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AnneNR

Gene Simmons: "Rock Is Finally Dead"

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MikeC   

Wally, Dave, etc. from The Raspberries, here is your new chance to make money, from original and new recordings that you have done. The new day in music is here. You can continue to make money, again. From Rock, Country, Classical. Or whatever music you like. It looks like a few other sites are doing this, also, but withoutcollaborating with a famous, professional musician.

And now Stewart Copeland of The Police music band, along with his longtime friend Kevin Godley, who took two years to develope an app caledl, "WholeWorld Band"- (Also, look up article," Copeland Music App")  for all music enthusiasts to record with professional artists, minus all the money for studio. The talent pool is biigger, so fans, the artists, can all get credit- And make more money than their albums are making, because of the fans covering the same songs, but with their own vocal or instumental add-onn version, to the original music track, without all the rest of the instrument sounds, yet.

Other famous artists have stopped by Copeland's studio, who also does orchestral music now. As well as Rock, of course. But, being online now, you don't have to do that.

It allows fans and artists to get paid for  songs on Youtube, using minimul music tracks, like drums from someone like stewart's WholeWorld Band app, and create the rest, The fan, the artist, and collaborators get paid, and are credited to what they create. Multiple versions can be made of any one song.

Record sales were down, almost 15 percent, last year. But streaming is very popular. That's why the app was developed. And to get fans involved, to make more money for everyone.

On Youtube, cover songs account for over 200, 000 hours of music videos. Music videos have been streamed 36.6 billion times. But, the cover songs, by fans, have made more money now, than the original songs, from the advertisers on Youtube, for example.

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But, the cover songs, by fans, have made more money now, than the original songs,

from the advertisers on Youtube, for example

That makes me physically ill. And I'm sure the writer is screwed in that process, too.

Cheryl

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Batman   

I would like to hear a remastered version of GATW where the compression is eliminated. I play the CD version and can't get over how the extreme compression makes it still sound like it's playing over a $10. transistor AM radio, on a fairly good hi-fi system. It worked in 1972 when car radios were largely AM radios, except in luxury cars back then, where Rasperries were probably not the favorite music of the car owner!!! But today we can take advantage of modern sound reproduction and hear all of what was being recorded in the studio at the time.

There are no highs (Jim's cymbals, for example) and no lows (deep bass guitar notes). I would just like to hear the full- range recording released on a future CD. Wishful thinking.

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MikeC   

I think you're right, Cheryl, because this is revenue from sales that are on the site, where the song/s are played. Clicking on a product is more money for the website. They sell the product, and get more money.

I should make a correction that the fans aren't making money, the website is (from advertising products like more music, etc)

The WorldWideBand app gets money to the fans, from the advertising. The fans share it with the website., using newly created songs. Someone, like stewart starts the drums. Then bass, etc. added on. As well as singing. Everyone gets paid, because they added music or vocals to a song..

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MikeC   

I agrre with that, Batman.

It would be interesting. But, I think The Raspberries would make their own version, on their own, since they own the rights.

But, I would think that some of  the songs on WorldWideBand would be used to make an album, CD, or music download. The original contributors would now get paid for a physical product, not just a download.

If I was adding to a song, I would take my part of the song and make a brand new drum track. Now, it's my own, because I didn't copy all the other parts of someone else's song.

Can you imagine doing these songs live,  in concert? With multiple musicians, for each song? All of the musicians couldn't travel, unless their expenses were paid.

And later, after thirty years, I think the song becomes public domain, where anyone can record the same original song, and get paid. So, a renewal must be obtained, to avoid this. I don't know, for sure. It's just what I heard about.

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Technology isn't totally to blame. People turned to technology because the record industry wasn't giving us what we wanted. I grew up buying albums AND singles. Albums of the artists that I came to trust that I would like most of their songs, and singles of all those other great songs. Then the single died. Yes, they did have those crappy sounding cassette singles that cost $6, but other than that you had to shell out $16 to $18 for a CD if you wanted that one song. Who could afford that? When Napster came along, it allowed an affordable way to get those individual songs. And for the artists, whose CD's I was interested in, I couldn't even find them in my record stores. The only stuff that was readily available and coming from the radio speakers was the crap that THEY decided we should listen to.

When I was young, i would go to the record store every week and buy several new 45's of the latest songs that I liked. So even IF the charts were filled with quality songs like in the 60's & 70's, would we be going out to the stores and buying several CD's a week in order to own those songs, or would we be thankful that we can download them for $1 ?

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AnneNR   

I'd be out in the stores --- I intensely dislike the variables associated with downloading anything.  I prefer a professionally put together CD to transmissions over internet.  I like physical copies of artist's works.

AnneNR

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But if we're paying $1 for a song, at least we're BUYING it. At least the artist is recouping SOMETHING — though it would be interesting to know how much. Surely it's more than the fractions of a cent that the artist gets for each play on Pandora.

I wonder how Spotify figures into all this ...

Earlier this week, author Sue Grafton reported that her books were being copied and being made available online without her consent. That baffles me. Why on earth would you do that when you can go to the library and read them FOR FREE? And most libraries — including rural ones such as the one in my town — offer electronic checkout. You can check out the book on your Kindle (or whatever device) and read it on that device FOR FREE!

Why is it that people who wouldn't steal so much as a grape in a supermarket have no qualms about stealing music, books and photos?

Stepping off soapbox (for now),

Cheryl

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GATW   

So, if the business model is broken, what's going to fix it? Some would claim that rock died when KISS came out, but that's another discussion (sarcastic).

Rather than lament, I'm certain that some artist (maybe Dave Grohl?) will figure all this out, and create the "new economy" which will foster creative new artists, and (hopefully) push all the crap to the wayside.

The more that things change, the more they stay the same--it'll be interesting to see what happens next. And then after that.

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susie b   

Recently, I was trying to help a friend with a writing assignment for a music magazine. After a lengthy discussion, I suggested a list of CD's that he should purchase for his research.

He wanted to borrow some of my CD's to burn,  & he was truly shocked when I refused. He is getting paid to do his art (writing the article), why shouldn't the people whose work is being used for research get paid?

Another friend (artist/painter) complained about the royalties earned by musicians/songwriters. He felt that visual artists didn't get the same benefits from their work, and we got into a heated discussion on the topic.

First, I explained to him mechanical & performance royalties.

Then I told him that if he wants to collect $ like a rock star, then he should create a painting that a million or more people would like to own.  Then, he should manufacture reproductions or posters and sell them, as there is only one original painting to sell.

Or, he could charge admission, say through a museum, for people to visit the original work of art.

Why are people so willing to steal from musicians & songwriters, especially when they like the work of that person? Would they steal $ from their best friend's paycheck? I don't get it!

Even when people legitimately purchase a recording, it seems that musicians aren't guaranteed their royalty payments.

Look at the debacle between Mr. Carmen's 1970's label mates, the Bay City Rollers, & Arista Records.

Crazy stuff!

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Your writer friend probably isn't getting paid enough to buy the CDs for his research. Not justifying his request ... just sayin', from the prospective of a writer who hasn't gotten a raise in — gosh, I can't remember how long it's been! (And I'm not the only one — NOBODY in the business is getting one.)

Publications used to foot the bill for what you needed, but those days are long over.

And writers aren't immune from having their work lifted. I Googled my name a few months back and, lo and behold! Something I had written years ago had made it into a book! I'm sure the company I worked for at the time got something, but none of it sure hasn't come my way. Not even a heads up. 

I guess I should count myself fortunate that they at least gave me credit.

Back off the soapbox (I PROMISE!),

Cheryl

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susie b   

I am also a professional writer who has been plagiarized, and I mean copy & paste... layout, font, every word.

On one hand I guess I am flattered, because the plagiarist has more confidence in my skills than his own, but I do get angry.  I adhere to my good old fashioned honor code...do your own work.

I also have a great intellectual property attorney!

Yes, the world of publication has changed since I started over 30 years ago, but that doesn't give someone the right to steal another's work. He could go to the library or even YouTube.  I won't give him the easy way out at the expense of another artist.

I have too many friends in the music industry who also have bills to pay & families to support.

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LC   

Really great thread, and so many good points — thank you AnneNR. The state of the world is that the Internet and electronic media have made almost everything that's created — "content," as the industry calls it — free or almost free. It's tough for rock artists to emerge, as Gene Simmons said, and as Eric Carmen himself points out here, it spreads way beyond rock and into all genres of music.

The same is true for writers, editors, photographers, filmmakers, and other creators of "content." Whatever you may have studied, been trained in, practiced, perfected (or almost perfected), you aren't finding it easy to get paid fairly (or at all) for your stuff. Photography — man, photographers are getting ripped off all the time and their photos re-used and posted without even an attempt to find out who owns the rights. Writers find that websites generally don't pay, no matter your credentials. In the place of educated, experienced writers are bloggers who cop and "sample" and recast all kinds of written material as their own.

Well, the world expects content for free, whether it's music, writing, photography, art.... If it's not free, we keep searching until we find a reasonable facsimile for free. 

So it's the same with music. Streaming and youtubeing and downloads for free... if I were a songwriter they'd be the death of me! Piracy is rampant.... And one intelligent voice in fighting piracy is Rosanne Cash. She has posted a number of things on Facebook about piracy and is always very eloquent in outlining the issue. A music blogger recently took her to task (it made me wonder if he's getting a Pandora kickback! :-). In a someone tepid argument, he made the mistake of calling Rosanne a "little girl." Bad move. Rosanne pushed back — very effectively — with the following open letter. It's long, but if you love music and are interested in the plight of the songwriter and musician, take the time to read it.

First, I'll highlight a couple of points:

1) Remember on p. 1 of this thread when Eric Carmen pointed out that Pandora's boss took home a paycheck of $29 million last year? Rosanne cited that figure and noted that it was just in stock options — and that the figure was more than Pandora paid to all American songwriters combined! Ouch!

2) As Gene and Eric have both said, Rosanne points out that because of what's happening today, the future is bleak. "I'm not worried about me," she wrote. "I'm worried about the entire next generation of songwriters and musicians who are dispirited and feel completely devalued and who give up their dreams in order to earn a decent paycheck. 

Anyway, read on.... 

An Open Letter to Bruce Houghton at Hypebot:

Dear Mr. Houghton,

I will refrain from addressing you as a "little boy" even though you referred to me as a "little girl" in your recent column.

I understood that we disagreed on issues concerning streaming and fair compensation for musicians and songwriters, but I must say you lost all credibility with me when you stooped to that breathtakingly sexist insult. (You also misspelled my name in the subtitle of your article, which doesn't inspire confidence in your research skills.)

Setting your lapses of courtesy and spelling aside, I welcome the opportunity to respond and to state my position on artists' rights for your readers. I first want to clarify that I am not unhappy with my audience, nor do I criticize them in any way. I treasure them. I criticize the corporations that profit from the music without paying for it properly—and improper payment runs the gamut from ridiculous underpayment to downright theft.

I have no problem with technology. My issues are with businesses that use my work—and the work of all musicians and songwriters—and don't pay for it. The CEO of Pandora took home more in stock options in 2013—$29,167,388—than it paid in that year to all American songwriters combined.


Total revenues from the US record industry have fallen from $14.6 to 7 billion in the last fifteen years, which is a decline of 52 per cent. Amidst this economic Depression for an industry that provides the primary investment and promotion for new talent, music is being treated as a "loss leader" to attract advertising, venture capital funding, and speculative stock sales for the likes of Pandora, Spotify and Google/ YouTube (and even terrestrial radio—in no other profession or industry in America can you make free use of a person's copyright as bait for your own financial gain.)

Of course, I do receive compensation for sales of my albums on iTunes and from brick-and-mortar stores, as one reader commented, but artists are entitled to be paid fairly on all platforms, not just iTunes and record stores. This isn't about artists deserving huge riches, but the principle of getting a fair cut when our work is being used for obviously commercial purposes. Many musicians are struggling desperately to stay afloat. This is particularly true for non-performing songwriters, who cannot compensate for the loss of income in royalties by touring. 

The fact that the major labels are complicit in profiting from streaming outlets, as also mentioned in the comments section, is indeed true. Perhaps the $104 I received for 600,000 streams in an 18-month period might have been more if I were on an indie label instead of a major—perhaps even ten times more. But you must see that even the higher (in theory) indie rate is still unsustainable, and the major/indie discussion is a red herring—”it does not address the most basic problem, which is that the tech companies are making billions by using our music and musicians are being forced out of the business.

I ask the fans directly to think about this: the next time you download music, ask yourself who is getting paid: the tech corporation, or the artist? Who is liable for infringement: the corporation, or you, the consumer? How is it that multi-billion dollar corporations have managed to pull off this sleight of hand for so long, to indemnify themselves against the artist and the consumer by creating a system that rakes in billions for themselves and mocks and manipulates both artist and user?

I'm not worried about me. I'm worried about the entire next generation of songwriters and musicians who are dispirited and feel completely devalued and who give up their dreams in order to earn a decent paycheck. For every Mick Jagger, there are 10,000 in the trenches who feel they are no longer valued members of society because people who will pay ten bucks for a cappuccino and a muffin will not pay the same amount to buy an album of original music that an artist may have put years of heart and sweat into making. 

Many members of Congress are aware of the potentially catastrophic situation for creators and are studying the landscape to better understand the situation and make it work for artists. Bills have already been introduced to remedy some of the most egregious injustices (
https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/4772).

The music business, that not-so-long ago sustained the careers of artists at all levels, is in danger of collapse. I have faith that at some point, the current models will be revised so that the streaming and tech companies which profit from our work realize that they will put themselves out of business if they don't fairly compensate the creators they use for their gain. Then again, I may be giving them too much credit. As in the case of the CEO of Pandora, an unprofitable company, they might be more interested in cashing out millions in future stock options than in building sustainable businesses that benefit artists on the ground. 

In the meantime, legions of songwriters and musicians will divert or abandon their creative work in order to find better ways to feed their families, and that is a "loss leader" that history will never replace.

Sincerely, 

Rosanne Cash
New York City
October 9, 2014

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Wow!  I'm being more of an observer and absorber today, reading all of these great posts.  It kills me that creativity and creative genius is being suffocated and is being reduced to the fraudulent term of  "content."  :dry:

I'm also reeling from the idea that anyone would call the daughter of the great Johnny Cash, a "little girl." 

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AnneNR   

Personally, it seems to me that as long as the technology can be used unfavorably with regards to the artist(s) and their music, a push to revive purchasing "solid" forms of their work, like the revival of vinyl box sets and LPs I see in the local stores, or on compact discs whose purchases have a better chance of being tracked and quantified for calculation of proper royalty proportions to the artist(s) with a fair share to the business side for materials, time, and other creative efforts involved in manufacturing these medias --- deep breath, that was a mouthful --- I will never be a party to the downloading system.

Is this inconvenient?  Absolutely --- it means we will have to get up off our asses and go into a music selling/trading or buying establishment --- or log on to a reputable website and wait for the mail to be delivered --- to get a physical, solid media of some sort to have those songs and albums of artist(s) we wish to collect.  Sometimes, for the sake of ethical behavior and fairness, one must forego some modern "conveniences". 

But additionally, I ask you --- Are not the artist(s) worth this effort if it means giving up a little convenience in order to do right by them until things change?  I say YES --- in my very unhumble opinion !!

AnneNR

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susie b   

Hi LC,

Wow!  Such a great post!

Ms. Cash is such an articulate & talented woman.

Today, I noticed that she was being honored by the Smithsonian for her achievements.

She will be remembered!

The blogger had his 15 minutes of fame by taking his pathetic cheap shot and will soon fade into oblivion with the rest of the no talent hacks who clog the www with their drivel.

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LC: That was WONDERFUL! Bravo to Ms. Cash!

Little girl, indeed. :rolleyes:

A guy recently stopped by the office. "Do I have to buy the whole paper if I want the obit page?" he asked.

I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. Do you think he'd go into Walgreens and ask, "Do I have to buy the whole bottle if I want only two aspirin?"

Cheryl

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James   

Well, it appears to be a convention of professional writers on this thread !...good stuff.  Wud up LC!... great to see you posting. 

Anyway, I agree completely with the main point everyone is espousing:  that artists deserve to earn money from their work, big money if possible, and that they should have the right to control the rights to their work....and that the majority of us who think we are entitled to enjoy the fruits of these artists' talent for free are wrong about this.

Having said that I will be a bit of a contrarion here.

First regarding Ms. Cash, as I get older I have less time (zero time) for bs. I probably need to be more patient but I am who I am. She lost me early on in her piece and I had to stop reading. She showed me she lacked the guts needed to deal with stuff straight forward and honestly, and showed me she was quite willing to resort to pandering to pc. 

As soon as I saw where she labeled the dude who called her "little girl" a sexist I knew I might not finish her piece. Would we classify a female who blogged against Enrique Iglesias, calling him "little boy", a sexist? Answer: no. The female calling Enrique Iglesias a "little boy" would just be a nasty person. As is this guy who referred to Roseanne Cash as a little girl. He's a nasty person, a jerk. Not a sexist. But she took the easy rode labelling him a sexist because that is what gets traction these days in the diseased societal pc mindset of today's United States of America. One thing refreshing about living in the 3rd World is there is no pc. People feel free to speak honestly. I'll likely write on that some more later on. 

For now I'll make one last  point re: Ms. Cash - she lost me completely when she started blasting the corporations and left out we the consumers who cheat artists all the time. By doing this she showed a lack of guts, she showed a penchant to pander to the masses and what is an acceptable pc position. This is where she completely lost me and I quit reading.  I (Señor Impatient) have no time for less than 100% objectivity and truth, so I had no more time for her. If you want to convince me, tell the truth, the whole truth...or at least try.

Second, re:  Pandora.  I don't agree with the trashing of this product. Pandora has done a great job bringing something we need and want to us music listeners. It is a great vehicle through which to listen to music. And even better, it's the best way I have ever experienced to discover new music. And to boot Pandora promotes those artists whose music Pandora chooses to play. To a degree Pandora can hurt an artist, I get this, but it seems to me on balance the artist wins because Pandora exists. Everybody wins. If the CEO makes a zillion, more power to him. Money is a good thing. 

To your points - if the artist is not getting a fair cut, I don't think it's Pandora's fault. I'm sure Pandora is paying what it is legally obligated to pay for the right to play the songs it plays. If there is a villain with regards to why the artists are not getting a fair cut, the villain I would think is those persons who negotiated on behalf of the artist, or the artist him/herself. Or another culprit may be the legal system undergirding all this music royalty stuff. If the legal system begets unfairness, then work to change the law. I don't see where Pandora deserves being demonized.

 I'm no expert, far from it, but this is how I see it from a layman's point of view.

Though someone once did refer to me as  "Señor Know-IT-All"...I wonder if that was a compliment???

:)

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Simply because you've found a legal loophole (or 10) doesn't make it right, though.

Pandora wouldn't exist without the artists and songwriters who provide its product. Who'd listen if it was strictly commercials? 

I'm not saying give away the store. But for goodness sakes, $39 for six months' streaming of "ABM"? That's asinine — and an insult. 

Cheryl

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LC   

Susie, Cayenne, Cheryl: I'm not a big country music fan, but I like some... and I love Rosanne Cash. I dug her right from the start, after hearing "Seven Year Ache" back when I was in college. I've followed her career, and she's done some truly great records (my favorites being "Runaway Train" and "Dance with the Tiger," both written by John Stewart). I love seeing Rosanne dig in and speak up. Follow her on Facebook (if you don't already) and you'll see what I mean --- she's getting the word out and making a lot of people understand what's going on... and what's at stake.

James, I'm thinking you shouldn't have let Rosanne's use of the word "sexist" get you worked up, because in doing so, you missed her point. More on that in a minute. First, let's look at the aside of "sexism." I respectfully disagree with your comment that the obscure blogger was not being sexist when he dismissed Rosanne as a "little girl." Of course it's sexist --- it implies a lot more than if he had just said she was "Johnny Cash's kid." He might have just called her "naive" or "inexperienced" but he instead used "little girl" in a condescending way. I agree with you that said blogger is nasty and that he's a jerk, but IMHO, he came off as chauvinistic, too. (Heck, I grew up with four sisters and I have two daughters, so I'm sensitive to what is and what isn't sexism.... again, IMHO, of course.)

Anyway, that aside, er, aside, here's what makes me think you missed Rosanne's larger issue: when you said she pandered to the masses. No way. She's just (correctly) pointing out the root of the problem --- not the great unwashed, but the corporations that make tons of dough (typically by advertising and other sorts of marketing revenue) by peddling music to us without carving out reasonable payment for the artists. 

You can't really expect her or any artist to demand that people stop downloading free tunes, can you? That would be an endless and futile chore. It would be like the FDA demanding that people just STOP eating 850-calorie Big Macs — as opposed to forcing fast-food restaurants to list the calories of each of its menu items. You have to go to the source.

You might have missed this, James, if you stopped at "sexist," so I'll cut and paste a key passage in Rosanne Cash's letter: 

Many members of Congress are aware of the potentially catastrophic situation for creators and are studying the landscape to better understand the situation and make it work for artists. Bills have already been introduced to remedy some of the most egregious injustices.

The music business, which not-so-long ago sustained the careers of artists at all levels, is in danger of collapse. I have faith that at some point, the current models will be revised so that the streaming and tech companies that profit from our work realize that they will put themselves out of business if they don't fairly compensate the creators they use for their gain. Then again, I may be giving them too much credit. As in the case of the CEO of Pandora, an unprofitable company, they might be more interested in cashing out millions in future stock options than in building sustainable businesses that benefit artists on the ground. 

See what a critical point that is? She's not suggesting Pandora and others get run out of business. She's saying the industry needs a new model for distributing music from maker to listener — a model that serves up an equitable slice of pie (as opposed to a few leftover crumbs) to deserving artists.

It would mean that Pandora's head honcho might get, say, "only" a $2.9 million bonus instead of $29 million. But what's fair is fair. The way it is now is just appalling, don't you think? 

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Think the masses at this point are the downloading freeloaders. Rosanne wasn't pandering to them and why not call her Rosanne instead of little girl? The blogger did mean to denigrate her statements by calling the woman something which he hoped would make her feel small in in her ability to argue her points.

The artist should remain at the top $-wise for their special talents and not be turned into a money maker for everyone around them.

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Exactly. I could almost see the smirk behind "little girl." He meant for it to demean.

Name calling weakens an argument or debate, in my opinion. Stay on point — or move on. 

Cheryl

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James   

You guys all make mostly good points, IMHO.  You are right on your main points.

I tend to see a bigger picture in everything and this makes me sometimes tangent off a little. Political correctness and unfair attacks on big business/corporations are destroying the U.S.  I won't get into detail now, but the collective mindset in the U.S. cowers to pc and on a million levels this is destroying our nation.  I see this very clearly so I'm more sensitive to pc bs than most.

And the unfair attacks by government, environmentalists etc. on the productive entities (corporations, foreign bank account holders etc) is driving these productive forces out of the U.S. and at the same time working to crush those Americans living abroad who are trying to do some good in other parts of the world. This is all working to chip out the bricks that were used to construct our nation.

I knew all this when living in the U.S. But this diseased pc thinking (and its consequences) and the assault on the productive forces has become more clear as I have viewed the U.S. mental landscape from afar for the past 2 years. (to be fair I also have learned to appreciate the U.S. more as I have learned why the 3rd World is the 3rd World...that's another story I will tell later).

Anyway, our nation (U.S.A.)  is dying. On our watch. And I care. This is why I go off on these tangents. 

You guys' fundamental points are right on though. I'm with you guys there. 

It's good to see some really good intelligent and thoughtful discussions here.

A great Saturday to you guys!..

James

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James   

Last point and I will stop. 

As bad as the U.S. government is, I think most governments across the world are worse. This presents a difficult situation for those who still lust for freedom with the purity of a child's mind. It's difficult for those who are still in touch with their rights to live as adults, make their own decisions, keep most of their own earnings, do good for the world directly as opposed to being forced to "to good" for the world by having a gun pointed to your head and be told you have to pay a massive portion of your earnings to a corrupt entity (government), etc etc.

There is no more open land to pioneer and settle, at least that I know of.  But something has to give. I see a revolution down the road (on behalf of those who have a passion for individual liberty)...or if no revolution, I see a fundamental imprisonment of the human race in the years to come as we continue to cede our lives, decisions etc. over to our governments. The trend here is clear.

Revolution is the better option. I think we have more to revolt against than did George Washington, John Adams etc back in the day.  

People will think I'm crazy because people are numb to how much freedom and sovereignty over their lives they have ceded away. People are numb because it has happened slowly and for "high minded reasons". But this cession has occurred and is under way as we speak.

I'm a very young 55. So (God willing) I have time to fight back. And I am and I will. Not for me, but for those who will be born in the years to come - those who our generation has screwed so far,- those who deserve at least as good a nation as we were born into.

TO BE CONTINUED...

:)

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