Friday Talking Points -- Joe's Garage

[ Posted Friday, January 13th, 2023 – 17:43 UTC ]

With apologies to Frank Zappa, this week's big political story might be summed up as coming from "Joe's garage." But we'll get to all of that in a moment, down in the awards section (it shouldn't be any mystery which one he's going to get). First, though, let's take a look at the other momentous things that happened during the past week.

This column, of course, measures weeks from Friday afternoon to Friday afternoon. As we were writing last week, the House of Representatives was still deadlocked over who would become the next speaker. This continued far into the night, until Kevin McCarthy finally emerged victorious. Weakened, bloodied, diminished... but finally victorious.

The whole comedy of errors lasted through the fifteenth vote, which hasn't happened since Civil War times. This was not an ideological battle, as some in the media portrayed it (the "hard right" versus the rest of the Republicans), instead it was a battle over how nutball-crazy the next House will truly be. And the nutball-crazy faction was the true winner here, extracting pretty much every concession from McCarthy that they demanded.

The whole thing was highly amusing for Democrats, and the internet had an absolute field day watching the clown show (best we saw: "The Republicans don't even know how to peacefully transfer power to themselves"). But what was most interesting was what intelligent Republicans and conservatives had to say about it all. Two examples of this stood out, one from the Washington Post:

"It's essentially the old Will Rogers' line, 'I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.' But now you have to replace 'Democrat' with 'Republican.'" said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster at Public Opinion Strategies, who has spent decades measuring the divides in his party. "You have got to show people you can govern, and we have done everything to show that we can't."

And a second from Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist for the New York Times:

A few honorable exceptions aside, the G.O.P. is basically split between reptiles and invertebrates. McCarthy is the ultimate invertebrate. He went to Mar-a-Lago just a short while after Jan. 6 to kiss the ring of the guy who incited the mob that, by McCarthy's own admission, wanted to kill him. He hated Liz Cheney because of her backbone. But he quailed before Marjorie Taylor Greene because she has a forked tongue. He gave away the powers and prerogatives of the office of speaker in order to gain the office, which is like a slug abandoning its shell and thinking it won't be stepped on. A better man would have told the Freedom Caucus holdouts to shove it. Instead, as a friend of mine put it, McCarthy decided to become the squeaker of the House.

Personally, after being subjected to hearing McCarthy speak, we hope that moniker catches on. "Squeaker of the House" sounds perfect, for him. He's definitely more than just a little murine, in fact.

This week, Squeaker McCarthy managed to get the House rules package passed, which meant the House could start actually conducting business again. The first thing they then passed was a measure intended to "claw back" the money Democrats had passed to improve the Internal Revenue Service. It wasn't that long ago that the I.R.S. had a complete meltdown, with tax returns delayed for months on end for some filers, and worse customer service response times than Southwest Airlines during the holidays. But Republicans have been slashing the agency's budget whenever they're in control of Congress for years now, so this was an attempt to get back to starving the tax cops of money. But by doing so, they are actually undercutting the rest of their stated agenda, since with fewer resources the I.R.S. brings in less money (because it doesn't have the personnel to go after as many tax cheats). The bill the Republicans passed, if actually enacted, would cause the deficit to rise by $114.4 billion.

Biden's White House helpfully pointed this out. Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted: "It's a giant tax cut for rich tax cheats. Bill #1 from the new House GOP." Vice President Kamala Harris accused Republicans of "rushing to... allow too many millionaires, billionaires, and corporations to cheat the system." The Office of Management and Budget added: "With their first economic legislation of the new Congress, House Republicans are making clear that their top economic priority is to allow the rich and multi-billion dollar corporations to skip out on their taxes, while making life harder for ordinary, middle-class families that pay the taxes they owe."

Other than counterproductive "messaging" bills that are going to go precisely nowhere in the Senate, the new House will soon be investigating pretty much every right-wing conspiracy theory in existence. This will include a new subcommittee with the Orwellian name of (you just can't make this stuff up, folks) the "Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government." It's purpose will be to weaponize the House even further than was promised on the campaign trail. Jim Jordan, fire-breather extraordinaire, will be chairing this new subcommittee. The purpose will be to "expose" the fact that when rightwing people do criminal things such as attack the United States Capitol or make threats of violence or death to people in government -- or even just cheat on their taxes -- they are often investigated and charged in federal court for these crimes. Shocking! But Jordan is on the case, and will get to the bottom of the federal government being mean to these people for what he considers no reason at all. Fascism comes in many forms, but we have to agree with a Salon article which ended with a pertinent quote from Karl Marx: "all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. The first time as tragedy, the second as farce."

Because while Jordan will chair this committee, many in the media were making a parallel with a different name, by pointing out that we are all in for another round of McCarthyism. Not Kevin... Joe. Here is what we considered the best "big picture" take of the week on what we can now expect from House Republicans:

In a very real sense, the silly drama over the Speaker election has distracted from a larger, more disturbing truth: House Republicans are going to spend the next two years using taxpayer money to wage war on not just democracy, but truth itself. The antics of various House committees, as they work hand-in-glove with Fox News to create and disseminate right wing conspiracy theories, will make an episode of Infowars seem downright sober-minded.

As Crooked editor Brian Beutler noted in his latest "Big Tent" newsletter, the insurrectionist caucus differs from the radical right wingers of GOP caucuses past, whose goals were to "gut Medicare, defund the Affordable Care Act, etc." Instead, these new Republican radicals "want to steal elections. They want to sabotage criminal investigations that implicate themselves, Donald Trump, and January 6 defendants, current and future." Having realized that they'll likely never get their desired ends through democratic means, they've determined democracy itself must go. And make no mistake: McCarthy and other GOP leaders are only too happy to go along with the program.

. . .

Because of this, there's little doubt that, over the next two years, the Republican-run House will be structured not around legislative goals, but propagandistic ones. Namely, they will use the immense power and resources of the U.S. Congress to be a bullshit-generating machine. Committee hearings will be built around elevating defamatory accusations against perceived political opponents and spawning Fox News and social media-friendly clips that fuel truly unhinged conspiracy theories.

Sounds about right, to us. Buckle up, everyone, it's going to be a rough ride!

OK, just a few legal footnotes, for our weekly "Donald Trump faces the music" segment. A New York court handed down a fine after the Trump Organization was found guilty of over a dozen serious crimes, but unfortunately the state's laws don't levy these fines as a percentage of net worth, so the fine is a mere $1.6 million, which they'll probably find hiding in the couch cushions. Even so, it was as steep as the law allowed, which is something.

In Georgia, the special grand jury investigating the election-tampering after the 2020 presidential election wrapped up its work and delivered its final report to prosecutor Fani Willis. The next possible steps are: publicly releasing the report (to be decided within two weeks by a judge), and referral to a regular grand jury which has the power to bring charges. Some are predicting that this process will be fairly quick, meaning Donald Trump could be charged with crimes at roughly the same time that the report is released, or soon after. Kudos to the state of Georgia for moving a lot faster than the attorney general of the United States, but then they had a much less complex criminal case to make. In any case, stay tuned, this one could be about to get rather explosive.

And finally, it seems that Steve Bannon was not content with just machinating an insurrectionist attempt to install a country's leader by mob rule and violence here at home, he's been branching out to Brazil as well. When supporters of the losing candidate for president stormed the presidential palace and government buildings in a riotous attack, Bannon fully supported them and egged them on.

Remember when the United States strove to "export democracy around the world"? Now Trump's henchmen are trying to export insurrection against democracy around the world. Sad.


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We have two Honorable Mention awards to hand out this week before we get to the big one. The first goes to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, who signed a law this week which bans the sale and manufacture of assault-style weapons in his state. Illinois now becomes the ninth state to have done so.

Also getting an Honorable Mention is Representative Katie Porter, who announced she will be running for Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat in 2024 -- whether DiFi decides to run again or not. We wrote about this earlier in the week, if anyone's interested. One update: since we did write about it, Senator Liz Warren has endorsed Porter's campaign. Also, Representative Barbara Lee unofficially announced she would be running for the seat as well. It is long past time for this particular generational torch to be passed, in our humble opinion (as one of DiFi's constituents).

But the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week was House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, not only for holding his Democrats united during the whole clown show of the speaker's race, but for what he said after it was over. He was called upon to introduce the new speaker (a House tradition), and his speech was one for the ages. It is being called the "Alphabet Speech," for its most notable passage:

We will never compromise our principles. House Democrats will always put American values over autocracy. Benevolence over bigotry. The Constitution over the cult. Democracy over demagogues. Economic opportunity over extremism. Freedom over fascism. Governing over gaslighting. Hopefulness over hatred. Inclusion over isolation. Justice over judicial overreach. Knowledge over kangaroo courts. Liberty over limitation. Maturity over Mar-a-Lago. Normalcy over negativity. Opportunity over obstruction. People over politics. Quality-of-life issues over QAnon. Reason over racism. Substance over slander. Triumph over tyranny. Understanding over ugliness. Voting rights over voter suppression. Working families over the well connected. Xenial over xenophobia. 'Yes, we can' over 'you can't do it,' and zealous representation over zero-sum confrontation.

We admit we had to look up "xenial" to find out it means: "hospitality to guests." But you have to admit, that's a pretty impressive (and alphabetical) comparison. Jeffries spoke without notes or a TelePrompTer, which makes it even more impressive, that he could rattle all that off -- in the lilting cadence of a preacher -- off the top of his head. He even added alliterative flourishes when he thanked Nancy Pelosi for her tenure ("a legendary legislator, a fabulous facilitator, and a no-nonsense negotiator"), for good measure.

Jeffries had a good debut, in other words, in his first big public speech to the House and to the nation. Which is why we are obliged to award him this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. We look forward to hearing more from him in the future, too.

[Congratulate House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on his House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Again with our apologies to Frank Zappa, Joe's garage didn't produce a teenage garage band this week, instead it produced more documents marked classified.


President Joe Biden was actually having a pretty good couple of months, before this whole scandal broke. His average job approval ratings recently hit 44 percent, which is better than he's managed since October of 2021. Inflation continues to fall, down to 6.5 percent from the peak of 9.1 percent during last summer. That's a drop of almost 30 percent, which is pretty impressive. Gas prices are back down to Earth, which had a lot to do with the inflation number receding. Biden is preparing for his State Of The Union address to Congress, which will happen early next month. And he was getting ready to announce his re-election bid, from all reports.

This has changed with the revelation that Biden's lawyers found a handful of documents (described as "around 10") with classified markings stored at his think tank, and then the subsequent news that a few more classified document were found in his garage in Wilmington, Delaware, and one more in a room next to the garage. How much it has all changed is really anyone's guess, at this point.

One thing that has already changed is that there are now two special counsels at the Department of Justice investigating handling of classified material by political leaders. One for Biden, and one for Donald Trump.

This is all a rather large (and belated) Christmas present for Trump, of course. Politically, it allows Trump and all his supporters to claim "everyone does it." It provides a handy "but what about..." excuse, obviously. To say that it complicates matters for those looking to hold Trump accountable is an understatement.

Biden hasn't really raised an effective defense yet, either. He has said, during brief questions from the press this week, that he wasn't aware of the first documents, which were found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, and that they were immediately turned over to the National Archives. But when asked about the ones in his garage, he was rather dismissive:

When a reporter asked Mr. Biden at an unrelated event on Thursday why classified documents were kept alongside his prized Corvette, Mr. Biden replied: "My Corvette is in a locked garage. OK? So it's not like they're sitting out in the street."

"But as I said earlier this week," he added, "people know I take classified documents and classified material seriously. I also said we're cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department's review."

He also said he wanted to make a statement on the subject, but that he wasn't ready to do so yet. We were wondering whether he'd do so late today, since "late on a Friday" is often when politicians like to address touchy subjects, but as of this writing there has been no public statement by Biden.

There needs to be, and as soon as possible. The president has to address the American people and explain exactly what happened, what his involvement with any of it was, and what it all means. He can get out in front of this and give his defenders ways to differentiate his handling of classified records with Donald Trump's, but he has to do so himself. No doubt his lawyers are cautioning against such a move (lawyers never want clients to give public statements), but it is becoming imperative that he do so as soon as possible.

Because the scandal just broke, it hasn't shown up yet in the public opinion polling. But already many are intimating that perhaps Joe Biden wouldn't be the best choice for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2024. He had been facing such whispers before the midterms, but they largely died out when the "red wave" failed to materialize. Now, however, the doubters have returned, right when Biden was planning on triumphantly clearing the field with his campaign announcement. This could damage him severely, or it could all just be a bump in the road -- nobody knows at this point. But the best thing Biden could do for himself is to give a short public statement explaining it all to the American people.

No matter what happens next, it's pretty indisputable that Joe Biden deserves this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week, though.

[Contact President Joe Biden on his White House contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 690 (1/13/23)

Our talking points this week cover several subjects, with one highly amusing quote from a House Republican at the end, just for everyone's amusement.

But before we get to that, we did want to note the passing of legendary guitarist Jeff Beck, who was influential on rock music ever since he began in The Yardbirds. He will be missed.

Requiescat In Pace.


   The big difference

This is a point that's actually pretty easy to make.

"You want to know the big difference between how Joe Biden and Donald Trump handled classified documents? Biden did the right thing. Trump did not. That's it in a nutshell. Lawyers for Biden discovered a mistake, and they immediately corrected it by doing exactly the right thing. Lawyers for Trump fought hard against doing the right thing, for almost a year and a half. That is the difference right there. Biden did the right thing, while Trump did not."


   No need for a "raid"

This is the current talking point among Trump supporters, and it needs to be shot down.

"I see some are facetiously asking for Joe Biden's house and offices to be 'raided' by the feds, since that is what they call what happened to Donald Trump. But there's simply no need for such an action. Trump didn't get 'raided,' he got a search warrant legally executed because he lied and was still hiding things. He fought hard against following the law and returning the property of the American people to the National Archives, he lied and said he had turned them all over, he got subpoenaed because he hadn't, he turned over a few more and lied again and said that was all of them, and then evidence was presented to a judge who signed a search warrant which, when executed, found over 100 more classified documents in Trump's possession. None of that is true for Joe Biden. None of it! Biden had perhaps 15 documents, not over 300, and he never fought to keep them, period. There will be no 'raid' on Biden because he is fully cooperating with the investigation. So please stop embarrassing yourselves. The two situations aren't even remotely similar."


   McCarthyism for the 21st century

Maybe this is why Republicans don't want American kids to know the real history of this country?

"I see Jim Jordan will be chairing a new House subcommittee which will be empowered to 'investigate' the investigators. They're trying to say it will be like the 1970s Church Committee, which uncovered abuses at the F.B.I. and C.I.A., but in reality it will be solely used to go after anyone with the temerity to attempt to hold conservatives responsible for anything they do. Donald Trump has been crying 'witch hunt' for years, and now he'll have an institutional system to launch all the witch hunts he wishes. Because that is precisely what Jordan is going to do. It won't be the Church Committee, it'll be a lot more like the House Un-American Activities Committee or Joe McCarthy's red-baiting committee, here in the 21st century."


   They got nothin'

Democrats need to hammer this one home as much as possible and as often as possible.

"Remember all those campaign promises Republicans made in the midterm elections? Well, they're hoping you'll forget all about them. Because they don't intend to make good on any of them. What is the new GOP House doing to fight inflation? Nothing. They're busy passing bills which will allow millionaires to cheat on their taxes instead. What are they doing to bring crime rates down? Nothing. They're trying to defund the tax cops and politically attacking the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice instead. What are they doing on any problem the average American voter faces? Absolutely nothing. Because they simply have no answers to problems regular people face. Instead, they are going to go on a spree of investigating their political enemies, because they're more interested in investigating our withdrawal from Afghanistan or Hunter Biden then they are about making good on any of those promises they made to the voters who elected them."


   Social Security and Medicare are next

This won't happen until the summer, most likely, but that doesn't mean Democrats can't get a whole lot of mileage out of it until then.

"You know what the biggest thing on the House Republicans' agenda is? Gutting Social Security and Medicare. Yep, they're coming for two programs that millions upon millions of Americans rely on. They don't often admit it, they talk about 'fighting spending,' and 'balancing the budget,' but what they really mean is gigantic cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They're even willing to tank the entire American economy in a dangerous game of 'Chicken' to do so. This is their highest priority, folks -- cutting the programs that tens of millions of Americans love and rely on to live. It is who they are."


   Follow the money

This is what will get him, in the end -- that's our prediction.

"George Santos is being avoided by even Republicans in Congress, probably because they're all afraid they'll get burned by standing next to him when his pants spontaneously burst into flames once again. Santos has lied about just about everything there is to lie about, at this point. But the big unanswered question isn't whether his relatives fled the Holocaust or what he did in school and his career -- the big question is where did he get his campaign money from? Who funded him? Who poured money into his pockets? Those are the things that the investigators should be zeroing in on, because that's where the actual criminal behavior is likely to be found. As Deep Throat said back in the midst of Watergate: 'Follow the money.'"


   Yeah, they probably shouldn't

Can't let this one go by without at least one comment.

"When, after the fourteenth vote for House speaker, Representative Mike Rogers had to be physically restrained from launching an attack upon his fellow Republican Matt Gaetz, another House Republican summed up the situation better than I ever could. Tim Burchett said of Rogers, and I quote: 'People shouldn't be drinking, especially when you're a redneck, on the House floor.' Can't argue with that. He also predicted what would happen if Rogers ever took a swing at him: 'I would drop him like a bag of dirt. Nobody's going to put their hands on me. Nobody's going to threaten me.' And they wonder why Democrats popped popcorn to watch the whole spectacle? Democrats expected to get a Ringling Brothers clown show, but they didn't expect a full-on W.W.E. wrestling match, that's for sure."

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


58 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Joe's Garage”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Hey Elizabeth! Here’s a whopping eight minute Peter Zeihan video on Russia and where Ukraine fits in. He even looks at nukes and the next few months. This guy is major league and is far from some boring academic. He speaks plainly and compresses a lot of facts into an entertaining video.

    Give it a listen — then we can back and forth.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But already many are intimating that perhaps Joe Biden wouldn't be the best choice for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2024.

    Oh, there are many Dems who would dearly love to see Biden not seek re-election and this scandal will do nicely as a reason for calling on him not to run. That wouldn't be a very good strategy for winning the presidency in 2024, though.

    Now, however, the doubters have returned, right when Biden was planning on triumphantly clearing the field with his campaign announcement. This could damage him severely, or it could all just be a bump in the road -- nobody knows at this point. But the best thing Biden could do for himself is to give a short public statement explaining it all to the American people.

    Clearing the field, eh? I have to laugh out loud at that one. Because, you know, he tried that a couple of times before and it didn't work out so well. Yeah, he'll be running as a president looking for a second term but, still ... putting Biden and clearing the field in the same sentence will always make me laugh.

    I do expect Biden to give a public statement, explaining all to the American people. There was a time when I would have added that it won't be short nor delivered late on Friday but, alas, Biden has changed. :(

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Caddy, why are you posting about Ukraine here?

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I wasn’t much concerned about the promised GQP investigation-o-rama and that was before the fifteen ballot clusterfuck. Today I’m still not concerned about it.

    You watch, probably the very first such investigation will be so comical that the backlash will strangle in the cradle most subsequent impulses.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I hope so.

  6. [6] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if classified documents issues removed both Trump and Biden from contention in 2024? The parallel is it would satisfy the desire of significant portions of both parties to not nominate their party’s putative leader.

  7. [7] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Because I don’t want to wait until the next time CW posts about Ukraine. Bringing up an eight minute solution to your vexatious beliefs about Ukraine etc needn’t wait.

  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    less church committee and more 'church lady' committee. could it be..... satan???!!!!

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  10. [10] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    nypoet22 [8],

    Well isn’t that special!

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    We lost a great guitarist this week. I think a grande tribute to Jeff Beck is in order tomorrow evening.

  12. [12] 
    John M wrote:

    I have to mention Ukraine myself and take Caddy's side over Elizabeth.

    To quote Zbigniew Brzezinski directly: "Both EU AND NATO expansion should continue, thereby eliminating ANY geopolitical ambiguities or temptations in the areas immediately west of Russia."

    Brzezinski thought that it was ESSENTIAL that Ukraine join both the EU and NATO so that it could both serve as an example to and facilitate Russia's own transformation, as well as guarantee both Europe's and Russia's own security.

    Quoting Brzezinski again: "Propitiation of Putin's regime will only delay the desired evolution of Russia into a democratic, Europe-oriented, national Russian state."

    The ultimate goal is a Russian state that makes a post-imperial choice in favor of the West and adheres to European norms and disavows any future imperial ambitions against its neighbors.

    Transforming Russia into a peaceful Europeanized democratic state is the only way to save Russia from collapse and destruction. Ukraine membership in NATO is the prerequisite to Russian membership in NATO.

  13. [13] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    That reminds me that there was a time just after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union when Russian membership in NATO was at least bandied about.

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    John and Caddy,

    Yes, Russian membership in NATO was indeed bandied about during the heady days of Russian democratization. But, the idea, regardless of how serious it might have been, didn't last very long.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Zbig was one of my favourite teachers of geopolitics.

    He most certainly did NOT see Ukraine's membership in NATO as essential. On the contrary, he saw Ukraine as more of buffer zone between Russia and an expanding NATO alliance. And, he most assuredly would have advised against the ineffective stance taken by the Biden administration of insisting on the expansion of NATO right up to the doorstep of Moscow through Kyiv and would have most decidedly warned against any talk of regime change in Russia.

    A careful reading of the Brzezinski Doctrine will find that Zbig's thinking on these issues was more about evolutionary process and not so simplistic as you would wish your quotes to demonstrate.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Transforming Russia into a peaceful Europeanized democratic state is the only way to save Russia from collapse and destruction. Ukraine membership in NATO is the prerequisite to Russian membership in NATO.

    While that might have been a reasonable assertion to make thirty years ago, it certainly hasn't been part of the lexicon since then and certainly won't be now for a very, very long time, if ever.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    From Brzezinski's op-ed above,

    "In addition, such efforts to avert miscalculations that could lead to a war should be matched by a reaffirmation of the West’s desire for a peaceful accommodation with Russia regarding a joint effort to help Ukraine recover economically and stabilize politically. The West should reassure Russia that it is not seeking to draw Ukraine into NATO or to turn it against Russia. Ukrainians themselves can define the depth of their closeness to Europe and the scope of their economic cooperation with Russia, to the benefit of peace and stability in Europe."

    This is classic Zbigniew Brzezinski doctrine!

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Forgot to note that the above op-ed and direct quote are both from March 2014.

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Welcome, everybody, to a tribute edition of the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party where we leave (geo)politics behind for a few hours in favour of basking in the glory of the music.

