Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny. -- Daniel Webster

Monday, May 21, 2018

Americans' Income Growth Halted for Some Fifty Years: Time Magazine

Another magazine last week delved into what has gone wrong with the economy.  I am reading the fulsome article by Steven Brill in Time magazine which is replete with facts and figures showing just what has happened to the nation's economy over the last fifty years. 

I'm not sure this article shows the antecedents to the events of 1968-9.  However, there is a large history before any stagnation beginning five decades ago. 

Nevertheless, it is very worthwhile to point out that wages have essentially remained flat since at least 1973.  Thus the expectations of an entire generation for success and fulfillment through the "American way of life," has been seriously stymied.

I'll have more on this important article in an up-date soon.  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Decimation of the Government of a Republic

Rush post --

U P - D A T E

Terry Gross on the "Fresh Air" radio program today interviewed New Yorker magazine staff writer, Evan Osnos, on the attacks on government as we know it by Our Military Leader.  This was an interview of grave import.

Apparently, there is no audio of this program available on line.  When and if I find such I will let you know. 

In the meantime the Osnos magazine article can be viewed here:
New Yorker Article

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Word Gets Out

Via Patriot in Exigency --  

Today, I had the chance to show a friend the trailer for the Greg Palast movie, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy:  The Stolen Election," at her workplace.  This trailer was a revelation to her as she had not really understood what had actually happened in the fall 2016 election.

It is tragic how little-known the issue of corruption in elections really is.  People have simply assumed they would have been told if there were any major problem.  But in a system which has become corrupted -- which ours surely has -- the truth is usually the first casualty.

And yet the word gets out.  It is a horror the truth comes out in little more than dribs and drabs.  Yet, if direction is important, at least things are moving in the right direction. We need every responsible adult to help get the word out.

See: 
http://www.gregpalast.com/


Your Musical Patriot has recently had some periodic issues with illness.  There is not danger to life and limb, but the situation has somewhat slowed my out-put.  I hope to be doing better on a more consistent basis in the near future.  Thank you so much for being a reader of The Musical Patriot.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Where Have All the (Young) Fast-Food Workers Gone?

Youth workers in our economy are finding ways to spend their time, whether it be through traditional jobs, or businesses they start on their own, or through money-earning schemes on the Internet.  They are also still working in fast-food restaurants, just at a much-reduced rate.  The story hyper-linked below tells more.

I am fortunate to have some young friends who are good enough to tell me about their work.  Most stories are not cheerful, although they are striving to do their best on the job.

What does seem clear is a major shift is underway, from adolescents and young adults who "must" work in fast-food to a cadre of youthful citizens who are finding other ways to occupy their time whether it be through school, video games, music-making or any number of other ventures.  That is the story the present article doesn't tell.

I hope to have more to report on this matter at a later time.  For the present the Times article gives a good introduction to the new struggles of fast-food restaurant owners and managers.  (Can this just possibly be a good omen?)


Where Have All the (Young) Workers Gone

Later: The Stunning Labor Shortage in Fast Food

Coming soon --  

Fast food restaurants hurting for workers, New York Times reports

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Week-end Inspiration: "We Are the World." 1985

Poetry in song.   The great pop singers of the time.  

It is an honor to present this to you now.  


-- TMP



Friday, April 27, 2018

Erdogan the Magnificent

In her new book, Madeleine Albright satirizes Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, as "The Magnificent."  This is an apt send-up of Turkey's current tyrant.

I have just started the relevant chapter, but have already read much of value about Turkey after World War I.  It is an important history.  It is a story of a descent from a nascent democracy into the authoritarian-run nation of today.

We should empathize with the Turkish as they experience the loss of true democracy.  

I'll be back later with more of the story.



Friday, April 20, 2018

Award-Winning Journalist Greg Palast Teams with Kansas ACLU

Voter Suppression Tactics Targeted


I thought it was about time to check in with award-winning journalist, Greg Palast.  Palast, in case you are not aware has written for Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and other esteemed periodicals about the vote suppression efforts of Republicans all across the country.

Now comes word from Palast earlier this month that he has teamed up with the ACLU of Kansas to attack the purge lists compiled by that state's Secretary of State, Chris Kobach.  These purge lists end up targeting minorities, attempting to throw them off voting roles.

This matter is the great hidden news story of our time and needs to be widely known.  Please forward this post as widely as possible.

 


Latest News on Greg Palast
(contains tasteful and needed fund-raising appeal)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Albright's Warning -- II

Briefly --

As recent readers here know, I have been somewhat touting the new Madeleine Albright book, Fascism:  A Warning.  I am now reading about Serbia and Milosevic.  This is a tragedy on a much smaller scale than that which faced either Italy or Germany under Mussolini and Hitler.  Yet it represents a tragedy nevertheless, with its horror stories of mass murders and Serbian version of concentration camps.

Fascism, we learn, can appear most anywhere -- here, there, everywhere -- and even in us.  Let us be, then, about the business of learning as much as we can about this hideous political affliction.  

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Albright's Warning

I was very fortunate to be able to obtain a copy of Madeleine Albright's new book, Fascism: A Warning, on the day of release.  I am finishing up the first few chapters and am very impressed with the history of the early days of fascism in both Italy and Germany.  The history in Italy is especially welcome as this is less well-known.

Dear Friends, we are living in dire and bitter times.  The kind of fascism which is spreading now in the U.S. is not limited to that country.  Despots around the world have been emboldened to confront the free press and others not committed with obeisance to the dictator.

While the U. S. and Europe still remain relatively free, those of us who care about the truth and about justice for the common man and woman, have a sacred duty to respond to this crisis, to speak up and do everything sanely possible to prevent any downward spiral into the dark abyss of authoritarianism, despotism, and -- yes -- fascism. 




Thursday, April 05, 2018

Fascism: A Warning

THE BOOK

In this new book by Madeleine Albright, former U. S. Secretary of State, a serious warning about the rise of fascism sends out a light upon our troubled country and world.  The publisher's description below gives a good summary of what to expect.

While I have not read the book (the official release date is supposedly the 10th), I think this is an important work.  I have some concerns about conflating fascism with communism -- both systems which confronted Albright and her family -- still there is obviously good history here.  And let us not be afraid to call a spade a spade. 

                                                                                              -- TMP  

About the Book

A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world, written by one of America’s most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state
A Fascist, observes Madeleine Albright, “is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.” 
The twentieth century was defined by the clash between democracy and Fascism, a struggle that created uncertainty about the survival of human freedom and left millions dead. Given the horrors of that experience, one might expect the world to reject the spiritual successors to Hitler and Mussolini should they arise in our era.[*] In Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright draws on her experiences as a child in war-torn Europe and her distinguished career as a diplomat to question that assumption.
Fascism, as she shows, not only endured through the twentieth century but now presents a more virulent threat to peace and justice than at any time since the end of World War II.  The momentum toward democracy that swept the world when the Berlin Wall fell has gone into reverse.  The United States, which historically championed the free world, is led by a president who exacerbates division and heaps scorn on democratic institutions.  In many countries, economic, technological, and cultural factors are weakening the political center and empowering the extremes of right and left.  Contemporary leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are employing many of the tactics used by Fascists in the 1920s and 30s.
Fascism: A Warning is a book for our times that is relevant to all times.  Written  by someone who has not only studied history but helped to shape it, this call to arms teaches us the lessons we must understand and the questions we must answer if we are to save ourselves from repeating the tragic errors of the past.

* Most people now alive clearly have no personal memory of Hitler or Mussolini.   -- TMP  

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Madeleine Albright Warns of Signs of Fascism in America

Madaleine Albright
Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, warns in a new book of signs of creeping fascism in the U.S. and around the world.  This is, of course, a theme I have centered on here in the past.  Albright is clearly on the right track with her views.


In an interview with Terry Gross of the popular radio program Fresh Air, Albright specifically warns of the current U.S. President's tirades against the press, for example. 


The move to authoritarianism is often not overnight.  In fact, things can proceed so slowly that most people don't notice the shift.  Others who know their history, know better.  I hope you, dear reader, are in the second category. 






Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Sinclair Statement Said to Be One Step Closer to American-Style State-Run Media

 Rush Link

Sinclair Broadcasting Forced Orwellian Statement on Local Stations

At least one station opts out

Rep. Adam Schiff

Sinclair Broadcasting, a rightist media company, has tried to require local stations to broadcast a statement decrying so-called fake news, a mantra of Our Military Leader (Oval Office Occupant).  Most stations have complied, but at least one station has not.

Public figures from Dan Rather to Tom DeLay have strongly criticized Sinclair.  It is time to move away from private profit-making corporations controlling our media.  (See Robert McChesney link elsewhere on this blog page.)   


Sinclair Forced Statement on Stations

Monday, April 02, 2018

Teachers on the Move as Legislatures Dawdle

Teachers in Republican-led states are marching for better pay and funding for schools.  You can read more at the link appearing at the end of this post.

Certainly it is long past time that legislatures responsible for schools fully fund the education of our young citizens of tomorrow.  The future of the nation depends on such support.


Teachers March for Fair Pay and Better Conditions

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

News and Rumors Swirl Around White House, Capitol

In reviewing the news of the last couple of days or so, I am presented with the image of a whirling gyro in a dust storm.  There are so many stories spinning one is blinded by the grimy cloud. 

Political parties are being re-aligned before our eyes.  That is, members of parties, especially the Republican Party, are getting shaken out, as it were, by The Mueller investigation, primarily, but by other issues -- such as the boudoir controversies of Our Military Leader -- as well. 

To a performing musician such as myself, it speaks of the need for the organizing effect which good art can bring about, whether it be music, painting, dance, or sculpture.  Perhaps it is time to re-invest in the arts -- for our simple sanity, if for no other reason.  

Friday, March 23, 2018

Former White House Aide Gerson Throws Light on Putin Infatuation

Michael Gerson, who served in the George W. Bush Administration casts light on the mysterious infatuation Trump seems to have toward Vladimir Putin.  There are things to admire in any leader and I have nothing against the Russian people.  But a certain kind of fawning can be dangerous in a President.  Mr. Gerson explains at the link below.

Michael Gerson


Former White House Aide Informs and Enlightens

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kansas Vote Suppressor Kobach Flails in Court Proceedings


Kansas Secretary of State and Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Kobach is having his mettle tested in District Court over a lawsuit filed by the ACLU contesting his efforts to keep legitimate citizens from registering to vote.  The full story is told by The New York Times at the link below.

It is heartening and even thrilling to see Kobach subjected to a strong dose of reality via the legal process.  Chris Kobach is the crown prince of voter suppression efforts in the U.S.  His aggressive efforts to block legal citizens from registering to vote simply on the basis of their ethnic or national heritage is abominable.

The courts are stepping up to the plate to try to stop these new Jim Crow efforts.  Let us wish them well as they help preserve the rule of law in our beloved country.



Kansas Vote-Suppressing Official Flails in Court


Photo Courtesy ACLU.org 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Breathless

Events Reach New Climax

Our Military Leader Blindsides America Again


Even though I have written and reported on the facts of a Republican-lead theft of the Presidential election of 2016, and even though I do not yet have the staff to keep up with this President's administration -- still I wanted to express my dismay and concern about the latest astonishing firings coming from the Oval Office. 

While I cannot say I was pleased with Mr. Tillerson (see comment about a stolen election above), he did seem to be a mature adult.  At this point, almost all we can say is time will tell whether a new head at the State Department will make any kind of substantive difference.

Meanwhile, the ship of state careers and careens with a solitary and capricious captain at its helm.  Let us hope there are enough life rafts on this Titanic voyage.  

Monday, March 12, 2018

Former Rep. Scarborough Compares Trump to Mussolini


It is time to tell the media to stop treating OML* like a normal President.  First, he is the beneficiary of a stolen election (stolen not by Russians but by big-money operatives right here in the U.S.)  Second, he is unlike any President we have ever had.  No matter what one thought of his main opponent in the past race, surely OML is not the answer.  The time-honored techniques of propaganda, including the oft-repeated lie, are all too apparent.  Plus, there is the Scarborough denunciation.

It is long past time to hold the media accountable.  


Via Patriot in Exigency --  
Scarborough Compares Trump to Mussolini



*OML = Our Military Leader


Rep. Maxine Waters Says Black Women Key to Removing Trump from Office

Quick Link --  


Maxine Waters On How to Get Trump Out of Office


More on this matter later.

--  TMP    

Friday, March 09, 2018

Kansan's Voter Suppression Scheme Goes to Court

I M P O R T A N T 

via e-mail:  


Trump’s Alien Voter Claim Goes to Court
Kobach rule blocks 1 in 7 New Voters
Could decide 2018 & 2020 Races

By Greg Palast for Alternet

The mainstream media has simply missed the voting rights trial whose outcome could unleash the newest mass vote suppression weapon, the invention of Donald Trump’s chief vote suppression tactician, Kris Kobach of Kansas.



Clip from Palast's film The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

On Tuesday, the trial of the lawsuit by the League of Women Voters against Kobach, Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State, began in a Kansas City courtroom. The League has sued to block the state’s law, drafted by Kobach, requiring all new voters to show proof of citizenship.

Kobach’s law has blocked an astonishing 1 in 7 new registrants from voting in the state because they did not satisfy his citizenship paperwork requirement.

The ACLU, which represents the League of Women Voters, has sent in its top litigators, led by its voting rights director Dale Ho, because of the nationwide implications of the case. If Kobach’s law is upheld and spreads to other GOP controlled states, just over one million Americans could lose their right to vote by 2020.



Oddly, Kobach has chosen a lawyer with little courtroom knowledge—himself.

Judge Julie Robinson was not amused by what many see as a publicity stunt. Robinson, the chief justice of the federal district for Kansas, excoriated Kobach for not knowing “Evidence 101,” and curtly coached Kobach’s amateur team on the correct procedure for cross-examination.

Buffoonish antics in the courtroom drew some laughter. But the partisan result of Kobach’s law is deadly serious. According to the ACLU’s expert witness, University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, nearly half (44.6%) of the voters blocked are young, 18 to 29 years old.

It cannot be lost on Kobach, former Chairman of the Kansas GOP, that young Americans voted overwhelmingly Democratic, 55% for Clinton and only 36% for Trump in 2016.

To justify the paper proof-of-citizenship requirement, Kobach told the court the requirement has blocked 30,000 non-citizens from voting in Kansas. However, he has been unable to prove that even a single one of the 35,314 voters blocked by the law is an alien.

Kobach’s Alien Voter Hunt
Just after the 2016 election, Secretary Kobach called me to confirm he was the source of Donald Trump’s claim that a million aliens voted in the 2016 election. (Kobach also confirmed it was his idea to force Mexico to pay for Trump’s border wall.)

Noting to Kobach that he is the nation’s only Secretary of State with the power to prosecute illegal voters, I asked if he planned mass arrests of alien voters. (Kobach had claimed on Fox News, for example, that “50 Somalians are stealing my vote!”)

Kobach told me, “Just wait! Convictions are coming.”

I’ve waited. But so far, his manhunt, begun five years ago, has produced just a single conviction of a non-citizen voter out of 1.8 million Kansas registrants. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of Kansans are blocked because they cannot produce the evidence—an original birth certificate or passport or naturalization papers—his law requires.


Call From the Prison Parking Lot?
Not surprisingly, lower-income voters are less likely to hold these documents—and less likely to vote Republican. Voters earning less than $50,000 per year voted 53% to 41% against Trump.

And no, neither a driver’s license nor a Social Security card proves citizenship. The alternative, obtaining a birth certificate, can be a costly paper chase, as plaintiff Donna Bucci testified. Bucci, who gets by on the limited income she earns working in a local prison cafeteria, told the court Tuesday that she could not pay both her rent and the $50-$60 total cost to obtain her birth certificate from Maryland.

Kobach cross-examined her, hoping to get Bucci to admit to simple laziness. Kobach asked her why she didn’t call during work hours to arrange a special hearing before a state agency. Bucci replied that no cell phones are allowed inside prisons. Kobach attacked, asking why she couldn’t have run to her car during a break and phoned from the parking lot.

But even if Bucci had reached officials and obtained a hearing date, it would cost her a day of work, assuming she would be allowed the day off, to attend the hearing.

Judge Robinson will have to determine whether this bureaucratic rigmarole constitutes an unfair obstacle to voting. The National Voter Registration Act permits states to require only the “minimum amount” of information from a voter.

Up to now, “minimum” has meant checking the box on a registration form by which you swear, under penalty of imprisonment, that you are a citizen, and signing your name, to complete the registration form.

Neither Kobach nor his spokeswoman have responded to our requests for comment.

The jury-less bench trial is expected to run through Friday.
 

Danger for White House Rises

Rush Post --


“... it’s likely that a number of additional people will be going to jail and that Trump’s criminal conduct on one or more levels will be apparent."
                                                                  --  Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general. 


Last several days have seen a flurry of developments in the Mueller investigation, says The Hill: 



Waters Said to Be Rising for White House Amid Mueller Investigations

Friday, March 02, 2018

Why the Arming of Teachers Depresses Interest in Teaching as a Career

The Dean of the School of Education at American University says arming teachers will discourage college students and others from pursuing a career in education.  As an educator myself I can attest to the fact that arming teachers is no panacea for the problem of violence in schools.  And as the writer of this article makes so clear, it is no encouragement to potential teachers.


Arming Teachers A Bad Idea

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Economic "Violence" Sets the Stage for Physical Violence

New Series:  The Violent Nation


The article referenced here invites careful consideration.  I like it quite a lot.  At the same time -- as the article suggests -- there is more to the story of mass killings than social conditions.  But this article shows important ties between public policies, especially beginning in the Reagan years and rising anger in the workplace and beyond.

Recommended. 


Economic "Violence" Begets Physical Violence

Friday, February 23, 2018

Water Systems Major Part of Nation's Infrastructure

The web site ScienceDaily reported early last year that water rates in the U. S. had increased 41% just since 2010.  At this rate the percentage of households unable to afford water would triple to some 36%.   

As politicians promise action on infrastructure, it is good to look at specifics.  Most infrastructure projects in the U.S. are financed at the local and state level.  But, clearly, the federal government has a role to play.  By most estimates, the U. S. is behind in necessary repairs to water systems, I believe.  This threatens to endanger access to this essential resource.

Read more at the link here:


Water Costs Rising Quickly

Thursday, February 22, 2018

An Anti-fascist Group. In Nazi Germany

I knew Hitler had his detractors before he assumed power.  And I was aware of Dietrich Bonhoffer and the confessing church.  But college students in 1942?  That was long after the lead-up to Hitler's ascension to the Chancellorship.

Yet in 1942 a group of students in Munich began distributing white-hot pamphlets denouncing in no uncertain terms the inhumanity of the Jewish pogroms and other atrocities of the Hitler regime.  This group was called The White Rose and made themselves useful by writing such things as "Every honest German today is ashamed of his government."   And -- "Here we see the most frightful crime against human dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the whole of history.  For Jews, too, are human beings."

These quotes are from a New York Times editorial from Thursday, February 22, 2018.  Later in the article the writer claims we are far from fascism in this country.  I beg to differ, for what is the difference between targeting Jews and targeting youthful immigrants who were brought here by parents as children?

The balance of the op-ed, however, is most useful indeed. 


The Sweet Smell of the White Rose

Friday, February 16, 2018

Did Russia Determine the Outcome of Election 2016?

The indictment does not say that Russia changed the outcome of the election, a fact that Mr. Rosenstein noted repeatedly. American intelligence officials have said they have no way of calculating the effect of the Russian influence.

-- The New York Times


Nyet.  No.  Russia did not determine the outcome of the 2016 Election.  Republican operatives took care of that dastardly deed.  This according to the esteemed reporter Greg Palast as related on this blog numerous times.  Republicans used nine different methods of voter suppression including voter I.D. laws, voter caging, and various other dirty tricks.  This is all being documented on gregpalast.com  .   This news has also been shared on the blog you are now reading.  I have been proud to be one of the first and the few to report on this issue.  So -- while what Russia did was execrable, their efforts did not decide the outcome.   





Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Featured Post

Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism