedom: Berlin Wall, Germany - 1989

Yet the song "Rockin' In The Free World" is often misunderstood and attacked on false interpretations and misplaced understandings. Witness some of the near violent comments that have been left on this blog over the years in reaction to some of our previous postings on the song's lyrical analysis (see comments here and here.)

There are those who have argued that "Rockin' in the Free World" espouses anti-freedom ideals, to which we have taken serious issue with in the past.

As always, we live in dangerous times where those who stand for freedom are often accused of treason and worse. Such times are now and the struggle for freedom -- even among those who feel they are actually free -- is more paramount than ever. The right to live and speak freely is an inalienably human right that can never be assumed nor taken for granted.

"We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand"

Freedom: Tiananmen Square, China - 1989

So, what does it all mean? A comment on Freedom in a New Year:
You need only understand the true context of George Bush’s “thousand points of light” reference. It has nothing to do with a call to civic and charitable involvement. Rather, it is a reference to Illuminism, an encoded esoteric call to arms signaling to all the wreckers throughout the world that the time has come to declare out in the open (in George Bush’s own words), a “New World Order”.

A Question for Reflection on the 4th of July: Is the United States a representative democracy or a mirage democracy? by Kevin Zeese:
In the United States more and more recognize the disconnect between government and the needs of most Americans. They see how crony capitalist policies lead to the largest wealth divide we have known with increasing poverty, joblessness, underemployment and insecurity. At the same time the Congress, Treasury and Federal Reserve funnel trillions of dollars to the big banks, but demand cuts for programs that would create jobs, fund state and local government, build the infrastructure, provide basic necessities and protect the environment. This is the first generation of Americans who see that their children are likely to be worse off than they are.

So. The American Dream. How could something so good, go bad, so fast?

"American Dream" by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

Say what you will about Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's 1988 album American Dream, but it did contain some quite lacerating and scathing commentary on the state of the American Dream.

The video is clearly an indictment of the rampant corruption of the U.S. President Ronald Reagan's administration and the Iran-Contra coverup scandal where high ranking government officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which had been specifically prohibited by Congress (The Boland Amendment).

And here we are 23 years later. My how things have changed for that American Dream...

You wake up in the middle of the night.
Your sheets are wet and your face is white,
You tried to make a good thing last,
How could something so good, go bad, so fast?

American dream, American dream
American dream, American dream.

Don't know when things went wrong,
Might have been when you were young and strong.
American dream, American dream.
Don't know when things went wrong,
Might have been when you were young and strong.
American dream, American dream.

U.S. Marine Corps officer Oliver North testifying before Congress on shredding of official "secret" documents by his secretary, Fawn Hall

Reagan White House Staffer Fawn Hall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Traitor and/or Patriot?
Reagan White House Staffer U.S. Marine Corps officer Oliver North's Mug Shot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Traitor or Patriot?
Army PFC Bradley Manning
Is exposing a war crime a war crime?

Traitor and Patriot?
Thomas Jefferson
"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
Author of American Declaration of Independence

So how exactly could something so good, go so bad, so fast?

We are still living with war, shock and awe, "Mission Accomplished", torture, and collateral murder in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Somalia and on & on & on ...

President Obama's promise to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center: Broken

"There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue"

Pearl Jam covers "Rockin' in the Free World"
Freedom: Philadelphia - Final Spectrum Concert - 10/31/2009

2008 - Leia's Daddy: Find the Cost of Freedom

"There's one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool."

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
~~Gil Scott Heron, 1970

Freedom: Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt - February 12, 2011

Twitter / @RepStones

Freedom: Madison, Wisconsin Capitol - Feb 17, 2011

Twitter / @Marti : R @manyko2 For @sdpdx Rock ...

Freedom: Tripoli, Libya - 3/23/11

Freedom: Damascus,Syria - 4/20/11

Freedom: Yemen - 6/5/11

The whole world is morphing. The whole world is morphing. The whole world is morphing.

"The Earth is talking to me
I hear a rumblin' in her ground
Don't you feel that new wind blowing?
Don't you recognize that sound?"

~~Neil Young

freedom. not just another word.

be the rain,

Gulf Oil Gusher Rally, Florida, June 2010
1,000,000 Strong Against Offshore Drilling | Facebook
"Walk with Us"


At 7/04/2011 02:57:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

July 4, 2011 finds me in a bit of a dark mood. Yesterday I discussed the state of things in this country with my cousins, who all can clearly see that there is writing on the wall- writing that incredibly some Americans still can’t see- but can’t quite make out its exact meaning. The meaning for me is quite simple, although I never was able to communicate it coherently. I was a little amazed at myself for even trying, what with my recent tilting-at-windmills moment trying in vain to point out to people the ludicrousness of the whole bin Laden yarn as spun by the present administration, and an asleep at the switch, and/or complicit corporate media. A yarn gobbled up wholesale by an unthinking and gullible American public. I even exclaimed out loud that I had had it, I was done with ever talking about politics and world events ever again. People just can’t hear the truth that they are being massively lied to, and guys like me truly are “just pissing in the wind.” And I’ve been pretty successful too, telling myself that I need to practice what I preach, which is that God is in control, there is a plan being worked out here, and I don't get to demand that everything be the way I think it should be. We're all looking through a key hole, and we are neither capable nor meant to see the whole picture of what is on the other side.

And yet here I am, taking another stab at it.

The problem is that there are still a lot of people like my cousins who can’t be so easily dismissed away with one of my broad brush generalizations that people just don’t get it, and/or don’t care, or that there aren’t people out there who intuitively are on the cusp of understanding, but are held back by how we all have been hardwired to cope with the absurdities of modern life. I recently came across this comment by David McGowan which explains a lot, and goes to the heart of why your well placed post today is not going to get a lot of response, Thrasher:

“But what if your own eyes and your innate (though suppressed) ability to think critically and independently tell you that what all the institutions of the State insist is true is actually a lie? What do you do then? Do you trust in your own cognitive abilities, or do you blindly follow authority and pretend as though everything can be explained away? If your worldview will not allow you to believe what you can see with your own eyes, then the problem, it would appear, is with your worldview. So do you change that worldview, or do you live in denial?”

I mean, here Thrasher is illustrating in clear, enumerated segments, complete with real world examples, the words of a President of the United States who came right out in the open and revealed the true nature and source of the ruination of this country and the world in general, words that contributed to the “taking out” of that President, and I’d wager to say that this post will be met with yawning disinterest. I would love to be proven wrong on this. Granted, these words were not well known to Americans at the time they were spoken, but they were some of the earliest words used to warn Americans of the danger that threatens their freedom, words that foreshadowed the words of more recent efforts by people who care just as deeply as Kennedy cared. But these caring people have been demeaned as “conspiracy nuts”, and detractors of globalism(one world government)- which necessitates among other things the pretext of a bogus terrorist threat, contrived rebellions, e.g. the “Arab Spring”, wars to protect vested interests, and the soon to come engineered economic collapse(crisis), out of which a preconceived solution will be proffered to a world down on its knees, just desperate enough to accept still further losses of freedom.

Yeah, I know, just more “overanalysis”.

At 7/04/2011 02:59:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Still and all, here is what I tried to say to my cousins. America, in general, and at least in theory, was an idea. One of known histories most beautiful ones. It was an attempt to establish the dignity and intrinsic value of the individual, divorced from any notion of identification with state, or of any undue state control of the individual. It was the first political expression of the concept that rights do not flow from the state to the individual, but from the nature of humanity itself, which in turn is an expression of the Creator, or Creation, etc. It was also the first political expression, as represented by the Constitution, that sought to empower people to constrain government from overstepping its natural predatory nature to restrict freedom, and not vice versa. Furthermore, this unique political formulation was informed by Jefferson’s advocacy of a decentralized, agrarian organization of resources, in which people would produce and consume locally, and by Washington’s admonition that America not involve itself in “foreign entanglements”. Finally, and most crucially misunderstood and ignored of all, the idea that America was to be safeguarded by the insistence that its money would never be controlled by any outside sphere of influence, i.e. the Federal Reserve system- a collection of foreign bankers that have no allegiance to the US or its Constitution. If you want to know just one reason why we are in the trouble we are in, even if you can blithely relegate Jefferson and Washington to the dump heap of other sought after and discarded utopian attempts, it is the imposition of the Federal Reserve on this country, which has made slaves of all of us. Don’t think so? Challenge yourself and me, and find out for yourself just this one thing.

While I am sure I am leaving something out, I am confident in saying this: the idea of America was highjacked a long time ago, and today is not a day to celebrate, but to mourn its loss. It is as Socrates stated: “Republics decline into democracies, and democracies degenerate into despotisms."

Getting back to my cousin, who was imploring me to find a basis for believing that it isn’t all over, I could only find one thing to say. Our only hope is for people to wake up and realize just to what extent they are being lied to, and question every last thing that this government, and governments all around the world are trying to jam down our throats, foremost of which being globalism. Oh, and just one more thing. That people experience their own little Dorothy-and-the-man-behind-the-curtain moment, where the truth of what JFK long ago warned us of becomes crystal clear to every “man jack” among us, that our government and institutions are controlled by secrecy, or more specifically by the powers that wield that secrecy. If this simple truth is not brought to the light of peoples consciousness, then it truly is time to stick a fork in it, and confine your activities to whatever you have to do to protect the people you love and care about from what is about to come.

As for me, yeah I know, I’m a bummer. I probably could use a little more of how Neil reacted to the knowledge that he was “just pissing in the wind”, and go about my life trying to make my own way with personal integrity, with Neil’s never give up attitude. As I started out saying, though, today finds me in a bit of a dark mood. I don’t know, I just don’t know. Maybe I still can say, as Neil also said long ago, “I’m deep inside myself, but I’ll get out somehow. And I’ll stand before you, and I’ll bring a smile to your face.”

