CLOSE FOR REPAIRS

The Miami Herald reported Sunday, May 27, 2013 that former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said, “The current GOP ought to be ‘closed for repairs, because it lacks a vision and is unable to strike deals with Democrats.”

CLOSE FOR REPAIRS
(To the tune of “Time After Time, by Sammy Cahn and Julie Styne)

Close for repairs,
Republicans please stop
Your show’s received a flop
Review

And even Bob Dole
Declares you’ve dug a hole
Ronnie Reagan couldn’t save
This crew

It almost bores me to tears
But don’t you hear the jeers?
Obstruction is no point of view

So close for repairs
We’re tired of splitting hairs
We need a government,
Not you.

Refrain:

Yes, close for repairs
And take one-hundred years
Without your tripe we’ll muddle
Through. 

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

WHEN WAR WAS WAR

Most celebrated another memorial day by shopping.  This post deals with the ambiguity and technology of present war.  It should not be read to deprecate by any measure our current men and women in arms for whom I hold the deepest respect and admiration.  Technology makes war too antiseptic.  Non-state foes, asymmetrical insurgencies and the absence of a direct existential threat to our survival, make doubtful the logic for military intervention.  War itself has always been brutal, immoral and in most instances folly.  The Geneva Conventions serve to legitimize war by imposing rules as if it war were a cricket match.  You cannot civilize with rules what is essentially bestial.   The Nazis gave us no choice.  War was war then because the necessity was clear and the battle symmetrical, large armies facing large armies.  Not so in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan where it often has been difficult to distinguish civilians from combatants.    

 WHEN WAR WAS WAR
(To tune of “Where or When” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart)

There was another time when we were sure
When soldiers wore uniforms of gray or green
The enemy was near and seen
When war was war

Now drones hunt terrorists on sea and shore
Remotely eliminated on a screen
The killing wasn’t neat or clean
When war was war

Back then the wide world was in conflict
We knew what we were fighting for

 The honest carnage when men stormed a beach
Into the breach,
A hero each,
We were, when war was war

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

APPLE’S EATING THE WHOLE APPLE PIE

Apple is once again under scrutiny for its aggressive use of tax strategies that lower or eliminate U.S. taxes on billions of dollars in overseas earnings.  Previously, its use of Nevada as a tax home was noted for its effectiveness in reducing state income taxes.  A Dutch-Irish sandwich is a tax strategy employing companies from those countries. I am re-publishing this post which first appeared in April of 2012.

APPLE’S EATING THE WHOLE APPLE PIE*
(To tune of “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy,” by Rogers and Hammerstein, from Broadway Musical show “South Pacific)

Hold your scorn, it is perfectly legal
Lowering taxes to keep profits high
Isn’t it part, of our system and smart?
Apple’s eating the whole apple pie

Who has headquarters in Cupertino?
Yet Reno’s its tax home and I’ll tell you why
Nevada’s a state, with a zero tax rate
Apple’s eating the whole apple pie

Why pay taxes like Wal-Mart or Sachs is?
Grand stores housing products to sell
With a royalty, customers loyally buy
And from where who can tell

Dodging tax with a Dutch-Irish Sandwich
That is a plan which is cleverly sly
Some say its wrong, not the greedy and strong
Apple’s eating the whole apple
Eating the whole apple
Eating the whole apple pie

Lyric © 2012 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

* This parody song lyric comments on certain aspects of our corporate tax system that have been the subject of much legitimate debate. It should not to be construed as a reflecting the writer’s views on Apple or as an indictment of Apple’s tax strategies.  Apple is an outstanding American company that pays a large amount of taxes and employs legal means to lover effective tax rates on its profits.  The question is not whether Apple has done anything wrong, it has not, but whether our tax system should permit these complex corporate tax deferral strategies.

A COUNTRY SHORT OF TOILET PAPER

Things are pretty bad in Venezuela these days.  The currency is in the tank and price controls make many necessities of life scarce.  But, the latest shortage threatens the social fabric of a civil society itself.

A COUNTRY SHORT OF TOILET PAPER
(To tune of “There’s a Small Hotel,” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart)

People stand in queue
For sheets, one or two
In a country short of toilet paper

You can’t find those rolls
Due to price controls
A silly socialistic caper

First they found no coffee
Then no butter, then no pure milk
As for el presidente,
He wipes, with silk

No one will shake your hand
When you leave the can
In a country short of toilet paper

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

ISN’T THIS JUST LOVELY?

ISN’T THIS JUST LOVELY?
(To tune of “Wouldn’t it be Loverly,” by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe from 1956 Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.”

What a mess at the IRS
They’ve been naughty and have confessed
Tea Party applications stressed
Oh, isn’t this just lovely?

Who will get to be tax-exempt?
Made political, how unkempt
Have they been smoking hemp?
Oh, isn’t this just lovely?

Oh so lovely, they’ve been targeting conservatives
For special scrutiny, we ask,
“Commissioner, hey, what gives?

Lots of flack from the Senate boys
House of Reps making lots of noise
Caught playing with Nixon toys
Oh, isn’t this just lovely?
Lovely, Lovely, Lovely!

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

TAUGHT TO BUY

This post was derived from  a phrase in “The Call of the Toad,” in which novelist Gunter Grass writes of “succumbing compulsively, as it were, to the principle of capitalist accumulation.”  Consumers swarm the malls like locusts buying up everything in sight, mostly stuff they don’t need.  The buying frenzy creates jobs; the jobs beget more consumers; who, in turn, buy more stuff they don’t need – none of this activity adding to happiness or enriching existence in any meaningful way – simply an endless cycle of consumption.  Should we not ask ourselves, to what purpose a life, to seek vibrancy in what is high and noble, or to sleep-walk through our consuming diversion? 

TAUGHT TO BUY
(To tune of, “Who Will Buy?”  by Lionel Bart, from musical show, “Oliver”)

What I buy
Hangs in my closet
Why I buy?
I don’t know why
I have eyes
I see and I want it
I’m a creature
Taught to buy

I get high
Wanting new fashions
Firms supply
Knowing my need
Won’t deny
These insecure passions
We’re a culture
Built on greed

Yet this consuming weaves no pleasure
Leaves me always lonely here
With what I’ve lugged home as a treasure
That I will throw away next year

What I buy
Dangles on my wrist
No alibis
Won’t try to resist
Spend don’t save
The board-rooms encourage
Like a slave who’s
Soul has died,
Lives a creature
Taught to buy

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved