Ranting, Raving, and Rocking by Sal Canzonieri

This was my fourteenth column in AMP magazine. This one Rants on the taking back America from corrupt government and why Wal-Mart can be bad, Raves on The Hilarious House of Frightenstein 70s TV show, and Rocks on about Australia's The Dead Set !

Loud Fast Rules magazine issue 1
AMP magazine
(July 2006 issue #47)
Column #14

Welcome to my fourteenth column for AMP magazine.

This month’s Rant:

Just look at this country, it looks exactly like every other failed business our illustrious bozo of a non-leader loser president has ever run into the ground. This is the legacy so far of the Bushit Administration: a gigantic money stealing machine of one of the most corrupt Congress US history has ever seen; a no-win disgrace of a war in Iraq that there is no end in sight for; $9 Billion dollars unaccounted for in Iraq war aid; a perpetual war against radical Islamist terrorists with ongoing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan that mostly kills innocent people; huge debt from growing record trade and budget deficits; a public education system that is failing a generation of students; declining real wages; the lack of real creation of quality jobs; median family income stagnating;  gasoline and other fuel costs and higher interest rates eating up family budgets; millions of illegal aliens flood our borders every year; and borders and ports are still woefully insecure, four and a half years after the September 11 attacks.

On top of all that, 37 million people in the United States live in poverty, one in every eight Americans. Almost 18 percent of children under the age of 18 live in poverty -- 13 million children. We also have one of the world's highest rates for newborn deaths. And, there is a huge percentage of babies born to unwed mothers, amongst seven states this is true for 40% of the children born there. Nearly 46 million people live without health insurance, about 16 percent of the population, a number that has risen by 6 million since 2000. More than one in 10 children are uninsured, and one-quarter of people with incomes below $25,000 also lack any health insurance. There has been a 40 percent jump (inflation-adjusted) in tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities over the past five years, according to the College Board. Finally, the costs for brand-name prescription drugs have also increased twice as fast as the rate of inflation. In fact, over the past six years, the average rise in the price of brand-name drugs is 40 percent, according to the AARP. Bush's Part D prescription drug disaster is costly, confusing and corrupt. It was written by and for big pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and will cost millions of dollars in excess cost to U.S. taxpayers, seniors and disabled.

Happy now?

Welcome to the "Who could have foreseen" administration. Every single time Bushit's "team", especially "Condiment Rice", has cried:
-Who could have foreseen the 9/11 attacks?
-Who could have foreseen hurricane katrina causing the levees to break?
-Who could have foreseen that there were no WMDs in Iraq?
-Who could have foreseen the insurgency in Iraq?
-Who could have foreseen rising oil prices?
-Who could have foreseen such a huge deficit?
-Who could have foreseen such a huge imbalance of trade?
-Who could have foreseen Korea would have a far range missile?

Well, they could have, cause the have a huge staff of people that monitor and gather intelligence about such things. Oh what a man of action our president is. They can bomb the hell out of a weak useless country that can't fight back like Afghanistan or Iraq, but they can't do shit about a real and present danger you have from being hit by a nuclear armed missile from North Korea. All those billions spent on defense and they aren't able to keep a missile from reaching this far?

But the real crux of the matter is that we have a USELESS Congress, a congress that no longer represents and serves the public, the average citizen. There is no way that sorry state the USA is in economically nor could the criminal Bushit administration get away with so much if Congress wasn't willing to always look the other way. Has this present Congress done anything in any way to benefit our country?? No, but they have taken millions in bribes, they have voted to spend more and more on fake pet projects. Did you know that sub- companies of sub companies of sub companies that receive money from Congress trace back ownership eventually to various Congressman? They might was well print their own money then! And, get this: the average citizen LOSES about 2-4% a year in the stockmarket, the average INSIDE trader (which is illegal) only makes 5% PROFIT on the stock market, BUT THE AVERAGE CONGRESSMAN MAKES 40-50% profit on their stock purchases!!!! Amazing! Someone with inside information only makes 5% profit a year, but our "representatives" miraculously make almost 50% profits?

Why is this country poor and weak today? Under the Clinton Administration,"The most dramatic outcome was the reversal of the Reagan-era Supply Side deficits. Clinton's Demand Side policies not only paid down the Reagan/Bush deficits, they produced the first budgetary surpluses since 1969. By the time Clinton left office, the government was running surpluses of almost $140 billion per year. This is what he turned over to George W. Bush in January of 2001. Bush, of course, returned to the Supply Side policies of Reagan and his father. He lowered taxes on the very rich - his "base" as he calls them. His $1.6 trillion in tax cuts give 45% of the benefits to the top 1% of the population. It is classic Supply Side economics. What happened? BROKE AGAIN!

Think a little, there is only one way that you, yes you, reading this column can make things better. And, that is GET INVOLVED on a local level and TAKE BACK AMERICA FROM THE JERKS. Look, if the Republicans or Democrats were really on our side and really cared about America instead of sucking out as much money as they can before this ship finally sinks and they run to their hidden bunkers to wait out the extermination of the American Middle Class, THEN they would say "WHAT GOOD ARE WE DOING FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN?" But, they aren't saying that cause they don't give a rat's ass about us at all. So, if you don't want to die a horrible death in a Nazi-like Police State America in the next 5-10 years, then nip all this in the bud and get involved locally. Change is only possible on a local level and then it will raise up to the top.

What to do? Well, the very must important thing to do FIRST is start a group in your town that will monitor VOTING and will ensure that all votes are accurate in your voting district. Demand paper ballots that are hand counted. If each voting district demands this, only then can we ensure that each vote is really counted. NEXT, join the local Board of Education, join the local council in your town, join the PTA, and so on. Makes sure your block is doing the things that are right to do to protect itself. RUN FOR LOCAL OFFICE as an independent. On a small local town level hardly anyone runs for all the posts that are available. Write yourself in. I know I few> that have done so and they actually won cause they were the only people to get a single vote!

Next thing to do is keep contacting your local congressman, they are scared of pissing off their constituents. They need you to keep them in office so that they can  keep on ripping off your tax money. All congressman strongly heed people who contact them because they consider their opinion to represent a large percentage of local consensus from people that never both to contact them ever. How do they know what their people in their district want if no one lets them know what you want?

Third, pick a local project and work with others to get involved to change things. Let's pick a topic that you can deal with locally as an example: Wal-Mart. The proliferation of such a huge amount of Wal-Marts in a given local area per state has a horrible long range effect on all of us nationally. What happens is that local businesses die out and everyone is forced to buy ONLY what Wal-Mart decides what we can have. Eventually, all local middle class business that previously took care of our neighborhoods cease to exist and cease to employ many members of the middle class. Instead only the very poor will work for no benefits and such low wages that Wal-Mart gives it's employees. What happens is that neighborhoods all over go downhill economically once the middle class can not afford to make a living wage there and doe not want to buy the cheap stuff that Wal-Mart sells. Wal-Marts then siphon the money they make in each town into their corporate headquarters and pulls it out of circulation in the local economy.

Wal-Mart's Holiday Sales Create a $20 Billion Loss for Local Economies. For this holiday season, Wal-Mart's record-breaking sales mean staggering losses for Main Street, U.S.A. Wal-Mart earned $1.5 billion on the day after Thanksgiving alone, $25.8 billion for the month of November and another $40.8 billion for December. For those two months, Wal-Mart generated some $66,596,000,000. This results in a loss of nearly $20.3 billion to local economies. Had that $66.6 billion been spent at locally owned businesses, it would have generated some $29.7 billion for local communities. However, thanks to Wal-Mart, that $66.6 billion translates to only $9.4 billion going into local economies. Within the first five years of Wal-Mart's arrival in nearly 1,800 U.S. counties, an average of four small businesses, one mid-sized store and one large store went out of business. Wal-Mart's entrance into communities provides few of the promised benefits and if the initial shock of the retailer's arrival does not constitute "killing local business," the slow death caused by draining money away from local economies certainly does. Looking more closely, Wal-Mart's siphoning means a loss of $5.7 billion in wages and benefits paid, $3.4 billion in lost purchases of inventory, supplies and services from other local businesses, $487 million in lost tax revenue to local government, and $81.2 million in lost contributions to local charities.

Wal-Mart sells itself as a job creator (around 200-400 per new store, so they say), but after factoring the long-term job loses by shrinking revenue and local business closure, we find that five years after a Wal-Mart store is built there is only a net gain of about 30 new jobs. The company also hypes itself to local governments as a massive sales tax generator, but the tax subsidies Wal-Mart receives from local governments to the tune of at the least $1 billion in tax breaks, cut substantially into the sales tax gains. Furthermore, rather than creating substantial new business, newly built Wal-Marts suck 84% of their business (and the resulting sales tax) from existing area stores.

According to a report by the director of the Los Angeles port about a year ago, $36 billion in goods comes into this country from China, while only $3 billion or so is exported from this country in the form of raw materials like scrap metal and cotton.  Some people try to spin this as "fair and balanced trade." The same report stated that Wal-Mart has 6,000 suppliers, and 80% of those are in China and other countries.  In the meantime, America's trade deficit has now topped $700 billion dollars.  "America, as we know it, can't afford Wal-Mart," said Robert Borosage, president of the Institute for America's Future. "People across America are starting to realize the stark reality: Wal-Mart's triumph is the defeat of middle-class America. If Wal- Mart sets the pace, Americans will pay the price, in declining wages, rising health care costs, longer hours, worsening workplace conditions and rising personal taxes to offset soaring corporate subsidies."

Wal-Marts are leeches that suck the local tax dollars out of the towns that they raid, and here's what you can do about it:
- Instead of providing healthcare to over 600,000 of its employees, Wal-Mart expects them to rely on Medicaid and other government programs. We can't let Wal-Mart-the largest employer in the world! -shift their health care expenses to American taxpayers. Please write your member of Congress, and ask them to support the Healthcare Accountability Act. - Expose Wal-Mart in your local newspapers: Wal-Mart accepts corporate welfare, crushes locally-owned businesses and undercuts its employees by not providing healthcare or living wages. Write a letter to the editor of your local news media to help further expose the high costs of Wal-Mart's low price.

- Keep local tax dollars for local needs, not Wal-Mat welfare. Counties, cities and towns across America are giving Wal-Mart corporate welfare! If your town has a Wal-Mart, write your local government to find out what subsidies they've given and demand that those subsidies end. And if your town doesn't have a Wal-Mart, write now to oppose more Wal-Mart welfare before it begins! Did you know that Wal-Mart's relentless expansion across America has been fueled by state and local tax subsidies totaling at least $1 billion? And this figure just includes the deals that have been exposed by the press! With the amount of corporate welfare local governments dish out to profitable companies like Wal-Mart, local businesses just can't compete and, unfortunately, many end up closing. We must not forget the lessons learned from other communities that have been harmed by Wal-Mart's false promises. One town -- Cathedral City, California -- gave Wal-Mart millions in tax and building gifts in exchange for promised future sales tax revenue. But just as the tax breaks were coming to an end, Wal-Mart decided to build a bigger store the next town over! Wal-Mart closed down the Cathedral City store, leaving the town with no tax revenue, no retail business, and 60 acres of an abandoned big box store. Viva Wal-Mart! Way to go!

Across the country, city councils, community groups and state legislatures are beginning to stand up for main-street and to question the high cost of Wal-Mart's low prices. Instead of subsidizing Wal-Mart's low road strategy, communities are beginning to call on Wal-Mart to be the good neighbor that it claims to be. The Wal-Mart model -a company that pockets millions in public subsidies, while providing poverty wages to workers, buying sweatshop products from China and driving countless small businesses into bankruptcy- isn't good for America. So, that's just one local issue that you can easily do something about that effects us all nationally in the long run.

THINK LOCALLY to take back America. The totally corrupt Republican party congress does not represent what it's party originally stood for, which is being fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Instead this party represents whoever is the highest bidder in payoffs. This party is turning our government inside out, killing off regulatory agencies, ripping up the Constitution, cutting funding to social services, and turning pollution controls over to industry. Government expenses in the trillions of dollars are being shifted from us, today, to the shoulders of our children, who will certainly have to repay the deficits Bush's so-called 'tax cuts' (which are really tax deferrals) are racking up. War is being waged in our name and without our consent. The only remedy is to counter the growth of this negative, death-dealing party by joining the other party. Given that the super rich, the selfish polluters, the spiritually paranoid, and the zealot war-mongers got to the Republicans first, we have no choice but to instead take back the Democratic Party, reinvigorate it, reorient it, and lead it to success. The Democratic Party could change if most of the protesters in the streets and just plain old middle class Americans were to join the Democratic Party and run for leadership positions in their local town or county. So, the first thing to do is call your state's Democratic Party headquarters. They will take your contact information, and gave you the name of your county's Party leader. Then ask to be put on the list for future fundraising events, to let you know how and when you could run for local Party leadership, and how you could participate on a regular basis in the decision-making processes of "your" local Democratic Party. Take over the Democrat party and remake it into a strong party that truly says: "What good are we doing for the future of our Children?" The Democratic Party can only do it if we, in massive numbers, join it, embrace it, and ultimately gain a powerful and decisive voice in its policy-making and selection of candidates.

You don't want another Clinton or Bush in office do you? They are both the most evil crooked crime families, if another member of either family gets in again we are done for as a nation. This is your last chance to make a difference so that we don't condemn our future to be our past!

This month's Rave:

"The Hilarious House of Frightenstein", mostly our Canadian friends were lucky enough to see this cool children's monster show back in the early 1970s. I think that 130 episodes were made, in one single nine-month span of time. But, four episodes were recently released on DVD (you can get easy from Amazon.com) finally for everyone to watch! The Hilarious House of Frightenstein starred Billy Van (on of the greatest Canadian comedians!), Fishka Rais as Igor, Joe Torbay as Gronk, Guy Big as Count Munchkinstein, and special guest star Vincent Price. It was kinda like a live action version of the Groovy Ghoulies saturday morning cartoon, but crazier. The show was created in 1971 at the studios of CHCH Channel 11 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. For the next 25 years it aired across Canada and in parts of the United States. During its run, the show touched and influenced many people. It might have been the strange characters and writing, or maybe it was the early morning hour in which the show often ran. Whatever the reason, Frightenstein got into people's minds and it stuck there. The show was visiually a surreal psychedelic kind of strangness. The skits are funny and go all over the place. Even some great Garage Rock music was featured on the show as well! Some of the songs featured on the show that the Wolfman and other sang were actually played on the radio back then. The Wolfman's theme song was Sly and the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher". The song"clap for the wolfman" by the candian rock group The Guess Who, features a voice of a wolfman that is very similar to that of the wolfman in this show.

The chief character, Count Frightenstein (Van), was the thirteenth son of the original Transylvanian Count and was exiled to Castle Frightenstein for failing to revive Brucie, a Frankenstein-like monster. Assisted by Igor (Rais), an overweight incompetent, and a three-foot-tall (~91 cm) mini-Count (Big), each episode followed the Count's efforts to revive Brucie and featured comedy skits. Each episode opened and closed with an appearance by the venerable horror star Vincent Price as he recited intentionally silly poetry with toy skulls and shrunken heads in the background.
Check out the fan site: www.frightenstein.com

This month's Rocking:

From NSW Australia come a really hot rocking band called THE DEAD SET.  You can check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/thedeadsetrocks where they have a few sample songs you can listen to. They have a new album out on Australian label Reverberation Records called". . . Bitter . . . Swill . . ." , which was beautifully produced by Rob Younger - singer and legendary front man of Radio Birdman and The New Christs (who plays a bit on the record too). Total high quality High Energy Rock & Roll that one can expect from Australia. Nothing boring on this record. Hi-octane roaring rockers coupled with some garage rock tunes featuring keyboards and harmonica too. If you were a fan of The New Christs, Powder Monkeys, The Celibate Rifles, The Hellmenn and other raving melodic well sung punk rock n roll then you will dig The Dead Set very much. Hell, I'd say the Australia practically invented High Energy Punk Rock & Roll music anyways, so how can you go wrong. The Dead Sets songs are full of vocal and guitar hooks that stick to you and great bursts of energetic and uplifting raw power guitars. Very tasty production on this record makes it stand out from the pack, very far from the business as usual color by numbers garage bands out there nowadays. A total compliment and hats off to this exciting and well crafted record and band is that this record could easily have come out at the peak of the best Australian bands that were touring the USA back in the day without sounding dated and retro in any way whatsoever. A lot of new bands wish they sounded this tight and fun. Do yourself a favor if you want to feel happy about discovering a high quality band and get this record! Just go to myspace and order it from the band!

That's it for this issue! Click here to read column #15

Sal Canzonieri - www.electricfrankenstein.com / www.myspace.com/electricfrankenstein

(c) 2006 BGT ENT / Sal Canzonieri