Tag Archives: corruption

They Own the Judges

They Own the Judges

Like several other early works from my ‘suitcase of songs’ this song bears sign of neither my discerning and subtle sociopolitical analysis — nor my often arch sense of humor. Making it, more or less, a screed. A rant. Not even a proper diatribe.

Back in ’75 or ’76 when I wrote this, I knew it wasn’t exactly a sophisticated, subtle rendering. It was not long after Gerald Ford took over the presidency from the disgraced Richard Nixon, immediately granting Nixon a pardon for any crimes he might have committed, no matter how grievous, even though Nixon hadn’t even been formally charged with any of the numerous violations of law that forced his resignation. Clearly, the fix was in, and the “loyal opposition” was busy toadying up to the powers that so evidently still were.

Now, I really was a political (and economic) naif back then — and was held that way, in part, by my own cynicism.

Today, as a businessman and longtime politics junky (other folks watch football), I have a considerably deeper understanding of how things really work. It has made me — in some ways — a bit more hopeful, and considerably more practical.

And the way I see it, I should end up more or less in the political center, on average.

I’m a firm believer in small government, fiscal responsibility, environmental responsibility, free, fair markets, clean government, and a strong and effective defense. Defense, mind you… I’ve always thought the US should be working to defend itself rather than embarking on foreign military misadventures in what are usually vainglorious attempts to “extend American power.”

Me, I think “empire” is geopoliticalese for “jumping the shark.”

I would think that those seemingly quite (small-c) conservative values should put me more or less in the center of the political spectrum — yet I find myself, along with a sizable, sometimes near-majority, number of my fellow US Americans, increasingly marginalized by both of the two major parties, whose policies increasingly flaunt the core values of a lot of responsible, thinking US citizens.

Yes, there are alternatives — but they are not moderate alternatives. They are, in some fundamental ways, more extreme. It’s not that I don’t have deep sympathies with, say, the Greens or agreement with a number of Libertarian principles.

But, if the US political system were truly responsive to the will of the governed, a mainstream, middle-of-the-road guy like me ought to find some sort of agreement with one or both of the “mainstream” parties. Instead of finding them to be closet brownshirts and neo-Know Nothings on the one hand and spineless, hypocritical toadies on the other.

You know, not to put too fine a point on my political malaise.

Oh… WTF… let’s dedicate this one to the one person majority on the Supreme Court that aborted the 2000 presidential election.

They Own the Judges

they own the judges
they own the congress
they own the papers
and the magazines

they own the cops
they own the armies and
they think that they own
you and me

they own the doctors
they get rich from our suffering
they own the churches
and the sinners inside

they own the colleges
the print-outs of knowledge
they own and use history
to their own ends

they own the farms
they own the farmers
they own the factories
and the workers lives

they own the gangsters
and they run the wores
they own Vegas
and the gamblers trapped inside

they move in the shadows
of presidents and corporations
the means of production
in a handful of hands

you can’t live without money
they enslave us with wages
they pull the strings
that make you and me dance

(C)1976, TK Major


Have You Embraced the Beast?


Death squads and slaughter in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras… genocide against inconvenient indigenous peoples, murder of labor workers, missionaries, nuns, and priests — paid for, in large part, by US taxpayers with a wink and a nod from our government leaders and our legislators.

This song is not long on subtlety or craft, I’ll admit it.

What it has is no shortage of is corrosive, eat-your-guts-out anger… courtesy of yours truly. That’s pretty much how I walked around during the ’80s… a hard-tempered steel spring coiled tightly inside me, ready to snap. It was a time when the “loyal opposition” were gutless toadies… the spectacle of the Iran-Contra hearings is still burned into my mind.

The relentless covering up of ever-nastier, ever-more shameful secrets, greater crimes against the US Constitution, the US people, and the world, from the government of the popular Ronald Reagan, papered over by trepidatious Democrats…

For every Jack Brooks, there were ten Daniel Inouyes… seemingly ready and eager to pave the way for the presidency of GHW Bush just a few years later. The “investigation” was a disgrace almost as shameless as the offenses it investigated.

Anyhow… it still makes me mad.


Have you embraced the beast?
I see the mark is on your face
Have you embraced the beast?
Are you a slave of greed and hate?

Have you embraced the beast?
Do you serve the war machine?
Have you embraced the beast?
Did you trade in your soul on (for) the finer things?

Have you embraced the beast?
Do your taxes buy bullets for fascist death squads?
Have you embraced the beast?
They’ll be coming to your hometown before too long . . .

Have you embraced the beast?
I see the mark is on your face
Have you embraced the beast?
Are you a slave of greed and hate?

Have you embraced the beast?

(C)1984, TK Major


Gospel of Greed

Gospel of Greed
Matthew 19:24

I shoulda been a preacher.

I’ve got it in me.

Not the good kind of preacher, who is always there to help or talk his parishioners through life’s troubles. Who gives and gives and never thinks of himself.

Not hardly.

No. Of course, I mean the bad kind of preacher.

Not necessarily Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter… but something on that continuum. The sinner-preacher. Seducing the spinsters and lonely housewives and cheating the men in land deals. Maybe run for office, too… makes a certain kind of sense.

And that brings us smack face to face with this song…

produced version [soundclick]

Gospel of Greed

It’s the gospel of greed
they call it the age of me
but it isn’t just I
Honey, it’s them and thee

Now it’s natural to want to
take care of yourself
but when you take too much
you steal from someone else

and if you think they’re gonna take it lying down
you must be some kinda politician or TV-preacher clown
riding around in your Mercedes Benz
givin money to hookers and screwing your friends

(You’re singing)
I don’t care if the Eskimos freeze
long as they don’t sneeze on me
I don’t care if the starving survive
long as they don’t try to make a feast of a slice of my pie

(C)1990, TK Major