Posts Tagged ‘history’

‘American Pie’ turns 50

Posted: February 1, 2022 by chrisharper in Uncategorized
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By Christopher Harper

“American Pie,” the iconic ballad that chronicled social and musical history during the 1960s, has turned 50.

Don McLean, the author and singer of the eight-minute-long tune, has launched a 65-city tour in the United States and Europe to belt out the tale of taking a Chevy to the levee, which actually was a bar rather than part of a river.

Throughout the years, people have tried to untangle the meaning of the lyrics, which reflect the downward spiral of the United States in the 1960s.

If you want all of the interpretations of the song, here they are: https://americansongwriter.com/american-pie-don-mclean-meaning-lyrics-50-years-later/

The top of the pops from American Songwriter:

–“The song is about the nostalgia that comes with closing a chapter in time. A chapter that was good, youthful, and innocent. The song starts in the late 1950s, where both McLean himself and the post-World War II American sentiment were still sincere and innocent, if also blindingly naive. And as we know, naivety and innocence are always lost. For McLean, it was lost when he discovered that his favorite musicians, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, had died in a plane crash—the day the music died. And for America, it came when the utopia of the 1950s was exposed as a veneer, giving way to the more socially conscious, but turbulent 1960s.”

–“Everything became more political in the 1960s. [President John] Kennedy was assassinated, and the courtroom was adjourned with no verdict, as Lee Harvey Oswald was killed prior to judicial proceedings. The Helter Skelter murders happened during that sweltering summer, which, if not expressly political, was certainly ideological. 

Music was no exception to all the politicization. John Lennon was reading from the book of Marx, as The Beatles released songs invoking revolution and even referencing China’s Mao.”

–The Levee was a bar in New Rochelle, New York, where McLean drank with his friends. 

What’s refreshing about McLean is he hasn’t turned into a nattering nabob of negativism like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.

In a recent interview with Fox Digital, McLean underlined the positive values he learned in his youth, which are sadly lacking today. 

“The America now is not the America I started out in,” said McLean. “And it’s not the America that I was in before I started out … The America that I remember in the 1950s when I was growing up and was a young boy and teenager — that’s the America I knew and the value system I knew.”

He also pointed out that “so many people today make it sound like the America of the ’50s was some horrible White racist country, and it’s disgusting the way [some] people have characterized our country. There was a wonderful civility [back then]; there was trust; doors were open; we had the No. 1 colleges in the world; and we were No. 1, for real.”

Rock on, Don! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RciM7P9K3FA

By John Ruberry

With Christmas past us it’s time to look back at the current year, 2021. And with a less than a week left we can say that 2021 was America’s worst year since 1864.

Why was 1864 so bad? While there were significant military successes for the Northern armies fighting to keep the United States together–Atlanta and Savannah were captured and General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was locked into siege warfare in Virginia–and a potential political victory of the Confederacy was averted by Abraham Lincoln’s reelection, Americans were still killing each other by the thousands. The following year was an improvement, despite Lincoln’s assassination. The Civil War ended in the spring of 1865 and the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, was ratified. 

As for 2021, it got off to a wretched start when hostiles, American ones, stormed the US Capitol in a riot. We have to go back to another horrible year for America, 1814, when the British Army seized the Capitol, for the only other time that happened. The hooligans who entered the Senate and House chambers on January 6 were not participating in an insurrection, despite claims made to this day by CNN and MSNBC. Sure, the rioters wanted to keep Donald J. Trump in power, but they had no plans for a coup, such as imprisoning Joe Biden, taking control of the military, and dissolving Congress.

Bad people? Yes. Nutty? That too. And sorry leftists, President Trump did not call for an insurrection.

And what about the people who were supposed to protect the Capitol, such as the Capitol Hill Police and the who they report to? You know, Congress, which is run by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They failed America.

In the fraught election of 2020, a feeble old man, Joe Biden, was elected president. “Lunch Bucket Joe from Scranton” was chosen as the Democratic nominee because he was viewed by many as the “safe” alternative to Trump, and not a radical like Bernie Sanders. Biden’s “good years,” assuming he ever had them, are well in the past. Biden, and the people who control him, such as Ron Klain or Susan Rice, went full-blown leftist on Inauguration Day. Economically, the result is the highest level of inflation in decades. These price increases, once dismissed by the Biden White House as “transitory,” will likely continue indefinitely, serving as a hidden tax for all Americans.

While not quite energy independent as Trump claimed, our nation was headed into that direction under his leadership. Shortly after his inauguration Biden suspended new drilling and fracking on federal lands. It has since been reversed in court, but the White House maintains a malevolent attitude towards the world’s most reliable form of energy, fossil fuels. Gasoline costs over $1 more per gallon since Biden became president. Biden also cancelled the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, essentially firing thousands of union workers.

An effective commander-in-chief, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, does his job so well it appears that he is doing nothing at all. While Trump certainly doesn’t have Ike’s soft touch, I’m of the belief that Trump would have seen the possibility of a supply chain crisis coming and would have taken steps to ensure we would not have seen the bottleneck of cargo ships outside America’s largest harbors. 

Meanwhile in the Biden administration the cabinet officer in charge of our supply chain, Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, went on an unannounced two-month paternity leave just as the shipping crisis began. Rather than resigning for failure or dereliction of duty, Buttigieg’s is being hawked by some Democrats as a possible 2024 Democratic presidential candidate should Biden choose not to run for reelection. While family is of course important, liberals often claim that public service is the highest calling. Buttigieg could have simply quit as Transporation secretary. Or not taken the job at all.

While not something that the federal government is directly in charge of, violent crime plagued America’s largest cities this year–and all of those cities are run by Democrats. A dozen cities endured record murder totals. Some jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles County, Milwaukee County, and Cook County (Chicago), are burdened with woke prosecutors engaging in catch-and-release policies regarding criminals.

Biden was elected last November because more voters saw him as more capable to fight the COVID-19 epidemic than Trump. But wait, what’s this? There were more COVID deaths in the United States in 2021 than in 2020, despite the availability of vaccines. And lockdown and mask mandates are ramping up again with the new omicron variant, which so far has killed one American. That number will surely climb but I have a strong suspicion that omicron will not be killing 15,000 Americans a week as soon as next month, which is what the politicized CDC is predicting. 

In order to prove Trump wrong, Biden has proved him right in regard to enforcing the law at our southern border. In late October the Washington Post reported that a record 1.7 million people arrested while trying to cross that border. In addition to illegal aliens, it’s believed that large amounts of fentanyl have been smuggled across the border in 2021.

As Biden as Biden is, his vice president is even worse, the inept cackler, Kamala Harris.

I’ve saved the worst for last. America suffered a humiliating military defeat in Afghanistan. Biden vowed that our departure from Afghanistan would look nothing like our bugging-out from South Vietnam in 1975. He was right, it was worse. As with the border crisis, the Biden White House blamed Trump for the debacle. While Trump did enter an agreement to pull our troops out of Afghanistan this year, it was not a treaty. We could have back out. Trump says, and I believe him, that he never would have made our country look so feeble, yes, feeble like Biden physically and mentally is, if we had departed Afghanistan under his watch.

When the next international crisis comes, our allies will have understandable doubts about American resolve. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Sometime in her early 20s my wife, aka Mrs. Marathon Pundit, realized she’d been fed a stream of lies from the Soviet Union. The state media and the government schools put forth this whopper, for instance, that Estonia, Lithuania, and her own Latvia voluntarily joined the USSR in 1940, after the Red Army moved in

What else had they lied to her about?

Plenty of things. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster was one colossal series of disinformation. And she grew up with the false belief that Soviet citizens enjoyed a standard of living that was among the world’s highest. And some information was left out. While we were still dating we were looking up with amazement at the stars on a crystal clear and moonless night in rural Michigan. Then she asked me, “Did the Americans really send men to the moon?”

Let’s move up a few decades to MSNBC, the most reliable mouthpiece for leftist Democratic politicians and their supporters. 

Watching MSNBC you’ll be told that Critical Race Theory is not being taught in public schools. As I explained last week, while the original CRT texts probably aren’t being presented, lessons are being rammed down kids’ throats that put them into two camps for instance, oppressors and oppressed. And that America is incurably racist–well there is a cure. And that is of course CRT, even though it might be labeled “equity training.”

That conversation is morphing into their belief that conservatives don’t want racial history, including slavery, taught in schools. That’s just made-up nonsense. 

Just this morning on some MSNBC program called Velshi, one of the panelists made the claim that many of the protesters who spoke up at school board meetings aren’t parents, or perhaps she said they don’t have children at those schools. No matter. For instance as taxpayers these patriots have a right to voice their opinion on how the biggest part of their property tax bill is spent. Secondly if we take that twisted logic further, then Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, who has no children, should have no voice in how are youngsters are educated. 

MSNBC and CNN pushed the Trump-Russia collusion fallacy for most of the Trump presidency. It is the Elvis-sightings of political scandals. Elvis Presley died in 1977 and there was no Trump-Russia collusion during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

Here’s another MSNBC fable–that Kyle Rittenhouse, in the words of one commentator on that network, was “arguably a domestic terrorist.” The MSNBC talking heads were infuriated that Rittenhouse crossed a state line from Antioch, Illinois–which borders Wisconsin, to travel during the riot (oops, unrest) in Kenosha, where his father lived and where Rittenhouse worked. The truth has since emerged that the then-17-year-old was just trying to help out in a lawless zone who was forced into a situation where he had no choice but to defend himself.

Oh, just so you know, I don’t believe that minors should be waking around with an AK-47. 

For months MNSBC has been following the Democrat Party line that inflation was all but non-existent, then it was “transitory,” and now while it is real, inflation is not a problem. After Velshi MSNBC’s next program, The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart came on. His first guest was the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who discussed rising prices. “Part of the reason that people are talking about inflation is that there are costs rising for American families across the county.” Duh! Her party’s solution? Of course it’s the expensive Build Back Better bill that includes child care money–and that will bring down costs for Americans. Wow. Give Jayapal her Nobel Prize for Economics now! Capehart didn’t bother to challenge Jayapal’s idiocy.

You probably believe that the typical MSNBC viewer is a hardened leftist who is immune from logic. Yes on the first and no on the second. MSNBC is telling its core audience what it wants to hear. But untruth can only be carried so far. Imagine for a moment a brothel that caters to men in their 50s like me. (Disclosure–I have not been to such a place.) You walk in and the women comment on how handsome you are–and that you are in incredible physical shape. They laugh at your jokes and when you bring up politics, “Republicans are racists, Biden is the best president since FDR,” one of the women winks at you and says, “Let’s continue this conversation upstairs in private.” And upstairs you go.

Eventually you learn that you are being played at that imaginary brothel–you ascertain that the sex workers are coyly reconfirming beliefs that you already have. “I’m a great looking guy.” Even though you’re not. You’re a guy in your 50s. Duh! They just want your money so they tell you want you want to hear.

MSNBC just wants your time. With so many choices for time–hundreds of cable channels, streaming services, podcasts, the internet, not to mention old school choices such as books and actually sitting down and having a one-on-one conversation with another person, time is an ever-precious finite resource. MSNBC is reconfirming the false beliefs–Trump colluded with Russia, Rittenhouse is a vigilante, inflation is not a problem–of its viewers to steal that time.

Sure it’s a trite expression, but time really is money.

What will MSNBC say if runway inflation–not to mention Jimmy Carter-era stagflation–is with us in a year? 

How many of its viewers will switch the channel? Forever.

MSNBC’s ratings are already way below those of Fox News. CNN is in even worse shape.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Heaven’s Gate logo courtesy of Wikipedia

By John Ruberry

The one great comet of my lifetime was the Hale-Bopp Comet of 1997. But its spectacular night time display was overshadowed by the mass suicide of the 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult. Because they believed that here was a spaceship traveling behind the comet they took some barbiturates, drank some vodka, and put hoods over their heads so they could reunite with one of the founders of the cult, who they believed was a passenger on that craft.

They had faith, or something akin to it, in their beliefs. 

On a lesser and of course non-deadly scale is the cult-like beliefs Democrats, and their media allies, have in themselves and their policies. 

There are exceptions here and there, James Carville being a notable Dem who has decried the liberals’ wokeness, but after the victory of Republican Glenn Youngkin over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race and the GOP near-miss in New Jersey, leftists are doubling down on failure, despite clear evidence that their policies are unpopular. 

Just like cult members. 

Let’s start with Critical Race Theory. I was one of many conservatives who switched the channel over to MSNBC to see how the left was responding to last week’s election coverage. Commentator after commentator said, like the sheep in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, that CRT was not being taught in Virginia schools or anywhere else for that matter. I laughed particularly hard when former Obama HUD secretary Julian Castro said so on a program that Brian Williams, no stranger to fiction, hosted. Castro is a lawyer and while probably in a lie-but-avoid-perjury mode he fixed his mind on a mental crumb–that no one anywhere in pre-college classrooms is teaching the arcane original Critical Race Theory texts from the 1970s–the Dead Sea Scrolls of leftist bigotry. What is being taught in some schools is that American society is inherently white, meaning racist, and that white people, even children, are oppressors. 

For instance, shortly before Election Day a mother said she was told by her six-year-old daughter in a Loudon County, Virginia classroom that she was “born evil” because she is white. Not surprisingly CRT is hated by most parents–and not just white parents.

I don’t want to dig too far into semantics but the meanings of words and phrases evolve. Critical Race Theory now means dividing people into those oppressor and oppressed camps and that our society is rigged and incurably racist. Well there is one antidote–leftist indoctrination in schools, or so liberals believe.

Yes there are white supremacists. There are far fewer of them than when I was a child and those remaining should be shunned.

Oh, MSNBC talking heads I have a message for you: CRT is not a “racist dog whistle.”

Now let’s move on to infrastructure. Many left-wing experts, that is, people who know a lot of things about stuff that isn’t true, made the ludicrous claim that if Joe Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure bill had been signed into law before Election Day McAuliffe would have won. I’ll try to be brief on this whopper of a fallacy but for starters, infrastructure was not a major issue in the Virginia governor’s race. Also, as Barack Obama learned, enacting infrastructure legislation doesn’t make thousands of building projects “shovel ready.” Part of Build Back Better was signed into law on Saturday–I’m not breathing the smell of hot asphalt today. But it will be many months before BBB construction projects commence and even longer before they are completed. Okay, the food and beverage improvements on Amtrak, part of the infrastructure bill, could be available soon. 

Do you remember Obama’s not-so-shovel-ready stimulus bill from 2009? Only about $100 billion of the $800 billion bill actually was spent on infrastructure.

On the other hand, inflation is a problem in America for the first time in decades. There is a growing belief among voters that government is getting too big too fast. And the Democrats have been the party of Big Government since the presidency of Joe Biden’s idol, Franklin D. Roosevelt. As for the current president, he was elected because he passed himself off as a moderate, or perhaps as an old school liberal–but certainly not as Bernie Sanders.

There is a deeper problem for Democrats, particularly among hard-left members such as the members of The Squad. As I mentioned earlier Dems have a cultist faith in their policies. I encounter left-wingers regularly here in the inner-suburbs of Chicago. On those rare instances I engage in a political conversation with them, I am usually told, “Well, you just aren’t properly educated on the issues. You listen to too much talk radio and watch too much Fox News–you are indoctrinated.” But unlike them, I am regularly confronted by the other side. For instance, I sat for hours in a hospital waiting room last month. First I endured former Bill Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America and then the leftists on The View, although I was in for a minor treat as Joyce Behar was not on the couch that day. And overall mainstream entertainment media is drenched with covert and overt liberal bias. Take a look at late night comedy shows, excluding of course Fox News’ Gutfeld! And as I mentioned earlier, I dabble with watching MSNBC–and CNN.

So yes, I am educated and I am exposed to multiple political views.

In the post-mortems among Democrats, again with a few exceptions, there was no call from them to moderate their policies and to address what went wrong on Election Day last week. It’s still full steam ahead.

I’ve mentioned this quote many times before but too many people still haven’t seen it “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant,” Ronald Reagan said, “but that they know so much that isn’t so.”

You can’t reason with most leftists. 

And there was no spaceship hiding behind the Hale-Bopp Comet. 

Oh, no one is always right. Yep, not even conservatives.

The last words I’ll leave to Dr. Martin Luther King.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.