WILL WE SURVIVE?

by Steve Shapiro

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about

This album attempts to express my fear, anger and sadness living under the Trump administration for the past two years.

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released May 30, 2019

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about

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: WILL WE SURVIVE?
A new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change outlines in frightfully stark terms what it would take to keep the earth’s temperature below 1.5 C of warming. This is the threshold for avoiding catastrophic climate change. The catastrophe could result in the collapse of rain forests and coral reefs, rapid melting of the ice sheets that would swamp coastal cities around the world and heat extremes that could lead to millions of climate refugees.

To avoid this, the nations of the world need to get to zero carbon emissions by 2050. If we do not, a good percentage of civilization as we know it today will not survive. The new IPCC report tells us that the world we all grew up in — and the world our parents and grandparents grew up in — is gone forever.

There is no going back.
Track Name: TRUMP THE TRAITOR
This country faces some huge challenges — inequality, climate change and the rise of China. They will be very hard to solve without having both parties committed to the basic functioning of American democracy.

Trump is integral to Putin’s strategy to strengthen authoritarian regimes and undermine democracies around the world. This unprecedented aberration defiles what America stands for at home and abroad. It alienates and dispirits our allies. It will jeopardize our security.

The Cold War is back and the tables have turned. Putin is on a roll. Strongmen in Europe are cloning themselves after him and with his help. Democracy is under stress if not crisis. So are regional and global institutions founded under the leadership of the U.S. after World War II, notably NATO and the integration of Western Europe. And then there’s the U.S. pullback from the Middle East, potentially leaving Russia the only major power in the region.

Trump is effectively a traitor, and the Republicans who aid and abet him are likewise treasonous. We should demand their immediate resignation, making way for reestablishment of government of the people, by the people, and for the people — and demand Trump’s impeachment.
Track Name: Trump's Relentless Lying
President Donald Trump’s constant, relentless lying is a central feature of his presidency and an unprecedented threat to our democracy. His utter disregard for truth is a subversion of our democracy and a dereliction of his duty as president.

The charge of high crimes and misdemeanors covers allegations of misconduct by officials, such as perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, refusal to obey a lawful order, chronic intoxication, and tax evasion.

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: Waiting for Mueller
The Mueller report will not be the end of the Mueller story. Since 2017, when the investigation was authorized (to determine whether Russia interfered in the election of Donald Trump), it has been talked about in dramatic terms: as an epic mystery leading up to a big final reveal. But that’s never been realistic. Watergate was like Shakespeare—a drama that built to a satisfying climax. The Mueller Report is more like Beckett—a mystifying tragicomedy that may have no resolution. Then again, who knows? A Hollywood ending would be nice.
Track Name: Cohen v. Individual 1
Whether or not you believe Michael Cohen, his closing speech was very poignant. He detailed Trump’s alleged crimes and personal failings for the entire world to see.

". . . We honor our veterans even in the rain, you tell the truth even when it doesn’t aggrandize you, you respect the law and incredible law enforcement agents, you don’t villainize them, you don’t disparage generals, gold star families, prisoners of war and other heroes who had the courage to fight for this country. You don’t attack the media and those who question what you don’t like or what you don’t want them to say and you take responsibility for your own dirty deeds.

You don’t use your power of your bully pulpit to destroy the credibility of those who speak out against you. You don’t separate families from one another or demonize those looking to America for a better life. You don’t vilify people based on the god they pray to and you don’t cuddle up to our adversaries at the expense of our allies. Finally, you don’t shut down the government before Christmas and New Year’s just to simply appease your base. This behavior denigrates the office of the president, and it’s simply un-American.

So to those who support the president and his rhetoric as I once did, I pray the country doesn’t make the same mistakes that I have made or pay the heavy price that my family and I are paying."
Track Name: A Fact Free World
We have arrived in a post-truth era. “Alternative facts” replace actual facts, and feelings have more weight than evidence. Trump seems to pay no political price for his lying, and the news cycle is dominated by references to “fake news” and “alternative facts.”

We are surrounded by people who think and believe the same things that we believe. There’s no doubt that Facebook and other social media have played a huge role in that. There’s always been selection of news — people basically read what they want to hear and gloss over things they don’t want to hear. It has become so much easier to do this. The insidious power of social media exaggerates it.

Maybe the problem is really about trust? Maybe the real issue is that we don’t trust each other, and we don’t trust the institutions that are supposed to unearth the truth?

If you’re a criminal bent on asserting your innocence, you undermine trust in the police. You undermine trust in the judiciary. You may be a murderer and a rapist, but you claim it’s the system that’s against you. This is Trump’s best move: It’s the thing he understands most.

I would like to see liars held responsible for their lies.
Track Name: The Winter Of Discontent
From John Steinbeck’s "The Winter of Our Discontent"

“This year of 1960 was a year of change, a year when secret fears came into the open, when discontent stopped being dormant and changed gradually to anger. Presidential nominations would be coming up soon and in the air the discontent was changing to anger and with the excitement anger brings. And it wasn’t only the nation; the whole world stirred with restlessness and uneasiness as discontent moved to anger and anger tried to find an outlet in action, any action so long as it was violent — Africa, Cuba, South America, Europe, Asia, the Near East, all restless as horses at the barrier.”

Sounds familiar. That discontent has fueled anger and Trump’s popularity.
Track Name: Something Is Rotten in the States
American society is currently in deep crisis. Greed, corruption, special interest domination, and racism is commonplace. The foundation of the American capitalist system has started to rot internally and its supreme status weaken globally.

Shakespeare referred to the corrupt ruling class in the state of Denmark - a fish that rots from head to tail. Everything is not good at the top of the political hierarchy. He portrayed Denmark as a place of human villainy — a breeding ground of political as well as spiritual corruption.

That seems to describe the current state of American society.
Track Name: IMPEACH?
From the moment he took office, President Trump’s refusal to divest from his business interests has placed him in direct violation of the US Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause and Domestic Emoluments Clause. Since then, his corruption and abuse of power have only increased. The President must be held accountable under the law, through the impeachment process, for these serious violations and for this unprecedented level of corruption of the Oval Office.

Impeachment was the founders’ method of holding a president accountable between elections. Determined to avoid setting up a king in all but name, they put the decision about whether a president should be allowed to continue to serve in the hands of the representatives of the people who elected him.

Formal efforts to start the process of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump have been initiated by Representatives Al Green and Brad Sherman.
Track Name: The Future of Democracy
Democracy is in trouble around the world. The world is facing a recession in terms of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

When capitalism and democracy clash sufficiently, fascism has its opportunity. Trump — more than any president in American history — is a threat to the democratic system itself. Never before have the pillars of American democracy come under direct and sustained assault from the White House. Trump is focused on immigration above all else as the prime threat to national security, and he demonizes migrants as criminal and sub-human. The genius of any despot is to appeal to the worst in us, and by that yardstick, Donald Trump is a "very stable genius" indeed.

The big question is whether the Democrats will remain the party of Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer - the party of the big fundraisers. Or will they become the party of policies and ideas, the party of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Franklin Roosevelt - the party of democracy?
Track Name: TRUTH IS DEAD?
Trump has assaulted the very idea of truth. The shamelessness of his lies and his efforts to redefine reality for the American people represent dangerous new developments. A poisonous polarization has overtaken our politics. Their is a growing populist contempt for expertise, the merging of news and entertainment, and the accelerated spread of fake news and speculation over social media.

The good news is that more and more people are realizing that we’ve taken our democratic freedoms for granted. We need to implement measures that safeguard the electoral process, restore civics lessons to school curriculums, and make information literacy (how to differentiate between accurate reporting and fake news) a priority. Investigative journalists are doing essential work, holding this administration to account, and unraveling the role that Russian interference played in the 2016 election.
Track Name: TRUMP'S CRUELTY
Trump’s only true skill is the con. His only fundamental belief is that the United States is the birthright of straight, white, Christian men, and his only pleasure is in cruelty. It is that cruelty, and the delight it brings them, that binds his most ardent supporters to him. They scorn those they hate and fear: immigrants, black voters, feminists, and treasonous white men who empathize with any of those who would steal their birthright.

The president’s ability to execute that cruelty through word and deed makes them euphoric. It makes them feel good, it makes them feel proud, it makes them feel happy, it makes them feel united. And as long as he makes them feel that way, they will let him get away with anything, no matter what the cost.
Track Name: Fear: Trump in the White House
"Fear: Trump in the White House" is a non-fiction book by American journalist Bob Woodward about the presidency of Donald Trump.

Bob Woodward describes a White House in chaos, led by an erratic president whose own top aides maneuver to prevent him from taking steps they worry could be catastrophic.
He describes "an administrative coup d'etat," with senior aides removing papers from the president's desk to prevent him from seeing them or signing them. He depicts national security aides rattled by the president's contempt for the international infrastructure in security and trade that had been built since World War II.
Track Name: THE WITCH HUNT
Trump called the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt” even though he knew that more witches would soon be named. He talked about making nice with Putin even as Putin's plot to meddle in the 2016 election was about to be laid bare. They caught the witches!
Track Name: WE CAN HELP THEM
The desperation to make such a hard and dangerous journey with a child is difficult to imagine. You flee your home and then your new destination is just as unaccepting and cruel as the place from which you escaped. We need to be more compassionate to those whose only real "fault" in life is being born on the wrong side of the border.

The violence in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and some states in Mexico is staggering. Children are at the forefront of this violence. When parents or other caregivers are murdered, children are left without caregivers. Gangs target young boys and girls who are often left a choice: pledge your life and allegiance to the gang or risk death for you and family members.

The children fleeing from harm in Central America and Mexico are refugees seeking asylum in a place of opportunity and relative safety. We can help them, and we should.
Track Name: Donald Trump Is A Fraud
Donald Trump is a fraud. He is a fake, a cheat, a liar, a creep, a bully, a braggart and a blowhard. He's the business genius who brags about screwing his investors and who has declared bankruptcy as often as some people overdraw their checking account. He sports the world's silliest comb-over and makes fun of other people's looks. He's the tough guy who never served in the military, never risked his life or his interests for anyone other than himself, and disparaged the service of a decorated veteran.

I am even more worried about some of the people that are behind him, using him as a puppet, and got him where he is today.
Track Name: This Is Not Normal
None of this is normal. Every alarming, precedent-shattering move emanating from the White House is met by the same warning Michelle Obama issued in a speech last October: “This is not normal.”

What if, when we fret that something has gone awry with America, we are merely getting a glimpse of a dysfunction that is actually normal, and has always been normal, and has merely been papered over, for a few decades, with careful management? We’d have to believe that the nation’s history includes wild partisan divisions, irrational conspiracy fantasies, bursts of political violence, absurd manipulations of truth, willful subversion of constitutional principles and loads of bumbling ineptitude.
Track Name: SEPARATING FAMILIES
The Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border to discourage crossings is both unnecessary and cruel. It is both immoral and disgraceful.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to justify it by using the Bible, citing Romans 13, which was also used to justify slavery.

America has been a place where children are torn from the arms of their parents since the time of slavery. As soon as they were old enough to work, young black children could be sold off. In many cases, these children never saw their families again.

Later, the U.S. decided to pursue a similar approach with Native American children, sending them to government-run boarding schools in the late 19th century. Col. Richard Pratt, who founded the first such school, believed the establishments would help Native Americans assimilate into Eurocentric American culture. He lived by a motto: “Kill the Indian, save the man.” The boarding schools lasted into the 20th century.

Trump’s policy, it seems, is just the latest example of American leaders invoking government authority to keep families of color physically apart.

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