The Pendulum Effect in American Politics: 1974-2010

One of my favorite movie quotes is from Back to the Future when Christopher Lloyd, as Doc Brown, challenges Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly in 1955 to prove his preposterous time-travel story by naming the president in 1985. When Marty replies, "Ronald Reagan, "Doc Brown hoots and says, incredulous," Ronald Reagan, the actor? Hah! "

Before the 1980 presidential election, there were many Americans of the same opinion as the good doctor. Jimmy Carter's presidence may have been weakened by the Iran host crisis, a stubborn recession and the second energy crisis of the decade, but the conventional wisdom after the primaries was that GOP candidate Ronald Reagan did not have a prayer. What he did have, however, was devout support from the defiantly religious, rapidly rising and well-funded "New Right." When this movement helped steer Reagan into the White House, their influence went on to shape American politics and policy for a dozen years. The pendulum had swung dramatically to the right. Progressives and moderates were stunned. Back to the Future, indeed.

But those who were shocked either had short memories or were too young to remember another dramatic swing – to the left – in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The resignation of President Nixon on August 8, 1974, preceded by two years of a "national nightmare" and the birth of unabashed investigative journalism, wave rise to a deep and enduring distrust of government by the press and the public. This collective rejection of presidential arrogance, coupled with outrage at Ford's pardon of Nixon, propelled a bevy of freshly minted Democrats (including Jimmy Carter) into Washington.

Let's return to the much-touted Reagan Revolution. Characterized by trickle-down economics who terminus mysteriously eluded its promised benefiaries, it started to dim under the presidency of George HW Bush. While his prosecution of the Gulf War met with generally high marks, Bush's tin ear toward the recession of the early 90s became his downfall. The clever and charismatic Bill Clinton sustained the presidency away from the Republicans for the first time in twelve years. While Clinton ushered in the era of the "New Democracy" that rejected some of the more liberal policies of the party's past, the pendulum had undeniably swung back to the left.

Two short years later, Newsweek ran an article with a beleaguered Clinton on its cover accompanied by the title, "The Incredible Shrinking President." Hobbled out of the gate by embracing the worthy but narrow issue of gays in the military, the resulting "Do not Ask, Do not Tell" policy proved unpopular with all sides. Most critically, it was a dangerous distraction from the average voter's primary issue: in the immortal words of James Carville, "it's the economy, stupid." Enter (stage right) firebrand Newt Gingrich, The Contract with America and the GOP takeover of both houses in the mid-term election of 1994. The future looked bleak for the New Democrats.

Reports of their demise, of course, were greatly exaggerated. Two years later, Clinton's serendipity was personified by …

Reasons Why Farc Group Was Formed in Colombia

Why did Farc start? Farc is a guerrilla group that was started by Jacobo Arenas in the fifties when General Rojas and his party ruled Colombia in the forties. It was a group that resisted their rule and since then it has been considered as a group seeking terror in the country. Many people though wonder about the answer to the question, why did Farc start?

1. The first answer to the question why did Farc start was because it was connected with the Colombian Communist Party. The forties decade was called as the La Violencia period. Two hundred thousand people died during those years. The Liberal Party was toppled by a man named Gustavo Rojas. It controlled Colombia in the fifties. Rojas became the ruler and he offered peace to the groups including Farc that did not like his governance however resistance still continued. Rojas then created guerrilla groups so they can always control the whole state.

2. The second answer to the question why did Farc start was because Jacobo Arenas want to fight the General Roja’s group so they can gain the power of ruling over Colombia.

3. The third answer to the question why did Farc start was because of the restoration of Liberal group’s rule in Colombia in the latter years of the fifties decade. There were still Communist groups that gained power in several towns in Colombia. Some of the groups were headed by Marquetalla and Sumapaz. In the sixties the Colombian government wanted to stop the guerrilla groups and they launched a massive assault against them. The communist groups were forced to fight back and Sumapaz and Marquetalla became the rulers of those groups.

4. The fourth answer to the question why did Farc start was because of the ideologies they wanted to fight for. One of those ideologies was resisting the government’s abusive control over the country. However in the eighties this ideology was no longer the commitment of the group. Many people discovered that Farc became involved in the business of selling drugs. It was involved in a massive trade of illegal drugs. The group used the money they gained from it as a the capital for all their activities.

Today Farc has twelve thousand members. The group has remained in the southeastern part of Colombia specifically in the forests there. There are some members who have decided to reside near the Andes Mountain. The Cuban and the Venezuelan government do not consider Farc as a terrorist party. The group is also involved in kidnapping activities.…

The Origins of Blues and How Blues Music Is Still Relevant Today

Blues is the name given to a form and a genre of music that originated from the African-American communities of the “Deep South” of the United States at the end of the 19th century. It consisted of spiritual numbers, hollas and chants as well as working songs and was characterized by simple rhyming narratives.

The pioneers of this new style at the time were members of the first black generation in the US after slavery was abolished in 1808. Although now technically free, it was to be a long time before the social and economic boundaries that existed as a hangover from the slave period were finally to be adjusted.

As a result the black workers were more often than not poor and without access to education. This was a crucial point in the birth of the blues. Blues musicians would use melodies that would sound good on the ear. They were unlikely to have had any training in western music and so would not have known about key signatures or indeed any western music theory. In the notation of blues music it is often not known whether to attribute it to be minor or major. It is more practicable to simply say a blues in A or a blues in C. From its inception this lead to new forms of melody being born, that incorporated elements that have now spread into an enormous number of cross genres. They worked well on the ear and didn’t have to conform to the fundamental imposed by western musical structures and devices. Instead blues was making its own fundamentals.

For example, blues music often uses a minor to major third, something almost unheard of in western music up until this point. That in turn has spread into rock n roll and surf music in the 60s. Imagine that Chuck Berry may never have written ‘Johnny B Goode’ if it hadn’t have been for that major to minor shift.

Not only that, but the dissonant sound of 7th chords have been made so familiar to us by the blues that now they have become staple elements in songs on their own, whereas previously they were used solely as devices by composers to make suggestions to the melody. Jazz music uses a complex mixture of 7ths, majors and minors and altered scales and owes everything to blues music not only in terms of melodies and harmonies but also in the African rhythms that characterize a great deal of jazz drumming. Lest we forget the ‘Jazz 1/8th note’ and the problems of how to write it in notation! I read once that Blues is to Jazz music what the Sonnet is to poetry.

The use of pentatonics in blues is so widespread that they have also become so pleasant on the ear that songwriters and guitarist use them in abundance. As is the 12 bar form, which continued into Rock n’ Roll and Jazz music as well as evolving into more complex melodies and chord structures.…

Animal Farm By George Orwell – A Novella Of Didactic Language And Political Ideology

Animal Farm, a masterpiece novella by George Orwell was written in 1945. It falls under novella as it is shorter and contains a less complex plot unlike a novel. The crux matter of Animal Farm is about how Czarist Russia evolved into communist Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Orwell used the animal farm as the backdrop representing Russia and the animals that dwelled in the farm as the who's who in the Russian Revolution. The Animal Farm is an allegory-a narrative that uses literal devices to reveal understood meanings and messages.

The Oxford Dictionary defines allegory as a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. Not only that, Animal farm is also a satire. The same Oxford Dictionary defines a satire as the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to mock, expose and criticizeize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other social issues. Animal farm fits into both these categories aptly.

At the time when the book was published, it was not that popular, did not command a vast reading because Russia was an ally of the West in their fight against German aggression under Hitler in World War II. In a clear indication of belittling the Russians and its communist leaders, the western world saw it as an act of non-goodwill if they popularized the book in droves.

The author himself was not an anti-communist. In fact George Orwell is said to be a socialist who supported the belief that industries should be under the control of the working class (workers) for the good of everyone, not just benefitting the elites, who controlled these industries. However, he witnessed the corrupt revolution of the communist in Russia, eventually leading to a change of perception.

Orwell was perplexed on how the communist had diverted, departed from their initial noble goals of seeking a classless society. Orwell's conviction was that he owes the world a warning of how destructive unchecked authority was.

He was adamant to show the other side of communism when it was taken too far without a check and balance and how the leaders of this cause succumbed to worldly pleasures, the same class bound pleasures that they despised on other ideologies; Hence the world got to witness the birth of Animal Farm. Orwell had used allegory to the best of effect, to criticize the hypocrisy of communism, especially its overzealous leaders, their actions and their thirst for merciless murderers and mass killings to maintain their status quo.

The use of pigs, of all animals, was the acme of this novella. In the thought of a layman, pigs are lazy animals, non-productive and glevely end as meat in most taste buds. However, Orwell was way ahead of his time. He used pigs as his protagonists and antagonists in Animal Farm for the same reasons of how modern science had revealed quite shockingly though, about these creatures. Scientists want …