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/

Friday, November 10, 2017

Voter Suppression Appears to Affect Results: Research

As recently as this week, pundits and columnists such as Kathleen Parker in The Washington Post continue to refer to "the people" electing Donald Trump, or words to that effect. But this simply isn't true.


Research Shows Crosscheck Program Purges Legitimate Voters

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Issues I Am Watching Now

Here are issues I am watching and researching now.  In coming days I plan to bring you news and views on these matters:


  • The beginning of a wave?  Democratic wins on November 7
  • The vast incompetence of the media regarding the general election of 2016
  • Surprising Democratic Socialist gains in the off-year elections this month
  • The tragedy of mass shootings made simpler

Please visit in coming days to see posts on these important subjects.

Your interest in this blog is, as always, greatly appreciated.


Yours,

T M P  

Republicans Enter Troubled Waters after Off-Year Elections

Late Afternoon Link --

The Republican Party finds itself in deep water after failures in New Jersey and Virginia elections yesterday.  Party operatives are said to be worried about 2018

I'll have more on this subject later. 


Republicans: Major Fail in Virginia

Friday, November 03, 2017

Mueller Alleges Manafort Link to Organized Crime

Quick Link --

Buried deep  inside the Mueller indictment of Paul Manafort is an allegation that Manafort avoided paying taxes on money that was then used to purchase expensive items such a Mercedes-Benz. 

Mueller Indictment Alleges Manafort Link to Russian Organized Crime

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Move Fast and Break Things -- New Book Purports to Reveal How to Undermine Democracy through Technology






This book by the director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California promises to show how the culture of Silicon Valley and other "Valleys" has significantly effected our democracy and even our way of life and culture.  I am just now starting to peruse this important-looking book.

A few books I am aware of have already been published on this general topic, and there are numerous magazine articles available as well.  It is long past time for a major review of the effects of new social media technologies on both the body politic, and simply the society. 


Move Fast and Break Things -- book review

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Commenting on the Mueller Indictments

There is no denying the importance of the Grand Jury indictments of former Trump campaign officials at the behest of Robert Mueller.

But whether it will be proven that Our Military Leader was himself guilty of collusion with the Russians is yet to be seen. 

In the meantime, damage continues to be done to the democracy. 

And yet progress is being made.  Let us hope that Monday's events are a harbinger of more progress ahead. 



Please check back here soon for more.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Famous Author You've Never Heard Of

Author Donald Bain, ghost writer extraordinaire, has died.   Author of the Murder She Wrote mysteries, and Margaret Truman Daniel's mysteries as well, passed away last Saturday in White Plains, New York.

I confess I never heard of Mr. Bain, either -- until today.  He was obviously an interesting and talented writer, as well as an aspiring musician ( about whose talents in that department I am totally clueless).
Angela Lansbury in Murder, She Wrote

In the interest of promoting alternative sources of information, I am linking to an article on another blog.  The blog, entitled "The Passive Voice," is itself interesting and worth a look. 

Happy reading.  


Ghost Writer Dies

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Edwin Starr Teaches Us the True Value of Most Wars

...including Viet-nam.

A special re-visit to the 1960's 





(C) All rights reserved to the artist and their production company. Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Could the Market Crash of 1987 Happen Again?


Quickly --

Thirty years ago, the stock market crashed.  People were terrified.  Could it happen again?

Today's CNBC commentators weigh in: 


1987 Market Crash: Could It Happen Again?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It Is a Deep and Important Time...

...in America now.  With all that is at stake I am forced to spend extra time researching.  While this research (and my musical life) goes on, I will continue to post here as much as possible.  At the same time, I encourage you to visit my sister blogs as you will find more detailed information in those locations.  (Please see left sidebar.)  

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Profit System is (Literally) Killing Us

The profit system is literally, if indirectly, killing us.  I think I can show that quite quickly. Today's New York Times in an editorial entitled "The Gun Carnage, as Time Goes By," describes what has gone on in the gun industry.  According to the Times, referencing a Harvard and Northeastern Universities study. says that three percent of American adults own half the nation's guns -- an astonishing 17 guns per person!  The newspaper further states that as fewer Americans have bought guns in recent years, the gun makers have marketed more and more guns to fewer individuals.

Just what is going on here?  We know more guns are being sold to fewer individuals.  Perhaps we may wishfully imagine that there is no net increase in guns.  At any rate, a huge number of guns are going into the hands of individuals. Seventeen guns per person?  And we know that being a profit-making industry, gun manufacturers have a motive for selling more guns.  Again, at best we can fantasize that through proper education and training of gun-buyers this might not be a problem.  But it is a problem.  Why?

First, there are in fact persons of evil intent loose in the land.  Second, there are more guns.  This alone is a recipe for disaster.  But the hidden contributor is an economic system which encourages such a situation.  How? -- by never calling gun manufacturers to account.  The charters for the gun-making companies go on forever, even out-lasting the lives of mortal human beings.  Thus does the corporation get the upper hand politically.

