AN ENEMY OF THE STATE

Disagreement yet swirls about whether Edward Snowden is a hero or traitor.  The government, however, has no doubt.  The government has branded him a pariah to be hunted down as an enemy of the State. 

AN ENEMY OF THE STATE
(To the tune of, “The Gentleman is a Dope,” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II from Broadway musical Allegro (1947))

An enemy of the State
You dread being known
They’ll hunt you down, and when you’re found
They’ll end you with a drone
An enemy of the State
Can never feel free
You’re looking over your shoulder
They’ve made you an enemy

An enemy of the State.
Can run but can’t hide.
The CIA and NSA
Have tentacles too wide.
An enemy of the State.
Surely will agree
“You fear the dark of the shadows”
They’ve made you an enemy

And now you’re a lonely stranger
Driven to foreign shores
And who’s branded you a danger?
Bureaucrats behind secret doors

An enemy of the State
Has not too long to live
The CIA and NSA
Are not prone to forgive
An enemy of the State
Fears every one he’ll see
You’re paranoid for good reasons
They’ve made you an enemy.

Lyric © 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

WHO’LL JUDGE THE JUDGES?

A controversial decision by conservative judges on the DC Court of Appeals regarding the subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act has reignited the debate whether judges these days base decisions on the law or justify their personal biases with the law.

WHO’LL JUDGE THE JUDGES?
(To tune of “Whom Can I Turn To,” by Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley (1964))

Who’ll judge the judges?
When politics moves them.
Who render decisions,
Make unwise revisions.
That no law behooves them.

With no laws that bind them.
Big money behind them.
They’ll make up the rules.
A country of fools,
Will laugh and not mind them

Those artful opinions
That favor the wealthy.
The rich earn a buffer.
The poor only suffer.
How can that be healthy?

With them we’re in trouble.
With them dreams are passé.
And who’ll judge the judges?
When they judge that way.

Lyric © 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

LET THEM STAY

Over 50,000 young unaccompanied children seeking to enter the U.S. without papers have been detained on the Texas border.  Few Americans appreciate the complexity of the situation or that U.S. policies toward Central America are largely the cause.   The children are fleeing a lawlessness and gang violence in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.  The threats to their safety are real but so is the reality that many come believing they will be permitted to remain in the U.S. due to a law enacted to combat trafficking in people.  On one side of the argument are those screaming “Send them home;” and, on the other side are those pleading “Let them stay.”  I choose the latter side because speeding up deportations would establish a bad precedent in denying them hearing rights and because we are the last refuge for these young “huddled masses.”  The numbers of children sound large but in actuality are a pebble in the stream of our over 300 million. The real questions:  Do we want to be moved by fear and hate or by compassion?  Shall we live up to the promise of our beginning and ideals or succumb to a baser emotion that pulls us downward into a spiral of falling short.

 

LET THEM STAY

(To tune of “Bring Him Home,” by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer (English Lyrics) from Broadway Musical Les Miserables)
U.S.A.
Keep them here.
In the past
We have always been there.

They are young.
They’re afraid.
Hearts turned brave
For the trip they have made.

Desperate times
On the run.
Don’t send them home
To the law of a gun.

Let them stay.
Let them stay.
Let them stay.

To show compassion isn’t wrong.
We can be kind and still be strong.

What they’ve seen
They’ve endured.
Fragile hopes
On our doorstep are poured.

Show them love.
Resist hate.
Look at them.
Do they threaten our state?

They’re just kids
Like our own.
Tired and hungry
Scared and alone.

Some have died
on the way.
All have cried.
Let them stay.

Who we are
Show the world.
We still care
For each boy and each girl.

Let them stay.
Let them stay.
Let them stay.

Lyric © 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg,
Esquire All rights reserved

LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF – 2014

Pat Buchanon recently said that immigration could split the USA into two countries.  Immigration is but one of many issues that spark partisan outbursts that grow increasingly strident.

LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF
(To tune of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” by George and Ira Gershwin)

Intro
Things have come to a great impasse
And the blame flies “tit for tat”
The Republicans want one thing
But the Democrats don’t want that
Oh I fear a sad end we’ll see
Will democracy fall flat?
This great nation born, no longer one
Something must be done.

Verses
You’d cut spending, with budget axes
I’d trim spending, and edge up taxes
Spending, taxes, budget axes
Let’s call whole thing off

I say public, and you say private
You’d kill health care, and I’d revive it
Public, private, kill re-vive it
Let’s call the whole thing off

Bridge
But oh, if we call the whole thing off
Then we might start to think
And oh, given proper thought
We might do what we ought

Verse
Cut big spending, and raise some taxes
Stop pretending, to grind no axes
Feed-up, knowing
To hell the country’s going,
The people call the politics off
Let’s call the whole thing off

Additional verse
You’re against, Latin immigration
I say immigrants, build a nation
Immigration, build a nation
Let’s call the whole thing off

Bridge 2
For oh, lest we call the whole thing off
We might just fall apart
And oh, if we fell apart
Well that would break my heart

For this nation’ founders, were wise and dreamers
But their dream flounders, when used by schemers
Fed up, knowing, to hell the country’s going
People call the politics off
Let’s call the whole thing off

Lyric: © 2011, 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg
All rights reserved

 

OBAMA, WHY’D YOU GIVE US HOPE?

The inauguration of President Obama spawned magic inspiration.  He’d promised hope.  His re-election after the Great Recession renewed that promise. Perhaps in his second term things would be different.  Perhaps the Republicans and Democrats would cooperate on the business of governing.  But the GOP has remained entrenched in its take-no-prisoners strategy of destroying the Obama presidency.   And, the President prefers to stay out of the trenches and seems at times rather aloof.  Congressional Democrats facing mid-term elections are worried about their own seats and are want to take risks for the administration’s legislative agenda.  Sadly, no one is terribly surprised by the continuous stalemate.  More sadly, great hope has turned to cruel disappointment.

OBAMA, WHY’D YOU GIVE US HOPE?
(To tune of, “I’ve Got Your Love to Keep me Warm,” by Irving Berlin)

My brain’s exploding.
Blind trust eroding.
These days I feel just like a dope.
Why, you might ask, I feel like a dope?
Obama, why’d you give us hope?

The blame is flying.
The facts they’re frying.
And I just sit around and mope.
Why, you might ask do I sit and mope?
Obama, why’d you give us hope?

Congress is partisan.
A fool would see.
No naïve artisan,
Can change DC

The sabotaging.
The truth massaging.
Anticipating this year’s vote.
Why, you might ask, should I even vote?
Before he won, we’d learned to cope.
Obama, why’d you give us hope?

 

Lyric © 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

FEATHER THEME

Of late, the news we hear or read seems only about mindless violence, ignorant hatred and uncaring inaction.  Wanting and needing a reprieve from the depressing madness, I diverge from satire and parody and post a lighthearted lyric of life and love.

The movie Forrest Gump begins and ends with Forrest (Tom Hanks) sitting on a bench as a feather drifts around him, down and up, sideways and down and up again.  Jay Silvestri’s wonderfully lyric and whimsical “Feather Theme” is heard.

Life is like a feather on the breeze;  we never know where it will lead.  What we do know is that offering and receiving love is what gives the journey meaning.

FEATHER THEME
(To the tune of “Feather Theme,” From 1994 film, “Forrest Gump,” by Alan Silvestri)

Life can be free and light, a feather,
Floating on velvet air.
Life seems about to settle down, and,
Then it skips off somewhere.
Life is A Chekov play, a farce,
A tango with de-je-vu.
Life is each precious day I spend with you.

Anywhere life can lead, we’ll follow.
Mystery has its charms.
Anytime I feel lost, you’ll be there,
Guiding me to your arms.
I’m not a smart man, but I know,
What everyone surely knows-
Life is feather, tickling your toes. 

Lyric Copyright 2009 By Robert s. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

 

I AM AN AMERICAN – 2014

Let’s celebrate on the anniversary of our independence what we have in common instead of deprecating one another for our perceived differences.  Happy Independence Day!

Verses:
I am an American
And proud to say
I live in America
In the U.S. of A

My heart beats American
Courageous and free
I’m a living testament
To the best
That America can be

Bridge:
Some thought our dream wouldn’t last
But the torch, once lit, has passed
(Has and passed)

Verse:
I am an American
One limb of the tree
Ever mindful I’m blessed
Up to any test,
An American
That’s me

Refrain:
Big-hearted America
We share one destiny
Ever mindful we’re blessed
Up to any test
All Americans, All Americans
All Americans
Are we

© 2012, 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

CORPORATE PEOPLE – 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has again granted corporations constitutional rights many thought were available only to individuals.  First Freedom of Speech to Super-Pacs that they might buy elections; and, now Freedom of Religion to closely held corporations that they may deny health care contraception coverage to employees.  But, we know that corporations are not people. Corporations are not born; they are organized to make a buck.   Corporations are mercenary.  They have one religion – the bottom line.  That our highest court is willing to put corporate existence on a level with personal existence is sad commentary on our culture. If the corporate board-rooms had their way, child labor would still be permitted.  Yet our highest court has now endowed these mock creatures of capital with human concerns about religious freedom and political expression that must be protected.  But, who will protect us from these corporations?

CORPORATE PEOPLE – 2014
(To tune of “People,” by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, from 1964 Broadway show “Funny Girl”)

People
Corporation people
Aren’t people like we know
In the world
Call them persons
Artificial persons
They don’t feel what we feel inside
Are moved by net profit’s tide
Like machines, not people
Real people

Workers
Are very handy people
Corporate people use workers
In their world
There were children
Our very precious children
Working long after light
Yet working late into night
For pennies paid to enslave

Until some brave people
Who were people
Ordinary people
Told those non-people people,
“Not in our world!”

Lyric ©  2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved