MUSIC – PROGRESSIVE ROCK: Rush / “The Trees” / 1978

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the Maples want more sunlight
And the Oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
And they’re quite convinced they’re right
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream ‘Oppression!’
And the oaks, just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
‘The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet,
Axe,
And saw

SOCIAL ACTIVISM: National Nurses United Director, RoseAnn DeMoro Talks Robin Hood Tax with Bill Moyers / (VIDEO)

Moyers & Company, a current affairs program featuring Bill Moyers and airing on PBS stations nationwide,  had a segment on Sunday evening with RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the country, with 170,000 members.

The interview focuses on the union’s call for a Robin Hood Tax, a sales tax on Wall Street speculation that could raise up to $350 billion a year in revenue.

Watch interview here . . .

“The money generated,” says Moyers in the program note, “could be used for social programs and job creation – ultimately to people who, without a doubt, need it more than the banks do. Though the power and influence of Big Banking is intimidating, DeMoro and her organization have an inspiring history of defeating some of the toughest opponents in government and politics.”

The nurses see the enduring effects of economic hardship on patients and communities across the nation, says DeMoro. The revenue from the Robin Hood Tax is the first step to healing distressed communities and setting the United States on the road to a real recovery. More than 40 countries, including many of the fastest-growing economies, already have such a tax, and it may well be adopted European Union-wide this year.

Read more . . .

Noam Chomsky: U.S. and Europe ‘committing suicide in different ways’ (VIDEO)

In an interview with GritTV’s Laura Flanders, author and MIT professor Noam Chomsky discussed the potentially bleak future facing both the United States and the European Union. Both, he said, are facing historic crises and are going about trying to resolve them in exactly the wrong ways.

According to Chomsky, we are currently living in a period of “pretty close to global stagnation” but that the world’s great powers are reacting to the lack of growth in exactly the wrong manner. “The United States and Europe are committing suicide in different ways, but both doing it.”

[...]

It’s also a mistake, he said, to treat the Republican Party as a genuine political party rather than the “lock-step” policy arm of the superrich. Of course, the wealthy can’t sell the idea of a plutocracy to the population outright, so they mobilize the socially conservative base by stoking the so-called “culture wars.”

Chomsky has a new book, Occupy, about the Occupy Wall Street movement, what it says about society and humanity’s way forward through this time of economic and social stagnation. He calls OWS “the first major public response to 30 years of class war” and believes that the movement’s greatest success has been the introduction of the inequalities of everyday life into the public dialogue.

The nearly half-hour discussion ranges over a number of topics, but keeps coming back again and again to the importance of individual engagement in society and the political system, and the power of Occupy as a force for social and political change.

Watch the full interview here . . .

Noam Chomsky: May Day

Zuccotti Park Press, a project of Adelante Alliance, a Brooklyn-based immigrant advocacy group, is releasing Occupy, a new book by Noam Chomsky, on May Day.

People seem to know about May Day everywhere except where it began, here in the United States of America. That’s because those in power have done everything they can to erase its real meaning. For example, Ronald Reagan designated what he called “Law Day” — a day of jingoist fanaticism, like an extra twist of the knife in the labor movement. Today, there is a renewed awareness, energized by the Occupy movement’s organizing, around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution.

Read more . . .