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JAN 20, 2014 - JTMP celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and reminds everyone the same fight is still going on for civil rights such as voting rights, economic rights, and even marriage equality. JTMP applauds the great work done by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for their voting rights act work this month in response to the Roberts Supreme Court gutting the 1964 Voting Rights Act. Voting rights across the country continue to come under attack from conservative activists so we must be vigilant. We must work to dismantle the voter suppression efforts conservatives have erected such as Voter ID laws and the cancelling of early voting, and prevent further voter suppression efforts. Contact your state and federal lawmakers ad tell them you do NOT support voter suppression efforts. (photo credit: Dick DeMarsico/CC)
JAN 17, 2014 - After 9-11, activist-musician Jenn Rogar was so upset by the outrageous actions of the American government, she decided to do something and picked up her guitar and protested. Ever since she has been heavily involved with activism, from Foods Not Bombs that feed the homeless, singing at rallies and using her music as a platform, and even attending city council meetings to speak up about homeless rights. She hails from the Sacramento area, and you can read a good write-up about her on NewsReview.com here, and Jenn's website is here. Listen to her perform at Occupy Sacramento below. (Photo credit: JennRogar.com)
JAN 17, 2014 - Neil Young is on a benefit tour for the campaign "Honor the Treaties", which aims to put pressure on Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian government to honor the treaties they signed with the Native people of Canada, who are fighting the battle of their life right now in protecting the lands and water from tar sands development and pollution. HuffPo has a good post up with some of his Tweets and Facebook posts, and to find out more about the Honor the Treaties campaign check out their website here.
JAN 16, 2014 - If you haven't seen it yet, below is the video of Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon doing a parody of "Born to Run" and taking jabs at New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie who is caught up in his GW Bridge scandal right now. It is no secret Bruce Springsteen has been fighting for worker's rights, and Chris Christie has been attacking worker's rights, and that sticks in Bruce's craw. Even though Christie is his Governor and a huge Springsteen fan, Bruce snubbed him at one concert when he tried to visit him backstage and the Boss lets his feelings known he is disappointed in the Governor. JTMP is also disappointed in Christie attacking worker's rights and unions. This is a pattern of conservative Governors across the country and we as a people need to fight back and secure our economic rights as workers. Watch the hilarious clip of "Gov. Christie Traffic Jam" below.
JAN 13, 2014 - A campaign called "Sing Forward" to raise awareness about the Affordable Care Act has been launched out of Wisconsin by Musicians For Health, urging fellow musicians to enroll in a health insurance program at the HealthCare.gov website. One of the main musical-activists leading the way is Anna Vogelzang, and she is letting other musicians know one can get health insurance through the exchanges for as little as $25-$50 a month; a catastrophic plan can be as little as $10 a month. There is even a song they wrote for the campaign titled "Sing Forward!", and they have the lyric sheet and a video to sing along with. They have a REMIX contest where you can submit your remix of the song, and the prizes are cash, tickets and other cool stuff. I might submit one myself! Check out the video of "Sing Forward" below, and check out the Sing Forward! website here where you can even punch in your zip code and find an affordable health plan. If you ever drop your amp on your foot and break your toe you will need it.
JAN 9, 2014 - Wu Fei, who specializes in traditional Chinese music, blends Chinese and American folk music with her two band mates of Wu Force, Abigail Washburn and Kai Welch. She plays the traditional Chinese instrument guzheng (similar to a zither), Abigail plays the banjo, and Kai plays keyboards and trumpet. Wu Fei resided in the US for years attending Mills College, and in a NashvilleScene interview she talks about her Chinese government back home and how they oppress musicians and will not let them play whatever they want. The Chinese government even criticized Wu Fei for taking part in a Chinese-European culture exchange. Read more about this fascinating musician and her band Wu Force on NashvilleScene.com here. (photo credit: wufeimusic.com)
JAN 8, 2014 - Jon Leavitt, musician and longtime medical marijuana activist in Maine, has put his activism and his music together in a musical called "Somewhere Maine: The Marijuana Musical" that delves into the live of people living in a community of growers and patients in Maine. The play will have 8 acts, and will debut in Portland this spring. The play comes from real stories Leavitt had dealing with people in medical marijuana commerce. Leavitt says, "I think the story needs to be told and I think to put it into a format with song and dance and theater makes it accessible to people." The story centers around Johnny Crashed, a medical marijuana farmer who has his children taken away from him by the government as a result. Leavitt was executive director of the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative, a group that helped shape and pass the 2009 law that stopped the government from infringing on the peoples' right to have access to medical marijuana. He is currently runs a small medical marijuana farm, and has formed Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, a trade organization for small scale cultivators. Watch Jon Leavitt and friends perform "Home School Christian Girl" below, and read more on SunJournal.com here.
JAN 6, 2014 - Musical-activist Henry Rollins wrote an Op Ed on LAWeekly.com about Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson exercising his free speech right with hateful and stupid comments, and Rollins makes some interesting points. For instance on Robertson's comments on how supposedly Jim Crow south was actually a paradise for blacks, Rollins asks, "Did what he said make you think, 'Oh that's good to know because I was under the impression that things were quite awful for African-American people in the southern states in those days. Well, it's a relief to be able to disabuse myself of that notion. Thanks o wisdomatic bearded duck stalker.' I didn't think so." Well said Henry. To read the whole Op Ed go to LAWeekly.com here. (photo credit: ceedub13/CC)
JAN 2, 2014 - The prohibition of the consumption of cannabis has ended in at least one part of America. As of January 1, 2014, Colorado becomes the first state to come "online" to sell and consume marijuana legally, and the sky didn't fall. There were long lines, and recreational marijuana users ranged from veterans with PTSD to Americans who just wanted to smoke a little weed, listen to some music in their basement and not bother anyone; and not be bothered. Doesn't the government have bigger worries to worry about? Anyways, I suggest buying stock in Doritos. JTMP urges our supporters to contact their local, state and federal elected representatives and tell them you want recreational marijuana prohibition to end. Watch a video below of the first legal marijuana transaction in Colorado by a vet who uses it to treat his PTSD.
JAN 1, 2014 - Happy New Year everyone! 2014 is going to be an exciting year for progressive issues. Medical marijuana is being enacted across the country in various states, and gay marriage is winning many key battles is being accepted more and more. JTMP urges our supporters to stay active in 2014 and push for strengthening unions, raising the minimum wage, and protect the environment among other progressive issues.
One important issue and key civil right is access to quality and affordable health care for all, and the Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare" as it is now affectionately known) is a great step in that direction. Obamacare is "born" today and is officially launched. Starting today, millions of Americans cannot be kicked off their health care policy by a greedy insurance company. No longer can someone be denied access to health insurance because of a preexisting condition. As of today, heath insurance companies cannot gouge sick and elderly customers with higher payments. Many health care issues that were not covered before, such as hospitalizations and mental health, are now required to be covered by all policies.
We still have a way to go to assure that every single American has easy and affordable access to high quality health care, but this is a huge step in the right direction. JTMP urges our supporters to push their elected representatives to enact Medicare For All. H.R. 676 is a good place to start. Read more on the Key Features of the Affordable Care Act on the HHS.gov website here. JTMP reminds everyone to purchase health insurance through the exchanges, or you will face a tax penalty. Head on over to HealthCare.gov and sign up! (photo credit: Pete Souza/CC)