Friday, March 31, 2017

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Piece number, oh I don't recall, but we're in the high teens now in the BandCamp hosted Gauntlet of Balthazar Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away. It's been exceptionally gratifying finding this painless way to expiate some of my excess creative energies in a fairly semi-committed fashion, and I hope the coming month's will see not only the uploads of more short Industrial Music ditties, but also some lengthier Soundtrack excerpts, and even a few tracks with vocals (I'm guessing some quirky covers at first). Needless to say, the Gauntlet will continue to feature more photography, ceramic art, more Words-of-the-Day, and political text. I'm hoping to pump up the writing about writing section as well, and initiate an illustration feature as well, so, we'll see.

Anyway, the piece-du-jour is entitled "Hyperion", after the Greek Titan of the same name. It contains several layers of unusual sounds, such as singing glasses, mixed choir and marimba orchestra, together with an off-kilter rhythm and more traditional instrument sounds.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Brexit Update and the Punk Rockers

Good Morning England!

Today is the day (long awaited by some) that a letter invoking Article 50, and signed by British Prime Minister Theresa May, will be hand delivered by Britain's European Union ambassador, Sir Timothy Barrow, to European Council President Donald Tusk. The importance of this missive cannot be understated, because the document officially declares the United Kingdom's formal intention to divorce itself from the European Union. Since the contentious referendum nine months ago, the people of the Isles have been sharply divided by the issue, along the same lines as we have seen in the United States in the wake of the rise and election of Donald Trump to the presidency, and the epic fail of the Democratic National Committee and their anointed corporatist shill, Ms. Hillary Clinton.

May has asked that Tory members of Parliament not openly celebrate the event, which some have described as "Christmas-like" for them. She requests this specifically in order to avoid triggering the delicate feelings of leftist snowflakes, and to allow the country, in her words, the opportunity to "come together". Needless to say, if festivities do occur, the left will attempt to ruin them, as they did with several inauguration balls in Washington D.C.. I expect this is so because, as we have seen, Socialist-Nanny State supporters seem to be compelled to regulate the hearts and minds of those on their side, and well, everyone else. It's actually quite sad that they have a problem abiding varying beliefs, free of their scorn, except in cases where they feel too great a level of fear or guilt to continue their invective, as we have repeatedly seen with the left's apologetic placating of radical Islam.

I think a smashing microcosm of the issue can be demonstrably seen in the political stances of two of the most familiar and seminal figures of the first wave of British Punk Rock. For those of you who are Punks, were Punks, retro-actively like Punk, or just understand the history of music and politics in the late 1970's, it will probably come as no surprise who these two figures are, but I'll spoil the wait right here and divulge, it's John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) of the Sex Pistols and P.I.L., and Mick Jones of The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite and Carbon.

For years I have seen music journalists turn on Lydon, viewing him as an opportunist, and a conniving businessman cut from the same cloth of U.K. Punks first great hype-man, Malcolm McLaren. McLaren essentially shaped the Sex Pistols with the aid of Bernie Rhodes, ironically, the future manager of The Clash. Be that as it may, the Clash were always seen as more "earnest" Punks than the Pistols, who as I already specified, were perceived as more opportunistic. The key difference here was that the politics of the Clash, its surviving songwriter, Mick Jones was definitively Socialist, if not Communist.

For many Punks the association of leftist politics with Punk quickly became synonymous, just as many (non-Punks, and some Punks) also mistook fashion for sensibility. This is not to say that a non-Socialist Punk singer could not spout almost the same vitriolic rants against the status quo as a one with one beholding to the Socialist agenda, but the issue was more of a "so once you achieve Anarchy, what will follow?" The answer for Jones and band-mates was simple it was to facilitate and co-op the state to service the people. The answer for Lydon was also clear, he was/is is a provocateur for provocation's sake, a contrarian for the sake of being contrary. He wanted to bring the system down in order to be free to do what he wanted to do, and frankly what more than money allows you to do just that. With abundant cash, you can go, and do, what you will. Without it, you are dependent on the government, and governments are very skilled at making dependent citizens jump through the hoops they want them to.

Press and Punks alike consistently labelled Lydon as a "Sell Out", even though some of early, and almost atonal, albums with P.I.L. in the early 1980's would have at best achieved cult status, had his name, and marketing appeal, not been attached to the project. This was not to say that The Clash did not score some major "Pop" hits. Quite the contrary they did very well. Today Jones' Net Worth is estimated to be valued at not so austere sum of some $10 Million USD. Contrarily, while Lydon's wealth has had some ups and downs his net worth is currently estimated at approximately $215 Million USD, thanks not only to his recording and live performances, but real estate holdings, a fat stock portfolio, and even a clothing and perfume line. He took in $75 million in the last 13 months alone, and why should he stop there?     

Perhaps not surprisingly, Johnny recently came out in support of Brexit, Nigel Farage and even, gasp, Donald Trump. Doubtlessly, this will just further seal his fate of traitorous damnation to leftists the world over, and conversely, they will continue to fawn over Jones, regardless of the redundancy and irrelevancy of his current projects. They won't buy his records, but he's a true believer. Right?

So, I guess the question one must ask one's self, if one is a Punk at heart, is "Wasn't Punk about Anarchy? Wasn't it all about grabbing the freedom to express yourself in any way you wanted? When did being a Punk mean that you had to ascribe to another conformity, and keep the same "approved" haircut, and walk around with a guitar in one hand and copy of Das Kapital in the other?

I applaud Lydon for holding true to his contrarianism, his agent provocateur status, and if he wants to accrue wealth, good for him. Perhaps he'll celebrate Brexit, or maybe not, maybe leftists would be glad to hear that he gives charity to the less fortunate, but maybe he doesn't. That's his business, and that's what Punk was/is truly about. Do what you want to do when you want to do it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise or stand in your way.

Bravo, Mr. Lydon, apparently there actually is a future.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vernal Equinox Cold Snap

Nature up to her old hi-jinks once again. Just as we in the northern latitudes started to expect that the unseasonable warmness would continue, especially now that it's technically spring, we get hit by some legitimately brutal wind chill and temperature drop. I snapped a few pics of some interesting ice-drip formations right outside the front door. Some kind of remind me of very green octopi or squid.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

41452 is a languorous and meandering track that morphed many times over the length of its recording. It is the fifteenth issue in the BandCamp hosted Gauntlet of Balthazar Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away program.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Favorite YouTube Vloggers and Commentators: Part One - My Main Dudes

Though I'm not the most avid fan of competitions, I do so like inventorying and cataloguing pretty much everything in an admittedly obsessive compulsive disorder kind of way. And so, I thought it might be nice to post a multi-part compendium of the YouTube Vloggers and commentators I am most entertained by, and who I find relate cogent political and sociological analysis. I'll try to describe each as best I can, and I will include links to their homepages. This will be a multiple-installment endeavor, broken down into "MY MAIN DUDES", "THE SMART HOT CHICKS", and "THE HONORABLE MENTIONS".

So let's start with: MY MAIN DUDES

This is STYXHEXENHAMMER666, otherwise known as Tarl Warwick. Styx offers some of the most eloquent political analysis out there. Though he's been on YouTube for six or seven years his current format is about two or three years in, and he can now boast around 100,000 subscribers. A native Vermonter, and botanist, he is an Anarcho-Libertarian who offers posts on contemporary politics, observations on the occult, and his world-building exploits in the Minecraft gaming platform. A man after my own heart, he probably only varies from me politically, culturally and sociologically on Jewish subject matter, but, as a Judeo-Pagan, he might be surprised at the overlap we do indeed share nonetheless, when and if we ever speak.

Carl Benjamin, better know by the quirky moniker SARGON OF AKKAD, is a feisty YouTube powerhouse with just short of some 600,000 subscribers. A British chap who often describes himself as "Classical Liberal", he more or less reads as leaning a tad more to the conservative side of the spectrum. His videos are often quite lengthy and rely on extensive documentation captured on-screen in inset in tandem to his staccato voice over. Sargon almost never appears in his videos personally, but rather is represented by illustrations depicting the ancient Mesopotamian monarch. A fan of global politics, he has much to say about US elections, the future of the European Union, Islam and feminism.

STEVEN CROWDER of Louder with Crowder is based in Grand Rapids Michigan, was raised in French Canada, and is a right-leaning religious conservative with an awesome sense of humor. He's been at this quite a while and is closing in on 700,000 subscribers as of March 2017. His videos and streams are more in the talk show format of late night television or radio, with Skype interviews (often with commentators on the other side of the spectrum), hidden camera experiments and pranks, fake commercials, and incessant banter between he and his cohorts, which often supply actual belly laughs. 

Oh lord, another bloody limey. PAUL JOSEPH WATSON, is a punky and boisterouly funny bloke who occasionally writes for Alex Jones of Infowars, and is coming up on his 850,000th subscriber. As opposed to Sargon, Crowder and Styx, Watson seems to be in an almost constant state of delightful agitation, and his posts are done in full-frontal assault POV style with cut-ins of related, and even comic, footage inserted at key points in his diatribes. His talking points heavily rely on global politics, third wave feminism, Islamophobia, and rejecting cultural Marxism.

The Dreaded MILO YIANNOPOULOS is a vice that anyone not on the far left can take to heart for the stand-up provocateur he is. Often berated by the mainstream media for his lack of self-editing, or, is it all intentional? He pushes liberal buttons like George Jetson sitting at his desk at Spacely Sprockets. The son of a Greek Catholic Father and Jewish mother, Milo is a British citizen who is an out-of-the-closet, and over-the-top homosexual who attacks radical Islam, third wave feminism and seems to adore President Donald Trump. His videos often consist of portions of his public speaking appearances, but there is a lot of diversity here.

BEN SHAPIRO has been a frequent commentator on the Daily Wire and on the conservative circuit for the last few years but only recently started his own YouTube channel a few months ago, known as "The Ben Shapiro Show". Nonetheless, he probably shouldn't be qualified as a "newbie". Far less effusive than the likes of Yiannopoulos or Watson, Ben is frankly understated, and I expect, probably disliked by the Alt-Right Neo-Racist fringe because of his unswerving identification as a Jewish conservative. They probably wouldn't like me either, but they can kiss my arse! Regardless, Shapiro can debate the pants off literally almost anyone, and with ease.

Thank You, Gentlemen.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Ceramic Art of the Day

Alright, this is neither fully ceramic nor graphic art, so I think I will use this Gauntlet of Balthazar "display" post as a transition between clay statuary in the "Sculpture Garden" category and illustrations, paintings, more photography and computer art which will follow. This series of pieces are about three years old and are seasonal nature scenes (i.e Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) painted in limited palette pastel-glazes on white enamel plates and then fired. For your information, regardless of type of paint, it is a real bitch-and-a-half to paint on enamel.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Leftist Victimization Narrative, Anti-Zionism, and the Alt-Right

Like my father before me, I have been a registered Republican for a number of years. Though I should specify, the second half of my life. Till the day he passed, my father was fond of telling friends who inquired if his son was as right-leaning as he was, that "my son is just slightly right of Genghiz Khan". Perhaps a humorous over-simplification, but effective in relaying the crux of the matter. Now, I know there are those that upon reading that assessment of my political stance will be outright revolted, or dismiss it as unbelievable, since I do not match their "image" of who "those sort of people are". As I have made no secret of some of my positions, I thought it might be a good point to put this personal shift in perspective, lest errant perceptions precede me, and any analysis I might make herein be discounted due to a lack of clarity.

Of course, like he, I didn't start out leaning right. Quite the contrary. In my youth I too was seduced by the normative message of the left, and sided with their over-arching belief system and their rendering of reality. How could I not? I grew up in New York City. It was / is a bastion of elitist culture, liberalism, SJW virtue signalling, and frustrated nanny-state social engineering devotees. It was they who defined what was real, what was legitimate, what was credible, and what was "cutting-edge". Anyone who disagreed with "their" media hegemony in the slightest was clearly either a conspiracy nut-case, or they believed in what now tends to be called "alternative facts" by those who want their version of history to be the one credited as the "definitive truth". It should have been easy to mock the partisan bantering of mega-institutions like the god-like New York Times, or even the smug Village voice, but very few people had the audacity to do so.

In my teenage years I briefly flirted with Communism, and probably more cogently, with Anarchism. This was true Anarchist theory, not just anger for anger sake. I pondered how to limit representational government in order to expand personal liberty. Not surprising I guess. After all, I was an Existentialist artist and musician, and like the good Punk-Rocker I was, I gnashed my teeth at the establishment, and at those who I believed were holding "us", that is, the world, back from our great future with their excessive greed and love of authoritarianism. Most, if not all of my educators, Baby Boomers to a T, who probably were all once civil rights period Hippies, would freely back up this assessment, and tell me that it was the evil fat cat Republicans who were the ones to blame, for, well, literally everything. They were winning, or rather, had won, the Culture War.

