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Saturday, July 04, 2015

Americana and The American Dream - This Land Is Our Land, This Land Is Your Land or Who's Really Going To Stand Up?

Poster by Shepard Fairey

(Click photo to enlarge)

Earlier this year, we posed the question: Is 2015 The Year We Find Out Who's Really Going To Stand Up? Will the looming "Big Shift" roll on incrementally or suddenly? In the meantime, here we all are -- both irrevocably changed -- and yet still much the same as we ever were.

Who's Going To Stand Up and Save The Earth?
Neil Young
2014-07-12, Hyde Park, London, England
Photo Paolo Brillo |Facebook

On this day 239 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. True freedom was within grasp of the common man.

So how's that "Americana Dream" thing working out these days? Liberty and justice for all, don't you know.

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

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."

Back on January 1st, 2011, we wrote here 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 five plus 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.
For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.

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."

Buffalo Springfield: "For What It's Worth" - Monterey 1967
"[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."
Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's "Chicago"

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

Clearly, the evolution/revolution continues.

The rEVOLolution is Love

The protesting of state sponsored brutality and violence continues, but where are the musical anthems that capture the emotions of our times?

From Billboard | 'Fear of Being Blackballed' Prevents Artists From Releasing Protest Music:
Neil Young was so shaken by photos of the four unarmed students killed by military gunfire at Kent State that he wrote "Ohio" for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young right away. By the end of the week, it was playing on the radio. That was 1970. Now, in 2014, outrage over police brutality has become much more widespread, inspiring protests and "die-ins" nationwide for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men killed in confrontations with cops. Days ago in Brooklyn, two NYPD officers were murdered while sitting in their patrol car. But this year will end without a defining protest song.


"I think a lot of it is just due to fear of being blackballed and not making a living," Questlove of The Roots told Billboard, referring to the backlash the Dixie Chicks faced in 2003, when Natalie Maines told an audience that the band was "ashamed" that President Bush was from Texas. "We were like, 'Man, if a white woman can lose her career in the United States for speaking up for what's right, then shit, we'll get the electric chair.' I think that was the bottom line.

And that just really rendered America silent."
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

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.

Freedom: Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, CA - November 1966

So, for what it's worth... we're protesting the lack of protest music. Who's gonna stand up and make some protest music?

"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

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 a quarter of century plus 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

Socrates stated: “Republics decline into democracies, and democracies degenerate into despotisms."

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

"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

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, Syria 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

by Shepard Fairey - 2012
Mixed media (stencil, silkscreen, and collage) on canvas
(Click photo to enlarge)

This Land is Your Land (onscreen lyrics) by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

From Liner Notes for Americana by Neil Young & Crazy Horse:
This Land Is Your Land

This folk song was written by Woody Guthrie in the 1940s to a pre-existing melody as a response to “God Bless America” which Guthrie was tired of hearing. The lyrics Guthrie sang varied over time, but the lyrics sung in the Americana version were in the original manuscript of the song.

Woody Guthrie

Neil Young's 2012 album with Crazy Horse has definitely struck a chord which resonated not only across Americana but the Old World as well.

The songs on Americana reinterpret traditional folk songs in such a way as to breath new life and meaning into them to such an extent as to be almost unrecognizable to those who learned the songs in their childhood. And that makes some uncomfortable to go where they haven't been before.

God Save the Queen, 2012
Mixed media (stencil, silkscreen, and collage) on canvas
43 1/2 x 30 inches
Image courtesy of the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles.
© Shepard Fairey/OBEY GIANT ART
(Click photo to enlarge)

For Neil Young's “God Save the Queen,” the British anthem that was repurposed for “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee)”; this version moves from British fealty to “Confound their politics/Frustrate their empty tricks” to a final chorus of “Let freedom ring.”

After all, the tools to speak up, to stand up, to make a difference have never been more accessible in the history of humanity than today. Because "The Net Is Mightier Than The Sword" as clearly articulated by James Corbett at TEDxGroningen below.

So where do we go from here? On this Independence day, we can only suggest to try to recharge as much as you can, enjoy your family and friends, and prepare yourselves for the Big Shift. Remain calm, open and engaged. Always use discernment. On occasion, folks wonder where this all comes from or where to start in answering The Really Big Questions. Reading both 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley are essential to understanding Today's Reality.

It seems that we are living our lives according to This Perfect Day.

 Orwell Was Right (and Grandpa, too)

So will it be the Red pill or the Blue pill today? Or the "Psychedelic Pill"?

A Psychedelic Pill

We mean, how far down the rabbit hole do you really want to go?  How much truth can you handle? Simply being aware of one's own free will and exercising it is an act of liberation and self realization.

For us, we try to be wise enough not to “feed the chaos” further with our own fear, anger, or hate. For our own sake, we try to turn our backs and head towards what is true and pure and loving. We try as best we can to devote our lives to that which makes us happy, healthy, and complete. We are all made to enjoy music, nature, beauty, and the company of our loved ones. We try to live the life we believe is right, no matter the consequences. Without fear and with unconditional love.

Our plan is to continue forward and keep on bloggin' until the power goes out and our battery's dead. Thanks to all of you who support what we do here at Thrasher's Wheat. Thank you all for your contributions, support, and helpful efforts throughout the year. We can’t begin to tell you how much we appreciate every single one of you as you manage to keep us refreshed, stimulated, and stepping through your constant sharing of ideas that nudge us onward. We couldn't do it without you. Again, we don't want to sound paranoid that forces are at work to shutdown our advertising, deprive us of revenue, and thwart our freedom of communication. But at the same time, we can't brush all this off in a blase fashion. On the bright side, we consider this to be another validation of a sort of what we do here at TW. In the past, the attacks on this site have reinforced our belief that we have taken the less traveled fork in the road on our journeys.

