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DEC 3, 2013 - USA Today has an article out today about how the French government has charged Bob Dylan with the crime of "incitement to hatred" because Bob somewhat "compared Croatians to Nazis", and lumped them all together with the evil of the Confederacy slavery, KKK and the Nazis in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview. This is what Bob said, you be the judge:
"Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery -- that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."
A Croatian group in France caught wind of the it eventually and filed a complaint against Dylan in French court. Bridgette Bardot has also faced many charges of "inciting hatred" in France for speaking her mind, and even though half my ancestry comes from France, I feel this goes too far and infringes on free speech. I am sure we will not see Bob in jail anytime soon though. Just like Bardot, Dylan will just be fined heavily. Bob has millions like Bardot and he will just pay the fine and move on. Comments? Start a conversation on our JTMP Facebook Page! (photo credit: Bob Dylan/CC)
NOV 27, 2013 - Phil Ochs, one of the most legendary activist musicians from the 1960s, is being honored and remembered by his sister Sonny and a New England band tour of several great musicians such as Greg Greenway, David Roth, Pat Wictor, Zoe Lewis and Sharon Katz. They play Phil's classic folk songs and anti-war ballads such as "I Ain't Marching Anymore" and "Is There Anybody Here?" in several locations throughout New England. Activism played a huge role in Phil's life, and he was very strong in his convictions and used the folk music scene of the 1960s to express his views through his music. Read about his amazing life and unfortunate fall with depression on his Wikipedia page, and watch him sing his anti-war folk song classic "I Ain't Marching Anymore" below. Read a great article on the tour and Phil's life, as well as an interview with Phil's sister Sonny on CapeCodOnline.com. (photo credit: Chip Berlet/CC)
NOV 26, 2013 - I found this small clip of a skit by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood at the CMA Awards poking fun of the rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act, or the "AHCA" as I like to call it. Many folks call it "Obamacare", but the two poked fun of the horrendous rollout of the website part of the health care exchanges to the tune of an old George Strait song. Maybe if the Teabagger Republican governors would have cooperated more with the federal government on the exchanges, and worked for their constituents instead of a political party (a small one I might add), then maybe the rollout would have been smoother. Watch for the reaction of Taylor Swift, who is a big President Obama supporter. Lets hope they get it all fixed in the next few weeks, and get the federal exchanges humming as well as the state exchanges, where enrollment is surging. Those are the states where the governor cooperated and didn't suffer from OHDS: Obama Hatred Derangement Syndrome. The website is actually handling a fair clip of people, and will get better. If you do not have health insurance either thorough Medicaid or your employment, many will find they will be covered by Medicaid, qualify for subsidies to help pay for it, or find a cheap health insurance plan through the exchanges for as little as $20 a month. You may need it one day. Visit HealthCare.gov today to see your options.
NOV 19, 2013 - Musician and filmmaker Julie Sokolow saw firsthand the problem her and other musicians and artists in the Pittsburgh area having the same problem she had, trying to find an affordable health care insurance plan for a single person. So, she formed an organization called "Healthy Artists" to push for a single-payer health care system. After the ACA, or "Obamacare", was rolled out she started using the organization to help musicians and artists not only learn more about the Affordable Health Care Act, but also help it roll out more smoothly and be successful. Musicians and artists have a special stake in the successful roll out and implementation of the ACA, because many musicians are self-employed and have never even thought about health care and insurance. Read more about Julie in her work on PittNews.com here, and check out Healthy Artists website here. Watch musician-activist Matt Dull from the group Young Brokaw talk about getting a bill for $1200 because he had no health insurance after he slipped on the ice. He talks about the need for everyone to have health insurance, so please sign up if you do not have health insurance yet. In some states it is very low cost, and many people will get subsidies to help you pay for it. JTMP asks our musician supporters to sign up for health care insurance through the exchanges by December 14th, 2013 by going to the government's health care insurance exchange website here.
NOV 13, 2013 - We have been honoring veterans all this week since Monday was Veterans Day, and one way we can "support the troops" is to support legal medical marijuana in your state for one possible treatment for veterans with PTSD. There have been many studies showing medical marijuana can be used as a treatment in a wide variety of health issues, and PTSD is one of them. Dr. Sue Sisley in a YouTube video by MAPS below explains the evidence showing medical marijuana can be beneficial in treating PTSD. One organization, Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, is working hard at getting veterans access to medical marijuana.
Earlier this year, Maine's state government approved PTSD to be on the list of conditions patients can get medical marijuana prescriptions for and Governor Paul LePage quietly signed it into law. In an article on CannabisNews.org, retired Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Begin, who lost part of his arm in an IED explosion and suffers from PTSD, talks about using medical marijuana to treat his pain and PTSD saying, "It balances me. Instead of being on a roller coaster, you're more even keeled. You don't get too far up, and you don't get too far down." Maine joins California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and New Mexico that allow vets to use medical marijuana to treat their PTSD, which can consist of flashbacks and anxiety attacks. JTMP urges our supporters to contact your state and local officials, and tell them you support the troops, and you support medical marijuana for use in treatment of PTSD by veterans. (photo credit: ODea/CC)
OCT 31, 2013 - mtvU, the TV channel started by MTV, is airing a six-episode series produced by Shepard Fairey titled "Rebel Music" that will detail worldwide youth uprisings and how they are using the power of music to change their world for the better in countries such as Egypt, Afghanistan, Mexico, Israel/Palestine, India and Mali. The first 2 episodes air on November 18 at 9:00 PM EST, with 4 more episodes being released weekly, and will also be available on the website RebelMusic.com.
Many social justice issues are explored. In the Egypt episode the we meet civilians using protest songs and social media to challenge mindsets and long held beliefs that have tainted their nation's past. In the Afghanistan episode we meet a young girl just wanting to ride a bike, and a rapper and a heavy metal band risking their lives for social change in a rapidly changing culture. The Mali episode spotlights musicians in Bamako that are using music to rally their people back to democracy and freedom during a violent period of change in Mali. The India episode of course goes into the horrible sexual rape and abuse rampant in India that has come to light in the news recently. The Israeli/Palestine episode features musicians and bands from both sides of the struggle, and how they are trying to use music as a bridge to peace and understanding. The last episode highlights Tijuana, Mexico which is a war zone plagued my murder and violence fueled by the stupid drug war. Musicians there are using music to bring back local cultural pride, and call for an end to the violence there.
Check local listings on your TV provider's website for exact time and channel number (Verizon is channel 212). For more info check out mtvU's press release on it on the website TVByTheNumbers, mtvU's website here.
Visit RebelMusic.com for more info and video.
OCT 28, 2013 - The musical world is in shock and in mourning, as we woke up to the sad news that one of music's biggest pioneers, Lou Reed, has died. He stayed strong till the last moments, even doing Tai Chi about an hour before he passed. I blogged about him last May when Lou underwent a liver transplant, and he was working hard on his rehab program saying on his website he is "bigger and stronger" than ever. Unfortunately though, he passed away at his home in Southampton, New York over the weekend, and numerous tributes to Lou Reed via Twitter poured out from musicians. Lou had a huge impact on the musical scene and the world.
My first contact with a Lou Reed was indirect. It was 1973, and I was about 10, and the rock band Brownsville Station had a song on their "Yeah" album I thought was one of the coolest rock guitar rhythms ever; that song was Sweet Jane. (Here is the Brownsville Station version I grew up on) Later when I was in my teens, my sister put on a Velvet Underground album that had the man who wrote that song in it, and I was floored. Pure musical genius, very original and creative; the music I heard coming out from those speakers inspired me and many other musicians to pick up the guitar and start a rock band. There is the famous quote from Brian Eno of where he comments on the first Velvet Underground only selling 30,000 copies to which Eno replied, "I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band". Count me in that crowd.
Probably the most hard hit musician was his band mate in Velvet Underground, John Cale. In a statement on his Facebook page Cale says, "The news I feared most, pales in comparison to the lump in my throat and the hollow in my stomach. Two kids have a chance meeting and 47 years later we fight and love the same way - losing either one is incomprehensible. No replacement value, no digital or virtual fill...broken now, for all time. Unlike so many with similar stories - we have the best of our fury laid out on vinyl, for the world to catch a glimpse. The laughs we shared just a few weeks ago, will forever remind me of all that was good between us." Watch a video below of Lou with Velvet Underground live playing one of the badass rock rhythm guitar riffs ever, Sweet Jane, and read more about the creative musical genius that had a huge impact on the rock scene on his Wikipedia page here and I recommend this NY Times article about Lou's career and passing here. JTMP joins in the mourning of Reed's passing, and also join the celebration of the musical genius he brought to the world. We will miss you Lou! (Photo credit: Marcelo Costa/CC)
OCT 27, 2013 - Huge crowds turned out yesterday in cities across the world speaking out against excessive surveillance by the NSA and other agencies, demanding their civil rights of privacy be respected and protected. Many artists and musicians joined in the effort, such as the Flobots, YACHT, Ai WeiWei, Tom Morello, and JTMP's favorite, Anti-Flag, who are close friends and a huge part of JTMP's early days. Many groups, organizations and individuals from all political stripes came together in this massive street protest against what people firmly believe is a excessive intrusion into their daily lives, and people wonder if their phone calls and emails are being snooped on by the NSA and other agencies. It came out this morning that Germany's Chancellor Merkel has had her cell phone "tapped" and spied on by America's NSA since 2002! The crowd was also protesting the use of military drones, and the huge, bloated military and security apparatus by the American federal government and other countries, which had become huge, hostile, intrusive and unresponsive to the very people it is supposed to serve and protect. JTMP urges our supporters to contact their elected officials at all levels, and scream that you want your privacy back, and tell them to "Stop Watching Us"!
One of the leading organizations leading the protests is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and you can read more about them at EFF.org, and to read more about the various artists and musicians that were at a New York rally yesterday, check out BroadwayWorld.com. Watch an EFF YouTube video below of the scope of the chilling problem with our privacy, and if you want more check out the the rally's website at Rally.StopWatching.Us.
OCT 15, 2013 JTMP strongly recommends that Americans pay extra close attention to local elections, such as state delegates, state representatives, city council members, board of education members and especially Governorships. Governors in some states appoint state supreme court justices, that serve for life in some instances, that will rule on issues such as forced ultrasounds on women to voting hurdles erected by state politicians. Virginia is one of those states that is very important when it comes to progressive values, and today is the last day to register to vote in Virginia's 2013 Gubernatorial election. JTMP recommends EVERYONE registers to vote, but especially if you live in Virginia please register to vote and take part in democracy; it is not a spectator sport. Register to vote in Virginia HERE, and if you live elsewhere find out how to register to vote HERE. For more information on the candidates running, start at Wikipedia here.
OCT 5, 2013 - Medical marijuana has come to the District of Columbia, and the program is fully up and operational. As of October of 2013, about a dozen or so people with health aliments that are treatable by medical marijuana have signed up and received their DC medical marijuana card from the DC Department of Health. The list of health ailments for DC medical marijuana is short: HIV/AIDS, cancer, patients undergoing chemotherapy, protease inhibitors or radiotherapy treatments, glaucoma, and muscle spasticity diseases such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's disease and others. The last part is tricky, and sometimes reviewed by the DC Department of Health on a case-by-case basis, and they will be adding diseases as time goes by. Watch a brief video below detailing the whole process of a DC medical marijuana patient going through the process of obtaining a card, and filling their first prescription below. We also sat down and interviewed Rabbi Jeff Kahn, director of the Takoma Wellness Center, one of the medical marijuana dispensaries set up here in DC. JTMP strongly urges our supporters to contact your state and federal representatives, and tell them you want medical marijuana enacted or expanded in your state, and you want marijuana removed from the Category I drug classification, for marijuana DOES have many accepted medical uses and treatments.