Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Police State”

Pussy Riot‘s new release, “Police State” is a good Sunday Interlude, after the one-sided bromance visit between Putin and Trump last week, in which Trump stated that he believed Putin when he said Russia did not interfere in last year’s election, contradicting our country’s Intelligence. (“I swear, baby, I never touched the voter rolls!”) That, and the song is about Trump as much as Putin.

Pussy Riot released a statement on Facebook about the song:

“We’d be able to achieve fantastic results if we were not trapped by the idea that nothing can be changed. […] There’s a lot that can be done and should be done. Putin will not disappear tomorrow, but we can show our fellow Russians how corrupted, damaging and ineffective his rule is. If everybody who denounced Trump on social media showed up on the streets and refuse to leave until he’s gone, he’d be out of office in a week. What it takes is just to abandon our learned helplessness.”

Since day one of this coup, I’ve said, “Never normalize!” Every time I hear the news reporting with any normalcy about this dangerous, criminal Administration, I cringe. I understand the importance of reporting only facts. But that facts are we now have an avalanche of information that Russia and Trump and his circle conspired to install him. The election tampering we feared and suspected is coming to light as another fact. Indictments are rolling in and, based upon those indictments, Trump is guilty of obstructing justice by firing FBI DIrector Comey and dictating a fabricated story about the meeting between a Russian attorney and Manafort, Trump Jr., et al. I’ve no doubt this goes far deeper into laundering dirty, Russian, mob and other dirty money and Trump’s outstanding debt to Putin, not to mention Trump’s insatiable ego needing to crush Obama for mocking him and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which was the perfect ploy for Putin to exploit.

Who knows how long we will be under this regime? Maybe this is the beginning of the end, thanks to Mueller’s investigations, and maybe it’s only the first year of this slog into fascism. The Constitution and we the people are being tested, perhaps never moreso since the Civil War. So far, I feel confident in both. But our future stands on the point of a sword at this moment. Or a nuclear test missile. Or a 3 a.m. twitchy toilet tweet – or twoop .

Here’s Pussy Riot and their new single “Police State:”

This week also marks a year since the stolen election. Do not get complacent. We are the boss in this country! Never normalize! Get out there, get active, get in the streets!

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Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “People Have the Power”

I admire the French. They have national protests. They shut down to demand their rights. Of course, they get paid vacations, health care, basic human needs without having to work three jobs or take a bus hours a day just to be slightly less in debt. I get it. Folks strike and get fired, get beaten, get shot or mutilated by a deranged nut using a car as a weapon. But it’s time.

We are watching our democracy pulverize before our eyes. Nothing short of a full nationwide shutdown will wake up the bastards who forgot they work for us!

Damn it! Trump must go! He’s a traitor. And everyone he carried on the tails of his overly long tie must go, too, from Pence to Gorsuch to Sessions to every vile Cabinet member whose purpose is to destroy their departments.

Patti Smith (and Fred “Sonic Smith) wrote “People Have the Power.” She performs this iconic protest song:

 

The power to dream / to rule
to wrestle the world from fools
it’s decreed the people rule
it’s decreed the people rule
LISTEN
I believe everything we dream
can come to pass through our union
we can turn the world around
we can turn the earth’s revolution
we have the power
People have the power …

Now, Mueller’s first indictment is expected Monday. We have a lot of hope for this process. But it is still within our power alone to take back our government.

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Fortunate Son”

We made it through another week in Crazytown. Who knows what awaits us this week? It could be anything from a full, 25th Amendment-worthy, public meltdown from Captain Cuckoo Bananas or his giving in to the urge to press the nuclear button. And now that we’ve seen General Kelly’s true colors by finding it necessary to besmirch the word of a military widow in order to protect and defend his profoundly sick boss, we know longer can trust he’d tackle him away from any deranged impulse.

The party claiming to be the bloody reddest, defiantly whitest, with the bluest, well, let’s say golf balls, certainly has redefined itself. The rise of individuals and groups entirely brainwashed in white supremacy is real, dangerous and not going away without the majority and those on top to rally to extinguish it. But that isn’t happening while the GOP holds any power. They own it. They’ve corrupted, not just the minds of people through decades of right-wing hate media, but they make it harder to vote and harder to tell how we voted. They play to long game, folks. Fascism has slowly permeated the GOP like the smoke of a small fire slowly cuts off oxygen as it envelopes and engulfs and, left unattended, leaves scorched earth.

A five-time draft dodging sissy who has bullied, or has an ally in, a four-star general who publically trashed a pregnant military widow, brings “Fortunate Son” to mind. It could be “W” or Trump but senators’ sons didn’t have to fight in VIetnam when there was a draft. Different rules. Now we live in a time when different rules mean a president not showing his or her taxes, profiting while in office, bilking contractors, violating settled law, appointing antithetical Cabinet members to dismantle agencies, feeling entitled to assault women, complimenting bigots and Nazis and treating whom he perceives less fortunate as filthy inconveniences. Daddy Trump made this inept disgrace believe he is a fortunate son living without consequences. This is the Republican Party’s new normal. DIfferent rules.

In a week where the GOP wants to drastically cut Federal programs in order to further enrich the 1% and when retired military have been called back to serve, “Fortunate Son” comes to mind. It was written by Creedance Clearwater Revival member John Fogerty during the Vietnam War era.

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no
To borrow from Brad Friedman’s closing line of his BradCast, good luck world!

 

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Almost Like Praying”

The comparison of Bush’s Katrina to Trump’s Puerto Rico is flawed. Puerto Rico is Trump’s genocide. If he could get away with doing nothing, he would. And he almost has. We’ve lost so much of our goodness in nine months under an Administration who, through its disregard and profound incompetence, is annoyed that we keep harping about Puerto Rico.

His cult following contends Puerto Rico’s government is deliberately letting their citizens suffer to make Trump look bad. Such ilk is lost and dragging our country down to an immoral, failed state. What Puerto Ricans are enduring is unfathomable. They are clinging to survival and trying to keep their weak and sick alive! What kind of monster in power to help walks away after tossing paper towels, after his handlers had to convince him tossing cans of soup was not a good idea?

He spoke to them as if someone from his first-floor housekeeping staff broke a valuable vase and he had to interrupt his schedule to assure them he wouldn’t fire anyone. “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico. But that’s fine.” Of course, it was a staged event with well-groomed people in a gated community who didn’t suffer great damage, yet still a bit “unwashed” for his comfort.

“…but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina…and you look at what happened here… 16 people [dead] versus in the thousands .You can be very proud.” Translation into human being: “Quit whining. You should be thanking me for the handout, considering you are of little value to me.” He’s a gargoyle,  I never thought Barbara Bush’s cold and detached (redundant when describing Babs) remark about the New Orleans’ Katrina refugees packed into the Houston Astrodome would sound benign. “Most of these people are underprivileged anyway,” with a chuckle in her voice, ” so this is working very well for them.” But she just seems like an innocent, chuckling Mrs. Claus compared to this laboratory monster constructed by mating Veruca Salt and Bernie Madoff, tossing in Young Frankenstein’s abby normal brain and the Grinch’s heart before it grew ten sizes one day. You don’t need Stevie Wonder’s vision, Jesus’ words or even belief in a soul to see he lacks a soul.

By the way, Donny Trump, I saw Ricky Martin on “Ellen” twice the last couple weeks. He’s sending help and showed a video, much of which couldn’t be broadcast, due to the horrific, graphic nature. He said people are simply burying their dead in their backyards because there is no infrastructure for burials. We have no idea how many are dead. But the lives lost is only a fraction of their plight.

I ache for how many will continue to suffer or die. These are our fellow countrymen. And even if they weren’t, they are human beings in need.

Lin-Manuel Miranda recorded, along with many others, “Almost Like Praying,” to benefit Puerto Rico. The lyrics are simply every town in Puerto Rico. I leave you with your interlude:

“@realdonaldtrump, You’re going straight to Hell.” Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Puerto Rico, you are not alone. You are never forgotten. To contribute to the help needed in Puerto Rico, please visit HispanicFederation.org.

 

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “What the World Needs Now Is Love”

“What the World Needs Now Is Love,” an eternally relevant song, was written in 1965 by Hal David (lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (music). It’s a plea to the creator.

Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

With all the unprecedented hurricanes of Biblical magnitude, earthquakes and fires, combined with threats of nuclear war. I found myself searching online about the book of “Revelations” and end times this week. (Note: I didn’t find anything helpful. The self-described Christians think end times is a wonderful future and some believe the orange oaf is a positive player in ending life on Earth.) We don’t have a friendly ally in the Administration in Washington. I have never lived at a time so out of control and perilous. It’s hard to focus, let alone make decisions pertaining to the future. It’s all so horrifying and exhausting that end times might be a welcome relief!

Just last week, that ridiculous oompa loompa provoked nuclear war while addressing the United Nations and we have the remainder of the month to fight to keep health care – again! It’s a moment to moment battle with the Republicans and their clan leader. We must remember a universal truth that good always triumphs over bad. However, goodness has to get into the dirty fight to win. “What the World Needs Now Is Love” reminds us that in this epic battle for our democracy, what we strive to achieve is a greater good for all. All those who denounce cruelty on every level are in this together.

There are so many versions of today’s interlude, from Dionne Warwick to the earlier pop version by Jackie DeShannon and a solo recording by Burt Bacharach, as well as versions he did with Tom Jones and Elvis Costello. You will find many artists’ versions of the song. One was recorded last year by a host of  Broadway artists following the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shootings. And it accompanied scenes from Austin Powers and 1969’s Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice. I searched for an unplugged version by Burt Bacharach because surely one exists from some old TV show but the only one I could find was a shortened version he performed at the White House with the Obamas. I just wanted his craggy voice and piano. It had to be simple and live and Burt! I settled for two out of three:

 

Jackie DeShannon gives such a pure and simple delivery.

These past few weeks, I’ve felt so weary from our country’s condition. That’s why the chaos. It’s intentional. We must not give up. Vigilance is vital. There’s a reason why this song is still relevant and so many artists have recorded it. Love will trump hate. Let this song remind us all

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “You’re No Good”

Yet another week in which that skin of seven deadly sins has proven he’s no good, he’s cruel, careless and crazy. So here are words for every person who has ever been associated with, done business with or voted for Donald J. Trump as a way to learn, heal or to send his way:
Feeling better now that we’re through
Feeling better ’cause I’m over you
I learned my lesson, it left a scar
Now I see how you really are
You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good
I’m gonna say it again
You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good…
I’m telling you now baby and I’m going my way
Forget about you baby ’cause I’m leaving to stay
You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good”

Linda Ronstadt performed the song and it was written by Ken Boothe. I have no sympathy for anyone fooled, snookered or duped by him. He appeals to base emotions and nothing more. One by one his cult is waking up. Not soon enough.

 

Enjoy another Resistance Sunday.

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Joe Hill” #LaborDay

Tomorrow is Labor Day. For most it’s lost its meaning. That’s probably intentional. For many, Labor Day is just another sale day at a retail job. For fewer, it’s a day off before the kids start school or the chance to snag some gadget for cheap on Amazon. Sales, barbeques and back-to-school lists certainly distract from a day meant to honor employees. But distractions serve our 1%-ers and so-called public servants well, don’t they? I’ll bet most of you are reading this on one of the greatest contemporary distractions right now.  Pay no attention as to why we have a day to honor workers – the vast majority – or the power within that number. Because when all the people who serve, create and make things become truly aware of their massive strength in unity, it tends to balance the social and economic playing field far too much for employers.

Joe Hill was an US immigrant, laborer and union organizer in the early 1900s. And he was charged with murder for which many, including his birth country of Sweden, believed he was scapegoated as a way to punish him for his prominent role in the IWW (International Workers of the World) or Wobblies to organize workers. The song, written by  Earl Robinson, speaks to his legacy, which lives on. Many folk singers have performed and recorded “Joe Hill.” I selected the version sung by Joan Baez at Woodstock.

Industry was new when the Wobblies were demanding safer workplaces, better wages and weekends off. And that era did achieve many of the protections we have for workers today. (Note: “Protections” for people are “regulations” on employers.) Society has changed tremendously since 1910. But the dichotomy between what an employer wants and what employees want continues. Only big business has lobbyists representing them with big checks to influence policy and tip the scales just the right way. Wages are set just low enough for those working at or near minimum wage to survive week to week, so long as the government subsidizes those people with housing, food and medical assistance. Meanwhile, unions seldom even get a seat at the table when Congress considers wages or trade. They’ve have lost membership drastically, from about one-third of all workers in the 1950s to about ten percent today. You can make a pretty strong argument that the loss of union membership has hurt the working class and is quickly vanishing the middle class.

Dad often said, “Some day, there will be a revolution in this country.” And when he said it, he was referring to the rebellion of the majority toward their cultural oppression and suppression; the oppression of economic power, public policy, bigotry, division and greed. Should there be a country-wide (world-wide?) workers’ strike? Long overdue. But a vast majority of workers can’t afford to take off a day and risk losing their jobs to fight it! Yet workers of every stripe have that power right now. The 1960s brought many causes for social justice together; minority rights, women’s rights, farm workers’ right, the right for 18-year-olds to vote. This could be another tipping point for we the majority. Never forget, those striving to make life better and fairer have the power. It’s the unity that secretly terrifies the ones who win through exploitation.

R.I.P. Joe Hill.

 

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “We All Shine On” (Instant Karma) #SundayMorning

I am no expert on Buddhism and Hinduism so my observation of karma is purely personal and anecdotal. But I have seen instant karma, meaning the Universe’s quick, balanced payback for a good or bad deed. I consider it a good thing when I do a slight but unfair act and get payback the same day. I like to think that means I have good karma. On the other hand, when someone “gets away” with murder or a great wrong of some kind, I believe when their karma is bad (and if you commit murder you already have bad karma) and the Universal payback comes long after but with a vengeance, that’s very bad karma. O.J. Simpson often comes to mind. But that’s just my anecdotal theory.

Naturally, I think of those in power today who are demonstrating acts of injustice and how their karmic balance may come. We’ve got a guy who intends to ban those of Muslim faith from the country, prevent and remove transgender people from the military and who is so xenophobic, wants to literally construct a wall in 2017 to keep people out. Some Nazis are now deemed “good people” by the Commander and Chief who invites Russian spies into the Oval Office and sends bills from a his own private business to the Secret Service for expenses to protect him. And this is perfectly reasonable to the GOP, apparently! Hurry karma! Please don’t let this be the planet’s karmic payback for humanity’s damage to her.

John Lennon’s words in “We All Shine On” speak to instant karma slightly differently, in that it comes without warning. I’m okay with that, too. If we don’t have it written in the Constitution that swift justice must meet a wholly unfit being installed as president by a foreign country, let it be karma. Let karma smite Trump and everyone colluding with him to profit from his office or destroy our institutions.

Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Ev’ryone you meet

I needn’t remind you that John Lennon and every member of The Beatles were about love and its power. The song actually has a lot more to say about being rooted in love, in love for oneself and everything else. This song always grounds me and I need that today. It’s a universal truth that love, indeed, Secretary Clinton, trumps hate.

Who in the hell d’you think you are
A super star
Well, right you are

It’s hard to peer out from the pall shrouding us these days. So let Lennon remind you of the greater self, the most superior of super powers: love.

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Love Is the Answer”

This song keeps popping in my head lately, thankfully. My friend David put it there following the death of Glen Campbell. Leave it to a musician to find a deep cut of a Glen Campbell recording of a song written and originally performed by Todd Rundgren.

It’s a good reminder that our greatest strength is love. Last week should have reminded everyone of that. Sadly, it did not. But division, hate and violence never win because love always eradicates it. Last week should also remind us that constant vigilance is needed toward those who wish to conquer with hate.

I’m not surprised Joseph McCarthy, Adolf Hitler and today’s Republicans attack artists. Artists speak truth. That is art. Their “identity politics” moniker to dismiss anyone acknowledging systematic and historic inequality, injustice or plain hardship upon fellow citizens is another attempt to divide and hush us. So to all the creatives, stay right where you are. Satirists must mock Nazis. Techies must shine ten-story messages on Trump’s properties. Musicians must sing of love and expose bigotry with music. Writers must broadcast the absurdity of hateful chants from the tacky, khaki tiki brigade. The fight for love gets more important every single day now. No rest. Resist.

“But there’s no easy way around it                   Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer”

And in homage to Glen Campbell, I submit his version. (RIP)

“Love will be a means, yeah, yeah
Shine on us all
Know that love can save the day
Just give it one more chance.”

No question we are at another global, moral crossroads. Sitting it out is not an option. Love is the answer. It’s true in any genre or any language. We’ve got to love one another.

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Eve of Destruction”

The roots of hate are deep. It’s been passed through generations in families, on right-wing hate radio, social media, Trump, US Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and via Russian marionetting (fueling actions from afar). Daylight helps but it must be eradicated root and branch, and outlawed, as Germany did to its Nazis after WWII. All terrorism in the name of fill in the blank is all the same. It is evil and wrong. I pity those who go through life with such a chip on their shoulder. But they don’t belong in a civil society. Let’s not forget, we all share this place, like it or not. Poisoning any part of it is done to us all.

Day by day, week by week, things are getting worse under the Trump regime. We not only had a savage attack right here in Charlottesville, VA yesterday by people carrying torches and opposing the removal of a statue of a traitor to our nation, but the President of the United States egged on a nuclear war with North Korea and then just replied when asked for detail, “You’ll see,” like the sniveling bully Scut Farcus in “A Christmas Story.” No, I didn’t forget he also threatened Venezuela. But the day’s still young and there are so many other countries to belittle when a wholly unfit narcissist binges on propaganda media, seeks constant adulation, controls the nuclear codes and has a Twitter account.

Just after the election, I shared my fear for our nation to a cashier I know at a local store who replied to me, “What’s the worst that could happen?” I replied immediately with, “Fascism.” She didn’t reply. Not hyperbole folks. This is how it happens. “Leaders” divide, threaten, keep us off balance and always, always tell us we’re in danger and “only [he] can fix it.” That is all authoritarian followers need to react accordingly. Hitler had his Brown Shirts of brainwashed civilians. Trump has his red caps, although don’t you think Orange Shirts is more fitting?

Even before Heather Heyer was murdered and many others severely injured by a kid so filled with rage, he used his car as a missile, this song came to mind: Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction.” It was written by P. F. Sloan about 53 years ago. We don’t need to change a word, really.

“The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”

Resist.