Pete Seeger, Hero, Dead at 94

A true hero for social and economic justice has died.  Folk singer Pete Seeger succumbed at age 94 after a life of fighting for the people through his music.  The creator of anthems such as Turn, Turn, Turn, Where Have All the Flowers Gone and If I Had A Hammer among others performed at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in a memorable performance.  He will be sorely missed but will live on forever in his music.

A selection of his work:

From Farm Aid:

I’ll add this classic from Bob Dylan sung by Peter, Paul and Mary because I’m feeling outraged today about the lack of social and economic justice in our nation.

News & Notes May 22, 2012

Today is Harvey Milk Day.  The City of San Francisco Councilman was assassinated while serving as an openly gay man, the first such in the nation.  I’ll be at the Obama campaign office today for their celebration.

As we remember Milk I’m reminded also of an old video of two men who adopted a lion then set it free in Africa.  This tale reminds us that love and friendship are enduring:

Part 2 of Walter Brasch’s Memorial Day anti-war series is from the legendary Pete Seeger.  Harry Chapin wrote a song about him titled “Old Folkie.”

As a young man growing up n the age of Vietnam I grew up with folk songs protesting war.  Unfortunately we never learned the gruesome lessons of unnecessary wars.  Iraq and Afghanistan are only the latest incarnations of American exceptionalism when it comes to destroying and killing other peoples.  It began with the genocide of Native Americans and now is leading us into Iran.  Are we still on the Eve of Destruction?

Pete Seeger wrote “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”  Will yet another generation of young Americans be sent off to war so our defense industry can continue making gargantuan profits?

A North Carolina pastor who gained infamy this week by saying all gays should be airlifted into electrified pens where we’d be left to die had his website yanked by its host company.  Once upon a time reactionaries and bigots spoke in code so the rest of the country wouldn’t understand exactly what they meant.  They’re now unafraid to say exactly what and how they feel about women and minorities.  This is scary and very Nazi-ish.

One of the frequent claims made during the GOP debates was the desire to eliminate the Department of Energy (among others).  The DOE, among other things, runs our national laboratories where nuclear bombs were developed and cutting edge technology is done.  Places like Los Alamos National Lab and Sandia National Labs in New Mexico do much of this research.  DOE is also responsible for the safety of our nuclear arsenal.  As we evolve into this new century is paramount that we develop new sources of clean energy before we find ourselves extinct from elevated carbon dioxide levels.  Eliminating the DOE would be like putting a gun to our heads as a species and pulling the trigger.  Natural gas is not the answer as it is a carbon based fuel.  With fossil fuels getting six times more government subsidies as clean, renewable energy sources it is time we shifted our priorities.  We cannot wait for morons denying climate change to awaken and realize they can no longer breathe.  We must save them from their own stupidity much as we might hate to do it.

Joan Orie Melvin claims (as her sister did) that a political vendetta is behind her indictment.  Actually I doubt the members of the grand jury each had a personal vendetta against the Orie family.  If you read the presentment the evidence is overwhelming including extensive computer documentation.  If the Ories worried about such political persecution they were awfully stupid to openly run the Melvin Supreme Court campaign from state offices and extensive use of the court’s computer systems for their campaign files.  Anyone that stupid deserves what they get.  Of course Jane Orie is now headed to prison so a jury of her peers thought the evidence wasn’t politically motivated.  Melvin should begin shopping for jumpsuits in her best colors.

300 protesters greeted Gov. gasbag in Reading yesterday as he addressed the Berks County Chamber of Commerce.  The misinformed idiot claimed he must cut government to “grow” the economy.  First of all, one doesn’t “grow” an economy, you expand it.  Cutting government has, thus far, damaged our economy.  For every dollar spent by government there is $1.42 in ripple effect economic activity.  Therefore for every billion he cuts in education funding, for example, we lose $1.42 billion in economic activity.  Unemployed teachers don’t buy things, pay income and sales taxes, and collect unemployment and food stamps instead.  Would you rather have them educating your children so they can have a bright future or collecting?  They’re your taxes by the way.  Our Governor is an idiot.