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  • Andy Valeri; Big Beef Productions

Rebel Scum

It felt good to be back, or perhaps more appropriately - forward - with this new edition of the program, one released on a rather fitting occasion, that of Independence Day in U.S. America.

I doubt there are many people out there that are in need of any more reminders regarding the rather dire state of our republic (or what’s left of it) we find ourselves in, and how disconcertingly uneasy things don’t just feel, but are, on a civic level. The threats are real, as we have rogue reactionaries trying to re-install unaccountable presidents as kings (so they can further protect our already seemingly unaccountable corporations). Thus ‘celebrating’ ‘freedom’ and ‘independence’ seems a bit like a taunt anymore, like we’re being trolled by the ruling classes.


So this episode and it’s revolutionary motif is fitting on a number of levels, as it represents a theme and motif that has underlaid much of my work since the days of UnCommon Sense TV Media; a program series which was one of the main precursors and inspiration for the eventual development of IAH.

USTV Media was a community television production series I co-produced with my long time friend and fellow creator Ed Lacy (along with a host of great volunteers), which was launched in 2003 in direct response to the Cheney/Bush regime’s criminal war in Iraq. That was a political moment that we considered the fatal crossing of the Rubicon for what was left of the American republic, one that was clearly entering unambiguously full blown empire stage. Which of course any cursory understanding of history meant the clock was now ticking for the eventual collapse of the entire edifice of any governing legitimacy in the U.S. I believe current events bear out the accuracy of that prognosis.

UnCommon Sense was a program that could see that if a republic was to be saved and restored, it needed to dig into its true populist revolutionary roots. Thomas Paine was (and remains) our spirit animal, and we knew that if we didn’t have ‘revolutionary’ change in our corrupted political system and soon, we were going to get counterrevolutionary change. That kind that would inevitably unleash even more authoritarian, fascistic rule.

We got some flak from viewers in our debut episode (premiering live on Bastille Day in 2003) about using the term ‘fascism’ for what we were facing. We were being ‘hyperbolic,’ when we were being literal about the threats we were facing. Again, we’ll leave it to the (actual) historical record to show who’s appraisal was more correct.

USTV was produced right before the new forms of internet social media and online video were becoming a norm, thus it was literally produced and distributed via cable TV networks by often mailing tape copies of the program to other stations around the country.

For a complete list of the episodes we produced, go HERE to the now pretty much retired UnCommon Sense TV website.

I bring up this past production history for this episode feels a bit like an unintentional homage to those previous efforts. Especially since the idea to create a radio program that could bring cultural aesthetics into a kind of informational awareness, was born out of USTV Media. Which at the time the idea was to move the work from TV/video and more into radio/audio.

The first pitch for the program idea was made to WYSO back in 2007, which the GM at the time found interesting but thinking it needed some further development. After many years on the back burner, it’s here, ‘developed’ into an actual program. One that seems to be slowly but surely receiving some increasing attention and distribution. We're trying to expand the outreach for the pr

As a side note, the ‘Rebel Scum’ episode also features The Who’s full band version of “The Relay,” probably one of my favorite rock songs of all time, and from which Pete Townshend’s original solo “Lifehouse” version of it served as the UnCommon Sense TV program theme song.


And on another USTV Media-related note, among the many things featured in this July 4th episode, is an address by the noted author and scholar Harvey Kaye, a friend of mine who is one of the world’s leading scholars of Thomas Paine. His “Thomas Paine and the Promise of America” is a historical masterwork, possibly *the* single best work on Paine, his legacy and his importance you’ll find. Highly recommended.

Harvey's book on FDR, ‘The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great’ is another timely piece with many historical lessons we would do well to heed.

I’ve long wanted to get Harvey on the program, and his offering this recording was a really good start. Hopefully I will be able to feature more of him in the future, including/especially some one-on-one conversation about the happenings our world, and our ability to begin the world over again.

Thanks for reading.

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