All the News That's Fit to Sing

by David Rovics

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
TPP 101 04:01
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
Dead 04:18
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
Mudslide 02:54
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
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
Bubbling Up 03:33
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...
Hoarder Song 02:31
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...
The Dam 02:51
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
Eat the Rich 01:43
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
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
Moazzam 02:58
Moazzam learned so young as a kid in Birmingham 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
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
Tax the Sun 03:06
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
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
Judy 03:24
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
Sachin 03:18
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


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.


released July 1, 2014

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




David Rovics Portland, Oregon

Singer/songwriter, writer, podcaster (on Spotify, Substack & Patreon), anarchist, dad, lover of life.


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