This Culture War extended out of political affiliation to religion and race of course, and people of specific groups were expected to vote in a very specific way, regardless of what that party or candidate had done or said about those specific groups. It was almost like a mores that had become a tradition without it ever being agreed upon. There was no vote. No referendum. Just conformity. And conformity as we all know, is the dog-bone of complacency. I realize now that the catch is that democracy requires vigilance, and complacency tends to interfere with that.

But, getting back to the tale at hand. I belonged to one of those groups who were, and are, expected to vote straight Democrat. To not would just be crazy! Poor Whites, All Blacks, All Latinos, All Jews, All Immigrants, and all "educated persons" were to vote along the party line. The only people who didn't must be super rich, super uneducated, and lived in super-isolated rural communities. From that stereotype one would imagine that these countless citizens of the United States were Billionaire Amish Folk. Who were these rich, uneducated country bumpkins who were so vexing, and kept voting Republican? Who were these people who hated all things sane and for the benefit of mankind? 

As a person who grew up in a non-Christian corner of America, the dependent waltz that the mainline Republican party and Conservatives were engaged in with the Evangelical Front (i.e. The Moral Majority and Right-To-Life parties) through my college years, just served to solidify my opinion all the more. Republicans seemed to want some retrogressive return to the pre-civil rights "Leave It to Beaver" era, if not further into some sort of faux-medievalism. I imagined they were the Renaissance Faire Larpers of the American political spectrum, and worse, I suspected that many were borderline white supremacists as well.

I think that this operative thinking still stands as the psychological infrastructure of leftist thought, though I believe that the infrastructure over the last decade has come to rely so heavily on emotion rather than substance, and in some cases logic has been completely abandoned to alarmist rhetoric. This is evident in the ample meltdowns we have seen across the social media platform over the last few months alone. Frankly, one would be hard pressed to find a parallel in the reactions of persons beholding to other ideologies when the tide of voting turns against them. But in this unfurling of "undue emotion" one can see the societal disconnect for what it is. 

The left championed a world of larger and larger government, more "free stuff", and excessive regulation, in both the municipal code sort, as well as the philosophic variety. This was to be a world where everyone was, is, an island unto themselves. Islands of over-educated, Third-Stream feminist dominated, racially guilty, politically correct "Yes Men". They had everyone on-board, or at least the people that mattered, and eventually, the rest would fall in line. If they didn't they just needed to be "re-educated" - maybe in camps, as Rosie O'Donnell recently suggested, along with her endorsement of martial law, and extending Obama's term illegally, all because people on the left were upset because their incredibly horrible candidate lost.

You may have noticed that I use terms like "championed" and "was" in the past tense, when speaking of leftist beliefs and desires. This is because I see their crushing defeat not just as a political one, but as a global philosophic one, and it is one that will place them firmly in the past. That is, if they do not revise themselves as the Republicans did with the Tea Party Movement. America is not isolated. The world as a whole has continually moved further and further away from the Socialist-Globalist Agenda, and nations who flirted with Socialism, or were full Communist, have embraced Capitalism, more and more every year. The European Union will collapse shortly, and in its wake we may see the Europeans wake up in time to halt their own demise. Though they may require our aid by then. But, this is another issue, for another post.

Anyway, so Zionism. In concord to my shift to the right in my college years, I also gravitated to Zionism, and it grew larger on my philosophic palette through those years. At first I wasn't sure if these belief systems were capable of being synchronized. I personally didn't need non-Jews to understand what Zionism was about, nor to care about Jewish concerns in the least. Why should they? I didn't require a non-Irish American to care about Ireland, democracy or not. I had always heard the "Israel's the only true democracy in the Middle East, so we must support her!" trope, but that wasn't the selling point to me.

Often people, and when I say people, I mean 1. liberals, 2. self-hating Jews, and 3. closeted or overt anti-Semites, try to make a distinction between Jews and Zionism, as if they are notions which are easy to separate. Politically, culturally and religiously, the notion of Jews returning to their ancestral homeland works for Jews on all three levels. Can I find a Jew who feels that Israel should not exist? Sure. There are crazy folk everywhere. Can I find a Jew for who this issue is not primary in his or her life, and is comfortable distancing him or herself from the premise. Surely. Can I find an anti-Semite who feels Israel, or even Jews, as an identity group, shouldn't exist? Certainly. They have all kind of "ideas" about Jews they inherited from their family history and / or from their religious baggage by which they can justify that stance. But what of the liberal? How do they work this out? Easy. It's all about the "Victimization Narrative", and when the Jews are losing they are awesome victims, but when they are winning, liberals must chose their opponents over them, especially if they hail from a competing "Victim" category. The left, drawing from Marxist principle is powered by class warfare, race warfare, and gender warfare. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. If you lined up all the Marxists, all of BLM, and most of the Feminists, do you think any would, if they could, vote Republican? Nope. Not a chance.They only vote Democrat because the Democrats have increasingly embraced Marxist dogma.

So here I was a serial contrarian who realized that these philosophies of global conformity lacked the one thing I needed - an acknowledgement of innate human nature and behaviors. I had no lack of critical thinking imparted to me through Jewish culture, and the more I read the various "Utopia Systems" that denied basic features of human nature, the more I realized that these were designed to take people's hearts and minds down a rabbit hole. In principle I am opposed to any "plan" that states it is capable of "fixing" the world. Contributing to making the world a better place. Sure. Waiting for a form of government to eliminate human avarice, or a Messiah to descend from the heavens to slay evildoers and bring world peace to those he doesn't slay, just goes against my nature. The world is what it is to me. It is not broken, not only is it not fixable, I think it's not meant to be fixed. Believing in any of these systems invariable leads to turning over your fate, and individual rights to either a religious theocracy or to elitist oligarchs. You chose. Either way, we all lose. Thus, I embraced the smaller government and non-interference stance of the Republican Party and the Socially liberal Constitutionalism of the Libertarians, and I switched my party affiliation to, gasp, a registered Republican. I probably let the ship sail on the immigrating to Israel Zionism train at this point, and as a Civic Nationalist, I am a fairly strong proponent of "Americanism".

Since the Tea Party I have seen many Jews swing to the right, as well as friends of mine who are women, or are part of the African-American, Asian, Latino, or LBGT, communities, etc. The leftist media will persist in spouting their message that this is an illusion, and that anyone who voted for President Trump is a White-Anglo-Saxon-Male-Uneducated-Rich-Christian who is racist and sexist, etc., etc. Yawn.

Are there racists and anti-Semitic people on the Alt-Right fringe of the Conservative movement in general. Certainly. Are there anti-Semitic people on the Antifa Anarcho-Fascist left, and even the left leaning segments of the Democrat Party majority? I don't see how there could not be. Do I disagree with their assessment? Surely. I don't really want to tackle them one by one and explain what they are not understanding, and in many respects, I don't really care. 

It is ironic though that Jews, who only account for a fraction of a fraction of the worlds population take up so much of the thought processes of people with this "issue". Perhaps they should wonder why thoughts about Jews or Judaism occur to them so often, and are so out of proportion to Jewish  population level. When they find one Jew in an organization they feel the whole group must be controlled by some secret organization of Jews, somewhere, hidden, of course. Do they equally suspect Greeks guilty of pervasive influence for being over-represented in field of diner ownership? Probably not. Conversely, I could understand a typical white American thinking about Blacks fairly often. Theoretically, 1 in 10 persons one can meet in the US is African-American, and they are over-represented in comparison to their population on television series, professional sports teams, and music celebrities, so it makes total sense that thoughts might cross someone's mind about them as an identity group. However, excluding persons living NYC and maybe some other denser concentrations of ethnic enclaves, the chance of actually encountering a Jew in America is statistically a 2 in 100 chance. Yes, there are famous actors, the majority of noble prize winners, and Israel's domestic exchanges with their Arab citizens on CNN, but, really, if you are on the Alt-Right, and you can't see the strategic reasons for America's alliance with Israel, and you can't find yourself thinking about Jewish issues, unfavorably, more than a couple of times a year, I suggest serious psycho-analysis...yet another Jewish invention.