The Spirit of '76

Brand-new book from author interviewed on "Fresh Air"

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Sages from the Past Can Help Us Now

Below are two quotations from ancient and classical sources which describe our American scene now.  It is indeed a perilous time for democracy with enemies both foreign and domestic.  Let us hear these sages speak now....

When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity -- to join in the cry of danger to liberty -- to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion -- to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day -- It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may "ride the storm and direct the whirlwind."  
                                                                                               -- Alexander Hamilton


Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face:  should I be enquired of at all by them?

Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD;  Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet;  I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;

That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.

 Therefore saith the Lord GOD;  Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols;  and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

                                                                                           -- Ezekiel 14:1-6

Posted on this the final day of scheduled open hearings into impeachment by the House Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Courts Being Corrupted by OML

Rush Post

via People for the American Way

**BREAKING** Republicans in the Senate JUST used their rubber-stamp majority to confirm one of Trump’s worst judicial nominees yet … and just a week after "The New York Times" reported on the nominee Steven Menashi’s part in an illegal scheme with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to deny debt relief to students who were ripped off by greedy for-profit universities!

Nearly every Republican voted “yes” to confirm Menashi, a Trump White House lawyer, who was hand-selected by Trump for a lifetime seat on one of our nation’s most powerful courts – the very same federal appeals court that just issued a ruling against Trump’s efforts to hide his tax returns from prosecutors in New York.
Menashi is a radical right-wing extremist who, in his many writings, has expressed blatant hostility towards...  women, low-income families, Muslims, and immigrants. But he’s not the first unfit, unethical bigot nominated by Trump or confirmed by Mitch McConnell’s Republican majority to a lifetime seat on the federal bench. And he might not be the last.

                                                                                              -- People for the American Way

This is a reminder that OML can be impeached, but that is not all that must be done now.  I'll have more to say about this soon.  In the meantime, it is clear it is time for all hands on deck so the ship of state may be swabbed clean of filth and corruption.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Politico Suggests Not One But Several "Simple" Ways OML Could Be Removed from Office

"Politico," the popular on-line political magazine, says it has found one or more easy ways OML could be convicted and removed from office.  I posit there could be others, once all the options are investigated.   After all, few Americans -- including journalists -- understand all the Senate rules.

As a musician, one of my constant annoyances is the un-creative and ignorant attitudes the press and media take toward politics.   They are constantly looking into crystal balls, with little or no evidence to go on.  This is made obvious by their frequent use of the words "likely" and "unlikely."  This, when you come down to it, is nothing but personal speculation.  Remember, Richard Nixon was re-elected by one of the biggest margins in American history.   Only fantasists on the left were predicting anything like impeachment at that time.

I want to give this Politico article its due.  I can see other scenarios, too.  Politico actually mentions other factors, such as the retirements of several aged Republicans, and the low approval ratings of McConnell.  A scenario in which Republicans find it very difficult to vote against conviction could well develop if the Congressional hearings are clear and convincing.  Add in a serious economic down-turn, and it is not hard to see a snow-ball effect toward impeachment and conviction.

I'll stop there.   I don't want to take up the habit of crystal ball gazing, after all. 

Politico Finds an Easy Path or Two or Three to Impeachment Conviction

Monday, November 04, 2019

The Media Inch Their Way Toward "The Whole Truth"

One of the recent additions to my life is satellite television service.  For many years I simply didn't have either cable or satellite service.  Now for the last several months I have been enjoying accessing everything from baseball to politics to religion via my satellite dish.  The plethora of commercials on most channels, including news channels is astonishing, aggravating, and distracting.  This subject will be handled in a later post.

It is clear at this point that the media is slowly -- ever so slowly -- crawling toward the truth about the state of our voting in this country.  Tomorrow, elections will be held in numerous locations in the United States.  Here's hoping for a relatively trouble-free, calm, and viable election out-come.

Tonight on the Chris Hayes program election integrity was skirted around.  But at least it was present, however dimly.  It is true, as the Hayes program said, that the circumstances of the 2020 election, with the same "swing" states, are similar to those of 2016.  What is different, as was also pointed out, are the impeachment inquiry and the softening of the economy.

Still essentially unreported are the vast efforts of vote suppression and other dirty tricks being conducted by various forces allied with the Republican Party.  One of the most recent examples is highlighted at the link below.

The American media, itself a beneficiary of corporate largess through the copious quantity of those commercials and ads, still needs to report on the truth of the methods of vote suppression which have been rampant and so very hurtful in our land.   

Jim Crow Steals Election in North Carolina

Graphic courtesy Elections at Risk by Dorothy Fadiman

Monday, October 28, 2019

Noam Chomsky Offers Alternative View on U.S.-Russia Relations

From 2018 --

At the link below you will find Noam Chomsky's views on U.S.-Russian relations as the second decade of the 21st Century heads toward its close.   There is a video of an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, as well as a written transcript.  With a little time and mental focus, I believe you will see what Prof. Chomsky, esteemed former MIT instructor, is getting at.

I do remember how, over the years, the spirit of detente with Russia soured, and relations deteriorated almost to the point of the Cold War.  This process accelerated in the early part of the 21st Century. 

I regard the Trump domestic policy to be disastrous.   However, sad to say, this is nothing new in America.  And certainly, we must protect our sovereignty.

Further, as I have reported here over and over again, it was not the Russians who were responsible for the victory of OML in 2016.   That nefarious feat was accomplished by nine methods of Republican voter suppression as documented by the well-regarded journalist, Greg Palast. 

For now, the Chomsky interview will serve as well as any other for helping us re-focus on just what is at stake in international relations, errant President or no.  

Noam Chomsky on U.S.-Russian Relations 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

What the House Is Doing Apart From Impeachment: Much

It is a refreshment to see all the work the various sub-committees of Congress were doing just today alone.  While the impeachment inquiry gets the news it is heartening to see hearings on everything from cyber threats to -- well -- hearing!

Let's celebrate Congress for a change.  After so many years of inaction and acrimony, it is a thrill to see actual work being done on behalf of the people.

This is a foundation of accomplishment worth building on.

Bravo, Speaker Pelosi, and the House of Representatives!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Via Bloomberg:

Biden Braces for Rivals’ Attacks on Son at Democratic Debate 

Here we have what I most disdain about our way of electing Presidents:  the televised debates.  This was not always the case.  But in recent years these "debates" -- which have always actually been nothing but joint news conferences (albeit confrontational) -- have become seemingly an opportunity for the non-leaders (in the polls) to take shots at the leader.

There is a certain way that criticizing an opponent can be useful, even healthy.   No one should have a free pass to the Presidency.  But, if attacking a candidate's son is considered part of the back and forth, the dignity of the office itself is in danger.  Sadly, this is not a new phenomenon.  But in the era of television, the danger of histrionics is magnified, and the ill effect spread far and wide.

N.B.:  Why does CNN seem to be the exclusive debate sponsor?  And, in case you were wondering, yes, I do miss the League of Women Voters.

(In its time this was a unique and extremely important way for The League of Women Voters to contribute.  Again, I miss them very much.)

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

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