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Monthly Archives: July 2013

There are so many examples out there about how the elite in Washington D.C. are out of touch with the needs or wants of the electorate, but it was particularly striking to me when Nancy Pelosi was speaking with her base and was booed over calling Edward Snowden a criminal.

I’ve believed for some time now that many people while acknowledging that he broke the law, generally are grateful to him for revealing the extent of how far government (and I would argue corporate) surveillance has gone in our society.  I now have the data to back up my belief.

Some recent polling  has clearly indicated that Snowden is seen by the majority of Americans to be a whistle-blower and not a traitor:

“the latest poll from Quinnipiac University, which finds “Almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group regards Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor.”

By a margin of 55-34 percent, voters sided with Snowden. And, in what pollsters call a “massive shift,” “voters say 45 – 40 percent the government’s anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, a reversal from a January 14, 2010, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University when voters said 63 – 25 percent that such activities didn’t go far enough to adequately protect the country.”” (Truthdig.com)

It is very disturbing to me the extent to which the Obama administration is willing to go to ensnare Snowden.  Today the New York Times is reporting the extent of diplomatic pressure that the administration is putting on Latin American countries to deter them from fulfilling their pledges to offer asylum.

We even ARRANGED FOR THE DETENTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF BOLIVIA.  Which is damn near an act of war!  Why?  To punish a young man who did something which most Americans consider to deserve legally protected whistle-blower status.

Snowden successfully revived the discussion of government surveillance of domestic communication which has been going on for quite some time from the Bush Administration’s spying on environmental and peace groups (I’ve seen this firsthand in 2004) to the revelations of the NSA using AT+T’s operations centers to divert the entire flow of internet communication to their surveillance systems.  (Click HERE for an excellent and credible 2007 PBS Documentary on the subject).  None of the previous revelations have been piqued the interest of the public as Snowden’s documents which have not only exposed cell phone surveillance but in some thoughtful quarters even started discussions over the role of private contractors in intelligence work.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s time for the Obama administration to heed the public will and let Snowden live out his life on a beach in Caracas, Venezuela.  I think he’s earned it.

You might want to watch this two minute video HERE from Olvier Stone and the ACLU.

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Time for confession, I like hair metal.  Can’t get enough of it and in my humble opinion one of the best and certainly most high-brow hair metal bands of all time is Queensryche.  Their album Operation: Mindcrime is by far my most favorite album of all-time.  It influenced my teens and twenties in a significant way (and apparently still does – I named the blog in honor of that album).

I’ve been listening to Queensryche since 1989. I have bought every album and every DVD they’ve ever made. I have seen them in concert at least 10 times. Then, after “Dedicated to Chaos” (or as I called that album ‘Phoning it In’) I decided to give up my hope for a post-Promised Land album that was worth listening to.

Apparently, there has been some recent drama in the band that led to the existence of two competing Queensryches.  One fronted by original singer Geoff Tate and the other (Which I’m referring to as Queensryche 2.0 for the purpose of clarity in this post) containing much of the original band – drummer Scott Rockenfeld, guitarist Michael Wilton, and bassist Eddie Jackson.  This new Queensryche (2.0) is fronted by singer Todd La Torre.

I sampled the new Geoff Tate QR album “Frequency Unknown” using a streaming service and it only served to reinforce my resolve to give up on my once favorite band.  Frequency Unknown or “FU” made “Dedicated to Mediocre” look like a work of art – it was gawd-awful.

Then late one night, I stumbled across a number of positive reviews for Queensryche (2.0)’s album titled “Queensryche”, and then sampled two tracks on YouTube…it was – dare I say- good!

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Even more positive reviews can be found here.

This is the best Queensryche album since Promised Land. This is the old Iron Maiden-esque Queensryche that you remember from the ’80s with a new twist (and vocalist Todd La Torre sounds just different enough from Tate to feel authentic, but not so different that the music is unrecognizable as Queensryche).

One of the online music reviews I read claimed that “this is the Queensryche album you have been waiting for” for over 20 years and another claimed that  “for the first time in over a decade Queensryche might be relevant again”…I couldn’t agree more.