Wayne Kramer memoir. Radical politics in the 1960s

Wayne Kramer. The Hard Stuff.

The MC5 was more than a band to me. They were unapologetic, stoned political radicals in the late 60’s-early 70’s. So was I. (They also got strung on white powders, got arrested, and I did too.) They were part of my soundtrack for that insane era of huge protests when cities burned and leaders were murdered. They were also astonishingly good, and took rock and roll where it hadn’t been before.

Wayne Kramer was their guitarist. Their first album “Kick Out The Jams” was a benchmark for pissed off politics, ferocious rock and roll, and definitely influenced punk and metal to come. Kramer is doing a 50th anniversary tour now with a seriously good lineup. He also just wrote a memoir, “The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities.” (PS. He survived all the madness and so did I.)

The parts about the late 1960’s will probably seem a strange planet to those who weren’t there. I was there (and do remember some of it, ha!) So when he talks about how the MC5 got poleaxed by those he thought were allies, like the Motherfuckers and SDS, I know who they were and what he means.

Yeah, circular firing squads AKA I’m More Leftie Than Thou. This was poison on the left then and still is. Some of it is due to ideology taking precedence over organizing and rationality. We Must Follow The Correct Line. No, start organizing, work with others, then what you need to do will become apparent. And of course any radical group then and now has informers in it who deliberately cause problems. That’s not paranoia.

One fascinating thing I didn’t know. Three of their allies in the White Panther Party were arrested for blowing up a building. At the trial, the government said they had the right to use wiretaps with no warrant because national security. The judge disagreed. The government appealed it to the Supreme Court, and lost. This had a major impact on government cases going forward.

From the book:

“Our White Panther illegal wiretapping case was the spark that led directly to the resignation of Richard M. Nixon and prison terms for most of his gang. Rather than reveal the scope and details of their illegal operations, the government decided to withdraw cases grounded in illegal wiretaps against the Black Panther Party, the Weathermen, and various antiwar, civil rights, and other organizations across the country that were caught up in Operation COINTELPRO.”

From a Billboard interview:

MC5’s Wayne Kramer talks ‘The Problem With Revolutions on the Left’ In candid memoir.

The greatest revelations, he feels, are in the MC5’s relationship with the counterculture and political left during the ’60s; Initially embraced as the musical arm of Michigan’s White Panther party, Kramer says the group was ultimately let down by those he and his bandmates felt firmly in league with.

“We expected pushback from the authorities and from Nixon and the police and parents and prosecutors,” Kramer says, “but we didn’t expect to be clobbered by the SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] and hardline Marxists and our colleagues and comrades on the left. They were merciless on us. Some of them viewed us as the enemy. We weren’t the enemy. We weren’t running a war in Vietnam. We weren’t polluting the planet. We were a band that shared the same ideas they did, and we were trying to tell the world about it.

“It’s the typical problem with revolutions on the left. It’s the circular firing squad, and they end up playing right into the hands of the people they’re fighting or revolting against. That was very disappointing.”

Everything Trump Touches Dies, by Rick Wilson

Rick Wilson is a Republican strategist, a conservative who decided very early that would oppose Trump forever, relentlessly, no matter what the consequences. He watched as many of his colleagues, after initially opposing Trump, went all in for him because, hey, that’s where the money is. After all, morals, ethics, conservative principles, and concern for the country as a whole is just so old school and tired, right? Wrong. Because, “Everything Trump Touches Dies.” Wilson touches on this central theme again and again, detailing how once respected people like General Kelly got debased, corrupted, and had  their reputations rightfully trashed by associating with and supporting Trump.

There are many such examples in the book. Wilson knows many of those who are now in the Trump orbit. As a leftie, it’s fascinating to read Wilson destroying Trumpism from a conservative viewpoint. Wilson emphasizes that  Trump is a sleazy, corrupt opportunist with no ethics or guiding principles, and is not and has never been a conservative.

He also writes like Hunter Thompson and can be savagely funny while getting his points across.

He was targeted by Steve Bannon in 2015 for opposing Trump. He, family, friends, clients were attacked. When the Roy Mooore campaign came around, he was asked to create attack ads against Moore, who was backed by Bannon, and takes pride in helping bodybag both of them.

On the groveling conservative media:

“Meet the clickservatives—conservative media types more interested in web traffic and ad revenue than ideology—who have embraced Esoteric Trumpism at the low, low price of their integrity. It’s a deal with the Devil, and far too many in the conservative intellectual class and the commentariat couldn’t wait to sign. “Eternal damnation later for making libtard snowflakes cry now and raking in those hot clicks? Bargain!” Defending the principles of limited government, personal liberty, and strict adherence to the Constitution is old and busted. The new hotness? “Nationalism is the new black.” So many of them dropped their panties and put out on the first date because Big Donnie talks dirty to the media.”

On bodybagging Roy Moore and Steve Bannon:

“We helped craft a series of ads for a SuperPAC that carefully targeted Republican women in six Alabama counties, pouring in tightly targeted, researched, and tested messages. The strongest was released the night Bannon held his infamous rally in Fairhope, Alabama. You’re welcome, Steve.

Our closing ad was simple: a series of pretty, upset girls on screen look straight to camera while a voice-over asks, “What if she was your little girl? Your daughter? Your sister? What if she was sixteen years old? Fifteen? Or even fourteen? Would you let a thirty-two-year-old man date her? Undress her? Touch her? He called it dating. We call it unacceptable. That’s why we can’t support Roy Moore.”

Beating Roy Moore was a moral obligation. Beating Steve Bannon was a pleasure. Within days of the loss in Alabama, Bannon went from the GOP’s newest kingmaker to political leper. We all piled on, savagely. That’s how politics still works, even for people who think they’ve reset all the rules and defied all the structures.”

Try Gutenberg callout in WordPress 4.9.8

Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

Gutenberg, the new editor for WordPress, gets a callout in WordPress 4.9.8. Users are asked if they want to install it as a plugin. When WordPress 5.0 launches, Gutenberg will be the default, with an option to use the Classic Editor. At that point, WordPress core code will be updated.

Things may get a bit bumpy for a bit. Old themes and plugins may have issues or stop working. Most developers are working hard to get their plugins and themes ready for Gutenberg. I’ve already had to uninstall cranky plugins that didn’t play well with changes in WordPress core code that are already happening.

I’ve been using Gutenberg since May on this blog. It’s like the Medium editor, however, IMO, better. It’s a new paradigm. In Gutenberg, everything is a block, which are reusable templates. A block can be a paragraph, image, heading, gallery, video, etc. Choose a block and insert it. It takes a little getting used to, however is more powerful and intuitive than the Classic editor.

Gutenberg Plugins are already appearing. Drop It gives the ability to insert free photos from Unsplash and Giphy directly into a post. Atomic Blocks adds several new blocks. There will be many more as Gutenberg rolls out.

Gutenberg is the soon to be released editor interface for creating content with WordPress, and many developers have already started building Gutenberg Blocks. The goal of the Gutenberg project is to unify the many ways content is currently created in WordPress and combine them into a consistent experience for the user. The Gutenberg editor puts the focus back on content and takes a drastically different approach to it than the traditional Rich-Text editor that ships currently with WordPress.

The concept behind Gutenberg is not new, it draws its inspiration from how old printing presses used a galley and chase to create reusable templates that could consistently reproduce the same layout. With its introduction comes the concept of composing content with blocks. Gutenberg Blocks function similar to the way most page-builder plugins currently work–by providing a way for users to visualize the layout and appearance of their content.

Never Trumper Republican strategist on how Democrats can win

Confused babble on the left says Trump / Russia is a distraction and instead we must focus on a progressive agenda. This is resolutely and idiotically backwards. No progressive agenda is possible until Trump is toppled. Period. Democrats have a real chance to take back both houses in November. If they do, it’s game over for Trump and his corrupt minions.

After eviscerating his own party in Everything Trump Touches Dies, Rick Wilson has advice for Democrats on how to win in the upcoming midterms and 2020. Wilson is a Republican strategist, one of the original Never Trumpers, and wants Democrats to win bigly now.

First off, Wilson says, admit Hillary was an uninspired candidate. I agree. Democrats need to run inspired candidates, younger ones too. Hillary, Biden, Bernie – thank you for your service. Now retire. Adam Schiff, Ted Lieu, and Democratic politicians who have actively opposed Trump should take leadership roles.

“Let’s have some real talk about Hillary Clinton: she was a catastrophically terrible, horrible, crap-tier candidate, and she always has been. Democrats will sputter about her accomplishments, her stature, her work as a senator and secretary of state and still look away from the hard truth of politics: sometimes politicians have the Gift; sometimes they don’t. Hillary never did. Not once.

