It seems like a good day to have another song parody from Randy Rainbow. This is a little different from most of the others, coming as it does from a Trump campaign rally in 2016. And while the production value is pretty straight forward, it adds wonderfully to the goofiness and humor. Besides, this seems like an appropriate song to post today, given that it's a parody of the George M. Cohan patriotic number, "Over There."
A few weeks back, I wrote that whoever handles the Merriam-Webster Twitter account repeatedly shows why they deserve a raise. And a hug. And I have to give bonus points to management for allowing it. (If you missed that one from the other day, do check it out here.)
And they did it again. After Trump tweeted that the EU is America's foe, Merriam-Webster posted the following on their Twitter feed --
So, there was Trump over in Europe trashing the United States judicial and political process, calling the Special Counsel investigation a "witch hunt." And trashing the First Amendment by calling CNN "fake news" and trying to "punish" their reporter Jim Acosta by not calling on him, and trying to claim that MSNBC reporter Kristen Welker is a liar -- and all I could think was 2003 when the Dixie Chicks, at the time far-and-away the most wildly popular country music group in America, were touring in England and said (and this is all they said) that they were ashamed that President George Bush was from Texas, they were crushingly vilified for criticizing America on foreign soil and basically had their career ruined.
Radio airplay on country music stations stopped. And for a long while, so did their touring as a group. And group albums. Happily, they've continued to make music -- though generally not as a trio, but either solo or paired together, touring and recording. And then in 2013 (six years after their last tour together as a trio), the full Dixie Chicks reformed and toured Canada. Three years later, they had their first European tour in a decade, which they in turn extended into North America with 40 shows. And they even had a wonderful documentary made about them -- more on that in a moment.
So, I just decided I wanted to post some Dixie Chicks.
For starters, here's their song that was sort of a response to it all. "Not Ready to Make Nice."
As I said, there is a terrific documentary about the Dixie Chicks and this whole controversy, Shut Up & Sing, which is available here on Neflix. It's well-worth checking out -- thoughtful, fun, infuriating and ennobling, co-directed by Barbara Kopple (who made the Oscar-winning Harlan County, U.S.A) and Cecilia Peck (daughter of Gregory, and who also directed the recent well-regarded documentary, Brave Miss World).
And just because they deserve the attention -- most especially compared to what Trump just did (and beyond), here's some more, one of their fun tunes, "There's Your Trouble."
And as a bonus, here are the Dixie Chicks teaming up with Beyoncé at the 2016 CMA awards, on her song "Daddy Lessons." And yes, it shouldn't surprise you that the performance was met by country music fans with racist hate.
Late last night, I found out something I totally missed earlier – and I suspect many people did, if not most,
It turns out that when Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments yesterday of 12 Russian military intelligence officials, he said that responsibility for prosecution of them was transferred from the Special Counsel's office to the national security division of the Justice Department. While it’s unlikely that such a trial would ever go forward, given the profound unlikelihood of their being extradited, what this means though is that since this division is now officially handling it, even if Trump was able to shut down the Special Counsel's investigation, this would still go forward.
But more than that, it would be difficult for the White House to gain much access to the material, given what the department is. Someone described this division as being “a top secret part of the Department of Justice. Mortals are not welcome: only spooks. They'll compartmentalize it, and even Trump would be blind. Even Trump's new head of the DOJ's Criminal Division -- Brian Benczkowski, with ties to a Russian bank -- who Republicans confirmed on Wednesday, wouldn’t have access to it.
As has often been said, while the Trump administration is playing checkers (or at times, it seems, tiddlywinks), Robert Mueller is playing chess.
Good news! They finally found the 400-pound guy who lives in his parents basement!! As it happens, he lives in London! Bad news -- he isn't the hacker. It turns out it was 12 Russian military agents.
There were expected to be 50,000 protesters in London today marching in the streets against Trump. According to estimates, it appears that they number was five times large, around 250,000 -- protesting not just a foreign leader, but the foreign leader of the nation with whom the United Kingdom has a long, Special Relationship.
In honor and appreciation of the city, I thought I'd post this song from the 1969 movie musical, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, that starred Peter O'Toole and Petula Clarke. It's actually a pretty good movie, though the score by Leslie Bricusse ranges between enjoyable and mediocre. This is one of my favorite numbers from it -- a bit over-the-top, though that's sort of the point of it in the context of the film, as the withdrawn, bookish schoolteacher Mr. Chipping is dragged against his wishes to see a major vaudeville show at the Palladium. Which leads to the big showstopping number with the show's popular star Katherine Bridges -- "London is London."
Under normal circumstances, the very first thing I would have written about today was Trump's idiotic and disgraceful interview with the cheesy British tabloid, The Sun. But I thought that the House hearing was even more important, considering it was a political party trying to undercut trust by the American public in the nation's intelligence services. But still, Trump's interview almost topped that.
So, there he is, telling the crackerjack tabloid that he has tripled U.S. GDP in just one year!! That this is basically impossible makes his skill all the more impressive. (To be clear, the "skill" is lying through his... wherever.) Keep in mind that not only does it generally take 30 years to triple one's GDP, but back as recently as last December, Trump got ridiculed for saying that GDP would go up 6% next year -- when all experts said the norm was 2.5%. (As this CNBC article is headlined, "Trump defies data with 6% GDP forecast.") So, clearly he's still at it.
Then of course there was also him explaining that he had a far-better plan for the U.K. getting out of Brexit, but Prime Minister Theresa May wouldn't listen to him, essentially throwing her under the bus as her government is shaky, while praising her rival Boris Johnson. But then Trump has a plan to get out of Brexit like he had a plan to replace the ACA. "No one knew getting out of the EU was hard." And even more, Trump's gambit was a Secret Plan, no doubt much like Richard Nixon's vaunted Secret Plan to get out of Vietnam, which only took five years or so. I do so always love, "I have a plan to do what no one else could, but...but... I'm not telling you!!" Helps the Trump Baby Blimp make more sense.
And of course he couldn't help himself tout his bizarre insistence that a recent poll shows him the most popular Republican in the history of the party, even more so than Abraham Lincoln. Which is monumentally foolish on so many levels because...oh, never mind, you probably have a pretty good idea.
But worst of all, by far, was when talking to the tabloid, Trump went All Neo-Nazi -- slamming legal immigrants in Europe. He said that those seeking asylum from violence has caused Europe to lose its “culture," adding “And I don’t mean that in a positive way.” (Which, yes, I think we pretty much figured that...) On the good side, anyone uncertain as to whether Trump and his administration were only against "illegal immigrants," like he and his flunkies insist, or ALL immigrants...well, happily I think we now have that cleared up.
And we didn't even get to the 12 new indictments of Russian military intelligence agents. But hey, he's on his way to meet with his handler, so there is more of that to come.
The "Now This" people have put out some tremendous videos. Most are taken from documentary footage -- often House or Senate testimony, for instance -- with some commentary edited that have been very powerful. Lately, they've done some fictional pieces, to make a larger point. This here is that. Well, sort of.
To be very clear, this is NOT documentary footage. It's a re-enactment. However, all of the words spoken are from from actual court transcripts. But since no cameras are allowed in the courtroom, they've recreated that part. Everything else, though, is on the record, officially.
It's wrenching. Even without one word spoken, it's wrenching. Holding court hearings with little children who have been taken from their parents, and not only are they not all attorneys, they do they not speak English. No words are needed. But here they are.
With Trump having his tantrum hissy-fit with NATO, then heading on to England where he'll be doing his best to avoid the Trump Baby Blimp and then over to Helsinki to have his pajama party summit with his BFF Putin, I thought this was a good time to catch up with some more from Randy Rainbow that fell through the cracks.
But at least it fits, since this deals with Trump's last summit -- the one that went oh-so-well, except for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly saying yesterday that his follow-up meeting with Kim Jong-Un "couldn't have gone worse." Here is "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea?"
By the way, it not only has some very funny and clever lyrics, but there are some prescient ones in there, as well, for a tidbit now in the news, which should be clear. And it's a fun, fairly elaborate video production, too -- with a bonus. A second song built in which is spot-on appropriate for parody.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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