New York Times Discovers Kiev’s Neo-Nazis at War in Eastern Ukraine

 

 

Neonazis-Ukraine-400x266The New York Times reported almost in passing on Sunday that the Ukrainian government’s offensive against ethnic Russian rebels in the east has unleashed far-right paramilitary militias that have even raised a neo-Nazi banner over the conquered town of Marinka, just west of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

That might seem like a big story – a U.S.-backed military operation, which has inflicted thousands of mostly civilian casualties, is being spearheaded by neo-Nazis. But the consistent pattern of the mainstream U.S. news media has been – since the start of the Ukraine crisis – to white-out the role of Ukraine’s brown-shirts.

Only occasionally is the word “neo-Nazi” mentioned and usually in the context of dismissing this inconvenient truth as “Russian propaganda.” Yet the reality has been that neo-Nazis played a key role in the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February as well as in the subsequent coup regime holding power in Kiev and now in the eastern offensive.

On Sunday, a Times article by Andrew E. Kramer mentioned the emerging neo-Nazi paramilitary role in the final three paragraphs:

“The fighting for Donetsk has taken on a lethal pattern: The regular army bombards separatist positions from afar, followed by chaotic, violent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so paramilitary groups surrounding Donetsk who are willing to plunge into urban combat.

“Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.

“In pressing their advance, the fighters took their orders from a local army commander, rather than from Kiev. In the video of the attack, no restraint was evident. Gesturing toward a suspected pro-Russian position, one soldier screamed, ‘The bastards are right there!’ Then he opened fire.”

In other words, the neo-Nazi militias that surged to the front of anti-Yanukovych protests last February have now been organized as shock troops dispatched to kill ethnic Russians in the east – and they are operating so openly that they hoist a Swastika-like neo-Nazi flag over one conquered village with a population of about 10,000.

Burying this information at the end of a long article is also typical of how the Times and other U.S. mainstream news outlets have dealt with the neo-Nazi problem in the past. When the reality gets mentioned, it usually requires a reader knowing much about Ukraine’s history and reading between the lines of a U.S. news account.

For instance, last April 6, the New York Times published a human-interest profile of a Ukrainian nationalist named Yuri Marchuk who was wounded in the uprising against Yanukovych in February. If you read deep into the story, you learn that Marchuk was a leader of the right-wing Svoboda from Lviv, which – if you did your own research – you would discover is a neo-Nazi stronghold where Ukrainian nationalists hold torch-light parades in honor of World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

Without providing that context, the Times does mention that Lviv militants plundered a government arsenal and dispatched 600 militants a day to Kiev’s Maidan square to do battle with the police. Marchuk also described how these well-organized militants, consisting of paramilitary brigades of 100 fighters each, launched the fateful attack against the police on Feb. 20, the battle where Marchuk was wounded and where the death toll suddenly spiked into scores of protesters and about a dozen police.

Marchuk later said he visited his comrades at the occupied City Hall. What the Times doesn’t mention is that City Hall was festooned with Nazi banners and even a Confederate battle flag as a tribute to white supremacy.

The Times touched on the inconvenient neo-Nazi truth again on April 12 in an article about the mysterious death of neo-Nazi leader Oleksandr Muzychko, who was killed during a shootout with police on March 24. The article quoted a local Right Sektor leader, Roman Koval, explaining the crucial role of his organization in carrying out the anti-Yanukovych coup.

“Ukraine’s February revolution, said Mr. Koval, would never have happened without Right Sector and other militant groups,” the Times wrote.

Burning Insects

The brutality of these neo-Nazis surfaced again on May 2 when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encampment of ethnic Russian protesters driving them into a trade union building which was then set on fire with Molotov cocktails. As the building was engulfed in flames, some people who tried to flee were chased and beaten, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrainian nationalists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato beetles called Colorados, because those colors are used in pro-Russian ribbons.

“Burn, Colorado, burn” went the chant.

As the fire worsened, those dying inside were serenaded with the taunting singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The building also was spray-painted with Swastika-like symbols and graffiti reading “Galician SS,” a reference to the Ukrainian nationalist army that fought alongside the German Nazi SS in World War II, killing Russians on the eastern front.

The death by fire of dozens of people in Odessa recalled a World War II incident in 1944 when elements of a Galician SS police regiment took part in the massacre of the Polish village of Huta Pieniacka, which had been a refuge for Jews and was protected by Russian and Polish partisans. Attacked by a mixed force of Ukrainian police and German soldiers on Feb. 28, 1944, hundreds of townspeople were massacred, including many locked in barns that were set ablaze.

The legacy of World War II – especially the bitter fight between Ukrainian nationalists from the west and ethnic Russians from the east seven decades ago – is never far from the surface in Ukrainian politics. One of the heroes celebrated during the Maidan protests in Kiev was Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose name was honored in many banners including one on a podium where Sen. John McCain voiced support for the uprising to oust Yanukovych, whose political base was among ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

During World War II, Bandera headed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-B, a radical paramilitary movement that sought to transform Ukraine into a racially pure state. OUN-B took part in the expulsion and extermination of thousands of Jews and Poles.

Though most of the Maidan protesters in 2013-14 appeared motivated by anger over political corruption and by a desire to join the European Union, neo-Nazis made up a significant number and surged to the front during the seizure of government buildings and the climatic clashes with police.

In the days after the Feb. 22 coup, as the neo-Nazi militias effectively controlled the government, European and U.S. diplomats scrambled to help the shaken parliament put together the semblance of a respectable regime, although at least four ministries, including national security, were awarded to the right-wing extremists in recognition of their crucial role in ousting Yanukovych.

As extraordinary as it was for a modern European state to hand ministries over to neo-Nazis, virtually the entire U.S. news media cooperated in playing down the neo-Nazi role. Stories in the U.S. media delicately step around this neo-Nazi reality by keeping out relevant context, such as the background of coup regime’s national security chief Andriy Parubiy, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991, blending radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Parubiy was commandant of the Maidan’s “self-defense forces.”

Last April, as the Kiev regime launched its “anti-terrorist operation” against the ethnic Russians in the east, Parubiy announced that his right-wing paramilitary forces, incorporated as National Guard units, would lead the way. On April 15, Parubiy went on Twitter to declare, “Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense volunteers was sent to the front line this morning.” (Parubiy resigned from his post this past week for unexplained reasons.)

Now, however, as the Ukrainian military tightens its noose around the remaining rebel strongholds, battering them with artillery fire and aerial bombardments, thousands of neo-Nazi militia members are again pressing to the front as fiercely motivated fighters determined to kill as many ethnic Russians as they can. It is a remarkable story but one that the mainstream U.S. news media would prefer not to notice.

Edward Droste – The founder of the band Grizzly Bear reflects on his musical education, songwriting and the band’s history.

Ed Droste

Ed Droste frontman of Grizzly Bear

 

 

http://nyti.ms/1djfjxT

 

More than a decade ago, Edward Droste started Grizzly Bear as a bedroom recording project after college. Today, Grizzly Bear is a four-piece act renowned for its shimmering brand of harmonic, experimental pop, with an international fan-base and four albums to its name (the most recent, “Shields,” came out in 2012). In the second installment of the “What Made Me” video series by Poppy de Villeneuve, Droste reflects on his childhood musical education on Cape Cod, how he began writing songs as an adult and what it’s like for a band to grow up together.

Rap Lyrics on Trial

SHOULD rap lyrics be used in court as evidence of a crime?

By ERIK NIELSON and CHARIS E. KUBRINJAN. 13, 2014

The New York Times

Next week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will hear a case 14declanoped-master495that could help decide just that. At issue is a prosecutor’s extensive use of rap lyrics, composed by a man named Vonte Skinner, as evidence of his involvement in a 2005 shooting.

During Mr. Skinner’s trial in 2008, the prosecutor read the jury 13 pages of violent lyrics written by Mr. Skinner, even though all of the lyrics were composed before the shooting (in some cases, years before) and none of them mentioned the victim or specific details about the crime.

In keeping with rap’s “gangsta” subgenre, the lyrics read like an ode to violent street life, with lines like “In the hood, I am a threat / It’s written on my arm and signed in blood on my Tech” — a reference to a Tec-9 handgun. “I’m in love with you, death.”

Read entire article here

Angst Endures for a Pioneer of Grunge [Lightning Bolt album review]

Tiago Canhoto/European Pressphoto Agency.   Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, which is releasing its 10th studio album today.

Tiago Canhoto/European Pressphoto Agency.
Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, which is releasing its 10th studio album today.

By JON PARELES, NATE CHINEN and BEN RATLIFF
Published: October 14, 2013
The New York Times

“All the demons used to come round,” Eddie Vedder sings in “Future Days,” the ballad that closes “Lightning Bolt,” Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album. “I’m grateful now they’ve left.” Well, not entirely: Pearl Jam still needs something to brood about.

“Lightning Bolt” (Monkeywrench) is Pearl Jam’s current answer to the open question of how to create honest rock as a grown-up. The music that has made Pearl Jam an arena headliner for two decades, with a huge and loyal following, is based on churning and seething, on Mr. Vedder’s mournfully forthright voice and on tensions that often explode into choruses of desperate affirmation. With songs about self-doubt, loss, abusive relationships and political fury, Pearl Jam nevertheless turned out to be the one stable band (give or take a drummer) among the major pioneers of grunge; its members have prospered and settled down.

But complacency would undermine Pearl Jam’s music. So Mr. Vedder continues to ponder and agonize: this time, often, over mortality and faith. “Go to Heaven, that’s swell/ How you like your living in Hell?,” he taunts in the punky “Mind Your Manners.” He warns humanity against arrogance and shortsightedness in “Infallible,” as the music hints at the Beatles’s “Magical Mystery Tour.” The eerie, gorgeous “Pendulum” suspends Mr. Vedder’s voice amid echoing keyboards and guitar as he sings about looming despair. But he also finds euphoria, a oneness with Nature and spirit, as major chords peal all around him in “Swallowed Whole.”

“Lightning Bolt” is not as raw or reckless as the music Pearl Jam made in the 1990s; it also trades away the rough-and-ready sound of Pearl Jam’s previous album, “Backspacer” from 2009. With the producer Brendan O’Brien, Pearl Jam now offers some of the most unrepentantly pretty arrangements in the band’s entire catalog; “Sirens,” an apologetic love song that also warns, “We live our lives with death over our shoulders,” has the sheen of “Hotel California.”

Whether he’s singing a ballad or a rocker, Mr. Vedder carefully outlines the melodies, no matter how worked up he gets (and he does). Even when the music goes hurtling forward in hard-riffing songs like “Getaway,” “My Father’s Son” and the album’s peak, “Lightning Bolt” itself, what comes across is the teamwork of musicians who have been working in tandem for decades. They’re grown-ups with fewer demons and more polish, but they’re still pushing themselves.

Jake Bugg self-titled debut album is out in the U.S.

jeffbuggcoachella

Jake Bugg self-titled debut album is out in the U.S.

Jake Bugg is the self-titled debut studio album by English singer-songwriter Jake Bugg. It was released on 15 October 2012 in the UK. The album was met with critical acclaim. The album was released in the United States on 9 April 2013.

jakeBuggTo date Jake has taken the UK by storm. He’s been on Radio 1 playlists, supported The Stone Roses at an already legendary secret gig in London and has support dates with Noel Gallagher in the UK and Europe on the horizon, as well as his first trip to the USA in support of Noel and Snow Patrol.

Jake will support The Rolling Stones at London’s Hyde Park on July 13th.

Support has come across the board, from the NME, Clash, The Fly, i-D, The Observer, Independent On Sunday, The Sun, The Daily Star and more.

He is a unique artist right now, a working-class kid with an acoustic guitar set to take the world by storm with his perfectly poised songs about growing up and his hometown of Nottingham. It’s an old fashioned approach that is paying rich dividends. To date he has had a phenomenal five Record Of The Weeks on Radio 1 with massive support across the board from Zane Lowe, Fearne Cotton, Greg James and Huw Stephens. His debut TV performance on Later with Jools Holland was a special moment.

His debut album is 14 songs, clocking in at less than 40 minutes that belie his eighteen years. Sharp, observant and honest, they inhabit a world no other new UK act is currently operating in. It opens with recent single “Lightning Bolt”, a scorching blues number with his Telecaster to the fore. New single “Two Fingers” follows with its swaggering chorus, whilst the likes of “Country Song” and “Broken” are more reflective. It’s a perfectly paced record, one that marks out Jake as the most exciting new UK act of 2012 and manages to effortlessly straddle the gap between authenticity and mainstream appeal. He counts Noel Gallagher, Lily Allen, Elton John, Chris Martin, Damon Albarn and Snow Patrol amongst his fans and has supported Michael Kiwanuka, Example and Lana Del Rey.

Jake Bugg self-titled album is available in your favorite record stores nationwide exclusively under MCA Music.

Upon release the album was well received by critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 81, based on 13 reviews, which indicates “universal acclaim”.

Barry Nicolson of the New Musical Express magazine gave the album a positive review and 9/10, praising Bugg’s “authenticity”, style of music and wit. Nicolson said: “On ‘Two Fingers’, Bugg talks wistfully of scheming on the streets of Clifton, where he and his mates would “skin up a fat one, hide from the feds”, as though life held no nobler pursuit. You can tell that, up until now, his world has been small, and he might well have spiraled down the sinkhole that swallows so many marginalised estate kids. Eventually, however, Bugg comes to the same conclusion that we do: “Something is changing, changing, changing”. If this debut album – rife with uncommon wit, insight and melody – is testament to anything, it’s that his small, unremarkable world is about to get a whole lot bigger.”

Chris Roberts, of BBC gave the album a positive review stating, “Things feel less derivative when he softens and just lets his voice and acoustic guitar nakedly affect. On the likes of Country Song and Someone Told Me, scepticism is tamed by the purity of the attempt. Fire is unabashedly romantic. That voice, with its hint of Gene Pitney, is a piercing, precise tool which lifts him above the laddish milieu. Ubiquity may beckon”.

Check Jake Bugg’s page for 2013 gigs

You Had a Monster Hit. Now What? Oooops!

In this country we’re just obsessed with making people celebrities before they’ve even done anything, which I think is just shocking. – Kelly Brook

September 19, 2012 -The New York Times
JON CARAMANICA

For months there’s been little else in pop besides the Carly Rae Jepsen song “Call Me Maybe.” It’s the sort of hit that stifles dissent, that blinds with its brightness, that answers to no friction applied against it.

“Call Me Maybe” has been huge — it topped the Billboard singles chart for nine weeks straight and has received hundreds of millions of plays online — and still is, a year after its initial release in Canada. It’s a song that exerts its own gravitational pull. That there was a human being inside it mattered little.

Of all the places in a young artist’s career to get frozen, at the peak of a world-dominating summer smash single could be the worst. There are the unreasonable expectations to live up to, the twisted and assaulted version of the artistic self to contend with, the hungry mouths that demand feeding.

“Kiss” (604/Schoolboy/Interscope), Ms. Jepsen’s first album following “Call Me Maybe,” is intended for hungry mouths. In places it’s lightweight, in places it’s surprisingly savvy, but it almost never stops to breathe.

On “Kiss” Ms. Jepsen is a pop star without an agenda or a mission, just a mandate. She’s not a smoldering ember like Britney Spears, not a muscled emblem of dignity and outrage like Pink, not a newly awakened romantic pessimist like Demi Lovato. Ms. Jepsen is a singer with a huge hit, and a huger burden of responsibility.

But Ms. Jepsen is not synthetic. She placed third on the fifth season of “Canadian Idol” with a steady diet of singer-songwriter fare. Her first full-length album, “Tug of War” (Fontana/MapleMusic), from 2008, is amiable and guitar-driven and slicker than it sounds. It doesn’t reach far, but it overdelivers.

“Call Me Maybe” was originally destined for Ms. Jepsen’s second album, and if what her manager recently told Billboard is to be believed, not even as the first single. It’s much more fleet than her older material, and it resonates with a sweet, nervous energy, but at root it’s much the same: Lonely girl sings about evasive love. It also relies heavily on Ms. Jepsen’s voice, which is lean and sturdy with a touch of husk.

Given that, it’s surprising just how harsh the rest of “Kiss” is on Ms. Jepsen’s vocals, which are hopelessly buried throughout. She comes up for air, mercifully, late in the album on “Beautiful,” a duet with Justin Bieber, whom she sounds far more present than. Written by Toby Gad, it’s spare and approachable, not unlike her earlier work (though in moments it does veer close to One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”).

“Beautiful” is among the album’s high points, but it’s not an innovation. Immediately following it is “Tonight I’m Getting Over You,” which is the only song here forthrightly to address the question of how to transition Ms. Jepsen from ingénue to pop machine. “I wanna smash your fears/and get drunken off your tears/Don’t you share your smile with anyone else but me,” she sings, crisply, over a raucous Max Martin production. She is 26, too old to feign naïveté, and she’s knowing, which means love isn’t neat. (Even the “Call Me Maybe” video reveals that she understands the limits of staid puppy love; at the end her boy crush turns out to be gay.)

Read the entire article: New York Times

Woody Guthrie: A Life – by Joe Kline

Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Kline

Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Kline

Copyright

Editorial Review – Amazon
Before he became Anonymous, author of the political novel Primary Colors, Joe Klein wrote this intelligent biography of America’s legendary folksinger-activist. Klein’s first book may not have created the fuss that Primary Colors did, but it attracted the attention of no less a celebrity than Bruce Springsteen, who used to cite it with respect during concerts before singing Guthrie’s most famous lyric, “This Land Is Your Land.” Klein’s unearthing of two politically radical verses usually omitted from that song is just one instance of the solid research underpinning his vivid narrative of Guthrie’s often tragic life (1912-67). Before Woody turned 15, his sister died in a fire and his mother was committed to an Oklahoma insane asylum with a mysterious disease he later learned he inherited; Klein’s chilling description of Huntington’s chorea is one of the book’s strong points. Its heart is a full rendering of Guthrie’s restless wanderings across Depression-era America, which fired his lifelong radicalism, and a scrupulously unsentimental account of Woody’s oft-sentimentalized personality. He may have been a genius and a staunch advocate of the common people, but Guthrie was also a bad husband, neglectful father, and difficult friend, as Klein shows. He pays Woody’s life and music the tribute of assuming they need no sanitizing, and this biography is all the more interesting because of it. –Wendy Smith