“The Dead Kennedys” play “MP3 Get Off The Web.”

Once upon a time the Dead Kennedys (With Jello Biafra) made a song titled “California Uber Allis.” It was quite campy, with the subject being “Moonbeam Brown, Dictator” and was treated as a joke. Next release (an E.P.) had “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now,” A remake that was Epic in many ways, longer (4 1/2 minutes long), more dynamic (soft and loud sections), and more serious (Ronnie Reagan Was A Real Issue). Probably one of the best remakes of a song ever done by the same band/person, up there with “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sadaka.

So, evidently not afraid to go back to the rewrite well again, the members of the Dead Kennedys who won the right to use (more than one meaning intended here) the name through a lawsuit came out with a different version of “MTV Get Off The Air,” entitiled “MP3 Get Off The Web.”

(Now understand, this was an impossibly hard listen. Between what the title promises and twenty-five plus years of memories both good and bad, there’s a cachet that “MTV Get Off The Air” has that the other has to live up to.)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

First, the introduction. Now Ron “Skip” Greer is right that MTV is hardly into music anymore, but he then does downhill quick when he starts pointing at the audience and blames them for the tragedy of getting iced milk instead of a Gelato. A Gelato?

Ron then goes into a spiel that rips into people who do Social Media. And as he goes on, his voice gets as ugly as Jello Biafra’s in Goons of Hazzard (which comes too close to glorifying the goons he’s trying to lampoon, in my opinion).

And we just finished the first part of that song. Thankfully the thrashy second part was totally undecipherable outside of the “MP3 Got off the MP3 Got off the MP3 Got off the web” chorus.

Then we get to the third section – the part with the trumpet player has a star turn – and the parts where we can see them straying from the original rant sounds lame in comparison to the original rant. And The RIAA? Never mind that last bit being a bit too long…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now I understand what was intended: A message for the audience to buy CDs so the band gets their money. However, there has to be a better way to get that message across.

The fact is, the singer here sounds like a spoiled brat. Ice Milk instead of Gelato? One thing the “Dead Kennedys” (The present band that got their name via a judicial ruling, not the original) need to understand is that people who go to the shows may not buy their music, but they’re showing up at their gigs…and are probably buying stuff. Last time I showed up at a gig I bought a CD AND a T-shirt…and contemplating buying a second one. That gets a band more $$ than buying a CD from Amazon.com, or a record store.

And trust me, the RIAA wants everyone to buy every PLAY, not just every song. They’d rather every house had a jukebox in which people had to put in $$$ every time they wanted to play a song.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

A sour feeling all throughout the song. And I’ll bet that if I find the lyrics, I’ll feel sourer still.

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Nine Things From The Seventies That Sucked

There have been two updates since the original posting. The original title was “Seven Things From the Seventies That Sucked,” so you know what the two updates were.

If you asked me which decade was the worst decade for America, I would state “The Nineteen Seventies.” Not the Civil war decade, not the Depression, nor even the last ten years. And I have nine reasons.

Note that none of these reasons have anything to do with what was done overseas, or with arts and entertainment. These are political actions that many people cheered on because they took an immediate benefit from these decisions. It’s only with hindsight (and a willingness to look beyond one’s nose) that we see what it was that made the seventies the pile of ugliness that it was.

So…here’s the list, with my reasons:

  • Nixon Changes How Farm Subsidies Worked. Used to be farmers would farm enough to put stuff to market, and the government would pay farmers to let fields lie fallow for a year or two. Clover or other plants which had relatively little worth on the market but plenty of ability to revive soil would be planted and the only major cost would be a hit on the pride of the farmer. Now they’re paid to overproduce certain crops, and we get depleted farm land, a dead Gulf of Mexico and High Fructose Corn Syrup to mess with our bodies (more than real sugar, may I add).
  • McGovern takes over the Democratic Party. Before the people behind George McGovern took over the Democratic Party, it was run by city bosses and other people who knew how to run a government and hold office. After him, the party became a group of minorities who had grievances and needed people who were able to hold them together (read: hold their hand and tell them “Everything was all right, now be patient and vote for us; after all, you want to vote for THEM?”). This has led to the pussification of the Democratic Party Leaders at a time when they need to be real men, and the rise of Bullies in the Republican Party (because they can, and it works).
  • Roe v Wade, Doe v Bolton. Granted, this was more-or-less imposed by the Supreme Court. However, one thinks that we would have come to a compromise that would have been accepted by everyone but the extremists; however only the extremists are allowed to speak up. Not only that, but this was one of the changes that allowed the “Me Generation” to arise, as the ruling declared nationwide the freedom of women from the dictates of pregnancy, children raising and the consequences of voluntary actions and ugly twists of fate…and it allowed women to stay in the workplace longer, essentially doubling the work force (and allowing for the possibility of wages to be forced downward). This, of course, is the most contested of decisions, and has had certain adjustments done to it over the years.
  • Bankruptcy Laws loosened. I fully understand why the Bankruptcy laws were loosened by congress – once people were over their heads, it just gets worse and worse. However, we’re now talking about the freedom from the strictures of financial responsibility. On the personal scale, this meant people could spend like crazy and force the system to absolve their debts every so often, in the corporate world this meant the ability to expand like crazy, pay their CEOs obscene amounts, and toss aside unions when they felt the workers were given more rights than they deserved (none, with all the responsibilities the companies could pile on them). Which explains why the business world has suddenly gotten more choppy, with companies coming and going at will (outside of Wal-Mart, which in much of Rural America IS the governing body and profits well off its de facto status).
  • No-Fault Divorce Spread Nationwide. This one seems to be the most sacred of the legal changes in the seventies, as while Roe/Doe gets constant opposition and the Bankruptcy laws have been change to make it harder for people to go bankrupt (not that it stops them anymore…), divorce seems to have entered into the pantheon of constitutional rights (along with free speech, guns and the right to strive for profit above all else sane). And why not: here we’re talking about the freedom to disassociate from whomever you want to, whenever you want to and never mind whomever happens to be attached (i.e. the kids). It also forced what was promised with Roe and Doe: the entry of women into the workforce.
  • End Of The Draft. While it could easily be seen as the death of the hypocrisy that the draft had become in the late sixties and early seventies (anyone dedicated enough to avoid the Vietnam War could, and often did), the shift from the people’s army to a caste of professional fighters (“volunteers”) meant that the price for belonging in American Society had dropped to almost nothing. One could not only trace the development of the US Armed Forces into the biggest Welfare State in the world from this, but also the shift in the view of college from “good for society” to “done for the benefit of the individual” (and from that, the shift from grants to loans), amongst other things.
  • Proposition Thirteen. A logical response to the issues of bracket creep, inflation and the idea that Government must be definition keep growing, Proposition Thirteen in California had a greater effect than even Howard Jarvis intended. Because the allowed rate of increase on property taxes was set at a level below what was then inflation, there was an implied message to California Government that it must prepare to die from financial starvation. The Californian Government didn’t (between starving it colleges and buying into hyperbolic growth in housing it avoided its fate for forty years), but its shifted how governments collected taxes from “whomever had the $$$” to “whomever had habits bad enough to deserve taxing” It also led to Reagan, and through him to the present situation where Government is not allowed to get the money it needs even to keep the lights on.
  • Deregulation of the trucking industry. Here’s the first of three reasons why I think Ted Kennedy killed Mary Jo Kopechne. For the sake of cheaper rates the Trucking laws were loosened, and the Truckers, already suffering from five-plus years of reduced earnings (Dropping the speed limit from 70 to 55 was a more than 20% reduction in their earning power, any wonder they grew to hate the DOT?) were thrown under the bus for the sake of a few fewer cents cost for the consumers (or, more likely a few more cents profits per item for the companies selling what the trucks brought). Is it any wonder they’ve become the most reactionary of constituencies – you too would hate the people who gave you the middle finger, gave the people immediately above you carte blanche to do what they pleased and told you to worship the people fucking you over. Even if you DO end up worshiping the people fucking you over; at least they’re not the ones who betrayed you for their own gain.
  • Deregulation of Airlines. The second of three reasons I believe Ted Kennedy killed Mary Jo Kopechne (the third being his treatment of Carter in the 1980 primaries). It’s this item that drove PATCO into the arms of Reagan in 1980, which led to their (and the working class’s) betrayal in August 5, 1981. EVERYTHING (and I mean everything) since then can be traced to this date; I’ve heard of parties at corporate headquarters on this date for years.

Probably the biggest thing to notice is how libertarian the list is. Liberalization of Divorce, Freedom to delay motherhood through extreme measures, cheaper prices for food, travel and other stuff, ability to escape one’s financial problems and the freedom of being an American without the price of service: whatever could be wrong with that stuff?

Well, it’s been thirty years since 1980, and we’re seeing it. Two generations unwilling to marry because they’ve seen the scars of divorce. A nation that seems psychotically split between city/college and country/suburb. Bankruptcy from Government to people. An education system that requires what amounts to a lifetime indentured servantship via student loans, and a  job “market” that no longer uses what’s out there. Working and Middle class on the cusp of final defeat (no unions, no organized body to fight against The Man ™). People so willing to believe in the system that they’ll cut their own throat to affirm that belief (aka Tea-Baggers); meanwhile everyone else has grown passive waiting for the Messiah (whomever that person may be) to save them from their inaction and passivity (Read: the Tea-Baggers may get “their way” by default, as they’re the only people willing to back their demands by actions and guns – Like Abraham at the mount, they’ll figure out that my throat will readily substitute for their own.).

I could have done without Disco (which comes from Roe and Doe) not needed Punk, and maybe been willing to suffer under twenty more years of Hair-Metal and Country/Country Rock transcendent for better times. Instead we got what we now have.

And it sucks.

Big time.

Further Update On My Job (and what’s going on around me while I’m at it)

Just so you know, when I last talked about my job things were going pretty well for me. While people working mornings were taking hits on their hours, the afternoon people were getting full days and sometimes more. While whole areas were getting removed from regular (medicaid) service, the core of the service seemed to be going on as usual.

Well, things seem to have changed yet again. Now the afternoon people are getting hit, mainly by pushing the start times a bit later. Not only that, but the boss has actually grown a backbone with workers who pick days off – a driver who decided to take a weekend off without warning was given a week off.

Granted, it’s about time – after all, it’s patently unfair for the morning crew to suffer all the pain from the dropoff in business. However, I wonder if there’s going to be some other impacts on the job.

Such as the ability to take time off whenever I want/need.

Since we’re talking about less people at work as time goes by, the remaining people will become more and more necessary. Since the remaining people will become necessary, time off will become rarer and more precious…or even nonexistent. I can see myself working the last months of my job (assuming it dies off) seven days a week, 14+ hours a day because they only need a few people to do everything.

Meanwhile the area becomes more and more deserted-looking. The factories that once pumped jobs in the area have been getting torn down, some extremely rapidly. While there’s still an excess of housing, that is being shrunken down – not by people buying houses (WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL THE ECONOMISTS THAT HOUSING IS NOT AN ECONOMIC ENGINE AND THAT CALLING IT THAT IS JUST HIDING THE FACT THAT THERE’S NO LONGER AN ECONOMY?????) but by the local housing falling apart in an increasingly rapid rate. No news will comment on that, just something I see driving around. Malls are getting emptier (if they’re not emptied already) and those malls staying filled have accepted payday loan stores, rent-to-owns and multiple tax return offices to replace the Piano stores, upscale clothing shops and music stores of the past (Yes, there used to be Piano stores. Pianos were a sure sign of a settled, middle class lifestyle that started disappearing during Reagan’s presidency). There’s the constant shrinkage of businesses downtown as lots of once-useful stores are disappearing, replaced by such fufu as massage parlors, hairstyling places (when combined with massage it’s called a “spa” nowadays), Mexican restaurants, payday loan/pawn shop/check cashing/tax return place (yes, they combine nowadays) and antique stores. Even the big box stores are trembling as their customers find themselves with nothing.

Meanwhile people order online, happy in knowing that Amazon.com still doesn’t pay taxes (yes, Virginia, even “Liberals” cheer when they gyp the state they live in, which Amazon always tries to do). These same people cheer when factories that once gave workers a living wage are torn down to make “Green Space” and bellyache when someone wants to do something to improve things that doesn’t involve tourism or bike-friendly pathways (never mind most people get to and from places only in cars, using the bike paths for recreation on the weekends).

– – – – – – – – – –

It seems that the United States of America only has enough money to give to the rich, either directly or indirectly. Can’t get veggies to the city kids so they’ll eat something other than Doritos (nor can we teach their mothers how to cook) yet we fund Monsanto’s constant suing of everyone who chooses non-GMO’d seeds. Can’t fund Medicare or Medicaid properly anymore, so we gotta make sure the rich can take their Medical Vacations (they pay less for the whole Angioplasty plus a week’s tourism than I pay for a night at the hospital for a fake heart attack!). Gotta pull eyeteeth to save GM and Chrysler, but a bank whispers “I need more profits” and we hand it to them without asking or even checking up on things. Can’t fund a purchase on a new house, but Trump’s new castle for the nomadic elite – up and running.

And I’m left watching the detrius of the world left behind. Houses collapsing, malls emptying out and/or downclassing. People saying “we can’t afford anything” while supporting those who cut everything down to fund their xanadus.

Build Mass Transit? We can build enough to insure it fails.

Build Expressways, then? Just well enough to we can watch it fall apart in front of our eyes.

New Electrical Grid? Why, when the good (read: wealthy enough) can get their own generators to pollute the air for the poor around them?

Decline? Sure, as long as the rich get to watch millions die at the hand of their starving neighbors.

Welcome to 1984, only Orwell ended up blind as to what happened ten years after Winston Smith was shot… Who would have thought that Winston Smith ended up the lucky one?

Weird Things Going On These Past Two Weeks…

Been an odd two weeks. Never mind the royal wedding (although that picture of of Princess Kate “Bowing to her Prince” was priceless), everything around Donald Trump and President Obama just smelled of Bullshit to me:

  1. Donald Trump starts asking for Obama’s Long Form Birth Certificate, acting like he’s preparing for a run for President in 2012.
  2. After a couple weeks of Trump’s talking, the Obama’s full form is shown to the world on Wednesday. Those with honest questions are hushed, but not those with wishes to cling to.
  3. Trump gets invited to the Saturday Correspondent’s dinner, watches Obama crack Trump jokes at him for a few minutes.
  4. “Osama Bin Laden” gets officially killed. On Beltane. Okay, he was killed on May 2 local time, but if you were in America you heard about it in time for Beltane (and it was May 1st in Israel and Europe when “OBL” was officially killed off.)
  5. (The President interrupts Trump on Celebrity Apprentice.)

Which leads to a few questions, some of which are:

  • What is Donald Trump getting from this? Trump may be a not-good businessman, a shill and a buffoon, but he’s no idiot. I wonder if he was let in on what was happening, and given something to insure that he participated in his part. Like maybe money to avoid yet another bankruptcy, or some other favors to be named later…
  • What were those kids doing celebrating on the White House lawn? I remember going around the White House in 1994, and there was a gate around the whole White House Lawn…that included the Supreme Court, I believe. For those kids to have been celebrating on the White House lawn means they had to have been let in…or planted. I’m not sure which.
  • Who would allow a Non-Native-Born-American to become President? The party with the NNBA? don’t bet on it – not unless they want to be tossed on the scrapheap of history. The opposition party? You’d think they’d want to jump on the mistake and insure a monopoly on office for years. The NSA/CIA/government? Would THEY want to be run by a foreigner (even one whose lived there since a small child)?

There’s just too much strangeness going on here. I call “Bullshit!”