This combination of factors explains in essence what is going on.  Of course it doesn't explain the existence of evil.  That I leave for now to the philosophers and theologians.  But any society which allows such a situation to exist can hardly be called civilized.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Journalist Elucidates the Continuing State of Emergency (But probably not the one you are thinking of)

 Below is an excerpt from an interview with journalist Masha Gessen on the program Democracy Now, recently.  I find Ms. Gessen's views overall excellent, compelling.  My only disagreement is her repeated contention that the American people elected Trump.  This is fallacious, as I have repeatedly reported here for now nearly a year.  It is a critical error -- one which does not make her other arguments incorrect, but rather significantly incomplete.  

Here is the excerpt. 


Gessen:  My argument is basically that our Reichstag fire—and the Reichstag fire, as I’m sure you know, is, in 1934, the Reichstag, the parliament building in Berlin, burned, and Hitler, who had just recently been appointed chancellor, used it as a pretext for restricting political freedoms in really profound ways, in ways that—to create a state of exception, what his favorite legal theorist, Carl Schmitt, called a state of exception, which is when the sovereign claims extraordinary power.
Well, I think that that has all happened in this country, and it happened in the wake of September 11th. The state of emergency that went into effect three days after September 11th has never been lifted. It was renewed by President Obama every September for seven years of his presidency, the seven Septembers that he was president. We continue to be in the state of emergency. The War Powers Act passed with one dissenting vote three days after September 11th, continues to be in effect and has been used by President Obama and now by President Trump. And there’s also been a 16-year run of concentrating—increasing concentration of power in the executive branch—under George W. Bush, basically, in the interest of shoring up more military and surveillance power; under President Obama, for some of the same and some other reasons, having to do with a Congress that was intent on paralyzing him. But basically, I think that chain of events did a lot to create the possibility of Trump, to create the very possibility of a politician who could run for autocrat in this country and get elected.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Civil Rights Groups Sue to Stop Crosscheck Program

 via Election 101 --

Read how groups in Indiana are trying to stop vote suppression in Indiana!





https://electiontruth101.blogspot.com/


Graphic Courtesy The Black Commentator   

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Las Vegas Massacre

I, along with the whole country, am heart-broken over the mass killings in Las Vegas this past week-end.  It is long past time for an honest discussion on weapons in the hands of lone rangers.  We can and must do better.  The urgency of this matter can hardly be over-estimated.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Sunday Opinion Highlights



A couple of opinion pieces really grabbed me this past week-end.  The first is linked-to below.  Hugh Hefner was certainly no one to hold up as a paragon of virtue.  In many countries he simply wouldn't have been able to do all he did.  I support America's approach to freedom, and Mr. Hefner was certainly free to live a promiscuous life if he saw fit.  But to advance this modality in public shows not only Hefner's depravity, but that of American culture.

Just to show how complex this is, though, his publishing depicted a part of American reality.  As such, it should not have been, and, indeed, could not have been shut down.

So where does this leave us?  No one is completely evil.  Even the Devil himself was once an angel in heaven, we are told.  And even Evil Incarnated can only exist because it serves the purpose of the Divine.  Or so traditional Judeo-Christian theology tells us.

The evil in the case of Mr. Hefner was his treatment of women -- a subject which has become increasingly dear to my heart.  The objectification of women -- to dignify the matter with an elevated term -- served to demean them.  And America needed no encouragement of this kind, as a body of history is now showing.

The second matter is that of the protests of NFL players.  This is a more complicated matter than that of women's rights.  And yet, when we are talking about Civil Rights, and equality of the races, the answer should be clear -- people have the right, even the duty to protest.  Whether kneeling for the National Anthem (which was made so by Congress only in 1931), is the right way to protest can be debated.  But it is not for OML* to use the remaining prestige of his office to demean and badger the protestors.  People are free to pay to see, or not;  to watch on TV or not.  At any rate, as one writer said, when a view is held by the majority, protest is rarely needed.  We must vigorously support the right of everyone to peaceably protest.

----------

(I am looking for the article by the NFL player who wrote about the matter this past Sunday.  Eventually, I'm sure I will find it.)

Hugh Hefner Undeserving of Praise

*Our Military Leader

Friday, September 29, 2017

Retrospective: Hillary Clinton "Mirrors" Ad

Amidst all the hub-bub of last year's fall campaign, certain messages got lost, and are now almost forgotten.  Now is as good a time as any to re-visit some of the issues which the vote-winner held up as a mirror for us to see ourselves as we really are.

Let us remember women's rights and needs.  



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Stopping a Projected Computerized "Apocalypse"



Despite the, well, apocalyptic title of the article, The Atlantic magazine presents a well-written piece on the dangers of the usual way of programming computers.  The author in presenting the views of visionary thinkers, offers a way to prevent catastrophe.

Very helpful.  A must-read for anyone interested in the future.


Changing How Computers Are Coded

Friday, September 22, 2017

Breaking Today:

Sen. John McCain Signals Death Knell for Obamacare Repeal


This is good news indeed, assuming the other Senators which have expressed doubts about the Graham-Cassidy bill hold fast.

I'm not sure this will be the end of Republican efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act which has so benefited Americans.  But this latest effort is clearly in deep trouble.


Quick Link --

McCain Signals Death to Health Care Law Repeal

Featured Post

Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism