Laws And Sausage On Crack

The cabinet appointments are funny. They are funny. Tragic, catastrophic, horrible, but utterly hilarious. Treasury Secretary is the best knee-slapper. Just give it to Goldman-Sachs. Say FU to the populist voters with both middle fingers, loud and clear, right away. Outstanding.

We’re doomed. But it’s not as if we haven’t been doomed before. Humanity survives all sorts of things – plague, cold war, Nickleback, maybe even this. But wow. The pendulum swings from reason and science and decency and such things, all the way to retarded bigotry, misogyny, sadism and greed. Did I leave anything out? Yes lots of things. You can’t list all of it in one lifetime. It’s not at all funny at the end, for it likely means immeasurable suffering and loss, destruction, mayhem and death visited upon the land like a biblical shit-tsunami. Oh well.

Years ago I wrote this song, “Laws and Sausage.” It was an overstated spleen-venting about fat cats and pig-dogs, a sort of ska-cartoon Orwellian bad trip that could never resemble actual reality. Or could it? I almost didn’t want to record it, it was so silly, but my band-mates in Stiff Richards dug it and our producer wanted to hit it so we did. Later The Uptones recorded it and Lisa McElroy made this appetizing video.

I don’t think either version ever got released on a CD or anything, due to timing or an attack of common sense. Anyway, it occurred to me as I listened to Democracy Now! this morning that I will miss President Obama very much, and that PT Barnum was right.

Actual photo by Shannon Wheeler
Actual photo by Shannon Wheeler

Please Fellow Bernie Sanders Supporters, Let’s Elect Hillary Clinton and Progressive Democrats Wherever Possible

Bill McKibben calls it a “War On Climate Change” now, in this age of “War On” every little thing. I guess that might get more attention to this single most important subject in the history of everything. From Democracy Now! this morning:

Here’s an excerpt of the part I find most important in RE: how we vote in November:

Bernie refused to concede. He didn’t back down. He didn’t do what everyone told him he should do. He kept in the race through the final meeting about the platform in Orlando two weeks before the convention. And he did that in order to ensure that he’d have leverage in those discussions..

..And as a result, by staring them down, the platform, at the last-minute, turned markedly more progressive. Among other things, there’s a call in there for an emergency climate summit within the first hundred days of a new administration, designed to — and it says this in the platform — mobilize us for something like a World War II approach to climate change. We’ll see if we can hold them to it.

– Bill McKibben

That is one reason I am following through with my support for Bernie Sanders, by voting for the Democratic Party ticket in 2016. And then this year can be over please, thank you.

There is a certain sick entertainment value to having a presidential candidate tweet at 3AM that Miss America is fat. And that many Americans seem determined to elect a boy with no qualifications and every horrible trait a person can have. Charles M. Blow in his NYT column articulates this perfectly. There’s a certain hilarity to the fact that grown persons want to provide a maladjusted toddler with nuclear weapons.

In the race also, are two other candidates. The Libertarian doesn’t know the name of a single foreign leader and he’s a right-wing nut. Yet he’ll pull some votes from right and left, and this too is good for an uneasy chuckle. We also have a Green Party candidate who will pull a significant number of votes away from the sole qualified candidate in the race, Hillary Clinton.

The laughing stops when you realize that most of the unworthy brat’s followers will vote for him, no matter what he says or does. And that many rational people seem to be missing this point, as they prepare to make protest votes for candidates who are not only unqualified, but also have exactly no chance of winning a single state. Thus, the unworthy brat can win. It is not funny.

There was one other qualified candidate in the race, his name is Bernie Sanders. He has endorsed and is campaigning for Hillary Clinton. I agree with him, and I am voting Dem even here in sunny “Blue State” California. Because this election is weird. It’s so weird it makes weird look normal. Anything could happen, and it’s an emergency situation. We must not allow our nation to be led and represented by its most horrible specimen.

To abandon the Democratic Party nominee in the general election would be to render all the efforts we made behind Bernie Sanders a complete waste. Please don’t do that. Please vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, support her campaign in whatever ways you can, and encourage others to do so. After that business is done, we can address everything else, but first we must put a grown-up in the White House. And hopefully bury the GOP down the entire ticket for ever subjecting us to this shameful display.

The World Moves And It Bounces And Hops

Policies. We all have them. Here are mine, for this bizarre election season: I will not mention the name of, nor discuss the orange ugliness-dispenser. Others do a fine job of discussing that horror. I strongly disagree with my friends at MoveOn who seem to encourage people to go and protest at the Ugliness rallies. Dumb. Plays into the hands of captain Ugly. The child wants attention. Don’t provide it. Instead, focus on the remaining viable political party that has some interest in public service. That would be the Democratic Party. I will speak and write their names gladly. Go Bernie. Yay Elizabeth Warren for speaking up, I hope she’s president in 2020. I’ll support Bernie Sanders through the convention. On the day of the convention, my support will switch to the nominee. If it’s Clinton, so be it. The Dem platform has been moved significantly into less horrible directions by Sanders’ massive influence. That influence is fueled by the millions of us who have made his campaign YUGE! There still remains the possibility that Bernie will get the nomination. It’s the policy of the establishment within the Dem party, and the corporate news media, to declare this over. That is because they want us to stop pushing for Bernie and give up like good little complacent puppies. Well. Bernie supporters don’t seem to adhere to that policy. The coronation of the DNC’s appointee, Clinton, has been made complicated by the presence of an actual life-long progressive opponent. It’s inconvenient for the established powers, all this citizen participation! And that is good. It is my policy not to rethink and edit this down or organize it into neat paragraphs. I am angry that we have closed primaries. I am appalled that New York voters, most of whom who didn’t even know who Bernie was until recent months, had to be registered six months before the primary, in order to vote for him! That is the definition of “rigged.” It means a grassroots upset candidate like Bernie, has little chance against an already well-known and established candidate like Hillary. It’s disgraceful that the Dem party leadership is basically Clinton’s campaign team, rather than an unbiased facilitator of a primary election process. It’s ridiculous that there were not more Dem’s willing to oppose the designated appointee, and contribute to a real policy debate to create a well-informed platform! The list of un-democratic policies in the Democratic Party is endless. It is my policy to stop ranting now and get on about another day on this oh so beautiful and improbable sphere.

Pic by Shannon Wheeler.
Pic by Shannon Wheeler.

Lost It In Lossless

I spent most of last night listening to streaming music on TIDAL, using their “lossless” audio service. Down the rabbit hole voraciously, listening in tangents that arched from Sam Cooke to The Jam, with hours and worlds in between. The overwhelming value of these streaming services (including the lower-res audio ones like Spotify) is astonishing to me. And it boggles my mind, that a kid growing up today, will never know that a single, or an album, which people lovingly worked on and paid to produce, has any monetary worth at all. It’s cheaper than water. You don’t buy it, it just is. You get it. It’s yours.

David Lowery does a better job than I’ll attempt, of explaining the immense downside to this. He champions music copyright owners and recording artists, fighting the good fight to make streaming companies pay the creators of the content that gives them their value.

One reason I’m trying TIDAL Lossless now is BECAUSE it is more expensive. And because they claim to intend to pay music-creators fairly. Here’s hoping they succeed. $19.95 a month. It does sound better than the normal mp3 quality, and on some material that is really noticeable. You need a fast connection though, or it barfs. Details.

Having all this content, all this music, the “whole world at our fingertips” as the cliché goes, has a sad aspect to it. Because it reduces the value of everything. Nothing is special, if everything so easily available. We used to buy records. We’d have to like, walk, or take the bus, to a store! But this can also be heaven to a music lover. Running amok in a giant virtual record collection that takes up no physical space. Paradoxes abound.

A Luddite in me wants to scrap it all. Leave it for books, phonograph records, a dial phone. I seriously miss life before the Internet. Simultaneously, I love this crazy new interconnected world. Can we have both? Can we have it all? Yes. Except for the dial phone.

Here are some kittens.

ittens_on_turntables