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Author Tom Neilson

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Heroes of the Cold War

[2010]
Lyrics & music by Tom Neilson
Album: Biomess

PADUCAH, Ky.—Stricken with cancer, his body mottled with painful sores, uranium worker Joe Harding picked up a pen for a final postscript to his nine-year struggle against the U.S.-owned factory he blamed for his fatal illness. "It is absolutely futile," he wrote just before his 1980 death, "like fighting a tiger with a toothpick."
Two decades later, Harding is being proclaimed a "Cold War hero" by the same government that brushed aside his claims of dangerous radiation inside the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in western Kentucky.
Revelations this week of worker exposure to plutonium at the Paducah plant have rekindled interest in the Harding case, which was championed briefly by anti-nuclear groups in the early 1980s as an example of the human cost of building America's nuclear arsenal. Although experts at the time linked Harding's... (Continues)
They dug Joe Harding out of the ground
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2020/4/30 - 09:54
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Echoes of Wounded Knee

[2016]
Lyrics & music by Thomas Neilson
Album: 18 Cows [2017]


Pipeline, police and soldier retaliation to peaceful presence put into historical and contemporary perspective.

Long before Lewis and Clark paddled by, Native Americans built homes here at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, using the thick earth to guard against brutal winters and hard summer heat. They were called the Mandan people.
Now, Native Americans are living here again. They sleep in teepees and nylon tents. They ride horses and drive quad cabs. They string banners between trees and, when they can get a signal, they post messages with hashtags such as #ReZpectOurWater, #NoDakotaAccess and #NODAPL. For weeks, they have been arriving from the scattered patches of the United States where the government put their ancestors to protest what they say is one indignity too many in a history that has... (Continues)
A handful of people prayed by the river
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2020/4/28 - 09:15
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Ballad of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

[2013]
Lyrics & music by Tom Neilson
Album: It's a Crime to Tell the Truth

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (August 7, 1890 – September 5, 1964) was a labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Flynn was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a visible proponent of women's rights, birth control, and women's suffrage. She joined the Communist Party USA in 1936 and late in life, in 1961, became its chairwoman. She died during a visit to the Soviet Union, where she was accorded a state funeral with processions in the Red Square attended by over 25,000 people.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was born in 1890 in Concord, New Hampshire, the daughter of Annie (Gurley) and Thomas Flynn. The family moved to New York in 1900, where she was educated at the local public schools. Her parents introduced her to socialism. When... (Continues)
Her union speech, at age 16, ignited a sensation.
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2020/4/27 - 08:40
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It's a Crime

[2013]
Lyrics & music by Tom Neilson
Album: It's a Crime to Tell the Truth

Wars happen because lies are told about them. When I worked in Somalia, I had a report covered up because "it told the truth". As Monsanto makes food policy with its ties to the WhiteHouse and Cabinet, our food supply is put in a precarious position with lies about glyphosate and the consequences of genetic modification. Our potable water is threatened by gas and oil drilling, mountain top removal, radioactive waste, agricultural poisons, and climate change. Radiation levels from Fukushima are covered up while years of radioactive waste fill up the Pacific and pollute our air, food and water. It is the end of the world as we know it because lies are told about the destruction of our natural resources and people - all so that a few can make billions off the spoilage. 99% of the voters voted for the above violations... (Continues)
Used to be our enemies had a piece of land,
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2020/4/26 - 17:27
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Killing in the Name of God

[2015]
Lyrics & music by Tom Neilson
Album: Ain't Gonna Pass

This song was written as a response to all the people who kill people in the name of gods who reportedly say that killing people is wrong.
I'm not a very godly guy.
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2020/4/26 - 15:23
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Gaza

[2014]
Lyrics & music by Tom Neilson
Album: Ain't Gonna Pass [2015]

An account of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2014
Everything's a target in Gaza,
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2020/4/26 - 13:47
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WMD

[2006]
Lyrics by Mark Levy and Tom Neilson
Music: Sung to the tune of "Do Re Me" by Woody Guthrie
Album: Fools No More
Lots of folks back East they say
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/4/28 - 13:20
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Nothing Like a War

[2005]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Only Outlaws Will Be Free
We got missiles in their silos. – We got tridents in the sea.
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/3/27 - 09:11
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First Thing I Learned About a Gun

[2011]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Between The Rivers

A reflection on childhood on the farm
and a response to senseless gun violence.
Playin' army in the barn,
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/3/18 - 15:25
Song Itineraries: Weapons: our daily home war
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Just A Little Melt Down

[2006]
Album: Fools No More

This song is about the devastation from the meltdown at Three Mile Island, PA. environment, social commentary.

Shocked at the damage done by the meltdown at TMI, Pres. Jimmy Carter asked Adm.Hiram Rickover
for advice. He told Carter that if he told the people the truth about TMI, it would be the end of nuclear energy. On his deathbed, Rickover signed a statement about the devastation at TMI and that he had advised Carter of the above. Song material from the investigative report of David Detmold in the Montague Reporter.
Three Mile Island, 1979,
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/3/17 - 15:09
Song Itineraries: No Nukes
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No Plane at the Pentagon

[2012]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Where Greenland Used To Be

Why was there no airplane debris at the Pentagon?
There are still a lot of questions about 911: too many whys..
Why are the sidewalks and streets intact ?
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/3/9 - 12:20
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Only Outlaws Will Be Free

[2005]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Only Outlaws Will Be Free

When Freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will be free. Songs are all accounts of free speech and personal liberties in a time of oppression.

"When my son was 10 years old, he was punished at school for refusing to stand and sing the national anthem, and subsequently for refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag, which to him, stood for war and oppression of civil liberties". (T. N.)
Ten year old in America land
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/3/3 - 12:18
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Tritium

[2012]
Lyrics by Tom Neilson and Alan Jay Lerner
Music: Sung to the tune of Julie Andrews' "A Spoonful Of Sugar"
Album: Where Greenland Used To Be

A parody response to the NRC's statement not to worry about tritium leaks from Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant because it was 'just a little bit'.
The children go to school in Guilford, Vermont
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/3/2 - 10:02
Song Itineraries: No Nukes
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99

[2012]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Where Greenland Used To Be
Violence is their answer, the 1% is clear
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/2/27 - 15:45
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Gotta Have the Balls

[2012]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Where Greenland Used To Be

An account of Tom Neilson my best friend, Geoff, beat the draft during Vietnam.. (T.N.)
Fine and funny story..
It was back in 1970
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/2/27 - 09:05
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Why Won't Obama Debate?

[2012]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Where Greenland Used To Be

With wit and between-the-eyes poignancy, this album speaks out about corporatism, the environment, workers' rights, civil rights, endless war and the hijacking of democracy.
Why won't Obama debate
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/2/25 - 08:20
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Anne Dunn

[2007]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Another Pacifist Under Surveillance

About a commonly unsung heroine, a casualty of war that is not usually mentioned in polite company.
Annie Dunn's story is one I heard in the Highlands of Scotland.
Annie has two men, both defectors from the military. social commentary, historical..
T'was in the year 18 and 5, a highland lass was she..
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2013/2/24 - 10:56
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Water Under the Door

[1995]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Swords Into Plowshares

Social/political commentary on corporate terror. The "Swords Into Plowshares" album(1) is about the Colrain action which attempted to prevent the takeover of Randy and Betsy Kehler's home for tax refusal by the IRS.

Five communities in Western Massachusetts were destroyed and flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir, so people could have water in Boston. The area was the site of the historical Shay's Rebellion.

"Water Under the Door" is an urgent call to action to confront the corporate terror that leads to the violence of poverty, hunger, homelessness, torture and murder.
What do you do when you have no home to go home to?
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2012/4/4 - 13:05
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Grandfather and Me

[1976]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Dancin' Shoes [1997]

Chronicle of union organizers

"While hitchhiking in Northern Idaho in the Spring of 1975, I was told this story by my ride. It's about his grandfather and mother. Both were union organizers around 1919.
Grandpa played his concertina
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2010/8/16 - 08:30
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Betting on Terror

[2004]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: Living on the Maximum Wage

In the summer of 2003, John Poindexter was the overseer of DARFA's (Defence Research Projects Agency) attempt to institute a web based futures market that Dept. of War officials said could help forecast catastrophic events. Traders would hope to profit financially from their betting on terror. Deputy fo War Sec'ty Paul Wolfowitz called Poindexter's team "brilliantly imaginative." Sen. Barbara Boxer called the program "morbid" and "a sick idea."
The Pentagon is setting up a game that we can play
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2010/7/21 - 08:45
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The Spirit of Justice

[2003]
Lyrics & Music by Tom Neilson
Album: The Spirit of Justice

In Jan 2002, John Ashcroft spent $8,650 to cover up the Spirit of Justice statue in the Hall of Justice because he didn't want to do press conferences in front of her exposed breast. The official line from the attorney generals office was that she was covered up for "aesthetic purposes". Still the metaphor is not lost. His censorship and abuse of power has been compared to Hitler's closing of the Bauhaus School of Design in 1933 at around the same time that he was creating his Security of the Fatherland, aka SS.
The Spirit of Justice's bust is exposed -and Johnny was in distress.
(Continues)
Contributed by giorgio 2010/7/21 - 08:15
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You Can Not Have War Tell the Truth

[2006]
Written by Tom Neilson
Lyrics available at Centre For Political Song
My son Jacob asked me when he was five,
(Continues)
Contributed by Riccardo Venturi 2006/8/19 - 12:17




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