Grace Slick-This Week’s Podcast

A woman who needs no introduction…

(On the 50th anniversary of Woodstock to boot!)

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“The Navarro Recession, II”

The Navarro Recession, II

It’s about the money. It’s always about the money. And when you piss off money, when people lose money, there are consequences.

Now you may think the stock market does not affect you, but chances are you’ve got pension money invested, and even if you don’t, its performance has consequences in your life. The market falls, and you lose your job. That’s how it works folks. You’re expendable, the company rolls on. You want the company to be rich, so you can reap the benefits.

Also, you must have allies. We learn this at a very young age, without friends you’re nowhere. It takes a team to succeed. And you don’t want to piss off the team with money.

Trump and his people pissed off “The Wall Street Journal.”

Do you know how hard that is to do, especially when it comes to money? Social issues are one thing, but mess with the financial world’s well-being and you’re in trouble.

And maybe you don’t read “The Wall Street Journal.” The editorial above is behind a paywall. But everybody with money has a subscription.

You see there’s an inside game and an outside game. And most people are not privy to the inside game. Or, to paraphrase George Carlin, the owners of the country don’t want to give you a vote, they want to control the game, and the way you control the game is by having the most information, and having enough money to bet on what you know.

Now it used to be you had a job for life, the company cared about you and watched out for you, and if it didn’t, your union stood up for you.

Now “union” is a dirty word, the workers are afraid of unions, afraid of pissing off their employers, and there is no such thing as lifelong employment and many workers are members of the gig economy, where there’s no guarantee of employment, never mind any health care, and you work like a dog to survive.

So now Trump is in a bunker mentality. But instead of having the best and the brightest surrounding him, he’s got loyalists who are nincompoops, oftentimes without portfolio, i.e. degrees and experience, after all Kudlow is not an economist, but Donald cannot be swayed anyway. He believes he’s entitled to have it his way, no wonder he loves McDonald’s.

Now the 2016 election was an aberration. The news media was unaware of the unrest percolating in society, and the Democrats ran a flawed candidate. That’s right, irrelevant of her experience, does anybody believe Hillary’s favorite book is the Bible? Not me, but that’s what she said.

And TV boosted Trump. The most insightful article about Trump’s ascension and victory was the one in “The New Yorker” focusing on Mark Burnett and “The Apprentice.”

How Mark Burnett Resurrected Donald Trump as an Icon of American Success

Burnett was as savvy in image-making as Roger Ailes, Burnett built Trump.

But Jesse Ventura was only a one term governor. The electorate learned he was inexperienced and ineffective. And the electorate has learned the same thing about Trump. Forget the loyalists, they just hate Democrats, and a bunch are racist. We didn’t realize that so many hated Obama because of his skin color, Trump amplified this sentiment by supporting the birther controversy. And now racism is worse than it’s ever been in my lifetime.

But it’s the same way elsewhere, and there’s starting to be a pushback. Because the far right ran too far with the ball, suddenly the populace at large could see who they really were and what they wanted. Believe me, Brexit wouldn’t happen today. It was stirred up by xenophobia and falsehoods perpetrated by those who wanted it.

But now people are wise.

And the story in America is how many people are not on Trump’s team. Why should one be afraid of a cabal declining in power and about to be eclipsed?

Now if Roger Ailes were still alive, and still in charge of Fox News, he would have already pulled back Carlson and Ingraham. Ailes knew not to push too far, to try to appear fair and balanced even if you weren’t. Now Fox is off the rails, it speaks only to its aged base, no one else takes the news outlet seriously.

Meanwhile, Trump hate tweets Fox on a regular basis.

But now he’s messing with “The Wall Street Journal.”

The above editorial, which is the position of the newspaper, not an opinion piece by a columnist, blows back against White House aide Peter Navarro for claiming the paper sounded like “The People’s Daily,” the Chinese Communist propaganda outlet. That’s like a Mafia Don shooting a loyalist because he believes they’ve been unfaithful when they haven’t. “The Wall Street Journal” is on the right’s side!

And unlike Trump, at least the writers at “The Wall Street Journal” are sophisticated:

“Some Trumpians are cheering the Chinese economy’s pain, but they should be careful what they wish for. They could drive China, the world’s second largest economy, into its first recession since Deng Xiaoping began the era of pro-market economic reform.

A Chinese recession would mean a European recession, which would send U.S. growth down too. The impact would be worse if slower growth triggers capital flight from China and there’s a disorderly fall in the yuan.”

In other words, actions have consequences, and we live in a global economy. You just can’t decide to sit out and play by your own rules, that day’s long passed.

Then the paper beats up Trump and his cronies for their trade wars and ultimately says:

“Stop the trade threats by tweet. Call a tariff truce with China, Europe and the rest of the world while negotiations resume with a goal of reaching a deal by the meeting of Pacific nations in November.”

Trump might even listen if the crash gets too bad. But his ego is always on the line, he declares victory and moves on. But we’ve seen this movie too many times and Trump has demonstrated again and again he’s his own man, he will not be told what to do by anyone, he abhors personal restrictions.

So, if you’re a student of the game, this editorial is a big thing, a line in the sand. And this is different from the Never Trumpers, because this involves money.

And this does not only apply to monetary policy, this does not only apply to finance.

You think someone’s gonna give you a record deal?

Only if it’s gonna make money for them. And since the odds are low, the terms are onerous. Musicians keep lobbying for labels to be fair, but in truth the only power they’ve got comes from leveraging success.

You want to know the people with a seat at the table, who know all the players, who can get something done in one phone call. That’s not only power, that’s truth.

But we live in a world of gossip by nobodies. In all walks of life. That’s how they make themselves feel good. Then again, only a handful of people can run the world.

And if you want to challenge this money-based culture, you can’t benefit from it. They call this lobbyists, they call this corporate fundraisers. Or, as Bob Dylan once sang, “to live outside the law you must be honest.”

But honesty is a rare thing, because everybody wants the mazuma. Everybody’s in thrall to the almighty dollar. They’ll sell their souls, commit immoral acts, even screw their friends and family if it involves money.

And most people complaining about this have no money. And just want in on the party. They want theirs.

But if you want to change the system, you cannot be a part of it.

But you must get inside and get a seat at the table.

In that article about Mark Burnett and “The Apprentice,” it is detailed how everyone in New York knew Trump was a bad businessman, who was on his way down to boot. And L.A. might be the home of entertainment, but New York is the home of finance in the U.S. So, in other words, the insider club knows the truth about Trump, and if he crosses them, he’s gonna pay.

So that’s the story today.

Don’t do what Fox News does and bait and switch. Try to get its audience riled up by small issues. They want you to not understand.

But in today’s world there’s so much information.

But you’ve got to care.

And most people don’t.

But they still want that money, it’s their ethos, their driving force.

The Dow Drops

This is what happens when you put an amateur behind the wheel.

Government is a professional job, and Hillary Clinton was demonized by the right for thirty years to the point where she could not win the election.

Oh, don’t tell me how she won the popular vote, don’t even tell me about Russian intervention, the truth is she lost. Democrats play by the rules, Republicans know that rules should be broken. And for all you on the straight and narrow, ever notice that the tech titans, almost all Democrats, break the rules on a consistent basis? Wasn’t that the mantra of Facebook, “move fast and break things”? And today’s paper says that Facebook was transcribing audio, it hired outside people to do it…didn’t anybody know this was wrong? That’s like saying if I hire someone else to kill my wife, it’s not my fault. The techies play offense, and then apologize when they get caught crossing the line.

The Republicans define the game.

Forget the Trump base COMPLETELY!

I just checked the Fox News homepage, you’ve got to scroll way down to see the stock market’s drop, it’s amidst a ton of links at the bottom. You know what the second story is, after the shootings in Philadelphia? AOC! That’s like reporting sports scores when an atomic bomb has dropped. Talk about misinformation…

You cannot argue with people operating on different facts, different spin. And no one likes to admit they’ve been duped, they’ll do anything not to appear a dummy, so good luck trying to change their mind.

This has been going on far too long. The Democrats play by Republican rules.