I probably should count to 10 before posting this, if at all. After all, it’s only one aspect of what I think, but it is how I am honestly feeling today. More than anything, though, even I have to admit, hope really does spring eternal.

A Friend Of Yours

At 7/04/2011 05:54:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

AFOY - thanx.
light a candle, my friend.

the answers are blowin in the wind...

... and on the sign of the lady in the last photo of this post...

At 7/04/2011 07:32:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

We got freedom of speech
We got freedom to preach
Got my brother standing beside me

We got freedom to love
We got the Lord up above
Got my brother standing beside me

We got freedom for war
Freedom for hate
Brother stand beside me

Got Lady Liberty tall
We got the Golden Gate
Got my brother standing beside me.

We believe all men are born the same
Rights to life
Pursuit of gain
We believe all men are born the same

- the into I wrote to "Americana (Juy 4, 2002)"

sometimes it ain't pretty, but sonofagun I would never want it to be different.

At 7/05/2011 12:49:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

"The most important thing to understand about being a musician is that people are the same the world over. You can communicate a hell of a lot more with music than with language. If you think there's anything outside of music that will help you more than music itself, you're wrong."
--from What's Welsh for Zen? The Autobiography of John Cale

"And one last time, be careful of a bluefish's teeth. Bluefish can and will bite the hand that catches them -- they can hurt. Good luck!"
--D.W. Bennett from Secrets of Bluefishing

"From the porch, the river promised better times coming, faraway places just around the bend. From the porch, the river was a wide tranquil ribbon, no hint of a dangerous current. All you could see from the porch were possibilities, not perils."
--from Girl Singer: The Autobiography of Rosemary Clooney

"The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that too, they would never forget."
--David McCullough from 1776

At 7/05/2011 02:37:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

"But at a certain point in each leading world economic power's history, as we have seen, some major war proves too burdensome, economic prospects and divisions worsen, and the politics of frustration takes a critical leap forward. As the twenty-first century gets underway, the imbalance of wealth and democracy in the United States is unsustainable, at least by traditional yardsticks. Market theology and unelected leadership have been displacing politics and elections.

Either democracy must be renewed, with politics brought back to life, or wealth is likely to cement a new and less democratic regime -- plutocracy by some other name. Over the coming decades, American exceptionalism may face its greatest test simply in convincing the American people to continue to believe in its comforts and reassurances."
--Kevin Phillips from Wealth and Democracy

At 7/05/2011 07:13:00 AM, Blogger tuned4life said...

To Thrasher and Greg, I salute you for your wisdom and your courage. Wouldn't it be something if your comments go viral! Post like this are exactly why the internet can never be censored. Doug S. Western N.Y.

At 7/05/2011 06:50:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

SONY - don't stop singin' that song.

Mr. H. - thanks for the thought provoking quotes. as always.

tuned4life - "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
~~Thomas Jefferson

"Your silence gives consent."

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
---- Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

"You've got to speak out against the madness"
~~David Crosby

At 7/07/2011 11:58:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

William with the holy book
Stopped me as I stumbled down the road today
He said "Get on your knees, boy
It's time you learned the right way to pray"

I said "William, I had no idea
That the lord had such a will"
William drove his point across
And left me here to burn in Merrittville

There's a game they play in the summertime
There's a game they play when it's hot outside
And I wonder why
They left me here in Merrittville
--Steve Wynn/Dream Syndicate

People disagreeing everywhere you look
Makes you wanna stop and read a book
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
Who was really shook
--Bob Dylan

I'm afraid of these people, he said to himself. Of them and their talents. He opened his eyes.
--Philip K. Dick from The Game Players of Titan

The siren began to scream and at first he thought he was making the noise himself. He felt his lips with his hands. They were clamped tight. He knew then it was the siren. For some reason this made him laugh and he began to imitate the siren as loud as he could.
--Nathanael West from Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of The Locust

Stepping from the bus onto the street, he saw that he had lost his fear of falling and all other fears of that nature. He held his head high, his back straight, and walked along nicely. Rejoice, he thought, rejoice.
--John Cheever from Falconer

At 7/26/2011 03:44:00 AM, Blogger Dixie Burge said...

As bad as some people see the state of things right now, believe me, it can get worse. A lot worse. And I believe it will. We could be one day living in a Socialist state where each person lives in fear of their neighbors, or even their own relatives--for fear of being turned in to the authorities as traitors to the State. Where we don't dare breathe a word of opposition against the government to ANYONE. Where most citizens are so poor they would gladly accept any amount of money to falsely testify against even a friend, as a traitor. Where anyone who has anything against you could trump up charges of treason and not only you, but your family, could be imprisoned or executed. Where one dares not speak of his or her religious beliefs outside their places of worship.

Can it get worse? Absolutely.


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