Rage Against The Machine

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New RAVE reviews for the World Wide Rebel Songs!

Check out some of the great reviews rolling in about the World Wide Rebel songs.

USA Today: CD Review

Rolling Stone: CD Review

Los Angeles Times: CD Review

ABC News Radio: Feature

Arizona Republic: Wash Post Feature Reprint

Cleveland Scene: Feature

llinois Entertainer: Cover Story

Toronto Sun: Feature

AOL Spinner: Justice Tour/Album/Video/Comic Book News

Paste Magazine: CD Review

Cleveland Scene: CD Review

Calgary Herald: CD Review

Arizona Republic: CD Review

Aquarian Weekly: Feature

Arizona Republic: CD Review

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Tom Morello is set to release the solo album, World Wide Rebel Songs, on August 30th via New West Records. The 12-track set is the anticipated follow up to the 2008 The Nightwatchman album The Fabled City and was produced by Morello. The first single, “Save The Hammer For The Man” was co-written with Ben Harper and features Harper on vocals and guitar. While Morello’s solo albums as The Nightwatchman have primarily been acoustic affairs, World Wide Rebel Songs, features a full electric band, “The Freedom Fighter Orchestra” (comprised of Dave Gibbs on bass, Carl Restivo on guitar and piano, Chris Joyner on keyboard, and Eric Gardner on drums). World Wide Rebel Songs is the 14th studio album of Tom Morello’s influential career.

When describing World Wide Rebel Songs, Morello stated, "Troubled times call out for troubled songs. World Wide Rebel Songs is an album of rousing hopelessness and this time The Nightwatchman has brought along his electric guitar to tip the scales. I wanted to capture a vibe midway between Johnny Cash and Che Guevera, murder ballads and Molotov anthems."

World Wide Rebel Songs will be released on the heels of Morello’s new benefit EP, Union Town. Union Town will be released on July 19th on CD and Vinyl and is available digitally now. All profits from Union Town will benefit The America Votes Labor Unity Fund via SaveWorkers.org. The studio recording consists of 8 pro-union songs featuring three Morello originals, as well as the Woody Guthrie classic, “This Land Is Your Land” (including the more radical, often censored verses). On February 21st of this year, Morello performed at the Capitol Square in Madison, WI in protest to an anti-union bill put forward by Governor Scott Walker. A recording of the track “Union Song” was captured at this performance and is included on Union Town.

World Wide Rebel Songs Track Listing

1. Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine
2. The Dogs of Tijuana
3. It Begins Tonight
4. Save The Hammer For The Man featuring Ben Harper
5. The Fifth Horseman Of The Apocalypse
6. Speak and Make Lightning
7. Facing Mount Kenya
8. The Whirlwind
9. Stray Bullets
10. Branding Iron
11. World Wide Rebel Songs
12. God Help Us All

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman Union Town EP is out TODAY

Earlier this year I performed in Madison, Wisconsin at the massive demonstrations against anti-union legislation put forward by that state’s right wing governor. While I’ve played hundreds of demonstrations, I’ve never seen anything quite like Madison. Bratwurst chomping Packer fans and Molotov tossing anarchists standing shoulder to shoulder fighting for justice everywhere you looked. (To read my dispatches from the front check out: Frostbite and Freedom: Tom Morello on the Battle of Madison)

I was inspired by the 100,000 people marching in the street on a freezing cold Saturday afternoon. I was inspired by the solidarity of students, steel workers and firefighters of all ages, colors and creeds who had occupied the Capitol building. And I was inspired by the fact that there was something in the air that made nurses, teachers, farmers, and musicians realize that it was time to get off the sidelines and make history.

The day I got back I wrote the song “Union Town”. The next day I decided I was going to record an album of unapologetically pro-labor, pro-working class, pro-UNION songs and donate 100% of the proceeds to the union struggles across the nation. The Freedom Fighter Orchestra (Wayne Kramer, Carl Restivo, Eric Gardner, Chris Joyner and Anne Preven) lent a hand and I recorded the album in four days because I wanted to capture the energy I felt in the streets of Madison before my frostbitten fingers had thawed.

Some of the songs are mine. Some are class war classics. Here’s a breakdown of the tracks:

UNION TOWN (by Tom Morello): I just wrote down what I did, what I saw and what I felt during that whirlwind 36 hours in Madison. Then I added a badass guitar solo. Check out the union made video here.

SOLIDARITY FOREVER (by Ralph Chaplain): This song was written by IWW member Ralph Chaplain in 1915 in the midst of a West Virginia coal miners strike and stakes out that groundbreaking union’s radical manifesto. As a card carrying member of the Industrial Workers of the World myself this labor classic was a must include. I just put an Irish fighting song beat to it and hit the gas.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? (by Florence Reece): This song was written in 1931 by a twelve year old Kentucky coal miner’s daughter when her father was out on strike with the United Mine Workers. I tried to capture the vibe of a whispered invitation to a secret outlawed meeting.

A WALL AGAINST THE WIND (by Tom Morello): May Day, May 1st, is celebrated around the world as International Workers Day and commemorates the struggles, sacrifices, victories and achievements of the labor movement. Although commemoration of May Day was inspired by events in the United States (The Haymarket Affair), our “worker’s holiday”, Labor Day, was moved to September during the Cold War era to disassociate it from global demonstrations of international solidarity. With “A Wall Against The Wind” The Nightwatchman is bringing May Day back home.

16 TONS (by Merle Travis): The 1955 recording of this song by Tennessee Ernie Ford reached number one on the US charts and went on to sell more than 2 million copies, which is incredible given the grim subject matter. My family were coal miners in the small town of Marseilles, Illinois and I remember hearing stories as a child of the Morello men going down into the mine before dawn and not coming back up until after sundown, their entire lives lived in the dark. I first heard about this song via The Clash who did a “16 Tons Tour” of England. Like coal miners, bands sometime find themselves “another day older/and deeper in debt.”

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND (by Woody Guthrie): This song was written in 1940 by Woody Guthrie as an angry class war anthem. It was written specifically in answer to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” which Woody thought missed the whole point, and left out a lot of people. When you learned this song in the third grade they censored out the more “controversial” verses. I put ‘em back in. As a bonus you get three generations of Morellos singing the chorus on this one.

I DREAMED I SAW JOE HILL LAST NIGHT (by Alfred Hayes/arrangement by Tom Morello): I first became aware of this song when reading a biography of the great IWW songwriter/martyr Joe Hill. I was leveled by the lyrics but I’d never heard a recording of it so I just made up my own music, melody and arrangement. It’s actually the very first piece of music I ever sang around the house as The Nightwatchman was rounding into form. In the studio we turned down all the lights and tried to capture a conversation with a ghost.

UNION SONG-LIVE-CAPITOL SQUARE, MADISON, WISCONSIN FEB. 21, 2011 (by Tom Morello): This song first appeared on my ‘One Man Revolution’ album. I wrote it in the aftermath of the FTAA protests and riots in Miami in 2003. That day our peaceful demonstration of tens of thousands of workers got tear-gassed. Afterwards I performed at a union rally and realized that I didn’t have any of my own songs to play on days like that. So I wrote this one. Problem solved. In this live version from the steps of the Capitol building you can feel the frost in the air and the power in the streets.
I’d like to express my support and thanks to all the unions that are standing up and standing strong in this ongoing struggle and those that have pushed this music forward, some of which are listed here:

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), Sheet Metal Workers' International Association (SMWIA), Change to Win, Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), National Education Association (NEA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Transport Workers Union (TWU), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), American Rights at Work (ARAW), Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Union Label and Service Trades Department, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
Later this summer a brand new full length Nightwatchman album, ‘World Wide Rebel Songs’ and tour will be fanning the flames of discontent in a Union Town near you. Until then, take it easy…but take it.


Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman


Monday, May 9, 2011

Take action and spread the word -



1. Download the song. Visit http://SaveWorkers.org to take action and download the exclusive new song “Union Town” from Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman.

2. Watch & share the official video to friends http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5ZT71DxLuM

3. Help spread the word! Download the official widget and post it on your website, blog, etc.. (it even works and shares in Facebook) Widget attached.

Proceeds of The Nightwatchman’s new album are all going to the coalition to Save Workers (http://saveworkers.org) – see official release below


April 28th, 2011 -- New York, New York -- Tom Morello is set to release Union Town via New West Records digitally on May 17th with a physical CD and Vinyl release to follow on July 19th. All profits from Union Town will benefit The America Votes Labor Unity Fund via SaveWorkers.org. The studio recording consists of 8 pro-union songs featuring three Tom Morello originals, as well as the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land Is Your Land” (including the more radical, often censored verses). On February 21st of this year, Tom Morello performed at the Capitol Square in Madison, WI in protest to an anti-union bill put forward by Governor Scott Walker. To read Morello’s editorial about his experience, “Frostbite and Freedom: Tom Morello on the Battle of Madison,” please visit RollingStone.com. The title track from the Union Town EP (full track listing below) is available now at SaveWorkers.org. On the heels of Union Town, Tom Morello, as The Nightwatchman, will release his third full length solo album, World Wide Rebel Songs, late Summer via New West Records.

Morello stated, "Performing in Madison, Wisconsin and seeing 100,000 people in the streets demanding justice inspired me to record an album of union fighting songs. I've been a proud union man for 22 years and my mom was a union public high school teacher, so for me this fight is very personal. Unions are a crucial counterweight to the raw corporate greed that torpedoed our economy, threatens our environment and wants to strip away decades of social progress. From Cairo to Madison, workers are pushing back and tyrants are falling. Here's a soundtrack for our fight."

The America Votes Labor Unity Fund supports the unified efforts of a broad coalition of national labor organizations to defend workers and their unions against state legislation, ballot measures and executive orders that will undermine or destroy their rights. The America Votes Labor Unity Fund accepts donations from labor organizations and individuals who donate on their own behalf. Please visit www.saveworkers.org for more details and to make a donation.

Tom Morello is an original member of the rock bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, two artists responsible for multiple Grammy Awards and a combined 30 million albums sold worldwide. He released his first album as The Nightwatchman in 2007. In 2009, Morello formed the band Street Sweeper Social Club with Boots Riley of The Coup. Morello was also recognized by Rolling Stone as one of the “100 Greatest Guitar Players of All-Time (#26).”

Tom Morello graduated from Harvard University with honors as a Political Science major and has been a widely recognized political activist throughout his career. In 2006, he was the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award. Morello’s family has been a constant source of political and social inspiration as his great-uncle, Jomo Kenyatta, was the first President of Kenya, and his mother, Mary Morello, founded Parents for Rock and Rap, an anti-censorship counterweight to Tipper Gore’s PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center). With System of A Down’s Serj Tankian, Morello formed Axis of Justice, an organization whose purpose is to bring together musicians, music fans, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice. In the spring of 2008, Morello launched The Justice Tour, a recurring nationwide concert tour. Tour stops, which have featured members of Guns and Roses, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction, MC5, Alice in Chains, Cypress Hill and many more, have visited cities with a day dedicated to a local charity and a rock show to benefit that charity at each stop.

Tom Morello : The Nightwatchman Union Town Track Listing:
1. Union Town
2. Solidarity Forever
3. Which Side Are You On?
4. A Wall Against The Wind
5. 16 Tons
6. This Land Is Your Land
7. I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night
8. Union Song (Live - Capitol Square, Madison, Wisconsin Feb. 21st, 2011)

Tom Morello is represented worldwide by Danny Goldberg for Gold Village Entertainment

For More Information, Please Visit:

Monday, April 26, 2010

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Iraq Veterans Against The War

I am honored to stand with some of my fellow musicians in donating all of my Veteran's Day touring, record sales, and merchandise proceeds to Iraq Veterans Against the War. It is the epitome of courage for a soldier to stand up against an unjust war and that is exactly what these brave men and women have done. They have served their country bravely on the battlefield and now they are serving their country bravely at home by demanding an end to the US military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the heroic voices of these soldiers and veterans who cannot be denied and must not be ignored.

- Tom Morello

For more information on how you can contribute to IVAW visit http://ivaw.org/support.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Tom Morello here. SSSC debut album available today! Get your revolutionary jams here & part of proceeds go to social justice organizations.

If you are in the NYC area come out for our album release show TONIGHT at Gramercy Theatre. We will be playing EVERY SSSC song and then some.

Gramercy Theatre - Album Release Show
127 E. 23rd Street
Doors @ 7pm


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

LA Times Grammy Museum Review

Tom Morello at the Grammy Museum: Political activism, music biz lessons and what about another Rage album?
**Taken from LA Times Blog**

Prior to Tuesday evening, when Tom Morello was last seen on stage in Los Angeles, he was spearheading a benefit for various homeless advocacy groups at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood, performing with the likes of Wayne Krame and Slash. The one-on-one setting Tuesday night at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles was a bit more grown-up than a rock 'n' roll show, but the Rage Against the Machine member stayed on point, and even brought a little unpredictably to the recently opened nonprofit institution.

The Grammy Museum launched with a politics-in-music exhibit titled "Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom," and the discussion, led by the museum's executive director, Robert Santelli, neatly tied in with the theme. With a nod to one of the artist's at the centerpiece of the exhibit, the night closed with Morello, who rose to prominence as one of the alt-rock era's most adventurous guitarists, leading the 200-seat theater through a determined take on Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." Disregarding the nervous glances from the small security staff, the suburban Illinois-raised artist instructed the audience stand and jump through the final verse.

Before the rousing finale, however, Santelli led an engagingly thoughtful discussion through Morello's career, focusing largely on the influence of politics and activism. Everything from schoolyard racism to the music business to Morello's thoughts on President Obama were touched on. As Morello pointed out, there's more than one similarity between the artist and our nation's 44th president. In addition to ties to the Chicago area, both were born to a Kenyan father and white mother, and each did time at Harvard in the '80s.

Yet Morello hasn't stepped aboard the hope express, viewing all politicians with skepticism. Asked for his take on the election of Obama, Morello said he's optimistic but quickly tempered the positivity. "At the same time, you have to look at the facts on the ground," he said. "Tonight there are 75,000 homeless people on the streets of Los Angeles, and over 10,000 homeless children on the streets of the Los Angeles. And we're still talking about how much of a bailout the auto industry is going to get."

Santelli attempted to get at the events that shaped Morello's worldview. While raised in a socially-aware, activist family -- his father was Kenya's first ambassador to the United States and his schoolteacher mother founded the anti-censorship group Parents for Rock and Rap -- Morello shared firsthand accounts that influenced his career.

Painting himself as the nerdy high schooler, Morello spoke of the moments when he realized there's a "much bigger world" than middle-class suburbia. While reading about the 1981 Irish hunger strike, he contrasted those images with the world around him "There were kids in the Libertyville High School starving themselves to make the wrestling team," he said.

His music career also began in earnest in high school, with Morello's self-described "drama-club band" the Electric Sheep becoming one of three bands at the school (the other two: Destiny and Epitaph). Influenced equally by the Clash and "fantasy heavy metal bands," Morello said a trip to Chicago's Aragon Ballroom to see the Clash inspired him to get serious, as he noticed that lead singer/guitarist had a similar guitar/amp set-up. "The wall evaporated," he said.

Finding topics to write songs about was never challenge, and tackling socially conscious music was Morello's goal from Day One. "I didn't have limousine parties with groupies," Morello said. "I did have trouble finding a job."

Morello's latest project, Street Sweeper, a collaboration with the Coup's Boots Riley, will open for Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction on the act's summer tour.

Other notes from Tuesday's chat:

-- A fan asked when Rage Against the Machine would record a new album. The answer: Not anytime soon. But fans shouldn't feel too saddened. "There may be some more Rage shows in the future," Morello said.

-- Name of one of the bands Morello played in at Harvard: Bored of Education.

-- Contracts in the music business are largely meaningless. Morello's pre-Rage band, Lock Up, released on album for Geffen Records in 1989 before being dropped. Morello said he went out of his way to ensure that the band's contract guaranteed that the act would be allowed to record at least two albums regardless of the results of the first. When Morello pointed this out after being cut, he said the label responded with this: " 'We know it's guaranteed but you don't have enough money to sue us.' That was my welcome to the music industry."

-- Morello noted that Rage Against the Machine was a band that didn't "pay its dues," being signed after its second show. But the band's musical personality was clear early on. While rehearsing in the San Fernando Valley, a local factory worker would listen in on rehearsals. His review: " 'This music makes me want to fight.' "

-- Did Rage Against the Machine ever consider toning things down and dropping the politics? "There were countless things that were argued about," Morello said. "Whether or not to make an album about love wasn't one of them."