    This evening we pay tribute to Jeff Beck, "guitar hero's guitar hero", who died suddenly this week at 78.

    Steve Vai said,

    "I was a kid and I heard Cause We Ended as Lovers [from 1975’s Blow by Blow]. I had never heard anyone craft an instrumental like that before. Beck had switched from a Les Paul to a Strat at that point and he squeezed every tonal color you possibly could out of the thing.

    "He’s really like a craftsman, and I’ve watched in stunned disbelief at how he can hit one note and do things to that one note that no one else can touch."

    Jeff Beck Live - Cause We've Ended As Lovers

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    From Wikipedia,

    On 16 April 2020, Beck released a new single, in which Beck collaborated with Johnny Depp to cover John Lennon's song "Isolation", explaining that this was a first record release from an ongoing musical collaboration between the two men. They had been recording music together for some time, with the track being produced the year before, but Beck explained that the decision to release it was influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns: "We weren't expecting to release it so soon but given all the hard days and true 'isolation' that people are going through in these challenging times, we decided now might be the right time to let you all hear it".

    Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp - Isolation (John Lennon cover)

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Les Paul and Jeff Beck, jammin' together

    From the description:

    Billy Squier intro with Les Paul & Jeff Beck trading off riffs.
    (note the wad of duct tape on JB's strat..
    word was he knew LP was going to yank the cord out ...cause its not a Les Paul................)

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton - Live at Ronnie Scott's

    From the description:

    Jeff invites Eric onto the stage sparking rapturous applause. They play beautiful renditions of "Little Brown Bird" and "You Need Love" both Muddy Waters singles, the latter of which was ultimately revised and covered by Led Zeppelin as "Whole Lotta Love".

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Brian May pays tribute to Jeff Beck:

    Queen's Brian May is considered a guitar hero to many, but for him, Jeff Beck was his hero despite only being a few years older. Like many, May is reflecting on Jeff Beck's life and legacy as one of the premiere musicians in rock after the guitar great's death on Tuesday. In the midst of a lengthy commentary, May also shares the Beck song that he feels is possibly "the most beautiful bit of guitar music ever recorded."

    That song would be "Where Were You" off of the guitarist's Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop album. In the midst of his salute to Beck, May tells viewers, "If you wanna hear his depth of emotion and sound and phrasing and the way he could touch your soul, listen to 'Where Were You' off the Guitar Shop album. Just Google 'Where Were You Jeff Beck' and sit down and listen to it for four minutes. It's unbelievable."

    Jeff Beck - Where Were You

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Fil from Wings of Pegasus explains why Jeff Beck had such a rare and unique voice.

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Beck's Bolero (1967) - The Jeff Beck Group w/ backwards guitar ending

    ... and a wonderfully non-brief accompanying description!

  34. [34] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Led Boots, from Wired.

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Caddy, that link doesn't work...

    let's try this one ...

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I knew you would be here ... love ya!

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Jeff Beck inspired so many Canadian guitarists, including Keith Scott in the Bryan Adams band. I am a member of the facebook page Vancouver Rock Bands from the 60s to 80s and so many of those bands of that era were inspired by Jeff Beck ...

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Caddy, the reason that I love you is that you are a fellow music lover! :)

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Have a pleasant rest of the evening - I am done for the night ...

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I wasn’t much concerned about the promised GQP investigation-o-rama and that was before the fifteen ballot clusterfuck. Today I’m still not concerned about it. You watch, probably the very first such investigation will be so comical that the backlash will strangle in the cradle most subsequent impulses.

    I share your lack of concern for the same reasons about how Republicans will go about investigating the Biden White House.

    My great concern, however, rests with how the Biden administration will react to all of it. I am hoping that they will be completely forthcoming and give Republicans what they say they want - ALL of the facts - and be ready, willing and able to fully and freely cooperate with the hearings providing the witnesses that Republicans call for.

    The Dems on the committees should not be doing anything to stymie the investigations and hearings. What congressional Democrats should be doing, essentially, is turn this Republican strategy to their great advantage!

  42. [42] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Hey Liz,

    Thanks for the functional link — first thing I always check in with my Weigantia peeps, and this AM I treated myself to another listen before I even got out of the bed.


    I wouldn’t be too concerned about either investigation-o-Rama or his docs case because Joe will certainly practice effective politics and demonstrate what words like transparency and accountability look like in practice.

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yeah, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that congressional Republicans will end up shooting themselves in the foot ... er, face with all of these investigations. :)

    You know, this past Sunday night was one of the most enjoyable evenings of music I've had since we started this fun!

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Should have played this album last night ...

    Jeff Beck Group - Rough and Ready (Full Album, 1971)

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, this one, too!

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There was one more thing I wanted to share last night ...

    While listening to a lot of Jeff Beck these past few days and reading a lot of my 'facebook Canadian musician friends' posts paying tribute to Jeff Beck and sharing how influential he was on their guitar playing, I came across this heartfelt comment, summing up what he meant to them:

    "There is a bruise on my heart today, and I’m sure, on the hearts of every guitar player on the planet. You see, we have lost our King, Jeff Beck. We all looked up to him as our hero. There have been many beautiful words spoken about him, but all I can say is that Jeff played with sensitivity, power, emotion, humor, sex, and wisdom. Each and every note had value and purpose, and each and every note managed to wrangle its way into your soul. No one will follow in Jeff’s footsteps…that is impossible. It is a sad day for me." ... Steve

  47. [47] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Thanks for posting this tribute, Elizabeth.

    I recall my freshman year at Univ. of Michigan (1976) when I was starting to explore AOR rather than 45-RPMs. Not having my own stereo I was exposed to a lot of other people’s music which resulted in me buying 100+ albums that first year.

    I bought Wired and JB’s playing really blew my mind!

  48. [48] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    On a completely unrelated topic, I really like this YouTube guy “Beau of the Fifth Column” and here
    Beau explains Humanity to Aliens.

  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, right now I'm listening to the Wired album, as I try to get my butt in gear and get some work done around here. Beau will have to wait. :)

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh, and I just came across this ...

    Jeff Beck - A Man For All Seasons: In the 60s (docu 2015)

  51. [51] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Six Political Myths from the WaPo.

    The Cliff Notes version:


    1- If members of Congress read bills before voting on them, legislation would be better.

    2- If only we stopped wasteful spending, we’d solve most of our problems.

    3- My family balances its budget. Why shouldn’t the government?

    4- Government should be run like a business.

    5- The parties need to stop the partisan squabbling and get things done.

    6- We need more people in Congress who aren’t politicians.

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Addendum To the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party - January 15th Edition

    Since our musical tribute to Jeff Beck posted here on Sunday, I've been listening to more JB tunes that should have been included here.

    Jeff Beck - Nessum Dorma - Live at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, 2010

    The first comment underneath this Youtube video:

    "Well, I wasn't planning on openly weeping today, but alas, here I am. RIP Jeff Beck. You are the greatest guitarist to have ever lived." ... Mark Johnson

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    On his Facebook page, singer/guitarist Al Harlow (Seeds of Time, the Al Harlow Band, PRiSM) penned a heartfelt tribute to Jeff Beck and I would like to share it in its entirety here ...

    There is Jeff Beck … and then everyone else.

    Some artists seem larger than life, a force of nature, bigger than the arena they occupy; like a monument, they cannot die.

    That Jeff Beck could pass away doesn’t seem possible. As many grasp for phrases like, “one of a kind”, some of us have been declaring it ever since his debut with the Yardbirds on “Heartful of Soul” & “Shapes of Things” up to the present: There is Jeff Beck … and then everyone else.

    Beck blew up the concept of the electric guitar, kicking down the door to reveal its possibilities. He forged a path which no-one can follow. Nobody has come close to the expression, technique or character of Jeff Beck’s playing. Watching other guitar virtuosos, you can follow the performance. The physical properties of the guitar itself dictate moves around the neck; you can surmise the key of the song, the logical flow of ending a phrase, for example.

    Not so with Jeff Beck -- he made the guitar obey him, forced it to speak a new language. Nobody can figure out what he’s doing, even while watching him do it:
    Beck could veer off to left and right turns before the listener realized it.

    Analysts have studied his amplifiers and pedal boards, his move from Telecaster to Les Paul to Stratocaster, but none of it matters; he grabs any guitar, plugs straight into any amp, and it’s instantly Jeff Beck, no pick required.

    No-one can explain it. The sounds and technique are untraceable.

    It wasn’t about ego, flashy chops to display his cleverness; it was pure beauty of the guitar.
    Beck was far above the shredder nazis who measure only in speed & chops. Jeff said he can do that, but that’s not music. “If I hire a singer, do I want someone shredding notes fast as humanly possible? Ridiculous; it’s not music.”

    From simple anthemic hooks to blindingly fast arpeggios played with fingers, fretting hand seemingly unrelated, constantly working the volume knobs, chiming harmonics all over the fretboard, ringing out sweet melodies on the whammy bar alone, tapping strings with a glass slide tube beyond the frets, over the pickups to create heartbreakingly beautiful phrases --- all mind-boggling to the ear and the eyes.

    The “human voice” quality Jeff achieved involved his quick use of the whammy bar to scoop up into notes, then ending notes with a very quick whammy pitch drop and muting, much like the cadence of human conversation.
    Then there’s the tone – one note and you know it’s Beck. Such sonic character, phrase to phrase, a palette of emotional expression, from ferociously rude to humorous to sheer poetic beauty, at times all expressed within a few bars.

    Like his contemporaries at the dawning of the guitar-hero era, Beck knew his blues roots, once challenging those who consider the blues crude & easily tossed-off, “try to get it right, I dare you.”

    But he was also drawing from Les Paul, Cliff Gallup, the Ventures, Hawaiian steel styles, Santos & Johnny, Scotty Moore, Jorgen Ingman’s “Apache” … Beck was a library of influences without imitating any of them. The psychedelic era of sitars and eastern scales were adopted into his repertoire for the duration.

    Beck’s older sister Annetta suggested the 14 year-old Jeff meet another teen at school with a similar interest in electric guitars. A young Jimmy Page knocked on the door, and the two boys began learning licks from records on home-made guitars.

    After Page suggested Beck fill the opening left by departing Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds in 1965, Beck transformed the band with wild feedback and irreverent experimentation. When he released his regal solo single “Beck’s Bolero” in ‘66, with sidemen Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones & Nicky Hopkins, Beck fans knew we were in for a wild ride; the future looked bright.
    His restless quest led him to record the eponymous Jeff Beck Group’s album “Truth” with Rod Stewart & Ron Wood in 1968.

    The album became the template used by Page for Led Zeppelin’s first album, featuring a similar arrangement of Willie Dixon’s “You Shook Me” heard on “Truth”.
    Beck was not pursuing arena-rock superstardom; had the then-tempermental Beck with Stewart and Wood held together, celebrity stardom would’ve been inevitable.

    Instead, Beck’s appetite to explore heavy soul and jazz fusion led to a long list of collaborators, including Max Middleton, Jan Hammer, Carmen Appice & Tim Bogert, Tony Hymas, Terry Bozzio, Jennifer Batten and others.
    Jeff’s tender solo on Stevie Wonder’s 1972 “Looking For Another Pure Love” is introduced by Wonder’s “Do it, Jeff.”

    George Martin produced the breakthrough “Blow by Blow” album in 1974, reaching Number Four in Billboard the following year, an all-instrumental jazz fusion triumph.

    Jeff wasn’t in a hurry; he seemed to value fearless experimentation over career moves. He turned down an offer to join the Rolling Stones in 1974.

    Beck spent much of the 1980s away from the music world, working on his car collection, building hot rods. A master builder, Beck became close friends with legendary California custom car builder Chip Foose and others in the car culture. As an accomplished welder, Beck fabricated frames, chopped roofs and channeled bodies on his Deuces and rods, with an equal appreciation for his Corvettes.

    He’s been called a “Grease monkey with the musical heart of a Poet Laureate”. The cover photo of the 1990 album “You Had It Coming” depicts Beck’s hands covered in that automotive grease.

    Beck occasionally took criticism for his forays into electronic and industrial music. But there’s no categorizing the wondrous results of all his adventures.
    How do you classify Jeff’s version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” or Nitin Sawhney’s “Nadia”, a stunning guitar interpretation of Swati Natekar Ji’s exquisite Indian vocal performance?

    For that matter, his passionate performance of “Nessun Dorma” from the Opera “Turandot” by Giacomo Puccini, as seen in the video of Crossroads Blues Festival in 2010 is enough to reduce the viewer-listener to tears.

    The eight Grammys, two Hall of Fame inductions, countless guest recordings & gala concerts are too numerous to list.

    Page and Clapton have been heard to say that while they all plied their craft and stayed in their lanes, Beck kept exploring, discovering, expanding. He once found a new trick and showed it to Ron Wood with, “Do you do this one?” Woody responded, “No, but you do!”

    Recently Jeff stated he was more interested in heartfelt melodies than edgy aggression. There was more to come.
    We should all recall the moment we got the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. I was driving onto a ferry, walked to the top deck in the pouring rain and wept for the entire voyage.

    Guitarist James Bowers met Jeff in 1976, thanking him for Jamie’s own lifelong journey with the Stratocaster, studying every note of Beck’s records. Jeff’s response was, “Really? Even my mistakes?”

    Upon leaving the Yardbirds, Beck said he had plenty to accomplish on the guitar. He did it.
    He later said he would quit the day his fingers could no longer carry out what his mind wanted to play.
    That day never arrived.

    Some guitarists have studiously tried to unlock a few of Beck’s secrets. Now sadly, Jeff has taken his secrets with him. What heavenly music greets him now?
    “No eye has seen … no ear has heard … what God has in store for those who love him.”
    Long live Jeff Beck.

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