Just Published

Just Published
It's even more important than you think.

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

Friday, February 09, 2018

It's Worse Than Most People Think

Rush Post --

A Kleptocrat at Work

Earlier this evening I purchased a brand-new book entitled It's Even Worse Than You Think.  Perhaps you have heard of it. The book shines a huge flood-light on the machinations of Our Military Leader (OML) now sitting in the Oval Office in Washington.  The author is long-time investigator of OML, David Cay Johnston.  Johnston teaches at Syracuse University's College of Law and has followed the  p-Resident (if that he can be called) for many years.

I have also begun reading Fire and Fury, another recent and famous book.  So far, of the two, It's Even Worse Than You Think is the more important of the two.

There will be more to say later.  




Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Rule of Law Under Serious Attack from White House

U R G E N T

 

 Quick Link --

When reason leaves, and hysteria walks in through the door:

 

Rule of Law Under Attack at White House 

Dear Wealthy American:

I Don't Care


Dear Super-wealthy American:


I don't care.  Of course, I care about you as a person.  But about your wealth, I don't give a rip.  A million is fine.   Maybe two million.  Heck, even five million may be okay.  But, tens of billions of dollars?  Not a chance!

As one friend said, America is about coming from one challenging situation into another challenging situation, but one with a real chance of success through honest work.  And in your case, you have received many, many billions of dollars because of a corrupt and evil system -- one which takes from the many to give to the few.

This is a system which is unsustainable, for history shows that a top-heavy economy cannot forever be supported.  Sooner or later it crashes of its own weight and hubris.

But back to the subject of caring, or the lack thereof.  Some of your friends have expressed a healthy (almost) regret at having "made" so much money.  Perhaps you have felt this, too.  Indeed there is an underlying unease which one can come to by possessing ill-gotten gain.

So it is good to say that I don't care.   I don't care how many billions in wealth you and your cohorts have lost over the last week.  The sooner the world is rid of the evil system which brought you ever so much extra money, the better off we will all be -- including yourself.

May you live a long and happy life -- with much less money.


Sincerely,

The Musical Patriot 





Monday, February 05, 2018

Dow Jones Plunge


The world today is concerned about the steep decline in stock prices.  I am monitoring the situation and plan to have more to say in the near future.  

For now -- this stock market plunge may be a sign the profit system has become unsupportable.  Only time will tell for sure.  

Please return here soon for more.


Photo courtesy Socialist Worker (.org)   

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Experienced Financial Analyst Warns of Huge Collapse

Well-known financial analyst Jim Rogers is expecting the biggest financial collapse of his life-time in the next few years according to the web site linked to below.  This startling prediction is contained in an interview he gave to Business Insider.

Other experts have been giving similar warnings over the last several years.  The main problem is the increasing appearance of economic "bubbles" which are cropping up again, according to Rogers.

His interview here is filled with historic facts providing context -- and a most urgent warning.  





Experienced Financial Analyst Warns of Impending Economic Collapse

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Useful Corporation Watchdog

The link below takes you to a web site which usefully monitors corporations and their misuse of power.  Though British-based, the web site has much useful information and many resources to help the citizen monitor global corporations.

We live in a time of unprecedented corporate power, with often dire consequences for the earth's people.  If information is power, this web site can help reverse the current flow of power.   

http://www.corporatewatch.org

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Staying Abreast

Today I will be up-dating my knowledge of current events.  I will have more to say later.

In the meantime, I am almost finished with Move Fast and Break Things, a path-breaking work by Jonathan Taplin.  This is a book which is difficult to over-praise, what with its ample research and breadth of understanding regarding the underminers of democracy.  About this, too, I will have more to say soon.

Move fast and reconstruct things? 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Have Transgender Advocates Gone Too Far?

 This subject is not one I would have been likely to deal with in the past.  However, as transgender advocates have moved into the public schools to lecture to students reportedly as young as elementary age, it is appropriate to begin to examine this issue more closely.

Personally, I am for the maximum freedom for most people, excluding the harming of others or oneself.  In this particular rather narrow case it appears harm has been done.  You are invited to see for yourself in the following brief example.




Monday, January 15, 2018

Greek Church Condemns Racism; Joins Conference

Photo of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King at link below

The Greek Orthodox Church in America has joined with other Christians in condemning racism in America and around the world.  They have  joined with numerous other Christian churches in a new effort to oppose racism.   There is more information at the link below.

On this national holiday honoring Rev. King, his message is more pertinent -- and urgent --than ever.   


Greek Church Condemns Racism

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday Poetry

SONG OF MYSELF

by 

Walt Whitman

                    1

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you,
I loaf and invite my soul,
I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back awhile sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy. 


excerpt from "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)


Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Progress for Workers

Quick Link --

New York City has come up with an innovative way to support workers' right to organize -- by making it easier to join non-union organizations which advocate for higher wages and benefits.  This appears to be a major advance for workers.   
 

The New York Times article:
Progress for Workers

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Is There an Intelligent Choice on Marijuana Policy?

As the federal Department of Justice announces U. S. attorneys will no longer look the other way in states which have legalized recreational marijuana use, the rational individual looks for a smart alternative.  Is there an approach other than legalization on the one hand, and going after individual users on the other?

The people at an organization called Smart Approaches to Marijuana say yes.  You can read more about there mission at the link below.

Surely, we do not need another "Big Tobacco" in this country.  And recreational marijuana use does, afterall, involve smoking -- an activity which is not healthy no matter what you put in the pipe.  


A Smarter Choice on Marijuana?

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Importance of Study

 
As one might guess, study and scholarship were a strong suit of mine in school.  I actually enjoyed learning facts.   My favorite subjects other than music were English and History.  I also managed to get enjoyment out of chemistry and math. 

In recent years, interest in facts has not been particularly popular in many circles.  This is changing.  We are finding out that a disdain for facts can lead to trouble, no matter how much bravado one enters into the habit of truth-denying.  It is, after all, easier to deny truth than to have to think about the facts.  And especially if the facts are inconvenient, it is ever so easy to simply change them in one's mind.

But Truth or whatever we might call it, does object.  And inasmuch as truth is an inherent part of the world, people of the world will notice, later if not sooner. 

The difficulties of the current Administration in Washington points this up.  So it can be predicted credibly that Truth will once again come to be valued.  We can only hope this change will come about with as little pain as possible.  


-- TMP  


Photo: Public Domain Pictures

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday Inspiration

In the Bleak Midwinter

by
Christina Rosetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
   earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
   snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
   in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
   heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign:
   in the bleak midwinter a stable-place sufficed
   the Lord God incarnate, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
   cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
   but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
   worshiped the beloved with a kiss. 

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
   if I were a wise man, I would do my part;
   yet what I can I give him, give my heart.

 
  

 

Monday, December 18, 2017

How Internet Companies are Ruining Our Democracy

I think people should carefully re-read the first part of the Declaration of Independence.  Because I think sometimes we as a society start to get confused and think that we have a right to happiness.  But if you read the Declaration of Independence, it talks about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."   Nobody has a right to happiness.   You should have a right to pursue it, and I think the core of that is liberty.   
                  
                                                     -- Jeff Bezos


 This is, in a word, ignorant.   A more complete excerpt, including the complete sentence which contains the phrase quoted above is the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

It is clear from this fuller excerpt that the Declaration of Indepence does assert through implication that citizens have a right to happiness.   If there is no such thing as happiness, why guarantee a right to pursue it?  Thus Bezos' claim is illogical, a non sequitur.  This is easy to see from a careful reading.  More important, can anyone claim that people are happy with the system they now have?   

Jonathan Taplin's 2017 book Move Fast and Break Things. How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy, gives a certain history which I have read nowhere else.  It is an important history, a history which is critical to the understanding of why we are where we are now.  

Although clearly there are antecedents to the ascendant dominance of the Internet over culture and its concomittant victory over democracy, Taplin's book usefully describes how the way the Internet has developed has indeed helped to undermine our democracy.   The book is highly recommended for its readability and credibility.

 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How to Thwart Authoritarianism

At this time of electoral victories for Democrats it is wise to remember who  -- and what kind of President -- sits in the Oval Office.  The article shown below was written by a Pole who has faced an increasingly authoritarian regime in his country.  His warnings are most apropos.

Another writer has said it is shocking that only six Democrats have called for the resignation of Trump.  Who knows?  -- perhaps they are thinking of the theocrat Pence ascending to the Presidency and want to prevent that.

But while OML is still in the White House, the American democracy remains under duress.  While I believe the democracy is going to survive, it is going to take work to bring down the plutocrats.   A good question to ask is:  How did such a sycophantic neophyte ever get himself declared "President" in the first place? 


Guide to Thwarting an Authoritarian Regime


N.B.   "OML" stands for Our Military Leader.  This reminds us that a dangerous incompetent still has putative authority over the USA's massively powerful war-making machinery.  

Monday, December 11, 2017

American Pai?

What should we expect from the illicit current administration but a stealth job from its FCC chairman against net neutrality?  The article referenced below helps show why the illegitimate FCC is poised to destroy net neutrality. 

This is un-American.  This is ugly.  This is -- as I say -- illegitimate. 



Far From Humble Pai

Election Hijinx A-Brewin' in Alabama

This is not just conjectural.  Following the link below will take you to a Greg Palast investigative report on nine methods of vote suppression being used by Republicans in Alabama.  And, yes, this the new Republican party of accused -- well -- you know what.  


Is the Fix In -- In Alabama?

Friday, December 08, 2017

Hundreds Support Net Neutrality in New York

Protest in New York

Other locations also see protests


Hundreds of peaceful protestors gathered at a VER-uh-zon* store in New York City to decry plans to end the Internet super highway as we know it.  The article below is from Huffington Post** and informs us that the new head of the FCC is a former counsel for the telecommunications giant.




Protestors Meet Verizon Customers



* this is my preferred pronunciation for Verizon.   Not having television, I never did see the introductory campaign for the latest name of the former New York Bell Telephone.  Looking at this weird word I decided that if it were spelled with two "o's" it would rhyme with the word "horizon."   therefore I decided it must be VER-ih-zon.   The pronunciation stuck.


** The article also admits that VER-uh-zon owns the parent company of Huffington Post.  I did not know that. 


Photo courtesy Huffington Post

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Senator Franken Announces Coming Resignation

Sen. Al Franken has announced that in coming weeks he will resign from the U. S. Senate.  This is tragic news for America.  Whatever the circumstances (and there has not been any trial), this is a tremendous loss for the country.   Sen. Franken was a tireless advocate for the average citizen and the underprivileged.  He will be missed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Music and the Internet: A Challenging Combination

Quick Link --


The book referenced here is largely about the Internet as we know it and its effect on everyday life.  It also reviews the relationship of the World Wide Web to music and other creative human pursuits.

A very taking perspective. 

See more here:
Music and the Internet 
Reference to Amazon.com

Friday, December 01, 2017

Staying Afloat

I continue to stay abreast of the news at a pace which I believe will help me retain my sanity and still keep me informed adequately as a citizen of this great country.  For those reading from abroad I can assure you we in the United Stares are overwhelmingly the same friendly and open people you have always known.  We are not publicly, or even privately, purposely insulting people of other races and religions.

Of course, there is always a minority who have opposite intentions.  And with Our Military Leader (OML) encouraging them sometimes their actions have become emboldened.  This is very concerning and regrettable.

Having said this, news stories relating to OML's administration continue to come fast and furious.  For me, the problem has to do mostly with the lying which has come out of this White House, and -- saliently -- the Oval Office.  The total rush of events, however, does cause one to lose one's balance, if not indeed, one's stomach.  This, it seems to me, is part of the plan.  Such a method has been described by Naomi Klein for one. 

So -- I will endeavor to keep up with things.  Not everything deserves comment.  And some things require so much research the day is over before I can even begin.  For the immediate future I plan to continue writing about what I regard as the most important and/or interesting matters -- things which surprise and delight, as well as things which are critically important.  Under the current trying circumstances it can be difficult to parse the news and write in a way which is complete yet at the same time fits the timely nature of a web log. 

Still I shall do my best, even if quantity suffers.  If it comes to it, better to have quantity suffer, and quality remain high.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Some Cities Offer More than Tax Abatements to Corporations...

Some seem to be practically giving away the keys to the city itself.


The Seattle Times reports that plans for Amazon's second headquarters is being treated as an opportunity to bargain away democracy itself -- at least to a dangerous extent.  With a company already having done such great damage to brick-and-mortar retailers (such as J. C. Penney), this is not the right way for cities to go.  Read more here:

This City Hall Brought to You by -- Amazon!


Coming Soon:  At least one city is taking an entirely different tack.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Why Vaccines Are So Important

Answer in three words:  to relieve suffering

 
There are legitimate concerns about vaccines.   However, a resulting autism is not one of them, according to scientists.  And even though many illnesses are treatable with today's medicines, once contracted, certain diseases can cause great suffering and even death.  This is particularly true in parts of the world where access to medical care is distant or expensive.  Vaccines, which can be made available at low cost, can prevent the appearance of dread diseases such as pneumonia before they are ever contracted. 

Yet, the main program supporting low-cost vaccines in these "Third World" countries is considered temporary until such time as a country raises its living standard enough to be able to afford a higher cost.  Yet this cost, lower than that paid in First World countries, can still be prohibitively expensive to an emerging nation.  

As I said last night, much more needs to be done in this area to make needed vaccines available to children around the world. 


Why Vaccines Are Important


Photo courtesy WHO

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Update: Vaccines

from Friday --

 Clarification:

What I wrote Friday about vaccine manufacturers was in fact true -- but in the past.  I am still researching this matter.   But in the same issue of National Geographic (November 2017), a public-private partnership has been able to make available to countries such as Bangladesh vaccines for pneumococcal virus at a much-reduced cost.  Thus while the history of the high cost of this particular vaccine remains, currently there has been significant improvement.  I regret any impression left about current conditions.

Of course there continue to be many problems related to the profit motive in medicine, including needless deaths.  We remain in a national and international emergency with ever so much work left to be done. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Horror of Our Time; The Regret of the Future

The current issue of The National Geographic magazine is notable for its numerous interesting and useful stories.  Tonight I have been reading about vaccines -- their usefulness and necessity.  So much good has come from vaccines, simply in terms of alleviating suffering. 

Yet, in recent years countries (such as Bangladesh) desperately needing the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (for juvenile pneumococcal virus infections), were unable to afford the price the manufacturers had decided to charge.  That pharmaceutical companies could demand high prices for something which could mean life or death to children is simply a horror.  It will be the great regret of the future.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy

Here is the link to an important website devoted to understanding the legal status of corporations in America, especially as they affect democracy.  I have been aware of the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy (POCLAD), for over twenty years and have found the group to be very useful in understanding the history of corporations and how they came to have so much power in America.

Most every great nation in history has struggled in some fashion with the powers of accumulated wealth.  America is no different.   POCLAD helps understand the "how."  What America needs most is to understand is the "why."  I have found it is possible to develop a beginning understanding of why corporations have had so much power accrue to them.  While it is difficult to deal in-depth with this here, I am happy to share what I know on an individual basis.  I may be reached through the commenting function below each post. 


http://www.poclad.org/

Featured Post

Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism