Tag Archives: politics

POLJUNK: Don’t Be A Fucking Idiot

POLJUNK, the National Affairs desk of Glorious Noise

Welp, the stage is set for the 2024 presidential election and it’s the rematch we all knew was coming. With Nikki Haley “suspending” (a misnomer for quitting) her campaign this week after getting trounced in a primary that was a race in name only, Donald J. Trump is once again the Republican nominee for president. Yes…we’re doing this again.

With a shift to the general election comes a shift in messaging, usually. The most worn general election message is one that asks, “Are you better of today than you were four years ago?” It’s a simple question and one that gets trotted out every four years like clockwork. It’s one that House GOP Conference chair and all-around goofball Elise Stefanik had the gall to ask this week. Let’s see, what was going on in March of 2020…?

Answer to Elise Stafanik asking if you're better off today than four years ago.

Oh right…that.

And lest ye forget, COVID was just the latest in a four-year shitfest of chaos and madness that defined the Trump years. Here’s a quick reminder of the damage he left behind:

  • America’s global image was in shambles and he nearly broke NATO
  • Family separations and the deaths of migrant children at the border. You know…the one he was going to build a wall on and have Mexico pay for it. That didn’t happen either
  • Unilateral withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, created chaos throughout the Middle East we’re still dealing with
  • His decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria in October 2019, abandoning the Kurds
  • Replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Oh wait, that didn’t happen because the ACA provides coverage and requirements for coverage for millions of Americans and the big, beautiful replacement that was forever “two weeks” from delivery never materialized
  • The economy faltered, even though President Obama delivered years of growth. As Business Insider said, “As Trump left office, the US national debt was at the highest levels since World War II. And US economic growth was set to average just above 0% for Trump’s first term because of the pandemic recession, according to The Washington Post.”
  • The dipshit was impeached TWICE and let off by a compliant Republican Senate who seem to have forgotten they represent an equal branch of government and are supposed to stand as a check against just this kind of bullshit
  • The end of Roe v. Wade (which he sometimes brags about and sometimes pretends is someone else’s fault, depending on the audience) means our sister, daughters, nieces and friends have fewer rights to body autonomy than anyone in America in 50 years

I could seriously go on with this list for pages and pages, but you get it. He was awful. Not just on policy either. He was a terrible executive manager and an even worse human being. He’s garbage.

Just imagine what a second Trump administration would be like, especially if the Supreme Court actually endorses his insane idea of absolute Presidential immunity. He’s told us what he would do with that. They told us to “take him seriously, but not literally” and then January 6 happened. And he’s said he’ll be a dictator on Day One, so…

Continue reading POLJUNK: Don’t Be A Fucking Idiot

“There’s 1 for You, 19 for Me”

Historically—with that history being also what we’re living in today—British music has pretty much defined what “music” is for many of us.

There is no band that has definitionally described “music” in a way that the Beatles did.

While some may point to Elvis or Dylan as American analogues, did either of them really change things in a way that they continue to be changed? Wasn’t Elvis something of Bill Haley’s successor or Dylan Pete Seeger 2.0? And didn’t the Beatles perform songs that would have been perfectly comfortable in the contexts of those two musicians?

What American band can be pointed to as being as influential as the Beatles? The Beach Boys? The Doors? The Eagles? Aerosmith? The Doobie Brothers? I think not and it would be arguable that the Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Fleetwood Mac could be stood up against them.

The point of this is not to make the “who is better than whom” argument but to say that it seems that there is better care, feeding and concern for musicians in the U.K. in a way that is lacking in the U.S.

This week (on March 6), the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, will be presenting his budget. (This is a different situation than in the U.S., where the president presents and Congress refuses.)

Like in the U.S., there are trade associations that lobby for the protection of their constituents. In the U.K. there is one that has a straight-up name—UK Music—and a clear-cut mission: to serve as “the collective voice of the UK’s world-leading music industry.” On the political front it “promotes the music industry as a key national asset to central, devolved and local governments and Parliaments, as well as other relevant policymakers, stakeholders and influencers.”

So UK Music has asked Jeremy Hunt to include something in his fiscal calculations: cutting the tax that consumers pay on tickets to musical performances.

Continue reading “There’s 1 for You, 19 for Me”

Clapton & the Rhetoric of COVID

Here’s the lede from a story published last week in The Washington Post:

“The Trump administration repeatedly interfered with efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year to issue warnings and guidance about the evolving coronavirus pandemic, six current and former health officials told congressional investigators in recent interviews.”

The objective, no doubt, was to minimize the horrendous potential—and we now realize, actual—consequences of the COVID-19 virus on the population. All of the happy talk about how great, fantastic, unbelievable, and otherwise amazing everything was coming from the administration, including the president himself, was bullshit.

The virus would just go away, was the claim. Warm weather would do it. Summer would do it. Internal bleach would do it. Don’t worry. Live your lives. Do what you’ve always done. It would be happy days before you’d know it.

Regardless of behavior. Masks? Nonsense. Staying at home? Why? Teach kids remotely? Crazy.

Continue reading Clapton & the Rhetoric of COVID

Election 2020: Where Angels Play

From the National Affairs Desk:

It’s day-whatever in the never ending 2020 election and despite the long, drawn out process, there aren’t really any surprises. Sure, expectations weren’t met as far as a blue wave sweeping across the Senate and state houses, but those expectations were more wishes and dreams than realistic results. We are, after all, in a country where a lunatic has maintained a 40+ percent approval rating. In the end, the characters are playing their parts as we would expect, as in a trite sitcom, which is maybe all we are anyways.

Sitcoms have a formula and one of the truest components of that formula is the Golden Moment (known in the biz as the “moment of shit,”) where all the loose ends are bound up and the lessons of the day are learned. Here we are as a nation at our moment of shit and I have to wonder what lessons have we learned?

First: A Beginning

There’s been a bit of chatter out there about Abraham Lincoln and his first inaugural address. The south had seceded and Lincoln wanted to cool shit down and speak directly to those people who’d left the Union. Lincoln knew that the cost of a civil war would be terrible (though ultimately a cost we’d have to carry) and tried to plead with the south to reconsider:

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Lincoln was an optimist. He believed in the human spirit and that deep, deep down we are good people, bonded more by what we have in common than divided by our differences.

Continue reading Election 2020: Where Angels Play

The Day After

From the National Affairs Desk:

It’s the day after and where are the good people? We should be cleaning up balloons and confetti and gobbling Excedrin like candies to relieve jubilant hangovers, but we’re waiting. We’re waiting to see if predominantly black voters can save us from the hypocrisy and greed of predominantly white voters. More pointedly, white male voters. It turns out that America is still sick from its original sin and I am not sure if there even is a cure.

Despite what is looking more and more like a win for Biden-Harris, It shouldn’t have ever been in question. That is, if we’re really that Shining City on the Hill. Exit polls are bearing out what the early polls showed re: Trump’s base of support. White males support Trump in large numbers, this despite an economy tanked by Trump’s bungling of a national health crisis, scattered civil unrest brought on by systematic police brutality, and four years of continued ugliness. Somewhere upwards of 60% of white American males looked at the mess Trump has created the last four years and decided they’d like more.

Continue reading The Day After

Election 2020: Revenge of the Turtle and the Used Car Salesman

From The National Affairs Desk:

Well, this is it, folks. Election Day 2020 is upon us and while it’s certainly not the end of the Trump nightmare–we have at least until January 21 for him to blow up the whole shithouse–it is the beginning of the end…one way or another. The big question before us these next few days and weeks is what exactly is coming to an end?

Will voters take back control of their government and toss out a serial liar and fraud, or will we enter a period of accelerated disintegration? What does The End look like?

Before we get to the end, I’m not even sure when it started. Was it Bush v. Gore some 20 years ago when the United States Supreme Court stepped in to stop a recount that Al Gore was winning to hand the election to a dim-witted son of a President? Was it before that when right-wing radio rose up to scream in the faces of delivery guys and salesmen stuck in rush hour traffic and mourning the loss of the Shining City on a Hill first promised, then condemned with the election of a Clinton

Or was it in an earlier, darker time when the whisper of a “silent majority” who valued law & order over justice was waiting in the wings standing back and standing by for the order to attack? And attack they did, with billy clubs, tear gas, mandatory minimums and a gerrymandering scheme to make LBJ blush. 

Continue reading Election 2020: Revenge of the Turtle and the Used Car Salesman

New Willie Nelson video: Vote ‘Em Out

Video: Willie Nelson – “Vote ‘Em Out”

Single out now on Legacy.

Originally written during the 2018 midterms in support of Beto O’Rourke’s senate run against incumbent zodiac killer Ted Cruz, “Vote ‘Em Out” just got a brand new animated video for 2020.

So please, for the love of all that is holy, listen to Willie.

Willie Nelson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Neil Young: Lookin’ For A Leader 2020

Video: Neil Young – “Lookin’ For A Leader 2020”

From The Times EP, due September 18 on Reprise.

A new version of a song originally released during the George W. Bush administration, Neil updates the lyrics for today.

We got our election
But corruption has a chance
We got to have a big win
To regain confidence
America is beautiful
But she has an ugly side
We’re lookin’ for a leader
In this country far and wide

Good old Neil. We know he recently sued the Trump campaign for using his music at his rallies and now he’s calling him out in song.

Just like his big new fence
This president’s going down
America’s moving forward
You can feel it in every town
Scared of his own shadow
Buildin’ walls around our house
He’s hiding in his bunker
Something else to lie about

We’ve given Neil crap over the years for dashing out lyrics without putting much craftsmanship into the effort but sometimes the directness works. This is one of those times.

We don’t need a leader
Building walls around our house
Who don’t know black lives matter
And it’s time to vote him out

Yes it is. Make sure you’re registered. And make sure you cast your ballot. And if you don’t trust the USPS, you can drop off your ballot in person. Find out where. Your place probably has a secure dropbox where you don’t even need to get within six feet of anybody. Do it!

Neil Young: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Neil Young: Lookin’ For A Leader 2020

An Odd Couple Create a Lifeline for Venues

“Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”

“The Mourning Bride”, William Congreve, 1697

It may be hard to conceive, but there was actually legislation presented in the US Senate this week to help keep the spotlights on and the amps operating at small music venues.

Why is what is literally named the “Save Our Stages” act so surprising is because it is sponsored by two people who seemingly have nothing more in common than the fact that they work in the same building.

One of the sponsors is Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the woman who had been running for the Democratic presidential nomination with the message that a bit of common sense and decency (contrasted with the ways and means of the current resident of 1600) are in order.

The other is John Cornyn (R-TX), the man who is generally seen only standing behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, positioned in such a way that you have the sense that he would take a bullet for Mitch, the senator who has proven to be as craven as is conceivable.

The word from Klobuchar is “Minnesota’s concert halls, theatres, and places of entertainment, like First Avenue in Minneapolis, where Prince famously performed, have inspired generations with the best of local music, art, and education. This legislation would help ensure that small entertainment venues can continue to operate, and serve our communities for generations to come.”

Which has a sense of Midwestern practicality and forthrightness about it: she evidently understands that the arts are not superfluous to the education of people of all ages.

Cornyn said, “Texas is home to a number of historic and world-class small entertainment venues, many of which remain shuttered after being the first businesses to close. The culture around Texas dance halls and live music has shaped generations, and this legislation would give them the resources to reopen their doors and continue educating and inspiring Texans beyond the coronavirus pandemic.”

Given that the reopening of Texas—based on the explosion in the number of cases of COVID-19—occurred a bit too soon thanks to Governor Greg Abbott’s evident fealty to the King Who Is Wearing No Clothes, one hopes that this means that the reopening Cornyn is referring to is something that will happen only after there is control of the virus.

Cornyn strikes me as the kind of politician that only Hunter S. Thompson could have adequately described.

What is interesting (and laudable) about the act is that it would provide six months of financial support to venues (including paying employees; it would allow the Small Business Administration to make grants that are equal to the lesser of either 45% of operation costs from calendar year 2019—you need to base the amount on a normal year—or $12 million) that are not arms of giant organizations.

Continue reading An Odd Couple Create a Lifeline for Venues

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

“. . . the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.”
–Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance


The theater where I saw the Faces—with Ronnie Wood and Stewart hiding behind the amps–, the Birmingham Palladium, no longer exists.

The Grande Ballroom, where I saw the original Fleetwood Mac—the one with Peter Green—is gone.

The Eastown Theater, where I saw Derek and the Dominos, is a memory. As are Derek and the Dominos.

What is important: the building or the memories? One could point out that were it not for the building there wouldn’t be the memories, which is absolutely true. But were I to drive down Grand River and see the sad remains of the Grande (if you’re interested in seeing it, the address if 8952 Grand River, Detroit; Google Maps has an image of the remaining structure), would it make much of a difference with the exception of a brief wave of nostalgia? If the Grande was purchased by some corporation and transformed into some faux-hip venue, would that make my memories any better?


Two miles southeast of the Grande on Grand River, the Olympia Stadium once existed. There is now an Army National Guard facility on the site and most of the property appears to be a shitty parking lot. Olympia was opened in 1927 (the Grande opened as a dance hall in 1928), closed in 1980 and was torn down in 1987.

I saw the Rolling Stones there. That band apparently continues to exist. I have no interest in seeing the present incarnation of the Stones. That the site where I saw one of the best concerts of my life is now something entirely different doesn’t much matter.


Right now we are in the midst of a plague. A plague that is burning through our lives, leaving charred and devastated rubble in many cases. Things that we did, places that we went to, activities that we were a part of are in all-too-many instances irrevocably changed. They won’t come back.

The National Independent Venue Association has been established to help save independent music performance centers that are likely to be closed as a result of COVID-19.

In a letter sent to Congress in efforts to get financial assistance for the ~800 operations that are members of NIVA, assistance in the form of loans, tax relief, insurance, and other measures, Dayna Frank, board president and owner of First Avenue & 7th St Entry in Minneapolis, writes, “Our stages give artists like Adele, U2, Keith Urban, Prince, Lizzo, the Eagles, Wu-Tang Clan and Foo Fighters their start. The world could be without the next Lady Gaga, Kenny Chesney, Chance the Rapper or Bruce Springsteen if we cease to exist.”

The letter is addressed to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Kevin McCarthy, and Mitch McConnell.

Does anyone think McConnell would be convinced by that argument?

To her credit, Frank also points out, “While we are small businesses”—and aren’t the Republicans the bulwarks of small business?—“the estimated direct annual economic impact we bring to our local communities is nearly $10 billion.”

That should raise some sleepy eyelids.

Continue reading Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow