Senator Sanders’ campaign for the White House is inspiring a wide range of creative endeavors. Memes, art work, internet organizing strategies, a “dangerous” Bernie or bust pledge to write-in in the general election if he’s not the Party nominee and, of course, songs are bubbling up from the grassroots to support Sanders’ “political revolution.” Almost every time one opens Facebook, someone has posted a video of another song modified or written in support of Bernie Sanders. The music video, Bernin Down Da Haus, presented above, was written and produced by MC Moneypenny, aka Miles Disney. MC Moneypenny first got noticed by the press after he recorded his “Tap Dat A$$et” during the Occupy Wall Street movement partly around the OWS encampment, in 2011.
Disney explains that “MC Moneypenny” refers to Money and Pennies, a James Bond reference. It also perfectly fits with “Tap Dat A$$et.” Disney has promoted a Tobin Tax on the stock market for years now, and Bernie Sanders excites him because he embraces the tax as a central part of his campaign. The Tobin Tax is a fraction of a percent sales tax originally designed to reduce currency speculation. Nobel Prize Winning Economist James Tobin, depicted in black and white to the right, conceived of the idea in 1972 as a way to discourage harmful speculation as swift currency movements can crash economies.
Disney is currently releasing his album “Its Educational” via P.O.P Records which stands for Port of Providence Records. He also plays guitar for punk band Gavage which is on P.O.P Records. Disney agreed to answer a few questions:
Victor Tiffany: You talk extensively about Bernie’s speculation tax sometimes referred to as the Robin Hood tax. What other ideas should we as a country look to in order to see real change?
Miles Disney: One of the ideas I hope proliferate is the idea of representative taxation. When I file my taxes every year at the end the IRS asks if I would like to donate money to a number of given charities with my potential refund. The concept that I would love to see would be to have the IRS and state governments ask: How much of your money would you like to allocate to the department of education? How much would you like to allocate to the national institute of health? What percentage would you like to allocate to the parks department? How much would you like to allocate to the NSA, CIA or Department of War? With this change alone Congress would be tasked with the uncomfortable task of reallocating funds away from what the people want and towards special interests.
Another idea I would like to see is the national endowment for investigative journalism. One of the reasons the corporate plutocrats have been able to get away with buying out our democracy is by eliminating the jobs for folks that catch the corruption as it happens. There needs to people reading and communicating what laws are about to be passed before they do. I suspect the best model to have a robust 5th estate is to include that in the “Inclusive Prosperity Act,” a bill introduced by Keith Ellison, co-sponsored by many democrats and embraced by Bernie Sanders.
We Americans have always struggled with racial justice/injustice. South Africa was very effective in bringing the races together in order to repair the wounds of the past, and we should follow their lead here in the United States.
“I’m voting for Bernie because he will “Tap Dat A$$et” with a speculation tax.” ~Miles Disney
VT: Is there any issue in which Sanders has staked out a position that you disagree with?
MD: Gun control but, even with this issue, Senator Sanders and I are closely aligned. I agree with Bernie that mental health treatment should be widely accessible and not stigmatized. I believe in addition to this there should be a tax of %100 on ultra-violent video-games; many of these school shooting and other rampages seem to be caused by kids obsessed with first-person shooters…I agree with Sanders that the Second Amendment should be protected. The Second Amendment is important because of the disregard many authorities seem to feel towards the Sixth Amendment. Police across the many police-states are stealing the assets of the American people, and it is important to protect ourselves in the event of tyranny. I believe that firearms manufacturers, who knowingly sell firearms to gangs, should be made liable which Sanders said he was “willing to consider”
SPE: You’re well informed. Would you considering running for office? If so, what office, where and why?
MD: I embrace the progressive change that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are bringing to this country. I believe that as an informed millenial, I can bring new ideas to the House! If elected I would back-up the agenda that the Congressional Progressive Caucus brings forth! I am currently a Providence, Rhode Island resident and have been researching a primary challenge to David N. Cicilline for Congress in Rhode Island. I could honestly say that I was the only Rhode Islander running for office that worked at two of the most picturesque Rhode Island businesses — the Gondolas in the Providence River and the America Cup boats in Newport, RI! Plus I could someday make Disney a household name!
I think what Bernie has taught us is that by running you can contribute to the debate — this Presidential debate is turning towards free college, the robin hood tax, and criminal justice reform. By simply presenting winning ideas other candidates will adopt similar positions and if they are not corrupt others can see some of your idea implement.
SPE: What make you believe that voters in Rhode Island are willing to elect a rapper to represent them in Congress?
MD: While I can rap, I wouldn’t classify myself as a “rapper” per se. I am a progressive activist and a political educator. MC Moneypenny is a character that I have used to advance issues like the speculation tax that benefit the public at large. In the age of the internet we are so fragmented and our attention is so split that the most effective way to get a message across is to make it entertaining and shareable. Social media presents new challenges about how to maintain political awareness when our collective attention span has dropped considerably. I believe that my raps allow me to engage with folks in a different manner than a typical politician.
VT: Is your music available online?
MD: Of course. I’ve recently released an album entitled MC Moneypenny: “Its Educational” that is available on iTunes. The songs are on Google Play, Amazon and a number of digital partners! If folks who like the songs buy the music, I can do bigger and better things! Foxy is a fox news take-down, Bern it to the ground is an all-positive Bernie reggae song, plus the last track is the 1st Act of a Rock Opera Chromosome 13 which I would love to find collaborators to finish it! My music is also available on my website.
VT: How big is educational rap, and do you think educational rap is going to expand as a subgenre?
MD: Educational rap is a tiny sub-genre although I suspect it is growing. One of the forces that inspired me was stumbling across Flocabulary while surfing the internet. Flocabulary is a wonderful educational resource for teachers to engage and teach kids about all sorts of subjects using the power of rap music. The statistics are impressive, and if you’re on the the PTA you should encourage your school to investigate. I believe that educational rap and news rap are the future. One of my favorite channels on Youtube is Epic Rap Battles of History which does a good job. There’s also the even more zany, thought-provoking and political videos on Juice Rap News which might just be the best thing ever.
VT: Do you have any relation to Walt Disney?
MD: Sometimes I say through Adam and Eve somehow. There’s a chance by running for office I could pay homage to the family legacy. I would love to know how far removed I am from Walt & Roy…I would love to connect with Walt Disney’s relatives. I attempted to reach out to Roy Disney’s son who runs Uncommon Productions to no avail. At the moment it satisfies me to know that I’m a Disney, and I know how to animate. If I ever connect with Walt Disney Co, my friends and I will write the sweetest Star Wars Rock Opera the world has ever known.