FEARLESS WOMEN

by Steve Shapiro

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It is ironic that it has been women who have faced down the belligerent, blustering tyrant that is Donald Trump. And not just women but immigrant women, whose commitment to this country and its ideals seem to be more intense than those of the native born.

Dr. Fiona Hill’s calm voice in this impeachment storm, moved me deeply. She revealed an understanding of America in a way that this president simply doesn’t understand. She knows what is at stake and she has done her part. It gives me hope that we can expose and defeat this malignancy at the heart of our democracy.

And then there is Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking female elected official in United States history. As Speaker of the House, she is second in the presidential line of succession, immediately after the vice president. And she is fearless.

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released December 5, 2019

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Steve Shapiro Oakland, California

Steve Shapiro has composed music for hundreds of radio and TV commercials, documentary films, infomercials and other TV programs. He was the music director at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, which produced hundreds of award-winning educational films and recordings. He has a BA in Music from Brown University and an MA in Music from the Manhattan School of Music. ... more

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Track Name: Fearless Women
It is ironic that it has been women who have faced down the belligerent, blustering tyrant that is Donald Trump. And not just women but immigrant women, whose commitment to this country and its ideals seem to be more intense than those of the native born.

Dr. Fiona Hill’s calm voice in this impeachment storm, moved me deeply. She revealed an understanding of America in a way that this president simply doesn’t understand. She knows what is at stake and she has done her part. It gives me hope that we can expose and defeat this malignancy at the heart of our democracy.

And then there is Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking female elected official in United States history. As Speaker of the House, she is second in the presidential line of succession, immediately after the vice president. And she is fearless.
Track Name: Kurdish Anguish
Donald J. Trump spit on the graves of more than 10,000 Kurds who died fighting side by side with the Americans to defeat the so-called Islamic State. By moving U.S. troops in Syria out of the way, he gave a green light for Turkish forces to slaughter America’s allies while ISIS prisoners escape and the Russians take charge.

The Kurds’ feelings of betrayal are real, and they have been left between a rock and a hard place. Because Trump is president, Kurdish people are being murdered and the world is less safe. American promises are not what they used to be.
Track Name: Peace in the Middle East
There seems to be little hope that there will be peace, democratic transition and stability in the Middle East. Donald Trump’s hostility towards Iran and support for Saudi Arabia has made a delicate situation explosive. Trump is even trying to sell the Saudis nuclear technology.

He ripped up the Iran nuclear deal last year, imposed punitive economic sanctions, and sparked an immediate crisis. His hostility has hurt Iran’s citizens – but not the regime.

In a reversal of US policy, the Trump administration announced that it does not view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. This announcement is likely to further imperil the prospects for the Trump administration's long-touted but yet to be unveiled Middle East peace plan.

How can disaster be averted? Who can stop a slide into a wider war that could swiftly engulf regional states from Israel to Saudi Arabia, and drag in US, British and maybe even Russian forces?

We urgently need competent leaders who know how to calm a storm before we are all sucked under.
Track Name: A Rainy Day
“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

― Maya Angelou


“When rain comes finally, washing away a low sky of muddy ocher, we who could not control the phenomenon are pressed into relief. The near-occult feeling: The face of being witness to the end of the world gives way to tangible things. Even if the succeeding sensations are not common, they are at least not mysterious.”

― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing
Track Name: Our Demon Haunted World
"I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or my grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantative content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance."

Carl Sagan, 1995

During the Obama years, the racist and bigoted elements of our society went underground like cockroaches, waiting for the appropriate demagogue to arrive. Enter, Donald Trump.

While we are furiously disputing whether he’s a racist or a patriot, he and his friends are quietly reaping the rewards of a tax cut that was a massive giveaway to billionaires. His administration is fast-tracking oil pipelines, opening up federal land to drilling and mining, boosting for-profit diploma mills that exploit the poor, and putting foxes in charge of every henhouse from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to the Environmental Protection Administration.
Track Name: Quid Pro Quo
A White House official who was on President Trump's call with Ukrainian President Zelensky told Congress there was “no doubt” that Trump had invoked a quid pro quo. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council told House lawmakers the message from Trump was clear.

Some presidents get nailed over money. Some over lust for power. Others over sex. But only one has disgraced the office on all three fronts.
Track Name: Lock Him Up!
LOCK HIM UP! There is nothing more to say.
Track Name: High Crimes and Misdemeanors
"High crimes and misdemeanors" is a phrase from Section 4 of Article Two of the United States Constitution:

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Track Name: Minimalism
Living a simple life is about paring back, so that you have more space to breathe. It’s about doing with less, because you realize that having more and doing more doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s about finding joys in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.

Some of the most innovative leaders were minimalists. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., César Chávez and Nelson Mandela understood the power of a minimalist lifestyle. Gandhi died a pauper but affected the lives of millions of people and continues to inspire us with his message today. When Gandhi died, he had less than ten possessions including a watch, spectacles, sandals and an eating bowl.
Track Name: Fools multiply when wise men are silent
Moments of silence are used in contemplation, reflection and in remembrance of loved ones that we have lost. However, remaining silent also can be highly unethical. We should be careful that our silence is not deceptive, allowing others to believe what we know for certain is not true.

We ought not remain silent when facing injustice and abuse but “speak truth to power.” We should not remain silent when witnessing wrongdoing. In those circumstances, silence is not morally acceptable; we have a duty to speak up.

As William Faulkner once said, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world … would do this, it would change the earth.”

Greta Thunberg has become the face of climate-change activism. She is known for her blunt, matter-of-fact speaking manner in which she urges immediate action to address the climate crisis.

Greta speaks the truth. "Wake up and face facts. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced and we need to treat it accordingly.”
Track Name: Succession
The transfer of power and authority from father to son has been around for a long time. The longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC.

The Ming dynasty, which encompassed the reigns of 16 emperors, proved to be one of the most stable and longest ruling periods of Chinese history.

Jewish history knows of royal dynasties, especially the dynasty of King David from whom all the kings of Judah were descended in direct succession.

Let's hope that The Trump Dynasty ends with King Donald.
Track Name: The Paradox of Aging
Aging represents the accumulation of changes in a human being over time, encompassing physical, psychological, and social changes. Reaction time, for example, may slow with age, while knowledge of world events and wisdom may expand.

Human beings and members of other species, especially animals, necessarily experience ageing and mortality. In contrast, many species can be considered immortal: for example, bacteria fission to produce daughter cells, strawberry plants grow runners to produce clones of themselves, and animals in the genus Hydra have a regenerative ability by which they avoid dying of old age.

THE PARADOX OF AGING: Older humans are generally happier humans and seniors self-identify as happy in higher percentages then younger folks do.
Track Name: Marimba Time
The marimba is a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars struck with mallets to produce musical tones. Resonators or pipes suspended underneath the bars amplify their sound. The story of the marimba began a long time ago in Africa, where holes were dug in the ground, wooden bars were made to cross over these holes, and the bars were struck to produce sound. Later, gourds were attached to the undersides of the wooden bars to serve as resonating chambers. In modern times, metal tubes were used as resonators.

In 1821, the marimba was proclaimed the national instrument of Guatemala in its independence proclamation. In 1947, French composer Darius Milhaud made the ground-breaking introduction of marimbas into Western classical music.
Track Name: The World Is A Mess
The world is a mess.

Empathy, generosity, and courage is what we will need to survive. Kindness and fairness will be more valuable than any survival skills. We will have to work together. We will have to grow food, educate ourselves, and give people a reason to persevere. Humans evolved attributes such as generosity, altruism, and cooperation because we need them to survive. Armed with those skills, we will turn towards the problem, not away from it. We will face the need, and we will have to solve it together.

Like it or not, we are all in this together, especially when failure means we all could be out of it forever.
Track Name: Winter Impeachment
For just the fourth time in American history, a president will face articles of impeachment. The first article of impeachment accuses Trump of abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival and withholding US security aid and a White House meeting. The second accuses him of obstructing the investigation into his misconduct by blocking witnesses and disobeying subpoenas.

The two articles of impeachment will now go to the House floor for a vote. If a simple majority of the House votes to approve either article, Trump will become the third president ever formally impeached — President Nixon resigned after the votes passed the House Judiciary Committee but before they could make it to the full House.

If the House votes for impeachment, the process then moves to the Senate where a trial is held. In the Senate, a two-thirds vote is necessary for a president's removal - and this milestone has never been reached in US history. Since the Senate is currently controlled by the Republican Party, conviction is considered highly unlikely.