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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

We Won't Forget ... Trust Us

1st, for those of you visiting from out of town today, welcome.

2nd, just remember, we we will never forget those who stood with us and those who did not. Trust us.

"First they came for Thrasher's Wheat,
and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Neil Young fan.

Then they came for Alex Jones & David Icke,
and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a white male conspiracy theorist.

Then they came for Oprah Winfrey & Beyonce,
and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a black female social justice warrior.

Then they came for Neil Young,
and I didn’t speak up, because I was Donald Trump voter.

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

We first published these original words by Rev. Martin Niemoller here on Thrasher's Wheat on September 27, 2011 -- almost 9 years ago. And we insert the profound words of Rev. Martin Niemoller into our postings from time to time. And it's been 75 years since the quote originated.

So how much longer will this continue all of you communists, jews, trade unionists, and catholics out there? How's that identity politics thing working out for you these days?

Again, enjoy your visit to our little hometown today. Because, remember, like Rev. Niemoller, we will never forget those who stood with us and those who did not. Trust us.

Because, "The role of the artist is to make revolution irresistible."

the thrashers

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At 7/29/2020 11:51:00 AM, Blogger mike d said...

You didn’t just include Alex Jones? If you sleigh yourself with that idiot, you lost me. ALEX JONES? Take that mother f***er away.

At 7/29/2020 12:10:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

mike d - thanks for the note. well, normally, we'd kind of blast away here.

but we did learn a thing or 2 recently w/ our GEORGE post about trying to gently educate & awaken folks.

we have to always remember that folks are asleep just as Rev. Martin Niemoller was asleep when they dragged him off in 1945.

for those who've had the fortune -- or unfortunate - opportunity of living a life awake, it is hard for us to watch.

but we like to suggest here oh so gently dear mike, is that you have missed the point of Rev. Martin Niemoller's prophesy.

just as you were lost at Alex Jones, so was Rev. Martin Niemoller with communists, jews, trade unionists, and catholics.

See now?

If you let them drag off Alex Jones, eventually your day will come, as well.

If you do not believe in the right to contrary political and historical speech which you disagree with, then you are not for free speech at all.

And that is an anti-American, anti-first Amendment position.

mike, are you able to come here and say "Give me liberty or give me death"?

Because those who would trade security for liberty, deserve neither.

As a neil fan, we know how much you love freedom.

We assume that as a rustie, you would rather die on your feet free, then live on your knees as a slave. correct?

"I raise my hand in peace
I never bow to the laws of the thought police"

don't bow down. the time as come. join us or not. your decision.

our hearts are open. may peace & love be with you mike

At 7/29/2020 02:28:00 PM, Blogger Grey Rider said...

There's free speech and then there is yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.
Mendacious speech, lies and disinformation are not without consequence or harm.
Nor should they be defended.
The Holocaust never happened?
Sandy Hook never happened?
Be careful to whom you give fair consideration, for they may return your favor with persecution.

At 7/29/2020 02:39:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Thrasher--I'm as much in favor of free expression and a free press, and vehemently opposed to censorship, as anybody. I don't begrudge Alex Jones the right to sell his nonsensical neanderthal scaremongering... as long as there are fact-checkers, dissenting voices, conscientious people, acting to match and repel his toxicity through free expression of their own.

That being said, I have to imagine there are ideas you would not wish to promote through your own platform. As TW is a privately owned blog that constitutes your intellectual property, you would be within your rights to remove and/or re-frame stuff that does not meet with your own ethical standards. Certainly, if I were the owner and administrator of an online forum, although I believe in free speech on principle, I'd still expect to have the right to regulate content within the confines of my own forum, rather than be obligated to platform material I might find to be unethical and dangerous.

The wonderful thing about the internet is how democratic it *theoretically* can be: anyone with access to the worldwide web can start a blog or website, and moreover, anyone with access to a public library can get hooked up the web. While we have work to do in securing equal access, fighting for net neutrality, and using smart regulation to break up the anti-competitive activities of big tech companies, the reality is that the worldwide web is an incredible tool for communication and expression, and we don't need corporate social media platforms to wield it... as you have shown with Thrasher's Wheat.

Small, independent blogs and outlets are currently the future and lifeblood of free, open speech, and in that regard, I'm glad to see you take your role seriously. However, we must fully confront the fact that private companies, with their first duties to their shareholders and business models, have conflicts of interest that mean the are not, and cannot be, adequate guardians of first amendment rights. I'm actually glad Zuckerberg has stated this truth so nakedly. My suggestion is to take Zuck at his word: dump Facebook (and Twitter) as a primary vehicle for communication, rather than deepening our cultural and economic dependency on these organizations that were never designed for pro bono purposes.

As a corollary, this means no longer seeing such platforms as a kind of extension to freedom of speech and, consequently, not viewing de-platforming as inherently equivalent to censorship or restriction of first amendment rights. The fact is, humans don't even need the internet to disseminate ideas. Web access sure speeds and intensifies the spread of (mis)information, but I don't need to tell you that conspiracy theories far predate the internet. Likewise, just a couple of decades ago, everyone knew how to facilitate the fruitful exchange of ideas without cyber-technology. I'm not saying we don't need or shouldn't have these tools, just that they shouldn't be the bedrock of open communication and free expression.

Like the land, air, and water, these resources are too vast and precious to leave their protection entirely in the hands of private, individual ownership. So let's drop any pretense that tech giants deserve any role as gatekeepers of free speech.

With ingenuity and perseverance, we can lessen our dependence on corporate giants to administer our rights, and instead lay claim on the individual and collective stewardship of our people and our planet that is our birthright and responsibility.

~Through the keyhole in an open door.

At 7/29/2020 03:14:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@ Ian: Your comments come just as the Big Tech folks are at this moment answering questions in Washington D. C. Appropriate timing

Peace 🙏

At 7/29/2020 06:30:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Grey Rider - Thank you.

Generally, we agree with Supreme Court Justice Holmes' opinion about yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

But recall that opinion was overturned by Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969, which limited the scope of banned speech to that which incites imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot).

So you're mixing apples and oranges here. No one said anything about fires or riots, so please don't muddy the point here.

We assume that folks are pretty caught up on Jones/Icke here. We could have used all sorts of examples and are totally open to swapping out to make more effective and less distasteful to sensitivities.

Who else might you suggest? Again, we try not to be too obscure.

And it's not that we support or agree w/ Jones. But we don't agree he should be de-platformed anymore than TW. And we we were pretty tame in our FB postings, pretty much sticking w/ Neil positions and values.

Trust us, we have given much more than fair consideration of the issue, and we have clearly been "digitally persecuted", as you very well know.

While "digital persecution" is trivial compared to physical abuse, we were hurt -- and the rust community was hurt -- when FB de-platformed TWNeverSleeps, which essentially vaporized our photo galleries of Neil concerts and Rust Fests. Gone. Even some photos of us hanging out @ IRF with you, probably.

"I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." ―
~~S.G. Tallentyre, The Friends of Voltaire

@ Meta Rocker - we value your thoughts here more than you shall ever know.

Clearly, you do get it and are wide awake.

The marketplace of ideas is the means of which truth is established.

If the marketplace is controlled and rigged, the truth can not be established.

There's a saying "The truth at any cost lowers all other costs."

it's a price we pay literally every. single. day.

@ Dan - right, appropriate timing. exactly.

Really, the point here of these "hearings" is that free speech issues are now firmly in the control of Big Tech's AI driven algorithms.

and it would seem that many, many are perfectly OK with that. Better go re-read your Orwell if so.

So to conclude, we are NOT yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. We're like a guy standing in a crowded theatre and warning the audience that there are not enough fire exits.

but no one is listening ... except for the enlightened rusties ...

thanks guys.

hang on, there's a knock at the door ...

At 7/29/2020 07:34:00 PM, Blogger mike d said...

No one took Alex Jones away, unfortunately (tongue in cheek). They eliminated his deceitful comments and hate speech. I get where you are going with this and I applaud the sentiment. In Jones’ case, he met his demise in court. As it should be.

President Trump’s harmful and misleading tweets are now censored for hate speech and medical fraud. Should he not be included in your freedom of speech soliloquy? I suspect he would be in line with the speech of Hitler and the Nazis to whom the reverend was referring.

Bottom line is I might be making too much of this, but I cannot keep quite when I see atrocious people given credibility. Thank you for allowing me my freedom of speech. ❤️🙏

At 7/30/2020 03:54:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

"From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen" from Father and Son by Cat Stevens,,,"It's always the same old story." Cees Mostert,Europe,Freedom of speech..say something if you got something to say that matters or else shut up.

At 7/30/2020 06:27:00 AM, Blogger Julia said...

Dear Thrasher and Thrashette,

You asked for other suggestions. How about Hitler? He expressed views that we would all find abhorrent - and yet there were (are) some idiots who supported those views. Free speech does not mean allowing anyone to say anything about anything. Some things that are said are so abhorrent that they should not be allowed. Where is the line to be drawn? It varies for everyone but from what I know of the views of Jones and icke they are so dangerous that to shut them out of social media in my view.

Thank you for running the brilliant Neil Young website. You have my support and appreciation for that. But I think you should stick to that and with the greatest respect keep your political views and what seems to be support for some conspiracy theories to yourselves. Apart of course from 'Down with Trump'. Let us hope for a good outcome in November.

No wall
No ban
No fascist USA

You are already great

At 7/30/2020 07:21:00 AM, Blogger ViP said...

Dear Thrasher and Thrashette

I support your freedom of speech. Many of the comments above are probably well-intentioned, but they are irrelevant to the issue at hand. You can and you should express your personal and political views whenever you see fit. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of all our civil liberties. Weaken it and the whole edifice is in danger.

That said, please allow me to share a personal experience.

I spent most of the 90s and beyond litteraly obsessed with the Kennedy assassination. I read about nothing else. My bedroom wall was a map of Downtown Dallas. The Warren and HSCA reports never left my nightstand (actually, they were my nightstand). I felt like I was awake in a world full of sleepwalkers.

Then one day an old friend told me something that opened my eyes. He said that every conspiracy theory about the shooting had one thing and one thing only in common. To be succesful to this day, every one of them would have required hundreds of persons, each with their own life, beliefs, personnality, interests, remorse or change of heart, to keep their mouth shut for 10, 20, 50 years. And that would be in total and absolute contrast with everything he knew about human nature.

That day I realized he was right. I had not been the smart, insightful truth-seeker I thought I was. All these years I had only been drinking my own moonshine while connecting random dots in the sky.

Living without a long-pursued quest for some grand Hidden Truth may lack color, thrill, excitement. But it is a real, honest life, and IMHO the truest of all.

Long May You Run,


At 7/30/2020 02:16:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ mike, Cees, Julia, Vince - thank as well for your comments here on this vital subject of free expression.

obviously, there's a "price" for "free". and we all pay it each and everyday.

like the bumper sticker: freedom ain't free

the most thing for us here on this forum is engagement and postings that resonate beyond just the core of neil news.

frankly, given that NYA just keeps giving and giving us more music and news than most can absorb, our mission focused continues to evolve as always.

"The Times They Are A-Changin'" -- as always and will continue thusly.

peace be with you our friends ... we'll never forget you or forsake you.

At 8/01/2020 12:05:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@thrasher, Glad we seem to have reached a place of mutual respect, irrespective of any differences of opinion unearthed along the way. I like to think I can recognize a good faith effort to earn trust when I see it.

To clarify my previous statements: I don't think I'm suggesting anything radical. Whether people think about it or not, governments and public institutions are intended to safeguard and distribute to the people resources too important or valuable to be left to private ownership, commodification, the vagaries of open markets, the hit and miss results of "enlightened" self interest, etc. I include here what I'll call abstract, or intangible, goods--such as the liberties enshrined in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights--just as much as the life-saving medical, fire, and police services. To look at society in these purely economic terms is reductive and limiting, but an analogy I'm willing to work with for the sake of argument.

The point is, while a meaningfully free society likely requires some (and maybe a lot of) private ownership, government has an important role in stewardship of our major, vital resources. And when I say government, in a democracy, the government is supposed to be--should be-- be extension and representative of the people. All the folks currently in public offices got there, ultimately, because at some point, enough people voted for them. Think about that.

If "government is the problem" and we elect the government, at some level we are the problem. And also, potentially, the solution. It's too easy for people to yammer about personal responsibility, while failing to properly own their own decisions at the ballot box. Vast swaths of the country vote for a certain party just because they always did, because their parents and grandparents always did. If you do that, don't expect things to change or perennial issues to magically get solved.

If my anarcho-socialist ass is capable of being more pragmatic than that, I'd like to think others are as well. But it ain't gonna happen as long as people keep complaining about the government (or even the private corporations that may as well be a quasi-government), without properly evaluating their own role in the system.

Om Shanti.

~Through the keyhole in an open door.

At 8/02/2020 02:45:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Meta Rocker - Om Shanti & namaste & pono


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