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Truth To Power

the strong do as they wish, and the weak suffer as they must

Archive for February, 2012

Where’s the CNN funeral for Michael Davis?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Michael Davis, MC5 bassist, dies at 68

Michael Davis, the bassist of influential late 1960s rock band MC5, has died of liver failure, his wife said Saturday. He was 68.

Kick out the jams, motherfucker!

Whitney Houston never said such a meaningful phrase in her life. She never challenged authority. She never once used her gift for anything beyond a paycheck.

Which is why her grotesque funeral was broadcast live on CNN, and most of you are wondering who in the hell MC5 were. The “Motor City 5” were a groudbreaking punk band, before we had such a phrase. Their debut album, recorded live at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in 1969, is a legendary, influential blast to your frontal lobes that set the stage for the punk rock of the late ’70s.

Whitney Houston made songs that your mother enjoys. She happened to do so in the early days of MTV, which accounts for why her death seems so natural running non-stop on cable news and the internet. I was in the Atlanta airport, forced to listen to CNN’s coverage of her memorial service, and half-way watched as Jesse Jackson and others got their mugs in front of the camera, all crocodile tears over “our loss”.

Funny, I don’t lose anything when an over-rated pop singer gets to The Dead Pool. Michael Davis was one of the last of the MC5 remaining. Rob Tyner, vocalist, died in 1991, Fred “Sonic” Smith, guitarist and husband of Patti Smith, passed away in 1994. Don’t remember any big gala on those sad days, although the legacy of what the MC5 gave us grows stronger every year, while Houston’s claim to fame is a pretty, saccharin voice bleating out covers of Dolly Parton songs. I’m pretty sure Kevin Costner didn’t speak at Michael Davis’s funeral, in fact, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t know the MC5 from the Stooges.

The MC5 made their statement in a time when you could be arrested and sent to jail for a joint, as their manager John Sinclair learned. The band played protests at the Democratic National Convention in 1968, drawing the watchful eye of the FBI. Their refusal to edit “kick out the jams, motherfucker” got them dropped from their record label. The MC5 stood for something; they actually walked the walk and paid for it. Whitney Houston squandered her talents singing future karaoke favorites- no one marches in protest singing “I Will Always Love You”. In fact, along with other celebrity deaths such as Amy Winehouse, nobody is going to remember Whitney Houston in ten years. Because she’s a product- nothing more, nothing less. Sure, she had a pretty voice, but I suspect there are 1000 equally pretty voices working at Waffle Houses across this country, and maybe we’ll hear them, or not. But in the end, who cares?

Because of people like Michael Davis and the MC5, our country evolved. Their no holds barred take on rock and roll, their protests on the Vietnam war and the entrenched power structure of the Nixon era, that meant something. There isn’t a single Occupy camper that isn’t in their debt, even though they might not know it, because what is the “99%” movement but “Kick Out The Jams, Motherfucker” writ large.

So Michael Davis dies, and outside of a few diehard fans, nobody cares. Whitney Houston dies, and Sony and Apple jacks the price of her albums to cash in. Because in the end, thats all she was, a product. And nobody marches to a product.

Dear god, let it be Santorum

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Like most people with a functioning cerebellum, my tolerance for the 2012 election has been used up. As the GOP flounders around trying to find someone, anyone willing to be utterly defeated by Obama, its gotten more than tiresome. Now the pollsters are seeing Rick Santorum in the lead.

Praise be.

Now I’m no fan of Obama- not at all. He’s a war criminal who is in bed with Wall Street, and he’s too timid by half. His refusal to indict the Bush Administration on anything is reminiscent of our inability to deal with Nixon, and will have the same effect. The stimulus was too small, and the banks too big. His use of drones is appalling, and allows us to wage war without comment- not that he would listen to comment anyway. No, Obama is flawed.

