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 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


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.


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  .   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



 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.


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.

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



Walt Whitman


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

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.


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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism