Tuesday, July 21, 2015


The Mekons full throttle
Jon Langford and Eric Bellis

Mekons tour, 2015

Photos from Harrisburg, PA and Rehoboth Beach, DE engagements

The Mekons last toured the US in 2011, and returned for a very brief tour this summer in tandem with the release of Joe Angio's Revenge of the Mekons feature-length documentary. As is my custom, whenever the band is close enough to make the trip, I decided to drive from Richmond, VA to the shows closest to me: Harrisburg, PA and Rehoboth Beach, DE.

I believe these were the eighth and ninth shows of the tour, and it was obvious that it took little time for the Mekons to hit their stride. I discovered the band sometime in the late 1980s, about the time of the So Good It Hurts disc, by which time three of the band's milestone releases had already won them wide critical acclaim, if not a mass audience.

The band has soldiered on in the ensuing years, always advancing their art while staying true to the legacy they created as first-wave punks and alt-country pioneers. And their live shows have, if anything, stayed as raucous and vital as they always were.

/Tom Greenhalgh and Sally Timms
This is my third turn photographing the band, starting back in 2007. The 2011 show pics are further down in the blog, just for the sake of historical comparison...

The Mekons are:

Jon Langford, vocals, guitar
Tom Greenhalgh, vocals, guitar
Sally Timms, vocals
Eric Bellis, accordion, vocals
Lu Edmonds, saz
Susie Honeyman, violin
Steve Goulding, drums
Dave Trumfio, bass guitar

The entire show galleries are found here:

Jon Langford

Susie Honeyman

Lu Edmonds

Eric Bellis

Rehoboth Beach:

Dogfish Head Brewpub, Rehoboth Beach

Dave Trumfio

Steve Goulding

Lu Edmonds

Susie Honeyman

Tom Greenhalgh

Sally Timms

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A ghost!

Where have I been, and why have I returned?

It was a long and brutal summer and fall. I simply allowed myself to be consumed by work and all the attendant demands -- which were ridiculous.

I think I speak for many when I say, we allow work to separate us from what really matters, and the things that make life worth living.

I'm not going for profundity here, as though we don't have enough deep thinkers available to tell us what's wrong with ourselves. After a billionaire-only election season where the world's most prolific killer regime has re-anointed it's preeminent murder, it's cozy and narcotizing to let oneself be swallowed whole by a regime of economy that drains all the dreams and energy of a soul for the benefit of a few.

I may resume my efforts here, although I'm by no means deceived about the worth or importance of anything that will emerge on these pages. I may find a photo or two in my portfolio that's worth a look, and I have a friend's audio tapes that are hidden wonders of a world enraptured by packaging and marketing glitz, and oblivious to other paths that resist the status quo and the per capita consumptive habits of a land of gluttony.

Geez, is the weekend here yet?

Plodding along is effortless, so long as one invests nothing of oneself in the journey.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pentagon says whatever is convenient today

The US government isn't above a little lying from time to time, particularly when it advances the government's parochial interests. As such, the recent bus bombing of Israelis in Bulgaria gives the Pentagon an opportunity to implicate Hezbollah in Lebanon in the act:
Pentagon says Bulgaria bomb smacks of Hezbollah | Reuters: "(Reuters) - A suicide bombing that killed Israeli tourists in Bulgaria this week bore hallmarks of Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants but the U.S. Defense Department has not yet concluded who was behind it, a Pentagon spokesman said on Friday.
The attack on a bus carrying Israelis at a Bulgarian airport, "does bear the hallmarks of Hezbollah," George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters."
It bears remembering that the US currently keeps on the payroll an anti-Iranian group, the MEK, which is at the same time on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. When Iranian nuclear scientists are murdered, who would be up to that, besides the MEK (as proxy to the US and Israel)?

While the facts of the Bulgarian incident are still unknown, that doesn't prevent the US government from creating a story to advance its own interests and agenda in the region. Hezbollah, which is not known for being an international organization, is still a handy scapegoat. Even if the bombing turns out to be a false flag operation.

If and when the facts ARE known, the war that's coming will be well underway, and who then will care about such a small matter as a bus bombing? Compared with WWIII, it'll be a drop in the bucket...

Prepping the public before dissent is crushed

The Bush administration knew a thing or two about selling a war, and it seems like the fine art of manipulating public opinion has found a new venue in the run-up to the GOP nominating convention coming up next month:
Tampa Police monitoring RNC protest chatter online - Florida Wires - MiamiHerald.com: "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa police are monitoring Internet chatter and videos that may encourage protesters to cause problems and break laws during the Republican National Convention.
WTSP (http://on.wtsp.com/NA9xbD) reports protesters planning on coming to the convention are being egged on to "battle" authorities and "let nothing stop" them."
By the time the festivities begin n Tampa, the no-nothings sitting in front of their wide-screen hypnosis terminal will have been convinced that their fellow Americans who are simply exercising their constitutional right to protest for redress of grievances are nothing but parasitic worms to be eliminated by any means necessary.

We can  plainly see a case being made, using chimeras of the state's own devising, that malcontents and troublemakers are being dispatched to put the people in jeopardy, and make them feel less "safe." Hence, you will see any level of state power being deployed the squelch the protests, and being given cover for it's brutality on the nightly news.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Would Australia do as much for Julian Assange?

