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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Time (just barely enough time) to stop the next war, and help suffering victims of the last one. SPECIAL EDITION, June 20 2019.

The LATEST EVENTS EDITION, frequently updated (as recently as SATURDAY, June 29, at 8:30 am), has our coverage of festivals, concerts, film events, gallery openings, musicals, other live theatre, and quite literally, MUCH more. Get there by scrolling past this special news edition, or go there directly at:

THIS IS A special edition, calling on you, our readers, to take a simple action to STOP the build-up to yet another war, this one with Iran. This edition has already been read by many thousands, all around the world.



by Larry Wines

We intrude here less frequently with news of the outside world, because there is so much to report about music and the arts. But sometimes we must ask you to accompany us to a reality check, and ask that you join us in making a difference. Right now, it's necessary that we join together to face responsibilities to our own people for the last war, even as we take crucial steps to stop the next one.

It doesn't get any more serious than trying to stop a war. We're often told "It's a democracy, you decide," even as we live with the disillusionment of knowing that Big Money, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Chem, Big Ag, and Big Media rule a corporatocracy that seduces us with cyber baubles and rules us with predictive analytics derived from their incessant theft of our own data. Realizing such things leads quickly to despair that our voice does not matter. But these are volatile times. It's all up for grabs. Small things do matter, and they can produce profoundly big outcomes.

You can stop the next war. If you waste no time. "Time," that by the way, the chronically ill first victims of the last war no longer have.

We nearly published a piece a few days ago in support of immediate, emergency legislation to restore funding for the medical care needs of 9/11 First Responders. But it looked like Jon Stewart's brilliantly dramatic and eloquent testimony before Congress had dislodged that dysfunctional assemblage from dead center, and put things on the fast track for passage.

Turns out it didn't. And now the excruciatingly pathetic and wholly unjustifiable dithering, dawdling, bickering, and one-upmanship game-playing of our elected representatives? It is costing the health, lives, and family finances of firefighters, Port Authority cops, NYPD officers and others who ran into the danger, and who rescued -- and then recovered remains of -- the initial victims.

Now there are many more victims. And not just the endlessly re-deployed uniformed military whose traumatized veterans fall to suicide at the rate of 22 each day. Failure to care for, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, those "who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan," is wrong in only one respect -- both military and 9/11 heroes and victims are not limited to males. Women also bravely rushed in on that September morning, wearing turnout coats and blue uniforms or office attire. Now, even as military veterans' needs are underserved, all those First Responders are being kicked to the curb.

With even Fox News supporting Jon Stewart's appeal for 9/11 First Responders, there should not have been anyone playing obstructionist. Nope. Epic fail for Congress to do its job.
Before we ask you to call your Senators and Members of Congress so you can do some kicking of your own, and kick their asses up around their shoulderblades over this mother of all failures to do their job, we have another item for you to add: demand that they, our elected representatives, prevent the perpetuation of more horror in our names, and stop the next war.

Having failed to care for the last war's wounded, is it time to make more?

Early Thursday morning U.S. time, Iran shot-down a U.S. drone — and the mission and capabilities of that drone are being obfuscated, and whose airspace the drone was in is being disputed. Suffice it to say, the questions are being supressed and the bugle is in the hands of those inclined to sound the charge.

The provocation is being kept simple enough for the chronically stupid: it's the "unprovoked" shoot-down of a $200 million spy plane, either a US Navy BAMS-D, Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator, or a USAF RQ-4A Global Hawk, depending on your source. Actually, it might be a prototype of something even more advanced. Either way, it's a 737-sized U.S. military drone that's capable of launching offensive missiles. (Oops. The media isn't supposed to reveal capabilities of "our" freedom-defending drones, are we? We are not alone in not getting the memo.)

The downing of the drone marks a new escalation in a very tense situation  — and with the Trump administration stacked with warmongers, we may well be witnessing the kabuki theatre "presented in a flashy way with little (or sometimes misleading) substance" that leads inexorably to the beginning of a war.

After the second round of oil tanker attacks last week, the Trump war cabinet instantly blamed Iran, ordered 1,000 more troops, and set their pro-Iran-war public relations campaign on full blast.

Iran is the historical Persia. All the modern names
were applied when Britain and France carved the
Middle East into convenient colonies after WW I.
Which often explains plenty about today's strife.
"It is a MIRACLE missiles haven’t already been launched. We CANNOT let that happen. But Pompeo, Bolton, and Trump’s campaign is more aggressive, more extreme, and more sustained than anything we’ve faced in a very long time," writes Stephen Miles (with capitalization as depicted) of the Washington, D.C.-based "Win Without War."

Miles continues, "We remember the Iraq War. We know the immense human horror and heartbreak that we are SO CLOSE to again — which is why Win Without War has been working flat-out to put an emergency brake on this march to war, through Congress, the media, and with allies around the world."

US troops assembling to invade Iraq. Is Iran next?
His organization is not alone. "Just Foreign Policy" is also mobilizing supporters to oppose another war.

Regardless of who is responsible for the tanker attacks, the ensuing crisis and potential escalation toward war is literally because of the actions of Donald Trump and his war cabinet.

Since taking office, Trump walked away from the historic, multinational Iran deal; he's waged economic warfare against Iran through suffocating sanctions; he's launched an administration-wide “maximum pressure” campaign of hostility and antagonism against Iran; and with unprecedented muscle-flexing bluster, he's built-up military forces in the Middle East with the express goal of “confronting Iran.”

In the past few days, we’ve also learned that behind closed doors, Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been telling lawmakers they will have nothing to say about it. He says the 2001 AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force) — we call it a "one-size-fits-all-wars-on-people-we-don't-like" law -- passed EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO in response to the 9/11 attacks, would (according to Pompeo) give them authority to wage war against Iran without a Constitutionally-required Declaration of War or any specific Congressional approval.

We’re seeing Team Trump re-launch an intensified public relations campaign selling anti-Iranian and anti-Muslim hate to set the stage for a destructive war with Iran. One by one, they’re trying to lock-in everything they need to launch some kind of war against Iran.

What's the public to believe? Brian Dickerson writes in the Detroit Free Press, "I want you to think about the dangers of charging, tip-toeing or stumbling into such a conflict under the leadership of a commander-in-chief a majority of Americans suspect may be a lying narcissist, and who has demonstrated a willingness to subordinate his country's interests to his own."

Dickerson continues, "But now the president who just weeks ago accused the intelligence community of conspiring in an unsuccessful coup against his presidency is citing the same agencies as authority for his own assertions that Iran is responsible for attacks that crippled two oil tankers in waters south of the Strait of Hormuz... this past week."

All this -- attacks on four oil tankers in May, two more in June, and the shoot-down of the US spy drone -- has occurred in the narrowing passageways leading to or through the Straits of Hormuz (above and to the right of the word "Dubai" on the map). The red arrow marks the site of two tanker attacks. Map:
All appearances are that we are on the brink of yet another war. Those organizing to prevent it agree it would be an "absolutely unnecessary, catastrophic, and costly war with Iran," and they're scrambling to unify the message to "stop a needless, costly, and destructive war with Iran."

On Fox News on Thursday, Greg Guttfeld celebrated that "Drones have replaced bones... this is now a big video game. We can fight wars without hurling bodies at bodies... this is good news... you retaliate with machines against machines. Fortunately we have the best stuff, the most advanced machines."

Four nations, before and after 21st century U.S. "regime change" aerial wars.
Tell that to the starving, disease ridden millions in Yemen, Greg. Tell it to the citizens of nations whose cities, villages, and infrastructure have been demoted to the stone age by U.S. bombs. And tell it to U.S. troops whose armored vehicles had their floors implode when they ran over a buried homemade IED bomb. "Video game?" It's enough to make you scream. Or to remember the old Bruce Cockburn song about the rocket launcher that needs to be aimed at the advocates of war.

The good news is it looks like the public isn’t buying the administration's war-mongering, or Fox News playing cheerleader while wearing its video game's virtual flak vest.

The late professor Howard Zinn, author
of "A People's History of the United States"
In part, that's thanks to a growing sense that other voices are the ones who are getting it right.

These include America's most important intellectual, Professor Noam Chomsky; economist Richard Wolff; whistleblower John Kiriakou; human needs advocates Medea Benjamin, Dr. Jill Stein, Kshama Sawant, and Dr. Margaret Flowers; journalists like Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges, along with Cenk Uygur, Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Abby Martin, Aaron Mate, Seymour Hersh, Max Blumenthal, Dan Cohen, Mark Crispin Miller, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Robert Scheer, Thom Hartmann, Russell Banks, Ben Norton, Rania Khalek, David Cay Johnston, Ana Kasparian, Loretta Napoleoni, Brian Dickerson, and thankfully, still more fiercely independent pursuers of truth who refuse to be intimidated by "corpirate" media; and organizations like Win Without War, RootsAction, Just Foreign Policy, Veterans for Peace, Food Not Bombs, and a growing number of others; and insightful (and "inciteful") laser-focused, no-BS comedians like Lee Camp, Trevor Noah, and Stephen Colbert.

All are combining to take the wind out of a warconomy that conducts an endless psychological hammering of the masses with stacked-deck partial truths, sensationalist distraction, trivial diversion and fear-based obfuscation that collectively functions as disinformation, underpinned by self-serving assumptions, en-route to things going bang in the night. Make no mistake, the corporacratic oligarchs' money and power and "short-term-profit-taking" investor class are aligned against all who oppose the profitable pursuit of reaping blood money on an industrial scale.

Of course, this meme is from the last
go 'round. Iran is not tribal or tentbound.
It is urbane with a population of 82 million people.
A recent CNN poll (conducted by the independent SSRS research) showed a shockingly ominous 32% of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling the situation with Iran, with only 43% opposed to his Iran policies and 12% undecided. 

Dickerson looks at history: "This [attack on oil tankers and how we respond to it] is precisely the sort of hiccup (Google 'assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand' or 'Gulf of Tonkin incident') that presaged some truly memorable 20th Century bloodbaths. So the president's un-nuanced accusations ('Iran did do it') and threats ('If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran') have rattled even a global audience grown accustomed to Trumpian bluster." 