Yup, the Republicans say the economy is too strong for Trump to lose. The Republicans say Pocahontas has no chance. The Republicans say corporate health care is great. The Republicans say they’re keeping government out of people’s pocketbooks when the truth is it’s all a ruse to give cash to the rich.

So what do the Democrats do about it? PLAY DEFENSE! And anybody will tell you you can’t score unless you play offense.

But the Democrats are afraid, that they might piss off one potential voter based on hearsay that is not validated, and false polls.

Do not trust statistics always trust your gut. The most successful businessman of our era did no market research. That’s right, Steve Jobs. No, not Jack Welch, HE COOKED THE BOOKS! Welch leaves and GE craters. Jobs dies and so far the company has run for EIGHT YEARS on his past innovations.

But NO, in politics you’ve got to go by the data.

Never forget, the data will tell you where you’ve been, but not where you’re going.

Hell, the Democrats can’t even get their agenda right.

Let’s make it simple:

1. Welfare. No one should starve, everyone should have a roof over their head. It’s a right. Ignore the claims on the right about welfare mothers with flat screens and Benzes. That’s like the Republicans going on about voter fraud…IT DOESN’T EXIST, except for maybe tiny exceptions. Democrats should own this issue, but they’re too afraid of pissing off the people benefiting from the government. That’s right, the Democrats should have a website where they show where federal money goes, and who is dependent on federal programs. It’s a well-established fact that people vote against their interests, BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW!

2. Health care. No one should be afraid to go to the hospital, no one should go bankrupt or die because they can’t afford to get health care. Stop arguing over the details. It works in many countries already. But no, the Democrats are afraid the CD buyers will be pissed if we talk about streaming. There’s no upside to appealing to the past.

3. Gun rights. Call it safety. People want to feel safe.

4. Climate change. Even the “Wall Street Journal” wrote that Gen Z is all about climate change and for that reason they might not vote for Trump. But the Democrats ignore this constituency, with the trope that the young don’t vote, and appeal to oldsters who don’t want to lose ground. Everything’s got to be incremental. THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF HOW TRUMP GOT ELECTED!

That’s it. Let’s not argue over the details, let’s argue over the CONCEPTS!

And forget about the gotcha Republicans. Anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, with a public face who writes anything negative about the right is inundated with the Republicans’ minions working the refs. And you know why they work the refs? SO YOU’LL BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP NEXT TIME! Talk about a chilling effect.

And under the guise of freedom, the right restricts abortions and tells us how to live.

And the Democrats just complain.

The youth don’t vote because the Democrats don’t appeal to them.

You never coast to victory. You usually lose.

Sure, you need a team leader to keep the troops in line. But Pelosi doesn’t understand it’s a new game. She kept impeachment down and then Mueller was a misfire and NOW the Democrats are talking about impeachment? That’s like getting ready for overtime when the winning team and the fans have already left the building.

The Democrats couldn’t even make the last election about the Supreme Court! That’s how bad they are at getting their message across.

The people are on the left’s side. But they’ve got to feel they’re not ignored and that there is a leader. But as soon as we find a leader, the Democrats and the media say they’re not fit, they can’t win, that we’ve got to rely on an aged gaffer who wants to return us to a past that wasn’t that good to begin with. Yup, let’s go back to the Obama era before Netflix streaming. Let’s go back to Perry Como. The past is history, you’ve got to prepare for the future!

So all the talk during the last election was about having Trump’s hand on the nuclear button, when the truth is the biggest problem was having Trump’s hand on the economy.

Of course he blew it up. China and Germany are faltering because of his tariffs.

And if you think the U.S. is not paying, just wait for the price of next year’s iPhones, wait until farmers go bankrupt. All because this guy who’s in power thinks international relations is a school fight where a bully can prevail.

We live in a global village. All our corporations are international. We can not secede from the world. Nationalism is a hoax. Netflix thrives on making programs for foreign countries, but in the U.S. we must close our borders.

But, the Democrats can’t get their message across and are all about “compromise” when Trump ignored his advisors and instituted new tariffs.

This is the fight of our lives. For climate change, if nothing else.

As for electric cars… The Republicans want to put Tesla out of business by cutting the tax break and China is throwing money at a hundred electric car companies. So, by closing our doors and keeping the old people happy we’re not only going to pollute our air, ultimately we’re gonna be beholden to China for our automobiles.

And since we’re refusing to give South Asians visas, they’re staying home and innovating there.

Once again, this is not for Trump’s base, IGNORE THEM! This is for Democrats and those who used to be. We’ve got to make our case. Which must be progressive… That’s how we got into this mess. Bill Clinton cutting welfare and Obama trying to appease Republicans who wouldn’t budge. We refuse to accept the baton, we’d rather complain.

I thought America was the land of DOERS!

The ZZ Top Movie

ZZ Top – That Little Ol’ Band From Texas (Official Trailer)

I smiled throughout.

The question is, will classic rock be to Gen Z what the blues were to the boomers?

That’s right, the explosion that arose with the Beatles didn’t come out of a vacuum, all these English bands had influences, the Mississippi bluesmen.

But back then the records were hard to find.

But right now they’re hiding in plain sight.

But today, when you hide in plain sight, no one sees you. Even though all those records exist online, there are not clubs devoted to them, when you go deep you go alone, hoping to ultimately find someone who feels like you do.

Dusty, Frank and Billy felt the same way, they listened to the same Mexican radio stations, they had the same influences.

And they wanted to play music.

Most stars no longer want to play music, they want to be rich and famous. Playing music is different. You do it for the time on stage, and off stage too, hanging with cool people who get it. Yes, musicians used to be cool, a separate club that you could not be a member of unless you played too.

The money was just a byproduct. It was more about attitude, lifestyle. You worked damn hard, but you were your own boss, and your life was based on fun, remember FUN?

Now ZZ Top was on a terrible label, i.e. London Records. All the English acts who released records on that label jumped as soon as they could. But some, like Ten Years After, left too late, the band was already over by time they were on Columbia, the world had changed.

So if you were living on the east coast, ZZ Top was a band you heard about, but rarely heard. They were rare, foreign, the other. And you’d read some of the publicity, but couldn’t relate to it. Like the farm animal tour. HUH? What was the point?

The point was to invest in their career. You’ve got to spend money to make money. And those who knew, knew.

And by the late seventies, “La Grange” and “Tush” were FM staples, then again at that time I was living on the west coast, for all I know the east coast still overlooked the little ol’ band from Texas.

But then I heard “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide.”

Well I was rollin’ down the road in some cold blue steel
I had a bluesman in the back and a beautician at the wheel
We going downtown in the middle of the night
We laughing and I’m jokin’ and we feelin’ all right

THE SENSE OF HUMOR!

Yes, the groove was undeniable, the almost stutter, but the lyrics? THEY CRACKED ME UP!

Come on, just picture it! A bluesman in the back and a beautician at the wheel? I’m laughing just thinking of it, what imagery! Who’d imagine a beautician at the wheel? This ain’t a model, someone internationally famous, just the girl who cuts hair in the neighborhood. And why a bluesman in the back? B.B. King?

I had to buy the album, “Deguello.”

Of course, it started with a killer version of “I Thank You,” which eclipsed Bonnie Raitt’s cover, that gave a twist on the Sam & Dave original…an elixir of guitar and vocal, with a heavy bottom, you dropped the needle and instantly fell in the groove.

And “She Loves My Automobile” was a tear, and such a funny concept, a workingman concept. This is not some rich Wall Street guy drawing the opposite sex based on his wealth, this is a guy who’s never been twenty miles from home.

And also on “Deguello” was “A Fool For Your Stockings,” with its muddy groove, and the classic, “Cheap Sunglasses.” In other words the album was successful musically. as well as financially, after all, ZZ Top were now on Warner Brothers.

But that was 1979.

1981 brought “El Loco” with “Tube Snake Boogie” and “Pearl Necklace,” which were au courant as opposed to rearward-looking like most of the early stuff, but was that a matter of perception, the band now being on Warner Brothers.

Now no act makes it without a manager. And the biggest ones have the best. And it’s easy to criticize in retrospect, but don’t forget Brian Epstein built the Beatles, and he helped invent the business, no rock act had ever been this big, and remember, Capitol didn’t even want to put out the initial material in the U.S., “She Loves You” came out on Swan.

And Bill Ham was against TV, he was into mystery, and this restricted the footprint of the band, but it allowed them to blow away fans who’d only heard them on record, if there. That’s how it used to be, you went to see a great act and they blew you away. You beamed at your buddies in the audience and subsequently told everybody you knew about them.

And then came “Gimme All Your Lovin’.”

You see Frank Beard was watching TV and saw videos so he called up Frank and then Billy tuned in too, and after four hours they were wondering how long this special was gonna last.

This was MTV. Not that they knew. America was much more regional back then, you didn’t necessarily know what was going on.

And the videos for “Gimme All Your Lovin'” and “Legs” made ZZ Top international superstars.

Now we saw this documentary paradigm twenty years ago, with VH1’s “Behind The Music.” Which became formulaic. Band makes it, gets hooked on drugs, has no money and then reunites and you can buy tickets for the tour right now!

Today you make the documentary yourself. Technology allows you to do it on the cheap and everybody can get distribution, maybe for free on YouTube instead of money on a pay service, but you can play, the means of production and distribution are in the hands of the proletariat.

Now at first, you think this flick is a deep dive. But then you watch it long enough to realize it’s the same sales pitch as “Behind The Music,” you’ve got to buy a ticket to see the band RIGHT NOW!

But the difference this time is all the classic acts are long in the tooth and this truly might be the end. Yup, if you wanna see the Stones, GO NOW!

ZZ Top is a little younger. And the band is intact, all its members are alive and kicking, a rarity these days.

So the flick starts out in Texas. That’s a big point in this movie, how not only is ZZ Top from the state, but that Texas is its own state of mind, Dusty says you learn about state history before national history.

And they sound like they’re from Texas, all with accents, speaking slowly.

And all three of them started at a young age. And they paid their dues. First Dusty and Frank in Dallas, and then the band coalesced in Houston.

Billy Gibbons was the hot guitar player. Music is a small community, you always know who the gunslingers are. And Frank Beard got up his gumption and asked Billy to play with him. It’s always about the ask, without it you rarely get.

And when they clicked, Frank called Dusty to come on down.

Now some of the footage is mind-blowing. Especially of Billy. He used to be beardless, he looked a bit like an intellectual. And for a very brief moment he dances and you realize he too was infected by the music, just like you.

And they hone the act.

And they play regionally. And there’s one great story of the curtain rising and…

I won’t ruin the tale, but ZZ Top is not interested in making themselves look good here. Hell, they know it was three hot babes and three ugly guys in the videos, they know who they are.

And what I always loved about ZZ Top is they wore the coveralls, the cowboy hats, had the beards, they were not constricted by society, they did whatever they wanted. They talk of opening for the Stones and Keith Richards wearing the same dirty white pants every day. Yup, the acts were scruffy and just didn’t care.

And ZZ Top kills, get an encore but are not mentioned in the reviews.

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll. And it’s not a straight line.

And Frank Beard testifies to spending all his money on drugs and loving them all the while and…

These are not bankers, these are not techies, they’re rock stars. There’s no school that’ll get you there. There’s no prerequisite, you’ve just got to know how to PLAY! And get LUCKY!

And like I said, this flick is really an ad for the tour. But the twist here is the band performs live in the studio throughout, demonstrating their chops. Such a big sound from such a little band. A guitar, a bass and drums was and still is enough in this era where most people fake it, with players behind the curtain or on hard drive.

So if you were there, you’ll remember. All of it. Not that you won’t gain insight, but you’ll marvel at once was.

And if you weren’t, ZZ Top will appear to be a phenomenon, a unique act that seemed to come out of nowhere, that made it all by themselves. And that’s exciting and inspiring.

So how long will it be until bands start playing in the garage, and practice as opposed to promoting on social media. After all, it does come down to music. And people always want a new sound, and sometimes just a slight twist on what came before can open an entire avenue.

So, ZZ Top had soul. And power. And a sense of humor.

AND THEY STILL DO!