WHEN THE POLICE BUY TANKS

The nation was shocked when police in Ferguson Missouri faced protestors in a military armored vehicle.  I was reminded of Tiananmen Square.  While not a tank, the protestors perceived the war machine as the equivalent of one.  The action has raised questions about a federal program that enables state and local police departments to acquire surplus military gear such as Bear Cat Armored Personnel Carriers and grenade launchers.  The militarization of police reaches absurd disproportion when a Florida town of 2,500 residents acquires a Bear Cat.  Is a terrorist attack likely in such a small town? The police war mentality makes citizens feel less, not more safe and erodes the trust of citizens in police officers who are expected to keep the peace, not breach the peace.  This parody song lyric is not intended to disparage the difficult job that police face today but to suggest that the justification for militarization of police, stopping drug traffickers and terrorists, in the case of most cities, has been stretched mighty thin.

WHEN THE POLICE BUY TANKS
(To the tune of “When the Sun Comes Out,” by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler” (1941))

When the police buy tanks,
When they come in Bear Cats to arrest.
When the police close ranks
like a military arm.
Are the people safe from harm?

Keep the peace, make war?
Why the deadly new gear?  What for?
In the summer heat,
if you’re black and wear a hood,
they’ll assume that you’re no good.
Safe to walk the beat? No thanks!
Not when the police buy tanks.

When it’s us and them.
Watch the tinderbox combust.
When it’s all mistrust,
with that war mentality,
we become the enemy.
Safe to walk the beat?  No thanks!
Not when the police buy tanks.

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

THEY’VE CLOSED MCDONALD’S

Russian authorities have closed all of Moscow’s McDonald’s restaurants.  The closures are allegedly over sanitary violations but few doubt they were for political reasons.

THEY’VE CLOSED MCDONALD’S
(To the tune of “We’re in the Money,” by Harry Warren & Al Dubin, from the film “Gold Diggers of 1933”)

They’ve closed McDonald’s.
They’ve closed McDonald’s.
That fellow Putin
feels like tootin’ his horn.

We level sanctions.
They’ll treble sanctions.
Feels like an old war.
Has that cold war been reborn?

Things happen and they do change.
In the Ukraine, a war.
Call Russia an invader.
But who made those maps they’ll soon redraw?

They’ve closed McDonald’s.
Moscow’s McDonald’s.
No Russian’s eatin’
U.S. meat in that town.

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

WHEN LITIGANTS OWN THE JUDGE

The Miami Herald reported on August 20, 2014 that an insurance company through its political committee has spent over $227,000 supporting the reelection of two Circuit Court judges before which the carrier may appear on cases it regularly defends.  Spokesman for the insurer insist the political spending is legal and it may be.  But, is it appropriate?  Judges are under ethical constraints to avoid even the hint of impropriety.  There seems to be an obvious conflict, created by a judge receiving such substantial re-election support from a likely litigant.

WHEN LITIGANTS OWN THE JUDGE
(To the tune of “The Gentlemen is a Dope,” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II)

When litigants own the judge
It’s influence they buy
Opponents cry, and by and by,
They’ll get hung out to dry.
When litigants own the judge
It’s not even discrete
They’ll tell you it’s perfectly legal
As legal as selling bad meat

When Litigants own the judge
Say of relief they’ve sought
“Decision’s fine, the judge is mine
The order’s paid for, bought”
When litigants own the judge
What will you get at trial?
A play without any rehearsals
The ones in the know will smile.

Have we become like the junta?
Corruption’s so plain and bold?
Our courts like a streetwise Punta?
All favors are bought and sold?

When litigants own the judge
Decisions feel so raw
The judge will rule, and like a fool
You’ll think it’s on the law
When litigants own the judge
Justice is a lie
They’ll be only happy decisions
The best ones that money can buy

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

WAR IN THE DESERT

WAR IN THE DESERT
(To the tune of, “A Horse with No Name,” by Dewey Bunnell,, recorded by America in 1971)

The first time in the desert
We were eager to save Kuwait
From the clutches of a madman
Cause they had oil in that state
So we rolled some tanks and we dropped some bombs
And we chased him back to Bagdad
Then Papa Bush said, “Let’s go home.
Cause we’ve done enough to that cad”

First we went to the desert in defense of Kuwait
Cause they had oil in that state
When we went there, there wasn’t debate
For Saddam was someone, we could all hate

But war begets only war (To: la, la, la, la, la, la)
Of that you can be sure
A fool once said there would never be more
So they wrote,  Mr. President” on his door

The second time in the desert
We were chasing the Taliban
Cause they’d let Osama bin Laden train there
And he was a nasty man
So the CIA rode horses around
Nation building for miles and miles
But as always, our soldiers left town
Now the Taliban are all smiles

So we went to the desert in Afghanistan
|To get rid of the Taliban
And to the mountains that border Iran
Cause that’s where 9/11 began

But war begets only war
Of that you can be sure
A fool once said there would never be more
So they wrote “Mr. President” on his door

The third time in the desert
We were looking for weapons they had
Cheney said those evil weapons were there
So we fought our way to Bagdad
But the son of Bush wasn’t up to par
Wasn’t quite up to his dad
And bravado outpaced wisdom there
Only Halliburton felt glad

So we went to the desert once more in Iraq
Searching for a weapons stack
But those weapons were a desert mirage
A ruse made up for camouflage.

And war begets only war
Of that you can be sure
A fool once said there would never be more
So they wrote, “Mr. President” on his door

And this time in the desert
We’re back on the attack
Bombing ISIS weapons we’d left
To resuscitate Iraq
But Iraq never was a state
Just lines drawn in the sand
By the allies after WW I
But the Arabs never bought their plan

So we’re back in the desert, back in sandy Iraq
Like moths drawn to a flame
Into the desert, we’ll always go back
How to stay out of war? We haven’t the knack

And war begets only war
Of that you can be sure
A fool once said there would never be more
So they wrote “Mr. President” on his door.

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

SHOPPING FOR TAX RATES

The corporate rage these days is corporate inversions.  A U.S. Corporation merges with a foreign corp. to obtain the foreign jurisdiction’s lower tax rates.  The merger, in which the U.S. Corporation becomes the surviving entity, is tax-free at the corporate level.  But the U.S. shareholders, who receive no cash on the merger, still must pay tax. The U.S. Corporation’s defend these moves by claiming they need to lower effective tax rates to be more competitive in the global marketplace.  Yet, U.S. stock markets have reached record levels.  So then, what is the real reason for the stampede to escape U.S. tax?

SHOPPING FOR TAX RATES
(To tune of “April in Paris,” by Vernon Duke and E.Y. Harburg (1932))

Shopping for tax rates.
Corporate inversions.
Foreign conversions.
Now all the rave.

Shopping for tax rates.
Mergers to measure.
Profits we treasure.
And crave.

Who cares about morality?
Shareholders who’ll bear the tax?
Morality’s banality.
Numbers motivate our acts.
We’re,

Shopping for tax rates.
Don’t call it treason.
We know the reason.
Pure greed.

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

SUE! IMPEACH HIM!

SUE!  IMPEACH HIM!
(To the tune of “Love and Marriage,” by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, made popular by Frank Sinatra (1955))

Sue!  Impeach him!
Sue! Impeach him!
Hear a lesson from the House to teach him
No black rules this nation.
They’d revisit segregation.

Sue! Impeach him!
Sue! Impeach him!
What a brilliant bit of dirt to reach him.
Those in fear of borders
Abhor Presidential orders.

Ask why, every law’s impeded?
Your congress, a dear friend.
Ask what, what is sorely needed?
A swift kick, in their rear end.

Sue! Impeach him!
Sue! Impeach him!
Even democrats we’re told beseech him.
With the midterms looming
What Senate chances is he dooming?

Ask why, compromise is dead here?
Political tactics.
Ask what’s going on to dread here?
Cynical theatrics.

Sue! Impeach him!
Sue! Impeach him!
What else can they do cause they can’t bleach him?
Plays like a teenage drama.
How they sabotage Obama.

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