This piece was first published by Brother Francisco as Galtisalie for the Anti-Capitalist Meetup group at Daily Kos, which is a good place to look for and give comments that folks are generally too shy to post at gardenvarietydemocraticsocialist.com. NY brit expat, referenced in the update at the end of the piece, is one of Brother Francisco’s dear comrades in that group.
I am not promoting drugs, hate them myself, but I have to admit that buzzed hippies from time to time have said the darndest things, although that is not the reason I do not support prohibition (another subject). For instance, out of our chemically-bathed subconscious can flow troubling daydreams about being extremely large and unable to fit into a phone booth, or French fries turning into worms in your friendly McDonalds, or so said a friend of mine I interviewed about an LSD experience back in college while we chatted during work study.
Interesting too how freakish truth emerged when one of the greatest song writers and musicians ever was freaked out, tuned in, or simply baking. When Dolly Parton was making the Trio II version of After the Gold Rush with Emmylou Harris and Linda Rondstadt she:
asked Linda and Emmy what it meant, and they didn’t know. So we called Neil Young, and he didn’t know. We asked him, flat out, what it meant, and he said, “Hell, I don’t know. I just wrote it. It just depends on what I was taking at the time. I guess every verse has something different I’d taken.”
Conversely, in the un-fried seemingly conscious brain, many freedom-spouting politicians have been hard-wired by oligarchs to pursue their own dreams of power. To get and stay elected they do the darndest things, including promote hatred, deny medical care to women and poor people, and depending on the region (of the planet not the brain) steam or fry their constituents. Snipping these wires would involve political brain surgery, and, in the U.S., the brain surgeons tend to be Republicans.
When Republican governors and state legislatures refuse to expand Medicaid for false flag budgetary political reasons urged upon them by their billionaire bosses they are undeniably serving as death panels. Inquiring un-fried minds want to know where and what kind of system change is more needed.
Well, I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flying
In the yellow haze of the sun
There were children crying and colors flying
All around the chosen ones
All in a dream, all in a dream
The loading had begun
Flyin’ mother nature’s silver seed
To a new home in the sun
Flyin’ mother nature’s silver seed
To a new home in the sun
Neil Young’s Heart of Gold was my first favorite song in junior high after I had first flitted with Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline in elementary school. By the time I was in high school in the mid-70s, the title song on Young’s album before Harvest was of paramount importance to the chorus of which I was a fledgling member. Its simple chord structure meant the chorale’s piano players could easily play it for the dozens of apprentice singers who had to give their semester recitals. I can say with some confidence that I have heard After the Gold Rush performed live hundreds of times by straining tenors and comfortable altos.
Listening to them endlessly croon I truly felt like getting high, but not for good reasons. Since then I have heard recordings by many professional singers, but, IMHO, the results have been less than optimal. (My personal least favorite is Dolly’s 1996 solo version where “I felt like getting high” was changed to “I felt like I could cry.”)
The one cover version I can say that I like is Patti Smith’s. I love her environmental interpretation of the song. I like how her children sing along at the end. And yes, I like to look at her face, and to me it is still lovely, even though, if not precisely because, it is no longer pretty in the Trumpian Miss Whatever Pageant sense.
She expresses thoughts many share:
Has capitalism failed? “I have no idea. Human nature has failed. It’s all about common sense. You have a family that is dumping chemicals in the river, so the river gets polluted and your children get sick if they swim in it, or the fish are dying. It’s common sense to do something. Everything since I was a child seems so obvious to me. When the cold war was escalating, and I was a child, I thought it was a totally stupid game. Then, when all that fell apart, we need a new enemy. Now we have terrorism. It’s a state of mind, not a tangible enemy. It’s just a game.”
The more she talks, the angrier she gets, and the more apocalyptic her vision. “It’s just like the pharaohs. To me the Bible gives the best example: they were the pharaohs, they were the high kings, they had all of the wealth and all of the power, but when the plague came, the plague knows not pharaohs. The sons and daughters of poor people died of the plague, and the sons and daughters of the pharaohs died of the plague. So when Mother Nature gets sick of us stuffing her with all our chemical excrement and starts erupting on us, she’s not going to just destroy the poor people on the fringes: everyone will go.”
There is under capitalist hegemony the paramount importance to make the truly ugly appear beautiful–unsustainable environmental exploitation with freedom to accumulate capital by soaking profit from desperate workers who form the worldwide surplus army of the unemployed and suffer the most in the endless string of capitalist crises. Fortunately, there are time-tested handy tracks in the evil regions of human brains that can be used to bait-and-switch, divide-and-rule, to maintain that system. Resentment against immigrants, like racism and endless wars, is fine and dandy. All help to achieve the objective of maintaining the system.
If a big-mouthed buffoon is necessary to maintain the system, so be it. (Enter the blow-dried orally-farting Trump.) But much better to combine these themes into a blindingly compelling personal narrative of rags-to-riches minority success and gifted hands giving medical miracles, not to mention evangelical moralizing and willingness to tell other AAs to get with the program. (Enter the soft-spoken brilliant Carson.) If necessary, of course, merge both onto a ticket, if none of the more reliable appointed politicos is able to succeed with the Tea Party in the primaries.
You have read, a lot, about the hilarious “fabulously successful” salesperson Trump, including his recent sexist belittling of the unsuccessful salesperson Carly Fiorina based on her face. (She is now urging primary electors to indeed look at her face.) You have also read some hilarious things about Carson, the brilliant mild-mannered African American pediatric brain surgeon. I am not going to make the remainder of this piece a laundry list of the hilarious things they have said.
Rather, I simply want to point out the fraudulence of the supposed strong suit of Carson, his wisdom on health care. His policies matter far more than his ghost writer’s plagiarism. In particular, health care savings accounts are not in fact the freedom-loving silver medical spaceship for the poor of the U.S., although to the Republicans who count, literally and figuratively, having a kind trusted minority physician endless talking about them is the key way to appear to have a program to repeal and replace the dreaded Obamacare (which he would never compare to slavery for purposes of appealing to the Republican political leadership and supreme donors).
I single him out simply because, if I take a step back and look at the race objectively, I think he is by far the most appealing Republican presidential candidate. In fact, I suspect that he will be on the Republican ticket, if the Republican puppet masters are actually trying to win, which of course they are. That’s not a prediction, but objectively, he has one of the most compelling biographies and, to use Trump’s word of the week, “personas,” one will ever see in a U.S. presidential candidate.
Republicans ideally sell biography and persona of their presidential candidates because their policies are objectively shite. Their ideal candidate would be someone whose compassionate credentials and credible bedside manner will make shite taste like sugary medicine. Dr. Carson has stood up and said, “I’m your man.”
But, here’s the thing, his most important policy proposal is shite, and he knows it. He is a smart person. He knows that poor people do not have money to fund HSAs and do not benefit from tax breaks on income they will never have. He knows that the poor suffer and die because of the lack of Medicaid expansion, and that this disproportionately affects minorities, particularly African Americans:
The characteristics of the population that falls into the coverage gap largely mirror those of poor uninsured adults. For example, because racial/ethnic minorities are more likely than White non-Hispanics to lack insurance coverage and are more likely to live in families with low incomes, they are disproportionately represented among poor uninsured adults and among people in the coverage gap. Nationally, 43% of uninsured adults in the coverage gap are White non-Hispanics, 24% are Hispanic, and 27% are Black (Figure 3). However, the race and ethnicity of people in the coverage gap also reflects differences in the racial/ethnic composition between states moving forward with the Medicaid expansion and states not planning to expand. Several states that have large Hispanic populations (e.g., California, New York, and Arizona) are moving forward with the expansion, while other states with large Black populations (e.g., Florida, Georgia, and Texas) are not. As a result, Blacks account for a slightly higher share of people in the coverage gap compared to the total poor adult uninsured population, while Hispanics account for a slightly lower share. The racial/ethnic characteristics of the population in the coverage gap vary widely by state, mirroring the underlying characteristics of the state population.
Just as Republican players refuse to expand Medicaid, they would not give poor people, especially poor people of color, money to put into HSAs, even if HSAs were the way to advance health care protection cost-effectively, which they most certainly are not. But hey, if invested in the stock market they can help create financial bubbles, which is great if you’re in the financial elite! And, more importantly, he knows that Republican primary voters (daily reinforced by our caring corporate media) and our overlords want to hear that shite, the former because they get to visualize their snuff fantasy of drowning Obamacare, if not Obama himself, in the tub, and the latter because it distracts the former from any desire for system change, as if they needed any help.
He can talk about freedom-loving health savings accounts, repeatedly, with the ritual of a liturgy, and the people that matter the most to his getting power will smile. All the better that he has said many inconsistent or incomplete things in the past on medical care and other issues. All the better to confuse the enemy.
Therefore, we hereby extend our laurel and hardy handshakes to Dr. Carson, and to his newfound evangelical pal the Donald. Beware though. As victims of addiction and other medical conditions, homeless workers, landless peasants, dirty socialists, and other losers, we may not always have access to clean water. Or we could forget to use proper procedures when washing our filthy hands and lovely despised surplus faces. But we look forward to those contributions to our HSAs and IRAs. Keep those coming gents.
6:34 PM PT: Congratulations to NY brit expat and all the other comrades and fellow travelers in the UK for the Corbyn victory, and congratulations to Labour for re-discovering its socialist roots. I meant to include that somehow in this piece (why the hell not?), but since it was such a patchwork already decided to give it a rest. Thank you also to NY brit expat and so many others as well for your hard work on the open the borders march.
Here also, at NY brit expat’s request, is a quick justification/explanation for the Neil Young references in this piece. It came to me that this song implicitly exemplified:
1. openness of heart and mind: When we allow ourselves to be some of the time “All in a dream, all in a dream,” and to not close ourselves of in our thinking, that is a start to a greater consciousness. And, in opposition to this, I see the conservative mindset as quite closed. From openness of heart and mind, Neil Young was better able to perceive what was really going on …
2. the wrongness of a politics of “exclusivity” that is at the heart of the conservative approach: There are these “silver spaceships” that only some can get on, the “worthy,” whether by accident of birth or competitive process such as Trump’s focus on being a winner. “Well what about the rest of us?” is the follow-up question, exemplified by the “children crying and colors flying.” Who can be proud of that ending? Or, to bring it down to health care, and Dr. Carson’s supposed specialty of compassion in action, what about the people who are left out for reasons of poverty?
3. a dialectical outgrowth or underpinning to true compassion in action, which perhaps Young never even recognized: The only way we are going to avoid this awful future of a ruined world with privilege for a few with exclusive safe harbors ending in a world from which an ever fewer and “luckier” may try to escape is to change the darned system.
That, Or maybe I just had a tummy ache and the song came to me, so I crammed it into the piece whether it made sense to or not. I made a commitment to myself over two years ago to write personally and plainly about socialism, but clearly the plainly part sometimes gets lost in the personal! Solidarity!!!