Reactionary Pop Music

Back in the 1970’s, Ray Stevens was known for such socially progressive songs as “Walk a Mile in my Shoes” and “Games People Play”. Lately, he seems to be producing tasteless diatribes against illegal immigrants. Well, good for you. His songs always were kind of cheesy.

But it brings up the issue of conservative popular music.

  • “Okie From Muskokee” (Merle Haggard).
  • “I’d Love to Change the World” (10 Years After Undead, Alvin Lee)
  • “Who Will Stop the Rain” (Creedence Clearwater Revival, J.C. Fogerty)
  • “Ballad of the Green Berets” (Sgt. Barry Sadler)
  • “Taxman” (The Beatles)
  • “The Future” (Leonard Cohen)
  • “Is Your Love in Vain” (Bob Dylan)

That last one is so cheesy, so stupid, I’m not sure it should even be included.  It includes this absolutely wonderful image:

Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men, who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

I love the way they “jump and die”.  This will be a short-lived fetish.



The Islamic Centre

Do we really have to waste time explaining to anybody why this entire imbroglio over the Islamic Centre in New York is bigoted, vicious, and childish? Would it make any difference?

To those who insist that it might not be right to prohibit the centre from being built, but it is “insensitive” to try to build it there, I say, would you tell Rosa Parks that it was insensitive of her to deny these white people your bus seat on this hot, uncomfortable day?

Does anybody in Canada really think we were about to be bombed by Russia?

Do tea partiers really believe Obama inherited a balanced budget?

Paul Krugman, an economic columnist with the New York Times, said very early on that the economic stimulus package was not enough. The results are pretty well exactly what he predicted. I doubt the Republican’s are going to cite him as an authority, since they believe that if only there had been more tax cuts– and bigger deficit– we’d have 6% unemployment right now and 4% growth in GDP for the year.

Is there anything the tea party stands for that makes sense? I saw an interview with one of the people who attended the rally at the Lincoln Memorial. He thinks America needs to go back to it’s basic values. We need people of “honor”. Like Dick Cheney, I suppose. I don’t think I could have thought of a more useless expression of political policy if I had spent weeks trying.

Does the Tea Party know what Ron Paul stands for? Somehow, I doubt it. Does Sarah Palin know? Does Sarah Palin know what Sarah Palin stands for? Does Sarah Palin know what she doesn’t know?

If there is a single politician active in U.S. politics today who does not know what she does not know, it is Sarah Palin.

The Democrats must also be hoping that the Tea Partiers go crazy on the immigration issue– go all out, swing for the fences: Latin voters could very well swing a few districts.

And which part of your judgment has ever not just been your opinion? What, other than your opinion, do you have?

We are back in 1964. The radical right seized control of the Republican Party and nominated Barry “Nuke ‘Em” Goldwater– who was really something of a libertarian, to be truthful about it, to run for president.

In 1964, he was crushed by Lyndon Johnson who sounded reasonable and sane in contrast. Will the same thing happen in 2012? I could guarantee you the Democrats would be ecstatic if they ended up running against Sarah Palin, but even I have hard time believing the Republicans would be quite that stupid.

When the radical fringe seizes control of a political party– which isn’t all that hard to do– you just have to be the biggest subset of a subset– they often end up choosing an extremist as a leader, and most elections in most western countries end up favoring the candidate that seems most “reasonable”. John McCain, you have to remember, actually seemed reasonable in 2000, but in 2008 he was up against a leader who was both reasonable and charismatic. That’s a rare combination. John Kennedy and Barack Obama. I think that’s about it.

Brian David Mitchell: the Defenseless Insanity Plea

Added November 9: once again we have prosecutors in the U.S. seeking psychiatric treatment for a suspect so that he can be held responsible for crimes committed while he required psychiatric treatment….

It would seem to me that a judge receiving this motion should immediately rule that the prosecution has implicitly acknowledged that the defendant is not responsible for his actions, therefore not guilty.

Brian David Mitchell is clearly delusional. He should be locked up… in a psychiatrist facility, to protect both himself and the public.

The fact that he may be insane doesn’t really matter in America nowadays. This “kind-hearted”, “compassionate”, “Christian” nation is so dead set on savage retribution that it will let nothing stand in it’s way anymore.

Russell Defreitas and Obama’s Depressing Flag Lapel Pin

It is absolutely necessary that you believe there are dire threats against the United States out there and that only the institutional powers of the United States law enforcement agencies, along with Dick Cheney, can keep you safe:

But as time went on, more was revealed about the plot and the unlikelihood of its success (the fuel pipeline, for example, had safety mechanisms that would have prevented cascading explosions), as well as the level of government involvement (the informant had played a somewhat enabling role in pushing forward the plot). Ny Times, August 1, 2010

Yes, yes. And it turns out that one defendant appears to be somewhat inept:

Mr. “Russell Defreitas can’t mastermind his way out of the on-off switch on a video camera,”

That’s his own lawyer speaking.

And once again we have the specter of government infiltrators actually running the conspiracy– isn’t this “entrapment”? Yes, it is. Absolutely it is.

Feel safer? Mr. Defreitas is going to spend a long, long time in prison, mainly because he is a fool. There is not a politician in the United States who would countenance anything but the most draconian sentence imaginable. Do you hear me, Americans? You live in a nation where not a single politician of note has the guts or courage to state the obvious. Not a single one of your leaders, Democrat or Republican is willing to consider for even one second the possibility of saying what he really thinks about all this.

You’re laughing? I hear you laughing. Who cares about a man like Defreitas who sounds foreign anyway. But these same leaders are the ones who manage your economy and the environment and wars and intelligence and safety. And there may come a day when we all pay the price for the same lack of courage and conviction.

Obama’s depressing flag pin:

Yes, he had to do it. If he didn’t put the flag pin in his lapel, someone on Fox News would have zoomed in on the lapel and stared into the camera, oozing insider confidence, and whispered to his audience: “is it asking too much for our president to be even a little patriotic?” And Obama would have had to say on TV “I am patriotic” leading the viewer to wonder why he thought anyone thought he wasn’t patriotic. And so it goes. And so you Americans, so proud of your fantastic culture, your Coors beer, your jack-ass videos, your right to train your children to use rifles… we in Canada salute you.


The Casino Economy

There are not many things in politics more depressing than the spectacle of elected governments trying to raise additional tax revenue through casinos and lotteries. Well, why not brothels? Why not? Why not legalize marijuana and tax it like cigarettes and monopolize distribution? What exactly is the obstacle to this idea? It sure as hell isn’t really a moral obstacle.

They all do it– Democrat and Republican, Conservative and Liberal, left and right, reactionary and radical: bring on the slot machines!. It’s a cheap tax, and the victims never complain. And no one quite cares very much about the lives destroyed by gambling addictions, or the simple trashiness of the spectacle: weary, worn out drudges in Depends, hoping that something, anything, will invest a moist moment with glamour or glitz.. Not when there’s glorious revenues to be had. Not when there are public buildings to be named after me. Not when there are pictures in the newspaper of me holding a giant check and the beaming faces of underprivileged children receiving their due.

We Don’t Need No Education

What if a high school (or middle school) didn’t give grades, didn’t have a structured curriculum, and allowed students to design their own courses? I think most people will read that and say, “Obviously it can work or you wouldn’t ask that question.” Then they will tell you, “but I don’t believe in it”.  St. Ann’s Website.

And that’s pretty well where it is. Most people don’t believe it. The same way most people refuse to believe that the crime rate has been declining for 10 years. Here’s a New York Times article about the school, and a lengthier article about the visionary founder.


It is very telling that the panels of experts summoned by TV news programs to discuss the Wikileaks issue are uniformly representative of old media. Here is a Washington Post reporter, here is a New York Times reporter, here is CBS News, here is the Wall Street Journal. Like a Greek chorus: bad, bad Wikileaks! How irresponsible! Do you people now realize how much added value we mediators of news events provide you? And then, with a straight face, one of them commends the New York Times for taking the story to the government first! To make sure they weren’t going to cause any trouble?

What the hell is going on here? We count on the reporters to be informed about the issues and speak to us as an independent voice. And here they get an interesting story about the extent to which the U.S. has over-stated it’s successes in Afghanistan, and they can’t decide for themselves whether or not it should be reported. So who do they ask? The government.

The Wikileaks documents reveal, among other things, that the government has misrepresented the activities they are conducting on behalf of the tax payer. Fox News bleats: we don’t want to know! And those who do want to know should be criminalized.

They all just demonstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly why we need Wikileaks. In God’s name, we desperately need some journalists out there who aren’t in the toxic embrace of government or big business.

The New York Times has admitted that they were taken to the cleaners on the weapons of mass destruction issue in Iraq. Absolutely taken to the cleaners. They issued solemn editorials endorsing the invasion of Iraq. It only took them two years to realize they had been duped. And now, having not learned a blasted thing, here they are again, trying to be “responsible”, and completely abandoning their duties as journalists.

In two years, or five, will they finally admit that Afghanistan is a lost cause?