Monday, April 27, 2009

Mike Malloy: A Beacon Of Truth For Our Troubled Times


With his fury and righteous anger, Mike Malloy is a bit like right-wing talkers such as Michael Savage and Mark Levin.

Except Malloy is a progressive.

And he doesn't tell lies.

And he is well-informed.

And he tells the truth (unlike the right-wing talk radio hate-spewers).

Actually, come to think of it, Malloy is nothing like fascist nutbag sleazeballs like Levin and Savage. But he does get angry. And Malloy's rage has been a beacon of truth and sanity for many of us since the darkest years of the Bush era.

Malloy continues to speak Truth To Power today (even though he's had a devil of a time finding a permanent home on the radio dial).

First he was unceremoniously booted by Air America (which left a big black mark on that network in the eyes of many of us progressives). Then he lost his subsequent gig, when the progressive network Nova M folded.

In the spirit of "if you wanna get something done, you've got to do it yourself," Malloy has bravely set up shop on his own and is now self-syndicated.

I suppose some timid listeners will find Malloy too abrasive. But I think Malloy's hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners style is exactly what we need to counter the likes of Limbaugh and Levin. It's time we Democrats grew a pair. It's time we started fighting fire with fire. And last, but not least, it's time we started getting angry. Why, I've always wondered is it that the Right-Wing talkers are the ones who're always angry. We on the Left have a lot more to be angry about, for Chrissakes!

And if you're a progressive, please consider signing up and supporting Malloy's program, which currently exists solely through the subscriptions of its listeners. It only costs 25 cents a day. I call that a great investment to keep Malloy on the air, spreading the truth that you will never hear elsewhere (certainly not in the corporate mainstream media).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Progressive Music Classics. The Clash: "Guns On The Roof"



Welcome to another edition of Progressive Music Classics.

The punk sound that was causing a musical earthquake in Britain in the late 1970s seemed light years away from where I was living at the time: dreary, boring Corsicana, Texas.

After reading about The Sex Pistols in "Rolling Stone," I desperately wanted to check out the notorious new music---but it was difficult to find. Corsicana only had one record store. It was run by a hippy, who was more into Steely Dan and Yes.

One day, he gave me a free copy of The Clash's new album, Give 'Em Enough Rope, along with a copy of Liverpool New Wave band, The Yachts. Both had been sent to him as promo copies by the record company. He couldn't stand either of them---and indeed, he hated all punk (as did everyone else I talked to about music in Corsicana).

I didn't think much of The Yachts. But The Clash album blew me away. Unlike the band's first crude-sounding, low-budget (but classic) album, Give 'Em Enough Rope, was produced with a sizeable budget by top-flight producer Sandy Pearlman (who'd previously worked with major bands like Blue Oyster Cult). The big-budget, AOR-friendly sound really shouldn't have suited The Clash's music---but it did, and nowhere better than on the stunningly powerful track, "Guns On The Roof."

To this day, I can't help but hear this track and think of all horrors that Reagan's CIA unleashed upon the world in the 1980s, in the "Dirty Wars" in Central America and elsewhere.

Most Americans didn't really become familiar with The Clash until the band hit the U.S. charts in a big way in 1982, with singles like "Should I Stay Or Should I go?" But the fact is, the band's first two albums, The Clash (1977) and ...Rope (1978) were far more powerful than the later, commercial stuff. Having said that, all of the band's music is worth checking out, particularly the underrated, sprawling, 3-record masterpiece, "Sandinista!" from 1980.

People today who think that goddawful crap like Green Day is "punk" really need to check out the Pistols and The Clash. These bands were the real deal. By contrast, Green Day is about as threatening and dangerous as a cup of Starbucks coffee.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where Were The "Tea Party" Protesters During Bush Years?


Lately, Fox News has been hyping the upcoming "Tea Party Protests," set for April 15. The event is supposed to be nonpartisan. But the people who purport to represent the movement are doing a lot of Obama-bashing.

Typical of the latter is a comment by a group organizing a local Tea Party event in Florida, which claims the protest is targeting the "outrageous spending by the Obama administration."

Which leads to me wonder: where in the f*ck were these protesters during the administration of George W. Bush?

Bush, as you'll recall, inherited a $128 billion budget surplus from Bill Clinton when he took office in 2001. Bush quickly squandered that and then proceeded to rack up gigantic budget deficits every year of his two terms in office.

Under Bush, the national debt grew by more than $4 trillion: the biggest debt increase of any president in U.S. history.

When Bush took office in 2001, the national debt stood at $5.7 trillion. At the end of Bush's two terms, the debt had skyrocketed to more than $9.849 trillion. And remember: Bush enjoyed a Republican Senate and House of Representatives during most of his time in office.

Things weren't helped along any by Bush's illegal and totally unnecessary Iraq War. That disaster will probably wind up costing the U.S. $3 trillion. It would be nice if some of these Tea Party protesters asked for an immediate halt to the $10 billion a month that America continues to squander in Iraq every month to this day. But I suspect there won't be too many "Stop the Iraq War" signs at these Tea Party events.

Like I said, where were these "tea party" protesters during the Bush years? Where were they when Bush was handing out billions of our tax dollars to his wealthy friends? Where were they when Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, was pocketing billions of dollars in closed, no-bid contracts? Where were they when $12 billion in cash disappeared without a trace after it was shipped to Iraq?

Obama has only been in office a few months. He inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression.

I'd suspect that most of the nearly 70 million Americans who voted for him understood very well what an Obama administration would bring: higher taxes on the rich and more domestic spending by the government to re-start the disastrous economy Obama inherited. Ten million more voters supported Obama's plans than the 59 million McCain voters who wanted more of the same failed GOP policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

The fact is, Obama is simply carrying out the policies that he promised during his campaign. They are policies that the majority of voters want---a fact that the Tea Party Protesters appear to be totally ignorant about.

The Tea Party Protesters clearly do not represent what the majority of Americans want. They claim to speak for "the people," but the people have already spoken. They spoke with their ballots in the 2008 presidential election.

Incidentally, the Tea Party Protesters seem to be clueless about the original 1773 Boston Tea Party, which was prompted by an decrease, not increase, on tea taxes.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

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Friday, April 03, 2009

New York Times Company CEO Pockets Millions While Demanding Steep Union Concessions


The New York Times Company, owner of The New York Times and The Boston Globe, has taken the gloves off (and put on a pair of brass knuckles) in hard-line negotiations with its unions. The company is threatening to close The Boston Globe unless the newspaper's unions quickly agree to $20 million in concessions, the Globe reported on Friday, quoting union leaders.

But while The New York Times Company is demanding that its employees make steep sacrifices, its CEO is raking in millions.

The New York Times Company CEO Janet L. Robinson raked in $5,578,451 in compensation for 2008. This includes $1,552,603 in restricted stock awards, as well as a salary of $1 million, according to

Once again, America's CEOs pull down huge pay packages, even as they demand brutal sacrifices from their workforces across America.

You know, I expect this sort of thing from a hard-line, right-wing company like the Coors Brewing Company. But this is the "liberal" New York Times for Chrissakes. So much for the now-quaint notion that "The business of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."