All the News That's Fit to Sing

by David Rovics

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about

16 original songs, recorded solo acoustic with me singing harmonies with myself on many of the songs. Mostly songs about current or recent events. The culmination of hundreds of hours of research, writing and playing music over the past 6 or 8 months. And two long days in a studio.

If you're able to donate something here on Bandcamp or go to www.davidrovics.com and click on the "donate" or "subscribe" buttons there, this sort of thing is very welcome indeed. Folks like you subscribing, donating and organizing gigs on my tours is 100% of how I get by on this magnificent planet. But free downloading here is also very much encouraged, as is sharing this website with others!

credits

released 01 July 2014

Recorded at Big Red Studio in Corbett, Oregon with the extremely capable Billy Oskay at the helm.

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Track Name: All the News That's Fit to Sing
There's a war on for your mind, it's right there on your screen
Watch the pundits ramble on, define the terms and set the scene
Hear the pundits say this is the best that it can get
There may be room for improvement, just stay tuned in to your set
Just stay tuned in to your set, they'll tell you all you need to know
If it's anything important they say they'll have it on the show

There's a war on for the planet, there's a war on for your mind
The outcome of the struggle is the fate of humankind
You can drink the Kool-aid, buy the goods that you are sold
Watch the talking heads, think the way that you are told
Think the way they tell you, hold fast to the lies
Or stick your finger in the wind and trust your ears and eyes

Turn off your TV or you won't learn a thing
Gather round, I'll give you all the news that's fit to sing

Some democracies are tyrannies, you can hear them say
While some dictatorships are friendly, they'll tell us every day
If your passion is pro baseball you can surely get the score
But if you want to know what's happening, walk outside your door
See the oil train exploding, see the black smoke in the sky
See the kids under the bridge, see the limo passing by

It's a question for the moment, a question for the ages
For the businessmen and prisoners rattling their cages
For the businessmen and prisoners, be they lost or found
Upon the rising oceans or cracked dry desert ground
It's a choice that we're all faced with, or so it seems to me
I don't have all the answers but I can guarantee
Track Name: TPP 101
Free traders and traitors, bankers and thieves Are at it once again
WTO just didn't cut it So now there's no telling when
They'll pass this latest treaty From behind closed doors
And win another battle In the transnational class wars
They want Fast Track Authority So they can get the job done right
By which they mean no discussion Don't even pretend to put up a fight
As they take from us our government's Ability to regulate
What happens within the borders Of what they used to call the state

In what they used to call democracy The idea that people have a say
In whether we should be building windmills Or fracking our lives away
Whether banking regulations Are a good idea or not
Whether the food on your kitchen table Comes from a Monsanto plot
Whether the poor should die Or have affordable medication
Whether human life is less important Than your corporation
Whether this world is a commons Or just a free trade bill
That we need about as much As another oil spill
So let's do like we do in the WC And flush the TPP

They say it'll help the economy And they've said all that before
Like when they implemented NAFTA In 1994
The US lost a million jobs Of this there is no doubt
And in Mexico, small farmers Were almost completely wiped out
And when the refugees started streaming in They were treated just like tools
In the great game of the oligarchs The old divide and rule
Just like JP Morgan said “Why worry,” he laughed
“When I can pay half the working class To kill the other half”

SOPA, PIPA, ACTA They couldn't get them passed
So now they've snuck them all into TPP Try running that one up the mast
In the back rooms no one knows Which corporation speaks
Except when secret documents Get sent to Wikileaks
And it's only from the whistleblowers We even know it's there
One for Asia, one for Europe Free trade everywhere
Free trade, free pollution Freedom for the billionaires
Enslavement for the rest of us But hey, they got theirs
Track Name: Dead
There were millions of bombs falling from the sky
There were children looking up being they'd die
There were millions of people marching in the street
Hoping that their country would meet defeat
There were military contracts, lots of dollars to be made
Selling heroin and fighter jets in the arms trade
There were millions of soldiers refusing to kill
There were others taking orders directly from the Hill
Like the ones who were sent off to turn the campus red
Who were sent to kill the students dead

There were governors talking about military rule
If they want a bloodbath, let's bring one to their school
If they want a bloodbath -- this was the very phrase
That's the language that the governors were using those days
That's the way they thought and that's exactly what they did
There were politicians talking about gunning down kids
They said the students were worse than the Nazis in the war
A quote from the governor just a few days before
The Guard was sent in to turn the campus red
They were sent to kill the students dead

There was a sniper on the rooftop, ready to conspire
There were the National Guardsmen with the orders to fire
They all lined up – ready, aim, shoot
There was President Nixon in a three-piece suit
He brought the war home like he said he would
There was an entire generation who understood
There were soldiers lined up a hundred meters away
A bullet in the back is the price you gotta pay
When the Guard is sent in to turn the campus red
Sent to kill the students dead
Track Name: Mudslide
Before the pioneers came all the way out here
To set up camp to farm, to hunt and mine
By the riverbanks others joined their ranks
And worked the land and forests, rain or shine
That's how things once were there among the Douglas Fir
That blanketed the region, far and wide
It's the story of a mountainside

Soon the situation changed, lots of lumber mills in range
And logging was the way men made their way
Such demand for wood, soon barely a tree stood
When rain fell down from skies of grey
Turns out the trees they made the hill, loose mud just won't stay still
And pretty soon it all began to slide
It's the story of a mountainside

Fertile hilltops turned to stone but the secondgrowth had grown
Decades passed and corporations came
Some people tried to tell this would not end well
But when profit rules it's always the same
There's no valley that's too deep, there's no hill that is too steep
No regulator's pockets can't be plied
It's the story of a mountainside

Once the hill was cut and flayed there were still profits to be made
By selling land to folks to live out in the country
With the river still so pretty and there just north of the city
Go raise your kids in rural harmony
It was the last place they would go, the last home they'd ever know
When the hill collapsed and half the village died
It's the story of a mountainside
Track Name: Mitch Daniels
Mitch Daniels was the governor of Indiana Now he is the president of Purdue
But back when he was governor he asked his staff
To look into what they might be able to do
He said now that this old man has kicked the bucket
Can we finally stop taking it on the chin?
Can we find an excuse, whatever one will work
To ban all the books of Howard Zinn

I want to ban them, he said, from the libraries
I want to ban them from each curriculae
Ban them from the grade schools, ban them from the high schools
Ban them from each college syllabae
And quietly the books started disappearing There in the heartland of the free
But, oops, now we know, because his emails are public
And were discovered by a reporter from AP

They're banning books in Indiana The governor wants to censor what you read
Because a patriotic history of half-truths and lies Is all the history you need

The story hit the presses, at least a bit And Mitch Daniels then denied the truth
Which is funny because that's just like the diet of nonsense
Mr. Daniels would feed to the youth
American democracy is the best in the world
And everything is going according to plan
And any pesky historians who want to expose that crap
It's time to burn and censor and ban!

Because students can't handle reality It needs to be bleached and masticated
Red, white and blue are the colors for Mitch
Shades of grey are too complicated
Columbus discovered America, it's the world's best democracy
And America always wins
And if sometimes things don't quite go the way they should
Jesus will forgive our sins
Track Name: Bubbling Up
There's a Hollywood star There's the company
There's the Superbowl There's lots of money
There's the stolen land There's the minimum wage
There's international law There's the world stage
There's the ambassador There's the rubbish bin
There's the big contract There's which one wins
There's the settlements There's a great big wall
There's the political prisoners There's the ivory halls
There's the sugary water That fills your cup
But the truth keeps bubbling up

There's Captain America Saving the day
There's the American starlet Joining the fray
There's the bulldozed homes There's the tanks in the streets
There's the little children Covered in sheets
There's the sugary water...

There's the rivers of blood There's the manicured hands
There's the fighter jets There's the Baby Grands
There's the ancient trees There's the stolen farms
There's the peaceful protests There's the force of arms
There's the sugary water...

There's the ever-expanding Jewish State
There's the facts on the ground There's the sealed fate
There's the kitchen appliance There's the boycott
There's the haves There's the have-nots
There's the sugary water...
Track Name: Hoarder Song
Sink full of dirty dishes
Newspapers all over the floor
Hoover it broke years ago
Doesn't matter anymore

I don't care, I don't care
I'm going outside
Where nobody knows I'm there
I don't care

This couch is like a hammock
You could say it sags
I don't recall the last time
I washed this sleeping bag

Chorus

They say I got a problem
And I think it's true
Spending most of my lifetime
Being told what to do

Now I don't care...
Track Name: The Dam
Beside a volcano and the rising ash A crystal river rushing past
A crystal river flowing free Now again like it used to be
Since now the dam is out of sight Blown apart by dynamite
Blown apart by everyone In the land of the midnight sun

A hundred farmers the next day Called the cops so they could say
If you're looking for one to blame
A hundred farmers gave their names
Gave their names, said it was I Who couldn't just stand idly by
We all knew that sometimes You must commit a crime

There was a blast – a booming sound
And the dam came crashing down

In Reykjavik, voices shrill Said the dam should be bigger still
By the Laxa riverside A hundred farms would be washed aside
Legal efforts and protests failed
But they still had air behind their sails
They had air and dynamite
So they gathered round there late one night

Prosecutors tried to choose Which farmers had lit the fuse
But not a one would tell the tale And not one farmer went to jail
The dam was never built again And many still remember when
By the Laxa river they set things right
With a couple sticks of dynamite
Track Name: Eat the Rich
They just loll about the Stock Exchange counting their net worth
They produce another parasite each time that they give birth
On the finest food and drink they get fatter every day
So if God has something else in mind He should hurry up and say
If I were to simply summarize the essence of my pitch
I think it's time to eat the rich

They take up so much resources and give nothing in return
We subsidize them thrice for every dollar that they earn
Down throughout the ages all they do is make things worse
It's not a stretch to point out that these people are a curse
It may seem slightly vengeful but sometimes payback's a bitch
I think it's time to eat the rich

Some people think they're funny, they follow every Tweet
But me, I just get hungry and I want something to eat
Let's be environmentalists, recycle and reuse
Let nothing go to waste, take their mansions and their shoes
Their yachts and airplanes, no need to decide which
I think it's time to eat the rich
Track Name: Song for Oscar Grant
There was a man who had a little girl
And she was his one and only daughter
Not every oyster has a little pearl
But this one did and they lived by the water
On the eastern side of San Francisco bay
Where the mountains meet the ocean
Together there they would greet the day By Fruitvale Station
And now the trains seem louder than they used to be
There by the Oakland ocean side
When you look out at the horizon now what do you see
Since the day your daddy died

He dropped her off at school for the day
Looked for work, tried to make some money
Obstacles, road blocks in the way In this land of milk and honey
Dad and mom went out one winter night
Their only plan, to greet New Year
Fireworks and blunts, it's only right Til 2009 was here
They were coming back from the celebration
On a train that rode beneath the rising tide
They got off at Fruitvale Station On the day your daddy died

They just wanted to go home and go to bed
They stepped off the train onto the platform
Punches thrown, angry words were said
Then came the men in uniform
Face down, cuffs behind his back No way to fight or run
That's the time the cop chose to attack That's when he fired his gun
Prayers were prayed as the sun rose And how his momma cried
Time stood still and the world froze On the day your daddy died
Track Name: Moazzam
What it's like to lose most everything
He was only six, just a few years from the pram
When he discovered all the pain that life could bring
His mother died so young, maybe that's where it began
But when he grew up he'd travel far and wide
He went off to Bosnia and Afghanistan
For Moazzam there was no “other side”

When the US war began, he was taken in a raid
Held for a year in a windowless cell
He heard the men around him beaten, he heard women flayed
Where they'd take him next, he had no way to tell
Guantanamo Bay, three years in a cage
Three years apart from his young son
Three years of torture at every single stage
No charge, no trial for him or anyone

Moazzam's only crime was helping people
In places that most others fear to go
Moazzam's only crime was helping people
And baring secrets some people don't want you to know

Three years of campaigning for release
Sent home to live 'neath England's cloudy sky
The screams that ring out in his head can never cease
Left to live his life and wonder why
But the years passed by and the wars they ravaged on
And it wasn't long before he knew
With the hundreds of thousands dead and gone
He had to find out if there was something he could do

He came back home from burying the dead
And was arrested on a terror law
There was no question in his head
He had to tell the world what he saw
Such as the fact that his government kidnapped men
And sent them to be tortured by Asad
And this is why they've arrested him again
And this is why I say in the name of God
Track Name: Invisible Man
Once he had a family, once he was someone's little boy
He even went to high school in Carbondale, Illinois
He had a job for years before he lost it and fell through the cracks
If he tries looking for one now, people turn their backs
That's his home there on the sidewalk, now he gets by as best he can
He talks to people as they walk by, but they don't listen
He's just one more invisible man

He used to go out clubbing, now and then he'd even score
But that was in another lifetime, so long before
Before he was evicted, back when he could pay the rent
When he had friends that he could count on,
before he packed it up and went
Headed to the west coast, became best friends with a can
He talks to people as they walk by, but they don't listen
He's just one more invisible man

He dreamed of buying a house once,
he dreamed of being someone's groom
Now he dreams of a hot breakfast and to sleep in a dry room
But he'll settle for some Food Stamps, he'll settle for another beer
He'll settle for a bus pass to somewhere south of here
But for now he'll sit there on the sidewalk, try to come up with a plan
He talks to people as they walk by, but they don't listen
He's just one more invisible man
Track Name: Tax the Sun
They claimed they were all for fairness and all for keeping the market free
They were all about competition, against all subsidy
They're opposed to raising taxes wherever they may be
Except in certain cases, such as when the oil industry
Feels threatened by entrepreneurs trying to get something done
So now it's time to tax the sun

They say they're all for individuals pursuing worthy goals
Except ones that might cause industry to dig up less coal
So the politicians voted and almost all agreed
There was no need for debate before they did the deed
No need for gridlock now – united, almost every one
Now it's time to tax the sun

Serving people's interests is the politician's goal
Especially certain people who like digging giant holes
Like very wealthy businessmen with names like David Koch
Concerned extractive industries might soon be going broke
One more solar panel, then the terrorists have won
So it's time to tax the sun

They say they can't give cheaper access to the electric grid
Although we don't all use now as some of us once did
Although we make it cheaper for everybody else
By putting up these turbines and those solar cells
There may be lots of benefits, the downsides may be none
But now it's time to tax the sun

There may be a climate crisis, the lights soon may all go dark
All the scientists agree, the situation's stark
If we're heading toward the wall, speeding down the tracks
The solution to the problem must surely be a tax
Wanna make things better, they'll have you on the run
Now it's time to tax the sun
Track Name: Welcome to the Working Class
The average annual income of the richest one percent is about seven hundred grand
The average annual income of the poorest one percent is a couple Food Stamps and a pile of sand
Smack-dab in the middle, 350 thousand, but that's actually the top four percent
Most everybody else, say, in the bottom eighty, is struggling to pay their mortgage or their rent
You who say you're in the middle, I wonder what you mean? In the middle of what and what?
I'd say you're probably full of something that hopefully will soon be coming out of your butt
I could join you in your fantasy, but I think I'll have to pass
And just say welcome to the working class

If you're wondering how you might send your kids to college, if your savings is smaller than your debt
If your main mode of transport is an auto or a pickup, not a helicopter or a private jet
If you drive yourself to the supermarket, you know where to find the milk upon the shelf
If you bring the groceries home and then you cook the food all by yourself
If your idea of a night out is ordering a pizza and watching a DVD
If your idea of social mobility is the fact that you have broadband and a high-definition TV
You can try to convince me that you're in the bourgeoisie or you could just stop smoking that grass
Welcome to the working class

If half your income's spent on taxes, no second home on a tropic isle
If flying in economy and renting a car is your notion of vacationing in style
If you've never seen the world's Seven Wonders and you think you probably never will
Because you only get two weeks holiday each year and you just don't have the time to kill
If you think because you're employed and have a roof over your heads
That you're so very privileged because your kids sleep in separate beds
But you can't afford the rest home for your parents and it's you whose gotta wipe their asses
Well then welcome to the working class
Track Name: Judy
I just wanted you to know, though it's not news to you
You've been the center of my world and my kids sure like you, too
Ever since we met it's been a pleasure to be friends
I know you already know this but since we hit this bend
I just thought I'd tell you because it seems only fair
That each day's been like St. Patrick's Day in Tiananmen Square

I just wanted you to know that somehow it'll be OK
But for all these years I've treasured waking up with you each day
And if this book could be rewritten, if a new chapter could appear
Then I'd write it all this instant to make sure you'd stay right here
And I'll thank you for the good times, either way, thanks for the life we share
Each day's been like St. Patrick's Day in Tiananmen Square

I just wanted you to know as I sit here in this seat
I'm so thankful every day that we had the chance to meet
I just hope we have the chance to see so much more
What marvels these next decades on this Earth could have in store
But whatever time we've got, we've got no time to spare
Each day's been like St. Patrick's Day in Tiananmen Square
Track Name: Sachin
Norway is known for many things One of them most surely is not Cricket
When Norway plays international matches
They often end up in a sticky wicket
But Vålerenga was once one of Norway's best teams
Until it became one of the worst
Eighteen games played, sixteen lost It seemed that the team was cursed
But the men of Vålerenga have come up with a plan
And now the course is clear
Our hope lies now in convincing Sachin That he should fly up here

We need a blessing from the God of Cricket
To lift us out of this ditch
We need a blast from the Master Blaster
Then we'll surely have the run of the pitch

Cricket is a sport loved by many But not many in Norway
So Sachin if you come up to visit
You can walk around in the middle of the day
No one will recognize you You don't have to be a superstar
As long as you avoid South Asian restaurants
And British or Australian bars
We'll drive you around the mountains You can ski here if you please
But won't you come up to Norway, Sachin
Land of the brown smoked cheese

Sachin, you've had times of hardship But mostly you've had success
Maybe we could do that, too At least that is our best guess
If you know how much we love you, Sachin Might that bring you north?
Just what might be required To cause you to sally forth
And board a plane for Oslo Where you are needed most
In the land of the midnight sun Here by the North Sea coast