Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Liberate Uncle Sam - FolkLife Seattle, WA

Watch Video (MPEG, 3 minutes, 20 meg) - Interview with Uncle Sam and 360 rotation around artwork at FolkLife, Seattle WA. (Video will not be available in 7 days.)

(NOTE: Both of my editing software programs are crashing....seeking someone to edit this short video and create a wmv file - under 10 meg.)

Poor old tired Uncle Sam is suffering under a heavy burden. He thinks he must "PERSERVE OUR WAY OF LIFE".

He is carrying a tax-payer subsidized fossil fuel industry on his back. This industry is monopolized by large corporations that have undue influence on our government. Now, Uncle Sam is also fighting a losing war in Iraq. To achieve the geopolitical control of oil, our current administration is desperately trying to form a government that will allow the U.S. military to keep bases there.

We need to make it clear to everyone,

our public officials
our friends
our families
and co-workers

that we need a change in energy policy and foreign policy. (Click Title For More)

Operation Iraqi Liberation (Songs for Mahmud)
By David Rovics

play lo-fi
play hi-fi

Star-Telegram | 05/29/2005 | Now that's entertainment

The George Galloway hearing. In addition to being the funniest biter-bit performance in years (if you missed it, the transcript and the video are floating around on the Internet), it was yet another victory for the Brits over the Americans when it comes to spoken English.

Holy cow, what a display of pyrotechnic mastery of language. The American senators were left with so much egg on their faces that they looked like a bad day at a Tyson chicken plant.

As one of those slow-spoken Americans often out-tap-danced on panels by the nimble-tongued Brits, I defensively assert that they don't really think faster and better than we do -- they just talk faster and better.

Galloway, a member of the British Parliament, simply danced rings around the clumsy Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and the others. The hearing bore an uncanny resemblance to the scene in Leonardo DiCaprio's popular bio-pic about Howard Hughes, The Aviator, in which the deteriorating Hughes triumphs over a low-rent, witch-hunt committee.

In case you missed the flap, Galloway is a way-left Brit MP who actually did defend Saddam Hussein before the war, which may or may not have been based on his position that the pre-war boycott of Iraq did nothing to topple Saddam but was a humanitarian nightmare for Iraqis.

In fact, the boycott, as has long been documented, did kill tens of thousands of Iraqis, in particular babies and small children. An insane policy. The United Nations' effort to mitigate it was the oil-for-food program, and Galloway was accused of being a beneficiary of the corruption of that program via a charitable foundation he had set up.

He has won two libel suits over the accusation, against The Christian Science Monitor and the London Telegraph. The Monitor, by mishap, used crudely forged documents, later discredited, to go after him.

Now, British libel law is, frankly, hideous. How its press continues to function in such a lively fashion under that load of legal bull is a mystery to me; the burden of proof there is on the defendant.

Beyond the specifics of those cases, Galloway is generally in bad smell in Britain. This may or may not be attributable to his political enemies, but it is certainly attributable to more journalists than the neo-neo-con Christopher Hitchens, who described Galloway in London's The Independent as "a thug and a demagogue, the type of working-class-wideboy-and-proud-of-it who is too used to the expense accounts, the cars and the hotels -- all the cigars and backslapping." (Only a Brit could have written that sentence.)

So here is the irony of ironies: Into our midst comes this one Brit, who deservedly or not carries with him the whiff of bad reputation, to confront our Puritan-pure, sea-green, incorruptible politicians. (Heh? Our guys never carry water for their campaign contributors, do they?) And in 20 minutes, he tells more truth about our policy and our war in Iraq than any of our politicians have in years.

Reduced to this: George Galloway as truth-teller.

Live 8 Concerts To Amplify Problem of Global Poverty

Bob Geldof, who 20 years ago put together the famine-relief concerts of Live Aid -- the biggest musical event in history -- yesterday announced that five enormous, free concerts would be held July 2 in Philadelphia, London, Paris, Berlin and Rome.

The extravaganza, which will feature many of the biggest names in pop music, will not be intended to raise funds. Rather, it is aimed at spotlighting the problem of poverty in developing African countries just days before President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of five other industrial nations gather for the G8 Summit in Scotland. Accordingly, Geldof has named his event Live 8.

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The lineup for the London concert is to include U2, Paul McCartney, Elton John, R.E.M., Sting, Madonna, the Cure, Coldplay, Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox and Velvet Revolver. Philadelphia can expect to see the Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Bon Jovi, Maroon 5, P. Diddy and a half dozen others. The other European concerts are to feature such stars as Andrea Bocelli, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Duran Duran, Jamiroquai, Youssou N'Dour, Lauryn Hill, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Brian Wilson.

The main themes of the G8 summit, set for July 6-8, are social, political and economic conditions that have left almost one billion people living in extreme poverty, almost half of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

"The G8 leaders have it within their power to alter history," Geldof said yesterday in London. "They will only have the will to do so if millions of people show them that enough is enough. We understand precisely what must be done to free the weak, the hungry and the sick from the awful, needless condition of their lives. Now is the time to do it. This isn't about charity, it's about justice."

As with Live Aid, the Live 8 concerts are expected to be carried globally on television and, this time around, over the Internet via America Online. It's been estimated that the simultaneous Live Aid concerts July 13, 1985, at London's Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia's JFK Stadium (both have since been torn down) reached a worldwide audience of 1.4 million. Those concerts and a concurrent telethon raised $245 million for famine relief in Africa.