Monday, July 16, 2012

Robert Reich: The Perfect Storm and Selling of American Democracy, Photos of HAPPY BIRTHDAY WOODY - Saturday's morning session

The Selling of American Democracy: The Perfect Storm
FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2012

Who’s buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers,
and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.

And they’re doing much of it in secret.

It’s a perfect storm:

The greatest concentration of wealth in more than a century — courtesy
“trickle-down” economics, Reagan and Bush tax cuts, and the demise of
organized labor.

Combined with…

Unlimited political contributions — courtesy of Republican-appointed
Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy, in one of the
dumbest decisions in Supreme Court history, “Citizens United vs. Federal
Election Commission,” along with lower-court rulings that have expanded

Combined with…

Complete secrecy about who’s contributing how much to whom — courtesy
of a loophole in the tax laws that allows so-called non-profit “social
welfare” organizations to accept the unlimited contributions for
hard-hitting political ads.

Put them all together and our democracy is being sold down the drain.

With a more equitable and traditional distribution of wealth, far more
Americans would have a fair chance of influencing politics. As the great
jurist Louis Brandeis once said, “we can have a democracy or we can have
great wealth in the hands of a comparative few, but we cannot have

Alternatively, inequality wouldn’t be as much of a problem if we had
strict laws limiting political spending or, at the very least, disclosing
who was contributing what.

But we have an almost unprecedented concentration of wealth and unlimited
political spending and secrecy.

I’m not letting Democrats off the hook. Democratic candidates are still
too dependent on Wall Street casino moguls and real casino magnates (Steve
Wynn has been a major contributor to Harry Reid, for example). George
Soros and a few others have poured big bucks into Democratic coffers. So
have a handful of trade unions.

But make no mistake. Compared to what the GOP is doing this year,
Democrats are conducting a high-school bake sale. The mega-selling of
American democracy is a Republican invention, and Romney and the GOP are
its major beneficiaries.

And the losers aren’t just Democrats. They’re the American people.

You need to make a ruckus. Don’t fall into the seductive trap of
cynicism. That’s what the sellers of American democracy are counting on.
If you give up on our system of government, they win everything.

This coming Monday, for example, the Senate has scheduled a cloture vote
on the DISCLOSE ACT, which would at least require that outfits like the
Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s “Crossroads GPS” disclose
who’s contributing what. Contact your senators, and have your friends
and relatives in other states — especially those with Republican
senators (who have been united in their opposition to disclosure) —
contact theirs. If the DISCLOSE ACT is voted down, hold accountable those
senators (and, when and if it gets to the House, those House members) who
are selling out our democracy for the sake of their own personal
* * *


Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967)


On Saturday, less than a mile from where Woody Guthrie once lived, a crowd gathered at El Centro del Pueblo in Echo Park to celebrate what would have been the troubadour’s 100th birthday.

The day-long event featured local bluegrass, folk, blues, jazz, and hip-hop performers and was presented by the Trailer Trash Project, which operates out of a vintage trailer to bring free concerts, plays, and exhibits to neighborhoods around Los Angeles.

Guthrie’s musical legacy extends well beyond This Land Is Your Land. His more than 3,000 songs include The Ballad of Tom Joad, inspired by John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” When Steinbeck heard the song, he wrote to Guthrie, saying, “You’re a real bastard. What it took me an entire novel to do, you wrote in one song.”



Blues guitarist S.S. Jones, co-founder

of the Skid Row Musicians Network.


Guitarist, songwriter and author Darryl Holter.

Singer-songwriter, guitarist Walter Spencer


Unknown banjo player

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