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Can Music Change The World?

Ralph welcomes former Nader’s Raider, Jim Musselman, who since working with Ralph founded Appleseed Recordings and is promoting “Roots and Branches,” his latest compilation of new and classic folk/roots music. Also, GM engineer and whistleblower, Nicholas Kachman returns to give us an update on General Motors’ Culture of Failure.”

Jim Musselman is a longtime activist and attorney, who after working with Ralph went on to found Appleseed Recordings. Appleseed is an independent and internationally distributed record label devoted to releasing socially conscious contemporary, folk and roots music. The company has a catalogue of more than 100 well-respected CDs, two Grammy Awards, and ten Grammy nominations. His latest album is “Appleseed’s 21st Anniversary: Roots and Branches.” 

“The song (Where Have All The Flowers Gone) actually became the anthem of peace in Northern Ireland. John Hume, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, said it was a really important song. After the Omagh bombings, it was the first song ever played by Catholic and Protestant radio stations at the exact same time. And when the peace negotiations were going on outside Storemont Castle, we had the kids out there singing. So when John Hume and Gerry Adams would take a break, the kids were out there singing. It was really showing the power of bringing people together through music and a common bond.” Jim Musselman: founder of Appleseed Recordings

Nicholas Kachman was an executive at General Motors from 1957 to 1993, mainly working as a corporate environmental engineer. He blew the whistle on the real reason General Motors had to be bailed out after the financial collapse of 2008, which he chronicled his book entitled GM – Paint It Red: Inside General Motors’ Culture of Failure. He is here today to give us an update on the state of GM.

“I tried to think of all the sermons I heard in the Catholic and Lutheran church. Was it ever about, ‘This is Christian values. This the line. Above the line, that’s our values. Below this line, this is wrong. This is unethical. It doesn’t meet the Christian values standards.’? And not one sermon did I hear. And yet in these communities, there’s a company found to do something terrible, an executive did something terrible, and they don’t preach it. They don’t say, ‘Look, this wasn’t to our values.’ I think religion has failed.”  Nicholas Kachman, former environemental engineer and whistleblower at General Motors


  1. David Hutchinson says:

    Cool to know about “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” meaning that much in Ireland.

    Pete sang, the audience sang, and the spine tingled. I’ve been through it all, from Bruce Springsteen to Bruce Cockburn. Something I’m feel’n we’ve sort of lacked when join’n in is kind of a “full” sound. Yeah, yeah…we had it at times (especially with Pete (and Pete + Arlo)), but nothing says it couldn’t be fullER. Somewhere IIRC I read the choir at the end of this Roger Waters ditty (Pink Floyd member) was the Welsh Mens’ Choir. Doesn’t mean women couldn’t add a TON. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S9mEc-PEDs

    There’s one recorded version of “If I Had a Hammer” by The Blind Boys of Alabama [not the youtube, which isn’t bad] that makes me think that one could be fun too.

  2. Kenneth Paderewski says:

    Music – more precisely art in general, cannot change the World – like “Spirit cannot fight against power, or quality against quantity. “, as Hermann Hesse has written.

    Using a megaphone, former Beatle John Lennon often sang out in protest the lyric “All we are saying is Give peace a Chance”.

    That mantra of John & Yoko during the Vietnam War only meant getting intoxicated on a cocktail of hope. (Hope isn’t a strategy)

    Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers changed the world in the way Art cannot do.

    It’s enough that Music can gladden our hearts and conquer despair momentarily; that alone is worth the price of admission.

  3. joe peeer says:

    thnk u

  4. Hugo Brown says:

    Nicholas Kachman’s interview was riveting. I almost got as choked up as him listening to what he had to say.

    A brave man.

    One out of the box idea I have that might change the engineering profession is adding a liberal arts component to the engineering curriculum.

    Mandatory courses in ethics, logic, economics, writing, etc. may help develop more well rounded engineers. The problem is that many engineering students have no interest in these courses, so it might be a waste.

    Also, the engineering degree is a professional degree. Another controversial idea I have is to make students require a bachelors before they can enroll in engineering. There’s a good reason doctors and lawyers require undergrad degrees.

    If engineers develop a more well rounded skill set they might be more willing to be critical of their profession, etc. In the short run this is an expensive idea that is burdensome for many students. However, in the long-run it will undoubtedly lead to scientific and human progress.

    Obviously Kachman’s belief that all engineers should be licensed is the best and most practical solution.

  5. Hello, Ralph and Co. Steve Hopkins here. AKA Biff Thuringer. Ralph, I voted for you twice (and Benjamin Spock once), and would do so again. I’ve been listening for a while now. Your podcasts consistently provoke my tired old brain to remain angry and engaged. I’m a semi-retired musician and journalist, and a current novelist and member of the nonprofit industrial complex (I’m on a couple of do-gooder boards of orgs trying to make the world better in small ways). I was a Mercury recording artist in the ’90s with the band Milo Z. Among many songs I have in the can is one I’ve always thought could be an activist clarion call. Take a listen, and feel free to use it: https://soundcloud.com/biff-thuringer/to-america