So believe in what we both together are doing. Knowing we can succeed. Our time is coming. Nothing will stop this now so we begin this year of 2015 with love in our hearts. Make peace our goal, and vow to be true to ourselves. Working to create a world that we can be proud of, and that which we helped to create. May the beautiful energy of music and love surround you and yours, and let it be your traveling muse and guiding light. That is our wish for our world today ... and tomorrow. Look at everything with the eyes of love and we will create harmony and peace. Lastly, we’d again like to thank all of you out there for your amazing support. Thank you for taking the time to read our posts and comment; send heart-warming notes, photos, and links; and thanks for spreading the word.

Dreams can come true... if you want to work hard to make them happen. We are all making a difference together and feel the world is taking notice. Having said this, let’s all prepare for what is to come in what we believe will be a future of positive, lasting change.

this blog is my blog, this blog is your blog, this blog was made for you & me.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
~~ Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania Assembly Reply to the Governor, 1755

happy independence day! let freedom ring.
be the alchemy. be the wheat.
peace and love,
thrasher & thrashette

ps - The video below "Neil Young Sang and We Heard The Truth" will not be everyone's cup of tea, so use discernment. Before clicking, eliminate all expectations for poetic lyrics, angelic voices, high production values, tour de force direction, interesting camera angles and clever editing. This video -- from our long distance friend Cainan in a tropical Bali paradise -- comes from the heart.

Afterall, it's all about you and me...

"We're The Ones We've Been Waiting For" 
Gulf Oil Gusher Rally, Florida, June 2010
 1,000,000 Strong Against Offshore Drilling | Facebook 
"Walk with Us"

More coverage, discussion and analysis tonight on Thrasher's Wheat Radio on Wbkm Dot Org, at 9:00PM ET.

Don't be denied!

Tune in details and podcast info @ Thrashers Wheat Radio Hour.

Thrasher's Wheat Radio
Tune in on, Saturdays @ 9P EST

peace & love. stay calm. no fear. use discernment. recognize the illusion. question authority. prepare for the big shift. be the wheat and keep on rockin' in the free world.


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At 7/04/2015 12:11:00 PM, Blogger Lloyd Walton said...

Well, it's been a perfect morning. Summer has finally begun. I woke up wishing good Forth of July thoughts to my friends neighbours to the south. With my coffee, my wife handed me the Monsanto Years CD that arrived late in yesterdays mail. I got in the car, popped it on and drove through rolling hills to the village to pick up the weekend papers. I just kept driving, and smiling. Wow..It's music made for the road. It also alerts us that there are some roads we don't have to go down anymore. I've got more highways to travel this summer and thanks to Neil and friends, I am assured of happy motoring. Again to our southern neighbours, today, celebrate the good and keep it going. A friend from Muskoka Canada.

At 7/04/2015 02:25:00 PM, Blogger Hounds That Howl said...

Who's gonna Stand Up and Save the Constitution?

Jefferson expressed a sophisticated, radical vision of liberty with awesome grace and eloquence. He affirmed that all people are entitled to liberty, regardless what laws might say. If laws don’t protect liberty, he declared, then the laws are illegitimate, and people may rebel. While Jefferson didn’t originate this idea, he put it in a way that set afire the imagination of people around the world, Moreover, he developed a doctrine for strictly limiting the power of government, the most dangerous threat to liberty everywhere.

, Thomas Jefferson himself never explained his use of the phrase "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence. However, he was almost certainly influenced by George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights (adopted June 12, 1776), which referred to "the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety" (Section 1).1

“Happiness depends on ourselves.” More than anybody else, Aristotle enshrines happiness as a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself. As a result he devotes more space to the topic of happiness than any thinker prior to the modern era. Living during the same period as Mencius, but on the other side of the world, he draws some similar conclusions. That is, happiness depends on the cultivation of virtue, though his virtues are somewhat more individualistic than the essentially social virtues of the Confucians. Yet as we shall see, Aristotle was convinced that a genuinely happy life required the fulfillment of a broad range of conditions, including physical as well as mental well-being. In this way he introduced the idea of a science of happiness in the classical sense, in terms of a new field of knowledge.

Essentially, Aristotle argues that virtue is achieved by maintaining the Mean, which is the balance between two excesses. Aristotle’s doctrine of the Mean is reminiscent of Buddha’s Middle Path, but there are intriguing differences. For Aristotle the mean was a method of achieving virtue, but for Buddha the Middle Path referred to a peaceful way of life which negotiated the extremes of harsh asceticism and sensual pleasure seeking. The Middle Path was a minimal requirement for the meditative life, and not the source of virtue in itself.

At 7/04/2015 04:57:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@ Lloyd - thanks for report. We'll have to make sure a copy of Monsanto years is with us on our next road trip.

@ Hounds That Howl - we know who's gonna Stand Up and Save the Constitution!

Looks like we can add "Constitutional Scholar" to your credentials to go along with Tour Mgr.

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

At 7/04/2015 09:32:00 PM, Blogger John EH Connelly said...

God bless America , and the American dream , where eagles soar and handguns roar in places where people should be free .

Stand up for ........


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And in the end, the love you take
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