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Friday, December 30, 2016

Six days.

No, it's not the fifth day, Marvin. It's the sixth. Doesn't that processor between your ears do simple sums, for crying out loud? Six, man, six!

Yes, I am correcting Marvin (my personal robot assistant) on his math. Or his calendar skills. Not sure which, actually. I put him in charge of counting down our "Six Days of Christmas" celebration. Why six? Well, turns out we couldn't afford twelve. And since we were too sick to finish our Holiday extravaganza on time, we all thought it only appropriate to provide a small ... even half-assed compensation. You're welcome, America!

For those of you who missed it, this is what our lame celebration consisted of:

Day One: Post of "A Very Neddy Christmas" on NedTrek.com. This is a rerun, yes, of our Ned Trek parody of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, featuring four songs, some bad celebrity imitations, and all the rest of it.

Day Two: Soundcloud post of Vital Signs, a song off of our first album, 2000 Years To Christmas. This is one of my personal favorites from that collection. But who the hell cares what I think, right? Damn straight.

Day Three: Soundcloud post of Merry Christmas, Jane, a song off of our EP Live From Neptune. This was recorded live to stereo DAT back in 1994, I think, with Jeremy Shaw on guitar. (We've played this on the podcast a couple of times.)

SIX days! Are you MAD?Day Four: Photo album of Matt and Joe, posted on Facebook. These are promo shots taken in, I don't know, 1987, by our niece Mona. I think we were trying to mock a U2 photo spread in Rolling Stone for Joshua Tree, but it's hard to tell.

Day Five: Soundcloud post of Jit Jaguar's Christmas. This is a ridiculous Christmas song Matt wrote quite a few years ago that we recorded I think in 2013 as part of our ongoing project to record our back catalog. Pretty pared down, but I like this recording. Rough and ready.

Day Six: This shit. Hey ... it's like getting a load of wooden balls. We've got a pageant under construction, so ... think of it as some delayed holiday joy. Keep your eyes open, people, and happy new year.

Ring out.

It's the year that wouldn't die. I suppose it always seems that way - years, like any unit of measurement, are artificial divisions by which no natural or artificial phenomena need abide. Still, it feels like we're accelerating to the finish line, and each day seems to bring more exaggerated indications of what a clusterfuck 2017 promises to be.

Yes, but what have you done for me lately?Probably the most prominent feature of a discouraging week was the fallout over UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which reaffirmed the longstanding principle that Israel's settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem is "a flagrant violation under international law" as well as "an obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution". The Obama administration abstained on this resolution (i.e. did not veto it), prompting hysterical reaction from Republicans and Democrats alike and a long speech by Secretary of State John Kerry, which triggered more hair-on-fire reactions.

The administration's position on this is pretty standard - for decades, our government has been officially against the notion of settlement building and unilateral annexation of occupied territory in Israel/Palestine, while at the same time funding Israel to the tune of billions of dollars a year and - aside from a few rhetorical clucks here and there - doing nothing to pressure them to stop this illegal and destructive activity. Resolution 2334 will be ignored by Israel, just like all the rest, back to 242 and 338, and we will continue to send them money and arms, and defend them when they go on another tear in Gaza or elsewhere. Still: not good enough for Netanyahu, who is obviously using the transition to an even more congenial Trump administration to make a point.

Getting your face rubbed in it by Netanyahu is annoying enough. Hearing lamentations about the Obama administration's abstention on 2334 from the leader of the Democrats in the Senate is just plain unacceptable. Is this the face of resistance for the next four years? A number of commentators on the left have complained about the degree to which the Democratic party seems to have no fire in the belly these days. When an issue like this appears to bring our leadership more in line with the incoming Trump administration, it becomes even more clear that the left is on its own. We can count on no one but ourselves.

So be it. Let's work with one another. Let the leaders follow us for a change.

luv u,

jp