As Madison Rising proves, when it comes to performance, good attitude is everything

Madison RisingI’ve been a fan of Madison Rising, a patriotic rock band, for a long time.  I don’t necessarily like all their music, because they’re pretty heavy on classic rock guitar playing, but I really like their attitude.  The band takes its solid rock chops and applies it to patriotism.  Unlike most musical groups that pretty much reflexively “harsh on” American because it’s what all the cool kids are doing, this band uses its hard rock chops to celebrate America and her many virtues.

As it happens, I love Madison Rising’s rock guitar version of the Star Spangled Banner.  This is quite an admission for me, because I tend to like my songs performed straight, without howls and yowls.  If you were going to predict my musical tastes, you’d usually guess right if you said I would prefer Bing Crosby singing our anthem over some tortured rock band version.  Nevertheless, I’ll repeat:  I love the Madison Rising Star Spangled Banner.

If you’re wondering why I’ve step out of my musical comfort zone with this one, here’s the answer:  Madison Rising’s rendition is a fresh take on our nation’s anthem, performed with enormous energy, and a great deal of love.  This is not a robotic repeat of an old song:

When I listen to Madison Rising’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, I’m reminded of Runrig’s version of Loch Lomond, Scotland’s unofficial anthem. As does Madison Rising, Runrig rocks up a traditional song (indeed, one written around the same time as the Star Spangled Banner), but the group does it with love and passion. Scottish fans are enthusiastic about the group’s version:

My point about both of these groups is that their unorthodox renditions of old favorites are done with reverence and respect.  They are intended to build up, not to tear down.  Contrast that with Roseanne Barr’s justifiably infamous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, which saw her adding crotch-clutching to melody-mangling.  Likewise, a lot of non-homophobic patriots took umbrage when Lady Gaga turned the Star Spangled Banner into a gay-themed anthem.  It was disrespectful, not because she brought her own spirit and style to the song, but because she was quite obviously denigrating the song and America as they currently exist.

I’m waffling on along these lines because at NASCAR’s opening this past weekend, both fans and racers disliked Madison Rising’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, considering its rock energy “disgraceful” and “disrespectful.” I wish I could reach out to the NASCAR crowd and let them know that there’s nothing insulting or disrespectful about Madison Rising. Whether or not you like their version, they sing it as respectful homage to a nation they love. If they can help resurrect some basic patriotism into disaffected young people who read Howard Zinn and like heavy metal and hard rock, more power to them.

“Patriotic millionaires” and Roseanne Barr

I figured it out.

First, the whole “patriotic millionaires” thing.  These are the millionaires who are demanding that they get taxed at a higher rate:

Los Altos resident Doug Edwards asked President Obama something that many Americans would consider unthinkable: “Would you please raise my taxes?”

Edwards, 53, can afford it. Retired after being amply compensated for being employee No. 59 at Google, he’s part of a Bay Area-birthed organization called Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength.

While Edwards’ question and the 200-millionaire-member group he belongs to drew wide notice during Obama’s Bay Area visit last week, they drive at one of the most contentious issues in Washington: Would raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans stall investment in the economy?

The Patriotic Millionaires contend that Americans with incomes over $1 million should shoulder a larger share of the tax burden to pay for Pell Grants, road improvements and training programs “that made it possible for me to get to where I am,” as Edwards told Obama during the president’s appearance last week at the Mountain View social networking company LinkedIn.

Second, Roseanne Barr is demanding the guillotine (or, as she says, “gillo-tin”) for rich bankers:

“Part of my platform is, of course, the guilty must be punished and that we no longer let our children see their guilty leaders getting away with murder. Because it teaches children, you know, that they don’t have to have any morals as long as they have guns and are bullies and I don’t think that’s a good message,” Barr told Russia Today (RT).

“I do say that I am in favor of the return of the guillotine and that is for the worst of the worst of the guilty.

“I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay, you know, the ability to pay back anything over $100 million [of] personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of $100 million. And if they are unable to live on that amount of that amount then they should, you know, go to the reeducation camps and if that doesn’t help, then being beheaded,” Barr said with a straight face.

Here’s what I figured out:  It’s a scam.  It’s the millionaires’ equivalent of “Hey, rioters!  Don’t burn my store.  Some of my best friends are black.”

With protesters on Wall Street demanding millionaire blood, the millionaires are announcing that they’re even more radical than the protesters.  But just as the protesters wear $100 fashion statement shoes (see the second to last photo at the link), these millionaires are also kidding.  As even the AP figured out, Warren Buffet pays lower taxes than his secretary because he pays himself a smaller taxable income.

In other words, millionaires can always figure out a way to avoid the tax bite.  Congress will listen to these “Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength,” change the tax code to tax the rich more, and the rich will vanish:  they’ll send their money (and their jobs) offshore, they’ll put cash under their mattresses, and they’ll pay their accountants beaucoup bucks to find loopholes and more loopholes.  For millionaires, it’s always a Potemkin tax code.  Far better to have a flat tax where everyone just pays.

As for Roseanne, her disgusting shtick is also a game of “behead me last“:

If this was humor, the only part that was funny was the economics.  I’m pretty sure ABC didn’t pay her in hippie beads when she ruled the Nielsen charts in the 1980s and 1990s.  Her sister filed a $70 million lawsuit for her share of the proceeds from the TV series Roseanne (thrown out for statute-of-limitations issues), which strongly suggests that Barr exceeded her own “maximum wage” limitation.

These millionaires think they’re being clever with their faux populist speak.  However, the only thing I can think of is Winston Churchill:

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

Here are a couple of nice photos of London a few short years after Chamberlain appeased Hitler:

As good a definition as I’ve ever seen of liberal versus conservative protests

Ed Morrissey discusses Roseanne Barr’s demand for the guillotine, and ends with just about the best statement I’ve ever seen about the difference between conservative and so-called liberal protests:

Just remember that when conservatives organize into grassroots movements, it’s almost always about protecting their own property and individual liberty.  When leftists decide to start grassroots movements, like OccupyWallStreet or Barr’s example of leftist populism, it almost always involves seizure of property, threats of violence, and eventually re-education camps and the guillotine.

These words should be widely broadcast.