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Tom Morello. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Fabled City Review

taken from www.allmusic.com

Review by Thom Jurek

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello returns to the singer/songwriter alter ego he calls the Nightwatchman for 2008's The Fabled City. It needs to be said from the jump that this album stands in radical contrast to the skeletal One Man Revolution issued in 2007. Morello and producer Brendan O'Brien (who has been working with Bruce Springsteen since The Rising) decided on something more ornate than just guitar and voice, because these songs warrant it. Morello is much more a storyteller here: he offers tales of ordinary people trying to make it through another day in America. No heady platitudes, no sloganeering in the refrains, just small narratives that break outside the bounds of song and enter the world. As such Morello has succeeded in growing as a multi-dimensional songwriter and as a singer. These songs, though directly narrated, are as political as on his preceding album, but in a different way: these stories are the narratives of people we know, and often, have been. His America is the one that exists on city streets and in quiet suburbs, in malls and on country roads. The relationship between Morello and O'Brien is mutually empathic, nearly symbiotic. O'Brien resists his grander schemes in favor of organic approaches: some songs have small drum kits, others have a cello or B-3, and some have pedal steel guitars. The tempos and characters shift and change, as do O'Brien's textures. The title track with its big acoustic guitars, drum kit, and bassline ushers the album in with urgency: "Me and Javi /Shouted slogans in Spanish/Like it was our world to win/Then they moved the plant down to Ojeda/Time to bite your tongue again." Later, "an angel sad and old" who lives in an alley behind a market sings for a dollar. Morello's acoustic and the bass get fuzzed up for "Whatever It Takes," along with an urgent rhythmic pulse offering a first person narrative about a soldier who struggles as a proxy and an ally against despair, defeat, and disappearance. On "Lazarus on Down" a nylon-string guitar and a cello usher in the story of the raised biblical character abandoned and alone in Bethany; it features backing vocals by Serj Tankian. "Saint Isabelle" makes an appearance on the song named for her. Fueled by a harmonica, massive acoustic guitars, and a fast tempo, it feels more the like the Pogues doing a reel -- especially with the shouting chorus. She is a fragile and weary saint the narrator intercedes for; he prays for her as she does for his characters. "The Iron Wheel" finds Shooter Jennings lending his vocal to Morello's in a warning not to allow yourself to be crushed by life's challenges or submit blindly to authorities who are slaves to the same process. This is the first political album of 2008 where the people have a voice because the Nightwatchman keeps no critical or journalistic distance. Instead, with infectious melodies and inviting narratives, he invites us to join in, to acknowledge we are not separate from him, his characters, or their stories. With The Fabled City, Morello's growth as a topical songwriter is enormous; he's brought the singer/songwriter into a cultural discussion, a dialogue, where we can dialogue not only about characters (who are treated with dignity as speaking subjects, not merely as objects to hang a tune on) and their struggles, but also with popular music again, as a ready tool for awareness of the world around us.

Musicians Donate Art for War Child International Benefit

LOS ANGELES -- R.E.M., Modest Mouse, Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Jarvis Cocker, The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, and Fleet Foxes are just a few of the artists whose handmade signs featured in Under the Radar's Protest Issue will be auctioned off beginning September 30th to benefit War Child International.

Earlier this summer, Under the Radar magazine published its Protest Issue, which featured an array of musicians sharing their thoughts on today's political climate. Along with interviews, Under the Radar conducted photo shoots with those artists, each holding protest signs of their own making. Beginning September 30th, Under the Radar will host a 7-day eBay auction of the protest signs featured in the issue. All proceeds will go to benefit War Child International. (www.warchild.us), a nonprofit that helps children in areas of conflict across the globe. This auction provides individuals with an opportunity to purchase a one-of-a -kind piece of art while also contributing to a worthwhile cause.

Musicians whose art will be featured in the auction include The Protest Issue's cover stars R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock, Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, The Decemberists' Colin Meloy, and Spoon's Britt Daniel, as well as Billy Bragg, British Sea Power, Built to Spill, Jarvis Cocker, Death Cab for Cutie, The Dresden Dolls, The Duke Spirit, Elbow, The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, Fleet Foxes, Foals, Michael Franti, Sharon Jones, Talib Kweli, Jamie Lidell, Metric, Moby, My Morning Jacket, Neon Neon, Noah and the Whale, OK Go, Peter Bjorn and John's Peter Morén, Public Enemy's Chuck D, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, Rilo Kiley, Rogue Wave, Shout Out Louds, Stars, St Vincent, Supergrass, and more.

Under the Radar is published by husband and wife Mark and Wendy Redfern and is distributed across North America.

To view all the signs up for auction, visit: www.undertheradarmag.com/protestauction.html

For a more detailed look at The Protest Issue visit: www.undertheradarmag.com/protestissue2008.html

Michael Moore e-mail

Friends, Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

Michael Moore

Pop Matters Interview with The Nightwatchman

Tom Morello, lead guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and The Nightwatchman, is rockin’ a guitar riff as the crowd goes wild. His tongue, proverbially speaking, is sticking out at the Berklee School of music in Boston. This is the next to last stop on his “Justice Tour”. All the proceeds from tonight’s show go toward the fight for universal health care.

Morello has assembled two rappers, a local boy-wonder folk singer, and a couple of well known rock bands to play for anyone willing to come out on a rainy Sunday night and shell out $15 for a seat. Morello tells the crowd that he is sick of fans telling him that they can beat him at the video-game Guitar Hero. He promises to blow their minds tonight and the more than mildly suggestive toothsome playing has the crowd in frenzy.

The mood back-stage is jubilant and loose—an extended jam session. I’m sitting on a big black speaker box just out of sight of the audience but about five feet from the drum set, put to good use by a series of small well-muscled men with fast hands and big biceps. They answer to nick names like “Mad Dog”. Gary Cherone from Van Halen wanders up from the dressing room to slap me on the back and watch his friends play. I get the feeling these guys don’t really care if there are five people in the crowd, or five thousand. They’re on fire.

“PEOPLE, are you having a GOOD-MOTHER-FUCKING-TIME?” Morello yells enthusiastically. As he comes off stage, after introducing the next act, he sees me sitting with my notebook open. He walks over to ask, “How are you doing man? Can I get you water or a whiskey?”

Morello’s second solo album, The Fabled City is out September 30th, along with a documentary movie about the Justice Tour. The timing is not an accident. He is as passionate about politics as he is about music. His background is almost identical to Barack Obama’s. Morello’s parents met during Keny’as struggle for independence. They traveled back to New York, where Tom was born, when his dad became Kenya’s first black delegate to the United Nations. Soon thereafter his dad returned home to Kenya. His white mom took Morello to rural Illinois to grow up as the only black kid in an all-white town.

Morello was the first student from his high school to attend Harvard. His Harvard classmates recall him as the Jimi Hendrix disciple who started the Ivy League’s first heavy metal interest group. I was introduced to Morello by his Harvard roommate, my partner in our venture capital firm.

I join Morello and the rest of the musicians on the Justice Tour in Boston. He is wearing mirrored sunglasses, his trademark baseball hat, and black boots with bright red laces. Everyone except Morello has on Converse sneakers. At the Four Seasons, we all pile into a van to ride over to sound-check. Some light rock ‘n’ roll banter about hookers and drugs breaks out in the confined quarters of the beat up vehicle (which I take to be in jest). Wayne Kramer, sitting next to me, pipes up. “Hookers? I was in the fucking gym at nine this morning watchin’ Meet the Press!”

I don’t let on that I already know that The Motor City Five (“MC5”) was one of the most influential bands during the 1960s, because my own father was a leader in the Civil Rights and Anti-War movement, risking his life in Mississippi in 1964, sending his draft card back to the selective service and helping Daniel Berrigan, a Catholic priest who was one of the ten most wanted men in the country, escape the FBI. MC5’s politics and sound was born out of watching their hometown of Detroit burn to the ground during the summer of love in 1967. Poet John Sinclair formed the White Panther Party (WPP)and named MC5 its official voice. The WPP endorsed the Black Panther’s agenda fully through “total assault on the culture by any means necessary, including rock ‘n’ roll, dope and fucking in the streets.”

In August 1968, lead guitarist Wayne Kramer—dressed in the American flag—and the MC5 took the stage in Grant Park, Chicago against the direct threat of violence by Mayor Daley. The police moved in, tear gas rained down, and the band and protestors were beaten with billy clubs, losing all their equipment and sparking a week of demonstration and violence. I also don’t mention the fact that despite getting arrested with my dad when I was eight at Westover Airforce Base, I have spent my adult life as just the kind of capitalist pig Morello sees as the problem.

Back in the van, Morello laughs at Kramer and tells me, “Wayne is the titanium backbone of this tour.” The conversation quickly turns to Obama’s performance on the Sunday chat shows. “How did our guy do?” Morello asks. I listen closely, since Morello’s similarities to Obama have led many to press him to endorse his apparent twin. Privately, Morello confessed to me that he was deeply moved by Obama’s speech on race. But publicly he maintains that he will endorse the first candidate who promises to prosecute Bush for crimes against humanity. His whole point is that people change the world, not politicians. We shouldn’t wait for the system to magically change by itself. We should, “fuck it up!”

Still, I’ve noted a lot of Obama’s “change” language in Morello’s recent concerts and, in the van, its clear these guys are Obama supporters. “He did well,” Kramer tells Morello. “He actually thinks about his answers, which could be confused with indecision even though it’s not. He has a nuanced view of the world. Everyone else speaks in sound bites that mean nothing. Barack actually tries to answer the question.”

During the sound check before the concert, Morello plays cuts from his first Nightwatchman album on his acoustic guitar. Rappers and folks singers arrive to hugs and high-fives. During sound check on House Gone Up in Flames—a song about “Colin Powell’s lies” in Iraq—Morello sings the lyric “It was in St. Peter’s denial that he’d thrice deny” which leads to an extended Biblical discussion. Morello expounds on the Last Supper and its relevance to our foreign policy. Once the sound is to Morello’s liking, it is time to run through the individual artists, figure out who is going to play with whom, and finally figure out a play list. It is less than an hour until the doors open.

Boots Riley, a poet and free-style rapper whose hair looks distinctly like Don King’s, tries a bit of his “5 Million Ways to Kill a C.E.O.” Next, Mr. Lif, a rapper with long and thick dread-locks down his back, comes on stage for the last sound check. He needs Morello, Kramer, and the rest of the traveling band to back him up. Lif hands his iPod to the technician running the sound board. Now it’s 20 minutes to doors. The music blares over the concert speakers as Morello concentrates on each note to try to learn the song. As time runs out, Morello looks over at me and yells, “It is all going to come together. You can tell by my relaxed demeanor!”

As the crowd files in upstairs, Morello tells me in the dressing room about one of his Kenyan half-brothers, Segeni, who made his way to Georgetown University still completely unaware of Morello’s existence. While searching the web about their mutual father, Segeni found a mention of the connection to Morello, who happened to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. Still not believing he had a rock star American brother, he ran down to the news stand to stare at the pictures of Morello. As it turns out, Morello and his dad share a striking resemblance.

Morello’s background is almost identical to Obama’s. His parents met during Kenya’s struggle for independence. They traveled back to New York, where Tom was born, when his dad became Kenya’s first black delegate to the United Nations. Soon thereafter his dad returned home to Kenya. His white mom took Morello to rural Illinois to grow up as the only black kid in an all-white town.Taking the stage as part of the permanent band on the Justice Tour, Wayne Kramer has changed his worn Converse sneakers into brand new white ones. Kramer, who must be 60, asks the crowd, “Where is Lee Harvey Oswald now that we really need him?” as he and Morello dig into MC5’s most famous, and controversial, song “Kick out the Jams, Motherfucker!” Jesse Malin, known as a punk rocker with a soft heart whose career has been fostered by Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen, takes the stage next with only a female keyboard player dressed in black and sporting four-inch heels. I am reminded of both Neil Young and Green Day as he a sings a track off his first album, “The Fine Art of Self-Destruction”.

“Writing songs is kind of like masturbating,” he tells the crowd. “I need to find that quiet moment when no one is around. The good thing about living in New York is I can walk around while I’m writing and no one bothers me. One day on the Upper West Side, I crossed the street and accidentally bumped into this little lady. I looked down and said to myself, ‘Oh, shit that’s Yoko.’ When I got home I started to play my guitar and write some lyrics. My cat looked at me like ‘what the fuck?’”

“The song became my own little Rorschach test. I finally realized that it was about that whole generation that I missed out on. Even my friends who were so punk rock and hard core—who wanted to change the system and fuck things up—had to go on and become part of society and have kids and get jobs. But imagine losing John Lennon—your partner and a Beatle—with whom you were going to start a revolution to change the world with peace. The song started to come to me more and more as I thought about how you might think you are so radical and still want to fuck things up but you still have to go to Toy-R-Us and stare at Jeffrey the Giraffe, or you have to go to some job you fucking hate. But when you look in the mirror you still see that guy who wanted to change everything.”

Chetro Urmston and State Radio, who often open for Dave Matthews, take the stage carrying trays of electric guitar pedals. As Chetro plugs in, I hone in on his huge curly blond afro and the box of welded scrap metal with strings which is apparently his guitar. He turns to ask, “Mad dog, you ready?” The drummer, a mild-mannered 20-something with a soft beard and grungy clothes, nods his head yes and without warning dives into a solo more than worthy of his nickname. Chetro belts out their hit song CIA (with the chorus “Don’t you ever let us down!”) The reggae sound and hard-driving beat transport me for the first time during the concert.

Chetro follows up with “Camilo”, a haunting song about their friend who served in Iraq, came home after his first tour of duty, became a conscientious objector and refused to go back to war. The song recounts how he was tried and found guilty of deserting the Army and served nine months in military prison. “Oh my country won’t you call out, doorbells are ringing with boxes of bones, from another land’s war torn corners, to a prison cell of my own.” I’ve been trying to keep up my defenses but something about the sound pierces my heart. In the coming days, I begin to play the song every morning on the way to school drop-off, only to find out it has long been my 14-year-old daughter’s favorite video on YouTube.

“Light that shit up!” Morello commands the audience as he comes back on stage. “Hold up that Blackberry where I can see it.” The crowd is now awash in the glow of blue screen light. He explains that the Justice Tour is about liberating the country and by our very presence, Boston is now a “free zone”. But there is more to be done. “Text ‘AI5055’ right now to send a message that we won’t stand for torture. We demand Guantanamo be torn down!”

He’s just visited Walter Reed, he explains, and is thinking about what victory in Iraq might look like, since the Iraqi people and the American people have already lost so much. Victory might mean bringing those responsible for crimes against humanity to justice, he says. “So when they tear that mother down they might want to save one cell for George W. and his buddies and make sure to pipe in plenty of Rage Against the Machine!” As Morello rips into the opening bars of Fortunate Son, backed by Kramer, he thanks the audience for their kind attention but tells them “it’s time to make some fucking noise!”

Backstage, Morello tells me about making the Rage video for Sleep Now in the Fire with Michael Moore on Wall Street. Morello, who had been arrested scores of times, asked Moore before they started shooting how many times he had been arrested. He was shocked when Moore admitted, “Never.” The idea was to film the video on Wall Street during lunch hour, as the traders and brokers flooded into the streets. They had a permit to play on the steps of the Federal building across from the New York Stock Exchange, but not in the city streets. Soon Morello was enveloped in a sea of traders as he went crazy on the guitar. Moore told the band to move down into the street and keep playing no matter what happened.

The City Police Sergeant made it very clear the band had to move back onto the steps and physically attempted to restrain them. The Sergeant grew angry as Morello and the rest of the band continued down into the street. Finally, he reached over and unplugged Morello’s guitar. To the Sergeant’s great amazement the music didn’t stop, since it was being piped in for the shoot. “The look on his face was like the first time cavemen saw fire,” Morello recalls. “It was like Rage had some magical power over the police.” The Sergeant looked at Morello with disgust and then at bass player Timmy C, who’s built like a superhero, and walked straight between them to throw handcuffs on Moore, arresting him and dragging him off.

Morello, the band, and the crowd of fans attempted to storm the stock exchange in hopes of demonstrating on the floor. Morello got into a physical altercation with the guards, ultimately causing the NYSE to go into full lock-down at 2:52pm to prevent the mob from getting inside. As Morello tells me this story, I don’t have the heart to tell him that in my previous life I was on the inside around that time, taking The Providence Journal Company public, watching our stock open on the floor and then ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange triumphantly as the blond-haired-boy-wonder Chief Financial Officer of the oldest media company in the country. We seem to have been traveling in parallel universes.

Morello, the band, and the crowd of fans attempted to storm the stock exchange, in hopes of demonstrating on the floor. I was on the inside around that time, taking The Providence Journal Company public, watching our stock open on the floor and then ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange triumphantly as the blond-haired-boy-wonder Chief Financial Officer of the oldest media company in the country. Morello didn’t start playing guitar until he was 17. “I didn’t choose the instrument, it chose me like a viral infection,” he explains. “I couldn’t get rid of it. So I came to see my responsibility as weaving my convictions into my vocation.” After Harvard, Morello packed his Chevy Astro van and drove to Los Angeles with a thousand bucks in his pocket. He arrived knowing no one and suffered through a series of “soul-crushing” jobs in retail before working for Senator Alan Cranston in a number of roles, eventually becoming his scheduling secretary for two years. Even though he respected the Senator’s politics, Morello was shocked to learn that on a daily basis, Cranston spent his time calling up rich guys to ask for money. For the first time he saw “the duck-tape that holds our democracy together.”

Morello’s first record deal was with a band called Lock-Up. They produced an ill-fated record entitled, “Something Bitchin’ This Way Comes.” The band and record went nowhere. At 26, Morello thought his musical aspirations were over. Rage Against the Machine formed in August of 1991. Where Lock-Up had tried to play by the rules, Rage most certainly did not. “We had no expectation of even being able to play a show,” Morello recalls. “We were perfectly content to make a cassette and sell it for $5 to anyone who would buy it.” The band spoke to the American psyche.

In retrospect, Morello sees their success as the juxtaposition of real world events like Rodney King and massive feigned rebellion in the music world. Rage’s rebellion was for real. They were an ethnically mixed group who played Neo-Marxist rants. “In our first single we shouted ‘fuck-you I won’t do what you tell me’ sixteen times in a row,” he recalls. At first American censors outlawed the group. They became huge in Europe before dominating the American music scene with Morello’s monster riffs.

In recent years, Morello’s moved away from his monumental electric sound and struck out on a solo acoustic career. An unlikely convert to folk music, he says “sometimes three cords and the truth can be just as powerful as a wall of sound,” quoting his friend Bono’s version of the famous Hendrix line. Besides, it frees him from the chaotic personalities of a rock band and all the equipment that goes with it. “If I want to raise money for a buddy in jail on protest I just throw my guitar in the back of the car and go.”

The next day, as we get back into the van for a rally on Boston Common, I still have the words to Camilo in my head, feeling Mad Dog on the drums so close I could reach out and touch him, the vibrations running through my body. I can see Camilo himself in his prison cell. Morello orchestrates the controlled chaos with passion that is infectious. He likes to say he has hit on a winning formula, bringing great musicians together to change the world through music.

Morello tells me in the van that his brother Segeni finally tracked him down. After they got together, he invited Morello to Kenya. “My father was a Kenyan diplomat and shortly after my birth he was not involved in my or my mom’s life. In 2006, after I had already grown close with many members of the Kenyan side of my family, he apologized to me and my mom and welcomed me into the family.” Morello’s lost Kenyan family, the source of his racial heritage, was found. Morello recorded a song with the Kenyan artist Eric Wainaina and some additional material that, when released, will raise money for Kenyan Red Cross to aid the victims of recent violence. It will be titled Facing Mount Kenya.

It’s pouring rain as we pull off the main road in the van and are waved into the Boston Common by policemen in neon rain coats. The organizer of the rally is in the front seat. She explains that the weather has put a damper on turn-out. Riding along with musical superstars as they approach an outdoor concert and rally, images of Woodstock come to mind until the van turns the last corner and I see the sound man setting up with literally less than a dozen fans milling about awaiting our arrival.

“The show must go on,” Morello says with a laugh. We all pile out of the car and run for the cover of the bandstand. Morello yells to the fans to come in out of the rain. As he plugs in his guitar, one of the Boston policemen approaches. “Tom, I am a huge fan,” he admits. “Thanks for coming out on such a terrible day!”

Twenty minutes later a handful of health care lobbyists arrive from the State House where there was a viewing of Michael More’s SICKO. They’re carrying signs protesting the lack of health care. Morello sings “One Man Revolution”. State Radio, Wayne Kramer, and Boots Riley groove to Morello’s guitar and his sometimes incomprehensible rhythmic shouts, their heads bobbing to the beat. Everyone seems to be having a great time, despite literally playing for themselves.

I notice one old lady with a cane who is at least 80-years-old. As Morello gears up for his finale, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land”, he notices her. He asks her to come to the stage to sing along with him. She makes her way up and he gives her a hug. Morello always closes with Guthrie’s national anthem; breaking in the middle of the song to ask the crowd to sing along to Guthrie’s lost verse and “jump-the-fuck-up” to show the world that the revolution is on. The night before there had been 30 musicians on stage, and several thousand fans, jumping and screaming the verse in a blur of exuberant energy. I watched and laughed, but stayed out of sight.

In the pouring rain the musicians, the little old lady with her cane waving, and even the cop all start singing and jumping. I hesitate. But then I see the unbridled joy of Morello, singing Guthrie’s words in 2008, with all there is to be depressed about, a rock star in a downpour playing just for fun. I jump too, joining my first protest in 35 years.

“This is about making people feel less alone in their convictions,” Morello says as he packs up to head for home. “Never give up and never give in.”

The Wall Street Journal - Video


Monday, September 22, 2008

Troy Davis

Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed TOMORROW September 23 for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, yet serious doubts of his guilt remain and compelling evidence of his innocence has not been heard in court. On Friday, September 12, the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles denied clemency to Davis -- we must urge them to reconsider their decision. Go to Amnesty International's website and send a letter to the Georgia Board NOW! www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rage Against the Machine in Minnesota and the state of political pop

I regret not making it to the Twin Cities to see Rage Against the Machine play the Target Center in Minneapolis tonight, sending its mighty roar over the Mississippi River toward Sarah Palin. But we do have the Internet, letting us in on other people's once-in-a-lifetime moments. Here's one

That's Rage, getting down with a megaphone after being denied access to the stage at the Ripple Effect festival, a day-long event held Tuesday on the Minnesota State Capitol's Upper Mall to promote non-partisan progressive politics in the shadow of the Republican convention.

The band was supposed to be the fest's surprise closer, but according to the Ripple Effect blog, capitol staff and state law enforcement agents shut down the concert because Rage was starting too late -- a half hour before the event's scheduled 7 p.m. curfew.

Rage's megaphone set ended with the band inspiring thousands of protesters to march toward the Xcel Energy Center, site of the convention. The music fans joined a larger march before being dispersed by police.

In light of this protest, which Zack de la Rocha predicted in an interview with me a few weeks ago, it's interesting to consider the position Rage currently occupies. These guys are elders now, nearing or past 40; many of the activists who came out to see them are likely from the next generation. This isn't the usual way musical-political moments unfold.

Shifting paradigms usually require new voices to express what's happening. But (aside from the celebrity candidates themselves) this year's political campaign hasn't produced any new pop stars. Instead, it's caused already established figures from Will.i.am to Sheryl Crow to new heights of creativity and optimism.

It's not surprising that lifetime progressives like Crow have stepped out to provide their support -- or that John McCain's found a stumper in country star John Rich. Barack Obama's effect on the hip-hop scene has been well-documented; most recently, veteran producer Jermaine Dupri has posted his admiration on the Huffington Post, and Spike Lee has predicted that the senator's candidacy could lead to a new golden moment in the African American arts.

Yet no young voice has emerged to embody this surge, the way Bob Dylan did in the countercultural 1960s or Rage did in the street-activist 1990s. Right now, the story seems to be of midcareer artists finding a new spark and stepping out to lead again.

After hearing of the Ripple Effect protest, I happened upon a telling quote from David Berman, the poet who records music under the moniker Silver Jews. In an e-mail chat with the Toronto-based critic Carl Wilson, Berman reflected upon the relationship between "slackers" -- i.e., fortysomethings -- and their youngers (warning to Republicans reading this post: Berman is an unapologetic leftist):

My generation doesn't have 'following' skills. The younger generations, growing up in a more enlightened world perhaps, are team thinkers. My belief is that the next twenty years will be the story of what the adults (us) and the young adults (people born after 1980) do to recover from the damage that this exceptionally stupid and selfish generation of Republicans, businessmen and God-botherers has inflicted.

There is no doubt in my mind that the 40-year-old guys out there who think life has passed them by, the slackers who kept slacking while their peers sold out, will have a very active second half of their lives.

What happened with Rage Tuesday night in the Twin Cities seems to enforce Berman's view. The other headliners on the bill for Ripple Effect -- Michael Franti, Dead Prez, Anti-Flag -- are also in their mid-30s to 40s. None of them could be called slackers; but neither has any lived through a moment when their often radical progressive views connected with the politics of the mainstream. Until, perhaps, now.

There's still time for a new Rage (or Dylan, or the Clash, or Mavis Staples) to emerge with a fresh musical vision. For now, though, it seems enough to enjoy the midlife renewal of so many.

Meanwhile, I'd love to know who your visionaries are. Who's best capturing the rhythms of this political season in guitar chords, samples and beats?

*** taken from www.latimes.com ***

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tom, live in the streets

"Report From RNC: Rage ONE, Cops ZERO"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Note from Tom

"Hey, Tom here. Gonna keep you updated with the latest music and politics here from now on. You can also check out axisofjustice.org or www.myspace.com/thenightwatchman for more info. Solid, Tom"

AXIS OF JUSTICE News - 8/19/2008


GORI, Georgia, Aug 18 (Reuters) - A Russian tank crashes through a barricade of Georgian police cars, explosions ring out from a military base as Russian troops destroy Georgian arms and ammunition, soldiers sit listlessly at the roadside.