Never a gifted, graceful, or natural speaker, Hillary’s constant mental self-auditing was always visible: “I will now run Human Interaction Subroutine 54.1, warm smile followed by sincere chuckle.” Without using the phrase “first woman president,” try to name the actual predicates of Hillary’s campaign. Unless you’re an HRC campaign insider, you can’t.”

Wilson created pit bull attack ads against Democrats using Pelosi as the focus because, while liberals love her, most everyone else doesn’t.

“While we’re on the subject of the GOP’s secret weapons, I’ll name another: Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi may raise a metric crap-ton of money for the Democrats, but she sets the rest of America’s teeth on edge. Ever wonder why we stuck her in candidate and SuperPAC ads against you until Trump came along? Because it worked for a long, long time; only Trump has made her more palatable”

Democratic candidates who can win in more conservative areas aren’t going to be democratic socialists like Ocasio-Cortez. They just aren’t. Forget about running ideologically similar candidates. 

“Another reason we took over 1,100 legislative seats from you over the past 15 years is your top-down ideology. Florida is not Vermont. Michigan is not Wyoming. New York is not North Carolina. As long as you insist on a single set of national standards for your party candidates, you limit the regions, states, and districts in which you can effectively compete

Guns are a flash point. Yes they are. Made worse by lecturing and barely concealed scorn from coastal elites. Instead, focus on issues Democrats can win on like health care, the economy, Social Security, Medicare, and immigration.

“Most of you Democrats still don’t realize the way you speak about guns is a signifier of political hostility to Americans who long ago made up their minds on the matter. You conflate them with the people who commit these crimes, and you do it constantly, tendentiously, and with the worst goddamned nanny-state condescension.

In an ironic twist, about 35% of the 1.4 million people in Florida who have a concealed-carry permit are Democrats. You guys don’t even understand your own base.”

Qanon is probably not a leftie prank

Ok, Qanon is officially so insane that even Pizzagate wackos say Qanon is cray-cray. In case you have been blissfully unaware, Pizzagate nutcases thought Hillary and other Democrats had a secret pedophile sex-ring hidden in the basement of a DC restaurant. One of their wackos actually went to the restaurant with a rifle, fired three shots, found no basement or pedophiles, and went to prison for four years.

These Pizzagate crazies think Qanon is unhinged madness. Which it clearly is. Unless you believe JFK Jr. faked his death “then began secretly working to put Trump in the White House and destroy the Clinton/ Illuminati/ vampire cabal.”

Theories about Qanon include that it is:

1) A left-wing anarchist prank.

2) 4-chan knuckleheads pranking older conservatives.

3) Russian active measures.

If it is a leftie prank, it is now incredibly irresponsible given that an armed gunman blocked a bridge near Hoover Dam in July demanding that Trump release the real documents about Hillary probe. This is straight-up Qanon derangement. Any responsible leftie prank should have ended then.

My guess: It’s a 4chan prank with Russian bots, trolls, and shit-stirrers jumping up, because that what they do. Happens all the time on Twitter.

So, no, I don’t think it’s a leftie prank.

“While it’s almost impossible to prove who started QAnon, there is some evidence that it was meant to be a prank all along. And more importantly, it’s looking more and more likely that QAnon is actually a prank by leftists or anarchists to make the far-right look deranged.

Matthew P. Wright was arrested after he drove an armored vehicle onto a bridge spanning the Hoover Dam and blocked traffic to demand the government “release the OIG report,” a call spouted by QAnon believers. Wright’s standoff with the police lasted 90 minutes. He was eventually taken into custody without incident, authorities said, but a rifle and a handgun were found inside the truck.

Rick Wilson.

Some even believe Q composes these messages for their eager consumption and interpretation at Trump’s direction, the amanuensis to an orange Nostradamus whose quatrains appear on the same image boards that feature bronie porn, hentai spank-bank material, and tween Neo-Nazi shitposter incels, instead of penned on parchment.

“Lurid and exciting for the rubes, but as of yet, Hillary Clinton walks free. If that even is Hillary Clinton, and not a shapeshifting reptilian overlord.”

Of course, it’s just trolling. It’s just a prank by some chan-autists. It makes me shake my head to explain to people that the idea of a conspiracy this grand and elaborate has as much chance of working as Skeeter’s plan to cook meth in the WalMart bathroom.