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Monday, September 29, 2008

The Fabled City Review

taken from www.allmusic.com

Review by Thom Jurek

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello returns to the singer/songwriter alter ego he calls the Nightwatchman for 2008's The Fabled City. It needs to be said from the jump that this album stands in radical contrast to the skeletal One Man Revolution issued in 2007. Morello and producer Brendan O'Brien (who has been working with Bruce Springsteen since The Rising) decided on something more ornate than just guitar and voice, because these songs warrant it. Morello is much more a storyteller here: he offers tales of ordinary people trying to make it through another day in America. No heady platitudes, no sloganeering in the refrains, just small narratives that break outside the bounds of song and enter the world. As such Morello has succeeded in growing as a multi-dimensional songwriter and as a singer. These songs, though directly narrated, are as political as on his preceding album, but in a different way: these stories are the narratives of people we know, and often, have been. His America is the one that exists on city streets and in quiet suburbs, in malls and on country roads. The relationship between Morello and O'Brien is mutually empathic, nearly symbiotic. O'Brien resists his grander schemes in favor of organic approaches: some songs have small drum kits, others have a cello or B-3, and some have pedal steel guitars. The tempos and characters shift and change, as do O'Brien's textures. The title track with its big acoustic guitars, drum kit, and bassline ushers the album in with urgency: "Me and Javi /Shouted slogans in Spanish/Like it was our world to win/Then they moved the plant down to Ojeda/Time to bite your tongue again." Later, "an angel sad and old" who lives in an alley behind a market sings for a dollar. Morello's acoustic and the bass get fuzzed up for "Whatever It Takes," along with an urgent rhythmic pulse offering a first person narrative about a soldier who struggles as a proxy and an ally against despair, defeat, and disappearance. On "Lazarus on Down" a nylon-string guitar and a cello usher in the story of the raised biblical character abandoned and alone in Bethany; it features backing vocals by Serj Tankian. "Saint Isabelle" makes an appearance on the song named for her. Fueled by a harmonica, massive acoustic guitars, and a fast tempo, it feels more the like the Pogues doing a reel -- especially with the shouting chorus. She is a fragile and weary saint the narrator intercedes for; he prays for her as she does for his characters. "The Iron Wheel" finds Shooter Jennings lending his vocal to Morello's in a warning not to allow yourself to be crushed by life's challenges or submit blindly to authorities who are slaves to the same process. This is the first political album of 2008 where the people have a voice because the Nightwatchman keeps no critical or journalistic distance. Instead, with infectious melodies and inviting narratives, he invites us to join in, to acknowledge we are not separate from him, his characters, or their stories. With The Fabled City, Morello's growth as a topical songwriter is enormous; he's brought the singer/songwriter into a cultural discussion, a dialogue, where we can dialogue not only about characters (who are treated with dignity as speaking subjects, not merely as objects to hang a tune on) and their struggles, but also with popular music again, as a ready tool for awareness of the world around us.

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Musicians Donate Art for War Child International Benefit

LOS ANGELES -- R.E.M., Modest Mouse, Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Jarvis Cocker, The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, and Fleet Foxes are just a few of the artists whose handmade signs featured in Under the Radar's Protest Issue will be auctioned off beginning September 30th to benefit War Child International.

Earlier this summer, Under the Radar magazine published its Protest Issue, which featured an array of musicians sharing their thoughts on today's political climate. Along with interviews, Under the Radar conducted photo shoots with those artists, each holding protest signs of their own making. Beginning September 30th, Under the Radar will host a 7-day eBay auction of the protest signs featured in the issue. All proceeds will go to benefit War Child International. (www.warchild.us), a nonprofit that helps children in areas of conflict across the globe. This auction provides individuals with an opportunity to purchase a one-of-a -kind piece of art while also contributing to a worthwhile cause.

Musicians whose art will be featured in the auction include The Protest Issue's cover stars R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock, Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, The Decemberists' Colin Meloy, and Spoon's Britt Daniel, as well as Billy Bragg, British Sea Power, Built to Spill, Jarvis Cocker, Death Cab for Cutie, The Dresden Dolls, The Duke Spirit, Elbow, The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, Fleet Foxes, Foals, Michael Franti, Sharon Jones, Talib Kweli, Jamie Lidell, Metric, Moby, My Morning Jacket, Neon Neon, Noah and the Whale, OK Go, Peter Bjorn and John's Peter Morén, Public Enemy's Chuck D, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, Rilo Kiley, Rogue Wave, Shout Out Louds, Stars, St Vincent, Supergrass, and more.

Under the Radar is published by husband and wife Mark and Wendy Redfern and is distributed across North America.

To view all the signs up for auction, visit: www.undertheradarmag.com/protestauction.html

For a more detailed look at The Protest Issue visit: www.undertheradarmag.com/protestissue2008.html

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Michael Moore e-mail

Friends, Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:


"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

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Pop Matters Interview with The Nightwatchman

Tom Morello, lead guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and The Nightwatchman, is rockin’ a guitar riff as the crowd goes wild. His tongue, proverbially speaking, is sticking out at the Berklee School of music in Boston. This is the next to last stop on his “Justice Tour”. All the proceeds from tonight’s show go toward the fight for universal health care.

Morello has assembled two rappers, a local boy-wonder folk singer, and a couple of well known rock bands to play for anyone willing to come out on a rainy Sunday night and shell out $15 for a seat. Morello tells the crowd that he is sick of fans telling him that they can beat him at the video-game Guitar Hero. He promises to blow their minds tonight and the more than mildly suggestive toothsome playing has the crowd in frenzy.

The mood back-stage is jubilant and loose—an extended jam session. I’m sitting on a big black speaker box just out of sight of the audience but about five feet from the drum set, put to good use by a series of small well-muscled men with fast hands and big biceps. They answer to nick names like “Mad Dog”. Gary Cherone from Van Halen wanders up from the dressing room to slap me on the back and watch his friends play. I get the feeling these guys don’t really care if there are five people in the crowd, or five thousand. They’re on fire.

“PEOPLE, are you having a GOOD-MOTHER-FUCKING-TIME?” Morello yells enthusiastically. As he comes off stage, after introducing the next act, he sees me sitting with my notebook open. He walks over to ask, “How are you doing man? Can I get you water or a whiskey?”

Morello’s second solo album, The Fabled City is out September 30th, along with a documentary movie about the Justice Tour. The timing is not an accident. He is as passionate about politics as he is about music. His background is almost identical to Barack Obama’s. Morello’s parents met during Keny’as struggle for independence. They traveled back to New York, where Tom was born, when his dad became Kenya’s first black delegate to the United Nations. Soon thereafter his dad returned home to Kenya. His white mom took Morello to rural Illinois to grow up as the only black kid in an all-white town.

Morello was the first student from his high school to attend Harvard. His Harvard classmates recall him as the Jimi Hendrix disciple who started the Ivy League’s first heavy metal interest group. I was introduced to Morello by his Harvard roommate, my partner in our venture capital firm.

I join Morello and the rest of the musicians on the Justice Tour in Boston. He is wearing mirrored sunglasses, his trademark baseball hat, and black boots with bright red laces. Everyone except Morello has on Converse sneakers. At the Four Seasons, we all pile into a van to ride over to sound-check. Some light rock ‘n’ roll banter about hookers and drugs breaks out in the confined quarters of the beat up vehicle (which I take to be in jest). Wayne Kramer, sitting next to me, pipes up. “Hookers? I was in the fucking gym at nine this morning watchin’ Meet the Press!”

I don’t let on that I already know that The Motor City Five (“MC5”) was one of the most influential bands during the 1960s, because my own father was a leader in the Civil Rights and Anti-War movement, risking his life in Mississippi in 1964, sending his draft card back to the selective service and helping Daniel Berrigan, a Catholic priest who was one of the ten most wanted men in the country, escape the FBI. MC5’s politics and sound was born out of watching their hometown of Detroit burn to the ground during the summer of love in 1967. Poet John Sinclair formed the White Panther Party (WPP)and named MC5 its official voice. The WPP endorsed the Black Panther’s agenda fully through “total assault on the culture by any means necessary, including rock ‘n’ roll, dope and fucking in the streets.”



In August 1968, lead guitarist Wayne Kramer—dressed in the American flag—and the MC5 took the stage in Grant Park, Chicago against the direct threat of violence by Mayor Daley. The police moved in, tear gas rained down, and the band and protestors were beaten with billy clubs, losing all their equipment and sparking a week of demonstration and violence. I also don’t mention the fact that despite getting arrested with my dad when I was eight at Westover Airforce Base, I have spent my adult life as just the kind of capitalist pig Morello sees as the problem.

Back in the van, Morello laughs at Kramer and tells me, “Wayne is the titanium backbone of this tour.” The conversation quickly turns to Obama’s performance on the Sunday chat shows. “How did our guy do?” Morello asks. I listen closely, since Morello’s similarities to Obama have led many to press him to endorse his apparent twin. Privately, Morello confessed to me that he was deeply moved by Obama’s speech on race. But publicly he maintains that he will endorse the first candidate who promises to prosecute Bush for crimes against humanity. His whole point is that people change the world, not politicians. We shouldn’t wait for the system to magically change by itself. We should, “fuck it up!”

Still, I’ve noted a lot of Obama’s “change” language in Morello’s recent concerts and, in the van, its clear these guys are Obama supporters. “He did well,” Kramer tells Morello. “He actually thinks about his answers, which could be confused with indecision even though it’s not. He has a nuanced view of the world. Everyone else speaks in sound bites that mean nothing. Barack actually tries to answer the question.”

During the sound check before the concert, Morello plays cuts from his first Nightwatchman album on his acoustic guitar. Rappers and folks singers arrive to hugs and high-fives. During sound check on House Gone Up in Flames—a song about “Colin Powell’s lies” in Iraq—Morello sings the lyric “It was in St. Peter’s denial that he’d thrice deny” which leads to an extended Biblical discussion. Morello expounds on the Last Supper and its relevance to our foreign policy. Once the sound is to Morello’s liking, it is time to run through the individual artists, figure out who is going to play with whom, and finally figure out a play list. It is less than an hour until the doors open.

Boots Riley, a poet and free-style rapper whose hair looks distinctly like Don King’s, tries a bit of his “5 Million Ways to Kill a C.E.O.” Next, Mr. Lif, a rapper with long and thick dread-locks down his back, comes on stage for the last sound check. He needs Morello, Kramer, and the rest of the traveling band to back him up. Lif hands his iPod to the technician running the sound board. Now it’s 20 minutes to doors. The music blares over the concert speakers as Morello concentrates on each note to try to learn the song. As time runs out, Morello looks over at me and yells, “It is all going to come together. You can tell by my relaxed demeanor!”

As the crowd files in upstairs, Morello tells me in the dressing room about one of his Kenyan half-brothers, Segeni, who made his way to Georgetown University still completely unaware of Morello’s existence. While searching the web about their mutual father, Segeni found a mention of the connection to Morello, who happened to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. Still not believing he had a rock star American brother, he ran down to the news stand to stare at the pictures of Morello. As it turns out, Morello and his dad share a striking resemblance.


Morello’s background is almost identical to Obama’s. His parents met during Kenya’s struggle for independence. They traveled back to New York, where Tom was born, when his dad became Kenya’s first black delegate to the United Nations. Soon thereafter his dad returned home to Kenya. His white mom took Morello to rural Illinois to grow up as the only black kid in an all-white town.Taking the stage as part of the permanent band on the Justice Tour, Wayne Kramer has changed his worn Converse sneakers into brand new white ones. Kramer, who must be 60, asks the crowd, “Where is Lee Harvey Oswald now that we really need him?” as he and Morello dig into MC5’s most famous, and controversial, song “Kick out the Jams, Motherfucker!” Jesse Malin, known as a punk rocker with a soft heart whose career has been fostered by Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen, takes the stage next with only a female keyboard player dressed in black and sporting four-inch heels. I am reminded of both Neil Young and Green Day as he a sings a track off his first album, “The Fine Art of Self-Destruction”.

“Writing songs is kind of like masturbating,” he tells the crowd. “I need to find that quiet moment when no one is around. The good thing about living in New York is I can walk around while I’m writing and no one bothers me. One day on the Upper West Side, I crossed the street and accidentally bumped into this little lady. I looked down and said to myself, ‘Oh, shit that’s Yoko.’ When I got home I started to play my guitar and write some lyrics. My cat looked at me like ‘what the fuck?’”

“The song became my own little Rorschach test. I finally realized that it was about that whole generation that I missed out on. Even my friends who were so punk rock and hard core—who wanted to change the system and fuck things up—had to go on and become part of society and have kids and get jobs. But imagine losing John Lennon—your partner and a Beatle—with whom you were going to start a revolution to change the world with peace. The song started to come to me more and more as I thought about how you might think you are so radical and still want to fuck things up but you still have to go to Toy-R-Us and stare at Jeffrey the Giraffe, or you have to go to some job you fucking hate. But when you look in the mirror you still see that guy who wanted to change everything.”

Chetro Urmston and State Radio, who often open for Dave Matthews, take the stage carrying trays of electric guitar pedals. As Chetro plugs in, I hone in on his huge curly blond afro and the box of welded scrap metal with strings which is apparently his guitar. He turns to ask, “Mad dog, you ready?” The drummer, a mild-mannered 20-something with a soft beard and grungy clothes, nods his head yes and without warning dives into a solo more than worthy of his nickname. Chetro belts out their hit song CIA (with the chorus “Don’t you ever let us down!”) The reggae sound and hard-driving beat transport me for the first time during the concert.

Chetro follows up with “Camilo”, a haunting song about their friend who served in Iraq, came home after his first tour of duty, became a conscientious objector and refused to go back to war. The song recounts how he was tried and found guilty of deserting the Army and served nine months in military prison. “Oh my country won’t you call out, doorbells are ringing with boxes of bones, from another land’s war torn corners, to a prison cell of my own.” I’ve been trying to keep up my defenses but something about the sound pierces my heart. In the coming days, I begin to play the song every morning on the way to school drop-off, only to find out it has long been my 14-year-old daughter’s favorite video on YouTube.

“Light that shit up!” Morello commands the audience as he comes back on stage. “Hold up that Blackberry where I can see it.” The crowd is now awash in the glow of blue screen light. He explains that the Justice Tour is about liberating the country and by our very presence, Boston is now a “free zone”. But there is more to be done. “Text ‘AI5055’ right now to send a message that we won’t stand for torture. We demand Guantanamo be torn down!”

He’s just visited Walter Reed, he explains, and is thinking about what victory in Iraq might look like, since the Iraqi people and the American people have already lost so much. Victory might mean bringing those responsible for crimes against humanity to justice, he says. “So when they tear that mother down they might want to save one cell for George W. and his buddies and make sure to pipe in plenty of Rage Against the Machine!” As Morello rips into the opening bars of Fortunate Son, backed by Kramer, he thanks the audience for their kind attention but tells them “it’s time to make some fucking noise!”





Backstage, Morello tells me about making the Rage video for Sleep Now in the Fire with Michael Moore on Wall Street. Morello, who had been arrested scores of times, asked Moore before they started shooting how many times he had been arrested. He was shocked when Moore admitted, “Never.” The idea was to film the video on Wall Street during lunch hour, as the traders and brokers flooded into the streets. They had a permit to play on the steps of the Federal building across from the New York Stock Exchange, but not in the city streets. Soon Morello was enveloped in a sea of traders as he went crazy on the guitar. Moore told the band to move down into the street and keep playing no matter what happened.

The City Police Sergeant made it very clear the band had to move back onto the steps and physically attempted to restrain them. The Sergeant grew angry as Morello and the rest of the band continued down into the street. Finally, he reached over and unplugged Morello’s guitar. To the Sergeant’s great amazement the music didn’t stop, since it was being piped in for the shoot. “The look on his face was like the first time cavemen saw fire,” Morello recalls. “It was like Rage had some magical power over the police.” The Sergeant looked at Morello with disgust and then at bass player Timmy C, who’s built like a superhero, and walked straight between them to throw handcuffs on Moore, arresting him and dragging him off.

Morello, the band, and the crowd of fans attempted to storm the stock exchange in hopes of demonstrating on the floor. Morello got into a physical altercation with the guards, ultimately causing the NYSE to go into full lock-down at 2:52pm to prevent the mob from getting inside. As Morello tells me this story, I don’t have the heart to tell him that in my previous life I was on the inside around that time, taking The Providence Journal Company public, watching our stock open on the floor and then ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange triumphantly as the blond-haired-boy-wonder Chief Financial Officer of the oldest media company in the country. We seem to have been traveling in parallel universes.


Morello, the band, and the crowd of fans attempted to storm the stock exchange, in hopes of demonstrating on the floor. I was on the inside around that time, taking The Providence Journal Company public, watching our stock open on the floor and then ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange triumphantly as the blond-haired-boy-wonder Chief Financial Officer of the oldest media company in the country. Morello didn’t start playing guitar until he was 17. “I didn’t choose the instrument, it chose me like a viral infection,” he explains. “I couldn’t get rid of it. So I came to see my responsibility as weaving my convictions into my vocation.” After Harvard, Morello packed his Chevy Astro van and drove to Los Angeles with a thousand bucks in his pocket. He arrived knowing no one and suffered through a series of “soul-crushing” jobs in retail before working for Senator Alan Cranston in a number of roles, eventually becoming his scheduling secretary for two years. Even though he respected the Senator’s politics, Morello was shocked to learn that on a daily basis, Cranston spent his time calling up rich guys to ask for money. For the first time he saw “the duck-tape that holds our democracy together.”

Morello’s first record deal was with a band called Lock-Up. They produced an ill-fated record entitled, “Something Bitchin’ This Way Comes.” The band and record went nowhere. At 26, Morello thought his musical aspirations were over. Rage Against the Machine formed in August of 1991. Where Lock-Up had tried to play by the rules, Rage most certainly did not. “We had no expectation of even being able to play a show,” Morello recalls. “We were perfectly content to make a cassette and sell it for $5 to anyone who would buy it.” The band spoke to the American psyche.

In retrospect, Morello sees their success as the juxtaposition of real world events like Rodney King and massive feigned rebellion in the music world. Rage’s rebellion was for real. They were an ethnically mixed group who played Neo-Marxist rants. “In our first single we shouted ‘fuck-you I won’t do what you tell me’ sixteen times in a row,” he recalls. At first American censors outlawed the group. They became huge in Europe before dominating the American music scene with Morello’s monster riffs.

In recent years, Morello’s moved away from his monumental electric sound and struck out on a solo acoustic career. An unlikely convert to folk music, he says “sometimes three cords and the truth can be just as powerful as a wall of sound,” quoting his friend Bono’s version of the famous Hendrix line. Besides, it frees him from the chaotic personalities of a rock band and all the equipment that goes with it. “If I want to raise money for a buddy in jail on protest I just throw my guitar in the back of the car and go.”

The next day, as we get back into the van for a rally on Boston Common, I still have the words to Camilo in my head, feeling Mad Dog on the drums so close I could reach out and touch him, the vibrations running through my body. I can see Camilo himself in his prison cell. Morello orchestrates the controlled chaos with passion that is infectious. He likes to say he has hit on a winning formula, bringing great musicians together to change the world through music.

Morello tells me in the van that his brother Segeni finally tracked him down. After they got together, he invited Morello to Kenya. “My father was a Kenyan diplomat and shortly after my birth he was not involved in my or my mom’s life. In 2006, after I had already grown close with many members of the Kenyan side of my family, he apologized to me and my mom and welcomed me into the family.” Morello’s lost Kenyan family, the source of his racial heritage, was found. Morello recorded a song with the Kenyan artist Eric Wainaina and some additional material that, when released, will raise money for Kenyan Red Cross to aid the victims of recent violence. It will be titled Facing Mount Kenya.

It’s pouring rain as we pull off the main road in the van and are waved into the Boston Common by policemen in neon rain coats. The organizer of the rally is in the front seat. She explains that the weather has put a damper on turn-out. Riding along with musical superstars as they approach an outdoor concert and rally, images of Woodstock come to mind until the van turns the last corner and I see the sound man setting up with literally less than a dozen fans milling about awaiting our arrival.

“The show must go on,” Morello says with a laugh. We all pile out of the car and run for the cover of the bandstand. Morello yells to the fans to come in out of the rain. As he plugs in his guitar, one of the Boston policemen approaches. “Tom, I am a huge fan,” he admits. “Thanks for coming out on such a terrible day!”

Twenty minutes later a handful of health care lobbyists arrive from the State House where there was a viewing of Michael More’s SICKO. They’re carrying signs protesting the lack of health care. Morello sings “One Man Revolution”. State Radio, Wayne Kramer, and Boots Riley groove to Morello’s guitar and his sometimes incomprehensible rhythmic shouts, their heads bobbing to the beat. Everyone seems to be having a great time, despite literally playing for themselves.

I notice one old lady with a cane who is at least 80-years-old. As Morello gears up for his finale, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land”, he notices her. He asks her to come to the stage to sing along with him. She makes her way up and he gives her a hug. Morello always closes with Guthrie’s national anthem; breaking in the middle of the song to ask the crowd to sing along to Guthrie’s lost verse and “jump-the-fuck-up” to show the world that the revolution is on. The night before there had been 30 musicians on stage, and several thousand fans, jumping and screaming the verse in a blur of exuberant energy. I watched and laughed, but stayed out of sight.

In the pouring rain the musicians, the little old lady with her cane waving, and even the cop all start singing and jumping. I hesitate. But then I see the unbridled joy of Morello, singing Guthrie’s words in 2008, with all there is to be depressed about, a rock star in a downpour playing just for fun. I jump too, joining my first protest in 35 years.

“This is about making people feel less alone in their convictions,” Morello says as he packs up to head for home. “Never give up and never give in.”

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The Wall Street Journal - Video

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122237978615276573.html

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Troy Davis

Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed TOMORROW September 23 for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, yet serious doubts of his guilt remain and compelling evidence of his innocence has not been heard in court. On Friday, September 12, the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles denied clemency to Davis -- we must urge them to reconsider their decision. Go to Amnesty International's website and send a letter to the Georgia Board NOW! www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rage Against the Machine in Minnesota and the state of political pop

I regret not making it to the Twin Cities to see Rage Against the Machine play the Target Center in Minneapolis tonight, sending its mighty roar over the Mississippi River toward Sarah Palin. But we do have the Internet, letting us in on other people's once-in-a-lifetime moments. Here's one







That's Rage, getting down with a megaphone after being denied access to the stage at the Ripple Effect festival, a day-long event held Tuesday on the Minnesota State Capitol's Upper Mall to promote non-partisan progressive politics in the shadow of the Republican convention.

The band was supposed to be the fest's surprise closer, but according to the Ripple Effect blog, capitol staff and state law enforcement agents shut down the concert because Rage was starting too late -- a half hour before the event's scheduled 7 p.m. curfew.

Rage's megaphone set ended with the band inspiring thousands of protesters to march toward the Xcel Energy Center, site of the convention. The music fans joined a larger march before being dispersed by police.

In light of this protest, which Zack de la Rocha predicted in an interview with me a few weeks ago, it's interesting to consider the position Rage currently occupies. These guys are elders now, nearing or past 40; many of the activists who came out to see them are likely from the next generation. This isn't the usual way musical-political moments unfold.

Shifting paradigms usually require new voices to express what's happening. But (aside from the celebrity candidates themselves) this year's political campaign hasn't produced any new pop stars. Instead, it's caused already established figures from Will.i.am to Sheryl Crow to new heights of creativity and optimism.

It's not surprising that lifetime progressives like Crow have stepped out to provide their support -- or that John McCain's found a stumper in country star John Rich. Barack Obama's effect on the hip-hop scene has been well-documented; most recently, veteran producer Jermaine Dupri has posted his admiration on the Huffington Post, and Spike Lee has predicted that the senator's candidacy could lead to a new golden moment in the African American arts.

Yet no young voice has emerged to embody this surge, the way Bob Dylan did in the countercultural 1960s or Rage did in the street-activist 1990s. Right now, the story seems to be of midcareer artists finding a new spark and stepping out to lead again.

After hearing of the Ripple Effect protest, I happened upon a telling quote from David Berman, the poet who records music under the moniker Silver Jews. In an e-mail chat with the Toronto-based critic Carl Wilson, Berman reflected upon the relationship between "slackers" -- i.e., fortysomethings -- and their youngers (warning to Republicans reading this post: Berman is an unapologetic leftist):

My generation doesn't have 'following' skills. The younger generations, growing up in a more enlightened world perhaps, are team thinkers. My belief is that the next twenty years will be the story of what the adults (us) and the young adults (people born after 1980) do to recover from the damage that this exceptionally stupid and selfish generation of Republicans, businessmen and God-botherers has inflicted.

There is no doubt in my mind that the 40-year-old guys out there who think life has passed them by, the slackers who kept slacking while their peers sold out, will have a very active second half of their lives.

What happened with Rage Tuesday night in the Twin Cities seems to enforce Berman's view. The other headliners on the bill for Ripple Effect -- Michael Franti, Dead Prez, Anti-Flag -- are also in their mid-30s to 40s. None of them could be called slackers; but neither has any lived through a moment when their often radical progressive views connected with the politics of the mainstream. Until, perhaps, now.

There's still time for a new Rage (or Dylan, or the Clash, or Mavis Staples) to emerge with a fresh musical vision. For now, though, it seems enough to enjoy the midlife renewal of so many.

Meanwhile, I'd love to know who your visionaries are. Who's best capturing the rhythms of this political season in guitar chords, samples and beats?

*** taken from www.latimes.com ***

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tom, live in the streets

"Report From RNC: Rage ONE, Cops ZERO"

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Note from Tom

"Hey, Tom here. Gonna keep you updated with the latest music and politics here from now on. You can also check out axisofjustice.org or www.myspace.com/thenightwatchman for more info. Solid, Tom"

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AXIS OF JUSTICE News - 8/19/2008

taken from: WWW.AXISOFJUSTICE.ORG

GORI, Georgia, Aug 18 (Reuters) - A Russian tank crashes through a barricade of Georgian police cars, explosions ring out from a military base as Russian troops destroy Georgian arms and ammunition, soldiers sit listlessly at the roadside.

Russia announced on Monday it had begun withdrawing its troops from Georgia under a six-point ceasefire plan. But neither Georgia nor wary and openly impatient Western powers saw any evidence of the tanks, trucks and troops leaving.

LINK: http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=302716

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The Rise and Fall of Pervez Musharraf

Despite Pervez Musharraf's despotism and double-dealing with U.S. enemies, George W. Bush, John McCain and the GOP embraced him to the bitter end.

LINK: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/08/19/musharraf/

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How Wind Farms May Really Replace Coal Mining
One community is attempting to prove that clean energy can beat dirty power -- even in the heart of coal country.

LINK: http://www.alternet.org/environment/95535/how_wind_farms_may_really_replace_coal_mining/

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Signature Update from Cindy for Congress

Dear Friends

Thanks for all the encouragement and help.

This afternoon we turned in 431 signatures and the the DOE gave us 196 valid signatures from that.
Then, surprisingly, the Dept of Elections found 112 more good signatures from the first
batch we turned in...so now we need 208 valid signatures by 5:00 Friday, August 8th.

We are turning in 780 signatures first thing in the morning...so I am cautiously optimistic that
we will qualify with those signatures, but nevertheless, we have still have people out getting
signatures and we will collect signatures all day tomorrow until the DOE confirms that we have
qualified. If we don't qualify with what we have by tomorrow at 5pm, the next step is taking it
to the courts and demand that a truly non-partisan entity count our signatures.

There are some good things about this:

Our plight has gone viral and new volunteers have been coming in all week to help and more
people have been swarming into the office to sign the petition. Today was the first day that
I had an infusion of hope that we have a really good chance of winning (a fair election)!

Another great thing is that we have turned in about 18000 signatures and that is 18000 votes.
We are 1/2 of the way to taking about 1/2 of Pelosi's votes, and that is all we need to win in
November!

On to the campaign and on to victory.

As soon as we get the call that we qualified, I will let you all know.

Love
Cindy

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ROLLING STONE ARTICLE



Fifteen months ago, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello officially debuted a new persona, the Nightwatchman, an acoustic-guitar-and-harmonica-wielding protest singer with a deep baritone. This fall, the Nightwatchman returns with The Fabled City, 11 songs of politically charged folk recorded in eight days with producer Brendan O'Brien.

Unlike on 2007's stripped-down One Man Revolution, Morello and O'Brien created bigger, more eclectic arrangements for the new album — which also features vocal spots from Serj Tankian and country rocker Shooter Jennings. "It definitely rocks harder than the first one," Morello says.

Writing the songs for The Fabled City was a cathartic experience for Morello, who channeled his grief about the recent deaths of his aunt and uncle into the lyrics. "This album is a search for hope through music," Morello says. The song "Saint Isabelle," which eulogizes his aunt, draws heavily from Celtic music. "Irish rebel music makes for great fighting songs," he says.

Political-protest tunes remain the core of the Nightwatchman material. "Night Falls" documents a union uprising in the guitarist's childhood home of Marseilles, Illinois, while "Midnight in the City of Destruction" is a first-person account of surviving Hurricane Katrina. "I lost my grandfather, two neighbors and my friend," Morello sings. "I pray that God himself will come and drown the president if the levees break again."

Morello — currently playing festivals with Rage — is psyched to bring some of that energy to his solo tour this fall. "I feel comfortable now playing not only the creepy, dark acoustic songs but also cranking it up on the electric," he says. "That'll definitely be part of the tour."

[From Issue 1058 — August 7, 2008]

Austin Scaggs

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THANK YOU SAN FRANCISCO... A Note From: Cindy Sheehan

THANK YOU SAN FRANCISCO... A Note From: Cindy Sheehan

...and Supporters from all over the Nation

Dear Friends,

Due to some very dedicated volunteers and employees (who not only earned a little extra money but believe in our campaign that is by and for the people), Cindy for Congress will be turning in our nominating signatures this Tuesday, July 29th!

Our campaign goal was to turn in the nominating signatures by August 1st, so we are ahead of our campaign schedule and will be 10 days ahead of the deadline.

We will pick up supplemental petitions on Tuesday to gather signatures until August 8th: the number depending on the number of signatures that are invalidated, but on Tuesday, we will be turning in well in excess of the 7698 that are still due.

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, I will be only the 6th non-partisan to attain ballot status in California.

Quite a historic day for the people. Not only is it super difficult just in a logistical way, but WE WILL BE ON THE BALLOT AGAINST THE FAILED SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE! This is huge! This is profoundly significant!

We are 100 days away from the election and 100 days away from sending Pelosi packing.

Talk about a revolution! Talk about a peaceful coup!

Love & Peace
Cindy
www.cindyforcongress.org

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More than candles blown out at Slash-A-Palooza

*** Taken from www.lasvegassun.com***
By John Katsilometes · July 24, 2008 · 9:47 AM

Slash's Birthday Bash

Maybe this all didn't happen Wednesday night. Maybe, on my walk through the parking garage leading to The Mirage, someone flung a brick at my head and knocked me cold, and the whole tableau played out in my concussed consciousness.

Perhaps the great ventriloquist and soon-to-be Mirage headliner, Terry Fator, was not joined onstage on a pool deck usually reserved for seminude sunbathers by the famously long-bearded Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Maybe it was a dream that Jason Bonham, the shaved-headed percussionist son of the late John Bonham, didn't crash through a piercing version of "Whole Lotta Love" as onetime Jane's Addiction and Porno For Pyros frontman Perry Farrell crawled across the stage wailing that we needed to keep the party going because, "We don't wanna die, do we?!" It could be that former Spacehog vocalist and deposed husband of Liv Tyler, Royston Langdon, didn't blithely scream the lyrics of "Stone Free" and "Jean Genie" into a temporarily dead microphone to a throbbing audience that didn't seem to notice, because Slash and his searing Gibson guitar were hoarding the spotlight.

Yep, it could be that Stacy Ferguson, or just "Fergie," didn't really sashay onstage in skin-tight black Spandex pants and a grey T-shirt emblazoned with a gold L.A. Dodger logo for a hair-raising version of "Sweet Child O' Mine," fairly dry-humping the former Guns 'N Roses lead guitarist as he nimbly unleashed his signature solos. And it might be my imagination that Fergie, in the midst of covering Heart's "Barracuda," might have fallen short of Ann Wilson's vocal dexterity but executed a move Wilson could never pull off – a trio of one-handed summersaults. And maybe the entire surreal experience didn't close with Slash cutting into a very tall birthday cake shaped like his trusty Gibson, topped by a quite-familiar black top hat, and a wildly diverse mix-and-match group of celebs singing, "Paradise City," – with Fator, Farrell, comic actor Tommy Davidson and Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains providing a glistening-with-sweat Fergie with backing harmonies.

But it all did happen. As proof, I still wear a white wristband reading "Bare pool lounge," and am suffering what might be a pair of perforated eardrums.

Oh, and happy birthday to Slash, who turned 43 (and should know better) yesterday and last night. Forgive those of us who did not bring gift baskets to Slash-A-Palooza. But the 600 or so revelers who paid $100 a pop surely couldn't have anticipated the sample plate of rockers (and the odd ventriloquist) who thundered through a 2 ½-hour spectacle at The Mirage's finest water feature. Others who ambled on and off the stage included bassist Mike Inez (also once of Alice In Chains); Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello; Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas, Senen "Sen-Dog" Reyes of Cypress Hill; Emma Taylor, Winston the Turtle, soul singer Julius and Dougie Scott Taylor (Fator's handy puppets); and Perla Hudson, the mistress of ceremonies and also Mrs. Slash. That's discounting a video montage assembled by Perla – who seems so at home with the mic that she could emcee her own variety show -- that featured Rainn Wilson, Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Navarro, Tommy Lee, Sammy Hagar, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (playing trumpet to great effect) and Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen.

There was a tepid rumor early that the night that the event might feature a Guns 'N Roses reunion of sorts, but it never happened. It's just as well. Who had the time?

Songs covered by some or all of this band of misfits included the G'N R classic "It's So Easy," assaulted by a heaving, wild-eyed Langdon; "Superstition" and "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," by Farrell, a man who seems born to wear the bright-red pants and matching red-and-black satin jacket; "Wish You Were Here," by Cantrell and Inez; and "To Kill a Man," by Davidson, Sen-Dog, Will.i.am and pretty much everyone else on or near the stage.

No wonder the man of the moment could only mutter, "I am completely f-ing overwhelmed." That statement pretty much captures Slash, a man of few words but many chords who has managed to fill the guitar hero roll as well as anyone for the past 20-plus years. At one point, during "It's So Easy," the cat in the hat ripped into a solo, casually tossed a spent cigarette butt into the photographer's pit at the front of the stage, then spun around without missing a note. Niiiice.

The crew made it to the Beatles Revolution Lounge for extended play, and much of the amped-up crowd met them there. I lasted maybe an hour before the corner man in my brain threw in the towel. On my way out of the hotel a woman dressed like Sweet Loretta Modern of "Get Back" strutted toward me and asked, "Wanna have some fun?"

I just laughed. She had no idea.

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SIGNATURE UPDATE FROM CINDY FOR CONGRESS

Dear Friends,

In one week, we have collected 2836 signatures and we need 2821 more to qualify to get on the ballot for November.

We averaged about 405 per day last week. We had more volunteers out on the streets and neighborhoods and we were able
to raise enough money to hire some paid gatherers, too.

If we keep up this rate, we will have the required amount by next Sunday...the earlier we turn in our required signatures, the earlier
we will know our invalid rate and we will have until August 8th to make those signatures up. When we turned in our 3000 filing signatures, our invalid rate was 22%, I expect this time it will be lower, because we won't make the same errors we did last time.

Thanks for your support and for spreading the word!

I am supremely confident that we will be on the ballot and that is 2/3rds of the way to victory in November!

Love and Peace
Cindy
www.CindyforCongress.org

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On July 15th a new Bruce Springsteen charity EP released featuring a collaboration with:

Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman

In April, at two of Bruce Springsteen's shows in Anaheim, I had the privilege of playing "The Ghost of Tom Joad" with Bruce Springsteen. It is an amazing honor that the recording and video of night one of this performance will be released on digital format with all the proceeds going to benefit a Danny Federici Melanoma Fund. Danny, as you probably know, was Bruce's friend and musical collaborator for 40 years who recently passed away from complications due to skin cancer. A few days before the Anaheim shows I ran into Bruce Springsteen at a recording studio and we talked about the possibility of playing together some time in the future. I threw out the idea of perhaps tackling "The Ghost of Tom Joad". A few days later we spoke again on the phone and he said come on down to Anaheim and let's do this! I don't often get nervous for performances but frankly I was super scared for this one as Bruce Springsteen is one of my favorite artists and playing on stage with him was going to literally be a dream come true. Bruce was unsure of whether we were going to play the song acoustic or electric so I practiced both versions and went down to soundcheck not knowing what to expect. When I got there Bruce was rehearsing the E Street band in what sounded like a very rocking version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad". I was down in catering and was very surprised to hear that he had raised the key of the song about seven steps above where it sits on "The Ghost of Tom Joad" album. I was in a near panic as I knew this was going to stretch The Nightwatchman's vocal range perhaps beyond his abilities. So it came time to rehearse the song at soundcheck and Bruce and the E Street band were very cool and gracious. As we began to play the song I realized that I was probably not going to be able to sing it and began sweating bullets. I told Bruce, Look I'm not sure if I can sing in that key. He and Steve Van Zandt came over and were both kind of singin the correct notes in my ears and I was sweating more bullets thinking Oh my gosh this is my once in a lifetime opportunity to play with Bruce Springsteen and I'm likely to blow it. So finally Bruce just looked me in the eye and said "It's gonna be fine". At that point I stopped worrying about it because, ya know, he's The Boss. The show that night couldn't have gone better. He and the band were amazing and I had a great time playing and singing "The Ghost of Tom Joad". When it came time for the guitar solo spot I thought I probably shouldn't hold anything back because who knows when I'll be on stage with Bruce Springsteen next. So I kinda went for it. Bruce and his fans were very appreciative. I know the utube version of that song has been out for a while but I understand that the version that's being released on July 15th is remixed and the video is re-edited for maximum rock impact.

Danny Federici will be very much missed. He was a great musician and an important part one of rocks greatest all time bands. Again, it was an honor to be on stage with the E Street band and my condolences and thoughts go out to Danny's friends and family.


- Tom Morello


www.thedannyfedericimelanomafund.com

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Rolling Stone Interview The Nightwatchman

Tom Morello Charts Similarities with Obama, Talks Election 2008

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello can't help notice the similarities between himself and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. "Well, you know, being the half-Kenyan Harvard graduate from Illinois in his early forties, not running for president this year's election gives me a unique perspective," Morello tells Rolling Stone's Austin Scaggs. "I've always felt more comfortable on the other side of the barbed wire fence, you know, lobbing musical Molotov cocktails at the party."

"If America elects a black president it will be a different country than the one I've seen my entire life and that would be a step definitely in the right direction," Morello added.

A member of Rage Against the Machine supporting a presidential hopeful? Has the band softened on its radical edge? " I don't think it has anything to do with rebelling against a President. It has to do with policy. The Democratic Congress was elected in 2006 to end the war and they rolled over like lap dogs," Morello adds. So who does Morello think will win this election? "In the next presidential election America will get the president it deserves. If after eight years of Bush's foreign and domestic crimes that we elect a Republican president, you know, it seems to me like you should be able to run a barnyard animal against a Republican and win in a ninety-ten split," Morello says. "So if America elects McCain over, you know, the clearly intelligent, erudite, fair-minded Barack Obama, then either way we'll get the President we deserve."

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Magic Tour Highlights will be available for download beginning July 15

taken from WWW.BACKSTREETS.COM

MAGIC TOUR FOUR-TRACK LIVE EP DUE JULY 15
Special guests in the spotlight on new digital release
With official live Springsteen recordings few and far between (even though they've stepped up the game in recent years), we've always been fans of the Chimes of Freedom EP model -- no grand statement or tour summation, just getting great live music out fast. Twenty years later, we've got something of the same species: a four-track live EP with recordings from mere months ago, to be released even as the Magic tour continues.

Magic Tour Highlights, available in less than two weeks, embraces the digital era, delivering mp3s and videos online with no physical release currently planned. The EP will be available for download from all digital downloads stores, including the iTunes Store and Amazon.com.

Four songs from Bruce and the E Street Band's spring 2008 U.S. leg have been selected, each highlighting a special guest -- if you count Danny Federici's re-emergence for his only 2008 appearance, what turned out to be his final performance in Indianapolis. A "guest spot" or not, it was an emotional high point of the tour that's captured here, along with three other unique performance highs. The tracks:

"Always a Friend" with Alejandro Escovedo (April 14, Houston)
"The Ghost of Tom Joad" with Tom Morello (April 7, Anaheim)
"Turn! Turn! Turn!" with Roger McGuinn (April 23, Orlando)
"4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" with Danny Federici (March 20, Indianapolis)
In addition to the audio tracks, each of these will be available in accompanying live videos. The recordings were mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig; Thom Zimny handled re-editing on the videos.

The artists, songwriters, and music publishers are waiving all of their royalties, and Columbia Records is donating all of its net profits, for all sales to benefit The Danny Federici Melanoma Fund. The iTunes Store is donating their first year's net profits as well. Magic Tour Highlights will be available for download beginning July 15.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

U.S. Senate passes spy bill, phone immunity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. phone companies that took part in President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program would receive retroactive immunity from lawsuits under a bill passed overwhelmingly Tuesday by the Democratic-led Senate.

But it was unclear if the Democratic-led House would also approve the measure to shield firms from potentially billions of dollars in civil damages.

About 40 civil lawsuits have been filed accusing AT&T Inc , Verizon Communications Inc and Sprint Nextel Corp of violating Americans' privacy rights in helping the government's warrantless domestic spying program started shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Passed by the Senate on a largely party-line vote of 68-29, the bill backed mostly by Republicans would replace a temporary spy law set to expire this week that expanded the power of U.S. authorities to track enemy targets without a court order.

In addition, the Senate bill would bolster the protection of privacy rights of law-abiding Americans swept up in the hunt for suspected terrorists.

Bush and Congress agreed last month to a 15-day extension of the expiring surveillance law -- to this coming Saturday -- to provide more time to resolve differences.

House Democrats, who have opposed immunity, plan to bring up for a vote as early as Wednesday another proposed extension, this one for 21 days, a top aide said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said: "We do not need yet another extension, yet another delay. We need to focus on getting our work done."

Bush urged the House to set aside "narrow partisan concerns" and pass the Senate measure so he can sign it into law.

"This good bill ... provides a long-term foundation for our intelligence community to monitor the communications of foreign terrorists in ways that are timely and effective and that also protect the liberties of Americans," the president said in a statement.

NATIONAL SECURITY CITED

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John Rockefeller of West Virginia broke ranks with many fellow Democrats in pushing to immunize phone companies. Yet he criticized Bush for starting the spy program without congressional or court approval.

"Anger over the president's program should not prevent us from addressing the real problems that the president has created," Rockefeller said.

He warned that without immunity some private firms may decline to help protect the nation.

Opponents, including civil liberties groups, complained that the measure's protections of privacy rights were inadequate and its immunity unwarranted.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, voted no, saying: "I believe that the White House and any companies who broke the law must be held accountable."

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requires that the government receive the approval of a secret FISA court to conduct surveillance in the United States of suspected foreign enemy targets.

But after Sept. 11, Bush authorized warrantless surveillance of communications between people in the United States and others overseas if one had suspected terrorist ties. (Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Xavier Briand)

Source: Reuters North American News Service

*taken from WWW.AXISOFJUSTICE.ORG

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Some 600,000 displaced in Kenya

Three hundred camps for displaced people have been set up in Kenya

The United Nations believes up to 600,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Kenya as a result of the violence that followed elections. Head of the UN emergency relief operation, John Holmes, said about 300,000 displaced people were in camps, with the same number living elsewhere. Talks aimed at resolving the political crisis have resumed in Nairobi.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, acting as mediator, is confident the two sides will reach a deal this week.
Funding appeal

Mr Holmes has returned to Helsinki from a three-day fact-finding mission to Kenya, where he visited camps in the western Rift Valley which have seen some of the worst fighting following December's disputed presidential election result.

"It is a tragic situation in a country which is seen traditionally as a haven of calm and prosperity in a very difficult part of the world" says John Holmes, United Nations

President Mwai Kibaki won the poll, but supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga claimed the vote was rigged. The ensuing political and inter-ethnic fighting is thought to have left about 1,000 dead.

Mr Holmes said there were 300 camps for displaced people - the hundreds of thousands not in camps were probably sheltering with family and friends, he said.

The UN has appealed for $42m (£21.6m) from the international donor community, but Mr Holmes said it had received about half of that amount so far.

"Many have nowhere to go and will be in these camps for some time before they are able to go home and many of them are not sure they will be able to go home," he said.

"We need to consolidate the camps. Three hundred is a very large amount to deal with."

*taken from WWW.AXISOFJUSTICE.ORG

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The Nightwatchman Guitar tablature

California’s Dark TABS

Capo 2nd Fret
E
It started in basements
A
And it started in sheds
E
It started in backyards
A E
And was hidden under beds
E7
I turned on the TV
A sus 4 E
Don't believe a word they say
E7
We can't stay here
A sus 4 E
And we can't get away
A E
There's a riot on Sunset
A E
And fires burn in the park
A E D sus 4 D
The sun has set my friend
A E
And California's dark
And over the screaming
I heard a clear voice
I looked at my choices
And I made a choice
Smoke and ashes
Tonight hide the stars
The stop lights are red now, love
We've come for what's ours
There's a riot on Sunset
And fires burn in the park
The sun has set my friend
And California's dark
E
Come stand among the rattlesnakes
At the side of the desert road
And close your eyes and listen
A E
To the music hard and cold
Tonight the moon is blackened
Tonight the doors are shut
Behind the shuttered windows
A E
We pray the sun will come up
E7
For something walks across these fields
For which there is no name
You might have heard different
A
But I was there when it came
E7
It will start with a spark
And a great fire will grow
Don't know how I know it
A
But I just know
There's a riot on Sunset
And fires burn in the park
The sun sets everywhere
And the whole damn country's dark
There's a riot on Sunset
And fires burn in the park
The sun has set my friend
And California's dark
Outro
E A G E


One Man Revolution

Capo 2nd Fret
F# minor
On the streets of New York
The cabs don't stop
A
On the street where I live
E
They called the cops
B minor
Found a noose in my garage
Now how 'bout that
C# minor
So tonight I'm in the bushes
With a baseball bat
F# minor
Cause I'm a one man
A
I'm a one man
E
I'm a one man revolution
B minor
I'm a one man
C# minor
I'm a one man
F# minor
I'm a one man revolution
The time is nigh
A
The day is dark
E
There's only one solution
B minor
I'm a one man
C# minor
I'm a one man
F# minor
I'm a one man revolution
On the streets of Havana
I got hugged and kissed
At the Playboy Mansion
I wasn't on the list
On the streets of Cape Town
Shit's ready to blow
I don't know how to get there
But I'm ready to go
Cause I'm a one man
I'm a one man
I'm a one man revolution
I'm a one man
I'm a one man
I'm a one man revolution
The time is nigh
The day is dark
There's only one solution
I'm a one man
I'm a one man
I'm a one man revolution
D A
Sacrifice and neon lights
E F# minor
Slaveships don't wait
D A
Love many, trust few
E C# minor
And don't be late
F# minor
In my nightmares
The streets are aflame
And in my dreams
It's much the same
And on the streets of L.A.
They know my name
And if you've come this far mister
E
Maybe we're one and the same
I'm a one man
I'm a one man
I'm a one man revolution
I'm a one man
I'm a one man
I'm a one man revolution
The time is nigh
The day is dark
There's only one solution
I'm a one man
I'm a one man
I'm a one man revolution


Let Freedom Ring

Capo 4th Fret
Intro
G C C/B A minor
G G/F# E minor
E minor
There's a man homeless and hungry
A minor E minor
There's a wind that's hard and biting
There's a song in need of singing
A minor E minor
There's a fuse in need of lighting
G E minor
It's no secret the day is coming
G E minor
And it's a day I hope to see
But if they ask
If they ask you brother
A minor
Who told you that
E minor
You didn't hear it from me
G
Let Freedom Ring
C C/B A minor
Let Freedom Ring
A minor
Let Freedom Ring
G G/F# E minor
Let Freedom Ring
There's a book with seven seals
There's a beast with seven heads
There's seven angels on seven horses
There's seven vials with seven plagues
So if you hear
If you hear a knocking
On that door
Just let it be
But if they ask
If they ask you brother
Who told you that
You didn't hear it from me
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Where the righteous
Where the righteous stood
And where the righteous
Where the righteous fell
There's a voice
That's soft and whispering
Coming from the bottom of the well
And I tried hard to remember
To remember what that voice said
Over and over
Over and over
I repeated those words
Inside my head
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Eminor
And if they ask
If they ask you brother
A minor
Who told you that
E minor
Tell them it was me


The Road I Must Travel

E B
Well I climbed the seven summits
C# minor B
And I swam the seven seas
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
I fought in the jungles
C# minor B
And I fought in the streets
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
Once I had a reason
C# minor B
Don't know what it could be
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
Well I sang to myself
C# minor B
That I want to be free
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
E B
I walked the empty desert
C# minor
And I was burned in the heat
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
I crossed the frozen wasteland
C# minor B
And in the bitter cold did freeze
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
And I will knock on every door
C# minor B
For I do not have a key
C# minor A
And the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
Well I sang to myself
C# minor B
That I want to be free
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
E B
They shot a man in Soho
C# minor B
Couldn't guess his age
C# minor A
I found his empty journal
E
I filled up every page
B
I called up my state senator
C# minor B
They said he wasn't there
C# minor A
The secretary took my name
E
And man she sounded scared
B
So I counted my misfortunes
C# minor B
I added up the blame
C# minor A
I picked through all the garbage
E
I checked off all the names
B
I read in the newspaper
C# minor B
They'd questioned all my friends
C# minor A
They hoped that they could find me
E
Before I struck again
B
Well I sang to myself
C# minor B
That I want to be free
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
E B
So when thirsty I will drink
C# minor B
When hungry I will steal
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
So tonight I walk in anger
C# minor B
With worn shoes on my feet
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
And I will sing to myself
C# minor B
That I'm gonna be free
C# minor A
But the road I must travel
E
Its end I cannot see
B
There's a sign along the highway
C# minor B
But it's too dark now to read
C# minor A E


The Garden of Gethsemane

Capo 4th Fret
A minor G
On the side of the dirt road
A minor
An old Chevy wreck
G
I climbed through the window
A minor
I sat in the back
G
I gathered my thoughts
A minor
With my head in my hands
G
My next of kin
A minor
My list of demands
C G A minor
I slipped from shadow to shadow
C G A minor
I saw things I should not see
C G
The moon rose high
E minor D
Over the Garden
C G A minor
The Garden of Gethsemane
I know who I'm for
And who I'm against
I pulled the shades tight
I built me a fence
I dug a tunnel
Deep and wide
I sit at the bottom
And wait for the night
I slipped from shadow to shadow
I saw things I should not see
The moon rose high
Over the Garden
The Garden of Gethsemane
Morning has come
Clean clothes on the line
There'll be no tomorrow
I rise and I shine
If you swallow the coin
From the wishing well
Your dreams will come true
In heaven or hell
I slipped from shadow to shadow
I saw things I should not see
The moon rose high
Over the Garden
The Garden of Gethsemane
Take my hand
Down we go
Take my hand, love
Down we go


House gone up in Flames

Tuned down ½ step
D minor
It's in the grain of the wood
It's in the needle's rust
C
It's in the eagle's claw
D minor
It's in the eyes you trust
It's in the jackal's dreams
It's in the sleet and the hail
C
It's in the unmarked box
D minor
That came today in the mail
It's in the dead man's pocket
It's in the child's first sin
C
It's in the Constitution
D minor
Written in very small print
It's in Colin Powell's lies
It's in the shaman's trance
C
It's in the cellar waiting
D minor
And it's in the best laid plans
F C
We could cut and run
D minor
And take half the blame
C
Don't stop now
G
That's why we came
House gone up in flames
It's in the National Anthem
It's in the scurrying roach
It's in the closed partition
'Tween first class and coach
It's in the relentless fever
It's in the lonely room
It's in the hands of fate
And it's in the pharaoh's tomb
It's in the rich man's dreams
It's in the poor man's hands
It's in the body bags
Along the Rio Grande
It's in the evening shade
It's on the zealot's tongue
It's in the widow's tears
And it's in the miner's lungs
We could cut and run
And take half the blame
Don't stop now
That's why we came
House gone up in flames
It's in the moon's dark spin
It's in the cloudless sky
It was in St. Peter's denial
That he'd thrice deny
It's in the distant thunder
It's in the whispered prayer
That they won't find us hidden here
Beneath the stairs
So consider yourself lucky
And watch what you say
I got what I wanted
You might get the same
It's in the bold print nailed
To the cathedral door
It's in the black cold pressure
On the ocean floor
We could cut and run
And take half the blame
Don't stop now
That's why we came
House gone up in flames


Flesh Shapes the Day

E
Now you might have heard different
But I know it's a fact
That Jesus, Mary, Joseph
And the Apostle Paul were black
A
Ten letters I am writing
Each one reads the same
E
Nine circles I am drawing
One around your name
B
Land and freedom
Steel and faith
A
Tooth and bone and wire
E
Skin, scar, dirt and fire
B
It doesn't matter who you are
A
It does not matter what you say
G E G E G E
Flesh shapes the day
Now it's clear as a pillar of smoke
And broken Starbuck's glass
Yeah, I support my troops
They wave black flags
They wear black masks
All the roads are closed
Smoke is rising from the fields
The monsters left their cages
An angel set them free
Land and freedom
Steel and faith
Tooth and bone and wire
Skin, scar, dirt and fire
It doesn't matter who you are
It does not matter what you say
Flesh shapes the day
A G E X6
Veteran's hospitals
And witches spells
Low to buy
And high to sell
And little girls
Collecting shells
And memories
Upon the shelves
And ringing bells
And high school choirs
And faithful dogs
Beside the fire
And billionaires
And open bars
And early exits
And judgments hard
And land and freedom
And steel and faith
And tooth and bone and wire
And skin, scar, dirt and fire
It doesn't matter who you are
Does not matter what the fuck you say
Flesh shapes the day


Battle Hymns

Capo 3rd fret
D minor F
Battle hymns for the broken
B flat A minor
Battle hymns for the misled
C A
Battle hymns for the wretched
D minor
The forgotten and the dead
F
Battle hymns of redemption
B flat A minor
Of solidarity and pride
C A
Battle hymns we will be singing
D minor
At the turning of the tide
D minor F C
D minor
Can you explain to the mothers
F
And the fathers of those
C
Who come riding home in coffins
D minor
In their military clothes
d minor
Shiny medals pinned
F
To their dead teenage chests
C
While the trumpets blare
D minor
And you lie your best
So ask all you want
F
From the dusk til the dawn
C
The answer's still no
D minor
Cause brother I'm gone
Battle hymns for the broken
Battle hymns for the misled
Battle hymns for the wretched
The forgotten and the dead
Battle hymns of redemption
Of solidarity and pride
Battle hymns we will be singing
At the turning of the tide
F C A
Can you explain away the sleight of hand
And the criminality
Of spending souls for oil
Well in the mirror I can see
I am the path that leads down
I am a dark and bloody hall
I'm the reaper, executioner
Hangman, judge, and the law
So tie a yellow ribbon
Round the oak tree on the lawn
But the cavalry's not comin'
Cause brother they're gone
Battle hymns for the broken
Battle hymns for the misled
Battle hymns for the wretched
The forgotten and the dead
Battle hymns of redemption
Of solidarity and pride
Battle hymns we will be singing
At the turning of the tide
So I'm sharpening my shovel
I'm firing the kiln
I'm blind and I am purposeful
A martyr on the hill
The dream you might be dreaming
Might be someone else's dream tonight
I'm the whisperer of misgivings
I'm the fading tail light
I'm the call for retribution
From the back of the smoke filled hall
I'm the vow of bitterness
I'm the poison in the well
I've a photographic memory
Of the deeds I will avenge
I'm the cold in the river hollow
I've a hatpin, I've a plan
I don't care of cause or consequence
Head shaved and body lean
I'm the go‐getter, the score settler
I'm the shadow on the green
There's a flock of blackbirds flying
Nearly ten thousand strong
Who set off this morning
And brother they're gone
Battle hymns for the broken
Battle hymns for the misled
Battle hymns for the wretched
The forgotten, for the dead
Battle hymns of redemption
Of solidarity and pride
Battle hymns we will be singing
At the turning of the tide


Maximum Firepower

A minor
This one's for the shoeshine boy
And the farmer in debt
Each string is barbed wire
Each chord is a threat
G
This blues guy I met
That never had a hit
A minor
Said you don't gotta be loud, son
To be heavy as shit
Well I'm the triggerman, baby
And tonight I'll prove
That this machine here
Well it kills fascists too
G
And don't be surprised
If the sermon on the mount
A minor
Next time is delivered
In a little coffee house
D minor
Cause somebody here's
Gotta let them know
A minor
I doubt it's me
But here I go
E minor
I hit the button
Tape started to roll
G
The song's got fire
But it's got no soul
C G A minor
There's a lonely stretch of blacktop
G
Between here and home
C G A minor
Drop down into the valley
Piano playin' in the living room
F A minor
And when you see the white barn
G A minor
You'll know the journey's through
C G A minor
My dog's barking in the backseat
G A minor
Cause he knows it too
A minor G
You'll need a fake passport
And fix your disguise
And don't fire, sugar
Til you see the whites of their eyes
I turned the other cheek
But now I'm through
The skin you're in
Makes choices for you
I was checking off names
And I came late to dinner
Seems the slices of pie
Keep getting thinner and thinner
Brothers and sisters
Rejoice and repent
The landlord's dead
You can keep the rent
You got twelve fine friends
But one of 'em's rotten
There's a hole out back
Ain't got no bottom
Forty days in the wilderness
Forty sleepless nights
I'm confused, half blind
And sure I'm right
There's a lonely stretch of blacktop
Between here and home
Drop down into the valley
Piano playin' in the living room
And when you see the white barn
You'll know the journey's through
My dog's barking in the backseat
Cause he knows it too
F
Officer please
I won't be long
A minor
Called the radio station
Requested this song
F
I had my doubts
About what I knew
E minor
So I turned it up
G
Then it sounded true
A minor
Kiss the ring
If the Queen will let you
But come over the fence
And the dogs will get you
On a rope hung the traitor
On a hook hung the meat
You and me are missing persons
C G
Til we're counted in the streets
A minor
So seize the time
And storm the tower
And come correct
With Maximum Firepower
For the sins of the fathers
The son he must pay
The Nightwatchman giveth
C G
And he taketh away
D minor
Thought hard about this next line
Pretty sure it's true
A minor
If you take a step towards freedom
It'll take two steps towards you
E minor
So mister I ain't scared
And mister I ain't worried
G
Cause on that lonely stretch of blacktop
I sit as judge and jury
There's a lonely stretch of blacktop
Between here and home
Drop down into the valley
Piano playin' in the living room
And when you see the white barn
You know the journey's through
My dog's barking in the backseat
Cause he knows it too
The clock strikes the hour
Tonight we ride
You've got three more seconds
To choose sides


Union Song

Capo 3rd Fret
Intro A E7
A
For the fired auto workers
Who were twisted, tricked and robbed
To the peasant in Guatemala
In a sweatshop got your job
And she can't feed her family
On the pennies that she makes
Meanwhile the crime rate's rising
Up and down the Great Lake states
Like vegetables left in the field
The signatures smell rotten
On the contracts and the deeds
That push the race down to the bottom
As they load the rubber bullets
As they fire another round
I'm heading into the tear gas
Dig in man, hold your ground
D
For Joe Hill and Caesar Chavez
Who fought in their own time
A
For our brothers and our sisters
Up and down that picket line
E
For the unnamed and unnumbered
Who struggle brave and long
A
For the union men and women
Standing up and standing strong
Si nos quedemos
Juntos vamos a ganar? Si !
Hit em where it hurts
And bite the hand that feeds
You might get one to three
Or probation and a fine
But I know where I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be right on that front line
For Joe Hill and Caesar Chavez
Who fought in their own time
For our brothers and our sisters
Up and down that picket line
For the unnamed and unnumbered
Who struggle brave and long
For the union men and women
Standing up and standing strong
Now dirty scabs will cross the line
While others stand aside and look
But ain't nobody never got nothin'
That didn't raise their voice and push
Like the steel worker in Ohio
The miner in West Virginia
The teacher in Chicago
Janitor in Mississippi
From the sweatshops of L.A.
To the fields of Mission Flats
There's a thunder cloud exploding
And I'm free at last
Like Joe Hill and Caesar Chavez
Who fought in their own time
Like our brothers and our sisters
Up and down that picket line
Like the unnamed and unnumbered
Who struggle brave and long
Like the union men and women
Standing up and standing strong


The Dark Clouds Above

G
Never listened to the pain
C G
Never listened to fortune or fame
Never listened to eagle or dove
C G
Never listened to anger or love
D C G
But I listen to the dark clouds above
Never answered to the call
Never answered to nothing at all
Never answered when times got rough
Never answered to anger or love
But I answer to the dark clouds above
Never waited for dollar or dime
Never waited for signal or sign
Never waited when they screamed enough
Never waited for anger or love
But I'm waiting for the dark clouds above


Until The End

Intro
A minor C G A minor F C A minor G E minor
A C
No one knows who gave the orders
G A minor
No one asks about the crime
C
No one looks behind the curtain
G A minor
No one questions why
C
The only time we've got
G
Is right about now
C
I cross my heart
G
I take the vow
C G
I'll never turn
A minor
I'll never bend
G
I'm with you now
A minor
Until the end
Tonight's the test
Tonight's the time
I am the punishment
That fits the crime
I'll break the bricks
I'll pick the locks
I don't got nothin'
But I'll give what I got
I'll never turn
I'll never bend
I'm with you now
Until the end
Ten trials whose outcomes
All fixed from the start
Nine judges sitting counting
Their money in the dark
Eight towers of iron
Surround the desert town
On a cold December morning
Seven martyrs knocked them down
Six fathers still waiting
For their six sons to come home
Five mothers who know better
And accept that they're gone
Four years I've been hunted
Still I breathe free
Three times I shot the sheriff
And did not spare the deputy
Two prayers I'm praying
Until we're together
One promise I'm keeping
Tonight and forever
I'll never turn
I'll never bend
I'm with you now
Until the end


Alone without you

Capo 5th Fret
A minor C A minor
Sick of the waiting praying and hoping
A minor C A minor
Sick of the cold whispered dreams and not knowin
C G
Sick of the strength that it takes to keep going
A minor G A minor
Sick ‘cause I’m losing this fight and it’s showing.
D minor A minor
Aye
G A minor
Unforgivable but true
D minor A minor
Aye
G A minor
I’m alone without you
Sick of the fear and Sick of the cold
Sick ‘cause it’s worse for the weak and the old
With two broken legs I’m climbing this hill
Sick of deciding who gets what in my will
Unforgivable but true
I’m alone without you
F
Sick ‘cause I’m stuck on the wrong side of town
A minor
Sick ‘cause I’m pulling but still sinking down
G
Sick ‘cause I can’t turn this whole thing around
E
Sick ‘cause I’m too weak to hunt somebody down
Unforgivable but true
I’m alone without you
Sick of this hammer and litany of sins
Is banging and burning I can’t stand the din
Sick ‘cause the darkness keeps sinking on in
Sick to be leaving my family and friends

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Devil's Bargain

By: JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

The Devil's Bargain: Sweatshops and the American Scheme
Posted January 2, 2008 | 05:04 PM (EST)

"They hit you...They hit you in the head...To make you work faster."
--Nicaraguan Factory Worker

The so-called season of giving is officially behind us. Even in these sluggish economic times, Americans still managed to spend more than $50 billion in gift-giving. Now that all the gifts have been opened, all that is left is for us to enjoy them.

Yet I can't help but wonder whether our pleasure would be dimmed were we to truly understand what is involved in bringing these gifts--at the bargain prices Americans love--to our homes?

Writing for the Texas Observer, Josh Rosenblatt notes in "Buy Some Stuff, Enslave Somebody" that "the expanding global economy demands that corporations seek out the cheapest possible labor to maximize profit, and stimulate growth and innovation. With free trade has come an explosion of global inequality that has left more than 2.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day."

This inequality makes it possible for Americans to buy more and more while paying less and less. But as the National Labor Committee (NLC), an organization that investigates and exposes human and labor rights abuses committed by U.S. companies producing goods in the developing world, points out, "The people who stitch together our jeans and assemble our CD-players are mostly young women in Central America, Mexico, Bangladesh, China and other poor nations, many working 12 to 14-hour days for pennies an hour."

Some in the business world insist that the business sector's efforts to tap into the vast pool of willing and cheap labor in poorer countries are all about free market economics. However, critics such as the NLC consider the resulting dehumanization of this new global workforce to be the overwhelming moral crisis of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, this remains a moral crisis largely ignored by the American people--except, of course, for the occasional media blitz when a celebrity is found to be peddling wares manufactured in sweatshop conditions. For instance, who could forget the media circus surrounding talk-show personality Kathie Lee Gifford's tearful 1996 confession that her clothing line, which was being sold in Wal-Mart stores across America, was indeed being produced in Honduran sweatshops that employed young girls and pregnant women to sew garments for 20 hours per day in extreme heat for only 31 cents an hour?

Chain retailers like Wal-Mart that sell low-cost goods manufactured overseas by workers who are allegedly paid less than the minimum wage, forced to work long hours, not given overtime pay and even beaten in order to keep them working grueling shifts have become easy targets for human rights groups. The company that once urged consumers to "Buy American" is currently the largest importer of goods made in China, which is one of the world's worst labor abusers. Yet Wal-Mart was not the first company to take advantage of cheap global labor in order to achieve a bigger bottom line, nor will it be the last to do so. Furthermore, mega-retailers are not solely to blame.

We, the American consumer, have perfected the art of indulgence and avoidance. As Rosenblatt observes, "We in the wealthy West, living and dining off the fruits of their labor, can honestly say we are unaware of the devil's bargain we bought into. Or that if we do know, the problem is simply too great to comprehend and beyond our means to do anything about, save changing our lifestyles entirely. Best, in other words, not to think about it."

However, we must think about it. And in thinking about it, at some point we must realize that there is a moral dimension to our buying habits. As long as we are willing to buy, buy, buy at lower and lower prices without a care for how those goods were produced or where they came from, corporations will continue to seek out cheap labor, which invariably goes hand in hand with inhumane working conditions.

Thus, change must start with you. For starters, you can check out the National Labor Committee's website, www.nlcnet.org, for a list of companies with questionable ties to sweatshops and cheap labor. If you're not willing to stop doing business with those companies, then you can at least urge them to change their practices.

Savitri Durkee and William Talen, leaders of the Church of Stop Shopping, star in a documentary making its way across the country, What Would Jesus Buy? They believe now is a good time to urge companies which have given into pressure on climate concerns by becoming more environmentally friendly to recognize human rights concerns by committing to carry goods manufactured in worker-protected environments.

You should also encourage your local church or synagogue to take a moral stand against sweatshop labor. Christ advocated for the poor and urged his followers to reach out to the less fortunate. Christian organizations that claim to emulate Christ should speak out against slave labor. If only large Christian ministries would take a stand and urge their parishioners to boycott large chains that foster inhumane labor practices and working conditions, it could go a long way toward changing conditions around the world.

Finally, the next time you head out the door in search of another great deal, remember that your bargain could be coming at someone else's expense. For instance, here's what a report on a Korean-owned factory had to say about its working conditions:

Toilets and canteens were unsanitary. Some managers screamed at workers or pressured those who complained to resign. And many women, who comprise 88% of the plant's workers, said they were denied time off for doctors' appointments. One pregnant worker who had a note from her doctor about a high-risk pregnancy was not allowed to leave until five hours after she complained of pain. She lost the baby.

-Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.

*taken from WWW.AXISOFJUSTICE.ORG

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How the Iraq war's $2 trillion cost to U.S. could have been spent

How the Iraq war's $2 trillion cost to U.S. could have been spent

Jan 21, 2008 04:30 AM

CRAIG AND MARC KIELBURGER

In war, things are rarely what they seem.

Back in 2003, in the days leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon adamantly insisted that the war would be a relatively cheap one. Roughly $50 billion is all it would take to rid the world of Saddam Hussein, it said.

We now know this turned out to be the first of many miscalculations. Approaching its fifth year, the war in Iraq has cost American taxpayers nearly $500 billion, according to the non-partisan U.S.-based research group National Priorities Project. That number is growing every day.

But it's still not even close to the true cost of the war. As the invasion's price tag balloons, economists and analysts are examining the entire financial burden of the Iraq campaign, including indirect expenses that Americans will be paying long after the troops come home. What they've come up with is staggering. Calculations by Harvard's Linda Bilmes and Nobel-prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz remain most prominent. They determined that, once you factor in things like medical costs for injured troops, higher oil prices and replenishing the military, the war will cost America upwards of $2 trillion. That doesn't include any of the costs incurred by Iraq, or America's coalition partners.

"Would the American people have had a different attitude toward going to war had they known the total cost?" Bilmes and Stiglitz ask in their report. "We might have conducted the war in a manner different from the way we did."

It's hard to comprehend just how much money $2 trillion is. Even Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, would marvel at this amount. But, once you begin to look at what that money could buy, the worldwide impact of fighting this largely unpopular war becomes clear.

Consider that, according to sources like Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs, the Worldwatch Institute, and the United Nations, with that same money the world could:

Eliminate extreme poverty around the world (cost $135 billion in the first year, rising to $195 billion by 2015.)

Achieve universal literacy (cost $5 billion a year.)

Immunize every child in the world against deadly diseases (cost $1.3 billion a year.)

Ensure developing countries have enough money to fight the AIDS epidemic (cost $15 billion per year.)

In other words, for a cost of $156.3 billion this year alone – less than a tenth of the total Iraq war budget – we could lift entire countries out of poverty, teach every person in the world to read and write, significantly reduce child mortality, while making huge leaps in the battle against AIDS, saving millions of lives.

Then the remaining money could be put toward the $40 billion to $60 billion annually that the World Bank says is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, established by world leaders in 2000, to tackle everything from gender inequality to environmental sustainability.

The implications of this cannot be underestimated. It means that a better and more just world is far from within reach, if we are willing to shift our priorities.

If America and other nations were to spend as much on peace as they do on war, that would help root out the poverty, hopelessness and anti-Western sentiment that can fuel terrorism – exactly what the Iraq war was supposed to do.

So as candidates spend much of this year vying to be the next U.S. president, what better way to repair its image abroad, tarnished by years of war, than by becoming a leader in global development? It may be too late to turn back the clock to the past and rethink going to war, but it's not too late for the U.S. and other developed countries to invest in the future.

-Craig and Marc Kielburger are children's rights activists and co-founded Free The Children, which is active in the developing world. Online: Craig and Marc Kielburger discuss global issues every Monday in the World & Comment section. Take part in the discussion online at thestar.com/globalvoices.-

*taken from WWW.AXISOFJUSTICE.ORG

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Jim Goodnow's "Yellow Rose" Bus Destroyed by Suspicious Fire

Jim Goodnow and his bus, the Yellow Rose, both have suffered a terrible tragedy.
Jim, who was at Camp Casey with Cindy Sheehan in August of 2005, got the Yellow Rose shortly thereafter and has been a fixture at actions around the country ever since. In recent months, Jim has been providing transportation to Iraq Veterans Against the War for their various tours and other activities. Last night, Jim escaped a fire of suspicious origins that destroyed the bus. Luckily Jim is all right.
This message was passed on by Bill Perry, a vet and anti-war activist.
The "Yellow Rose" bus, was totaled by fire, around 9:30 pm, Friday night, 1/11/08
This bus, often mired in controversy since the IVAW "Dirty South" tour that left Philly in June, and had Active Duty BBQ's @ Ft Meade, Ft Jackson, Camp Lejeune, Ft Benning, and other Southern Military Posts ( Including an IVAW benefit by Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine, and AudioSlave, in Virginia ) as well as backdrop for many a Demonstration, and Ft Drum, NY, organizing parties, has finally died.
Goto www.axisofjustice.org to see a photo that shows the huge "Don't Attack Iran" and "Impeach Bush" logos, that let everybody on the highway know just how the occupants felt about the state of the state.
Owner~Operator~Driver (and Veteran) Jim Goodnow pulled into a South Jersey Truck Stop, to catch a 3 or 4 hour nap. Jim saw, in retrospect, some suspicious activity outside the bus, and about 20 minutes later, the entire engine compartment, and back of the bus was engulfed in flames.
Mr. Goodnow speculates that the cause could have been anything from ARSON, to ATTEMPTED MURDER. He plans to notify the ATF Arson Squad on Saturday morning.
Stay tuned....
Be Well, RAISE HELL !
Bill Perry
Delaware Valley Veterans For America
Disabled American Veteran, VVAW, VFP, VFW, VVA
A fund has been set up and is tax deductible.
Checks can be made out to: Veterans For Peace, Chapter 106 (please spell this out) Put in memo line: BUS FUND
Mail to:
Bernie Jezercak
1804 Tree LIne Drive
Carrollton, TX 75007

*taken from WWW.AXISOFJUSTICE.ORG

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The Nightwatchman answers questions posed by Jade of AFI

JADE: There was a time when artists like Bob Dylan had a massive impact on social awareness, but, for various reasons, music as a cultural force has been on the wane for years. RATM also uses music as a political and social platform, do you believe music still has a capacity to reach the hearts and minds of its listeners?

TOM: I believe that music has more than just the capacity to reach the hearts and minds of its listeners, music has the capacity and should be played to change the world. I know that it was artists like The Clash and Public Enemy that changed my world and inspired me to not only rock, but also to pursue political activism and introduced to me a set of ideas that went well beyond stereotypical rock fodder. I think the energy exchange between a righteous band and their righteous fans is something to contend with.


JADE: I don't know if you remember this but Davey was emailing with you one time and I told him to challenge you on my behalf to a shred-off. You said that I shouldn't be too hasty because you came up as a metal shredder. How important was that to your development into the guitarist you are now?

TOM: It was very important. My journey from the guitar player neophyte to the cat you see digitally enshrined in Guitar Hero 3, was a long and odd one. I began liking heavy metal bands but was frustrated that I couldn't play complex music like Led Zeppelin. Punk rock like The Clash and Sex Pistols made me actually pick up the guitar and vow to throw away the rule book. The more that I played the more I became attracted to guitar players with technical abilities from Randy Rhodes, Al DiMeoloa from Alan Holdsworth to Steve Vai, shredders of that nature who put in the countless hours of preparation to hone their craft. I soon found myself practicing eight hours a day while balancing an ivy-league education and was driven with a zealot-like commitment to improving as  a musician. Even though I started playing guitar late at age 17, it was that obsessive compulsive practice regimen that helped me get the technical expertise to play and to shred. It was not, however, until the early days of Rage Against the Machine where I was able to turn that technical ability into music that anybody would want to listen to. By once again throwing out the rule book and concentrating on the eccentricities in my playing and in song writing and weird sound and texture making I was able to create my own style on the guitar. I still think it would be folly for you to challenge me to a shred-off because I still got all those chops.

JADE: Also, it seems shredding/soloing has had a big resurgence with the new generation of bands, does it warm your heart or do you think it's unnecessary flash?

TOM: Guitar shredding is a dubious endeavor but I've always appreciated a good solo whether its in jazz, country, classical music or rock n' roll. Unfortunately most guitar solos in rock n' roll aren't so good. There's a new crop of swift fingered metalians who are certainly putting in their hours practicing and God bless them for it.

JADE: Who's your favorite Tom?

TOM: I'm guessing by the question that you mean who is my favorite historic person by the name of Tom. I would choose Thomas Paine, one of the instigators of the American Revolution and one of the few founding fathers who was opposed to slavery and against aristocratic privilege. Thomas Paine was kind of the Che Guevara of his day and was not satisfied with just one revolution as he headed off to France to be a part of the French Revolution as well. Thomas Paine is kick ass.

JADE: I went to a party at your house and noticed you had quite a bit of sports paraphernalia? What teams do you follow? Are any of them breaking your heart?

TOM: As a long time Chicago Cubs fan I can only assume this question is a cruel joke. My teams are the woe-begotten Chicago Cubs who have not won a world championship in exactly one hundred years and the St Louis Rams who mercifully have won a Super bowl in my lifetime. I was able to attend it by canceling a Rage Against the Machine show in Belgium. I used to be a Lakers fan but I have soured on that team because they make me and other fans fell bad.

JADE: People have talked about the idea of fragmentation in today's music, how there used to be a style of music called "rock", where bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, or Led Zeppelin fused country, blues, pop, soul, even classical to write songs, but now music has been increasingly pushed into narrower and narrower niches and there are few acts that can hope to even aspire to the longevity and popularity enjoyed by the monster bands of those days. As a songwriter who has blended funk, metal, punk, and hip hop together, do you think that this is a problem with the direction current music is going?

TOM: I'm not sure that I agree that there is one direction that music is going. As someone who has blended different styles of music together in my own bands, Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, I've never felt constrained by musical trendiness. As I'm currently pursuing folk music as The Nightwatchman, I continue to look for different avenues of creativity and expression which ring true. I think that in any genre of music the cream rises to the top. For example, seventeen years ago there were hundreds of punk-funk bands but only one band was good enough to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then there were an ungodly number of horrific rap-rock bands and I don't think it's immodest to say that Rage Against the Machine has weathered that storm pretty well. Then there was a ska explosion and only No Doubt's head stayed up. Prog-metal, only Tool is left. Industrial-metal, Nine Inch Nails remains. Grunge, Pearl Jam is still making very good and interesting records. I think at any given time it makes more sense to look at the true artists that exist in any given genre who have the ability to grow rather than the wannabes.

JADE: This is an extremely stock question that you've probably answered a million times, but people are always interested in it. Who are your guitar heroes/influences? Are there any new or up-and-coming guitar players that've caught your eye?

TOM: My guitar heroes are many and varied. It began with the likes of Ace Frehley and Jimmy Page, then warped into Joe Strummer and Andy Gill of Gang of Four, then the shredding floodgates opened with Randy Rhodes and Steve Vai. Later, my principle guitar influences for some time were people who didn't play guitar. Terminator X of Public Enemy, Jam Master Jay of Run DMC, Dr. Dre's production, the textures and rhythms of Crystal Method and the barnyard noises of cows, sheep and ducks have all clearly had a sonic impact on my playing.

JADE: You've always been able to come up with very unique sounds in your guitar work, especially for your solos, is it ever a burden to have to come up with so many new and interesteing techniques or is pushing the envelope in this way still as exciting as ever?

TOM: I never really looked at it as a burden to come up with new guitar sounds. After a while it just became how I hear music and it wasn't a matter of "oh, I need to come up with a crazy sound". It was more a matter of, I hear the guitar making the sound of a breaking glass window rather than hear the guitar playing recycled Chuck Berry riffs. For me now the most exciting thing musically is writing, recording and performing Nightwatchman songs where there are very few guitar pyrotechnics and the emphasis is on the starkness and mood that is conveyed which is hopefully just as impactful music.

JADE: Who do you think is a better level boss, you in Guitar Hero III or King Koopa from Super Mario Bros?

TOM: I'm afraid, young man, you are speaking a language I do not understand. While a digital version of me appears in the video game Guitar Hero 3, I am not much of a video game player myself and the term "Boss" and "King Koopa" I'm afraid to admit, are unfamiliar to me.

*taken from www.myspace.com/thenightwatchman

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I will post a variety of musical, political, and cultural tidbits here from time to time for your information and enjoyment. Altogether now....PUSH! Tom Morello

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stay tuned for blog posts from Tom...

Tom will be posting blog entries soon. In the meantime, feel free to post comments.

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