Karen Hansen-Kuhn on TPP, James Henry on HSBC

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This week on CounterSpin:  There’s plenty of opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But in corporate press accounts, the whole debate is reduced to battling soundbites. More useful and more interesting journalism would include getting outside the Beltway and talking to people about what the fallout from TPP and similar corporate-centered international agreements really looks like. We’ll fill in some of the picture with Karen Hansen-Kuhn, director of international strategies at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

HSBC protest (cc photo: Michael Fleshman)Also on the show: In all the media talk around newly confirmed Attorney General Loretta Lynch, her role as US attorney in brokering a deferred-prosecution agreement with HSBC when the bank was found guilty of money laundering for the likes of the Sinoloa drug cartel was hardly considered. This says something about Lynch–but also about media’s general lack of outrage about government support for big banks, no matter what crimes they commit. A few months back, CounterSpin spoke with journalist James Henry about more HSBC violations recently come to light — violations, it turns out, Loretta Lynch knew about when she worked on that deal.

And our usual look back at the week’s news.


Carlos Hagen Presents Chilean Folk Legend Violeta Parra 1973

This week on From The Vault we celebrate the godmother of Chilean New Folkloric movement or Nueva Cancion, Violeta Parra through her music and the stories of Pacifica producer Carlos Hagan (1973).

Featured Guest(s): Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval (4 October 1917 – 5 February 1967) was a Chilean composer, songwriter, folklorist, ethnomusicologist and visual artist. She pioneered the “Chilean’ New Song”, the Nueva canción chilena, a renewal and a reinvention of Chilean folk music which would extend its sphere of influence outside Chile. In 2011 Andrés Wood directed a biopic about her, titled Violeta Went to Heaven.

Eduardo Galeano: A Poet of Many Worlds

On this edition of From The Vault we honor one of the great journalists, authors and poets of our time, Eduardo Galeano, who died in Monday April 13th 2015. We present two outstanding recordings from 1991 and 1992.

Featured Guest(s): Eduardo Hughes Galeano was a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist considered, among other things, “global soccer’s pre-eminent man of letters” and “a literary giant of the Latin American left”.

Physics, Cosmology & Einstein

Drs. Brian Greene of Columbia and Lisa Randall of Harvard discuss physics, cosmology, and Einstein.

Featured Guest(s):

Brian Randolph Greene is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist. He has been a professor at Columbia University since 1996 and chairman of the World Science Festival since co-founding it in 2008.

Lisa Randall is an American theoretical physicist and leading expert on particle physics and cosmology. She is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the physics faculty of Harvard University.

Religion in the Oval Office and the Paradoxes of Faith

Policy, Prayer and the Presidency

This week, we find out how private religious convictions have shaped monumental public policies over the years, and get up to speed on the spiritual inclinations of the new batch of hopefuls. Just a few of the revelations: Hillary Clinton’s quiet Methodism is “rock solid,” Marco Rubio has been a Catholic, a Mormon and an Evangelical, and Bobby Jindal had a brush with an exorcism in the early 90s.  Featuring Kevin Eckstrom, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service and Gary Scott Smith, author of Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents

A bit of trivia: The phrase God Bless America wasn’t always the closer on presidential speeches. In fact, Richard Nixon was the first modern president to use the phrase, in an attempt to make some friends after the Watergate scandal.

Sister Joan Chittister on the Light Found in Darkness

This week, Sister Joan Chittister invites us to embrace chaos, insecurity, and the great unknown. After a battle with polio when she entered the convent at sixteen years old, she learned that spiritual growth can be ignited by the most tragic moments of life. Light, she tells us, can be birthed from the darkness.

Native Spirit Radio Interview with Joseph Quintana

Native Spirit Radio host Rhonda LeValdo interviews Joseph Quintana the outgoing managing editor of Red Ink Magazine. Quintana talks about Red Ink’s history and celebration of their 25 years of publishing. 10606316_10153846191069947_4667065109324632856_n

ARTSPEAK RADIO presents, Photographer/musician, Jason Buice & Whispering Prairie Press

Photographer/musician, Jason Buice joins Maria in the first half of the program to talk about his work and upcoming musical events.

Art editors Marianne Getchell, Annie Raab, and Dean Kube of Whispering Prairie Press join Maria in the 2nd half of the program.

KANSAS CITY VOICES – periodical of writing and art

Whispering Prairie Press was founded in 1991, and evolved out of the Kansas City Writers Group. The press began by publishing anthologies of local writers, and has evolved to publish writers and artists from around the world. Now in our 13th year of publishing Kansas City Voices, the organization has grown to attract wide audience and publish a diverse body of work with strong voices and artistic vision. Our mission to promote and encourage artists and writers is carried out by an entirely volunteer organization. We are donor supported, and as a 501 c3 non-profit organization we also fund our work through grants from ArtsKC and MAC.”

Jessica Conoley-managing editor
Pat Daneman-poetry edtior
Marianne Getchell-art editor
Annie Raab-prose editor

Strongmen! Featuring Dustbowl Revival, John Moreland, Scott Miller, and Billie Joe Shaver

by Craig Havighurst, MSR Producer

We say it all the time: “That’s the real deal.” We don’t object when an artist raised in one world slips on the skin of a borrowed identity, so long as they’re good at what they do. But something even deeper resonates when we encounter a great artist who is utterly of their lineage and seemingly unaware of the identity buffet that is the postmodern world. I’m not sure I’ve encountered anyone in Americana and country music more fully himself than 75-year-old Texan Billy Joe Shaver. On a night at Roots featuring several strong, resolute male songwriters, the alpha male is Shaver, with his chapped voice, wild history and simply astonishing songs.

I discovered Billy Joe about the same time and in the same place I discovered Jim Lauderdale – the late, great Melody Record Shop in Dupont Circle, Washington DC. The album I bought that day, emblazoned with the word SHAVER, was a staff pick, in a bin on the wall with a hand written endorsement. The project was Tramp On Your Street, featuring the craggy looking Billy Joe and his sweet-faced son Eddie. Both had long hair and loads of pride in their expressions. I had yet to learn about Billy Joe’s remarkable story or Eddie’s tragic downward spiral. I just heard great music.

The first two songs, with guest vocals by Waylon Jennings, were solid. Then there was a switchblade sharp electric guitar and a rolling beat that introduced “Georgia On A Fast Train” and soon I knew I was hearing a classic. Then there was the beautiful, iron-willed “Live Forever” and a bunch of other great ones and then the masterpiece that left me in awe. “I’m just an old chunk of coal, but I’m going to be a diamond someday,” he sang. “Old Chunk Of Coal” ought to be in the Library of Congress and on an interstellar spacecraft. It’s what I’d want the aliens to hear.

I didn’t know it then, but I’d dropped in the middle of the Shaver oeuvre. He grew up in the 40s in Corsicana, TX and joined the Navy at 17. He lost two fingers in a sawmill accident but learned to play guitar anyway. He hitchhiked to Nashville where his talents were recognized by all the right people. Johnny Cash and Elvis recorded his songs. Waylon made his iconic Honky Tonk Heroes album entirely out of Shaver songs. Shaver’s 1973 debut as a recording artist Old Five And Dimers Like Me included the first cut of “Georgia On A Fast Train” and other songs that would, you know, live forever. Copies of the LP sell on eBay these days for $60. Billy Joe stayed really busy during the past decade, making a string of fantastic records, running right up to the spare, chiseled Long In The Tooth. He jests. Shaver is vibrantly alive and showing, if they’ll listen, the young wayward bro country followers what country music actually is.

So is our pal Scott Miller, who may one day be seen as Virginia’s craggy senior senator of song. He’s got the lineage, and after a couple of decades building a career in Knoxville (as leader of the acclaimed V-Roys and then as a solo artist), he’s returned to his family homestead in the Shenandoah Valley. There he’s either a farmer with a music problem or a musician with a farming problem, but either way it seems to suit him. He fired up a wonderful duo with fiddler singer Rayna Gellert that we featured in season one of our national public television series. Then Scott put a lot of thought and self-searching into his most recent solo album Big, Big World, produced with the sonic wizard and guitarist Doug Lancio. Its opening song alone is worth the effort to find and spin this one. “How Am I Ever Gonna Be Me?” he sings, offering a verbally dazzling catalog of the obstacles to said objective. Yet we who know him have no doubt that Scott is transparently and triumphantly himself.

Our third strong man of the week is one of the new buzz artists in all of roots and songwriter music. I’ve been hearing reports from a musical friend in Tulsa about his town’s brilliant new light, John Moreland. And a recent No Depression feature about John’s new album High On Tulsa Heat explains that the artist found his way to heartland folk rock by way of a strict church upbringing and then a rebellion phase in metal. Hard to tell from his crisply produced, tuneful three discs, which sit nicely next to folks like Greg Trooper and Steve Earle. The newest is Moreland’s most loosely conceived, he told the magazine. “I wasn’t writing a record, I was writing songs. So when I was done and sequencing the record I noticed in the song titles alone there’s repeated references: Cleveland County Blues, Tulsa County Stars, Cherokee… It ended up having this weird geographical theme to it. It’s about home, I guess, just trying to figure out what that means.”

And as if all that’s not powerful enough, how about we add the Best Live Band In Los Angeles? That’s what the Dustbowl Revival is according to L.A. Weekly. This eight-person collective moves a lot of talented people and instruments around the country as they spread their good vibes drawn from old New Orleans, Vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley, Western dance halls and jazz-age speakeasies. They’ve performed with great American artists like the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trombone Shorty. I adore this strain of pure roots music and these guys are exemplars.

So settle in for a Wednesday evening of music that’s strong-willed but open-hearted. MCR is a place where you can always be yourself.