We Put A Man on the Moon …

apollo08_earthrise
Earthrise as seen by Apollo 8

W.J. Astore

Is it possible the U.S. hit a peak of sorts in 1969?  I know – 1969 was a Nixon year, another year of destruction in Vietnam, though the music in those days was far better than today.  But I’m thinking of Apollo, as in our landing on the moon in July of 1969.  Having recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, that momentous event is still on my mind, especially when I think of the old poster I had on my bedroom wall that showed the Apollo journey from earth to the moon, its various stages and maneuvers.  It was all bewildering to a young boy caught up in the space program, but at least I knew my country was at the forefront of science.

In 1969 America reached the moon!  We respected science.  Many Americans were trying to end a disastrous war in Vietnam.  People marched for civil rights, they fought for equal rights, there was a sense America’s potential was nearly limitless.

WTF in 2020?  Many Americans, including our president, don’t respect science.  We fire doctors for calling out quack medical cures.  We put a breeder of labradoodles in charge of our Covid-19 pandemic response.  Wars just go on forever with little resistance.  We’re sliding backwards in rights for minorities, for women, for workers.  And the space program?  Moribund in the USA.  We’re very much stuck on earth, an earth that is less hospitable to life than it was fifty years ago.

The years 1970-2020 has defined a half-century of American decline.  Perhaps we might speak of five bad “emperors”: Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Shrub Bush, and Obama, now joined by Trump, our very own blend of Nero and Caligula.  He fiddles and diddles while America burns.

Joe Biden and the establishment Democrats are hardly the answer.  Even Jesus isn’t the answer unless we start taking His words about the rich (and so much else) seriously.  The Jesus of my youth had no use for greed and money and material goods – He taught us our treasure was in heaven, gained by righteous living through faith while manifesting love.  That sacrificial message is drowned out today by the so-called prosperity gospel, preached by ministers who are cashing in even as they tell their followers that wealth is the most legitimate form of God’s grace.  Back in the Catholic church of my youth, such ideas would have been blasphemous.  At my church I recall the example set by Sister Emily and Sister Jane Elizabeth – they sure weren’t living in luxury.  Forgive them, sisters, they know not what they do.

Here we are, in 2020, in a land of un-truth, in a universe of alternative facts, in belief systems where money matters more than anything, where even ministers stoke conflict, and we wonder why we can’t come together and develop a clear, coherent, and coordinated response to the coronavirus crisis.

How to change this?  How about letting experts lead us?  You know the saying: it ain’t rocket science.  But Apollo was rocket science, and so we deferred to experts, and they got us to the moon and back six times and patched together an amazing rescue of Apollo 13 when it went wrong.  To beat Covid-19, we can’t listen to Trump and his band of grifters and losers.  We must listen to the scientists, the doctors, and act collectively based on sound medical science.  The “rocket scientists” will get us through this, together with the humanists and the selfless efforts of so many medical workers and (mostly) nameless others.

Longer term, we need to re-create our government, because it has, quite simply, betrayed most of us.  Simultaneously, we need to move beyond nationalism and think and act on a global scale to save our earth.  If Apollo taught us one thing, it’s the wondrous value of our own planet.  The moon may be a place of magnificent desolation, but who wants to live permanently in desolation?  We need global vision and action, not only to help prevent future pandemics, but also to preserve our planet as a viable biosphere for a global population projected to top ten billion people in the coming decades.

Nobody said it would be easy; yet if we stay on our current course, just about anybody can guess humanity’s fate.  But if we can put a man on the moon, surely we can come together to create a better future for ourselves and our children.

The year was 1969, and this song by the Youngbloods went gold: “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.  Right now.  Right now.”  It wasn’t – or shouldn’t be — just hippie dreaming.  Indeed, it’s the essence of true Christianity.

57 thoughts on “We Put A Man on the Moon …

  1. “That’s when a smoke was a smoke, and groovin was groovin!” John Cougar- you’re a Kid again wistful thinkin! Those were heady times– you remember even tho. just 6 years old n.t.b… Unfortunately its been proven that going to the Moon has become a lot easier than solving Society’s & this small Planets ills.

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    1. Heady times produced such brilliant music

      If you smile at me, I will understand
      ‘Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
      in the same language.

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  2. I will refrain from commenting on religious hypocrisy (I’d have blisters on my fingers–“I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”…another snippet from a vintage song!), with these brief exceptions: 1.) CNN reports over 1000 “pastors” in California have launched a campaign to encourage their “flocks” to defy “social distancing” guidance from the Democratic governor of that state. Well, surely nothing can go wrong there!; 2.) it is endlessly revolting that the “Prosperity Gospel” hucksters rake in their incomes TAX EXEMPT! The Founding Fathers would not have approved; 3.) TrumPence made sure some of the relief money got shoveled to religious organizations on grounds that they are “non-profit” (see previous point; this is surely far from accurate regarding some operations).

    All that said, I have always been a fan of Science Fiction and was terribly disappointed by the US Space Program after its propaganda victory over the USSR–which, it should always be remembered, had won most aspects of the Space Race prior to the Apollo success. The timeline for space exploration progress postulated in “2001 A Space Odyssey” should have been achievable! Humans should be camped out on Mars this very moment! Not to EXPLOIT, but to do real Science. And POTUS reportedly is contemplating parceling out chunks of the Moon for corporate exploitation of natural resources. Anyone shocked by this? I didn’t think so.

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    1. Surely they can keep Trump interested in the moon and Mars — as long as they promise to build a Trump tower on each one.

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      1. Ha! The Trump Organization would hope there are actual Martians available to do grossly underpaid labor to build Trump Tower Mars!! Heck, maybe they’re so naive they can be tricked into actual slavery!

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    2. The religious hypocrisy arguments have been done to death already, but I should remind you that, when it came to churches defying social distancing and stay-at-home orders, the leaders were Maryland and Florida (the latter isn’t that surprising, but I’ll bet the former is). What was it that you said in previous comments about these wingnuts being everywhere?

      Trump, meanwhile, isn’t the first to suggest parceling out chunks of the moon – that title belongs to Jeff Bezos, who seems to think that the next major industry will be mining asteroids for rare-earth metals required for electronics (iridium, that stuff that makes touch-screens work, doesn’t occur naturally on Earth, but is notably common in meteors). Bezos and his ilk want to make the profit, but they’re going to leave it up to people like Elon Musk to spend the money developing the technology.

      By the way, when it comes to science fiction, you can forget Space Odysseys or Star Treks – our future will be more like Warhammer 40,000. In the grim darkness of the far future, life sucks, there is only war, and you’re probably going to get eaten by Tyranids.

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      1. But Bezos has his own space-exploration enterprises! Probably in a race with Mr. Musk right now. I’ll say this about Bezos: the business community snickered at him for many years, as Amazon went thru year after year without officially recording a profit overall. But oh, look at him now! It genuinely looks like it’s going to be up to the private sector to move the human race forward in outer space. For a while I thought China was going to dominate there, but they have other issues to deal with. As to the far, far future, I will state with greatest confidence that there ain’t gonna be no human race in the Year 40000 AD! (Which means there will be no one to wake up one morning and look at a calendar and say “Oh, damn, a new millennium has arrived!”) Sorry, Tyranids, you’ll have to find another food source!

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        1. Amazon in space? Well, it was bound to happen eventually. However, Bezos has admitted that he doesn’t innovate, but will happily copy someone else’s idea if it turns out to be successful. Basically, he’s a self-confessed opportunistic profiteer who hasn’t had an original thought in years. Musk, on the other hand, is a mad genius with more ideas than he can handle, although not all of them are good (hyperloop, anyone?). Truthfully, I used to laugh at Musk precisely because of his wacky enterprises, but after he managed to halve the price and double the efficiency of his electric vehicles when he introduced the CyberTruck (seriously, look this thing up, the specs are quite impressive), I thought “wow, maybe it’s possible for electric cars to become commonplace after all.” My point was that we need more people like Musk, and fewer like Trump and Bezos.

          Your assertion that Tyranids will have to find another food source amuses me. First, they eat everything, not just humans, and second, it reminds me of that one cartoon, with the doomsday prophet carrying a sign saying “the end is near,” and he meets someone carrying a sign saying “this will never end,” who tells him “your optimism disgusts me.”

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          1. Ha-ha, you must forgive my ignorance about the culinary spectrum of Tyranids, as I have no familiarity whatsoever with the fictional work(s) in question. As for Bezos, my point was that he persevered and overcame the skepticism about his business concept. Which was something of an innovation, I guess: that using the internet for retail marketing, he could build a mammoth retail operation, offering just about any item under the sun. I won’t delve into the current accusations of neglect of his workforce during the Covid pandemic. I do not praise the Titans of Capitalism for their entrepreneurial drive–better known as GREED!–but I believe in giving credit for achievements where it’s due. Wal-mart? Slayer of mom-and-pop businesses all over the place. Yeah, a bit of a success story there, too.

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          2. Yes, I get your point. I mean, don’t get me started on the nonsense that Amazon is up to. Of course, greed goes in line perfectly with the American culture of excess. Nothing is ever enough. Speaking of which, when did that begin? I keep seeing references to the rise of “American exceptionalism,” but from what I know about the history of the Gilded Age, I suspect it goes back much further. I have to admit, I don’t see much of it where I live. Even though I’m in a rural area with plenty of room for growth, most of my neighbours don’t want that. Then again, these aren’t the yokels that you might suspect; a lot of these people are formerly from either New York City or the Soviet Union, in other words, not remotely representative of the rest of the country.

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          3. I’m not prepared at the moment–already been online too long in this session! I mean, there is a real world in which to live!–to research when the phrase “American Exceptionalism” first came into use, but the concept itself has been expressed, I guess, since the founding of the United States. Some of the “Founding Fathers” had reservations about expansionism, others openly advocated “Manifest Destiny.” I have not personally researched the idea that just popped into my head, but it instantly seems reasonable: the Modern Age of US Expansionism was probably born with the development of large heavily-armor-plated battleships. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders claimed to be “liberating” people from their Spanish colonial oppressors in the War of 1898, only to emerge as the new colonial exploiters. Mark Twain, as Vice President of the US Anti-Imperialist League, was very outspoken publicly against these undertakings.

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  3. Sir John Glubb pointed out in his book “The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival” that empires exist in stages – the last of which is decadence, which coincides with social decline. Furthermore, the average lifespan of an empire is about 250 years. Don’t check your calendar now, America, but it’s been about that long since the nation’s founding, there is nowhere left to expand, and the era of global cooperation is over (though that’s as much China’s fault as it is America’s).

    “The old wisdom borne out of the West was forsaken; kings built tombs more lavish than the houses of the living, and counted the names of their departed ancestors dearer than the names of their sons. And so, the people of Gondor fell into ruin.” – From “Return of the King,” by J.R.R. Tolkien (I might be paraphrasing a bit, but the point still stands)

    However, don’t fret too much – this isn’t the first time in human history that the most advanced society in the world has fallen into a state of regression, and dragged everyone else down with it. That would have been in 1177 BC, and society has collapsed many times since then.

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    1. Have you read “The Ruins” (sometimes referred to as “The Ruins of Empire”) by Count Volney, published around time of the French Revolution? I only discovered its existence maybe a decade ago, via a reference on the internet (of all places, right?!). It’s in the form of a dialogue (“Platonic”? I’m not that well versed in such matters), touches on many topics. I quite enjoyed it, though the writing style is a tad archaic. The African nations, many of which only gained independence (in name, at least) from European colonialism after WW II, were viewed as the final frontier for exploitation. Until every citizen has a smartphone, a McDonald’s or Starbucks within close proximity, and an account with Charles Schwab…how can we say that these folks have joined the Modern World, with all its shiny gewgaws and do-dads?!? And the vast Spiritual Emptiness that accompanies that state of existence? But lo and behold, those devilishly accomplished capitalists from China beat the US to the punch! Well, can’t win ’em all, America–though you love to fantasize that you’re Number One. So we ponder: will Donald J. Trump be buried in a mausoleum more massive than The Great Pyramid at Cheops??

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      1. Now THIS is an interesting perspective (prepare for a bit of a ramble, you’ve stirred the idea pot in my head). You may find it interesting that millennial champagne socialists make the same exact points, but they think it’s a good thing for everyone to embrace the luxurious trappings of “western” civilisation, even if it means selling their souls. In my rebuttals to them, I ask “at what standard of living is poverty no longer a problem? No matter how much you dole out in the way of gadgets and fashion accessories, there will still be inequality. There will still be haves and have-nots, and the rich, whom you’ll never get rid of, will always find a way to distinguish themselves. At what point will you be satisfied?” Of course, my efforts to engage these people always fail. They don’t want to think about the consequences of trying to bring everyone up to the same level of material wealth as the average Hollywood denizen, much less discuss the subject with someone who disagrees. It’s a strange breed of socialism being peddled by wealthy technocrats and their useful idiots who grew up with obscene amounts of money that they didn’t earn. But then, these are the same people who don’t believe in freedom of speech, they praise big tech companies for censoring people, while at the same time criticising the government for both “not shutting down hate” and also ruling that “corporations are people and money is speech,” even though the latter describes both Hollywood and social media perfectly. I guess the future of inequality will be an under-class that must keep its mouth shut and conform, while the upper class will look exactly the same, but its members will be able to say as they please – and some people are fine with this. To avert this future, of course, America elected a blowhard with a sense of interior design that can be best described as Elvis trying to remember what Versailles looks like. I guess it’s appropriate that a book written around the time of the French Revolution would apply (no I haven’t read it, but I’ll see if I can find a copy), what with the average FakeBook user scrolling through “friends” like a gay French king. I don’t know if Reagan was the first actor to go into US politics, but he was the first to become POTUS, as far as I know, and that seems to have started a trend which will not end with Trump. If you want to know why America has become so superficial, then perhaps I should leave you with an observation that I first made back in college (and Bill Astore will probably remember this): “style prevails over substance only when there is no substance.”

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        1. Remember the advertising campaign “Image is everything” featuring Andre Agassi (1990)? Now we have “fake it until you make it,” but it often begins and ends with faking it.

          What happens when style, image, faking it, becomes substance? You have the current American political scene.

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          1. Unfortunately, in a world wherein language has been grossly perverted (Orwellian to the hilt!), Ivanka’s observation is dead on the money.

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          2. Ivanka sells “luxury” dresses and similar fashion, and when it comes to fashion, perception (or branding) is very important — and indeed perception is reality for many shoppers. Why else brag about what you wear, the car you drive, the perfume you choose, etc.

            Even when we were kids, Levis and Wranglers were much preferred to Toughskins! 🙂

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          3. I must seize on this opportunity to bring up Biden’s latest verbal gaffe: He informed black potential voters that they “ain’t black” if they don’t grasp the need to vote for him vs. the incumbent. The backlash from the black community was immediate. Now, I understand the sentiment Joe was getting at, but as I heard the soundbite on radio newscast, the man could barely get the words out of his mouth! He seems to be deteriorating weekly (daily?) and it looks like keeping him mostly out of public sight and hearing really is the best strategy the DNC can come up with for this candidate!

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        2. Some very droll observations here! But I’m not sure who these “socialists” you call out are! Though I am aware that John Lennon claimed to believe in “socialism” and went to his grave with an estate valued at a quarter-billion dollars! (A mere pittance nowadays, of course!) I think I’ve caught an error in your thought process: the uber-comfortable do not, in their hearts of hearts, actually desire to alleviate poverty, to pull the average standard of living of the underclass up. The marketing to the rest of the world–and the “internal colony” of the economically underprivileged–of the image of The American Dream, with an in-ground swimming pool in every yard, several SUVs in every driveway and every labor-saving gadget imaginable on the property, is just that: a marketing ploy! I firmly believe that the human-generated ongoing decay of the planet’s environment will lead to a sort of social leveling eventually. Of course, the wealthiest may have escaped to a new planet to colonize; I’m totally serious, since we’re talking the somewhat distant future here. But as a genuine Socialist, I do not accept the proposition that “we can’t get rid of the rich.” The rich and their intellectual apologists love to attack socialism as a system that will “pull down everyone’s standard of living.” This is complete nonsense and an inversion of the objective, which is to pull everybody UP to a level where healthcare, clean air and water, etc., are available as human rights to all. If that means fewer SUVs and folks having to open a can manually instead of with an electric gadget…I’m all for it!! Lenin addressed the question of “What do we do with individuals who refuse to contribute to the social welfare after the revolution?” His reply, which supposedly paraphrased something in the Bible, was: “He who does not work, neither shall he eat.” And, personally, I’m perfectly okay with that.

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          1. See, here is the difference between you and the average self-proclaimed socialist that I interact with: you can’t “get rid of the rich” if you insist upon the redistribution of my wealth, but not your own. Wealthy proponents of socialism (“champagne socialists,” as I call them, aren’t really socialists at all: “socialism for thee, not for me”) all seem to think that they will be the commissars in the new regime, not the victims of the inevitable purges (if you’re calling for “the rich” to be lynched and/or eaten, and you yourself are worth several million dollars, then you won’t be spared). In short, most proponents of socialism that I’ve met, and certainly the most vocal proponents, are complete hypocrites. Furthermore, have you noticed that the phrase “socialism for the rich, dog-eat-dog capitalism for the poor” is one that Bill Astore uses a lot? Keep that in mind, because narcissists (which Hollywood is full of) tend to project their own faults onto others, even, and perhaps most especially, on people who will not share them. Basically, they are pots who call not only the kettle, but also the silverware, black. Wealthy proponents of socialism like to share their wealth with each other, but not with the little people like us. They’d rather we redistribute among ourselves because they love poor people so much that they want to make more of them, while at the same time knowing nothing about the lifestyle that we have (“let them eat cake” immediately comes to mind, which is why I made the quips that I did).

            At the end of the day, my problem with socialism is not with the variety that you believe in. My problem is with the breed of socialism that is actually practised. I’m not a capitalist because I think it’s a great ideology, I’m a capitalist because that’s the world we live in. Mutual cooperation is a great idea, truly, but it’s not exactly natural. Nature isn’t socialist, as Trofim Lysenko found out the hard way (and 66 million people paid the price for his mistake with their lives). Nature is red in tooth and claw, as Charles Darwin lamented, but his books were all banned in the Soviet Union, so what did anyone know? The true worth of any ideology is how well it can work in the real world. Any idea that cannot be practically implemented must be either discarded or revised. Reason must prevail.

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          2. KAJA, old chum, I won’t fall into your trap. You’re trying to lure me into an endless series of back-and-forth arguments. I’ll try to be as concise as I can: I don’t know any “champagne socialists.” I live in poverty myself, though of course many have it worse than I. As a committed vegetarian on ethical grounds, I won’t be able to indulge in the “eating of the rich.” Darn! I don’t seek to “take away” anything from you. I “merely” seek a world where humans don’t suffer needlessly, with an environment conducive to survival. Marx and Engels, being militant atheists (“materialists” in the proper philosophical sense, not the vulgar), seized on Darwin’s work to bolster explaining how we came to be here without recourse to a deity. If Darwin’s work was banned in the USSR, that is news to me. My English version of Engels’s “The Dialectics of Nature,” printed in Moscow, surely references Darwin. But you’re saying a citizen of the USSR couldn’t access it? I am skeptical. Finally (see how brief this reply is? Ov vey!), I totally disagree with you about Nature, which is the fundamental source of all wealth and all goodness in general. Sure, “it can be rough out there” (in the “jungle”), yet here we are, a bipedal ape whose most eminent exemplars came to realize that we are a tiny part of the Universe, become conscious and examining itself. Or do you posit we really are the result of a Special Divine Creation? I continue to argue that the world does NOT have to be the mess Man has made of it. Better ways are possible. Yes, thru cooperation, believe it or not, possibly to be forced on us by circumstance. I’m a “dreamer,” right? Well, fella, if no one keeps alive the “dream,” the idea, of a better world, there’s no way in hell we’ll ever arrive at one.

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          3. I honestly wasn’t expecting a reply, but since you gave me one, I’ll share one more tidbit about myself that, perhaps, you might consider the next time we converse (I don’t normally insist on having the last word, but I’ll make an exception this time). I’m a militant atheist as well. I am also extremely cynical and sarcastic, which tends to piss people off, but I can’t help myself (probably from all the impossible people I’ve worked with). I truly enjoy our discussions, even if we don’t agree on much.

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          4. Ah, “extremely cynical and sarcastic,” I see!! The world that has been molded for us to dwell in–I, for one, was certainly never consulted by the Powers That Be as to whether I like or approve of it!–is, of course, deeply cynical. I personally try to avoid slipping into that frame of mind in my personal interaction with the world at large. Skepticism is a bedrock of the Scientific Process and please count me as an adherent of that. Sarcasm is fine, as long as it’s intelligent. Yours is intelligent (pat yourself on the back!). We will just have to agree to continue to disagree on matters like Socialism.

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          5. Lennon said in his heart he was Labor, but always voted Tory because “you’ve got to look after your money.” Fair enough. As he and his Beatle buddies (and later Some Famous Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Rod Stewart) were in the 97% tax bracket, who could blame him?

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          6. I’d never heard that quote from Mr. Lennon. Even I (!!) have to admit 97% seems a tad excessive–unless your income is really in the very top bracket. It always cracks me up when a celebrity divorcee demands $100,000 per month alimony to maintain her “standard of living.” Shucks, color me naive, but I think a person should be able to “eke out a subsistence existence” on a wee bit less than that! Margaret Thatcher, Reagan’s “soulmate”–tricky to apply this to folks lacking souls–made sure the tax rates were substantially revised, and used the subsequent decline in gov’t income to justify cutting the National Health. Golly, thank goodness we never had such a system here for Trump to decimate! Count our blessings, huh?!

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          7. Originally, Britain’s Inland Revenue guidelines were designed to keep people “in their place,” as the aristocracy had no interest in sharing wealth/power/influence with the nouveau riche (originally factory owners/industrialists, China traders). Before they broke up, all four Beatles spoke of being left with “3 pence in the pound” to split 4 ways after taxes (even after being awarded the MBE for bringing in the Big Bucks to the government’s coffers, they were still Liverpool scruff) Lennon’s pal George Harrison who, in 1966 wrote “Taxman” which was the opening track on the “Revolver” LP, with its references to “Mr. Heath” and “Mr. Wilson” and – among other things – reminders to those about to die to “declare the pennies on your eyes” included a photo of a check written out to the Inland Revenue for 1 million pounds (sterling) for “being cheeky and making too much money.” English rock & rollers regularly spent a year out of the country for tax purposes as at the time (70s) and unlike the US Internal Revenue Service, if you didn’t physically reside in the UK you weren’t required to pay income tax. Lennon and Stewart moved to America, the Rolling Stones moved to the south of France, Led Zeppelin spent time on the Isle of Wight and doing some righteous globetrotting.

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          8. If you do the math based on “Taxman” lyrics, it was really “only” a 95%, not 97% tax rate in the UK at the time! But, I’m quibbling, eh? More recently, the actor Gerard Despardieu–who hadn’t made a good movie in ages IMHO!–fled France for the Russian Federation to flee income taxes!

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          9. Don’t mistake song lyrics with “real life.” They need to scan and read/sing smoothly. As a musician since 1967 and a songwriter since 1972 (with touring and recording experience), I say without fear of contradiction that with the way “Taxman” is structured lyrically & musically, 95% scans and certainly sings better than 97% percent ever would. It isn’t a question of math, it’s sound and feel. Most song lyrics are about as contingent upon “reality” as your basic Elvis film.

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          10. Hmmm. You mean to say it woulda been awkward to sing “97 pence for you and 3 for me”?? My comment, of course, was a riff on the fact that the lyrics were based on fractions: 19/20 to the taxman, 1/20 remaining for the musician. Hey, I ain’t as dumb as some people say I look! Cheers!

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          11. “Socialism”: lots of people use this word in the USA to mean “un-American.” Yet socialism of a sort is all around us: our roads, our bridges, our public schools, our post office, all “socialism,” all dependent on social spending funded by taxpayers like us.

            Very few Americans, I’d wager, are hardline socialists advocating for a government takeover of everything. Who wants their cars and trucks, for example, produced by companies owned or directed by the U.S. government? Or their clothes? Or their houses? And so on. We recognize the value of private enterprise.

            The problem comes with big money interests that don’t want to socialize things that should be socialized, the biggest one being health care. Just about every other advanced country has a “medicare for all” system, yet the USA insists on private health insurance tied to employment. How’s that working during a pandemic that is already leading to massive unemployment?

            Socialism isn’t about handing money to “lazy” poor people. It’s really about equitably sharing the load for goods and services that we all need, like those roads, bridges, schools, etc. Or call it “Democratic Socialism” in the sense that the people should decide what is to be shared in common.

            But we have socialism for the richest, and dog-eat-dog capitalism for everyone else. I didn’t say that; MLK Jr. did. We see it now in this pandemic: the rich got bailed out first, with a $4 trillion slush fund.

            “Socialism” is the least of our problems!

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          12. It amused me greatly to hear Trump declare, I guess when Bernie put his hat in the ring initially, “We will never have Socialism in America” or words to that effect. Are he and his ilk actually terrified there’s the tiniest risk of the citizenry embracing the concept of REAL Socialism, rather than the attempts of Bernie and his ilk to reform Capitalism? The latter ain’t gonna happen, I’d stake my own life on that!

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      2. With perfect timing comes this story from online NY Times [headline in all caps, subhead in mixed case]: “FIRST THEY FLED THE CITY, NOW THEY’RE BUILDING $75,000 IN-GROUND POOLS. When the going gets tough, the rich buy oases.” God bless the dear old USA!!

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  4. The problem is for the Individual to stay strong, when it goes against Society’s currents, like Salmon swimming upstream to spawn.

    Christ described the Word among the thorns like those, because of the cares of THIS World, and the DECEITFULNESS of riches, choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.

    There is no doubting COVID-19 is ushering THIS World into a TIME of EPOCH Change. The Old Economic Order is already crashed.

    For the 1st TIME, there is a level playing field. The Leaders and Experts don’t have a clue of what comes after than the ordinary Citizen on the Street, so EVERY ONE can have a say in Building a Better World for All our Common Humanity.

    The Pyramid system with the rich at the top that brought the World to our Present State just crashed. That’s the New Reality Globally. That’s a matter of Biblical Proportions.

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    1. Oh, how I wish I could believe that the Mighty–who achieved that status at our expense, of course–have already been toppled!! But alas, that ain’t the way I perceive Reality.

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  5. The point that Mr. Astore makes about global vision and action is critical. Once upon a time, some of the people in the U.S., for a brief moment, understood that the world was inescapably interconnected. Also as Mr. Astore says, that moment preceded the last six Presidents. About the time of Reagan’s election, American exceptionalism crystalized as a concept. As I’ve commented (https://i-know-right.blog/2020/05/07/american-exceptionalism/) , it’s been downhill ever since.

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    1. The fallout of Trump’s campaign to Make America Great Again: we’re not only still #1 in incarceration of citizens, but now #1 in Covid-19 cases! Hoo-boy, wave them flags, folks!!

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  6. Our politics, economics, social structure, educational system, even our neighborhood streets, are expressions or manifestations of our core value system and dominant moral philosophy. Try as you might to change the expressions, as long as the core remains the same the result will not vary much. Interesting that you mentioned Jesus: clearly, the current conception of who or what he means is part of the problem, NOT the solution.

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    1. I would modify this statement a bit, ‘JRS’: Like all ideas/beliefs that come to dominate a society, these are imposed from above by the Ruling Class. I am part of the small (tiny?) minority that daily resists the BS and continues to seek Truth as best I can determine it. So I never employ phrases like “WE are still in Afghanistan because…” or “OUR ‘American values’…” But that’s little old weirdo me for ya!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It has always puzzled me how people can assume that “Jesus” and His Hebrew Dad would favor the rich any less lavishly in an “afterlife” than they have in this one. I never bought into that patently bogus Ruling Class Economic/religious dogma: “We’ll take ours now and you can get yours later (when no one will ever know if you did or didn’t).” I always paraphrased that into its more practically criminal exhortation: “Rob the future now, because no one ever heard the future yell, ‘Stop! Thief!'” Or, in other words:

      Left Behind by Jesus

      Jesus loves the rich, you know
      Ask them, they will tell you so

      Help the poor? Why that’s a crime!
      Best to work them overtime

      Off the books, though, lest they say
      That you owe them extra pay

      Jesus loves those tax cuts, too
      Just for some, though, not for you

      See a poor kid that’s a clerk?
      Send him to Iraq to work

      Jesus loves the army, see?
      Just the place for you and me

      Not the rich, though, they don’t serve
      What a thought! What perfect nerve!

      If you think this life’s a pain
      Wait till Jesus comes again

      Then on Armageddon Day
      He will take the rich away

      Sure, you thought that you’d go, too,
      Not that you’d get one last screw

      Just like your retirement
      That the rich already spent

      Jesus with the winners goes
      Losers, though, just get the hose

      What on earth would make you think
      That your Lord’s shit doesn’t stink?

      After all he left you here
      With the rich, so never fear

      They’ll upon your poor life piss
      In the next life and in this

      Jesus loves the rich, so there!
      Don’t complain it isn’t fair

      Jesus said to help themselves
      Then he’d help them stock their shelves

      So they did and he did, too
      What has this to do with you?

      Jesus loves the rich just fine
      Why’d you think he pours their wine?

      Jesus votes Republican
      Ask them: they’ll say “He’s the One!”

      Still a few loose coins around
      That the rich have not yet found

      Gotta go now, never mind
      If you end up left behind

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2006

      Liked by 1 person

    3. While on the subject of Savior as Principle Problem (i.e., pathological procrastination of the presently possible), have our failed ministers, priests, rabbis, and Mullahs gotten their lay-off (or “firing”) notices yet? Hopefully, we will soon see the following notice appear for those in the long, winding lines of unemployed to consider:

      Scapegoat Job Application

      Universal scapegoat wanted
      Applicant(s) apply inside
      No experience required
      Simply pander to our pride

      In our image we will make you
      Nothing you need do or say
      Ambiguity desired
      What you’ve spoken, we will say

      Unpredictable is better
      Less you do, the more we gain
      That way, anything that happens
      Afterwards we’ll just explain

      In your mouth some words inserted
      By our ministers and priests
      Gild the lining of their pockets
      From our meager meals their feasts

      From each one what he produces
      To the church its lustful needs
      You must only never quibble
      With the contents of our screeds

      You must form the perfect mirror
      Simply stand there and reflect
      Into you we’ll pour our darkness
      This, of course, you can’t reject

      We’ll write down what you’ve commanded
      Do not trouble with the “what?”
      Someone else will figure that out
      You just keep your own mouth shut

      Do not feel the least embarrassed
      At the empty praise you get
      Even though you’ve never earned it
      Just pretend and soon forget

      Burnt upon your sacred altar
      Though you’re dead, you’re still not stiff
      On your back our sins we’ll pile up
      Then we’ll shove you off a cliff

      What we do defines our “essence”
      Nothing “is” or ever “was”
      Big spooks in the sky, and little,
      Don’t exist; but “doing” does

      So our learning curve has no slope
      So our E.E.G.-line’s flat
      None can “damn” and none can “bless” us
      Only we can manage that

      So, we’ve got a deal then, don’t we?
      Such an offer, who’d refuse?
      Nothing paid for nothing offered
      That’s what makes you great to use

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2008

      Liked by 1 person

  7. @ Kaja

    According to my reading, “American exceptionalism” as a term solidified under Reagan. However, yes, the idea itself is much older. As far as it relates to the Gilded Age, see Henry Luce and “the American century.” Then, in our time, under Cheney et. al., it morphed into the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, which is a whole ‘nother can of worms.

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    1. Yeah, it’s a question of semantics, really. The US Ruling Class got territorially “expansionist” long, long before the rise of the Modern Republican Party and the creatures like Cheney and his cohorts emerged from the primeval muck.

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  8. I’m putting on my tin hat, dusting off my open-source kitbag, and heading off to the dark woods to join the resistance. Like Patrick McGoohan playing Number 6 in The Prisoner, I expect it’s going to take many failed attempts to try to escape the Village.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lara, don’t forget that ‘No. 6’ discovered in the end that “the side” he’d been working for proved to me more evil (and rather insane) than “the other side”! Perhaps life in The Village ain’t so bad after all? I jest, of course, since the inmates of The Village were hounded relentlessly until they either broke and said what their captors demanded, or they died resisting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Trump’s little clone in Brazil is apparently far outstripping his mentor in bungling of the virus crisis!! Still scoffing at the disease as just “a little flu” and implying there’s no need for citizens to distance themselves from one another. Meanwhile, folks are reportedly “dropping like flies” down there! Will this colossal bozo be re-elected?? In today’s world, don’t count it out!

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    1. Well, it’s all about national priorities, isn’t it? It was “necessary” to land humans on the moon before the Evil Russkies succeeded, but the lives of mere civilians in a world health crisis? Not so important!!

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