He cites the established pattern from the Commander-in-Tweet, whose thumbs threatened a month ago:

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019

SecState Pompeo cites motive, means, and opportunity for attacks by Iran on "the world's oil supplies," and in case we don't get the message that we, the citizens of the U.S., are somehow obligated by a new Manifest Destiny to always make that our business? Just add-in a measure of who's the biggest badass on the block, and emotion will trump reason.
Old themes as new memes on social media. 
Over time, do messages take hold?
The truth is made elusive, caught in a twilight zone of truthiness and emphatic opinion based on delusion characterized by shouted chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A!" and Making America Great Again. It's propelled by intimidating the rest of the world and aggressively accelerating distrust of science, fear of obsolescence, exacerbation of climate change, xenophobia, and ultimately, the militarism required to get away with being a bully.

But as Dickerson says, the "smoking guns are suspect." Tanker crews say they saw incoming missiles, yet the U.S. says that mines, magnetically-attached to the ships' hulls, were detonated. U.S. drones precisely report their flight paths with exact location known, moment by moment. Yet the Pentagon briefing was made by phone, from an empty podium, and no data was offered to support the claim that the drone was over international waters. There's an even bigger disconnect with a president who repeatedly tells us not to trust the very same agencies he now calls upon to provide his provocation for war.

The fight to stop yet another war could go either way. Both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would bar funding for an illegal, unauthorized war with Iran. HR 2354 in the House of Representatives and S 1039 in the Senate would prohibit the U.S. from using any federal funds to engage in military action in Iran without congressional approval or a declaration of war. But passage of either is doubtful.

In addition, public opinion is a manipulated commodity. We know that "Media censors the opinions of 37% of Americans. And... they’re gloating about it," as Ted Rall recently cited in LA Progressive. He continued, "The majority is voiceless. A privileged minority rules. The United States is a political apartheid state."

Everyone else invests in infrastructure that we "protect"-?
Whether or not the hegemony and agenda-setting of corporate media is quite that bad, one thing is inescapable: none of us can expect someone else to "do something," and magically take action in our place to stop the sabre-rattling for the next war.

Dickerson concludes his piece using a quote: "'We ride too high on deceptive notions of power and security and control,' an aging Nobel laureate muses near the end of 'Asymmetry,' Lisa Halliday's best-selling novel. '... Our military might is unmatched, and, in any case, the madness is at least an ocean away.'

"'And then all of a sudden we look up from ordering paper towels online to find ourselves delivered right into the madness. And we wonder: How did this happen? What was I doing when this was in the works?'

"It is time to look up from our screens — or at least use them to learn some geography."

Simultaneously, Miles says, "We are in a race against time to stop Trump’s warmongers crossing-over their self-determined threshold before bombs start to rain down."

Doing your part to stop it -- provided you do it early -- is simple:

Heavy-handed admonitions didn't stop escalating wars
under Bush 43 or Obama. What will it take this time?
Or is that "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind"-?


NO WAR USING U.S. FORCES, NO PROXY WAR (by supplying arms to Saudi Arabia or Israel or anyone else to attack Iran for us). NO DRONE WAR, NO AERIAL WAR, NO MISSILE WAR, NO NAVAL BLOCKADE WAR -- NO. WAR. -- NO WAR!"

Once you've expressed that, tell them you aren't done yet.

First, you also want them to act IMMEDIATELY, before they take the first of their many summer vacations, because they need to take care of PERMANENT (not more wimpy stop-gap) medical funding for 9/11 First Responders.

Second, clearly communicate something more: you want them to know you are watching them, and if they don't do their jobs, you will happily vote for someone else who can and who will.

You can get all the contact information for your elected
federal representatives at:

"No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." -- Edmund Burke, Irish orator, philosopher, and politician (1729 - 1797).


THIS IS A special edition, calling on you, our readers, to take a simple action to STOP the build-up to yet another war, this one with Iran.

The LATEST EVENTS EDITION, frequently updated, has our coverage of festivals, concerts, film events, gallery openings, musicals, other live theatre, and more.
    Get there by scrolling past this special news edition, or go there directly at:

The Guide's special edition for the 75th anniversary of D-Day and its meaning in our world today, has been read by many thousands of people in over 30 countries (so far); it is still available, at:

The most recent 'uge, 2-volume NEWS FEATURES edition was a while back, but it's still available. You can find it at:

As always, we have lots of MUSIC NEWS features in the works, and they'll be along as we get them dressed, shoes tied, cowlicks combed down, bowties cranked straight, and strings tuned.

'Til we catch ya on the flip side,
as Buford the Wonder Dog looks on, 
and in our best Kathy Baker
"Hee Haw" voice: "THAT's all!"
Stay tuneful!


We'll be back again soon with music news and more "News of the Non-Trumpcentric Universe." (c)



Boilerplate? Where's the main pressure gauge? And the firebox?

What "boilerplate"? Who came up with that goofy term for the basic essential informational stuff...


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♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS – and views of interest to artists everywhere – more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers -- and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
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