The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal the History of Pop Music by Tom Breihan (2022)

Tom Breihan is a nut. This is precisely why I love him. Fellow music journalist and columnist for Stereogum began penning a daily – and eventually, due to agonizing combination of madness and exhaustion, bi-daily – review of every No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts since its inception in 1958 to the present. By the time of this writing Breihan is in the early aughts, and in the interim had a fantastic idea to turn this passion into a book by adding more in-depth historical perspectives on the most seminal of popular songs to our musical culture at large. The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal the History of Pop Music is a tour de force of Breihan at his most nerdy, intricate, and enjoyable.

With these things, there will always be complaints and counterarguments… which makes it all the more fun. And as I was ready pounce on what may be a song added or missed in his 20 hits, I was pleasantly surprised that I agreed with them all. These include the primacy of the dance craze spark of Chubby Checker’s “The Twist,” the female teenage coming out party of songwriting team Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s masterpiece, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” the genre obliterating “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Billie Jean” by the two dominate chart figures of the 20th century, the Beatles and Michael Jackson, and a grand nod to Mariah Carey, duly covered here as her spate of chart toppers (19) which only bows to the Beatles (20) thus far.

No one parses the stories or puts the popular songs that have defined generations into perspective better than Breihan, who has delivered on the promise of his crazy column idea.  

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Top of the Mountain: The Beatles at Shea Stadium 1965 by Laurie Jacobson (2022)

Full disclosure: I met the author at the annual Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago this past summer and found her delightful, funny, and wholly passionate about her subject. Laurie Jacobsen, who boasts a long bibliography of writing about her time in and around Hollywood over many years, has laser-focused her unique comprehension of the entertainment business with a genuine love and fascination with the Beatles. All of this comes through on every page of her wonderful new book, Top of the Mountain: The Beatles at Shea Stadium 1965.

We had a running joke between us – I wrote a book about one Beatles song, Take a Sad Song – The Emotional Currency of “Hey Jude,” and she wrote one about one concert. What Jacobsen has done is provide the reader with a scrapbook of Beatlemania at its absolute height (hence, the title taken from John Lennon’s observation of the event) and a blow-by-blow history of its origins, planning, execution, and legacy. 

Those who were there will appreciate her attention to the details of the times – memorabilia, ads, ticket stubs, contracts – and those who were not can be taken back in time to a magical first foray into the massive business of rock and roll, including tours, sponsors, management, marketing, and hyperbole, also providing a glimpse of the singular phenomenon that was the Beatles. 

However, there is more to Top of the Mountain than mere visual memories. Jacobsen fills the pages with anecdotes from those who packed its capacity audience, like Meryl Streep, promising to wash dishes for four years to procure tickets from her parents, Whoopi Goldberg, who was surprised with tickets from her mom on the way to show, the Supremes’ Mary Wilson, as well as E Street’s Steven Van Zandt and more.

Mostly, Jacobson delivers a proper tribute to longtime promoter, Sid Bernstein, the man who brought the Beatles to America on instinct, grit, determination, and lots of finagling. Before anyone cared about them, Bernstein had the foresight to envision the Beatles as America’s sweethearts while also portending a world in which the rock event superseded the mere one-off shows prevalent in 1965 to another one that would launch a period of massive youth events (Monterey Pop, Woodstock, Live Aid, etc) and stadium sellouts for the rest of the genre’s long history. 

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The Band Has No Past – How Cheap Trick Became Cheap Trick by Brian J. Kramp (2022)

In May of 2017, I met Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick at a Rock Nation event in NYC. In a crowded hallway awaiting the press, they bitched to me about no one having attempted to capture the incredible origins of their band. And although neither of them contributed directly to this incredibly comprehensive oral biography, I hope they see it as I do: an endearing capsule of a beloved American rock band.

Brian Kamp has compiled a nearly day-to-day, gig-to-gig overview of Cheap Trick’s rise to rock legend that all fans of any band would want to consume. From the mid-to-late 1960s up through the third-generation rock and roll era, and smack through punk, funk, and power-pop, Cheap Trick remained true to its mission to create off-kilter songs that unleash a bombastic, live, and visual assault from Sheboygan to a noisy hamlet near you. The Rockford, Illinois quartet overcame every music biz cliché in the book, and in this book in particular, more than any in recent memory. 

This Band Has No Past – a clever title based on the smarmy quasi-bio Cheap Trick included in its initial album release – lets the voices behind the scenes and beyond the band tell the tale, from artists who passed through their many lineups over the years to bands that shared bills with them, and, of course, managers, booking agents, groupies, roadies, toadies, and fans galore. This is a true coming of ‘stage’ story, one filled with incredible anecdotes and the type of rock music lore that keeps the pages turning. 

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Nightfly: The Life of Steely Dan‘s Donald Fagan by Peter Jones (2022)

Obsessive perfectionist, anti-social curmudgeon, musical pioneer – Donald Fagan, and to a great extent his musical partner, Walter Becker, co-founders of the inscrutable jazz/rock/pop combo Steely Dan, are all of those and more. Peter Jones’ Nighfly lifts the veil on the mysteries of the band that hid in plain sight while they challenged music industry norms and managed to simultaneously boast huge hits during the 1970s. The method, the madness, and the fallout of their partnership/kinship are duly covered and brought to light in what Jones describes as a “critical biography,” but reads as sonic psychoanalysis.

A painfully private subject is both a blessing and curse for biographers. Readers want to know it all, since so little has been offered by the subject – I am reminded of the recent ESPN series on legendary New York Yankees player Derek Jeter – but perhaps it is their public output that speaks volumes; hence “hiding in plain sight.” Fagan revealed so much of his psyche in his songs, anguish, lust, sarcasm, and a general hopelessness for humanity. The humor of his lyrics, the adoration of trad jazz and early rhythm and blues, comes through loud and clear. To that end, Jones succeeds in letting us into that world, providing more than a sneak-peak into Fagan’s past, his dreams, his fears, and his seemingly unwavering worldview, along with the incredible dedication to making music the way he and Becker heard it in their heads. Their silent, mystical bond is what intrigued me the most, and Nightfly gets to its core as well as any account I have read thus far.

Nightfly is indeed a “critical biography” in that hits all elements of an underrated commentator of his times that oddly never saw past the keys on his piano.   

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Long Road: Pearl Jam and the Soundtrack of a Generation by Stephen Hyden (2022)

There are love letters to a band and to a musical movement and then there is Steven Hyden’s Long Road: Pearl Jam and the Soundtrack of a Generation, one of the most entertaining summations of what a rock band can do to one’s soul whether we like to admit it or not. Hyden is a music journalist and author I have gotten to know from a distance since he kindly referenced my Accidentally Like a Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon a few years back. Previously commenting poignantly with some humor in compendiums on the music of his times, Your Favorite Band is Killing Me (2016) and Twilight of the Gods (2018), and an in-depth analysis of Radio Head’s Kid A in This Isn’t Happening (2020), this time Hyden is fully immersed in his subject. 

Setting the arc and journey of Pearl Jam into seminal eras, which begins for Hyden at a June 1995 Red Rocks concert wherein the band rediscovers and reinvents itself, the book helps fans to understand how the inner workings of this collection of musicians have endured beyond the grunge movement. (The only one that has?) This includes the infamous battle with Ticketmaster that, in Hyden’s estimation, both underlined the integrity of the band while simultaneously derailing its ascent. For this reviewer, who had more or less left Pearl Jam’s evolution somewhere along 1998’s YieldLong Run, made it fun to discover gems from their later works while marveling at the band’s survival instincts to navigate several personal and professional travails most fans never see.

Hyden also uses a similar ‘songs as guideposts’ framework that I used in Accidentally to focus on where the band was in its steady – if not enigmatic – sonic pilgrimage, ending prophetically on “Yellow Leadbetter,” a reliable concert closer that is perhaps its fans most beloved song. In the final chapter, wherein he muses on the emotional connection a band’s run has on our fraying thread of memories, Hyden writes, “You see a band you have loved most of your life, and if they can still move you, then time manages to stand still. But only for a while. And only if they can still do this. Because one day, they won’t.”    

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
& The Consequence of Chucking Civil Rights on a Lark      
In an age of abject polarization and moronic social issue wrangling, a congressional bipartisan bill to protect the sanctity and legality of marriage equality provided by the landmark 2015 Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that passed through the Senate and will duly be signed into law by the president of the United States is a major deal. At the very least, the law will act as an important bulwark against the radical right-wing fascist current Court, which, according to its goose-stepping ringleader Clarence Thomas, will most assuredly overturn that 2015 decision as blithely as he engineered the dismantling of Roe v Wade, stripping a half-century of settled law that protected women’s reproductive rights from the tyranny of government oppression.


All of this is a good thing. Sure. But is sad and pathetic for a country to have to go to such legal steps to avoid falling backwards, halting its natural progression of moving beyond the iron fist of ignorance and petty political gamesmanship. Its very need to exist is a poor commentary for a purported free nation scrambling to protect the civil rights of tax paying citizens. Yet, even with its positive messaging, the law falls short. As mentioned, it does stop dumb-struck lunatics like Thomas from wreaking havoc as he did with Roe – tossing the country into a cauldron of ungovernable bullshit and costing Republicans dearly in the 2022 midterms and likely alienating future enlightened generations from ever supporting or voting for them ever again. But… come on. We’re in silly land here. 

It’s a start to restoring honor and liberty to a country that turned into a Third World banana republic last summer

The Respect for Marriage Act is a direct response to the abomination of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that used bigotry and religious fanaticism (two stalwarts of American repression for 250 years) to make lesser a portion of the citizenry through law, a virtual Jim Crow-level separation of persons due to natural orientation, no less egregious than the color of one’s skin, gender, or creed. Yet, the bill does not require states to allow same-sex marriage, even though that is the current reality under the 2015 Obergefell decision. When this corrupt Supreme Court overturns Obergefell and previous state prohibitions on same-sex marriage come back into effect, the Respect for Marriage Act would require states to recognize marriages conducted in places where it is legal but in no way have to provide the same freedoms in their states. Not to mention the always ridiculous religious exceptions, which is the only way for Republican to be onboard – placating the Evangelical loons, even though some Evangelic council and churches, along with the Mormons, publicly supported the bill. The law would protect nonprofit (that’s a thing?) and religious organizations from having to provide support for same-sex marriages. 

Not to get into this argument again, but how these safe-houses of bigotry, misogyny, science-denying, homophobic pedophilia get tax exempt status is beyond understanding even for the most intellectually challenged? Also, I think I can find something in the Bible that makes it impossible to get a speeding ticket anymore. I’m working on it. You can interpret any crazy shit in there. 

So, why did twelve senate Republicans support the final approval of the bill? Well, for one, the survival of the crumbling Republican brand is on the line. In other words, the midterms scared the gay-bashing homophobia right out of these dinks. Also, three of the senators, Roy Blunt (Mo.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Richard Burr (N.C.) are retiring next month, while Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), vehemently anti-gay, understands the landscape (80-percent of Americans now support marriage equality), and moderates like the clueless  Susan Collins (Maine), the goofy Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Mitt Romney (Utah), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Todd Young (Ind.) want to get elected again. They rightly read the results of the aforementioned midterms as a big loser for all the social bashing of women and gays.

Thirty-seven Republican senators disagree. But those who voted against the bill are from states or districts where freedom only applies to the size of one’s gun and right-wing media. The most ideologically glaring though is closet-hanger supreme, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), both of whom voted against self-interest. The bill also protects inter-racial marriages. McConnell is in an inter-racial marriage. For that matter, so is Clarence Thomas. But he can’t help himself; his wife is a card-carrying fascist and, you know, Thomas is scum. And Graham? I mean…

But the big take away from this historic if not sadly framed bill passing is that Republicans are in big trouble, and they’re about to make a shit-show of their middling majority in the House, make Donald Trump their presidential nominee and sink the whole fiasco once and for all, so they think placating 80-percent of the electorate is a good way to keep breathing. And who can argue? Might work. 

For whatever the reasons or cynical political grandstanding, it got done. It’s a start to restoring honor and liberty to a country that turned into a Third World banana republic last summer by making a woman’s uterus ward of the state. 

But as my late dad used to say, “One disaster at a time.” 

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Midterm Turnout of Young Voters Shifts Balance of Power
Last week we discussed the dire import of Women’s Reproductive Rights in stemming what looked like by all indications and historical perspective a red wave in the 2022 midterms. This week we cover the offshoot of that and more. The largest turnout for voters under twenty-five, and by extension, up to thirty-four years of age, flooded the polls to vote in this year’s midterms. Since 1972, when the eligibility age went down to eighteen, there has always been an alarmingly trifling response from the youth vote. Even now, only 25-percent of the electorate is in that category. But it grew this November. Big time. In fact, there is enough evidence to surmise that it was the Gen Z vote that retained the Senate and nearly held the House for Democrats on the abortion issue and far more. And to put a finer point on it; voted against Republicans and everything they stand for.

Is this a trend or an anomaly?

Republicans better hope the latter, because a new wave is coming in 2024 and it is firmly in the Democrats column.

To wit: Voters 18-29 voted at a 63 to 35 percent clips for Democrats. Between 30-44 it ticks down to 51 to 47 percent. But in a close election (and all of them are in this polarized age), these are significant stats.


Firstly, just to get it out of the way, the completely corrupt, stupid, and wholly unsustainable sacking of Roe v Wade by this Supreme Court – a politically motivated hack-job clan of Republican puppets – horrified this voting bloc. Nearly 80-percent of Gen Z wants the government to not control their bodies. To them it is science fiction, something out of Handmaid’s Tale, an abject abomination. It is not policy, religious goofiness, or a GOP talking point to rile up the slack-jawed unwashed for Gen Z. This is real freedom stuff for them. And they came out in droves to make their voices heard. And unless Republicans work with Democrats to codify these rights at the legislative level, it will be a major albatross on their chances to win on the national, and in many cases the state level for decades to come. For a good example of this, I give you that 2022 is the first time the Democrats picked up governorships during a midterm for a sitting Dem president since FDR in 1934. That deserves an “Oof!”

Secondly, nearly eight out of ten voters before the age of thirty want something done about Climate Change. They understand the science; they’re young, scared and pissed. And this is the case for those under eighteen, who are poised to vote soon. As long as Republicans refute Climate Change, vote against measures to address it, and blithely mock those who do, while sucking up to giant oil and coal concerns, they will not get the majority of these votes. This is the biggest issue for young voters, eclipsing even Reproductive Rights. Republicans, and moderate Democrats, are going to have to decide whether to speak to this issue with some empathy at the very least – much less do anything about it – or the Gen Z wave is going to wash them away.

Another sticky issue for Republicans going forward is gun violence. This is a generation raised on Active Shooter Drills. And as someone who endured the Duck & Cover bullshit I can tell you that stuff doesn’t just wash off the proverbial back. These kids do not have the same fervor for the Second Amendment as Boomer/Gen-X/Millennial Johnny Six-Pack and would very much like sane and measured gun laws. In some cases, gun violence – especially in their schools – out-polls Climate Change and Reproductive Rights and is a major concern for Gen Z. This is not just a Republican problem, as many Democrats have also been reticent to go too far in addressing this issue head-on. I do not get into the gun fight (no pun intended) on a personal level, but these kids do, and they are not backing down. 

Is this a trend or an anomaly? Republicans better hope the latter.

Also, young voters are not inclined to embrace attacks on the LGBTQ community – hope Ron DeSantis is hearing this (likely not). Florida laws like Don’t Say Gay and other draconian measures are gangbusters for the late middle age to senior population down there, but nationally, especially among this new, powerful voting bloc, it is a loser. And by simply whitewashing it with a broad stroke of “Wokism Run Amok” is not going to cut it. Gen Z knows the nuances of this and are not fooled by bumper sticker slogans. 

This also goes for the coming attack on Same Sex Marriage, which is also massively popular among non-idiots, who believe in things like the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and are not Conservative Fascist lunatics like Clarence Thomas. A rousing eight out of ten Americans support Marriage Equality and it is a done deal. But so was Roe v Wade, so there is no telling what this bought-and-paid-for Supreme Court is liable to do to it. If Marriage Equality goes – and Thomas has already declared this a goal, including everything formally protected by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments – then Republicans can just pack up 2024 and go back to whatever 1950s drawing board they are working with and chuck it for something that can appeal to anyone not brain-damaged.  

Gen Z was the most powerful voting bloc of 2022, including a sizable majority of women, who were and are equally motivated by much of what is covered above in the midterms. This is what shifted the balance from an historical imperative that “the party out of power runs the table in midterms” to something else entirely. I hear a lot about Donald Trump and his half-baked clown-show candidates, or some weird love for Joe Biden, or clever TV ads as “reasons.” It was Gen Z. The kids are indeed all right and they are now in this game. They are the first politically motivated and engaged young voters of my lifetime and they let their voices be heard, and even that was not as powerful as it can be if they get these numbers closer to thirty or even forty percent of the electorate. And as the Boomers shuffle off the mortal coil, and much of the disaffected Gen X crowd fade into apathy, this is the generation that will decide America’s fate and future.

Gen Z is here. And it is growing, year by year, and they do not want what Republicans are selling and they may soon put the squeeze on Democrats who think it’s a guarantee they will be there for them. It is not. They have to earn it.

Or else.    

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Democratic Midterm Upsets Resets the National Voice 
I love being right.

It doesn’t always happen, but when it does and when it is for a measure I support, things are good around here. And what I have been saying since the summer, and the abhorrent Supreme Court Dobbs decision to strip 51-percent of the electorate’s rights with nothing but right-wing religious fanaticism and Republican fascism behind it, expunging abortion would be a losing argument in a general election for the Grand Old Party. And so, what by all historical perspective and economic reality should have been a strong Republican midterm election this month – the sadly misinformed were calling for a Red Wave – turned into the greatest first-midterm for a Democratic president in nearly a century. And there is one reason for this – well, three reasons in total (but we will get to those in the coming weeks) – and that is the overwhelming support for women’s reproductive rights and the fight to keep abortion legal.

By the time I am writing this the House Representatives still hasn’t been called for either party. That is a stunning sentence to digest for those in the know. Let me put it into perspective: When Barack Obama faced his first midterm elections in 2010, he had a similar low-40s approval rating, and he lost 60 seats. Six-Oh! Biden will lose maybe twelve, maybe less, and his party may still take the House. This is beyond shocking for politicos. This does not happen without a bizarre overreach impeachment (Clinton – 1998) or a war (Bush – 2004), and it would not have happened if not for the Dobbs decision to expunge nearly a half century of rights to women. 

There have been a lot of post-mortems on the left and the right for this, pundits checking in on this and that, but I can assure you, January 6, the survival of democracy, shitty candidates, the Trump factor, and all that does not affect the outcome of any midterm the way Women’s Reproductive Rights did here. This is a dramatic shift in the electorate in mere months (Dobbs came down in June). Case in point, last November, Virginia, a solid blue state, elected a Republican governor just ten months after the rightwing insurrection. That would not have happened this November. In fact, Midwest battleground states, all of which Donald Trump won to squeak his way into the presidency in 2016, went completely for Democratic candidates across the board – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. In Michigan, like in Montana, California, Kentucky, and Vermont (joining Kansas this past summer) reproductive rights were on the ballot and it was a clean sweep.

Turns out there is no place in America where giving government the right to jail women and their doctors for their healthcare decisions is popular. Exit polls suggest six out of ten Americans support the Fourth Amendment and the right to privacy for all citizens, not just men. This is what saved the Democrats from total annihilation in congress and the senate. Period. Full stop.

Highest inflation in forty years, spiking gas prices, hemorrhaging housing market, rising crimes should have guaranteed a slam dunk for the party out of power. Even if Republicans have no real answers for any of these issues. They are busy fighting Woke and mocking Nancy Pelosi’s husband and looking for Hunter Biden’s laptop. Even considering the backup quarterback theory – try this guy! –
none of this mattered. What mattered was the government taking control of women’s bodies. 

In some states, like Pennsylvania, the number one issue for voters was reproductive rights. More than inflation or crime. Numbers from several states, many of them supposedly red, were in a similar vein. Even races Republicans pulled out, they did so ten to fifteen and in some cases twenty points less than expected or how they did previously. What was the difference? Reproductive Rights.

Turns out there is no place in America where giving government the right to jail women and their doctors for their healthcare decisions is popular.

There was a wave all right, and that wave was abortion.

What led it? 

Well, first off, of course, women. In almost every state in the union, new voter registrations for women were off the charts. We heard this during the summer when Dems rose in the polls and turned what looking like in May to be a bloodbath in the midterms into a blue comeback after the Dobbs decision, but then as the polls tightened from September into the final weeks of the election, that theme seemed to lose steam in the media. Many Republican voters, who were unimpressed with some of the weak candidates they were forced to vote for came home and began to show a closer race. But in the end, it was still the fear of government oppression that carried the day. It resonated far greater than economic concerns or really anything.

And lastly, and we’ll cover this extensively in the next column, the youth vote (or Gen Z) came out like never before. It was the largest showing in 2020 of any 18-24 voting bloc, but the midterms surpassed it, and in an off-year election. Traditionally more people (especially young people) vote in presidential elections. Not midterms. This one was different. Sure, climate change, gun violence, attacks on the LGBTQ community and a general disregard for decency are major concerns for them, but exit polls show that 40-percent of them were pissed about the Dobbs decision and wanted to send a message, while also protecting those rights at the state level going forward – another prediction I made that came roaring into focus in this surprising midterm. Republicans have a youth problem, and the way they approach all those issues above, it does not look like this is going to abate when a new batch are eligible to vote in 2024.

But that is for the next column.  

For now, I will take my little victory lap and hope that as we move forward, every state will have the reproductive rights issue on the ballot and end this madness. Because if it is still an issue (the new prohibition) then Republicans are not going to win many elections.

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Assault, Antisemitism, Social Security Threats, Twitter Sale & Women’s Rights
We’re down to the wire on the 2022 midterms that by all measure of history and the current state of the economy should be a Republican blowout. But there are problems with Republican candidates, the party’s position on permanently having the government control the innards of our female citizenry, and the usual parade of election deniers. (I am not certain I get the idea of saying every election is rigged but continue to run in elections. Isn’t that kind of the definition of insanity?) But who am I to judge? I have made my points clear here. You can’t vote Republican if you believe women should have control over their bodies. Economies shift with the wind, but rights are supposed to come from just being. Jefferson wrote something about this in the fancy Deceleration of Independence we’re so damn proud of. Independence. Good one. Guess women don’t count.

Be that as it may, I wish to review some of the weird shit that has gone down in the final week or so – some of it related to the election and some of it just the normal pathetic stuff. 

Let’s start with Kanye West’s battle against a sneaker company to get more money and using his… I’ll be cynical here… (SHOCKER) faux outrage against Jewish Americans to do it. West has phony street cred. He is as much a capitalist whore as Elon Musk. (we’ll get to him later, stick it out). According to the perpetually unhinged West, Adidas has stolen his designs or some such, but no one actually cares about one rich asswipe taking on a massive sneaker asswipe corporation, so West decided to jam antisemitic language into his complaints. The tried-and-true Nazi stuff about Jews “owning everything” that he learned from his buddy Donald Trump has naturally caused a furor and, in the Black community, some scary traction, especially among young Black men. According to West’s marketing gurus this demographic is easily swayed by such rhetoric. I am not inclined to agree with this assessment, but it is the impetus for this shameful powerplay and has consequently cost West the rest of his sponsorship agreements. So, nice job there. 

The new Prohibition – a completely unmanageable law based on moralism that will sink under its own untenable weight – must go. 

All of this would have seemed like a fart in the proverbial wind until Brooklyn Nets point guard, and equally deranged idiot, Kyrie Irving began promoting an antisemitic screed by author Ronald Dalton called Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America on his Twitter account during all of this. A quasi-religious Turner Diaries for the hip hop set, which is actually the type of lazy historical philosophy that fringe hucksters like Glenn Beck peddle as intellectual discourse to people unfamiliar with the concept, it has, again, held sway in the growing “grievance politics” in African American subculture. This has brought a little-discussed aspect of racism that is ubiquitous beyond the white supremacy kind that gets all the publicity, especially since the MAGA January 6 fiasco.

But enough about this crap. Soon both West and Irving will go the way of the Hoola-Hoop.

And perhaps that’s where Twitter is going now that multi-billionaire funny man Elon Musk purchased it. The outcry seems odd, as Twitter is already mostly an imbecilic symbol of all that has gone sideways in our culture and will continue to thrive that way (see above paragraph). I don’t see the point of being pissed, unless you’re Steven King and you don’t want to pay Musk a price for “authentication checks.” Again, rich guys whining over ten bucks is enough to go on Twitter and threaten to take a hammer to someone’s spouse or whatever it is that happened to Nancy Pelosi’s husband, who was just hanging around being married to the House Speaker and ended up outed as an underground sadist homosexual predator or a priest, your choice of title. Who knows what happened there? And should we care? The Pelosis are loaded. Enough rich people problems.

There was one non-celebrity issue that did perk up in the final week of Midterms before Election Day.

As if voting to provide equal rights under the Fourth Amendment to people without penises was not enough reason to spat on Republican scum, there was a leaked memo from the desk of another brainless twat, probably new Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, of a proposed five-point GOP plan to raise the eligibility age for Social Security and major changes to Medicare. And while these are not completely wacky ideas, the timing could not be worse. And since no one believes a party that told us Roe v Wade was settled law, the denials are falling flat.

Alas, it is a long shot that this will do much to shift the narrative that Republicans have gained poll momentum over the past month due to another spike in gas prices, a vacillating stock market and continued high consumer goods prices. Statistics were desperately floated by Democrats about a 70-year high in corporate profits to combat this, but I’m not sure progressives will feel particularly jazzed by this clever “but-what-about-ism” revelation. The whole rich asswipe thing again? 

Still, nothing has changed on this ballot for me. The federal protections for women’s reproductive rights in Roe v Wade is gone, and it is not coming back. The Right-Wing, Republican bucket-holding Supreme Court decided to let states decide the legality of private and safe medical procedures dealing with the organs of our citizens. Republicans want to make this the purview of the government.  

What do you want?

Vote accordingly. 

For me, independence is the main issue.

The new Prohibition – a completely unmanageable law based on moralism that will sink under its own untenable weight – must go. 

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check
James Campion
A Message to the People to Halt the March of Republican Fascism 
 I’ve got news for President Biden. Come January 22nd, we will have Pro-Life majorities in the House and Senate and we’ll be taking the cause of the right to Life to every state house in America!
       – Mike Pence, Former Vice President of the United States, Tweet at 10:40 PM, 10/18/22
The United States has been teetering on the brink of a fascist takeover that began with the presidency of Donald Trump, one in which he refused to concede, leading to months of false claims of voter fraud, frivolous lawsuits, chronic lying, and finally the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. And it ramped up big time this summer, as Trump’s political tool, the U.S Supreme Court ignored half a century of “settled law” to rob 51 percent of the electorate of its Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to private reproductive freedom. For decades the Republicans wanted to take away the rights of women, said they wished to take the rights of women, and they did. And soon they will come for contraceptive rights, voting rights, and inevitably marriage equality. The umbrella of Roe v Wade and its constitutional provisions have been cast to the wind, and now all freedoms to privacy are up for grabs.

But you can do something about it. Especially here in New Jersey. Vote against Republican rule. Reject fascism. Fight for the rights of ALL citizens to keep the government out of our bodies, our secular laws, and our right to civic union between adults.  

The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Justice Clarence Thomas in the wake of the Dobbs decision states: “Substantive due process … has harmed our country in many ways. Accordingly, we should eliminate it from our jurisprudence at the earliest opportunity.”

The fascist right-wing Court has spoken in action and words. A former Republican VP has sent out his threats loud and clear. Read those quotes again, because they are frightening warnings to you and your sisters, mothers, daughters, and friends. Every woman is under attack – even those who are so-called Pro Life. Now the government has the right to force abortions in the future if there are food shortages or another deadly pandemic. You think wearing a mask was a bitch? Wait until they come for you organs. Because they can. Don’t think it can happen? Did anyone think fifty years of settled law backed by lying candidates for the highest court in the land, who claimed it was so, and yet struck it down, would be toast in a few month’s time? Senator Lindsay Graham, who denied the Obama pick for the Supreme Court ten months before the 2016 election, turned around and changed his position on the “too close to an election decision” and rammed anti-Roe candidate, Amy Coney Barrett through. She too said Roe was “settled law” and voted it down. These people will say anything. I am not overstating it. Can you ever believe another Republican again? Can you afford to? 

The horrific rise of the Religious Right during the Reagan Administration that began jamming Christian propaganda down our throats, railroading the First Amendment’s right to practice our own religious beliefs, and not that of one single religion and dictate its ancient laws into our secular legal construct has come to fruition. The Right has the courts, and they will likely take the House this November and as Pence stated clearly only a few days ago, they are coming for a complete national abortion ban. Keeping the U.S. Senate out of Republican hands and in two years the White House from a fascist regime must be the aim of every American who prizes freedom over invasive government and theocratic oppression. We are headed to an Iranian style construct if we do not vote… and vote AGAINST Republicans. 

The umbrella of Roe v Wade and its constitutional provisions have been cast to the wind, and now all freedoms to privacy are up for grabs.

If people in Alabama (or wherever) want this nonsense, I feel sorry for the women and LGBTQ and African American voters there, but I do not live in Alabama. Thank goodness. I live in New Jersey. And I implore of NJ voters to consider what is at stake here. 

Everyone who has read even one of my columns knows I am an independent and have voted Republican and Democrat and mostly Independent before, publicly backed Republican and Democratic candidates in this space since 1997, and gave funds proudly to my friend, Republican Rod Astorino’s many campaigns, while also challenging a Republican congressman to a fist fight that caused a bit of a stir, which, according to his staff, helped Democrat Josh Gottheimer get elected. But the stacking of the Supreme Court and denying the votes on Merrick Garland and the rush to vote in Amy Coney Barrett before the 2020 election by hypocrites and totalitarian lunatics who continue to defend the atrocities of January 6 cannot stand. But that pales to the enslaving of women in this country, something we here in N.J. have kept legal, as it should be. The dismantling of the U.S. Constitution’s protections of rights to privacy is in a shambles and Justice Clarence Thomas says he will now use the Dobbs decision to go nuts. 

And to you supposed conservatives, it is time to come clean – either you are for a dominating government that decides your religious beliefs and can invade your bodies and mess with your schools and ban books, all from the fascist handbook, or not. First, they come for your neighbor’s rights, and next the precedent will be there to come for yours. Wake up. You vote time and again against your interests, never mind you apparent flimsy ideologies.

The rest of us must ignore all Republican propaganda about inflation and supposed battling crime (where was the outrage when police were being beaten with Trump flag polls on January 6?). There has been recession and inflation under Republican control, as well as Democratic, and crime fluctuates with the times – we are still recovering from a once in a century pandemic. Republicans know as much as Democrats about any of it. Which is nothing. Those things will turn around as they always do with the movement of the private sector, which conservatives – at least since the Trump nightmare – conveniently ignore. 

As Reagan said, the most frightening words are “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.” Well, Republicans won’t do anything about any of the things they are trying to distract you to believe they can do. Build the wall? Bring back manufacturing? How much bullshit can you eat? But they will and are coming for your rights. They’ve done it already, and they will do it again. Listen to Pence. Heed Thomas. They are serious and have power or want power and we have to stop it. Especially here in NJ.  

Keep Republican Fascism out of our state.

More and more states run by Republicans are banning abortion in every case – the life of the mother, rape, incest, health issues. They want to ban contraception next, because religious maniacs like Pence, and most Republicans, many of which are phonies who hold their noses and ignore his kind, want this. Make your voice heard. Forget protests. Bitching on cable TV. Tying to convince MAGA drones of reality. Forget that. Vote. And vote out Republicans in NJ. Support the rights of New Jerseyans.

Keep Republican Fascism out of our state.

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