But compared to Rick Santorum, there’s no contest. One is a rational human being who deals in facts and reality, the other a homophobic theocrat who makes Pat Robertson look almost sane in comparison. Drummed out of the Senate, Santorum – even without Dan Savage’s help- is a laughing stock. He can’t make a public statement without resorting to complete fabrication, debunked urban legends or Biblical “evidence”. His is the perfect embodiment of the sad state of the GOP. Unable to run on their record, they instead lie about Obama’s. They hold the myth of Reagan as their absolute, despite the fact that he ballooned the size of federal government, raised taxes and was a draft dodging failed actor. To be a contender for the GOP nomination means you’re beholden to the Tea Party and the likes of Jim Demint, who seems to be permanently stuck, like the rest of the party, somewhere in a mythical 1950s America, where women did the dishes and kept their mouths shut, gays were shunned and minorities were largely unseen. The GOP has invented the laughable “Sharia law” threat, while at the same time insisting that their own “divine law” become the law of the land. They’ve had 30 years, more or less, to watch as their winner take all, trickle down economic “theory” has reduced our nation to beggars, eating away at the middle class while the 1% gets fatter. Gay marriage, the “war on terror”, the whole notion of “illegal” people, all GOP talking points, all fodder for the pundits, but already passed by for the majority of Americans, who are evolving past the regressives. This will be the last election that you’ll see applause lines generated by “socialism” or “secular humanism”. No, the GOP is a dying breed, unable to do much of anything except say no- and people, except for that stubborn 25% that thinks the Civil War is still being fought, aren’t interested.

So instead of Mitt Romney as the nominee, I pray that it’s Santorum. The only thing Mitt can run on is his race- everything else about him is Obama-lite. And for some, that will be enough. Just give them a white male, and they’ll be happy. But Rick Santorum, now that would be an actual race. Not a race for the presidency- Santorum would lose by double digits- but rather a battle between two diametrically opposite ways of looking at the world.

Santorum believes that the government can and should tell you who you can marry– but not regulate business.

He feels that children are better served with a father in prison than with a lesbian couple.

He doesn’t believe in evolution, and feels tax money should go to “teaching” intelligent design but not funding the EPA.

And of course, the whole repellent “man on dog” crap.

Now, the money men aren’t going to allow little Ricky to be the nominee- and that’s a shame. Because his running against Obama- and losing, badly- would be a line in the sand moment, where America would be able to pick between two totally different visions of our nation, one progressive (of a sort) and one completely regressive. As noted before, I ain’t no fan of Obama. If Romney is a GOP candidate, I’ll probably skip voting. But if Rick Santorum gets the nod, I’ll be first in line to vote against him, and everything he stands for. We as a nation have been far too nice to those who would drag us back to the 1850s with their ignorant homophobia, racism and dim-witted pandering on science. Rick Santorum is an embarrassment, and his defeat would send a definitive statement on just how far out of the mainstream he and his loathsome ilk are. So come on, GOP, make him your candidate.

I dare ya.

It’s not religious freedom

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Weekly Standard: Obamacare Vs. The Catholics

It is now a requirement of Obamacare that every Catholic institution larger than a single church? — and even including some single churches — must pay for contraceptives, sterilization, and morning-after abortifacients for its employees. Each of these is directly contrary to the Catholic faith. But the Obama administration does not care. They have said, in effect, Do what we tell you — or else.

Exactly. In regulating an insurance business decision- and that is all that this is- the critics of Obama see the end of civilization. The fact that no one actually told the Catholic church what to believe apparently doesn’t sink in to the professional victims crowd. In essence, the ruling states that if you sell insurance, then you must be bound by certain laws. If you find those rules too harsh, or not in keeping with your beliefs, then you certainly don’t have to obey them. Just quit selling insurance. For those of us more inclined to reality than Catholics, its not really a that big of a deal.

What if instead of discriminating against women with their ban on offering contraception, what if it were gays? But the same argument made by Catholics to discriminate against women could easily be made against gays. After all, discriminating against homosexuality is the very air that Bill Donahue, Rick Santorium and Michelle Bachmann breathe- and don’t believe that they haven’t thought about “banning the gay”. And if this nation really was a “Christian Nation” in reality instead of their fevered minds, they’d probably do it.

But they can’t. Discrimination does not hide behind the skirts of “religious freedom”, no matter how passionately Fox News bellows. The Catholic church is, just like all of us, free to believe any silly notion it wants. And like us their ability to “swing their fists” ends before they touch my face. But if they want to engage in a business, then you have made the decision to accept the rules of society. What you “believe” means absolutely nothing. You are selling a product, and that product is regulated by the government. You might find the Bible gives you license to tell a woman what she can do with her body- but not everyone does (in fact, not even Catholics believe it). Religion has nothing to do with it.

And if you don’t like it, move. I hear Uganda is nice this time of year.