No more Chicano, ese

Immigration is the number one topic in the US’ domestic affairs at the moment and is one of the key issues that will define the 2008 presidential elections. At the moment an immigration bill has been revived which had recently been voted off in the Senate. This controversial bill would allow regularization of over 12 million illegal immigrants, already residing in the United States. The major proponent of the bill is Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy, brother of Bobby & John, as senator of Massachussets (figures). Yet opposition is massive. Many grassroots organisations and commitees have sprung up to resist the approval of this bill. The popularity of this bill is very low. Referenda concerning immigration have all shown vast majorities opposing further legalization of illegal immigrants, and have called for tighter border security. Yet president Bush supports the bill, along with the a majority of Democrats, and minority of Republicans. Yet the little republican support for the bill is waning (senator Jon Kyl might not vote in its favor a second time, and he has quite some influence with other senators).

John McCain, the republican Arizona senator, who also backs the plan is being critized by his conservative supporters, which might endanger his bid for the republican nomination for the 2008 Presidential Elections. This eventhough his main opponents are Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, who don’t condemn the bill either. This might give dark-horse candidate Tom Tancredo a chance to stand in the spotlight, for he has made his opposition to illegal immigration and his support for the construction of a border fence his main topic, and is gaining popularity that way.

Pat Buchanan, the paleoconservative political analyst wrote a very interesting book about this pending problem, ‘State of Emergency’. It’s a must-read for whoever interested in the topic, and explains in a clear way why this bill is the wrong way to go and how it undermines the US itself.

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Away with them taxes !

It sucks to pay taxes. Giving away money so the government can spend it at bullcrap isn’t on my list of needs for a better society. I don’t want my taxmoney to be used to give prisoners extra comfortable prison cells, to give one example, crooks need to be treated as crooks. I do acknowledge the need for some limited taxes, in order to sustain a limited health care, or other things, such as building roads or powerplants, but being forced to give 50% or even more of your income is downright criminal.

The funnier it gets when someone concludes there is no law demanding you to pay income tax. The first time I heard from this was when I watched Aaron Russo’s “America: From Freedom to Fascism’. An interesting movie in wich libertarian Russo claims there is no law wich obliges to pay income tax, and in wich he also criticizes several other things, such as parts of the Patriot Act, the possibility of spychips, ID cards, electronic voting, and more.

Things have taken a nasty turn since some people who refused to pay income tax were sentenced to jail, even though the prosecution couldn’t come up with a legal argument, debunking their claim. Just the other day I read about the “Ed Brown” case. Apparently this man and his wife Elaine have been succesfully evading taxes since 1990, taxes they claim to be illegal. It has come this far that the man has barricaded himself in his mansion-fortress, in Plainfield, New Hampshire. This way he hopes to outlast the FBI agents who have surrounded his house to arrest him. Brown however, uses solar energy to power his house, in case they cut him from the main grid. He has his own source for drinkable water and has enough food stocked to remain indoors for decades. He also claims to be armed and has warned that he would forcefully protect himself if the police was to storm the house. A few dozen people who sympathize have put up tents on his domain, and are planning to help Brown if it ever comes to an assault. A few of those also claim to be armed.

Even though I don’t believe in the ‘9/11 is a US conspiracy’ mumbo-jumbo, I do sympathize with the man for not wanting to give in. The underdog vs the system even has some romance in it. The fact that he lives in New Hampshire makes it all the more epic, the man really takes his state’s motto ‘Live free or die’ literally.

It’s a corporate world

In honor of Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006).

This is why people OD on pills, or jump from the golden gate bridge…

Imagine a civilized lumberjack making music together with his wife, who could have stepped out of the american gothic painting by Grant Wood. These are Brett and Rennie Sparks, the handsome family, bringing songs from the deepest roots of americana.

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Brett Sparks, who writes the music, draws from medieval melody, country-politan string arrangements, tin-pan alley crooners, and dusty hillbilly records to weave together the fabric of their records. Rennie Sparks, who writes the lyrics, makes magical realism from polar adventure stories, turn-of-the-century electricity wars, pagan hunting songs and her own time spent (like most people) riding up elevators, staring out hotel room windows, and driving interstate highways.

If you ever have the opportunity to see this ramblin’ duo on stage (like I had recently) then don’t miss it. Mostly with a third man (either a sad drunk playing drums, or someone who looks like an Irish docker) who joins them on tour, since they need a great range of instruments. From melodica to banjo to bass(Rennie) to guitar and drum computer (Brett) to lapsteel, violin or a little guitar(the docker). They also have the habit of telling strange stories and bickering playfully between songs which adds to the charm of their live performance.

And strange stories isn’t something unfamiliar to them. Just listen to a couple of their songs and get sucked in the world that is the handsome family. Dark yet happy, Strange, yet very normal. About bottomless holes, evil airports, Nikola Tesla, and someone’s boyfriend who is eating hot dogs on the fire escape with rats after his wife starved to death…

I believe that Rennie is one of the best lyricists of the last years. Couple that with the musical genius that is named Brett and you get one of the best country/bluegrass/singer-songwriter acts that one can see these days…

website: http://www.handsomefamily.com/

The old house on the lake…

It’s a little late, but I just found out about this: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070411/ENTERTAINMENT06/704110441

Everybody should mourn over this tragic loss. Johnny Cash was and still is a great american hero.

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