Webster Quote

Webster Quote

Monday, December 25, 2006

All on a Christmas Morning

The title is, of course, from a Christmas carol. I cannot promise news of everything happening on a Christmas morning, esepcially as it is quiet here.

Services at church last evening went quite splendidly. (See below for the complete list of musical selections.) There was a festive air about and an atmosphere of love and joy. I am proud to have added to the scene (for I am the Director of Music).

It occurs to me how starkly such an event contrasts with the goings-on in most of political Washington and other places in the world. Such sentiments are often seen as impossible goals, "soft", even crazy. Yet such is the true meaning of the Christ Child, who did quite upset the reigning purveyors of cynicism of his day, the Herods and the Pharisees. Today, the sneering cynics are represented by the Cheneys, the Kissingers, men who believe God did not create a good world, but rather a bad world. They are like Scrooge, who says in Dickens "A Christmas Carol" words to the effect that one must steel oneself against a world which was becoming increasingly cold and uncaring. The battle of coming days will be deciding which vision of the world is correct.



Hymns and Carols

O -- O Come, All Ye Faithful ADESTE FIDELIS

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing MENDELSSOHN

Angels We Have Heard on High GLORIA

Away in a Manger CRADLE SONG

O Little Town of Bethlehem ST. LOUIS

P -- Silent Night! Holy Night! STILLE NACHT



Prel. Noel on the Flutes -- Louis Claude D'Aquin

Anthem. La Jornada -- Venezuelan Carol, Arr. Bruce Trinkley
Chancel Choir

Handbell Carol. Mary Had a Baby -- African-American Spiritual, Arr. Anna Laura Page
Handbell Choir

Handbell Carol. Watchman, Tell Us of the Night -- Arr. S. Ullom-Berns after a tune of Joseph Parry

Offer. Carols Around -- Carl Nygard
Chancel Choir

Postl. In Dulci Jubilo (In Sweet Joy) -- Johann Sebastian Bach

Sunday, December 24, 2006

In the Bleak Midwinter

It is now after ten o'clock and the evening wastes away, quickly turning to long night. All seems still. The birds have quitted their chirping. The leaves have stopped dancing in the dull winter sunlight and people have retired to the warmth of their homes, awaiting the dawn of Christmas Day. (And let me mention swiftly the poor who have no place to call home, yet, too, are part of God's great earth.)

I am always touched by the Christina Rosetti poem, "In the Bleak Midwinter." I quote two verses here for they are lovely in their simplicity, picturesque and deep.
The peom has been memorably set to music by Gustav Holst and Harold Darke.




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

...

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.

-- Christina Rosetti, 1872 (Luke 2:8-14)

Peace, Prince of

In a book index we might find an entry entitle "Peace, Prince of". Certainly peace is that much-sought-after commodity, eagerly desired yet elusive. We hear every year at this time tales of a bringer of peace, of a One who came into the world to stop wars and madness.

We hear this and yet we do not believe -- or if we do believe, it is accompanied by a sad, sinking feeling that we might articulate as something like, "It was a nice concept but the execution was a little lacking."

Around the world many are working for peace. In our country there is an organized and growing anti-war movement. These people hope and pray, that in our time, peace may yet come, that the promise of long ago will yet be fulfilled.

And who is to say they are wrong? Who will stand up and declare these ordinary-extraordinary people misguided, soft-headed, deluded?

The heavenly angels, so says Luke, praised God and sang: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favour." (Luke 2: 14). Does this then mean that if we are not at peace we do not enjoy God's favor? So would seem to be the case.

There are many aspects to the matter of peace and, this not being a sermon, I must resist the temptation to pursue the topic, especially since my knowledge in this area is somewhat limited.

For now, I hold up this question: If the leaders of the world have not yet found peace what are we to surmise about their relationship with the Supreme Being or with Reality? In spite of grandiose claims to the contrary what can we say about our leader who so righteously claims divine guidance?

I will be back with more later.


Lord, give us faith and strength the road to build,
To see the promise of the day fulfilled,
When war shall be no more and strife shall cease
Upon the highway of the Prince of Peace.


-- Laura S. Copenhaver

"Blogging" Christmas

It is my honor to log a few thoughts, impressions, and events this blessed holiday. So far, this web log has been essentially secular. Since I am a Christian inquirer, however, I feel it appropriate and necessary to attempt to be fair to the meaning of this day.

Today is the fourth Sunday of advent. Lest we forget that we are still in a season of preparation, I offer the following from the book of Isaiah in the Holy Bible. Let us see whether this is true of us:

The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.
You have made their gladness greater,
you have made their joy increase;
they rejoice in your presence
as men rejoice at harvest time,
as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

(Isaiah 9:1-2)

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Soul

These weeks are busy ones as I prepare for Christmas, both at home and at church.

While substituting in a public school this week, I taught a lesson on December holidays to a music class. I found a beautiful German medieval song in my collection and shared it with the classes. In the song there is a reference to the soul. As this is not a usual concept for elementary children, I asked if anyone could tell me what the soul is. One first grade girl, quite precocious, gave an answer adults would not and could not give. "The soul," she explained, "is the place in your body where you put the good thoughts." I doubt a theologian could do much better. Certainly in terms of simplicity and brevity I don't think this child's definition can be topped. It puts together body and spirit and also good will. That surely is the purpose of this time of year.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Honorable Cynthia McKinney, Patriot

Occasionally in American history a Patriot steps forward to tell the truth no matter what the cost. Such a Patriot is the Honorable Cynthia McKinney, Unites States Representative from Georgia. Her case for the impeachment of George W. Bush deserves to be heard.

As I have written here before, an impeachment begins with an inquiry. Surely, America can do no less than conduct an inquiry into whether an impeachment should be passed on to the Senate. (And we may note here that an impeachment is rather similar to an indictment in a court of law, although not with the same rules of evidence. Thus, it is only a bill of charges, which the Senate must then act upon.) With the matter of the impeachment of President William Clinton as precedent, it seems inconsistent not to at least begin an impeachment inquiry of
G. W. Bush. If evidence of impeachable acts falls short, so be it. But if evidence indicates "high crimes and misdemeanors", then let the case proceed.

Is this not what our Constitution calls for? And if we should choose not to support this Constitution, which one shall we support?







http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/120906A.shtml

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bush v. Gore, the Sixth Anniversary

Today marks six years since a fascist-dominated U.S. Supreme Court effectively stopped a vote re-count in Florida following the disputed 2000 voting in Florida. This egregious decision, derided and heavily criticized at the time by law professors across the country, installed George Walker Bush as President even though he lost the popular vote by over a half million votes. And it installed him without legitimacy in the Electoral College as later investigations by the well-known author and journalist, Greg Palast, showed. It also installed him with an outrageous decision claiming equal protection guarantees under the Constitution had been violated, then proclaimed that this reasoning was never to be used again in just this way -- only this once. Such a decision would have been considered laughable by legal experts except for the fact of its serious consequences.

Then came the perfidy of more vote fraud in 2004, as Republican operatives initiated program after program to tamp down the Democratic vote, with disastrous results in Ohio and elsewhere.

Thus, in a real sense, the last six years have been an exercise in illegitimacy. All the pandering of Bush by the media, all the frothy support by Republican zealots, all the sickening deference paid by Democrats -- all this has been ever so unnecessary and erroneous. For no President can hope to govern effectively without the support of the American people. We now know this as the Iraq War effort comes apart at the seams, and as a long-suffering populace is weighed down by ever-increasing personal debt and made half-mad with job insecurity.

I have not forgotten the evil which was perpetrated on the night of December 12, 2000, by five alleged jurists of the Supreme Court. So many people both here and abroad have suffered mightily. It is time to bring the suffering to an end. May this be in a near time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A New Foment

A review of impeachment discussions on line today reveals a divergence of opinion about just what to do. Many on the political left in the United States are advocating impeachment of G. W. Bush. However, some, such as David Corn of The Nation have written persuasive pieces against such an effort. There are arguments on both sides and the matter deserves careful thought.

Under Congressional rules any effort to impeach a President or other federal official requires an impeachment inquiry. Before any impeachment resolution can be voted on, then, the matter must be thoroughly investigated then voted out of the Justice Committee. (The new chairman, John Conyers, has shown a certain qualified friendliness to the possibility of impeachment.) Only then does the full House of Representatives vote. If the full House votes to impeach the matter is sent to the Senate for trial.

I believe that events will take their course, as they did with Nixon. The difficulty now is a supine media, one under corporate domination, and lacking the will to aggressively question the Bush administration, although this has been changing somewhat of late. In this kind of environment it is up to we, the people, to drive the process, if we so desire.

We should let the various investigations begin next year. Most importantly, there must be action to rein in corporate power, including media power. The Newspaper Protection Act of 1969 must be repealed or substantially altered. Then, actions must be taken to re-finance the national debt and shore up a tottering world financial system.

It is hard to see how all this will happen with someone like G. W. Bush in office, unless, as is now happening, certain persons associated with the elder Bush are brought in to restore common sense within the White House. Although not a guaranteed fix, such new, old blood could help put the country back on a track toward thoughtful diplomacy if nothing else.

Thus, the utter importance of the investigative, oversight function of Congress. If the truth about the Bush administration can be brought to light, the people will begin to feel better. A populace which has trust in its government is infinitely more likely to be a productive populace. Let us support the brave men and women in the new Congress who will wield the power of oversight.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A World Financial Collapse?

Information is reaching me that the world financial system is essentially in tatters. The fact that you may not be aware of this is testament to a corrupt media, one tied to corporate interests.

The main culprit in terms of the financial system are what are known as derivatives and hedge funds. These financial mechanisms are little more than casinos, offering users a fancy method of wagering on the future value of commodities. To say that these financial instruments do not represent real money seems obvious and yet this fact has escaped the attention of many.

There is much more to be said about this subject and I certainly do not claim to be an expert. However, those who do have a strong background in finance are warning of a collapse. Even Robert Rubin has spoken recently of a serious weakness in the world economy.

The solution seems to be a prohibition of such dangerous forms of wagering and of placing the banking system into foreclosure. This does not mean a permanent closing of the banks, but rather, as under Franklin Roosevelt, a planned bank holiday allowing for the reining in of a run-away speculative market. (And let us remember that banks are now permitted to offer various kinds of stock and other monetary instruments.)

Such a program should also go along with a revitalization of the Civilian Conservation Corps (legislation for which is still on the books). Our people need good-paying, steady jobs -- jobs with real meaning and pay, not hamburger-flipping jobs.

Some will say this will cost too much money. I say we cannot afford not to take this kind of action. Please contact your legislator and request his or her support for such actions, now so urgently needed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Early Study of the 2006 Vote

Early reports of machine error and other kinds of voting fraud are leading to a serious analysis of the mid-term elections of 2006 in the United States.

At the link below is one such study. I believe you will find it well-researched, although early, and quite thought-provoking.

It is already clear significant problems remain with the voting system in the United States. Groups such as the Election Defense Alliance are to be applauded for their work.


http://electiondefensealliance.org/landslide_denied_exit_polls_vs_vote_count_2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

"Bobby"

On this the day after the forty-third anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I am glad to commend to you the new film "Bobby". Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, the film is a fictionalized account of the lives of several persons who were at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night of the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy.

Although the lateness of the hour precludes a decent review of the film here, I can attest to the film's quality, and its humaneness. The showing of the film at my local "civilized" theatre was enough to bring tears to the eyes of several.

If time permits I will write more about this rather important film. In the meantime, see the film if you can. It will do you good.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Election Fall-out

There has been much written in these last two weeks following the mid-term elections of 2006. In addition to being very busy with my employment, I have wanted to take a certain amount of time to read and try to digest some of what has been written.

The results are to be seen as significant. The pundits are right in saying the voters repudiated the Bush administration in every major area -- on the economy, on the Iraq War, even on North Korea. If anything the ire of the voters was muted -- by continued voter suppression efforts and by a media and Washington establishment which touted conciliation as a supposed expressed desire of the electorate.

Numerous Washington Democrats rushed to the microphones to state their readiness to work cordially with G. W. Bush, who almost immediately began plans to push for a radical agenda in the lame-duck Congress, including a renewed push to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

As readers of this web log know, Bush No. 43, as he is now known, represents the fascist forces in the world, the same forces which drove the economics of the British Empire and never accepted the establishing of the United States. Thus, any accomodation of Bush is akin to the appeasement Neville Chamberlain once offered to the Nazi, Adolf Hitler.

Let us not be deluded into thinking the desire for world domination by the corporate interests who stand behind Bush is over. I support the efforts of persons who are working to have an impeachment simultaneously or nearly so, of Cheney and Bush. We can be humane in our treatment of them. But an effort to drive them from office is tantamount at this point to a repudiation of the corporate globalization agenda. So, the necessity of the legal removal from office of these terror twins is clear. May this happen in a near time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Reader Responds

On the morning after the Election of 2006 I am glad to share with you this response to my posts of last evening from a reader in Brazil.


I agree with you. I hope Democrats come back to Congress in majority. Bush external politic is shaming US people from the rest of the world.

Stay alert and use the internet to protest.


(Slightly edited by TMP)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

National Public Radio Projects Democratic Control of New Congress

The headline above tells the news. I believe this means not so much a victory for Democrats as a repudiation of President George W. Bush and the Republicans.

It is not too early to begin working anew for the impeachment or resignation of G. W. Bush, surely the most fascist President in American history.

More Results in Election 2006

There have been more results announced by CBS News. In the U.S. House, the Democrats have won some 159 seats so far compared with the Republicans who have won 149.

At this point the Democratic trend is continuing. Katie Couric has claimed the Democrats who are winning against the Republicans are conservative, anti-abortion candidates. On balance that may or may not be the case. If true, it does not change the fact that the far-right Republican agenda appears to be waning. That fact alone, is worth celebrating.

Election 2006 -- computer glitches

There are some early reports of computer problems in Election 2006. The web page whose URL appears below has some good information about computer glitches on Tuesday, November 7.


http://news.com.com/A+sampling+of+e-voting+glitches+on+election+day+2006/2100-1028_3-6133440.html

More of Election 2006

More results and projections are coming in. There are some disappointments for Democrats but few if any announcements are true surprises.

Deval Patrick, an African-American, has won the governorship of Massachusetts for the Democrats. Robert Menendez has retained his Senate seat in the New Jersey race against Republican Kean in a hard-fought battle. Since Menendez was considered the most vulnerable Democratic Senator, this is another sign of a Democratic trend this evening. Democratic Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been declared the winner by the Associated Press although Governor Blagojevich himself has not claimed victory.

Certainly, it is too early to make broad predictions about this election. At this point, however, Democrats appear to be doing well.

Election 2006

Tonight I have the pleasure of writing about Election 2006. If things go well in my schedule I plan to post several posts as the evening continues.

This morning I voted in my precinct with no obvious problems. The turn-out was light. There was no difficulty with the optical scan ballot which I actually found more "voter-friendly" than the old punch card ballot. My good feeling was spoiled only by the electronic "ballot box" which had the name Diebold prominently displayed. However, according to my research the optical ballot is relatively more secure than the touch screen computers.

At this point, Blackwell has been defeated in the Ohio governor's race, Rick Santorum has gone down to defeat, and Katherine Harris will not advance to the Senate. In very early returns, Democrat Claire McCaskill is leading Republican James Talent.

A few so-called bell-weather U.S. House seats have gone to the Democratic candidate.

Perhaps we have seen the high-water mark of the far-right political wave in American politics. Only time will tell. I will be staying tuned.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thomas Jefferson's Notes on Customs and Manners

This post consists almost entirely of an excerpt from Thomas Jefferson's Notes on Virginia. I am quoting this today because of the eloquence of the writing, the obvious intelligence of this early President and because I believe the import of its message has a bearing on the U.S. of now. Although the excerpt deals with the bad effects of slavery, there is a resonance with now. For indeed, do we not now have a kind of economic slavery in which people must work in order to obtain health care? Is it not a kind of slavery to be only one paycheck away from starvation? Here, then, is the excerpt:

From Thomas Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, the section entitled The Particular Customs and Manners That May Happen to Be Received in That State

It is difficult to determine on the standard by which the manners of a nation may be tried, whether catholic or particular. It is more difficult for a native to bring to that standard the manners of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit. There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotisms on the one part and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him....if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another; in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Rush of Events

The past week has been a busy one for your web log host.

As we begin a new week, a week leading to the final days of Campaign '06, I wanted to deal with a couple of matters.

First, after considerable thought, I am coming to the conclusion that due to circumstances essentially beyond our control, progressives and lovers of liberty and justice are given no alternative but to work and vote for Democrats in the election next week. Such voting, however, must be accompanied by renewed activism at the local level to ensure both the abolition of insecure computerized voting, and the appearance of new progressive candidates on the ballot in the future.

Second, for those of you in the U.S. and beyond you may be interested in a new progressive talk radio network. Here is the link to its web site. http://www.novamradio.com/

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Constitution Is the Supreme Law of the Land

Lest it be forgotten, the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. No Congress nor any President can trump the language of the Constitution.

The Miliary Commissions Act of 2006 attempts to subvert the Constitution of the United States by removing long-standing legal protections, protections which make the U.S. a civilized nation. Remembering that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, anyone who attempts to subvert the constitution is not only a criminal but a traitor as well. These are in no way meant to be inflammatory words. This is the simple truth of the matter. I mean this quite literally.

While the matter of so-called "enemy combatants" has its own history, we must remember that the "War on Terrorism" is as much a marketing term as anything else, regardless of the actual existence of terrorists. That is, this is no war, but a campaign replete with its propaganda arm as well as military and psychological components. Much more can be said.

By way of reminder I quote now the sixth ammendment to the U.S. Constitution, an ammendment still widely admired around the world:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Highwater Mark?

The Native Americans living on the coasts of these shores were assiduous watchers of the tides. From the tides they could tell the time of day, and even the seasons of the year, as I understand it. High tide to us today can mean plenty. It can also mean inundation.

In any event, high tide is always followed by a gracious retreat and then low tide. And so it is in American politics under the "two-party" system. We seem to have passed high tide with the current Republican-led federal government.

Over the past several years, and before the starting of this "blog", I had the opportunity to do a certain amount of historical research. This is not the time to get into that, but I can say perhaps some things now.

Indeed we have had the high tide of profit economics recently. At least we have had the high tide of trying to maintain the profit system. By around 1980-90 or so, we had come to the point in history where, in order for the profit system to survive, drastic measures were going to have to be taken. We then had "The Battle for Seattle" and other huge protests against the world financial system. (This is the true meaning of the protests against the G-8 meetings and other similar meetings.) The oligarchs of the world knew this level of protest could not continue at the same time as their profit flow.

These oligarchs are the same financial interests who, for example, led the British Empire by the nose in conquest after conquest all over the world, including in North America. In the case of Britain, these were the same interests who supported the Confederacy over the Union in the American Civil War. It is no accident that the Southern viewpoint has become dominant in the Federal government of now.

In order to stem the tide of protest, a certain type of "Reichstag fire event" was needed. It is my belief and that of increasing numbers of people that the events of September 11 served that purpose.

The supporting evidence for these statements must await another time, and perhaps a book. But for now, it is helpful to know something of the cause of the fascist tilt in America now. It comes from evil -- the desire to dominate, control, and own others. It is a force at least as old as society itself. The question for us, then, is to decide which side we are on. Do you know the old labor song "Which Side Are You On?" It is a great song, and one with a current meaning.

Choosing a side also means choosing certain actions. It has been one of the purposes of this web log to encourage clear, informed thinking, followed by right actions. As the days go by I hope to demonstrate this purpose itself more clearly. In the meantime, dear reader, I will ask you: "Which side are you on?"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Valuable Voters Resource

Recent unbiased reports indicate the likelihood of voting problems in the U.S. next month is high. Whether this will culminate in another illegitimate announced "result" is unknown at this time, of course.

A helpful web site for voters is shown below. Voters United is a good group of folk, as far as I can tell. Their web site always has good up-to-date information. I think you will find it a valued resource for accurate news about the voting process in the United States at this point in our history.

I will soon have more to say about this subject viz a viz recent polling data which indicates a Republican debacle in the mid-term elections next month. Please check back here for a post on this subject in coming days.


http://www.votersunite.org/

Friday, October 06, 2006

The America We Loved Is Still Here

For today's post, I have chosen an encouraging title, because I believe it to be true. The America of tremendous physical beauty in a variety unparalleled on earth -- is still here. The America of charming and open people -- though changed -- is still here. The America of freedom of religion -- is still here.

At the same time there is unease in the land, a vague disquietude. There is no earthquake but rather a rippling, something more felt than heard. There is a sense of wrongness, but also a disinclination to see that wrongness clearly.

The wrongness has been most evident in these last days in the form of a Congressional bill which attempts to give the President sweeping powers to use degrading and inhumane treatment, or really any treatment he sees fit regarding prisoners. It even gives him and him alone the power to determine who is an "enemy combatant", either foreign or domestic. This includes U.S. citizens. Every citizen of the world should be frightened by this bill, for it is the U.S. which is still the historic leader and champion of human rights. It should frighten us because we know human nature well enough to know that no one can be trusted with such awesome power.

So what are we to make of an America with such a law? Yes, we who are American citizens can hardly escape blame. It is we who have allowed such a person as G. W. Bush to first enter the White House, then preside (if that is the word for it) in that place for nearly six years.

This, truly, is not America. This is surely not the best of us. The question is can we, even now, do better? Or the question might be put, can we do anything but work to drive out this alien uncouthness, this brutal governmental force which lives and works among us? (And the driving out, it should be said, is to be done non-violently, for violence only tends to beget violence.)

I believe we are up to the task. Yes, we will have to set aside our cynicism. And yes, we will have to get up out of our chairs and do some work. Yet, just as I attended our local October 5 protest yesterday, everyone can do something to save our Republic in this time. It is truly a defining moment for America. Let us be about the work of democracy, of justice, and even love.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

G.W. Bush, the Thought Censor

In a Rose Garden press conference some ten days ago, the man who most recently took the oath of office as President of the United States declared in an impertinent comment that it was "unacceptable" to compare the American people with al Qaeda. While this may seem "acceptable" language to some, a closer hearing of this comment reveals a mind unfit for the highest office of the land. If the current resident of the White House had said it is "ridiculous" or "ludicrous" to make such a comparison he would simply have been giving his own opinion, something he is entitled to do. But in using the word "unacceptable", G. W. Bush is attempting to deny anyone the right to use his or her own mind in a critical fashion.

Indeed we know, for instance, that there have been people in America, such as Timothy McVeigh, for example, who have been compared with the terrorists of September 11, 2001. And there have been numerous church bombings, school shootings, and other heinous crimes of a similar nature. While no one in his right mind would suggest all Americans are like this, it is a fact that our government with -- for many years -- popular support, executed a war of terror and atrocity in Viet Nam, something we have never apologized for. Additionally, there has been an invasion of a sovereign country (Iraq) on specious grounds (the non-existent weapons of mass destruction). So perhaps America should not be pointing the finger at others quite so vigorously.

A man who has broadcast a very articulate and astute rebuttal to George W. Bush is the MSN commentator Keith Olbermann. He has been mentioned on this web log previously. The web link below will point you to a page containing the broadcast essay, "Bush Owes Us an Apology." I highly recommend it.

And let us all think seriously about what kind of a country we want to live in and whether sinister forces, have in fact set about to destroy the democracy we love.


www.truthout.org/multimedia.htm

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Poetry from the Far North

A marvelous book has just come into my hands, and it seemed only natural to share something from it here. The book is called Beyond the High Hills and is a book of Inuit (Eskimo) poems. It was published by World Publishing Company in 1961 and is illustrated by Guy Mary-Rousseliere.

The poems have no known authors. They are really songs, chanted spontaneously by the poeple. One of my favorites places austerity in relation to abundance. I am happy to print excerpts of it here.


Hard times, dearth times
Plague us every one,
Stomachs are shrunken,
Dishes are empty...

Mark you there yonder?
There come the men
Dragging beautiful seals
To our homes.
Now is abundance
With us once more,
Days of feasting
To hold us together....
Joyfully
Greet we those
Who brought us plenty!


-- from Beyond the High Hills. A Book of Eskimo Poems. Collected by Knud Rasmussen. World Publishing Co., 1961, p. 13



Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Torture By Any Other Name

If there was any doubt that the regime in Washington has lost its moral compass the recent so-called compromise legislation agreed to by the White House and leading senators regarding the torturing of detainees, removes all remaining questions. While purporting to protect human rights, this legislation has holes big enough to drive a truck through, as they say.

The web site of the Friends Committee on National Legislation does essentially as good a job as any I have seen in explaining the situation. The General Board of Church and Society of the world-wide United Methodist Church has also voiced strong opposition to this legislation.

Any legislation of this sort must be rejected out-of-hand by any Christian or other ethical person. The United States, indeed no nation, should have the option of playing fast and loose with the issue of torture. And in any event, our nation's Constitution must be respected and obeyed. The alternative is a nation and world run simply by the wealthy and most powerful.

http://www.fcnl.org/torture/

Monday, September 25, 2006

An Abundance of News

There has been an unusually large number of web articles of interest in the last week. Such a large number, while welcome, has presented this author with a dilemma. Knowing which subject to write about has not been easy!

For now I will leave you with the tidbit below. As you will see, the fight for the truth is intensifying a bit. Happy reading.


http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/archives/cat_vote_fraud.html

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An Up-date

In my last post, I indicated that I would soon comment on the passing of the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001. As school is back in session and my schedule has once again become heavy, my treatment of that subject has been delayed.

And now, too, a more complete essay on that subject must await another time due to time constraints. However, I can say that at no time do I remember a higher level of exploitation of the memory of that tragic day than on this September 11. Certainly memorializing those who died is entirely appropriate. But did not one smell the scent of self-aggrandizement on the part of politicians and press?

Let us hope that in the future such thinly-disguised selfishness and greed will be left out of September 11 anniversaries.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Powwow

Yesterday and the day before I had the distinct privilege of attending a powwow sponsored by the Thunderbirds. Along with all the Native American crafts on display, the native dancing was most impressive for its sincere spirituality.

From the Thunderbird newsletter I am pleased to re-print the "Top 10 Things You Can't Say to A White Person upon First Meeting". While hilarious, it is impossible to miss the point. Here is the list:

10. How much white are you?
9. I'm part white myself, you know.
8. I learned all your people's ways in the Boy Scouts.
7. My great-great-grandmother was a full-blooded white-Canadian princess.
6. Funny, you don't look white.
5. Where's your powdered wig and knickers?
4. Do you live in a covered wagon?
3. What's the meaning behind the square dance?
2. What's your feeling about river-boat casinos? Do they really help your people, or are they just a short-term fix?
1. Oh, wow! I really love your hair! Can I touch it?

***********

Tomorrow: A different perspective on the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001

Friday, September 08, 2006

An Important Voice

A voice has risen in the media clearly and forcefully opposing the most recent Bush and Rumsfeld speeches. This voice is not only opposing these governmental charlatans, but is showing the relation between them and fascism.

The name of this voice is Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. In passionate, well-reasoned terms Mr. Olbermann pierces the gloomy clouds of doom pervading this country. I recommend these pieces by Olbermann. May he inspire countless others to speak forth in truth and love of country.

http://www.veoh.com/videoDetails.html?v=e112439EzWKhjG4
NOTE: The web site host for this video may contain adult content. Reader discretion is advised.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

An Interlude for Humor

Part of the purpose of this web log is to present material not likely to be found anywhere else. Such is the case with this post as I retrieve from history the name of Robert Benchley. For some, this name is quite familiar, for others it may sound vaguely familiar. For still others, the name may not ring a bell at all. Robert Benchley was an author, actor, and humorist and according to the book jacket was much loved by all. It seemed he had a warm heart as well as a ready wit.

Recently I acquired his book The Early Worm, first published 'way back in 1927. (I wonder how many reading this remember the publication of this book.) The volume was re-printed in 1946 shortly after Benchley's death.

I have read several of the early stories in the book and -- with one exception -- have found them to be very funny. The writing is breezy without being vapid, witty without sneering. The experience is a little like eating cinammon toast on a warm early-autumn day. The air is most pleasant and the taste is at once sweet and spicey.

One of my favorite stories is about the bicycle expedition to the North Pole, intended to "catch up" to Amundsen and Byrd. This may sound like a silly premise for a story, but the actual tale is quite hilarious as told by the talented Benchley.

If you can find this book I highly recommend it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Seeing Clearly, Finding Our Courage

For Americans, now is a time of waking as if from a long slumber -- one filled with nightmares of the most terrifying kind. Some of the terrors are real -- the attacks of September 11, 2001, were indeed quite real. But increasing numbers of people, largely through Internet research, have come to believe that the newspaper headline of several years ago was right: "Bush Knew."

The mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, one Rocky Anderson, has recently given a powerful speech affirming the right, even the duty, of Americans to say the truth about the President, good or bad. He quotes, significantly, President Theodore Roosevelt in this regard. Mayor Anderson helps make clear how aberrant is this administration, how cruelly unfaithful it is to what America truly is. In future days I plan to continue reading this speech. I am placing a link to it below.

Citizenship in a democracy means work. It means constant vigilance. It means pitching in to do one's part. As we celebrate Labor Day, let us remember our civic duty, as well as our financial duties to our selves and our dear families.

(Thanks to Dr. G. for alerting me to this speech.)

deseretnews.com Text of Mayor Anderson's speech

Thursday, August 31, 2006

More on the Fascism of Now

A major focus of this web log in recent weeks has been the way theologians and the church in Germany essentially supported Hitler and fascism. But up until very recently the likeness of Nazi Germany to the United States of today has been deemed virtually non-existent. Now, however, the realization that the current U.S. administration is essentially fascist is beginning to set in among thinking people in America, as the material presented below indicates.

I am grateful to Alma M. for alerting me to an article by author and radio host Thom Hartmann as introduced by Stephen Mitchell of the Church and Society Network: Advocating for Peace and Justice Committee of the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church. Here, in this article, is important history about fascism in Germany in the 1930's and '40's which already had its echo in American politics of that time. And here, too, is present-day history-in-the-making as the current American President, placed in office and supported largely by huge corporations, commands the Oval Office, albeit with waning influence. This waning influence represents the hope of the American people for a just society both here and abroad.

I present now an excerpt from the Hartmann article as well as a link to the original as posted on Common Dreams. I believe you will receive new information and new insight into the U.S. political scene of today.


+++++++

In the years since George W. Bush first used 9/11 [2001] as his own "Reichstag fire" to gut the Constitution and enhance the power and wealth of his corporate cronies, many across the political spectrum have accused him and his Republican support group of being fascists.
On the right, The John Birch Society's website editor recently opined of the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretap program: "This is to say that from the administration's perspective, the president is, in effect, our living constitution. This is, in a specific and unmistakable sense, fascist."
On the left, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., specifically indicts the Bush administration for fascistic behavior in his book
Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and his Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy.

Genuine American fascists are on the run, and part of their survival strategy is to redefine the term "fascism" so it can't be applied to them any more. Most recently, George W. Bush said: "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."

In fact, the Islamic fundamentalists who apparently perpetrated 9/11 and other crimes in Spain and the United Kingdom are advocating a fundamentalist theocracy, not fascism....


[Edited for punctuation by TMP]

+++++++

For the entire article please visit:
< http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0828-23.htm >.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Theologians Under Hitler -- the DVD

It has been my privilege to view the newly-released film entitled Theologians Under Hitler based on the book of the same name by author Robert P. Ericksen. The film, made possible by a grant from the United Methodist Church, is, if anything, more shocking than the book, as various scholars speak in plain language about the theologians Emmanuel Hirsch, Paul Althaus, and Gerhard Kittel, all highly respected in their day.

How could such men be so wrong about Nazism? This film by Steven D. Martin gives a face to the book and shows clearly the culpability of men, who though learned and articulate, nevertheless came to dramatically faulty conclusions about Hitler and his social movement.

The cover of the DVD asks, "Could it happen again?" Numerous persons in America have come to believe that in a certain essential way it has happened again -- this time in the United States, and by projection, around the world. Clearly there are important differences between Hitler's Germany and the U.S. of today. Yet hallmarks of authoritarianism are all too apparent all around us: elevating the importance of the state at the expense of the individual including an attack on civil rights; the making of scapegoats as a way to unify; the use of "terrorism" in like fashion; the disdain for learning; and numerous other characteristics. (For a complete list of the elements of fascism, see elsewhere on this blog.)

Let us not be duped, but rather let us see clearly what has happened to our country in our time. And let us not be apologists for any kind of injustice, but rather let us be bold as we uphold the ideals of freedom and justice and oppose any attempt to hijack these hallowed doctrines for selfish gain.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Theologians Under Hitler -- Conclusion

In past weeks readers here have learned something about the book Theologians Under Hitler by Robert P. Ericksen. I have now finished the book and am ready to give a brief wrap-up.

This book is an excellent review of three prominent German theologians of the twentieth century: Gerhard Kittel, Paul Althaus, and Emmanuel Hirsch. All three, to one extent or another provided "theological cover" for the Nazi regime. Occasionally, Ericksen succumbs to a purely academic parlance. And at times he seems to attempt to defend the theologians. On the whole, however, he is appropriately critical.

The book ends with a strong paragraph, part of which I shall quote below. With a fair understanding of Nazi Germany, we have a chance to avoid its pitfalls. Let us be about the happy business of understanding.

Ericksen concludes:

The scenario to fear, then, is one in which a combination of crises makes life difficult: a lost war, economic collapse, shortage of oil, shortage of food. If this is coupled with a meaningful attempt to follow democratic principles, to allow true freedom and give a true politcal [sic] voice to the plural groups within society, beware. Then we will hear calls for toughness, for law and order, for national unity. We will be tempted to sacrifice some democratic principles and civil rights for national wellbeing. In short, the crisis will begin to resemble that of Weimar Germany [the period after World War I and before Nazi Germany]. Will we avoid being the Kittel, Althaus or Hirsch of that time? Will we avoid using our intellect to rationalize a position that protects our comfort and best interests, closing our eyes to the pain created for the different or less fortunate among us? ... hopefully, our consideration of Kittel, Althaus and Hirsch will encourage us to ponder these questions, to keep searching for a solution to the crisis of modernity, for a fair and just social and political ideal within the modern world.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Leedstown Resolution

Your Musical Patriot has recently confirmed that he is a direct descendant of one of the signers of the Leedstown Resolution -- a document which vigorously opposed the Stamp Act -- along with Richard Henry Lee, Henry Lightfoot Lee, Laurence Washington, and others.

This document, important as a predecessor of the Declaration of Independence, made clear that its signers were willing to suffer any physical danger in order to resist the Stamp Act. While pledging allegiance to the Crown of England, these brave men nevertheless wrote: "...we do determine, at every hazard and paying no Regard to Danger or to Death, we will exert every Faculty, to prevent the Execution of the said Stamp Act in any Instance whatsoever within this Colony."

Today the Stamp Act is a relic of history. However, the "U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act" is very much with us, yet also resisted. The spirit of the patriots of early Virginia lives on in its descendants, both blood descendants and spiritual descendants.

Please visit this web log again soon for further information about the Leedstown resolution.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Summer's Break

Summer beckons, and thus I have the opportunity to take a bit of a break from this web log.

Before leaving, yes, I have done some more reading in Theologians Under Hitler. In due course I will have more to say about this book.

I hope to send some messages your way, dear reader, while on break. In the meantime, best wishes.

-- The Musical Patriot

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Theologians Under Hitler -- Gerhard Kittel

Chapter 2 of Theologians Under Hitler tells the story of Gerhard Kittel, theologian of note in Nazi Germany. The first part of the chapter deals with Kittel's elaborate defense of his words and actions. The defense was written while he was in prison following his arrest for Nazi activities. The interest of this part of the chapter is in the way Kittel writes about himself in the face of facts known and unknown. There is a certain crawling and weak nature to his defense. Though fairly brilliant, the defense put forward by Kittel comes across seeming less than luminous and forth-coming. I am eager to read more in order to come to a better judgment.

What will we say when the Bush years are over? Did we stand up against torture? Did we stand up for civil rights? For that matter what will we say about our actions when President Clinton lowered the boom on the poverty-stricken and threw single mothers into the workforce often leaving young children to fend for themselves at home alone?

It has been one of the major themes of this blog that the United States has a form of fascism now. It is not the fascism which is completely out in the open. Much is hidden. This will continue to be a thesis of this web log, and I plan to enumerate more details in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Theologians Under Hitler -- The Crisis, Part 2

Having now finished chapter one of this book*, I can say I have encountered important history regarding theology in the twentieth century. Theologians dealt with have included Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, and Rudolf Bultmann, plus Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Some or all of these names may be familiar to you.

It is clear as I have continued reading that the world was in a crisis of faith for the past approximately two hundred years whether it knew it or not. I remember many sermons over the years dealing with this subject. In a book like this, however, the matter is dealt with with more particulars and with greater depth. As a result the crisis is rather more lucid and understandable, even if not all questions are answered.

I am grateful for this book as it has me appreciate more the extent of our current world crisis. I see that the crisis is really nothing new, but an extension of unresolved matters despite the best efforts of some brilliant minds. That the crisis has been solved in outline is hopeful news, the telling of which must wait for a later date. (I am searching for the right time and mode of explanation.)

For now, Theologians Under Hitler can serve as a useful foundation and background for an understanding of our present time. And with a dysfunctional United States Presidency, and thus a federal government seriously hampered, it is all the more necessary to at least attempt to comprehend how we got to this point.

At this point I am glad to quote the last paragraph of chapter one. Robert P. Ericksen writes:

This chapter opened with an acknowledgement that Hitler was evil. Therefore, to support him was wrong. Before condemning his supporters, however, we must recognize the complexity of the crisis which faced Germans in the Wiemar period. We must further acknowledge that neither rationalism, intellectual capacity nor Christian values protected Kittel, Althaus or Hirsch from supporting Hitler. This is a disturbing conclusion and one which requires careful consideration if we desire the Hitler phenomenon not to recur.

If this sounds like an apologia for the miscreant theologians, I shall reserve judgment pending further information. I for one passionately wish the Hitler phonomenon not to recur. I see it as completely unnecessary. Yet as we have the essential mindset of fascism present at the highest levels of the U.S. government now, it is of pressing need to understand, but more importantly oppose this leadership. It is in trying to meet this necessity that the posts of these days are presented. In coming days and weeks I plan to present as many of the main points of this book as I can within the constraints of this format. For now, let us remain ever vigilant, lest our democracy and freedoms slip loose from us as in a momentary passage of time the bright sunlight turns to late evening darkness.
________________

*See immediately preceding posts.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Theologians Under Hitler -- The Crisis

I am currently reading chapter one of Theologians Under Hitler which is entitled "The Crisis." In Part B of this chapter, the expounding has been almost exclusively about theology with little or nothing about Hitler. The author deals with various kinds of theologies such as "rational-scientific," and "systematic." I will not attempt to describe these. However, the explanation of these approaches to theology and the telling of how they came to be is interesting and I assume helps set the stage for what is to come. As a musician, I was particularly interested in Albert Schweitzer's The Quest for the Historical Jesus.

What I can see so far is that the rise of rationalism as espoused by such writers as Voltaire and the increase in scientific knowledge and discovery, created a crisis for the church. In order to have any reason for being at all emergency action had to be taken. When I finish the chapter I will write more.

But for the time being, I can say that through this book I am coming to a clearer understanding of the cultural background which existed in the century before Hitler, particularly the religious situation. Since the book focuses on theologians rather than Hitler, this should prove invaluable to an understanding of the theologians I wrote of yesterday.

Please excuse me now, for I am overdue for an appointment with Theologians Under Hitler.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Theologians Under Hitler -- the Book

Our wonderful local library system, which ordered "Theologians Under Hitler" at my request, recently notified me that the book had come in. Late last week I retrieved the book from the hold shelf and have begun reading what is sure to be a fascinating history.

Although the book is over twenty years old, I had never heard of it until the DVD with the same title was recently released.

Over the coming days and weeks, I plan to present here some of the information in this book. For now, I will relate part of a blurb on the back cover of this paperback edition. James Richmond of Times Higher Educational Supplement writes: "He [Robert P. Ericksen, author of Theologians Under Hitler] also poses the following questions: Could the same sort of thing happen again? If so, in what kind of political, economic and international circumstances? And would we avoid being the Kittle ["Kittel"], Althaus or Kirsch of our time? Ericksen soberly asks us to ponder these questions well before answering." (Kittel, Althaus and Hirsch [not "Kirsch"] are the three theologians dealt with in this book.) If ever there was a time to ask these questions it is now. Would the circumstances of an attack on our country help to provide an environment for authoritarianism? And has this not already happened to a significant extent? Would economic malaise create an environment where a strongman could emerge, offering a steel will, if not actual solutions? And would such an environment be profound enough that otherwise learned, intelligent people would either offer their enthusiastic support, or look the other way?

There is much more to be said, but if you will excuse me, I'd like to get in some reading of Theologians Under Hitler before bed. I can hardly wait.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Gratitude in the Summer

The news of the world as presented by our major media is enough to make one want to emulate the snail by curling up inside a very comfortable shell. Yet as one reflects on the many beauties of this world -- the forgiving sunshine, the bending boughs yielding to the breeze, the birds who with their chirping seem not to have a complaint -- we find reasons to be grateful, even happy.

Certainly, the cares of life will be with us. Yet aside the cares, are the pleasures, the little winsome ways of our friends, the momentary tokens of hope which remind us of something beyond ourselves -- a something which, if we choose to so see it -- is friendly, watchful, caring.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The President of Torture

Since the following article is quite complete, I will keep this short. As you read the article it will become clear to you that the American system, in this case led by the Supreme Court, has once again triumphed. Standing against the President, the Congressional majority and the majority of the American people, the majority of the Supreme Court ruled decisively that the President was in error to set up the military tribunals in the way he did, with torture as a predominating feature.

The only major point not explored in the article is the obvious fact that those in the Bush administration who authorized cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners are in violation of U.S. Law. Thus Cheney, Rumsfeld, G.W. Bush, and others are all subject to indictment. In the future I hope to explore this further. There are important implications for us citizens and our responsibilities.


http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/072406O.shtml

Monday, July 24, 2006

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. -- Contemporary American Patriot

In these turbulent times, a few Americans stand out as bright stars -- leaders with clear vision who are not afraid to speak the truth. One such leader is Robert Kennedy, Jr., who certainly is a profile in courage.

I have written about Mr. Kennedy before and am glad to refer you to the article whose link is below. It was my privilege to meet Bobby, Jr., a number of years ago. Quite young at that time, he has matured into a person with a passionate and informed voice who understands a great deal about what is going wrong with our democracy. The only major mistake he makes is when he speaks about our right to vote. In point of fact, our right to vote on the federal level is limited to voting for our United States Senators and Representatives. (This right, however, is fragile, as the recent debate over the Voting Rights Act shows.)

Robert Kennedy makes clear that he is convinced our last two Presidential elections were stolen. I agree, as I have stated this to anyone who would listen after each election.

I have often wondered why it has been so hard for people to believe these elections were stolen. The main reason I have seen is the failure of the press and media to report this news. People do not yet comprehend that the media is different from the one many of us grew up with. The CBS News of today is a far cry from the tower of light of Edward R. Morrow, or Walter Cronkite. NBC is owned by General Electric, a major defense contractor with business before the government. ABC is a Mickey Mouse network, if I may. The agenda of the media is to make as much money as possible. This does, in fact, involve a corrupt federal government.

Also, people have become so cynical about government, that it has not much mattered to them who the winner was. This cynicism, though horrible, is nevertheless understandable.

Third, the issue is not easy to understand without media assistance. So we are back to the media. It can be shown that the media negligence in this matter is criminal. Congressional investigations should be held and charges brought forthwith for misuse of the publicly-owned airwaves.

I entreat you, dear reader, not to be one of the cynical. Please do not simply dismiss this issue, throwing up your hands and declaring, "There is nothing I can do, anyway." Let us all ask ourselves What can I do now for my country? For instance, you can tell your friends about the Kennedy interview linked below. You can also contact your state officials and demand fair elections. You can support the effort of Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., to pass a constitutional amendment, establishing a federal citizenship right to vote (something which most democracies have, but the United States lacks).

As the old axiom says, God helps those who help themselves. Let us be about -- if not God's work -- at least the work of democracy, the work which will ensure that we and our offspring will live in happiness, freedom, prosperity and true safety.


http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/072006A.shtml

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Great Storm of 2006

The power here was off for twenty-five hours. I am racing against time to write and post this before any new power outage, as another storm has arrived.

I am grateful that I am fine, and even much better today with the power on. At another time perhaps I can write more. For now I will simply say it was an experience I do not care to repeat.

May everyone stay safe.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mexican Election Fiasco Renews Memories of Bush Installation

As one of the major candidates in the Mexican election fall-out, Manuel Lopez Obrador, turns up the heat, memories of the troubled 2000 and 2004 votes in the United States are revived. In the case of Mexico in July 2006, the candidate seen as more of the people, Obrador, has fought back. One does wonder Why didn't Al Gore do this? Or John Kerry? To answer the question swiftly, the media and political machine, coupled with voter apathy effectively doomed any protest.

After the 2004 voting, I spent a total of about forty hours researching all the returns. Because of the Internet I had access to sources, such as university statistical analyses, that most people hadn't seen in the major media. It was clear to me that had all votes been counted, John Kerry would be the winner.

Now comes the thrilling reaction of not only Senor Obrador, but the people of Mexico. They are showing more gumption than their northern neighbors. If this keeps up, the rebellion will spread across the border to the Mexicans here. This can only be good news for the effort to get out the truth about the 2000 and 2004 elections.

Please see the link below for a quite complete and up-to-date article.


http://www.narconews.com/Issue42/article1972.html

Friday, July 14, 2006

Wal-Mart Is Not the Only Saving Place

I saw this sentence on the out-door sign of Flowing Rivers Christian Church* near where I live last week. Certainly, the message can be taken more than one way. One way is to say that even though Wal-Mart may offer cheap prices, it is at the cost of good wages for its workers.

In another reading of the church sign, Wal-Mart is not the only store cheating its workers out of a living wage. Such low-ball pay by numerous retailers hurts not only workers but communities and our entire country by helping to drive down wages and lower purchasing power.

One interesting organization which seeks to bring the truth of corporations to the public is Reclaim Democracy. You will find their web link at the end of this post. Perhaps you will want to pay a visit and learn more. I certainly recommend it.

In the meantime, best wishes for the week ahead.

-- Your Musical Patriot


*The name of the church has been slightly changed.

www.ReclaimDemocracy.org

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Vice-President Cheney sued

I have been on holiday from this log for the last week and am now glad to return for an important news item. During the last days, many important news stories have developed. It has been a good time to be thoughtful. In coming days, events will sort themselves out, I presume.

In the meantime, it seems to me proper and right that Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, have sued top Bush administration officials, including Vice-President Cheney and Karl Rove. As this case is added to that of Patrick Fitzgerald (acting as United States prosecutor), an additional light will come to be shed on the secretive machinations of the Vice-President of Torture as he sought to descredit an American patriot, Joseph Wilson. Wilson, you may recall, was sharply critical of G.W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address claim that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy "yellow cake" from Nigeria as part of an effort to develop weapons of mass destruction. Wilson who had investigated this claim on a trip to the African nation, knew the statement to be false.

Richard Cheney, the current Vice-President, was furious over Wilson's attempts to set the record straight and allegedly sought a kind of revenge by revealing Wilson's wife as being a C.I.A. operative. The MSNBC story is linked below.

There have been many significant moments in the future demise of the G.W. Bush administration. This may be the most significant to date. It is especially welcome as it brings new troubles for R. Cheney, the man most unwanted in the Oval Office chair. With Cheney removed, the possibility for a suitable replacement for the to-be-gone Presidency of Bush the Lesser (as Arundhati Roy has called G. W. Bush), will increase.

A new honesty is being born in America. This -- even amidst dark times -- is cause for rejoicing.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/071306Y.shtml

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Benjamin Franklin -- the Man, the Patriot

I have been reminded by the author William Rivers Pitt of how fine a patriot Benjamin Franklin really is. Rather than re-tell what Pitt has written, I will place a web link below for you to follow and read for yourself.

What we see is a man who valued learning and discovery. Franklin's mind was discerning, serious and jocular. He was curious, yet principled.

As we face continuing threats to both our freedoms and our sensibilities from what can aptly be called a rogue administration in Washington, may Benjamin Franklin indeed be a model for us.


http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/070406Z.shtml

Monday, July 03, 2006

Skip the Vote?

For the last two evenings I have heard scattered fireworks piercing the quiet of the night as Independence Day celebrations commence. As the United States moves into this celebration I intend to use the occasion to highlight true patriotic issues.

In years past we have heard "Every Vote Counts." More recently we have heard of the campaign "Rock the Vote." Today, a more apt quote is "It's not what the vote is that counts, it's who counts the vote." So perhaps, a new advertising slogan could be "Skip the Vote."

In this post I am happy to bring to your attention a new book by the reporter and author Greg Palast. Palast is well-known, especially in the United Kingdom, for his comprehensive work on the stolen U.S. Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004.

Now, in a new book, Mr. Palast further documents what happened in those years and what is being prepared for the 2006 and 2008 elections. This is not an effort to be a salesman for the Palast book. However, I like what he writes about the subject on his web site and am including a major portion below. His writing style is rather breathless, or perhaps simply energetic, but this is understandable given the topic.

Please check back here for further posts relating to the true meaning of this wonderful national holiday.

But first, back to those slogans. Perhaps there can be a better slogan: "Watch who counts the vote."

Without further adieu, here is the Palast oration.


++++++++++++++
Don’t kid yourselves. If you think Bush’s lower-than-my-laces ratings portend victory for Democrats, that’s what Rove wants you to think. Bush shoplifted Ohio (and New Mexico and Iowa and…) see, he doesn’t need your vote. And he doesn’t count your vote, either. The Rove-bots are preparing next year’s model (probably Good Doctor Frist) and will load the bad vibes on to the lame duck and the lame Dick. Frist will run on a platform of stopping homosexual flag-burnings by enforced readings of the Ten Commandments in courthouses.

What to do? I wrote ARMED MADHOUSE for just such a contingency. We can’t do a damn thing to stop these dangerous inmates running this asylum unless we know HOW they’re doing it.Lots and lots of topics. Let’s begin with two: votes and war.

Counting all the votes: why not? In America we don’t and that’s not much of an issue for any politician elected under the current system. THREE-MILLION, SIX-HUNDRED THOUSAND THREE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY ballots were cast in the last election AND NEVER COUNTED: “spoiled” ballots, “provisional” ballots and “deficient” absentee ballots. And — ready for this — 88% of the ballots not counted were cast by voters of color.

This non-count doubled from the 2000 election and will double again for 2006 and 2008 unless we make it an issue. We are not getting the will of the people underan apartheid voting system.
By the way, these figures are not from my black helicopter, but from data available from the United States Elections Assistance Commission. The racial calcs I did (I used to teach statistics) with professors from Cleveland State, Harvard and the US Civil Rights Commission. Not that you’d read about it in the US papers.

WAR: “Operation Iraqi Liberation” (OIL) was NOT, I discovered, about getting our hands on Iraq’s oil and bringing it home — which would have brought down the price of petroleum. The invasion was, rather, about getting our hands on Iraq’s oil and [italics, M.P.] preventing it from entering the market. The oil-poisoning of our foreign policy, the bending of our “War on Terror” into a war on democracy has simply not been addressed. It’s all about “The Quagmire” versus “Cutting and Running.”....

What do you think?
WHAT TIES IT ALL TOGETHER? Whether it’s the war on Black voters or the war on the Tigris, it’s all about the money; or, to revise a much-needed and forgotten phrase, CLASS WAR. Them versus Us. The Haves versus the Have-nots. Taking away your vote is of a piece with taking away your Social Security, your child’s educational security and your national security through war on the planet.

The Democratic Party of 1933, of FDR and the New Deal, was created from the realization, after the 1927 flooding of New Orleans, that the rich would rather we drown economically, even physically, than share the wealth and bounty of this nation.

Unfortunately, some nominal Democrats run away from their party’s working class heritage and heart. This week, 47,000 GM and Delphi workers will lose their jobs — the endgame of the half-billion a year in auto parts that have flooded in from Mexico and Canada since NAFTA.It’s an inconvenient truth, but the Democratic Party won’t stand a chance until it starts worrying less about the future flooding of Malibu beach homes and more about the economic drowning of heartland assembly-line workers.

When the average guy and gal have a choice between the party of NAFTA and the party of NAFTA, they’ll use their vote to stop boys from kissing boys.
What do you think? No, better yet, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

******************Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Armed Madhouse: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal ‘08, No Child’s Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War.



Friday, June 30, 2006

Supreme Court Re-establishes Rule of Law

In a ruling this week, the Supreme Court dealt George W. Bush a major set-back in ruling that his administration must abide by the Constitution and U.S. law in its dealings with prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It also specifically said that the President must abide by the Geneva Convention. This is good news for America and for the world.

Further, there is a little-known section in U.S. Code which makes it a federal crime to violate the Geneva Convention. This means that senior administration officials may be guilty of crimes. It also means they have possibly committed impeachable offenses.

This is a very important subject and time prevents me from writing more at this time. However, it is extremely important that the American people demand that investigations be opened by the Justice Department and that if there are violations of the law, that these persons are prosecuted. If Alberto Gonzales is not up to the task he must remove himself from the process or resign.

I urge you to contact first your friends and then your Congressional representatives and demand a free and fair inquiry of any alleged illegal acts. The link below will take you to a much longer airing of this topic.

We must restore the rule of law in this country and justice must have its way!

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050718/holtzman

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Theologians Under Hitler

Recently, I became aware of a new DVD which looks to be extremely interesting and valuable. You will find a description below. My local librarian is telling me the book of the same title is widely available at libraries throughout the United States. Otherwise, a web search should bring up ways you can order the book and video.

This is clearly an essentially unknown part of history. It is pertinent for these days. My own research has shown that successors to the financial empires which helped finance Hitler still exist and that they have worked to subvert the American democracy. News of this nature may be shocking and unbelievable to some. Nevertheless, this is what the evidence points to. I plan to show some of this evidence at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way in days to come.

In the meantime, I hope the following resource will prove useful.

++++++++++++++++++
Description:
A 64-minute film by Steven D. Martin (DVD format)
Product Detail:
In the days after World War II, a convenient story was told of church leaders and ordinary Christians that defied the Nazis from the beginning. Recent research has uncovered a very different story. Rather than resisting, the greater part of the German church saw Hitler's rise in 1933 as an act of God's blessing, a new chapter in the story of God among the German people. This film, based upon groundbreaking research, introduces the viewer to three of the greatest Christian scholars of the twentieth century: Paul Althaus, Emanuel Hirsch, and Gerhard Kittel, men who were also outspoken supporters of Hitler and the Nazi party. In 1933 Althaus spoke of Hitler's rise as "a gift and miracle of God." Hirsch saw 1933 as a "sunrise of divine goodness." And Kittel, the editor of the standard reference work on the Jewish background of the New Testament, began working for the Nazis to find a "moral" rationale for the destruction of European Jewry. This provocative film asks: how? It also forces us to ask “Can it happen again?”

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Eisenhower's Famous Warning

In a Farewell Address of January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave Americans a warning about the "military-industrial complex". This famous warning bears repeating today. The question can be asked, Is there any connection between a "war on terrorism" which is said to have no definite end, and the need of armaments companies to offer ever-increasing returns to shareholders and owners? If so, what is that connection? Below I am reprinting President Eisenhower's warning. I cannot say I see the Eisenhower Presidency as one of the great administrations in U.S. history. Also, I do not happen to agree with everything in the statement (made amidst the Cold War), but Eisenhower's words about the potential collusion between politicians and the military-industrial complex are important, now more than ever.

As you read, you may say to yourself, It's a great statement but what can I do? In the future, I hope to say more about this, but for now, please consider contacting your relevant representatives in Washington and indicate to them you do not approve of the huge expenditure of money, especially on no-bid contracts. You can also contact media outlets in your area and let them know of your vital interest in this matter. You may want to quote from the Eisenhower statement below.

Here, then, without any further delay, is the Eisenhower missive.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

+++++++++++

By way of commenting, and has been said by others, with the end of the Cold War, the arms makers had to find a new reason to justify their existence. Almost immediately after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the break-up of the Soviet Union and before any peace dividend (remember that?), we were being told the world was full of new enemies which we must prepare for. Thus was born "pin-point bombing" which could now turn the old military into the "military of the 21st Century." The question must be asked, Do we really need the huge military of the Cold War with the fall of the Soviet Union? This is a question which has dropped out of daily discourse due to the corporate media (which has ties to the military industrial complex).

So, President Eisenhower's warning still stands. Let us heed it. Let us be on watch. Let us take the appropriate action to protect our democratic processes as Eisenhower advised.



Sunday, June 25, 2006

Doubts About Bush 2004 "Win" Begin to Go Mainstream

This post will be a quick telling of a statement by a United States Representative regarding the stolen election of 2004. The web address is below. Once you arrive there, please scroll down to view the article about Congresswoman Schakowsky's speech to the Take Back America conference. (Please note that some of the advertising on the site, while certainly not explicit, may nevertheless be offensive to some readers.)

This speech by a United States Representative is welcome news and most heartening.

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=2963

Friday, June 23, 2006

Tale of a Modern American Man

Said a modern American man,

" First they went after the poor and I didn't speak up because I wasn't poor.

Then they went after the factory workers, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a factory worker.

Then they went after the hurricane victims, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a hurricane victim.

Then they went after the immigrants, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't an immigrant.

Then they went after the mainstream Protestants, and I didn't speak up because I was a Mega Church member.

Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

++++++++++++++++

Perhaps you recognize this as being based on the following:

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

-- Pastor Martin Niemoeller,
survivor of Nazi concentration camp

May this be a lesson for us all. May this be a wake-up call. It is long past time to speak up. May you find your voice, dear reader, and may it have strength, and may you persevere in telling the truth at this time and tomorrow.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Man Named Don

This evening while leaving the public library I was accosted by an ordinary man, about 45-50 years in age. Don, as he introduced himself, was stranded with no way to make a 54-mile trip home. Don was very polite, did not lay on any heavy guilt, but stated his dilemma simply and pleasantly. He asked for help. As it was already 9 o'clock, perhaps you can guess what my decision was.

I was truly sorry I was not able to help Don on this particular occasion, although I did give him my business card. Although Don was not homeless, there was the chance he would end up without a place to stay for the night.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless an estimated 3.5 million people or 1% of the population are homeless at some point in any given year. Needless to say this is an astonishing number. Having experienced homelessness myself, I know what a difficult circumstance it truly is.

That there should be homelessness in a country as rich and beautiful as this is deeply shameful and simply should not be at all. I hope to give more information about this problem soon. For now, may we remember those who are homeless on this and every night until the problem is resolved.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Dark Dawn in New Orleans

As summer dawns in the northern hemisphere, cities near the southern coast of the U.S. wonder what is in store for them this year as the tropical storm season is already underway.

In New Orleans it is a dark dawn for many as government and commercial interests work to destroy the public infrastructure of the city. Teachers are being fired, the criminal court system is not functioning, the public health system is lacking, and -- incredibly -- useable public housing is being destroyed. And it is all unnecessary.

Last evening I heard part of a radio interview with Bill Quigley, professor at Loyola University and also head of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola. I was horrified to learn what is actually happening in New Orleans. Big money interests supported by racially-biased whites are working to tamp down the numbers of African-Americans who are able to return to the city. This is unconscionable.
I invite you to listen and learn.

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/20/142210

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Vice-President of Torture

This is the moniker given by many to the man who twice took the oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States as Vice-President. That he is now known by such a nickname casts a shameful pall over the United States.

Now, however, it appears that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may be zeroing in on Richard Cheney's actions in the Plame affair. As I read the latest report from Truthout, it appears Karl Rove may have been persuaded to turn state's evidence in the case. Of course, we can only speculate at this point. But is it possible -- just barely possible -- that Cheney has become a target of the Fitzgerald investigation? There is no way of knowing for sure due to the high level of secrecy of the Fitzgerald investigation. In any event, with approval ratings below twenty per cent, R. Cheney's days would seem to be numbered as Vice-President.

One of my most challenging tasks as a citizen and as a friend over the last several years has been to encourage people to see that the future of our country is in our hands. I mean this in a very real way. What we have been lacking is information due to the cowardice of the press, especially after September 11, 2001. Without information, it has been virtually impossible for busy American citizens, worried about not only the price of gas, but also about bearded middle-Eastern men who may be using the job at the local convenience store to plan blowing up your beautiful local city hall -- to have a real sense that things can change.

Now, however, I am aware of rather intensive behind-the-scenes efforts to deal appropriately (and non-violently, of course) with the cancer which does indeed surely attend this current administration. I hope to say more about this in the future.

For now, I invite your prayers (if you are at all religious), and your concern. Soon, even more clearly than today, we will all be called upon to make a personal choice about what kind of country we want this to be: one ruled by large corporations -- that is, the wealthy few -- or the many citizens of this country who do indeed work hard and play by the rules. Again, this is a subject I hope to return to in future days.

As Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, makes clear, there is not much time before major damage is done to this very earth. Corporations run amuck are in one sense a very major cause of this environmental endangerment. These are the same corporations, such as Enron, which have funded and propped up through the corporate media this White House administration with its attendant Cheney operation.

Let us be rid of these usurpers, these bringers of gloom, these imposters, these men worse than traitors.

In coming days I intend to offer evidence to support such sharp language. Our Republic, this great nation, is in danger. We can and must decide to save her, our dear America.

http://forum.truthout.org/blog/

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion

Having a friend who is a theater manager is a great convenience when there are films one truly wants to see. So, it was my pleasure to see a second major film in two days.

The movie of the day was the new Robert Altman film starring real-world radio host Garrison Keillor named after his American Public Media program "A Prairie Home Companion." Also starring were Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, and Kevin Kline.

The picture includes a great deal of music and is thus most fitting for this web log. The Johnson girls as portrayed by Streep and Tomlin are nearly worth the price of admission all by themselves. The emotions of pride and regret, of audacity, tenacity, and resignation are all present along with a complex intertwining of loyalty and slightly jaded fatalism between the sisters themselves.

Other familiar characters from the radio program make their appearance in one way or another, including Dusty and Lefty, the Lonesome Cowboys, Guy Noir, and the actors Tim Russell and Sue Scott who are surprisingly good in their character roles. Real-world performers Linda and Robin Williams are in fine form as they portray themselves.

All music is backed up by Rich Dworski and the members of the radio show band. Dworski also wrote and arranged much of the music.

The story is set in St. Paul, Minnesota, on the last night of a long-running live radio broadcast. The show is broadcast weekly in a historic theater. The building's owner has sold out to a Texas corporation which will soon demolish the landmark and create a parking lot.

There are morals here, lessons learned in one's dim dark past and played out in a present where cell phones and computers are more seen than heard. The soundtrack here is one of bluegrass music, mountain music, and gospel music, not the whir of electronic printers. Headsets get a send-up in one comic scene.

For those of a certain generation the film is a nostalgic bath, a bath filled with warmish water into which has been added bath beads of unidentifiable aroma, not unpleasant, but faintly annoying in their slightly stale anonymity.

For younger viewers there is music, energy, and finally -- a cell phone.

For viewers of all ages there is a sense of what life lived long and hard is like for performers on the road. There is also the message that these good-hearted troopers would do it all again in a heart-beat.

See this film if you can. It will do your heart some good.

(c) 2006 by The Musical Patriot

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"An Inconvenient Truth"

This evening, at the local civilized movie theater, I was witness to An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's new movie based on his famous slide show. The movie has been reviewed elsewhere and I do not wish to post a review per se.

However, I will underscore for my readers here the huge importance of this film. It is a must-see for every citizen of the U.S. and the world. No matter what one may think of Al Gore the person (who comes off very well as a naturally intelligent and truly funny person contrary to his former stiff persona), the film contains essentially unassailable truth about what is known about the state of the earth at this time, specifically regarding the phenomenon of global warming.

As for Mr. Gore's presentation, to call it a slide show is inaccurate and a bit demeaning as the graphics are state of the art. They are clear, winsome, even entertaining while at the same time they shock and ultimately stir the soul to seek action.

As Gore makes clear in the film, of nearly one thousand scientific articles written over the last several years, the number of articles casting doubt on global warming is: zero.

I strongly recommend this film. You will respect yourself for seeing it.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Beginning Continues

I believe history will show the beginning of the end of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has already occurred. Whether we may mark it as late in 2005 when rumors of Pentagon "exit strategies" began to circulate, or earlier, at the time of the revelations of the torture at the Abu Ghraib prison -- it is now clear the pressure is mounting for a clearly-defined plan to end U.S. military involvement in Iraq. At the very least, the American public is demanding clearly-defined goals, the reaching of which would signal a withdrawal of forces.

Now, a church in Washington (state) has declared itself a sanctuary for U.S. military personnel who wish to resist being sent to Iraq. I applaud the church for its brave stand. May many others follow. You will find more information at this link: < http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/061606B.shtml >.

Illness

So far today, I am a bit under the weather. I will try to post something later. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Pledge of Allegiance

Few Americans know the history of the writing of the Pledge of Allegiance. For instance, did you know that the writer was a Christian socialist? I am amused when people on the far right agitate for mandatory recitation of the pledge oblivious to the political inclinations of its author, the Reverend Francis Bellamy. It also must be noted that Rev. Bellamy did not include the phrase "under God" and likely would have objected to the phrase. Inclusion of such a phrase does fly in the face of the American tradition of toleration of both religion and the lack thereof.

As I write, it is Flag Day in the United States. It is a time to display the flag and reflect on what it represents. The pledge is nearly as good as any declaration of the American credo. Under normal circumstances I have no problem reciting it, although I typically fall silent for the "under God" phrase out of respect for the pledge's author, as noted above. To mandate the pledge as some would do, while providing unity, would seem to be antithetical to the spirit of self-realization which we have known under our system of laws.

Having said all that, I must say I like the pledge, as settled upon by Francis Bellamy, a good deal. May we do all we can to live up to the ideals expressed in its powerful words.


http://history.vineyard.net/pledge.htm

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Outrageous Claim by an Outrageous Administration

In arguments in court yesterday, the G. W. Bush administration essentially argued that its program of spying on American citizens is beyond judicial review. The link below will take you to a pertinent New York Times article. (Registration may be required.)

This program, along with the vast increase in George Bush ("Jr.") signing statements, indicates an un-Constitutional administration. The time to be rid of this regime is now. This must be done non-violently. The way to do it is by convincing the American people that this administration is against its best interests. Then we must exert political pressure on elected officials and demand that the media report fairly and honestly on what is going on in this regard.

With global warming already a serious problem, and with huge spikes in energy and materials costs, the time for inaction is gone. Let us not be like deer with their eyes transfixed by the car headlights. I encourage everyone to become informed, then join with others to organize for a just and sustainable world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/12/washington/12cnd-nsa.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Monday, June 12, 2006

Doubts About Bush Win Grow

"Who are you going to believe?" That would seem to be the question, as published doubts about the announced "win" of the state of Ohio for
G. W. Bush in the 2004 election mount. The latest doubter is columnist Bob Herbert of The New York Times in today's edition. I make reference to the introduction to the article printed on the web site Raw Story:
< http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/NYT_Bob_Herbert_Kerry_almost_certainly_0612.html >.

Recently, Robert F. Kennedy stirred interest in the subject by writing a well-documented essay on the subject. The Kennedy article and the Herbert column give wide circulation to what statistical experts have long known: the odds of the exit polls in Ohio and other states being in error as dramatically as they were later announced to be are so high as to be virtually impossible.

The question now is since we have the evidence before us, what should a good citizen do? First, I suggest any good citizen would want to tell all his or her friends the news. Second, we should begin a holy agitation to make it clear such shananigans will not be tolerated by the American people. For such stealth can rightly be said to be deviltry. This we must not tolerate.

Music in the Morning

This morning I was treated to a demonstration of a theater organ by nationally-famous organist, Stan Kann. You may know Mr. Kann from one or more of his seventy-seven appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, or other television shows, in which he demonstrated vacuum cleaners which invariably broke down on camera.

Just why this was so funny is still somewhat of a mystery, except that Stan Kann always seemed genuinely befuddled and surprised, even while refusing to stop trying to make the machines work.

His sense of humor was on display today as he demonstrated and gave instant critical reviews of the specialty sounds of the organ such as the train whistle, the fog horn, and the machine gun.

At the end he performed his own medley of selections from The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the entire presentation.

This event showed how needed music is in these times. Music is genuinely patriotic in purpose and usefulness.

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism