Category Archives: Human Rights

Playing For Change: I’d Rather Go Blind


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Filed under AMERICANA, Blues Music, Human Rights, Music, Soul Music, Vocal Music

January First


http://www.shawnphillips.com/

from the 1974 A&M album
“Furthermore”
AMLH 68278

Shawn Phillips — vocals and guitars
Peter Robinson — keyboards
John Gustafson — bass
Barry deSouza — drums
Caleb Quaye — guitar
Paul Buckmaster — cello
Raul Mayora — percussion

Produced by Jonathan Weston
Engineered by Django Johnny Punter
Assistant Engineer: Mark Dodson
Recorded in England at Rampart Studio, Battersea

I’ll sing you a song of the deepest blue, if you tell me all the colors that you see in the human hue
I’ll sing you a song of the brightest hope, if you show me a man who’s reassured that he can cope
I’ll sing you a song of beige and livid green, if you show me an earth that is slowly getting clean
And I’ll raise your spirit higher, make you tremble with delight, if you lay down all your weapons, if you make the truth your fight
Lay down all your weapons, if you make the truth your fight
If you make the truth your soulmate, keep it with you all the time, then by the grace of God inside, you’ll live in heaven’s clime

If you talk to me of atom bombs, if you explain what they are for, I’ll sing you all the songs I know about a world I see at war
A war that’s greatly based on fear that’s the only way they’ll work, authority and governments they hide behind their smirk
For they think that you don’t know it yet they think you’re not aware, that the potential of the human soul lies just in human care
So won’t you sing this silly song with me, come and give me a gift, we all are one in life and love, we all provide the lift

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Filed under AMERICANA, Human Rights, Jazz Music, Lyrics, Music, Rock and Roll

Antique Postcards ~ Fatherless Children of France, World War One


This card is dated 1918, and World War 1 had created approximately 3 million widows and 10 million orphans. Europe was in ruins, but the United States homeland remained completely unaffected, with a booming economy and the good times of the roaring twenties on the way. Obviously, this card is sent to let someone know that you donated to a charity for French orphans, in their name. What a wonderful gift!

Any Parsonions related to Mrs. Stella Lynd, 2718 Main?

For more about The Fatherless Children Of France; http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=940DEFDD133FE433A25755C0A9679C946996D6CF 

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Click the photo below to read the entire book of letters from orphans to their American benefactors. The book is ‘public domain’ from google.

The book above is priceless. Sweet, cute, and heartbreaking all wrapped up in one.

The true spririt of Christmas, COMPASSION.

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Filed under AMERICANA, Charity, History, Human Rights, Kansas, Labette County, Postcards, WAR

25 Giant Corporations That Paid Their CEOs More Than They Paid Uncle Sam


25 Giant Corporations That Paid Their CEOs More Than They Paid Uncle Sam.

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Filed under BLOGS, Crime, Human Rights, NEWS

Shoveling America’s wealth to the top


by Jim Hightower

As an old country saying puts it, “Money is like manure – it does no good unless you spread it around.”

Yet, America’s corporate and political leaders have intentionally been shoveling wealth into an ever-bigger pile for those at the top. They’ve gotten away with this by lying to the great majority, which has seen its share of America’s prosperity steadily disappear. Yes, they’ve told us, the rich are getting richer, but that’s just the natural workings of the new global economy, in which financial elites are rewarded for their exceptional talents, innovation, and bold risk-taking.

Horse dooties. The massive redistribution of America’s wealth from the many to the few is happening because the rich and their political puppets have rigged the system. Years of subsidized offshoring and downsizing, gutting labor rights, monkeywrenching the tax code, legalizing financial finagling, dismantling social programs, increasing the political dominance of corporate cash – these and other self-serving acts of the moneyed powers have created the conveyor belt that’s moving our wealth from the grassroots to the penthouses.

Not since the Gilded Age, which preceded and precipitated the Great Depression, have so few amassed so much of our nation’s riches. Having learned nothing from 1929’s devastating crash, nor from their own bank failures in 2008 that crushed our economy, the wealthiest of the wealthy fully intend to keep taking more for themselves at our expense.

Now, however, the people are onto their lies. In an October poll, two-thirds of Americans support increased taxes on millionaires, an end to corporate tax subsidies, and policies to more evenly distribute the wealth we all help create. This is rising egalitarianism shows the true American character, and it’s changing our politics – for the better.

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Filed under Crime, History, Human Rights, Opinion, Politics

7 Billion People United


By the end of 2011 the world will have reached 7 billion people. The United Nations Population Fund is leading an innovative global campaign to bring awareness to the opportunities and challenges that this milestone presents. But 7 Billion people means 7 Billion hearts. Music has always been the best way to speak to the hearts of the people. Playing for Change has partnered with the United Nations to present an original song around the world to serve as an anthem for such an important time, “United”. 

We traveled across the globe, put headphones on musicians, added them to the track, and created a video that can serve as a tangible example of something positive we can all do together as a human race. 

Lets inspire each other. Lets everybody get involved and join us on in this journey, so that together we leave this world better than we found it.

To learn more about how to be part of the “United” track go to: http://7BillionActions.org.

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Filed under Environmental, Folk Music, Human Rights, Music, Vocal Music

How to Achieve Transparency for the Supercommittee


Every campaign contribution to members of this powerful panel should be reported every single day.

By Ellen Miller

Come December, the priorities and role of our government could be drastically and fundamentally altered. Are your views and concerns being heard?

The supercommittee created in the wake of the debt ceiling clash is comprised of 12 members of Congress tasked with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the national debt by the end of the year. Whatever combination of savings and new taxes this panel devises will be fast-tracked to the floor of both chambers, without amendments, for an immediate vote. This is an unprecedented amount of power densely concentrated in the hands of a few.

The possibility of deep cuts across the federal budget sent a rallying cry to K Street, with one lobbyist forecasting a “Holy War” between the defense and health industries. It’s a battle amongst military contractors, health insurance companies, and other special interests buying lobbying time with the lawmakers and their senior staffers via campaign contributions. The special interests that have the supercommittee’s ears are very likely the same ones that contributed more than $28 million to the panel’s dozen members since 1989, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Most Americans, lacking this moneyed leverage, are left in the dark. We won’t get a chance to tell those lawmakers what to cut and what to keep.

We also can’t find out who does have that access. Current disclosure rules are a roadblock to letting us know.

You see, the supercommittee’s members report their campaign finance activities like all other lawmakers. They must report how much money they’ve taken from special interests on a quarterly basis, and they never have to report whom they’ve met with. But the panel’s work is proceeding so quickly that if they follow the old rules for reporting their fundraising, we won’t know which interests pushed their agenda until they’ve already succeeded.

The supercommittee’s unparalleled power demands that lackluster congressional transparency requirements be kicked into overdrive.

In today’s world of pay-to-play politics, expertly timed campaign contributions can open the right doors and provide access to a sympathetic ear. Campaign laws recognize the force of this cash, which is why contributions made within two weeks of an election are disclosed faster. Every member of Congress operates under these rules during an election year and knows that compliance is simple.

The supercommittee is in a similarly time-sensitive situation, where money can tip the balance of debate. While its members deliberate on crucial fiscal decisions, they should disclose campaign contributions in real time. Every contribution should be reported every single day.

Beyond the money are the meetings. Contacts between lobbyists and committee members or staff must all be disclosed online on a daily basis, including any written communications. The Obama administration already implemented these transparency requirements during the debate over the Recovery Act in 2009 and the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that passed last year. It’s not difficult and it’s been done before.

These decisions are too important to be left in the backrooms of Capitol Hill. Lawmakers should be required to post their meetings with lobbyists every single day. Ultimately, the nation’s lobbying laws should be changed to require lobbyists to do the same for the sake of our democracy.

Ellen Miller is the Sunlight Foundation‘s co-founder and executive director. http://www.sunlightfoundation.com

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Filed under Human Rights, Opinion, Politics

Dylan Ratigan (rightfully) Loses It On Air


Liberal media? HUH?

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Filed under Human Rights, NEWS, Opinion, Politics

BLEEDING KANSAS and Murder on the MARAIS DES CYGNES


 For many years I’ve driven by Trading Post Kansas, near the Marais Des Cygnes river (and now reservoir and wildlife refuge) without paying much attention to why it was named Trading Post. This was a trading post that was established specifically to trade with the Osage Indians. I did stop one time to read a historical marker about some murders that took place there. Now I’m a bit more interested in the history of Kansas.  This incident is also known as the MARAIS DES CYGNES MASSACRE, and the whole incident is a part of the meme of this blog. 

 The bloodiest single incident in the Kansas-Missouri border struggles, 1854-1861, occurred May 19, 1858, when 25-30 Pro-slavery Missourians seized 11 Kansas ‘Free-State’ men near Trading Post and marched them to a creek-bed nearby. The eleven men were lined up ‘execution style’ and promptly shot, apparently for no other reason than occupying land in a Free State. Five were killed and five wounded.  Weeks afterward, John Brown arrived and built a two-story log “fort”, about 14 x 18 feet, which he occupied with a few men through that summer. John had other armed and fortified encampments near the border. Ossowatamie is one location, and some reporters referred to John as “Ossowatamie Brown”. That December he led a raid into Missouri and liberated 11 slaves, killing one white man in the process.

 A Brown follower , Charles C. Hadsall, bought this property in 1858. Later, at the site of the fort, he built a stone house which still stands there today. The building and grounds are now part of a State Historical Site. This area, and some residents, were also part of the famous “underground railway”.

 The following is one of Brown’s many letters, documenting the turmoil in “Bleeding” Kansas. This letter was addressed to the Lawrence Kansas newspaper, the Lawrence Republican.

Trading Post, Kansas, Jan., 1859

Gents:–You will greatly oblige a humble friend, by allowing the use of your columns, while I briefly state two parallels, in my poor way.

Not one year ago, eleven quiet citizens of this neighborhood, viz.: Wm. Robertson, Wm. Colpetzer, Amos Hall, Austin Hall, John Campbell, Asa Snyder, Thos. Stilwell, Wm. Hairgrove, Asa Hairgrove, Patrick Ross, and B.L. Reed, were gathered up from their work and their homes, by an armed forced (sic) under one Hamilton, and without trial or opportunity to speak in their own defence, were formed into a line, and all but one shot–five killed and five wounded. One fell unharmed, pretending to be dead. All were left for dead. The only crime charged against them was that of being Free-State men. Now, I inquire, what action has ever, since the occurrence in May last, been taken by either the President of the United States, the Governor of Missouri, the Governor of Kansas, or any of their tools, or by any pro-slavery or Administration man, to ferret out and punish the perpetrators of this crime?

Now for the other parallel. On Sunday, the 19th of December, a Negro man called Jim, came over to the Osage settlement, from Missouri, and stated that he, together with his wife, two children, and another Negro man were to be sold within a day or two, and begged for help to get away. On Monday (the following) night, two small companies were made up to go to Missouri and forcibly liberate the five slaves, together with other slaves. One of these companies I assumed to direct. We proceeded to the place, surrounded the buildings, liberated the slaves, and also took certain property supposed to belong to the estate.

We however learned, before leaving, that a portion of the articles we had taken belonged to a man living on the plantation as a tenant, and who was supposed to have no interest in the estate. We promptly returned to him all we had taken. We then went to another plantation, where we freed five more slaves, took some property, and two white men. We moved all slowly away into the Territory for some distance, and then sent the white men back, telling them to follow us as soon as they chose to do so. The other company freed one female slave, took some property, and, as I am informed, killed one white man (the master) who fought against the liberation.

Now for a comparison. Eleven persons are forcibly restored to their natural and inalienable rights, with but one man killed, and all “hell is stirred, from beneath.” It is currently reported that the Governor of Missouri has made a requisition upon the Governor of Kansas for the delivery of all such as were concerned in the last named “dreadful outrage.” The Marshal of Kansas is said to be collecting a posse of Missouri (not Kansas) men, at West Point, in Missouri, a little town about ten miles distant, to “enforce the laws.” All pro-slavery, conservative Free-State and doughface men , and Administration tools, are filled with holy horror.

Consider the two cases, and the action of the Administration party.

Respectfully Yours,

John Brown

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Filed under AMERICANA, Crime, History, Human Rights, Kansas, Missouri, Native American, WAR

Shortchanging Our Paychecks


Income and benefits for most Americans have stagnated over the past four decades despite steady economic growth.

By Salvatore Babones

Back in the “Happy Days” of the 1950s and 1960s, most young American couples graduated from high school or college, got married, and immediately bought the most expensive house they could afford. They bought their houses on credit, their cars on credit, their appliances on credit, their furniture on credit, and even their baby clothes on credit. They didn’t have credit cards, but they sure did have debt.

Those young families in the 1950s and 1960s were perfectly rational in loading up on debt. It made sense for them to borrow as much as they could because they expected paying it off to get easier and easier every year. Between 1870 and 1970 the median male U.S. income rose on average 2 percent per year. In the 1950s and 1960s it grew even faster, at around a 2.5 percent clip.

In addition to this broad income growth, any individual could count on his or her income to rise with seniority. Add in another 1-percent yearly raise tied to seniority, and a typical American man could expect his paycheck to annually grow by 3.5 percent. Over the course of a 40-year career, he could expect his wages to quadruple — even after adjusting for inflation.

It made perfect sense to follow a “borrow now and pay later when you make four times as much” plan back then.

Today, everything has changed. Median male income hasn’t just stagnated since 1970. Wages for American men have actually declined.

The Baby Boomers kept on buying and borrowing, but many of them learned that one income wasn’t enough to pay their debts. That’s why the proportion of women with children who had jobs outside the home climbed from one in three in 1975 to two in three in 2008. For a while, women saved the American Dream.

Not anymore. Over the past decade women’s participation in the labor force has maxed out. Even if more women want to work, there aren’t any new jobs for them. The situation facing today’s indebted families is bleak. Wages overall are declining. Even if a worker does get a 1-percent annual seniority raise, that’s a 50-percent increase in income over a 40-year career — nothing like the 300-percent increases previous generations experienced. The money just isn’t there.

It gets worse. Young couples now have large debts before they ever get married, often from burgeoning student loans. On top of that, young couples now have to save for their own retirement, since Social Security benefits are far lower compared to national income than they were in the 1960s and private pensions have all but disappeared. And of course ordinary people now have to pay for health care expenses that used to be covered by insurance.

Families today are drowning in debt. Yet the problem isn’t the borrowing. Young families should be able to borrow to buy houses, cars, and furniture. The problem is that income and benefits for most Americans have stagnated over the past four decades.

If today’s young couples were getting 3.5-percent annual raises, didn’t have to worry about spiralling health care expenses and college tuition, and had solid company-sponsored pension plans to supplement ever more generous Social Security payments in retirement, they would have no problem getting themselves out of debt.

That may all sound like a dream. But it’s a dream that used to be reality for the majority of Americans.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Since 1970 the U.S. economy has doubled in per capita terms, after adjusting for inflation. We have the money for everyone to live very well — twice as well as in 1970.

Young families today are struggling because the benefits of America’s economic growth over the past 40 years haven’t been shared equally. They’ve all gone to the very top. It’s time to restore some balance. It’s time to give ordinary people a nice, big, fat raise. Then they could pay their debts on their own, with pride and dignity.

Salvatore Babones is an American sociologist at the University of Sydney.

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Filed under Human Rights, Politics