When one of their own gets caught up in some political intrigue in a foreign country, we expect a person's government to take steps to secure their release, just as the Aussies have done in the case of this woman in Libya:
Carr celebrates Aussie lawyer's release: "Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor has been reunited with her family in the Netherlands after being freed from detention in Libya.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said on Tuesday that Ms Taylor's release after almost a month in custody in the Libyan city of Zintan was "heart-warming news".
"I'm especially thinking of the reception Melinda's going to get from a two-year old who'll be seeing her mother for the first time in three weeks," Senator Carr told AAP from New York."
At the same time, Julian Assange is the victim of political intrigue, and is being punished for the crime of embarrassing the leaders of the land of the slaves and home of the cowards: the USA.

Wikileaks does the work journalists used to do, by comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, but we don't see Bill Keller of the New York Times in the dock -- and his newspaper was among those who published the Wikileaks revelations.

For someone like Assange to be forsaken by the Australian government only goes to show that the spin on the news we get from corporate outlets gives a very lopsided and dishonest view of the way the system operates. It's happy time all the time in media spin land.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

If US ever gets its hands on him, Assange is going down

It's kind of ludicrous to even pretend that the US government won't draw and quarter Julian Assange if it ever gets its hands on him. Ever since the right-wing Swedish government ran a setup on trumped-up sex charges, the wheels of injustice have been turning with grim inevitability against the Wikileaks founder.

So, one might wonder, what drives news agencies like AFP to broadcast such fanciful nonsense to the four winds?
AFP: Does the US have a case against Julian Assange?: "WASHINGTON — If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ever ends up in a US courtroom, prosecutors could face an uphill struggle trying to convict him, given America's legal safeguards for publishers, analysts say."
Assange might be foolish and a typically dick-obsessed moron, but his behavior with the ladies hardly qualifies as criminal -- especially in this day and age, and particularly in the wide-open Scandinavian nations. The authorities' interest in Assange is not based on his sexual peccadilloes.

Nor is the US circumscribed in the manner in which it will dispense with the pest that has brought it great international embarrassment, and brought the government's flagrant disregard for civilized norms of behavior to a wider audience. For the crime of divulging the tawdry and dirty dealings of the government in Washington, there is no hiding, and no escape.

Bradley Manning, the other half of the saga of the demise of the whistleblowers, is but a sample of the tender mercies Assange will be shown when the US has finally put a bag over his head, wrapped him in shackles and ensconced him in Guantanamo or some other CIA black site.

There will be no process due, nor struggles on the part of prosecutors to gain a conviction -- legal "safeguards" be damned. It has already been well established -- thought it remains "classified" -- that the US government can dispense with its opponents by any means that seems convenient and less likely to draw the attention of potential critics. Assange is right to try to frustrate the plans of the US and its surrogates in this malignant crusade to eliminate its critics, and deter anyone bold enough to contemplate joining their ranks.

He may have the law on his side, but unfortunately the current atmosphere is one of extreme prejudice against truth-tellers and other government opponents, and the law is no impediment to the ability of the state to crush its critics.

Friday, June 29, 2012

SC Gov: Not only dumb, but inarticulate

The GOP's reliable stooges are lining up to take potshots at "Obamacare," after the Supreme Court's decision that the insurance mandate's penalty provision is a tax, and within the congress' legislative powers.

On the front line of the assault are luminaries of the right such as South Carolina's governor, Nikki Haley, who blathered as follows:
SC Gov: Health care ruling means huge tax increase - CBS News: "This decision concludes one thing and one thing only for me, and that is we need to have new leadership in Washington. We cannot continue to go down this path. We cannot continue to be dictated to on what kind of health care we need," the Republican governor said outside her office. "We've got a president who continues to want to put tax hikes on the American people."
If there's one thing that's even more irritating than politicians who pander to their constituents' stupidity, it's them showing how intellectually deficient they themselves are. Haley's attack on Obama is not only nonsensical, it's barely coherent -- full of malapropisms and empty catchphrases written in consultation with pollsters and their focus groups.

Whatever one thinks of "Obamacare," it is a program that only a GOP stalwart could love -- which is why it has its roots in Mitt Romney's Massachusetts and the Heritage Foundation. Haley's rhetoric, stripped of its flourish, is nothing but an attack on Obama. The program is defective because Obama is a demonic and threatening caricature of a human being.

It has always been the GOP's knock against Obama -- that's he's foreign, the other. A black man with a Muslim middle name who threatens the established order -- and whatever privileges residually accrue to white people.

What they don't acknowledge is that the law was written by the insurance, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, and so is exactly the kind of legislative stew that the GOP is normally enchanted by, and works so hard to implement in public policy. There's nothing the GOP loves better than giving their big business patrons a fat handout via the federal government -- wealth transfer from the lowly taxpayers to the obscenely wealthy.

Take TARP as the standout example of this sort of political paddy-cake.

Perhaps most galling from a longer historical perspective is the appearance of South Carolina in the current controversy. One of the most economically distressed and culturally backwards states of the union, South Carolina has always been, it seems, on the forefront of opposition to the federal government. It's not accident that Fort Sumpter, where the civil war began, is located there. Decades before, these people were agitating over tariffs and the anti-federal sentiment has not diminished.

Over time, it's clearly shown how the reddest states on the political map are, in spite of the resentments, by far the greatest beneficiaries of federal largess. They love the handouts, but can't stand anyone telling them how to run their affairs. It would lend much credibility to their professed convictions if they were to return the money that comes their way from an institution they hate so profoundly.

But don't count on it.