Russia announced on Monday it had begun withdrawing its troops from Georgia under a six-point ceasefire plan. But neither Georgia nor wary and openly impatient Western powers saw any evidence of the tanks, trucks and troops leaving.

LINK: http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=302716


The Rise and Fall of Pervez Musharraf

Despite Pervez Musharraf's despotism and double-dealing with U.S. enemies, George W. Bush, John McCain and the GOP embraced him to the bitter end.

LINK: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/08/19/musharraf/


How Wind Farms May Really Replace Coal Mining
One community is attempting to prove that clean energy can beat dirty power -- even in the heart of coal country.

LINK: http://www.alternet.org/environment/95535/how_wind_farms_may_really_replace_coal_mining/

Signature Update from Cindy for Congress

Dear Friends

Thanks for all the encouragement and help.

This afternoon we turned in 431 signatures and the the DOE gave us 196 valid signatures from that.
Then, surprisingly, the Dept of Elections found 112 more good signatures from the first
batch we turned in...so now we need 208 valid signatures by 5:00 Friday, August 8th.

We are turning in 780 signatures first thing in the morning...so I am cautiously optimistic that
we will qualify with those signatures, but nevertheless, we have still have people out getting
signatures and we will collect signatures all day tomorrow until the DOE confirms that we have
qualified. If we don't qualify with what we have by tomorrow at 5pm, the next step is taking it
to the courts and demand that a truly non-partisan entity count our signatures.

There are some good things about this:

Our plight has gone viral and new volunteers have been coming in all week to help and more
people have been swarming into the office to sign the petition. Today was the first day that
I had an infusion of hope that we have a really good chance of winning (a fair election)!

Another great thing is that we have turned in about 18000 signatures and that is 18000 votes.
We are 1/2 of the way to taking about 1/2 of Pelosi's votes, and that is all we need to win in

On to the campaign and on to victory.

As soon as we get the call that we qualified, I will let you all know.



Fifteen months ago, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello officially debuted a new persona, the Nightwatchman, an acoustic-guitar-and-harmonica-wielding protest singer with a deep baritone. This fall, the Nightwatchman returns with The Fabled City, 11 songs of politically charged folk recorded in eight days with producer Brendan O'Brien.

Unlike on 2007's stripped-down One Man Revolution, Morello and O'Brien created bigger, more eclectic arrangements for the new album — which also features vocal spots from Serj Tankian and country rocker Shooter Jennings. "It definitely rocks harder than the first one," Morello says.

Writing the songs for The Fabled City was a cathartic experience for Morello, who channeled his grief about the recent deaths of his aunt and uncle into the lyrics. "This album is a search for hope through music," Morello says. The song "Saint Isabelle," which eulogizes his aunt, draws heavily from Celtic music. "Irish rebel music makes for great fighting songs," he says.

Political-protest tunes remain the core of the Nightwatchman material. "Night Falls" documents a union uprising in the guitarist's childhood home of Marseilles, Illinois, while "Midnight in the City of Destruction" is a first-person account of surviving Hurricane Katrina. "I lost my grandfather, two neighbors and my friend," Morello sings. "I pray that God himself will come and drown the president if the levees break again."

Morello — currently playing festivals with Rage — is psyched to bring some of that energy to his solo tour this fall. "I feel comfortable now playing not only the creepy, dark acoustic songs but also cranking it up on the electric," he says. "That'll definitely be part of the tour."

[From Issue 1058 — August 7, 2008]

Austin Scaggs




THANK YOU SAN FRANCISCO... A Note From: Cindy Sheehan

THANK YOU SAN FRANCISCO... A Note From: Cindy Sheehan

...and Supporters from all over the Nation

Dear Friends,

Due to some very dedicated volunteers and employees (who not only earned a little extra money but believe in our campaign that is by and for the people), Cindy for Congress will be turning in our nominating signatures this Tuesday, July 29th!

Our campaign goal was to turn in the nominating signatures by August 1st, so we are ahead of our campaign schedule and will be 10 days ahead of the deadline.

We will pick up supplemental petitions on Tuesday to gather signatures until August 8th: the number depending on the number of signatures that are invalidated, but on Tuesday, we will be turning in well in excess of the 7698 that are still due.

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, I will be only the 6th non-partisan to attain ballot status in California.

Quite a historic day for the people. Not only is it super difficult just in a logistical way, but WE WILL BE ON THE BALLOT AGAINST THE FAILED SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE! This is huge! This is profoundly significant!

We are 100 days away from the election and 100 days away from sending Pelosi packing.

Talk about a revolution! Talk about a peaceful coup!

Love & Peace

More than candles blown out at Slash-A-Palooza

*** Taken from www.lasvegassun.com***
By John Katsilometes · July 24, 2008 · 9:47 AM

Slash's Birthday Bash

Maybe this all didn't happen Wednesday night. Maybe, on my walk through the parking garage leading to The Mirage, someone flung a brick at my head and knocked me cold, and the whole tableau played out in my concussed consciousness.

Perhaps the great ventriloquist and soon-to-be Mirage headliner, Terry Fator, was not joined onstage on a pool deck usually reserved for seminude sunbathers by the famously long-bearded Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Maybe it was a dream that Jason Bonham, the shaved-headed percussionist son of the late John Bonham, didn't crash through a piercing version of "Whole Lotta Love" as onetime Jane's Addiction and Porno For Pyros frontman Perry Farrell crawled across the stage wailing that we needed to keep the party going because, "We don't wanna die, do we?!" It could be that former Spacehog vocalist and deposed husband of Liv Tyler, Royston Langdon, didn't blithely scream the lyrics of "Stone Free" and "Jean Genie" into a temporarily dead microphone to a throbbing audience that didn't seem to notice, because Slash and his searing Gibson guitar were hoarding the spotlight.

Yep, it could be that Stacy Ferguson, or just "Fergie," didn't really sashay onstage in skin-tight black Spandex pants and a grey T-shirt emblazoned with a gold L.A. Dodger logo for a hair-raising version of "Sweet Child O' Mine," fairly dry-humping the former Guns 'N Roses lead guitarist as he nimbly unleashed his signature solos. And it might be my imagination that Fergie, in the midst of covering Heart's "Barracuda," might have fallen short of Ann Wilson's vocal dexterity but executed a move Wilson could never pull off – a trio of one-handed summersaults. And maybe the entire surreal experience didn't close with Slash cutting into a very tall birthday cake shaped like his trusty Gibson, topped by a quite-familiar black top hat, and a wildly diverse mix-and-match group of celebs singing, "Paradise City," – with Fator, Farrell, comic actor Tommy Davidson and Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains providing a glistening-with-sweat Fergie with backing harmonies.

But it all did happen. As proof, I still wear a white wristband reading "Bare pool lounge," and am suffering what might be a pair of perforated eardrums.

Oh, and happy birthday to Slash, who turned 43 (and should know better) yesterday and last night. Forgive those of us who did not bring gift baskets to Slash-A-Palooza. But the 600 or so revelers who paid $100 a pop surely couldn't have anticipated the sample plate of rockers (and the odd ventriloquist) who thundered through a 2 ½-hour spectacle at The Mirage's finest water feature. Others who ambled on and off the stage included bassist Mike Inez (also once of Alice In Chains); Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello; Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas, Senen "Sen-Dog" Reyes of Cypress Hill; Emma Taylor, Winston the Turtle, soul singer Julius and Dougie Scott Taylor (Fator's handy puppets); and Perla Hudson, the mistress of ceremonies and also Mrs. Slash. That's discounting a video montage assembled by Perla – who seems so at home with the mic that she could emcee her own variety show -- that featured Rainn Wilson, Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Navarro, Tommy Lee, Sammy Hagar, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (playing trumpet to great effect) and Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen.

There was a tepid rumor early that the night that the event might feature a Guns 'N Roses reunion of sorts, but it never happened. It's just as well. Who had the time?

Songs covered by some or all of this band of misfits included the G'N R classic "It's So Easy," assaulted by a heaving, wild-eyed Langdon; "Superstition" and "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," by Farrell, a man who seems born to wear the bright-red pants and matching red-and-black satin jacket; "Wish You Were Here," by Cantrell and Inez; and "To Kill a Man," by Davidson, Sen-Dog, Will.i.am and pretty much everyone else on or near the stage.

No wonder the man of the moment could only mutter, "I am completely f-ing overwhelmed." That statement pretty much captures Slash, a man of few words but many chords who has managed to fill the guitar hero roll as well as anyone for the past 20-plus years. At one point, during "It's So Easy," the cat in the hat ripped into a solo, casually tossed a spent cigarette butt into the photographer's pit at the front of the stage, then spun around without missing a note. Niiiice.

The crew made it to the Beatles Revolution Lounge for extended play, and much of the amped-up crowd met them there. I lasted maybe an hour before the corner man in my brain threw in the towel. On my way out of the hotel a woman dressed like Sweet Loretta Modern of "Get Back" strutted toward me and asked, "Wanna have some fun?"

I just laughed. She had no idea.


Dear Friends,

In one week, we have collected 2836 signatures and we need 2821 more to qualify to get on the ballot for November.

We averaged about 405 per day last week. We had more volunteers out on the streets and neighborhoods and we were able
to raise enough money to hire some paid gatherers, too.

If we keep up this rate, we will have the required amount by next Sunday...the earlier we turn in our required signatures, the earlier
we will know our invalid rate and we will have until August 8th to make those signatures up. When we turned in our 3000 filing signatures, our invalid rate was 22%, I expect this time it will be lower, because we won't make the same errors we did last time.

Thanks for your support and for spreading the word!

I am supremely confident that we will be on the ballot and that is 2/3rds of the way to victory in November!

Love and Peace

Cindy Sheehan & Mary Morello Blog from 7/10/08

Cindy: I want to talk about the FISA modernization Act that house of representatives passed about 10 days or so ago.
The foreign intelligence surveillance act was passed in 1978 and it was passed because Richard Nixon took great liberties with his position as president to spy on enemies in America they called him and so that was in direct violation of the 4th amendment right against the legal search and seizure. So congress passed the foreign intelligence surveillance act, which is ironic because back in 1978 all of the civil liberty lawyers and constitutional experts were fighting against it because it wasn't necessary because we already have the fourth amendment. Well now the FISA act provided for a FISA court so if the president or anybody wanted to spy on somebody's telephone calls or their papers or whatever they just had to go to the FISA court and the FISA court would approve a warrant for this tapping this wire tapping

Mary: where is the FISA court located?

Cindy: The FISA court is, the FISA court I don't think so much was a location, is as an entity. So since 1978 the administrations have routinely asked the FISA court for warrants and they've only been turned down 4 times since 1978 and presidents can even do it retroactively this isn't even a sense of national security the President or one of the President's agents knows or feels like it's a national security emergency then they can do the spying and they can ask for a retroactive warrant and that's never been turned down either . So then we get George Bush and George Bush just does all of this warrant less wire tapping, spies on peoples phone calls their emails and their other communication and the telecom companies, not all of them but most of them, just willingly gave the records over and I'm sure this telephone call right now is being listened to. But now congress has so called "modernized" the act and given telecom companies immunity because many people were suing them for billions of dollars for an invasion of privacy. That says to me that just means the death of our fourth amendment. They've already killed the eighth amendment against cruel and unusual punishment, they've already killed our rights to habeas corpus and the first amendment is basically a joke anymore: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, separation of church and state. This country in increasingly becoming a Christian country and Barack Obama even has to prove that he's some kind of super Christian to win the presidency and I think that is unconscionable because in a free society like we use to have that there is this clear separation of church and state. We shouldn't even talk about religion in the political realm and I'm running here for congress and I refuse to talk about my religious beliefs or my lack of religious beliefs are nobody's business in this era. I am just so worried about the condition of this country.

Mary: Everybody I meet is worried.

Cindy: Were becoming a police state and people in America are so sound asleep as they don't even care that we're rapidly becoming a fascist police state.

Mary: They should be asleep instead all they talk about movie stars and singers. The news is horrible. I look in the front page of the Chicago papers to see if there is anything about Iraq and it's never on the first page, never.

Cindy: That's gone down even appreciably this year with them talking so much about the Presidential you know the democratic primaries which are only a farce. You know this because you are in the heart of where Jeremiah was and he absolutely told the truth and Obama denounced Jeremiah Wright, which I think that is a sell out. So they don't talk about the issue they just talk about things that are superficial. I could blame the American people for being so sound asleep, for being so apathetic, but now people are basically fighting for survival. The gas is so high, and food is so high and they're losing their homes. This is a very devious situation we've been put into and people either are giving up their freedoms for security or they don't care because they have other priorities that they're worrying about. Their jobs, people are losing their jobs because they can't afford to go to work because of the gas…

Mary: and because of the corporation lay offs.

Cindy: I know the outsourcing because of these so called "free trade" agreements. The Bush administration has just been a disaster. My opponent, Nancy Palosi, her and her congress passed this FISA modernization act . To me what they did is treasonous because you don't give up the rule of law or your founding documents as they did. And its just really really sickening. That's about all I wanted to talk about this morning.

So next week we'll Blog again!!!!!

On July 15th a new Bruce Springsteen charity EP released featuring a collaboration with:

Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman

In April, at two of Bruce Springsteen's shows in Anaheim, I had the privilege of playing "The Ghost of Tom Joad" with Bruce Springsteen. It is an amazing honor that the recording and video of night one of this performance will be released on digital format with all the proceeds going to benefit a Danny Federici Melanoma Fund. Danny, as you probably know, was Bruce's friend and musical collaborator for 40 years who recently passed away from complications due to skin cancer. A few days before the Anaheim shows I ran into Bruce Springsteen at a recording studio and we talked about the possibility of playing together some time in the future. I threw out the idea of perhaps tackling "The Ghost of Tom Joad". A few days later we spoke again on the phone and he said come on down to Anaheim and let's do this! I don't often get nervous for performances but frankly I was super scared for this one as Bruce Springsteen is one of my favorite artists and playing on stage with him was going to literally be a dream come true. Bruce was unsure of whether we were going to play the song acoustic or electric so I practiced both versions and went down to soundcheck not knowing what to expect. When I got there Bruce was rehearsing the E Street band in what sounded like a very rocking version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad". I was down in catering and was very surprised to hear that he had raised the key of the song about seven steps above where it sits on "The Ghost of Tom Joad" album. I was in a near panic as I knew this was going to stretch The Nightwatchman's vocal range perhaps beyond his abilities. So it came time to rehearse the song at soundcheck and Bruce and the E Street band were very cool and gracious. As we began to play the song I realized that I was probably not going to be able to sing it and began sweating bullets. I told Bruce, Look I'm not sure if I can sing in that key. He and Steve Van Zandt came over and were both kind of singin the correct notes in my ears and I was sweating more bullets thinking Oh my gosh this is my once in a lifetime opportunity to play with Bruce Springsteen and I'm likely to blow it. So finally Bruce just looked me in the eye and said "It's gonna be fine". At that point I stopped worrying about it because, ya know, he's The Boss. The show that night couldn't have gone better. He and the band were amazing and I had a great time playing and singing "The Ghost of Tom Joad". When it came time for the guitar solo spot I thought I probably shouldn't hold anything back because who knows when I'll be on stage with Bruce Springsteen next. So I kinda went for it. Bruce and his fans were very appreciative. I know the utube version of that song has been out for a while but I understand that the version that's being released on July 15th is remixed and the video is re-edited for maximum rock impact.

Danny Federici will be very much missed. He was a great musician and an important part one of rocks greatest all time bands. Again, it was an honor to be on stage with the E Street band and my condolences and thoughts go out to Danny's friends and family.

- Tom Morello


Rolling Stone Interview The Nightwatchman

Tom Morello Charts Similarities with Obama, Talks Election 2008

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello can't help notice the similarities between himself and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. "Well, you know, being the half-Kenyan Harvard graduate from Illinois in his early forties, not running for president this year's election gives me a unique perspective," Morello tells Rolling Stone's Austin Scaggs. "I've always felt more comfortable on the other side of the barbed wire fence, you know, lobbing musical Molotov cocktails at the party."

"If America elects a black president it will be a different country than the one I've seen my entire life and that would be a step definitely in the right direction," Morello added.

A member of Rage Against the Machine supporting a presidential hopeful? Has the band softened on its radical edge? " I don't think it has anything to do with rebelling against a President. It has to do with policy. The Democratic Congress was elected in 2006 to end the war and they rolled over like lap dogs," Morello adds. So who does Morello think will win this election? "In the next presidential election America will get the president it deserves. If after eight years of Bush's foreign and domestic crimes that we elect a Republican president, you know, it seems to me like you should be able to run a barnyard animal against a Republican and win in a ninety-ten split," Morello says. "So if America elects McCain over, you know, the clearly intelligent, erudite, fair-minded Barack Obama, then either way we'll get the President we deserve."

Magic Tour Highlights will be available for download beginning July 15


Special guests in the spotlight on new digital release
With official live Springsteen recordings few and far between (even though they've stepped up the game in recent years), we've always been fans of the Chimes of Freedom EP model -- no grand statement or tour summation, just getting great live music out fast. Twenty years later, we've got something of the same species: a four-track live EP with recordings from mere months ago, to be released even as the Magic tour continues.

Magic Tour Highlights, available in less than two weeks, embraces the digital era, delivering mp3s and videos online with no physical release currently planned. The EP will be available for download from all digital downloads stores, including the iTunes Store and Amazon.com.

Four songs from Bruce and the E Street Band's spring 2008 U.S. leg have been selected, each highlighting a special guest -- if you count Danny Federici's re-emergence for his only 2008 appearance, what turned out to be his final performance in Indianapolis. A "guest spot" or not, it was an emotional high point of the tour that's captured here, along with three other unique performance highs. The tracks:

"Always a Friend" with Alejandro Escovedo (April 14, Houston)
"The Ghost of Tom Joad" with Tom Morello (April 7, Anaheim)
"Turn! Turn! Turn!" with Roger McGuinn (April 23, Orlando)
"4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" with Danny Federici (March 20, Indianapolis)
In addition to the audio tracks, each of these will be available in accompanying live videos. The recordings were mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig; Thom Zimny handled re-editing on the videos.

The artists, songwriters, and music publishers are waiving all of their royalties, and Columbia Records is donating all of its net profits, for all sales to benefit The Danny Federici Melanoma Fund. The iTunes Store is donating their first year's net profits as well. Magic Tour Highlights will be available for download beginning July 15.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Meet the 'Anti-Genocide Generation'

My View , John Griffith
Gloucester Daily Times

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently devoted one of his columns to the task of labeling my generation "Generation Q - the Quiet Americans."

Friedman acknowledged in his piece that young people today "are not only going abroad to study in record numbers, but they are also going abroad to build homes for the poor in El Salvador in record numbers or volunteering at AIDS clinics in record numbers."

But he chides this generation for being "too quiet, too online, for its own good, and for the country's own good."

However, when I think of the many amazing people with whom I have worked in the Darfur movement, within a student group known as STAND: An Anti-Genocide Coalition, I cannot help but respond with a yelp of astonishment, a cry for help and attention in the media and a shout-out for all these amazing students.

Here's a sampler of the young people you should be reading about far more than Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan:

* Sunish Oturkar. I have seen this Northeastern University student run a Boston Darfur student group meeting in the midst of a Faneuil Hall dining area with hundreds of the apathetic milling about, munching the latest Quincy Market fare without the slightest notion that history was being made at a nearby cluster of tables. Running rallies for Darfur on his campus or on Boston Common, Sunish is anything but quiet.

* Daniel Millenson. As a Brandeis University junior, he had already been featured in a Wall Street Journal article (July 19, 2006: "Sudan-Divestment Activists Get Act Together") before he was old enough for more typical collegiate activities, like ordering a beer. As executive director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force, he has helped lead more than 20 states to divest their pension fund investments from Sudanese-linked companies in a targeted manner that does not hurt the Sudanese people, while it attacks the central government's ability to finance the genocide.

* Kyoko Takenaka and the students of Newton South High School STAND. Now the regional coordinator for all STAND high school groups in the northeast, Kyoko and friends culminated months of activism last spring with a state radio concert that helped raise more than $20,000 to help refugees through STAND's parent organization, the Genocide-Intervention Network or GI-Net.

How can you stand up with this never-quiet generation of students? How can you help this organization that is the fastest-growing student organization in American history, with more than 700 chapters in North America - all founded following the U.S. congressional declaration of the genocide in 2004?

STAND is holding a Darfur Fast, asking people not to give up eating but to give up one luxury for one day and contribute that money to the DarfurFast fund. This fund, directed by GI-Net, helps protect families trying to eke out a life in squalid refugee camps in Eastern Chad and Western Sudan.

Sadly, many Darfuri women face a kind of Sophie's choice. If they send out men to gather firewood for cooking, the men will be killed. If they go out themselves, while successfully bringing back wood, the women are likely to be raped.

GI-Net's Civilian Protection Program provides fire wood patrols or propane cookers so that families may avoid such awful choices.

Would you give up a grande latte and send your $3 savings to STAND to help protect a woman scavenging for fire wood? Could you stay home from a weekend of skiing and send the savings to GI-Net's Civilian Protection Program?

In James Michener's "Space" there is a passage I'll never forget. During the Dark Ages in Europe, a supernova occurred thousands of light years away that lit up the sky for weeks on end but went unrecorded in all European accounts of the day. We know about that astronomical event because contemporary Chinese scientists recorded it. Michener's message was that a light may blaze in the sky to lead us, but if we don't pay attention, we'll probably miss it.

In the age of mass communication, we should not miss the opportunity to follow the light that is the Anti-Genocide Generation. These young people insist that genocide in Europe, in Africa, in Asia - anywhere it happens - creates for us the responsibility to protect the victims. You can contribute by donating online at www.nustand.org (the Web site of Northeastern University's chapter of STAND) or by sending a check to NUSTAND with DarfurFast in the memo line to Northeastern University, c/o Campus Activities Office, 228 Curry Student Center, Boston, MA 02115.

John Griffith of Essex is an engineering student at Northeastern University interning at Raytheon.


U.S. Senate passes spy bill, phone immunity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. phone companies that took part in President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program would receive retroactive immunity from lawsuits under a bill passed overwhelmingly Tuesday by the Democratic-led Senate.

But it was unclear if the Democratic-led House would also approve the measure to shield firms from potentially billions of dollars in civil damages.

About 40 civil lawsuits have been filed accusing AT&T Inc , Verizon Communications Inc and Sprint Nextel Corp of violating Americans' privacy rights in helping the government's warrantless domestic spying program started shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Passed by the Senate on a largely party-line vote of 68-29, the bill backed mostly by Republicans would replace a temporary spy law set to expire this week that expanded the power of U.S. authorities to track enemy targets without a court order.

In addition, the Senate bill would bolster the protection of privacy rights of law-abiding Americans swept up in the hunt for suspected terrorists.

Bush and Congress agreed last month to a 15-day extension of the expiring surveillance law -- to this coming Saturday -- to provide more time to resolve differences.

House Democrats, who have opposed immunity, plan to bring up for a vote as early as Wednesday another proposed extension, this one for 21 days, a top aide said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said: "We do not need yet another extension, yet another delay. We need to focus on getting our work done."

Bush urged the House to set aside "narrow partisan concerns" and pass the Senate measure so he can sign it into law.

"This good bill ... provides a long-term foundation for our intelligence community to monitor the communications of foreign terrorists in ways that are timely and effective and that also protect the liberties of Americans," the president said in a statement.


Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John Rockefeller of West Virginia broke ranks with many fellow Democrats in pushing to immunize phone companies. Yet he criticized Bush for starting the spy program without congressional or court approval.

"Anger over the president's program should not prevent us from addressing the real problems that the president has created," Rockefeller said.

He warned that without immunity some private firms may decline to help protect the nation.

Opponents, including civil liberties groups, complained that the measure's protections of privacy rights were inadequate and its immunity unwarranted.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, voted no, saying: "I believe that the White House and any companies who broke the law must be held accountable."

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requires that the government receive the approval of a secret FISA court to conduct surveillance in the United States of suspected foreign enemy targets.

But after Sept. 11, Bush authorized warrantless surveillance of communications between people in the United States and others overseas if one had suspected terrorist ties. (Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Xavier Briand)

Source: Reuters North American News Service


Some 600,000 displaced in Kenya

Three hundred camps for displaced people have been set up in Kenya

The United Nations believes up to 600,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Kenya as a result of the violence that followed elections. Head of the UN emergency relief operation, John Holmes, said about 300,000 displaced people were in camps, with the same number living elsewhere. Talks aimed at resolving the political crisis have resumed in Nairobi.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, acting as mediator, is confident the two sides will reach a deal this week.
Funding appeal

Mr Holmes has returned to Helsinki from a three-day fact-finding mission to Kenya, where he visited camps in the western Rift Valley which have seen some of the worst fighting following December's disputed presidential election result.

"It is a tragic situation in a country which is seen traditionally as a haven of calm and prosperity in a very difficult part of the world" says John Holmes, United Nations

President Mwai Kibaki won the poll, but supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga claimed the vote was rigged. The ensuing political and inter-ethnic fighting is thought to have left about 1,000 dead.

Mr Holmes said there were 300 camps for displaced people - the hundreds of thousands not in camps were probably sheltering with family and friends, he said.

The UN has appealed for $42m (£21.6m) from the international donor community, but Mr Holmes said it had received about half of that amount so far.

"Many have nowhere to go and will be in these camps for some time before they are able to go home and many of them are not sure they will be able to go home," he said.

"We need to consolidate the camps. Three hundred is a very large amount to deal with."