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International Clash Day on KEXP

International Clash Day on KEXP

Today is the ninth International Clash Day broadcast on KEXP. This day originated in 2013 when DJ John Richards decided he’d devote his whole morning show to The Clash and the band’s influences and bands influenced by The Clash. Since then many radio stations have picked up on it, and the day really has become international.

Tune in to hear the songs, snippets of interviews and learn a lot about the band and what drove them to be one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music.

This year’s broadcast is centered around a quote from band leader Joe Strummer: “We’re anti-fascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist, and we’re pro-creative. We’re against ignorance.”

And they rock.

This is a public service announcement
With guitar
Know your rights
All three of them

Number one
You have the right not to be killed
Murder Is a crime!
Unless it was done
By a policeman or an aristocrat
Know your rights

And number two
You have the right to food money
Providing of course
You don’t mind a little
Investigation, humiliation
And if you cross your fingers
Rehabilitation

Know your rights
These are your rights
Hey, say what, hey

Know these rights

Number three
You have the right to free speech
As long as you’re not
Dumb enough to actually try it

Know your rights
These are your rights
Know your rights
These are your rights
All three of ’em

And it has been suggested
In some quarters that this is not enough
Well

Get off the streets
Get off the streets
Run

There is something very wrong with President Donald J. Trump

There is something very wrong with President Donald J. Trump

From NPR:

President Trump said on Tuesday “there’s blame on both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Va. The statement comes a day after Trump specifically called out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists — and three days after his initial statement on the protests, for which he was criticized for not condemning those groups and instead cited violence “on many sides.”

Tuesday’s apparent backtrack came during a televised event about infrastructure attended by some members of his Cabinet. Trump took questions from reporters, who asked about his earlier statements and their timing. When pressed, the president pushed back and began placing blame on counterprotesters and the “alt left.”

Instead, he returned to equating the demonstrators — who came to the college town to protest the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, donning Confederate flags and swastikas, some carrying guns and shields, chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us” — with counterprotesters.

… and in the transcript section at the bottom of the NPR piece is a very revealing Trump quote:

You had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides [emphasis added].

Right… those racist bigots on the alt-right side are very fine people – model citizens!

This was part of a press conference that was supposed to be about infrastructure. Reporters were more interested in his response to the chaos in Charlottesville – and respond he did in ways that stunned pretty much everybody except leaders of the alt-right like Richard Spencer, who said he was “Really proud of him”.

Trump’s erratic, volatile statements elicit such strong responses from the public, the media, elected representatives and other government officials that his agenda gets buried in the dust. He is without a doubt the worst leader to ever reside in the White House. He lacks any sense of right and wrong, and is ignorant of how government works. He is overtly vainglorious and responds to those who criticize him with impulsive, petulant tweets.

How much longer can such a morally bankrupt, incompetent person hold the office of President of the United States of America?

One month? Six months? a year? a full term?

Wagers anyone?

The Republican Party is now the Official Party of Hate, Oppression, and Fear

The Republican Party is now the Official Party of Hate, Oppression, and Fear

racism-hate-fear-tony-puryear-smAll the racists, xenophobes, misogynists, and nationalists across our country heard Donald Trump’s dog whistle “Make America Great Again” and united to vote for Donald Trump to make the Republican party the official party of hate, oppression, and fear. They heard Donald Trump say things about groups they hate, people they want to oppress, and heard him stoke the fires of fear. All these things he said  appealed to them (“He says the things I’m thinking”), so they voted for Trump.

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Who Supported Donald Trump for President

Who Supported Donald Trump for President

Now that a few days have passed since the election, we have some demographic statistics that show who supported Donald Trump for president. We know his entire campaign was centered on racism, and disgruntled white Americans overwhelmingly voted for him. And one of those disgruntled white people was David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard for the Ku Klux Klan. He tweeted, “Our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!” and “Anyone telling you this was a vote for ‘unity’ is a liar and they know it!” And it wasn’t just the KKK – Trump had the support of pretty much all of the hate groups in America. Haters attract haters.

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Donald Trump Scares the Hell out of Me and so does this Song by Radney Foster

Donald Trump Scares the Hell out of Me and so does this Song by Radney Foster

I have been in shock since around 10:00 last night when it became clear to me that Donald Trump will be the next president. I have a friend who tells me we get the president we deserve, but what the fuck did we do to deserve a fear-mongering racist, bigoted, egotistical, pussy grabbing, narcissist with the vocabulary of a fifth grader and the temperament of colicky toddler in a hot car seat? I don’t know. I have some thoughts, but I haven’t strung them together yet.

I was going to when I got home tonight, but I turned on the radio and tuned into Greg Vandy’s Roadhouse on KEXP. I’m still listening, and it’s exactly what I need to hear right now.

Greg’s show is a heavy one tonight with old and new songs about the current state of our divided union, and many songs are by people I’ve never heard before, including this song by Radney Foster. It captured my attention first because of the powerful vocal quality and then because it’s a frightening vision of a demagogue’s power over the rubes.

It’s a single that was released in September. I think it will be on his upcoming album due out soon. It’s on my list.

Political Songs: The 2016 Election Selection

Political Songs: The 2016 Election Selection

hillary-and-donald-6-sm

Choose wisely.

Here is a list of political songs you need to listen to during the final two weeks leading up to the presidential election on November 8th.

As you may have figured out by now, one of the biggest issues of this election is racism. The first few political songs take us back to the mid sixties through the mid seventies. Yes our nation has made some progress since then, but these songs remind you about what was going on then and makes you wonder why it’s still going on now.

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A Question for all the Donald Trump Supporters

A Question for all the Donald Trump Supporters

A Question for all the Donald Trump supporters who continue to baffle me with their unwavering support for a politician who is clearly at odds with their own personal values and moral codes.

So what if one day between now and November 8th Donald Trump actually acted out all of his narcissistic, bullying, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, war-crimes rhetoric and did this:

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Will Colin Kaepernick Stand for the Canadian National Anthem

Will Colin Kaepernick Stand for the Canadian National Anthem

San Francisco’s backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick (#7) is coming to Seattle on Seattle’s annual Canada Day game. The Canadian national anthem, “Oh Canada” will be played before “The Star Spangled Banner”. Kaepernick started the national-anthem protests against police killings of unarmed black people across the country. What will he do during the Canadian national anthem? Stand? Sit? Kneel?

kaepernick-anthem-kneel

Since the Canadian anthem will precede the US anthem, I think he will be standing for that (Canada doesn’t have a racist-cop problem do they?) and take a knee before “The Star Spangled Banner”. He has probably thought this through to the media reaction: He stood up for Canada but not the US?!!!!!! What horrible ungrateful, military-hating man! Who does he think he is? Why doesn’t he just move to Canada?!!!!!! And all the racists  will say: “Move to Canada N***R!”, or worse, “MOVE BACK TO AFRICA WHERE YOU CAME FROM N****R!!!!” Who knows? It certainly would keep people talking, and that is the whole point of protest.

You will have to watch the pre-game festivities at 1:00 p.m. on Fox tomorrow to find out what he does and how the media reacts.

 

President Obama’s Selma Speech, March 7, 2015

President Obama’s Selma Speech, March 7, 2015

Last week the US Department of Justice released a scathing report on the racist practices of the Ferguson Police Department. The Atlantic covered the story in great detail here. And here by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

One should understand that the Justice Department did not simply find indirect evidence of unintentionally racist practices which harm black people, but “discriminatory intent”—that is to say willful racism aimed to generate cash. Justice in Ferguson is not a matter of “racism without racists,” but racism with racists so secure, so proud, so brazen that they used their government emails to flaunt it.

The emails including “jokes” depicting President Obama as a chimp, mocking how black people talk (“I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment!”), depicting blacks as criminals, welfare recipients, unemployed, lazy, and having “no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” This humor—given the imprimatur of government email—resulted in neither reprimand, nor protest, nor even a polite request to refrain from reoffending. “Instead,” according to the report, “the emails were usually forwarded along to others.”

The best response the issue of racism in Ferguson and everywhere else in America where the problem festers was the speech President Obama delivered yesterday to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Selma March.

You can read the transcript here.

It was very powerful, and it was the most pro-American speech I’ve heard by any politician in decades. Unlike his detractors (I’m thinking of the despicable Rudy Giuliani), Obama truly gets what this country is about and what really makes it exceptional. The final third of the speech was the best.

There’s nothing America can’t handle if we actually look squarely at the problem. And this is work for all Americans, not just some. Not just whites. Not just blacks. If we want to honor the courage of those who marched that day, then all of us are called to possess their moral imagination. All of us will need to feel as they did the fierce urgency of now. All of us need to recognize as they did that change depends on our actions, on our attitudes, the things we teach our children. And if we make such an effort, no matter how hard it may sometimes seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built.

Fellow marchers, so much has changed in 50 years. We have endured war and we’ve fashioned peace. We’ve seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives. We take for granted conveniences that our parents could have scarcely imagined. But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship; that willingness of a 26-year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five to decide they loved this country so much that they’d risk everything to realize its promise.

That’s what it means to love America. That’s what it means to believe in America. That’s what it means when we say America is exceptional.

For we were born of change. We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people. That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction — because we know our efforts matter. We know America is what we make of it.

Look at our history. We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea, pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, and entrepreneurs and hucksters. That’s our spirit. That’s who we are.

We are Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer, women who could do as much as any man and then some. And we’re Susan B. Anthony, who shook the system until the law reflected that truth. That is our character.

We’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free –- Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan. We’re the hopeful strivers who cross the Rio Grande because we want our kids to know a better life. That’s how we came to be.

We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South. We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened up the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.

We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent. And we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, and the Navajo code-talkers, and the Japanese Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied.

We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’re the gay Americans whose blood ran in the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.

We are storytellers, writers, poets, artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.

We’re the inventors of gospel and jazz and blues, bluegrass and country, and hip-hop and rock and roll, and our very own sound with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.

We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.

We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.” We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”

That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history, or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American than others. We respect the past, but we don’t pine for the past. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing. We are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit. That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe old age of 25 could lead a mighty march.

And that’s what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day. You are America. Unconstrained by habit and convention. Unencumbered by what is, because you’re ready to seize what ought to be.

It was expertly delivered and very well received, and because of that, I’m sure I’ll soon be hearing about all the Obama haters who will say it was a terrible speech.

The State of the Union of Obama Haters is Strong

The State of the Union of Obama Haters is Strong

Last week Rudy Giuliani was all over the news and late night shows because he said he didn’t believe that President Obama loved America. Then he made it worse with his attempts to back peddle out of it. I was going to put up a post about it, but I didn’t because I didn’t have the time and the site was down and anyway a whole lot of people covered it better than I would have. (The Daily Show and The Nightly Show)

But today I read a post by Jonathan Capehart post for the Post Partisan blog. The post starts with Governor Scott Walker’s response to a question about whether he believed Obama was a Christian or not. He replied with “I’ve never asked him that…You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that.” But there’s plenty of video evidence out there showing Obama saying he is a Christian. The question is really, do you believe what he’s telling you and, if not, then why? Walker avoided the question.

Capehart then cites polls showing 70% of Republicans don’t think or don’t know that Obama is a Christian, he then quotes a few other people who’ve said incredibly hateful things about the president that have absolutely no basis in reality. Read the ignorant, racist remarks by Larry Klayman and David Jackson, and then answer me this:

Why do so many Republicans hate Obama so much? Do they really believe all the lies about him? Can they not believe what they actually hear him say and see him do on television? Their own lying eyes? Amazing to me… frightening that the Republican party can pander to these people for votes and get away with it.