Did you see the special about the Beatles? It was fifty years ago that they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The retrospective was entertaining with lots of good music, but I was most fascinated by the scenes of life in 1964. The Beatles in their suits and ties….young girls at the Ed Sullivan show in dresses and done-up hair. Wow – it sure was different back then.
I cam across this essay from The Federalist that truly expresses where we are today: Here’s What Money Can Buy American Society Here’s an excerpt:
Say you don’t need no diamond rings
And I’ll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of things
That money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money
Money can’t buy me love
As pop culture legend has it, the British reinvaded American soil fifty years ago this week. But instead of propelling modern-day Paul Reveres to sound the alarm throughout the American countryside, the British invaders, the Beatles, were met with teenage female screams and a television audience of Super Bowl proportions on The Ed Sullivan Show. The outpouring of love for the band led many to suggest that they were the perfect remedy for a nation mourning the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Beatlemania grew through the Spring of 1964 with their release of “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which jumped to the top of the charts in record fashion, leaving the band with the top five Billboard singles (a first in music history). The Beatles’ song on the things money can and cannot buy was a mainstay on American radio waves as President Lyndon B. Johnson charted a new course for the country in speeches at Ohio University (May 4, 1964) and the University of Michigan (May 22, 1964)–putting money and power in the service of national greatness:
For a century we labored to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people. The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization. Your imagination and your initiative and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.
For LBJ and progressive elites, the next chapter in the American story amounted to employing national wealth and political might in the service of greatness that could only be achieved if all Americans partook in the American dream. National efforts would not so much amount to producing more wealth and power as checking “unbridled” growth, presumably induced more by a spirit of “indignation” than “imagination” or “initiative.” American power and wealth would take the nation only so far; a moral reckoning of who gets what, when, and how was what the country needed in its next half-century. But one wonders whether employing the nation’s wealth and power as envisioned in LBJ’s speech spread more love or indignance moving forward.
Be sure to read the whole thing – good stuff!!
Another milestone fifty years ago today – Happy Birthday Sarah Palin! Great video message to Governor Palin 🙂
God Bless America – Pass This On!
Consider: A modern American president morphing into a dictator is a slightly new concept. Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt, and Nixon moved in imperial directions. But the first two, especially Roosevelt, were effectively blocked by other branches. Nixon was openly despised by the media, academia, and Congress – democrats, then republicans. Nixon was shown the votes for his removal, and left out of respect for the Office.
But imagine a country where the ‘barriers’ of other branches of government, the ‘free press’ and other institutions – such as a divided Congress – are insufficient to stop a dictator. Sure, lawsuits are great. But they take time. And judicial manipulation has already been undertaken in something as subtle as Senate Rules for filibusters (to stack the DC Court). Then wrap your mind around a media that not only doesn’t chide against Executive abuses, they even advocate them.
That is where we find ourselves today. And Victor Davis Hanson explains it much better than I can.
Lately a weakened President Obama has fashioned a new attitude about consensual government: “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama boasted Tuesday as he convened his first cabinet meeting of the year. At least he did not say he intended to govern by “pen and sword.” If Obama used to sigh to supporters that he was not a dictator who could just implement progressive agendas by fiat, he now seems to have done away with the pretense of regret.
Obama has all but given up on the third branch of government since he lost control of it in 2010: “And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”
There are lots of creepy things about such dictatorial statements of moving morally backward in order to go politically “forward.” Concerning issues dear to the president’s heart — climate change, more gun control, de facto amnesty, more massive borrowing supposedly to jump-start the anemic, jobless recovery — Obama not long ago had a Democratic supermajority in the Senate and a strong majority in the House. With such rare political clout, he supposedly was going to pass his new American agenda.
Instead, all he got from his Democratic colleagues was more borrowing and Obamacare. In the case of the latter, the bill passed only through the sort of pork-barrel kickbacks and exemptions to woo fence-sitting Democratic legislators that we hadn’t seen in the U.S. since the 1930s. And for what? Obamacare (be careful what you wish for) is proving to be the greatest boondoggle in American political history since Prohibition. If Obama sincerely wished to work in bipartisan fashion with Congress, he probably could easily get a majority vote to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, or a backup sanction plan against Iran in case his own initiatives fail.
Note as well that Obama says he will bypass Congress for “our kids.” Politicians usually cite the “kids” when promoting something that is either illegal or unethical. Meanwhile, apart from Obama’s support for late-term abortion, no president has waged a greater war against those under the age of 30 — passing on to them an additional $9 trillion in debt, socializing the economy and presiding over near-record youth and minority unemployment rates, taxing far poorer youth who will not use much health care to pay for more affluent baby boomers who will, or floating easy federal student loans to facilitate mostly liberal universities’ jacking up tuition at well above the rate of inflation (currently a $1 trillion bubble).
We are reentering Nixonian times, or perhaps worse, given that a free press at least went after Nixon’s misdeeds and misadventures. Now it has silenced itself for fear of harming a once-in-century chance for a fellow progressive’s makeover of America. We live in an age when a CNN moderator interrupts a presidential debate to help her sputtering candidate, and when a writer for the often ironic and sarcastic New Yorker sees no irony in doing a fawning interview with the president, tagging along on a shakedown jet tour from one mansion of crony capitalists to the next — as Obama preaches to the head-nodders about inequality and fairness in order to ensure that the bundled checks pour in.
Without the media acting as a watchdog, the administration has with impunity found the IRS useful in going after political opponents. When Obama’s IRS appointees were exposed, he for the moment called their deeds outrageous; when the media did not pursue the outrage, he wrote it off as a nothing story.
The media certainly thought it was nothing, given that none of the obsequious Washington press corps will be unduly audited or indicted. But the administration has also monitored Associated Press reporters. Most of what it initially said about the National Security Agency snooping proved untrue — including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s flat-out lie to Congress while under oath, when he testified that the NSA was not collecting data on millions of Americans. All we know for now about Benghazi is that everything the administration alleged about the murders was false — from why Americans were there, to what prompted the violence, to why no help was sent before or during the attack, to the aftermath promises to hunt down the perpetrators.
The filmmaker and arch-critic of Barack Obama, Dinesh D’Souza, is now under indictment for improper campaign contributions. If he deliberately violated campaign-finance laws and compounded the violation by conspiring with others, then by all means he should face the full force of the law. The problem, though, is that even if D’Souza proves to be guilty as charged, others with far greater culpability — but with the correct political views — have not met the same degree of administration scrutiny.
Note, for example, what D’Souza did not do: He did not, as an Obama insider in the heat of the reelection campaign, leak classified information about vital national-security secrets like the Stuxnet virus attacks, the bin Laden raid, the drone protocols, or a double agent in Yemen in order to bolster the anti-terrorism credentials of the president; he did not, as a high-level Obama official, lie under oath to Congress about the NSA program; he is not a former Democratic governor who defrauded thousands of investors out of billions of dollars. Apparently none of that will get you arrested by this administration.
Mr. D’Souza also did not, as did Obama himself, have a soon-to-be-jailed felon sell him a lot next to his own house at below-market rates, without paying gift taxes on it, in exchange for perceived political favors. He did not pass illegally into the United States and reside here illegally by habitually lying on documents about his resident status. He did not go to the polls with clubs to intimidate voters. He did not bundle $500,000 to buy an ambassorship to Norway without knowing much of anything about Norway. He did not pitch green ideas to friends now in the Obama administration in order to land millions of dollars in federal loans that he would default on.He did, though, make a movie critical of Barack Obama, and this is most likely what brought him under administration scrutiny, as did the activities of a video maker arrested for producing a politically incorrect video about Islam, or those of unduly audited Tea Party groups or Hollywood conservatives who have criticized the president. All of that, in this age of pen and phone, can get you arrested, audited, or on the IRS watch list.
Note the ripple effect, as partisans appreciate a new climate and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to even scores and advance the cause. The governor of New York announces that there is no place in his state for those whom he derides as “extreme conservatives” — only to be seconded by the new mayor of New York City.(Imagine the governor of Utah suggesting to liberal residents that their support for gun control, late-term abortion, and gay marriage might be good reasons for them to leave the state — and being seconded by the mayor of Salt Lake City. Or imagine a Republican president arbitrarily deciding that he does not like the DREAM Act component of a recently passed comprehensive immigration-reform bill, and so simply choosing to ignore it and deport students who are illegal aliens anyway.)
The first black senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction is blasted by a state NAACP official as a “dummy,” only to have that slur seconded by the national organization. On MSNBC, one newscaster hopes Sarah Palin ingests feces and urine; another takes a jab at Mitt Romney for having an African-American adopted grandchild; still another labels radio personality Laura Ingraham a “slut” — all convinced that the periodic presidential sermon about a new civility empowers their crudity and deters critics.
As the president’s polls dance around a 40 percent approval rating, we are now told in the New Yorker interview that Obama believes that his race may be the cause of his unpopularity. Apparently, Obama believes that he is increasingly distrusted not because of Benghazi, or the AP, IRS, NSA, or Fast and Furious scandals, or the new $9 trillion in national debt, or the new normal of 7 percent unemployment, or the lies about Obamacare, but because his father was African.
Consider the logic: Apparently after twice electing Barack Obama, a public that is 89 percent non-African-American suddenly, in 2014, five years after his first inauguration, discovered, and now is angry, that its president is half black. Consider the box into which the president of the United States has put the public. He seems to be saying that to the degree that he is elected twice and polls over 45 percent, Americans are let off the hook as non-racist. To the degree that he falls below 45 percent in the polls, he is not sure that we aren’t racist. So will we please regain his trust, and not be called racist, by voting for his candidates in the 2014 midterm elections?
Under Obama, who you are and what you represent rather than what you have done are becoming the selective criteria for pen-and-phone legal enforcement. For the first time since 1974, America is no longer quite a lawful place.
God Bless America – Pass This On!!