Archive for January 2020

1933: Hitler came to power

On January 30th, 1933, Adolf Hitler was invited into a sort of coalition government in Germany.  Hitler began the process of undermining the fragile institutions of German democracy right away, but it would be over five years before the invasion of Poland, and what is generally considered to be the beginning of the Second World War, was launched. 

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On January 29th, 1918, thousands of angry Danes marched from the House of the People to the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, and took it over for the day.

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Margot Black Campaign Song

The founder of the Portland Tenants Union is running for the Portland City Council, to replace the late Nick Fish, so I wrote a campaign song.   The election is May 19th, 2020.  Take the city back with Margot Black!   

You can write your own campaign song, too, whether you're a Portland voter or not.  And whether or not you're going to go knocking on doors for Margot's campaign, another thing you can do is make a video to help amplify the message of this song.  (Which is true of other songs as well, incidentally.)

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I actually wrote this song a couple years ago, but it hasn't been recorded in a studio or appeared on an album yet.   I wrote it the last time I had a maxed out credit card, no immediate income prospects, and the rent was coming due.  Memory working the way it does, recent days made me think of the song...  It's specifically about my landlord, a rapacious corporation that goes by many names, including the Randall Group.  But if you're a renter in Portland or any number of other cities these days, you almost certainly relate.

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One of the lesser-known details about the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War is how badly the Republican refugees were treated in France, after they fled over the border, running for their lives. The Vichy authorities, after the Nazi occupation, were worse. But for 2,200 of the refugees in France, the fate of their comrades would be avoided, as Pablo Neruda and the government of Chile at the time had arranged for a cargo ship, the SS Winnipeg.

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With Trump threatening to bomb 52 cultural sites for each of the 52 hostages at the US embassy taken by student activists in 1979, I offer a brief musical commentary on the subject.

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