Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can This Honeymoon Be Saved? (Part 2)

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New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 38 -- September 22, 2009

Wall Street Bailout (Black Agenda Report)

This week in New World Notes, radio program #83, September 29:

Can This Honeymoon
Be Saved?

Part 2: Wealth Care, Si! -- Health Care, Non!

In many ways, Barack H. Obama embodies more of the hopes and fantasies of Progressives and Liberals than any of us imagined was possible.

For a start, President Obama is proof that American racism--like the old gray mare--just ain't what she used to be.

Furthermore, Obama is intelligent; he's articulate; he gives every appearance of being sane--at least by the admittedly low standards of the powerful. He's charming; he's good-looking; he projects a style that is both admirable and attractive.

Bottom: Jello Biafra (left, as zombie mayor), in RetarDEAD

In mid-2008, Jello Biafra said, of Obama, "He's a wonderful speaker, comes across as a cool guy you could actually hang out and talk to. . . ."

Jello ended that sentence with, ". . .if only that was reflected in his voting record!"

Jello went on to make a pretty good case that--when it comes to warmongering, destroying civil liberties, promoting government spying, kowtowing to Israel, and aiding and abetting corporate plunder, Senator Obama's voting record is right up there alongside Hillary's and Son-of-Cain's. In fact, on a few corporate-power issues, McCain's voting record was more progressive than Obama's!

Top: Mumia Abu-Jamal
Bottom: Dr. Kenneth Dowst

Well, listen to Jello for yourself! He's on this week's New World Notes. So are three other Left-leaning, articulate critics of current policies of the federal Executive Branch. They are

  • Glen Ford--Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report
  • Mumia Abu-Jamal--former newspaper reporter, convicted (in a highly questionable trial) cop-killer, long-time political essayist and radio commentator, and long-term resident of Death Row somewhere in Pennsylvania
  • moi--the best we could get on such short notice

Two songs complement the prose this week:

  • Obama Girl and The Man Himself, "Duet"
  • "Call it Democracy"--Bruce Cockburn's rocking critique of the gap between a government's professed democratic principles and the government's actions at home and abroad. Pronounced Co-burn.

Next Week:

NWN #84 -- REACTIONS: Dr. Helen Caldecott takes on Vermont Yankee

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Can This Honeymoon Be Saved? (Part 1)

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New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 38 -- September 22, 2009

This week in New World Notes, radio program #82, September 22 & 25:

Can This Honeymoon
Be Saved?

Part 1: War and More War

You don't have to be Jewish . . . to love Levy's Rye Bread, the famous ad slogan went. And you don't have to be a screaming, sanity-challenged, hyena-like Republican TV pundit reading from a script written by Karl Rove . . . to be getting flabbergasted by many things President Obama is doing in our name . . . and with our money, what's left of it.

I claim no special insight here. Many Progressives have been saying the same, some of them before I joined the chorus.

In the spring of 2008--before either party had selected a candidate for President--Jello Biafra warned that Obama's personal style was far more admirable and attractive than his voting record in the Senate. (We'll hear these remarks next week, in NWN #83.) Among other correct predictions, Jello said that an Obama plan for health care reform will show more concern for the financial health of the insurance industry than for whether the citizens live or die.

In a recent article, journalist and essayist Chris Hedges apologized for, in November, abandoning true Progressive candidates in favor of Obama:

Speaking in Hartford Sunday afternoon--on the U.S. government's ongoing and new military adventures--independent journalist Dahr Jamail declined to lambaste the president. But Jamail did stress repeatedly that Obama's wars and military occupations clearly violate international law, U.S. law, the oath each soldier was required to pledge, and the international conventions on war crimes that our country signed.

He urged his listeners to do more to support the GIs who are actively resisting the war . . . as Americans had done in the Vietnam era.

If only!

I myself concluded that Obama was just another money-grubbing politician when I read and heard his shameless pandering to AIPAC last year. He outdid even Hillary in demonstrating his complete fealty to whatever warmongers and ethnic-cleansers were running a certain small Middle-Eastern state.

But the AIPAC speech was just an especally clear example of the sort of behavior that's giving prostitution a bad name. Nor did receiving more money from the financial industry than any other candidate bode well.

Still, I wished and (audaciously?) hoped that my "take" on Obama was wrong, that my assessment was too harsh, that many of my dire predictions would be proved false.

Is it too soon to judge Obama?

Wall Street Bailout

The Official Synopsis:

Like the hysterical right-wing pundits--though for different reasons--Progressives are increasingly alarmed at Obama's actions & inactions. Using a wide variety of audio soures, we explore The Audacity of Betrayal & the government's astounding lack of "change we can believe in." This installment focuses (though not exclusively) on war, the military, and "defense" spending. First of two parts.

Next Week: Part 2 -- Wealth Care, Si! . . . Health Care, Non!

PS: Because the subject is such a bummer, I tried to make the show itself fun. You'll get to hear, among other sound sources, Amy Goodman; The Dixie Chicks; Obama Girl; an Al-Jazeera documentary; the trailer for the film, War of the Roses; and me.

Leaving Obamaland
(This and previous photograph courtesy
Black Agenda Report)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

David Rovics: Capitalism and Community

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David Rovics in Nablus

This week in New World Notes, radio program #81, September 15 & 18:

David Rovics:
Capitalism & Community

A Conversation, Part 1

As you've heard, journalist Dahr Jamail will speak on several occasions in Hartford and Windham counties (Connecticut), September 19-21. Beginning 7:30 PM of the 21st, in Wesleyan's Memorial Chapel, he'll be joined on stage by acclaimed singer-songrwiter David Rovics. All events are free.

Rovics' business motto is a good if uncommon one: Songs of social significance. His business model is even more uncommon. For the most part, he gives his musical recordings away via the Internet. (See "Resources," below.)

Rovics calculates that, if a musician of his echelon makes any money at all, the money comes from concert performance fees, not royalties on album sales and radio airplay. Every summer a pop star like Paul McCartney can buy a cottage on the Isle of Wight with his quarterly royalty check. With their quarterly royalty checks, normal musicians can buy a couple sets of guitar strings and a falafel sandwich.

Dahr Jamail

The political/social/economic/ecological concerns and stands in Rovics' music fit very nicely with New World Notes' own value set. In the 19 months this show has been on the air, we've probably played 85 recorded songs, and fully a third of them must have been by Rovics.

This week's installment of the show features Rovics. Here's the official synopsis:

In a phone interview, politically-engaged singer-songwriter David Rovics discusses two of the concerns that are central to his music: (1) Community and (2) the great enemy of community, Capitalism, American-style. Plus two songs by Rovics and commentary by KD.

Music this week:

  • David Rovics, Used To Be a City In This Town and New Orleans

Danbury Fair (1970s?)


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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Labor Day Musical Special

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New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 36 -- September 8, 2009

This week in New World Notes, radio program #80, September 8 & 11:

Labor Day Musical Special

featuring (in order of appearance)

David Rovics, The Day the Minimum Wage Workers Went on Strike. A classic celebration of the working class and of strength in solidarity . . . with some very nice banjo picking.

Mad Agnes, Katie. A witty and sharp critique of bourgeois life from the perspective of the long-suffering--and admirable--cleaning lady.

The Foremen, Workin' on an MBA. Comic satire of the cushy life, & boundless self-pity, of the men in the gray flannel suits--set to a tune that recalls a Mississippi chain gang.

Utah Phillips, Moose Turd Pie. Spoken, w/ guitar. Utah recalls (with only the slightest hint of exaggeration) the worst job he ever held.

Anne Feeney, Business News / Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! A beautiful rendition of an 1890's song about unemployment (yep: that "18" is correct!); a fine homage to Simon & Garfunkel's 1965 classic, "Silent Night / 6 o'Clock News"; and a good song on its own terms.

John McCutcheon, Doing Our Job. McCutcheon applies Cal Ripken's modest remarks upon breaking a major-league record to America's working people generally.

Base (Workers & Farmers): We Work for all. . . . We feed all.
Level 2 (Corporate fatcats): We eat for you.
Level 3 (Soldiers): We shoot at you.
Level 4 (Clergy): We fool you.
Level 5 (Kings, Presidents, etc.): We Rule you.
Top (Moneybag): Capitalism. Click to enlarge.

Coming soon (dates of WWUH Tuesday broadcast shown):

  • September 15--Can We Save the Environment? Maybe. But probably not by eating vegan, taking shorter showers, and swapping the car for a bicycle.
  • September 22--Can This Honeymoon Be Saved? (Part 1: War & More War.) Was eloping with Obama a terrible, terrible mistake?

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Lunch: Rockefeller Center (Photo by Charles C. Ebbetts, 1932)