“Love It or Leave It” – Full Circle!

November 19, 2012

There has been a lot of discussion about the surprise, even shock, felt by ‘conservatives’ at the failure of Romney to win the presidency.  Some of it, such as this article in the NYTimes today, has focused on the discomfort of right-wingers with the ‘new’ America.

Well, during the Vietnam War protest era, there was a popular bumper sticker directed at those dissidents:  America-Love It or Leave It!  Now, what goes around has come around, and I say to those guys in Montana and Wyoming who just can’t see where they fit into the new multi-cultural, irreligious, liberal-welfare-state Democratic America:  Love it or leave it, and I’d prefer that you just get up and leave, period!

Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon

June 17, 2012

Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out
the heart of
Richard Nixon, find yourself another
country to be part of

Phil Ochs


This is the fortieth anniversary of the Watergate burglary, which eventually led to the resignation of Crook-in-Chief, Richard Nixon.  As Woodward and Bernstein’s summary of the affair points out, it was far, far worse than we knew at that time.  Years of investigation and trials have filled out the picture of the presidency, transformed into a “criminal enterprise,” a racket, not unlike those that festered around the likes of Stalin, Hitler, Pinochet, Milosevic, and other characters happily gone.  When he resigned, my mother danced a little jig for joy – They got him!  They finally got him! – but his rehabilitation was pursued relentlessly by himself, and his hangers-on right from the get-go, not without success.

Read the Woodward and Bernstein piece, or just sing along with Phil:

Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon

Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon
For underneath his borders the devil draws the line
If you drag his muddy rivers nameless bodies you will find
And the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes
And the calendar is lyin’ when it reads the present time
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon, find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the schools of Richard Nixon
Where they’re teachin’ all the children they don’t have to care
All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere
And every single classroom is a factory of despair
Oh, there’s nobody learnin’ such a foreign word as “fair”
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon, find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the laws of Richard Nixon
Where the wars are fought in secret, Pearl Harbor every day
He punishes with income tax that he don’t have to pay
And he’s tapping his own brother just to hear what he would say
But corruption can be classic in the Richard Nixon way
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the churches of Richard Nixon and Billy Graham
Where the cross, once made of silver, now is caked with rust
And the Sunday mornin’ sermons pander to their lust
All the fallen face of Jesus is chokin’ in the dust
And Heaven only knows in which God they can trust
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the government of Richard Nixon
In the swamp of their bureaucracy they’re always boggin’ down
And criminals are posing as advisors to the crown
And they hope that no one sees the sights and no one hears the sound
And the speeches of the President are the ravings of a clown
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

This song is a rewrite of his earlier song “Here’s to the State of Mississippi”

La gauche et la droite en France

June 9, 2012

click for article/source

The photo above is from an article about the battle for control of the French parliament now that a socialist has won the presidency.  The woman on the left (ha!) is Marine Le Pen the far-right, anti-immigrant, nativist who has made a career on her papa’s (Jean Le Pen) ideas.  The man to the right is Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the left-wing candidate.

I find the slogans interesting.  Le Pen’s is, “Your only defender,” or “The Only One to Stand Up for You,” appealing to the frustrated sense of victimhood that fuels popular movements everywhere, often with a fascist tinge. It would not be out of place in a Tea Party setting.

Mélenchon’s is “Take the power.”  Can you imagine such a slogan in the US?  What I find intriguing is that it recognizes that there is power to be taken!  Here, we assume that we have it already, people-power, democracy, all that.  His slogan would amount to class-war heresy here in the US.

Obama Seeks to Win Back Wall St. Cash

June 13, 2011

The post’s title is the headline of a NYTimes article today.  In case you are wondering why the reign of the Bankers and Rentiers seems so secure.  The President and the Congress seem as one on this point.  No change you can believe in.

Alas, poor suckling public servants, sometimes there are more pigs than teats!

Class Warfare

December 9, 2010

Click on the comic above to see it full size – it’s more true than funny.  Since Reagan, the Republicans have been leading an effort to shift wealth to the upper 2% of the income strata in the USA, and to shift the burden of paying for that shift, and the rest of what government does, to everyone else.  Naturally, the “middle class” gets hit the worst because they have jobs and steady incomes from which to pay taxes.  (I use that term in the good ole American sense of anyone making less than $250,000 a year.) 

Bad as it is, there is a humorous side to it.  How else to react to the twin efforts by the Republicans this week to deny health coverage to the 9/11 rescue workers – they are concerned about how to pay for the $7.4 billion – and to lock in the GWB tax cuts for the wealthy for another two years, not to mention the loosening of the estate tax.  The cost of the first tax item alone is about $900.0 billion.  Balanced budget anyone?

And why are we at this juncture?   Our president tells us that liberals don’t have realistic expectations about what can be accomplished.  This may be true – the game was lost a long time ago, before the 2010 election.  Why wasn’t Obama on the warpath about these topics for the last two years?  All that anger in the Tea Party and fellow travellers could just as easily have switched targets from him to the bankers and coupon-clippers.

I think that fundamentally Obama, and most Dem legislators, don’t grasp the concepts of power and class.  It’s quite simple:  people with lots of money and power want to keep it.  They don’t really care if social problems are solved or not as long as their status isn’t infringed.  They may back irrational policies, but that’s okay.  If the works get gummed up, so much the better.  The more stupid government looks, the better.  They can always lobby their senators for a free corporate plum later, and in secret.  The Party of No works just fine in this case.  They can rail against government spending while they shovel money to their friends and not be troubled by the contradiction – there is no contradiction.  The overall goal is being met.

This sort of talk is taboo in mainstream American political discourse, so it’s not surprising Obama doesn’t shout about it.  Sure, he talks about “special interests”, but Unions get lumped in that group.  Senior citizens too.  As if they are all equal.  Obama always said he wasn’t a liberal, and he was being honest.  He’s very mainstream.  He never sought to build a political base for a counter-assault to the Republican class war which is why it’s too late now.  That would have been “business as usual in Washington…”

Time to Repeal Health Care Reform!

October 6, 2010

The Republican pledge to America includes a bit about repealing ‘Obamacare’, that awful adjustment to our national system of health non-insurance.  This excellent analysis in the NYTimes makes some very good points about that idea.

Yep, the reforms aren’t working…yet.  Oh, it’s true that you can’t be bumped from coverage for a pre-existing condition now.  And children are now covered under the plan of their parents until they are 26 years old  – how’s that for totalitarian oppression?  But some of the reforms aren’t going to work for a while yet, a few years.  In the meantime, there’s a lot of screaming going on as the insurance racket…er industry, tries to adjust to the minimal inconveniences that the new law imposes on them.

The article linked here focuses on ‘mini-meds’, those plans offered to low paid workers, like the ones at McDonalds, that cover expenses up to the sum of $2000 per year.  Try and get chemotherapy on that dime, will ya!  You can pay more and up the maximum to ten grand, but that’s chicken feed in the health disaster market.  Of course, looking on the positive side, these plans are better than nothing!  As the author points out, is that our litmus test for a good program these days?

By 2014, if we don’t repeal this law right darn quick! , these low-paid workers will be able to get real insurance plans, just like the one that John Boehner has – well, not quite – at an affordable price.  And furthermore:

For insurance companies, these changes won’t be quite so positive. They will no longer be able to sell plans that devote 30 percent of revenue to salaries for their workers. They will not be allowed to compete over which company can come up with the most ingenious ways to say no to the sick. Their benefits and prices will become more public, thanks to the exchanges.

Man the barricades, Tea Party-ers!  Kill the Bill!!

Politics by the Numbers

September 26, 2010

Hmm…let’s see:

  1. A recent poll from Stanford for the Associated Press indicates that the vast majority of Americans think that health care reform should have gone much farther than it did in changing the health care system by a 2-to-1 margin over those who think the government should stay out of health care.
  2. The Republican Party is banking heavily in the coming elections on their inflated rhetorical pledges to repeal the heath care reform bill.

What shall we think of this?

  • Republicans are very principled competitors, who care not at all about winning – it’s the ideas that count?
  • Republicans are very stupid and out-of-touch politicians who are living in a dreamland?
  • Polls bear little relationship to what people really think?
  • Polls don’t indicate much about how people will vote?
  • Democrats are stupid cowardly politicians because they have been so reluctant to hammer Republicans on health care and other issues?
  • Democrats and Republicans are not very interested in what most voters really want?

I don’t know.  November could be very interesting.  I have felt for a long time that the Democrats will do better than expected, i.e., not lose big.   If items No. 1 and No. 2 are both really true, then perhaps I’ll be proven correct.