Where Have All The Democrats Gone?

Where have all the Democrats gone? Long time passing Where have all the Democrats gone? Long time ago Where have all the Democrats gone? Hiding in their bunkers every one When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? – Remake of Where Have All The Flowers Gone

I hope Pete Seeger won’t mind my remaking of his beautiful song, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”, but it seemed appropriate considering the times we are living in. If anyone still believes that the Dems are gonna fight for the middle-class of this country the next few days should remove all doubt about where their loyalties lie. The truth be told there is no longer any Party that speaks for the middle-class of this country or speaks to the issues that are crushing them. The dreaded Bush Tax Cuts that were the bane of the Party just a few months ago will be extended.

This transfer of wealth will be extended because once again the most powerful political party in America is incumbency and the word is out if you want political donations you wash the hand that feeds you and that includes Dems, wing-nuts, and tea-baggers. The wealthy in this country have co-opted both political parties and are laying the foundation for the outright theft of this country. The Dems talk about fighting for the middle-class but it is empty rhetoric. What the Dems have become is Republican lite. What kills me is all the internet chatter about how much better the Dem candidates are than the wing-nuts and tea-baggers and what that demonstrates is how pathetic we have become. Are we so desperate that we are willing to accept anybody who is not a wing-nut just to have somebody?

Here is what is not being discussed seriously by the media or the politicians, it doesn’t matter who the candidate is or what party affiliation they hold. The weapon being used against us is not politics, it is distraction. The goal of the wealthy is to keep the public so distracted with nonsense that no one notices that the country is being stolen right under their noses. This is why we are more concerned about Bristol Palin on "Dancing With The Stars" than we are about who is underwriting her mother’s new show or who is buying her books to keep her on the best sellers list when everyone knows she can’t write. Why Sarah Palin? Because Sarah Palin will not bring solutions to this country instead she will bring more distractions to the public discourse.

If the Dems were really concerned about the middle-class they would be doing the following. They would let all the Bush tax cuts expire, they would penalize every corporation that is shipping jobs overseas, they would focus on infrastructure improvements, and they would make college affordable again. Those four things would benefit the middle-class of today and create a larger middle-class in the future more than any of the red herrings being debated in Washington. By letting the Bush tax cuts expire we would return to the tax rates of the Clinton years.

Let’s look at this for a minute, under the Clinton tax rates more than 8 million jobs were created while under 10 years of Bush tax cuts we have lost jobs.

We have got to, got to, got to… give tax break to billionaires. I mean that’s what this whole place (Congress) is about, isn’t it? They fund the campaigns they get what’s due to the…” - Senator Bernie Sanders

Manufacturing in the US as a percentage of GDP has shrunk to its lowest levels in history since before the industrial revolution and we have tax breaks in place for those companies that are shipping American jobs overseas. Manufacturing was one of the major impetus for creating the middle-class and yet over the last 30 years we have not only allowed corporations to participate in this race to the bottom on cheap and slave labor we have funded it with tax dollars. If we are to ever return America back to competitiveness we must once again manufacture something. Less than 30% of the American public graduates from college so even if we were to find all of those clean high tech jobs we were promised while our dirty manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas we don’t have the workforce to sustain them. What are we going to do with the 70% of Americans with a high school diploma or less?

In order to be competitive globally in the future we need to rebuild our infrastructure. It lays the foundation for future growth and it also provides good jobs now. If history has taught us anything it is that during times like these we need to focus on putting Americans to work and if the private sector is unable or unwilling then the government must be willing to fill the gap until they are. This isn’t rocket science we have gone through depressions and recessions before but because of the influence of the wealthy every time we go through these cycles it is always like the first time. It’s as if we have no history to reflect on or policies to institute.

Finally, college affordability must be addressed. Education is the foundation of our upward mobility, it is known as the great equalizer. Education allows the child of an immigrant to move beyond his birth into the American dream. If we continue to allow our college graduates from lower classes to graduate with crushing debt into jobs at Wal-Mart we will have sealed our fate as a banana republic once and for all. For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone under 30 is not up in arms and protesting in the streets concerning the impending collapse of the middle-class. It is your country that is being stolen. It is your future that is being sold off. It sort of reminds me of the slow boiling frog. You may think that you are in a nice warm sauna but you are really in the steam pot. There is no profit in getting a degree and then owing 100,000 dollars before you get your first job. This game is rigged and you continue to bet. The sad truth is that instead of having to drag you to the polls to vote you should be screaming at the top of your lungs, but I guess “Call of Duty” or “Snookie” is more important than your future.

If anyone is still expecting one of these impotent political parties to stand up and fight for the middle-class then you have another thing coming. The fight will not happen unless you do the fighting. Both of these groups have been bought and sold and with it so has your future. As long as you continue to be distracted by this nonsense the pillaging will continue unabated. Where are all the Democrats? They are hunkering down in their fox holes waiting on Armageddon or the next election whichever comes first.

“The sound shivers through the walls, through the table, through the window frame, and into my finger. These distraction-oholics. These focus-ophobics. Old George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn't watching. He's singing and dancing. He's pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother's holding your attention every moment you're awake. He's making sure you're always distracted. He's making sure you're fully absorbed... and this being fed, it's worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what's in your mind. With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.” - Chuck Palahniuk

The Disputed Truth

New Pete Seeger song about BP

Pete Seeger became famous as one of Woody Guthrie's best friends, a black-listed folk singer fighting for workers' and civil rights and against war and nuclear weapons. He's spent his more recent decades as an environmentalist, devoting his energies to cleaning up the Hudson River and teaching children about music. Although he's now 91 years old and losing his voice, here's a new song from Pete Seeger about the BP oil spill. The best part about the song is that it's not negative, either - it's a very upbeat, inspirational message focused on moving forward and getting the job done.

"When drill, baby, drill / Turns to spill, baby spill / God's counting on me / God's counting on you!"

Seeger is one of my heroes, and seeing him sing with Bruce Springsteen at the 2009 inaugural concert will remain one of the highlights of my life. A big, big h/t to Andrew Revkin for this video.

Independence Day Open Thread

In spite of our historical cruelties, imperial tendencies, and wealth gap, I do believe that this is the greatest country in the history of the world. It's not because of any sort of manifest destiny, Providence, or exceptionalism. It's because natural resources and ocean borders gave us a unique history, because we are young and thus in a better position to learn from history's mistakes; and because oppressed people tend to do amazing things. It is those oppressed people we remember today, on the Fourth of July.

When King George went a bit too far, a group of impressive men rebelled with one of the greatest visions the world has ever known. "All men are created equal" may be a cliche today, but it was radical at the time. Yes, they were all men, but while the history of America may well be one of sexism and militance, it is also one of righting wrongs and of spreading freedom. We ended slavery before Britain ended its colonialism. We forgave our enemies after WWII and rebuilt Europe out of our own pockets. We elected a minority individual as President only forty years after Jim Crow, and at a time when most other places could certainly not do so. We've got a long, long way to go, but we've already come farther than any other country, and that gives me hope.

We can say anything we want in print and at public meetings, legally worship however we choose, and visit millions of acres of public land. We are the freest people on earth. Happy Fourth.

Pete Seeger's role in ending Israeli house demolitions

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Pete Seeger and Jeff Halper

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Bring 'em Home: a message from Pete Seeger to New Yorkers

Pete Seeger is helping the Working Families Party launch our "Bring Them Home" campaign.  The Working Families Party is asking voters to send a message to the politicians to start bringing our troops home now by voting on the Working Families Party ballot line this November.

Here's Pete Seeger:

Protest music has been around for thousands of years. It just leaks out every so often and helps make history.

A group of young people and not-so-young people have gotten together to sing one of my songs that I wrote around 1965 about the Vietnam War. And they've done what I did a few years ago; they're singing it about the situation in Iraq. "Bring 'em Home!"

You can watch them singing and share it with your friends right here:
http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org/brin gthemhome/

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