Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny. -- Daniel Webster

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Right-Wing Republican Mandate?

In a follow-up post I will be writing more about what the voting figures from the mid-term election of 2010 shows.

For now, the Associated Press has reported that voter turn-out for 2010 was projected to be 42 percent of registered voters, up about one percent from 2006.

There were other interesting statistics regarding the tea party voters.

In any case, if only 42 percent of registered voters actually voted, that means no matter which party "won" the election they still got a minority of the votes of registered voters and an even smaller percentage of eligible voters. Thus, for the Republicans to claim any kind of mandate is preposterous. And tea partiers, being a minority of a minority of a minority have even less of a case. What the vote does show is frustration with the economy, and rightly so.

There is more to be said about the tea party and its dangers. Check back here for more.

Coming soon: Some notable anniversaries coming up early in 2011. Come back for a bit of a "blast from the past."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Freedom of Entire Internet Said to Be at Risk

People in Australia have done the right thing in protesting the treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (See referenced web site.) It happens that I do not totally approve of the WikiLeaks effort. I would like to see a better vetting process and somehow a more open one.

However, the response of some people to WikiLeaks, including the imprisoning of Assange are out of place. (The timing of the arrest of Assange on unrelated charges is suspect, to say the least.)

In principle, the importance of a free flow of information must trump the right of government officials to secrecy. Of course, the right of citizens to information is not unlimited. Yet, in this case, the over-reaction of authorities seems to be an example of the character in the Shakespeare play who says, "Methinks thou dost protest too much."


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Musical Interlude

Every so often I like to include something about music on this site. At this blessed time of the year, it is good to be reminded of the warm cheerfulness music provides. I like this version of what we know as "Jingle Bells." The Robert de Cormier Singers do a fine job with the original version and its jaunty chorus. This original melody is ever-so-much more lively than the flattened out version we are all so accustomed to.

Listen, enjoy, and -- Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Blast from the Past

For the last couple of weeks I have been reading William Manchester's sweeping tale of twentieth century America, "The Glory and the Dream," which is a narrative history of the years 1953-1972. I am about half-way through those years, but only about a third of the way through the book. This is volume two of a two-volume set and is told in an inimitable style, both concise and complete. Manchester's way with words is breezy, but not lacking in substance or credibility. At present I am reading about the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which seems like a cautionary tale worth telling and re-telling. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'Tis the Season for an Active Government

Today I have noted several items of importance to the Republic, everything from 'Net Neutrality to Transportation Security Administration ineptitude. It seems best to digest these various news items and wait to see what turns out to be the most palatable among them.

One thing which seems certain. Regarding last week's tax bill, it seems the press congratulated Congress and the Obama administration congratulated Congress and Congress congratulated itself. Missing from this love-fest was the American people whose opinion can be surmised with varying levels of educated guesswork. It does seem clear, though, that the inflated bubble of enthusiasm seems to be on its way down, unsupported by any evidence of success.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Defending Public Education Under Attack

I regard the continuing attack on public education as one of the greatest evils of our time. This is not to say there can't be justified criticisms of education today -- far from it. However, replacing the need of children to be educated with the need of the corporate-dominated workplace to have workers is a cruel, ugly, and grotesque warping of the true and just purpose of learning.

Ordinarily I avoid posting links to articles I have not thoroughly read. However, in this case and owing to the hour I am posting this link before actually finishing the article. I am doing this because of the obvious quality of the article and the critical importance of its topic.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Cause Well Worth Fighting For

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail I received today. It tells about an important cause. This effort, which is described at the referenced web site, shows that average people and certain religious institutions are coming together in a holy outrage over the mortgage crisis. May strength be theirs.


Thank you for adding your name to the letter to state Attorneys General urging them to hold the big banks accountable for mortgage fraud. Your voice, and those of your colleagues, could help millions of families stay in their homes.

Please forward this message onto others urging them to sign on.

They can view the letter, and add their names, at http://www.crimeshouldntpay.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

E-Mail Protected by Fourth Amendment Says Appeals Court

A federal appeals court has ruled that the government must treat e-mail with the same protection given to regular mail and telephone conversations. That is, all are subject to Fourth Amendment protections and a warrant must be obtained before private communications, including e-mails, can be searched by the police. This is indeed good news. It means citizens can reasonably expect normal privacy protections for their e-mails barring a court order.

Here is the link to the article: < www.thewhir.com >.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bush v. Gore, Continued

As promised here is more on Bush v. Gore, the tenth anniversary of which was marked this past Sunday. The article below is focused on what happened in Florida and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling, handing Bush the White House. It is not a full accounting of that infamous election of 2000 as given by experts such as Greg Palast. However, it is useful nonetheless.

Coming: Looking Back on the Gore Administration: what the last ten years would have been like if Al Gore had been sworn in as President


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Language of Politics and the Politics of Language

Here is an article well worth reading. The author is a cognitive scientist and linguist. He has some very useful things to say about why progressive-minded people are losing the political war of words. highly recommended


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Washington Post Article Criticizes Transportation Authority Tactics

Jeffrey Rosen of The Washington Post writes a persuasive article showing how the aggressive, "obscene light" tactics of the TSA are both ineffective and un-Constitutional. See for yourself the beautiful logic of the Rosen article.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Shakespeare on Winter

A "Winterlude" from William Shakespeare

Here, in honor of the musical portion of this blog's title as well as the coming season of the year, is a song from Shakespeare's play As You Like It. And -- certainly -- I hope you like it.


Blow, blow thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh ho! sing, heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky!
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot;
Though thou the waters warp*
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.


Friday, December 03, 2010

Early "Spring" Thaw as Pres. Obama and Republicans Warm Up Over Hot Tea

The inexplicable and insufferable accommodation tactics of President Obama were on display in recent days as the Oval Office Occupant huddled with Republican leaders to create a behind-the-scenes package of tax cuts and meager stimulus money. According to today's Washington Post, the President has been meeting secretly with GOP leaders to craft a compromise document to the consternation of Democrats who were left scrambling to salvage a program which could be called Democratic.

Republicans who are not entitled to assume leadership of the House until next month, and will not have control of the Senate even then are behaving as if they have a mandate to govern the whole country. I'll have more to say on this point soon. But for the leader of the Democratic Party to effectively lock-out (apparently) the Democrats is unforgivable, if the Post story is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt it at this point.

N.B. (Saturday): The reference to tea comes, of course, from the rise of the so-called Tea Party movement and its rightward influence on the already rightward-tilting Republican Party.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

As the Seasons Change

As cold weather draws its icy fingers around much of the northern hemisphere, there is hope that deeper temperatures and crisper air will somehow bring a cleansing. In America this means a cleansing from one of the dirtiest campaigns in memory.

There is hope, too, that Christmastime will bring, if not warm temperatures, at least a certain warming of the spirit, much needed now amidst the frosty relations of Capitol Hill. Cold, too, are the titans of corporate America, fronted by the Chamber of Commerce, ever willing to freeze out the low-income and others deemed undesirable from the favors of society if such favors cost more than a trifle.

Yet, as I say, underneath any gloom there is an ember of hope, now dim, now brighter, glowing faintly yet steadily.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Ireland in Uproar Over IMF Demands

Workers in Ireland have been organizing in recent days, protesting the demands of the international financiers, represented by the IMF, that Ireland submit to a financial restructuring which would seriously impact said workers and their families for years to come.

Bravo to the Irish for their courage in facing down the outrageous demands of the hyper-capitalists! It is high time to name these financiers for what they are: international financial raiders and greedy opportunists.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Democrats Won in 2010 (Just Not the Election)

...Democrats didn't lose the most important battle of 2010. They won it.

So says William Saletan in this important article on the accomplishments of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. While I do agree that the Democrats chose not to focus on job creation and that this was a major tragedy, their accomplishments were nevertheless important. That is the main point Saletan makes: that the Democratic loss is being blamed on non-existent causes.

Much can be said on this subject. I think Saletan's main point that the critics who say the Democrats lost because of their support for health care are themselves in error, is correct. Still, I wish he had talked more about the poor economy itself. Two thousand nine was truly an opportunity lost what with Time magazine declaring we were all socialists now. The stimulus bill was not large enough, job protection measures were not strong enough. These were two major short-comings of the Congress now quickly passing into history.

But Saletan's article makes interesting reading.

An Anniversary for the Ages

Less than two weeks from now we will mark the tenth anniversary of a tragedy important in American history. Ten years ago next month, the Supreme Court decided in the infamous case Bush v. Gore, that a man from a certain preferred political party should be maneuvered into the White House. The learned article at the site listed below uses the "shoe on the other foot" analogy to illustrate the true motives of what I called at the time the Fascist Five. These traitorous Five -- Rehnquist, O'Connor, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas -- used specious reasoning to come to a conclusion roundly condemned by law schools around the country. In fact the decision at the time was referred to as the Kennedy assassination of the legal world, it was so shocking. The reputation of the Supreme Court has never recovered from this ruling.

When one looks back on all that happened in the G. W. Bush years -- the neglect (willful?) which led to the attacks of September 11, '01, the gigantic budget deficits, two wars, recession, housing and financial collapses -- the importance of Bush v. Gore comes into clear view. It is important to remember great injustices and the Bush v. Gore decision certainly qualifies. Over the next two weeks I plan to have more to say about this matter so consequential for American politics.


Friday, November 26, 2010

TSA Backs Down at Least for a Day

According to We Won't Fly, the Transportation Security Administration took special pains to make the traveling public comfortable on Thanksgiving Day. The details are at the link below. The web page also contains useful links to other sites with further information.


Buy Nothing Today

Opponents of the consumerist and commercialized world are scouring their cupboards today for the best hot drinks to have in hand while curling up at home in a favorite chair far away from the madding crowd of the mall, the shopping center, and even the old-fashioned mercantile in that quaint country town. For today is "Buy Nothing Day," named to encourage thoughtfulness about Thanksgiving and deprive rather greedy merchants from exploiting the holidays.

It's a day with a good purpose and one I support, though it can be hard to know what to do for food if one is out, or medicine if some is needed. Nevertheless, I applaud efforts of the deep thinkers among us who see the evil in unfettered, rapacious corporations who seem willing to stop at nothing in order to earn a buck. So, "nothing" has different meanings. Today, let it stand for no purchases which continue a meaningless rush to acquire things, either commercial goods or an excess of money.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose New Airport Security Techniques

A new Zogby poll finds that a majority of respondents oppose the new invasive -- and some say obscene -- security measures recently adopted by the Transportation Security Administration. It seems there has been a turn-around in public opinion on the issue, at least if the Zogby poll is accurate.

(See yesterday's posts on this topic for further information and resources.)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

College Student Protests TSA

This amateur video shows a novel way of protesting the security protocols of the Transportation Security Administration.

Transportation Authority Comes Under Severe Attack

The Transportation Security Administration has come under severe attack for onerous -- and some say, obscene -- security procedures in the process of putting new full-body scanners into use. The web site linked here tells more.
The very fact that such machines and their accompanying procedures could be implemented is an indication this government no longer represents the American way. Benjamin Franklin was surely right when he said that those who would give up their freedom for a little security deserve neither security nor freedom.

The "We Won't Fly" web site does a very good job of presenting the facts surrounding this issue. It is time to tell the TSA that their new procedures won't fly.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

On the Hunt

I'm on the hunt for much better explanations for the Democrats' loss of their House majority than those I have seen so far. In a way, the best explanation is the easiest one: the voters were in a sour mood. That certainly is true -- voters were indeed incensed and worried about an economy that never recovered after the shock of the housing crisis in 2007.

But why would voters turn to the Republicans, a group who wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on a fruitless effort to impeach Bill Clinton, and who gave new meaning to corruption in Congress (with corporations literally doing bill write-ups behind closed doors)? Again the pat answer is not untrue -- voters had no other choice.

Thus the answer lies in the process. We have a political culture in which voters expect the people they vote for to actually help the country. It is time for this naive and simplistic notion to go. Much more time and effort must be put in building a political infrastructure which can meet the new challenge of what amounts to a shadow political party: the Corporate Party.

Oh, what the Supreme Court has wrought in its terribly misguided (some may say devious) Citizens United decision! What we have is politicking beyond scrutiny, a horrible thing for a democracy. Indeed, a true democracy is impossible with so much money changing hands beyond the examination of the people.

But an aroused citizenry can counter such secrecy. Indeed, secrecy has no defense against an active populace. In due time, the truth will come to light.

In the meantime, the backroom dealing of Campaign 2010 will stand as a stark and dark reminder to future generations of the depths to which modern campaigning can fall when voters are overwhelmed with tainted millions from unknown sources. The Rovian Black Knights of electoral politics will stand as the Simon Legrees of our time, as the -- dare I say? -- evil jesters, sneering at the general good, while pleasing their wealthy masters.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jim Wallis Opines on What is Wrong With Washington

The article referenced here gives a good summation on what ails Washington and national politics. It is well worth reading in light of last week's election.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Sen. Mike Gravel Works to Place New 9/11/01 Investigation Requests on Ballots

You may click on this post title above or use the link below to see a video report of efforts by former Senator Mike Gravel to enlist the public in attempts to create a new citizens commission of inquiry regarding the 9/11/01 tragedy. Seeing such an effort nearly ten years after the event shows the importance of questions which continue to be raised. The report tells more.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Web Site Offers Educational Approach

For a web site which offers a useful educational approach I recommend the site of The Patriots, led by Dr. Bob Bowman, U.S. military retired. The group's approach is non-partisan and crosses ideological lines in an interesting and logical way. The web site may be accessed at this address: < http://www.thepatriots.us/ >.

What You Haven't Heard from the Pundits

The following is from a group called The Pen. I find the views here to be quite interesting. One may decide for oneself whether the motives and purposes attributed to the Democratic Party and to President Obama are correct. And the tone is quite casual and intimate, like many e-mails written to friends. But there is much here that agrees with my research over the years. I tend not to agree that a third party is workable at this time,as the group seems to favor and promote. Rather, I do feel that there must be much better education of the voting public. And mostly, I believe the media simply must change its shallow ways if our democracy is to survive. What went on in 2010 was ridiculous and beyond belief for a media in a democratic republic.

The excerpt from the Pen published here is heart-felt, though a bit over-wrought at times. But what it lacks in savoir faire it makes up in sincerity and justified anger.

Here is a major portion of the e-mail I recently received from The Pen. (The e-mail has been slightly edited for purposes of this blog.


Of all the commentary we have heard in the aftermath of this week's
election debacle, we have heard not one pundit yet who actually has a
clue about what is really going on. So you will have to hear it from
us. Of course, if you have been on our list any length of time you
already have, but maybe you did not believe us the first time.

We must respectfully remind you that we told you that all this is
exactly what would happen unless we took stronger action to demand a
REAL health care reform bill in particular, instead of that groaning
load of [corporate-dictated]...rubbish we ended up with....

It was March of earlier this year and the title of our alert was "The
Democratic Party's Plan To Throw The Next Couple Elections". Look it
up; the text was published on OpEdNews.com and is still there.

< http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Democratic-Party-s-Pla-by-thepen-100307-583.html >

...please take particular note we sa[y]
"The Next Couple Elections" plural. Because this is just round one of the dynamic we foretold.

As we predicted then, in round two the Republicans will use their
electoral gains to push to repeal the almost universally despised
health care bill -- despised by the right because it does anything even
cosmetically good, and despised by the left because it was
fundamentally just a total sell-out.

If the Republicans fall short on repeal this time, they will campaign
in 2012 on the platform that they need to take over the Senate and
the White House so that the bill can be repealed, and they will win
in another landslide of historic proportions.

Alternatively, if the Democrats set a new Guiness world record in the
publicly-perceived-as-wet-noodles department, they will all lose
their seats anyway so the result will be the same.

Either way, the Democratic Party as a viable political power force is
finished for at least the next election cycle. Stick a fork in it,
it's done. We see no scenario of possible recovery from this. It's
over. The only reason they did not lose...the Senate in round one
is because only a third of the seats were in play. The rest they
will lose the next time for sure.

We are skeptical that primary challenges are even a productive option
anymore. The Democratic party has so totally betrayed the people who
voted for them, who had faith in them, who believed in them, we must
confront the real possibility that nobody will believe a word coming
out of the mouth of anyone running as a Democrat ever again.

And the thing that really aggravates us the most about all this are
people still whining that the Democrats need to get a spine.
Democrats have plenty of spine when they are arresting people calling
for single-payer and dragging them out of hearing rooms. They have
plenty of spine when they are refusing to allow a vote on even the
most feeble of public options. They have plenty of spine when they
are calling us bleepity-bleep retards.

Rather, Democrats tolerate being perceived as cowards. Because if
people thought for one nanosecond that they were not cowards, then
people would have to confront the stark truth that the Democrats are
in on it.

They are in on the corporate corruption. They are nothing but
enablers, all of them, from top to bottom, front to back, especially
the so-called progressives, without exception. They are willingly and
knowingly playing the role of Judy in this Punch and Judy show, and
nothing is going to change about that for them, for ever and ever,
end of story, period.

We told you after the final health care vote what needed to be done
about it. We told you that we needed to build a massive Independent
Voters movement, with greater numbers than either the Democratic or
Republican parties. We asked you to go to a Facebook page we created
for this purpose and just become a fan...

Something shy of 7,000 of you did then. Obviously it was not enough....
Talk among yourselves. When we see 100,000 over there we will know there
is some chance for real change. Until then, we are fooling nobody but

And we close with an exact quote from an even earlier alert, from
September of 2009, which..you can still read in its entirety
on OpEdNews.com, where we warned you that the whole health care
reform debate was a total fraud and that no "public option" of any
kind would survive in the final bill.


Here is the quote from the conclusion of the alert documented on the
page above.

"And that is Obama's real plan, the one he won't talk about in a public speech, to let the weakest possible 'public option' hang
around for a little while as an illusory sop for the terminally
gullible, only to bleed it to death before it can actually go into
effect. Yes, this is Obama's new 'improved' leech therapy."

Lord, the hate mail we got about that one. People yelling at us
telling us we were full of it. Calling us racists. Read the words
again. And now ask yourself in all candor, "Ain't it the truth?"

Please take action now, so we can win all victories that are supposed
to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.


Comments on this post are welcome.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Need for Action -- and Organization

On the road --

After the drubbing of Democrats in the House of Representatives elections this week, Americans need a true organization of the willing -- an organizing effort worthy of the best in our country. To say that progressive causes took a beating is to say the obvious. What is not so obvious is what to do.

The first thing is to see what is possible. Then one must see what one can do. Third, is to decide to take action. Each of these steps must be taken in order before anything can be accomplished.

So it is a time for reflection. Then it is time for patriots to band together to stop any further strengthening of regressive forces in America, as represented by Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, crackpots among the "tea party" movement and their ilk. It is a mistake to say "it can't happen here." It could and it already has to some extent.

I have spoken of the media earlier. One fairly easy action is to boycott underwriters and advertisers of various media concerns. Sitting back and hoping solutions will drop out of the sky is not enough!

So, let us be about the business of democracy.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Election 2010: The Facts Few People Are Talking About

Much like the media coverage leading up to this year's election, post election coverage has tended strongly to the shallow. The overall lack of depth, relevance, and coherence is shocking in a major democracy. Many examples can be given. Here for the moment are a few points.

1. What was the national voter turn-out figure? Was it over 50% of registered voters, to say nothing of elegible voters? If it was not over 50% how can pundits and politicians claim that "the American people" have spoken? Clearly, if fewer than 50% of eligible voters actually voted, no matter who "won" the election, it is still a minority vote.

2. What are the final dollar figures spent on all Congressional campaigns combined? How does this figure compare with past elections? What portion of the dollar amount can be attributed to anonymous donors? How does this compare with past elections? (This question tries to get at the effect of the Citizens United decision as well as erroneous FEC decisions.)

3. At what cost to our country was this highly negative campaign carried out?

4. Why is the "tea party" movement treated with undue deference and attention? Why was there no similar coverage of the One Nation march on Washington on October 2, a rally which attracted thousands of people from all walks of life?

5. Why are so few pointing out the voters in 2010 skewed older than the average age?

In short, the "facts" being reported are often emotionally-charged judgement calls, made to conform to preconceived notions as determined by the media echo chamber.

Finally, I call for a Senate investigation of the conduct of NPR which, with some exceptions, has participated in the prejudicial media narrative of a presumed Republican win (well before it actually happened) followed by momentous-sounding hubris far-overstating the facts. Some of the early commentary about divisions in the Republican coalition hint that the Cinderella story-line of a Republican "resurgence" is inaccurate at best.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Will They Never Cease?

As astute followers of the news already know, the "tea party" movement has received major funding from big-money donors who would rather remain anonymous. (See earlier posts here for more on this subject.) Further, assiduous researchers have shown that there are direct lines from the effort to topple FDR through the John Birch Society types on through the "Reagan revolution" followers down to the Clinton impeachers and now the tea partiers of the early 21st Century. (Time precludes me from developing this line of history now, but experienced Internet users can search for Smedley Butler or "the plot against FDR" for some very interesting and revealing historical facts.)

Today comes word of some habituated racist activities long practiced in the South now being taken up by self-identified tea party "drinkers" according to Alternet today. While not surprised at this news, I remain quite horrified that such tactics are still being used in 2010. Follow the link below to the Alternet story.

In coming days I plan to say more about the mid-term voting in America this November. As usual, I plan to approach things from a unique perspective, and to offer sources of informaton both reliable and intriguing. Truth seekers are thus most welcome to return here for up-dates.

N.B. Unlike say, the John Birch Society, the tea party movement, at least in the beginning, attracted a certain number of persons who had fairly thoughtful critiques of the early Obama administration, even those identifying themselves as Democrats or liberals. (One early study showed 3 % of those attached to the movement calling themselves Democrats or left-leaning. I will try to find the source of this study soon.) Within months if not weeks, however, strident forces, and also wealthy donors, began to dominate the "tea scene", as we might call it.


Monday, November 01, 2010

No Predictions, Just Hope

Predictions in politics can be hazardous. I very well remember in the lead-up to the 2000 election when pundits predicted a close election, yet Al Gore won the popular vote comfortably (even though he was kept out of the White House by a traitorous and partisan Supreme Court majority).

The link below gives a good overview of Democratic hopes for retaining control of Congress, no matter what the pundits may be saying.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Renewed Hope for Democrats

Newsweek magazine reports that the most recent polls are showing a tightening of races in different parts of the country. After months of hearing "the Republicans are likely to gain seats and possibly win control of Congress," it is indeed heartening to see new Democratic strength.

The article is linked below.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

The French Lead the Way

At the attached link you will find a most informative interview on the subject of the protests on-going in France. The article explains very clearly what is at stake for workers in France. For instance, one thing which seems crystal clear is the fact that the National Assembly of France has been voting against the interests of the average French citizen. That workers would protest actions which materially and negatively affect their well-being should be a surprise to no one.

Leaving aside any violence, one wonders why we don't have more of this kind of street action in the United States. And indeed if certain persons have their way, there will be attempts to weaken and even destroy Social Security and Medicare and other vitally necessary programs after the November elections.

My sense is the Democrats are beginning to strengthen their position in the lead-up to the November vote. I only hope the efforts of Democratic leaders are not too little too late.

So, France leads the way. The France of Montesquieu and Lafayette is alive and well and millions of Frenchmen and women want to keep it strong, healthy, and just. Vive la France!


Monday, October 11, 2010


Personal and family issues have kept me away the past few weeks. I am glad to be back here, however briefly.

The world trudges on in these early days of autumn. There is an election up-coming in the United States which is greeted with little more than a yawn by the mass electorate. This collective yawn is understandable, yet dangerous, as it minimizes what is a real risk of a capitulation to some very dark forces. The people who now run the Republican party are little more than either hacks or patsies for huge corporate interests. These interests will essentially stop at nothing to protect their wealth.

Do we not remember the reign of fear which gripped this country after September 11, 2001? Few people remember it was the Democratic Party alone which was able to raise objections to the Bush reign of paranoia following that despicable event. While indeed capitulating to the overall atmosphere of panic, Democrats did raise some needed objections.

It is certainly true that over the years, Democrats in power have continued to vote for wars. There has been a looking away from the alledged illigal activities of Karl Rove (specificially the Valeria Plame affair).

Still, does anyone doubt that any sort of Repubican win in the Congressional elections would have anything less than a very negative effect on the country? Are we really to go back to people who brought us to this financial debacle in the first place? After all, it was a Republican Congress which destroyed Glass-Steagall protections in 1999. (And where there were Democratic colluders such as Larry Summers, let these colluders be clearly identified.)

So, defeating the Republican party must be a top priority. Then, let a deeper democracy begin, one in which an informed citizenry is assisted by an enlightened, talented and ethical legislative body.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There Is Hope!

Commentary will be omitted so I can get the link to this important article here for you.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Hope for Democrats

The United States is desperate for leadership in solving the pernicous lingering econonmic depression. ("Depressions" are low spots and can vary in depth. Thus the term is applicable to the current situation. Millions of Americans know this in their bones.) Worried questioners at today's so-called town hall meeting with President Obama is evidence of this desperation.

The editors of The Nation have mercifully provided us with a strategy of hope in the up-coming elections. As I commented yesterday in rather unmistakable terms, there is currently a malicious effort afoot to deny the American people the right to a true debate, a true contest. Instead what we get are shallow opinionators, focused as ever on the horse race and little interested in the way average Americans live their lives. It is enough to cause one to recommend mandatory periodic furloughs for the tired nags of negativism.

A case in point was Robert Siegel of the former National Public Radio (now in truncation, "NPR"), who today claimed that Democratic problems go deep. This is clearly a case of shallow reporting. Why? The problems are most certainly not those of the Democratic Party alone but of the country itself. Even, one could say of the world, for the current economic malaise crosses international boundaries.

Certainly one can be critical of Democrats. And this includes the President most certainly. When we wanted FDR, we got Joe Lieberman. Much more can be done for the economy.

But, does anyone seriously think the Republicans have any kind of workable plan? What we would get would be trickle down economics. We would get tax breaks and every advantage possible for the rich, with a trickle of benefits -- at best -- to everyone else. This to say nothing of their scary notions of "national security" to the detriment of civil rights.

This essentially puts large portions of the media as little more than shills for the Republicans, including tea partiers. I plan to have more evidence of this in coming days.

For now,the article by The Nation 's editors shows a fairly clear path to victory for the press-beleagured Democrats.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Naysayers

Allow me to speak plainly: I am sick and tired of the naysayers who, nearly two months before an election, claim to know how this year's mid-term contest is going to turn out. Even the Huffington Post has joined the chorus of naysayers saying how difficult the political landscape is for Democrats this year.

This is a form of psychological warfare: demoralize your enemy through propaganda, so-called scientific polling, and negative "news" to the point he will not even mount the effort to oppose you. We have seen this before, notably in 2004.

No one, but no one knows for sure how things will play out come election day in November. What is clear is that a corporatized media has adopted a slanted view which amounts to little more than passing on Republican talking points. This can be seen through recent "reports" from ABC News on line, The Wall Street Journal, and other organs of false dissemination.

We know who these people are. They are out to protect their wealth at any cost, including the truth. This is motivation enough to work, work, work to defeat them this November.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A Most Useful Article on Modern Propaganda Techniques

At this link, you will find a good list of examples of contemporary propaganda efforts. By creating a false reality, then presenting the false reality as "news," propagandists are able to manufacture seeming public approval of controversial and disturbing policies. A very useful piece.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Video of Unusual Target Store Protest

Linked here is video of an unusual protest at a Target store, protesting the company's intrusion into the political process in the Minnesota governor's race. No matter what one thinks of any particular candidate, it is an egregious error for a corporation with its superior financial resources to try to influence an election. As the video says, corporations are not people.


Friday, August 06, 2010

Labor Begins to Find Its Voice

This article is one of the most hopeful on the subject of the economy I have read in quite awhile (see below). Finally, labor is recognizing it must create a movement apart from the Democratic Party. The answer appears to be a partnership with community forces. This is brilliant and would represent the best in American history: an economy based on community cohesion and protection of workers' rights.

There is no need to say more, except to say read this article and gain strength and hope:


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Professors as Welfare Queens -- from Truthout

The article linked below is perhaps the single most important article on education today. As an educator and a community college professor I decry the current attack on higher education well underway not only on right-wing talk radio, but increasingly among supposed "liberals." It's not hard to understand what has happened. Ever since Ronald Reagan slammed innocent people on welfare as being "welfare queens," there has been an escalation of rhetoric against anyone receiving government assistance. Tragically, this has come to include children in our public school system!

But a parallel attack is continuing and gaining steam -- an attack on higher education itself. While there can be many criticisms of higher education, something like a true and useful purpose is still very much alive in higher education. Problems come chiefly from economic issues, not the least of which is low income of students and all the ensuing stresses and difficulties.

As for professors, there has been an increase in the use of adjunct faculty. Such faculty members usually have no contract, no benefits and are paid at a lower rate than full-time faculty. Tenured faculty fare better, but no one is getting the kind of salaries seen on Wall Street.

This attack on education in general and high education specifically is similar to the anti-intellectualism of the Nazis in Italy and Germany. While not all critics of education are so oriented, those of the Limbaugh/Beck ilk have enormous power through broadcast media.

Now comes a book from supposed liberals which sickeningly echoes many of the arguments of the right, particularly in orientation. The article below tells more.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Talk of Republican Take-Over of the House Still a Pipe-dream

Granted, anything is possible. But according to The New York Times, the trend lines currently favor Democrats no matter what anyone is saying. With the number of seats considered in play, it is theoretically possible the Republicans could gain the majority. But this would seem to require some major national calamity, an eventuality not to be totally ruled out, unfortunately. More likely will be Democratic retention of control, at least according to The Times.

This situation says more about the corporate agenda of our current media, one controlled increasingly by fewer and fewer major businesses. And, make no mistake: the media in this country is big business, or as Dick Cheney would say big business, big time.

So, Democrats take heart and pass the word. You are likely to retain control, but not without a fight. And remember, in politics there are no guarantees. On the other hand, dreaming something doesn't make it so. That's especially true for Republicans this year.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Bush Era Surveillance Efforts Said to Continue and Expand

In a sign that illegal surveillance programs launched by the Bush administration are accelerating under President Obama, The Wall Street Journal revealed last week that a National Security Agency (NSA) program, PERFECT CITIZEN, is under development.

With a cover story that this is merely a "research" effort meant to "detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants," it is also clear that the next phase in pervasive government spying is underway.

This from a web log called Antifascist Calling. This is a new blog to me, one that is well-written and apparently well-researched by a published author. I highly recommend checking it out. (For a direct link to the material containing the quote above, please click on the title of this post above.)

Anyone with any sense at all can tell something is rotten, not only in Denmark, but in the United States. As much as anything I have seen recently the blog I am mentioning here is useful in calling out the henchmen of capitalism. To have such thieves and crooks brought into the light of day is a decided public service.

The blog reference URL is here: http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finally Some Good News for Congressional Democrats

There is some good news for Democrats this week. Gallup polling is revealing a six-point lead in what is called the generic preference. This means more people prefer to vote for the Democrat in their district than the Republican if the election were held now.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Owe Money -- Get a "Go to Jail Card"

A major Minnesota newspaper details a significant increase in arrests and incarceration for people who owe money on credit cards and to other businesses. While it seems that in most cases these debts have been outstanding for some time, the use of law enforcement to arrest and jail people is increasing. This at a time of widespread economic hardship.

The practice of jailing people for owing money is reprehensible, Draconian, medieval, barbaric. It should be stopped at once. What kind of country are we, when we jail people for owing what are often small amounts of money. If there are persons who willfully ignore their debts, a process of warnings should be developed and enacted into law. One suggestion is for persons to be allowed to fill out forms for garnishing wages at the time of arrest and prior to any jailing. Putting a person in jail in many cases only delays the repayment of the debt.

Shame on these heartless companies for jerking police around and getting them to do their bidding in this manner!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Secret Operations Threaten to Overshadow Elected Government

Here you will find a short article about a new Washington Post series on the vast intelligence-gathering network which has grown up after the attacks of September 2001. While much of this has been reported in one way or another by the alternative press over the years, this new series appears to gather a fairly extensive overview of information. This secretive operation is so hidden that no one knows for sure how much money is being spent. But the simple fact that 850,000 Americans have top secret clearances, according to this article indicates the huge size of this operation. To say this is not appropriate in a democracy is an understatement! Protect America, sure, but this is not the way to do it.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Gives the IMF the Right?

Immediately after the election of 2004 (results of which were officially contested on the floor of Congress), G. W. Bush began a campaign to partially privatize Social Security. His effort was strongly opposed and ultimately failed miserably.

Now comes word that an unelected body of bureaucrats wants to reduce Americans' hard-earned Social Security benefits. The article referenced below tells well of the putrid nature of the IMF's culpability regarding our continuing financial crisis.

This latest effort to undermine Americans' security must be fought with the same vigor as the fight against Bush's plan of a half decade ago. Indeed this effort must be fought with the same vigor as a foreign invasion albeit with different means.


Monday, July 05, 2010

Media Effectively Barred from Oil Spill Special Zones

This referenced article tells about what amounts to a ban on photos and eye-witness reports of oil spill containment efforts in the Gulf. At least that is what is reported here.

Where, in fact, is the sense of crisis at this time? What can we expect in the next weeks or months before the so-called rescue wells are in operation? It is critical that the media have access to these areas so we the people will know just what is going on.


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Let Us Remember the Founders

As we come to the 234th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, let us remember those who had such an elevated and beautiful vision of what America could be. This would be a land of opportunity, purpose and equality. Although these goals would be under continuous development in the decades ahead, it was these persons and no others which set us on our course to freedom and justice. Men like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Monroe, James Madison, George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry, supported by "wives behind the throne," led the fight through their courage and eloquence.

I am reposting the link to some photos of "our founders" who recently appeared to voice their opinion on current matters of importance. Indeed, the fight for human dignity is by no means over. The forces of privilege and tyranny, often wearing the clothes of opportunity and advantage, are still very much with us. This week-end is as good a time as any to reflect on our Founding Fathers and Mothers and just how much of a sacrifice they made for us. May we be up to their sacrifice.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rep. Kennedy Rips National Press

Rarely have I seen or read of such a passionate speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on the subject of the national press. Certainly persons on the right have been passionately critical. But less often have persons on the left -- normally staunch advocates of freedom of the press -- been this critical with this kind of vehemence. Patrick Kennedy is to be congratulated for his speech.

N.B. I have no control over the ads appearing with this video. --TMP

Several Founding Fathers and One Founding Mother Apparently Visit Washington


Click on post title or cut and paste the link above for a special slide show.

See post below for further information.

Something Cheerful!

"George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Betsy Ross" have re-appeared in Washington, this time protesting the influence of big money on politics! The article whose link appears below tells more.

It is about time our founding fathers and mothers got involved in the continuing cesspool which is otherwise known as American electoral politics. While there are certainly many, many wonderful people in elective office, the system which brings them there is all-too often corrupt and untrustworthy.

Hear ye, all citizens, the patriots of old* have returned to the fray! Their appearance is long-overdue.

*As you will see from the article, our Patriot Progenitors appear with actors under the clothes. But I don't want to spoil the fun.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Another Lion of the Senate Passes

Early this morning, in the wee hours, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia died after being in declining health for some time. This great lion of the Senate, who stood for the Constitution even when it wasn't popular, will be sorely missed. I will have more to say about Robert Byrd later.


Toronto Out of Control. Or Was It?

Here is a provocative account of what is being described as a riot in Toronto. Allegations are flying back and forth. It seems from the eye-witness reports given at this link that police were negligent (purposely?) in not stopping the actions of the Black Bloc. Astonishing and powerful reading.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

New Report on Bush-era Torture Raises Question of Human Experimentation

Here is a quick post to direct you to a report on a report, one which raises serious questions of unethical and illegal human experimentation on detainees under the Bush Administration. It is time for the Obama Administration to step up to the plate and investigate if they have the nerve to reverse policy as stated by Mr. Obama himself.

No American should put up with anything less than a criminal investigation of this kind of activity!


Friday, June 04, 2010

Another Oil Company Plays Hardball

Bill Moyers in an article on his program's web site alerts us to another oil company disaster. Chevron has sued in court for access to out-takes of a movie critical of the company. In most cases, courts have ruled that journalistic film out-takes are the equivalent of a reporter's notebook. But now some judge in New York has given Chevron access to supposedly make sure the documentary was "fair." This is an outrageous ruling. If upheld it will chill both documentarians and sources. One wonders: Where are we getting these judges, perniciously ignorant of long-standing First Amendment law?


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Calls for a Return to Glass-Steagall Continue

An important economist has written an article in the Financial Times of London.
Roubini declared, "It is time for radical reform of finance. The majority of proposals on the table are inadequate or irrelevant. Large financial institutions must be unbundled; they are too big, interconnected and complex to manage. Investors and customers can find all the traditional banking, investment banking, hedge fund, mutual fund and insurance services they need in specialized firms. We need to go back to Glass-Steagall on steroids."

(unconfirmed but from a usually-reliable source)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Socialism Revisited

Socialism is a term fraught with controversy and contradiction. In its clearest meaning, it is a way of organizing society in order to preserve and protect the rights and needs of people. It is under this definition that some even opposed the
Revolutionary War. That is, they were more desirous of protecting their own interests tied to the British crown.

We see this same line of reasoning today: I have to protect my own interests even if that means others must suffer. It is an old story.

The question is whether the major alternative to socialism, capitalism, can any longer be made to work. That is, can the social costs of preserving capitalism be ameliorated to the extent that the profit system can survive.

Those who have studied the matter doubt capitalism can survive. At a minimum, the kind of market-driven capitalism we have had for the last many years simply cannot garner the kind of political support necessary.

What we are getting instead is a very minimal increase in the regulatory regime in Washington. And the proposal to give watch-dog authority to the Federal Reserve seems, at the least, a matter of letting the fox guard the hen house. These things do in fact need to be said. Congress has not effectively dealt with the problem due to inherent conflicts of interest having to do with the financing of elections (which includes the heavy use of corporate media).

The article referenced below advocates for socialism. While I am not an advocate of state-run socialism, a la the former Soviet Union, I do value a new approach. Call it progressivism, communitarianism, or simply Christianity-put-into-practice, it is clear our current system is not only unethical but unsustainable. I will attempt to present more evidence for this bold assertion in the days, weeks, and months ahead.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lest We Forget

Because of a short-sighted media, Americans are essentially deprived of context in news reporting. To counter this a bit, I present this video clip from one of the Presidential debates in 2004. Remember how everyone thought John Kerry was the true president on the stage? This clip shows why. Readers of this blog and books by Greg Palast and articles on the Free Press web site and many other places, know that John Kerry won the vote in 2004, but was bamboozled due to a variety of dirty tricks, directed by Karl Rove in the White House.

Watch and see what America could have had with John Kerry as President.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Impeach Chief Justice John Roberts? Yes!


At the link above you can read an opinion piece advocating the impeachment of John Roberts. I certainly agree with this demand! Whether it can happen in the current culture of Washington is questionable to say the least. But with the financial system once again in crisis, public anger toward big corporations will only increase. Having an impeachment effort already underway makes terrific sense.

Left Parties Gain in German Election

Left parties gained in elections today in Germany's industrial heartland, cheering members of both the Green and Left Parties. At the same time a coalition of center-right parties suffered losses compared with the election of 2005. While this can be seen as a backlash against incumbents, it also represents the first time the Left Party has gained an official place at the center of government in this part of Germany.


Important New Senate Bill Seeks to Restore Measure of Financial Accountability

Three days ago, a bi-partisan group of Senators announced the filing of a bill to restore a measure of sanity in financial markets. This bill seeks to restore the firewall erected in 1933 with the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited financial institutions from being both banks and stock investment agents. This much-needed and long-overdue bill would restore a measure of stability to our beleaguered financial system. While not a true fix or cure for the profit system, at least average bank customers would be protected from the kind of wild speculation which has caused so much damage. This reform along with others would go a long way toward restoring citizen confidence.

Unfortunately, such efforts do not go far enough. For instance, we still have standing an opinion from the Supreme Court that corporations can give unlimited amounts of cash to sway elections. Many other such outrages would remain.

But the coalition of Senators deserves high marks for this important step to try to restore some rationality to our financial and civic life.

To see the press statement from Senator Cantwell, one of the bill's sponsors follow this link or click on the blog post title above.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

What the New Arizona Immigration Law Is Really About -- Greg Palast Reports

In an extremely helpful article investigative reporter Greg Palast reveals what is really behind the new Arizona immigration law. Arizona politics has always had a strong anti-immigrant flavor. What is new is the number of legal immigrants who have had the audacity to properly register to vote and then actually vote. These new voters have been voting Democratic two-to-one. What is a beleaguered Republican party to do? Call in Karl Rove, that's what! Greg Palast tells the whole story here:


Monday, May 03, 2010

Our Nemesis: He (She) Is Us

This past week-end I finally finished Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson. This important book details the American network of bases around the world which amount to outposts of empire.

In the closing pages of the book, Johnson makes clear the price Americans pay for what is known as hegemony -- the unyielding domination of one nation over others. I hope to have more to say about this wonderful book soon. For now, I can say this book is well worth reading. In fact I would say it is essentially must-reading for any responsible American or world citizen.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Beginnings of a New, Powerful Coalition Set to Take on Wall Street

My preamble tonight will be brief so I can get this information to my readers. It is unusual in our time to hear references to the populists of the 1880s and '90s. The article linked here not only contains such references, but shows how a new partnership among workers, political activists, and social reformers is taking shape with the goal of reforming Wall Street in a major way.

I disagree that anything like a Wall Street group is necessary for the proper functioning of an economy in a democracy. My thesis is Wall Street is so corrupt, there is no saving that system. We need a new, progressive, democratically- controlled financial system, featuring something like a national bank (with relatively small, private banks allowed), abolition of the privatized Federal Reserve, and a return to money controlled by Congress, with mechanics maintained by a cadre of professionals.

But this article is a start. Let us be about the task of beginning this new journey.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Striking Oakland Teachers Have it Right

Come Friday, Oakland, California, public students will likely be presented with a double treat: a full day off from school, plus a lesson in active democracy. With Oakland teachers set to strike for one day, the Oakland community will be reminded of the need for fairness to both teachers and students. The article referenced tells more.

I very much respect the Oakland teachers and wish them well in their fight for manageable class sizes, protection of basic services, and equitable pay!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Compelling Reading from Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky fathoms the anger of the average American now, informed by personal experience reaching all the way back to the '30s. This article enlightens both through its history and its accurate assessment of the body politic in the U.S. now. His viewpoint on the Tea Party movement is dead on -- and surprising. Members of the Tea Party movement should be taken seriously, says Chomsky, not dismissively derided.

From the anarchist movements of the 1930s, then, to the Tea Party movement of now, Chomsky traces lines of movements for justice, propelled by the aspirations of every-day workmen. The result is an article brilliant, moving and prescient. This is must-reading for every thoughtful American.


Supremes Rapped for Decision

Here is an entertaining, if simple, video criticizing the recent Supreme Court decision which puts forth the ridiculous assertion that corporations have the same rights as persons. I have dealt with this issue in earlier posts. Here is another way to get the message across: corporations do not have the same rights as persons!

(Click on the title above or cut and paste the URL below.)


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obama Assassination Policy Despicable

After a break due to illness --

What is it about power that corrupts absolutely, as the old axiom goes? Seemingly good and charming people campaign for office, decrying the extra-Constitutional means of their predecessors, then, when in office, adopt and even expand the same means. Such a person is one Barrack Obama, current sworn President of the United States.

Fortunately, there is at least one representative in Congress unafraid to challenge or criticize this atrocious Obama assassination policy. That courageous patriot is Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. I am proud to say I voted for Mr. Kucinich for President in 2004 and again in 2008. At no point did I vote for Mr. Obama, bucking a huge political tide at the time.

At any rate, the referenced article tells more about the Obama treachery and the Kucinich bravery.


Friday, April 09, 2010

Musical America -- 1971

As this is the Musical Patriot, I thought persons might enjoy this music from the opening theme of the 1971 version of Password, the TV game show with Allen Ludden. There are many ways to be patriotic and music can be used thus. While this music is certainly not patriotic in the ordinary sense of the word, there is something about this music which represents the best of America of the latter Twentieth Century and beyond: sophisticated yet authentic. The music here is quite appealing -- both techno and poignant. This could be talked about in technical musical terms. But why not have a listen? (The comments below the excerpt are interesting, too.)

Audio Version of Theme to Password Plus

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Pollster John Zogby in Sincere Plea to Cable News Networks

Now I realize that what follows here might be characterized as biting the hand that has fed me. If it hadn’t been to a great degree for cable news networks I wouldn’t be nearly as well known and my company would have had to fight much harder for attention. But now I am older and I’ve changed – but they have changed, too and not for the better.

So begins a thoughtful on-line column by pollster John Zogby. Zogby makes several important and useful observations regarding ratings and the content of cable news. This article is well worth reading and thinking about.

Robert Reich Tells the Truth About Jobs

Late last week on All Things Considered, I heard an unnamed White House official touting the dramatic turn-around in the jobs picture. This smooth-talking, nearly giddy, spokeswoman touted the addition of some 50,000 new jobs in one month early this year compared with the loss of as much as 700,000 jobs per month the year before. Her figures were indeed impressive. And jobs numbers released for March were said to be encouraging.

It is useful, however, to see where these numbers may come from. Many, says former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, come from government hiring -- as a result of the stimulus package and more recently from Census hiring, as well. This is evidence for my long-held position that the government needed to enact an FDR-style jobs program in order to jump-start the economy. Reich shows that Americans continue to fall behind in the area of jobs. The need for a serious jobs program remains real and great.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Infamous Crosshairs Graphic from Sarah Palin

At the web page referenced here you can view the notorious Sarah Palin graphic which puts a gunsight on the districts of targeted Congressmen. This is an inappropriate graphic in the extreme. This is more evidence of a politician who has crossed the line of decency, Americanism, and safety. Isn't this essentially domestic terrorism? Is it only symbolic in its effect? (See post below for more.)

Language alert: The web site referenced contains offensive language and content, including the graphic mentioned above. Readers should proceed with caution.


Help Oppose Sarah Palin

Clicking on the title above will take you to a web page facilitating opposition to Sarah Palin. I welcome most any legal effort to oppose Sarah Palin. Never in the history of the country has a defeated Vice-Presidential candidate been given so much air time and so undeservedly. The half-term former governor of one of America's least-populated states flies around the country doing drop-in public appearances, often at radical-right rallies which contain some very scary personalities.

This Sarah Palin is no joke. She is reality and not to be under-estimated. Remember the guffaws and chortles which greeted the G. W. Bush campaign by those on the left? Remember how Ralph Nader told us the Republicans wouldn't be so bad? (!) Sarah Palin is a "W" Bush type of politician. She has her talents and strengths, though sheer knowledge is not one of her attributes. People laughed off Adolph Hitler, too. Then, within a few years, Kristallnacht occurred.

Are the broken windows of our hallowed Congress so different from the broken windows of the Jewish ghetto of the 1930s? Make no mistake: there is a relation between the horror of the latter and the brutality of the former. The F.B.I. is right to be concerned. So should every citizen be concerned -- very concerned.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Tides of March

The tide (or is it tidal wave?) of events rolls precipitously onward and one is hard-pressed to stayed glued to his surfboard. It has been a busy month with some special musical performances which have been challenging but rewarding.

The country seems to be recovering itself a bit these days. I see this nation as being in a recovery mode from abuse ever since the September 11, '01 fiasco. I use the word abuse carefully as I have seen that the people of our nation were victims of abuse, first by the events of that day, and later by those who had motives to want to exploit that tragedy. And let us be clear: exploitation did occur -- from cost over-runs on no-bid contracts in Iraq to a burgeoning "security industry," certain financial and industrial tycoons were not unhappy with the terror state which grew up in the early part of the new century.

So let us be about regret (of the honest kind), recovery, and rejuvenation in these early days of spring.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Torture Was and Always Will Be Beyond the Pale

The shortness of this post does not imply anything but the utmost importance. It should be self-evident that torture is completely outside the bounds of the set of values the United States was founded on.

For any politician to suggest otherwise amounts to treason. The article referenced here backs up this assertion.


Monday, March 15, 2010

FBI Whistleblower Colleen Rowley Speaks

In a most interesting talk, Colleen Rowley tells about her experience as an FBI whistleblower soon after 9/11/01. She is inspiring in her defense of the truth. Here is the video. (Please allow time for the video to load and play as necessary.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

An Allergy to Thought?

I was taken this evening by the following quote from John Sexton, President of New York University. I like very much his expression of an allergy to thought rampant in America. Of course people are thoughtful. But the kind of thought Sexton refers to -- analytical thought -- is indeed in short supply. Sexton further stated that universities are the key to restoring or creating healthy discourse in our lives.

Here is the quote as printed on the web site of Bill Moyers Journal.

"This is a pattern that I see: an allergy to thought, to complexity [and] nuance - a kind of collapse into an intellectual relativism where opinions become fact... It's a dangerous thing... I think there's a growing hostility to knowledge in this country... Our national progress is being retarded because we have fallen into this discourse by slogan. We have fallen into this relativism where it's a conversation to stop and say, "Well, that's your opinion. [This is] my opinion...' Go back to the Athenian idea of political speech - it was a search for good answers. We're so far from that today that it's almost ludicrous for me to bring that up, but I want to remind us... We don't listen well as a society. When we listen, we listen in feedback loops to people who are likely to say what it is we think is right... We're in the process, it seems to me, because of this allergy to complexity and nuance, of devaluing the importance of education... I think universities are the last, best hope for pushing back against this because what we do is complexity and nuance."

Monday, March 08, 2010

President Embroiled in Controversy Over "Failing School"

In an article entitled "A Wholesale School Shake-Up Is Embraced by the President, and Divisions Follow" in yesterday's New York Times, the writers, Steven Greenhouse and Sam Dillon tell of a Draconian move by a Rhode Island school board to fire the entire faculty of a local school. The article referenced below also tells more. It is apparent in reading about this that there is essentially a labor dispute going on between the teachers and the school board and that the school board, apparently out of pique, up and fired the entire faculty rather than accede to demands of the teachers union for more pay for extra work.

Adding salt to the wound was President Obama who said words to the effect that the school board's move was "a painful but potentially necessary move." (The quote is The Boston Globe's characterization of the President's words.) To be fair, none of these two news sources has placed the President's words in context and the Times indicated outraged teacher's unions and the White House have attempted to patch things up.

Nevertheless, bitterness remains on the part of the teachers, and the administration's Education Secretary is said to be not backing down from a so-called "tough love" approach.

There are issues here which go beyond the scope of this post. But in reading about the matter, it is clear there are extenuating circumstances such as the rapid mobility of the families in the area around the school. Surely, there is a better way to handle the situation than ruthlessly firing an entire faculty, one obviously beloved by the student body.


Catching Up

Yesterday I was the featured artist in a symphony performance. It was an exciting event, although I am glad it is now over. The last several weeks I spent concentrating and preparing as professional musicians must. This blog was an unfortunate victim of my musical success.

Now, however, it is time to get back to work here. I have followed the news somewhat in the last several days. As usual, the mainstream media has been deficient or derelict in numerous ways. So, resuming my place among the bloggers of the land, I will endeavor to help fill some gaps and perhaps even open up little-known avenues of thoughtful investigation.

Please check back here soon for more.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Starts a Boiling Pot in the Blogosphere

Sibel Edmonds, whose allegations blew a hole in the FBI's official story, now has a web log. From what I can tell upon a quick examination, the blog definitely has merit. As with most every blog, including this one, the topics don't necessarily flow one from the other, but they do all share a common theme criticizing the fear machine which is still going strong more than eight years after September 11, 2001. The Edmonds blog is enthusiastically recommended.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

George Carlin on the "9/11 Truth Movement"

The comic and the serious are close relations, now more than ever. So, even though unusual for this blog, I present George Carlin speaking about what happened on September 11, 2001. I don't agree with Mr. Carlin about the Kennedy assassination, but his comments about the powers-that-be ring true.

Up-dated June 30, 2013:  You Tube informs this video no longer exists.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Hidden History: the Creation of the Constitution

I am continuing my study of the creation of the Constitution and am continuing to learn many interesting things. It is clear to me that almost everyone who is talking about the Constitution these days does not really know the history of its creation, particularly its antecedents in colonial era practice. Due to lack of time, I will have to wait for another day to say more. At a later time I will talk, for instance, about the Electoral College, where it came from, and how it made it into the Constitution and why perhaps it should not be abolished after all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sarah Palin: The Media's Favorite Fascist

Why do articles and broadcast news stories about the much-discredited, half-term former governor of Alaska, Ms. Sarah Palin, continue to appear? The article referenced here tells why. It is because of draw. That's right -- Sarah Palin draws people in. In newspapers, over the air, on cable TV, and on the Internet people tune in to, read about , and click on titles of -- Sarah Palin.

In a talk given by award-winner author Naomi Wolf which I attended in 2008, she said that Sarah Palin was being set up as a puppet for some extreme right-wing reactionary forces. In a future post I hope to present evidence for this through statements Palin has made. I believe it to be true -- Palin is the Fascist-in-Waiting. This is so both because of her own inclinations and her relative weaknesses personally. That is, she can be manipulated. Thus we have Palin as demagogue, a feminine poseur, ready to do the bidding of powerful oligarchs who have every reason to oppose democratic institutions.

Again, these statements need to be backed up. But the power of Palin to mesmerize the savants of the media, already shows something of her pluck. Let us hope that, as the polls show, Palin will not win any nomination -- not even as Librarian of the Year.


Friday, February 12, 2010

One Picture Is Worth...

...a thousand words. Reclaim Democracy has treated us to a wonderfully self-explanatory satire of the Gilded Supreme Court most of whose members confuse the corporation with actual living, breathing persons who were born to a human mother.


Friday, February 05, 2010

Bulletin: Forgotten Facts

The Musical Patriot reminds you of two forgotten facts. They help explain why Americans are unhappy now.

Forgotten Fact Number 1: Al Gore received a half million more votes than did G. W. Bush in the 2000 election.

Forgotten Fact Number 2: Hillary Clinton received the most votes in the Democratic primaries of 2008.

Suffering from acute amnesia, the media elites then wonder why there is a disconnect between citizens and the government. Emergency therapeutic actions are strongly recommended to alleviate said amnesia. Then, at least one group of people will have clear heads.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Not-So Light Moment?

This morning I heard a brief clip on CNN radio news of the crowd waiting for Punxatawney Phil to appear. For those who live outside of America news that a crowd was waiting for a groudhog named Punxatawney Phil to appear may seem ridiculous. Well, ridiculousness and high spirits are part of the American tradition, so let the frivolity begin.

This clip, however, sounded more than raucous. The people sounded positively paganistic to my ears. That is, they didn't sound like they were simply having fun. They sounded as if they really believed in the furry weather predictor. (If Phil sees his shadow, the custom goes, there will be six more weeks of winter.) I've never taken Punxatawney Phil seriously and have always enjoyed the harmless chicanery. But this group was another matter. What's next -- seances to dispel the total eclipse of the sun?

The erstwhile and esteemed Phil, by the way, did indeed see his shadow this morning, presaging a solid six more weeks of winter. Thanks for the "heads up", Phil.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bail System Wreaks Havoc with Constitution

I heard a broadcast series of reports on National Public Radio (NPR) late last week on the subject of burdensome bail. Recently, I have become aware of this problem on a local level. But to have reports of this nature on NPR was both enlightening and disturbing. I am glad to highly recommend these reports to you. They tell of a macabre money-oriented system in which the business needs of bail bondsmen are put ahead of the Constitutional rights of the accused. I think you will find these reports riveting.

Below are two hyper-links. In each case the link is to a page containing a run-down of the two NPR programs on which the reports appear -- "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." You will need to look for the title of the report which I list below. Once you find the report you can either listen to it or read the transcript.

Bail Burden Keeps U.S. Jails Stuffed With Inmates


Inmates Who Can't Make Bail Face Stark Options

Sitting in Jail, Unable to Post Bail

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Amidst all the hysteria following a very unfortunate Senate vote in Massachusetts it is helpful to be reminded of some basic facts. I found this very helpful short animated fact sheet with narration. It helps keep us focused on what is truly needed in America now regarding health care.

I am indeed furious with Massachusetts for either a stupid Senate selection process or -- certainly -- a poor outcome. I only hope people in power will have the wisdom to stand up for principles the rest of the country believes in. And if the people of Massachusetts want to be silly -- even if the silliness has an explanation -- may they be eternally happy in their giddy ignorance.* The link to the animation is below. Could you forward it to your friends, please?

*Although blaming the Massachusetts vote, I blame the major media for a criminal dereliction of duty in not presenting the facts with which voters could make informed choices. That's why the film referenced here is so important.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reporting Lite: Brown in Massachusetts

In the interest of presenting a rainbow of reports, here is a report from today's "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio.

I call this reporting lite because of the breezy style and the relatively short length. At any rate, it gives another slant on Scott Brown, the political unknown who now must assume the cloak of a United States Senator. Whether the Scott Brown of the campaign or the friendlier Scott Brown of this report wins out remains to be seen. At least you, the reader, will have an alternative perspective as heard here. (The reference link is below or you may click on the post title above.)


Kennedy Son Has Interesting Take on Democratic Defeat in Massachusetts

The most interesting analysis I have seen so far on what happened yesterday in Massachusetts has been offered by Rep. Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Edward Kennedy. Showing both humility and something more pointed, Kennedy's comments offer a fitting explanation of the mood of voters in the state his father and uncle represented for so many years. You can read the younger Kennedy's comments here:
< http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31700.html >.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Disaster in Massachusetts

It is hard to tell now which was the bigger disaster: nominating Martha Coakley for U.S. Senate or her defeat at the hands of a far-right trickster in today's election. Actually, there is a third nominee for Greatest Disaster of Early 2010: the nomination of Scott Brown. I vote for the latter choice, though it is hard to argue with the other two.

The New York Times has a fairly good report on the horse-race aspect of the catastrophe. (See link below or click the post title above.) Since independents are the largest group of voters in Massachusetts, the volatility of this race is understandable. And the position of independents as such -- not committing to either party permanently-- is understandable except for one glaring fact: The Republican Party has been taken over by virtual fascists. This includes Scott Brown, who is on record as favoring waterboarding! What could the people of Massachusetts possibly been thinking?

Coming: Some possible answers.


Insanity Grips Massachusetts -- Blogging the Election

"I'm trying to save the nation today," said Robert Cappello, 69, a registered Republican and enthusiastic Brown voter from South Boston who reveled in what he described as an "overwhelming sweep" of momentum for his candidate.

"This election is a lot about sending a message," Cappello said in an excited voice outside a polling place on H Street. "It's telling Washington to slow down."

This from the Boston Globe web site today. What should have been a no-brainer for Massachusetts has turned into a brawl as Democrat Coakley is facing an unexpectedly strong challenge from far-right candidate Brown. The once-dishabille Cosmopolitan magazine centerfold star, Brown is now within spitting distance of a shocking, bewildering defeat of a solid but lackluster Democratic candidate for the seat held by Edward Kennedy. This in a state which propelled Sen. John F. Kennedy to the Presidency in 1960.

Now, half-delirious voters like Robert Cappello have been given space in Boston's august Globe to pontificate over sending a message. Though totally irresponsible, the desire to use today's election to "send a message" is real. Only a Democratic Party beholden to Wall Street could have allowed such a pending fiasco to develop.

It is time for loyal Democrats to make clear to the party leadership that such a situation was totally avoidable and unacceptable.

Meanwhile, perhaps we should pray to the God of Boston's good Catholics -- and Protestants -- for a miracle in the voting booths of the former Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Election Day in Massachusetts

McClatchy Newspapers company reports today in my local paper that Democratic strategists have put out the word over the week-end that they expect the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, to lose in today's special election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Of course, we can hope that the strategists are wrong and there will be a late surge as voters weigh carefully what a Republican win in Massachusetts would mean.

But absent such a last-minute development, how in God's name could the Democratic Party manage to lose a Senate race in over-whelmingly Democratic Massachusetts? If the Democratic candidate does lose it is a tremendous repudiation of the way the Democratic Party is being led.

Voters in Massachusetts are complaining about a Democratic candidate (Coakley) who is remote and seemingly smug. So, to cut to the chase, what kind of political process would bring such a person to the fore, assuming the crticisms are accurate?

For any Massachetts voters who are still undecided, I ask you to consider carefully your vote. Are we going to continue with a broken health care system? Are we going back to the days of bail-outs for Wall Street, of high budget and trade deficits, of disdain for the poor and the middle class -- all features brought to us by the Republican Party? And make no mistake, Brown is a far-righter who would vote for the most regressive kinds of policies and against the interests of the every-day working person of this country.

If the Democrats do lose the Kennedy seat, I call for the resignation of the head of the Democratic National Committee at a minimum, and the installation of a person who can set a new tone, something different from policies of remoteness and smugness.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Truthful Look at the U.S. Income Tax

At this time of year employers are dutifully sending out what are known as W-2 forms. I'm not sure why they call them W-2 forms, but I know why they don't call them K-9 forms. But they could. To many people that would be a more appropriate designation.

I found the article linked here to be essentially truthful, factual. One comment I would add is not to dismiss out of hand the allegations of problems with the validity of the sixteenth amendment.

If you wish to comment on this blog post or the article, please hit the comment button below.

For the article cut and paste the URL below or simply click on the blog post title above.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Best-Selling Author Warns of Possibility of Right-Wing Resurgence

Once again, Bill Moyers has hit the mark with an incisive and insightful program. I took special note of the interview with author Thomas Frank of What's the Matter with Kansas? fame. My ears pricked up when I heard Frank say he can see the possibility of a right-wing resurgence in America, playing on Americans' dissatisfaction with the economy and its attendant hopelessness. This less than a year after the inauguration of a new Democratic President. Let the complacent be forewarned!

People are indeed disappointed. They do in fact see the powerful becoming more powerful -- and at their expense. While so-called liberal Democrats see this as an occasion for the government to come to the aid of the citizenry, right-wing Republicans see a violation of their heart-felt passion for a small government.

What Frank makes clear is the Republicans don't so much want small government as weak and ineffective government. Republican strategists and apologists have actually said they want second- and third-rate people to run the government, so the beloved free market can operate without encumbrance.

We must remember it was this philosophy which got us into so much trouble during the last decade. Frank documents the evidence.

(I can say speedily I am no promoter of incompetent governance. But as Frank points out, many governments around the world can and do work very well.)

The interview is well worth watching and can be seen at the following link or by first clicking on the blog title above.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Unions Balk at Health Benefits Tax

First, I recommend reading the following New York Times on-line article. Then, come back here for my wrap-up. (You may also click on the post title above.)


I whole-heartedly support the unions as they stand up for America's middle class. The idea of taxing a benefit is bizarre and hurtful. Only out-of-touch Senators would even think of such an idea, let alone float it and vote for it. Let's hope the House version is the one ultimately passed by Congress!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Republican National Chairman Speaks Candidly

In a refreshing display of candor, the current chairman of the Republican National Committee says he is doubtful Republicans can regain control of Congress in the 2010 elections. When you read his comments in context as presented in the referenced on-line article they make sense.

Republicans are still enmeshed in a kind of internecine warfare which is one reason they continue to be in trouble. Events will have to ultimately determine which way the country goes. As inadequate as the Democrats are, it is vitally important the far right wing of the Republican Party -- which controls that "Grand Old Party" -- not take over leadership of the country.



Check back here soon for more on Continental Congress 2009

Monday, January 04, 2010

Articles of Freedom, Part 2

I have now read through the complete Articles of Freedom as passed by Continental Congress 2009. In the interest of timeliness and admittedly at the expense of completeness I offer now a brief summation.

There is much to be said in favor of these articles, which together comprise a treatise of contemporary American government. The subjects such as monetary policy, immigration, executive war powers, are dealt with concisely. Included in each section are directives for legislators and citizens.

In later posts I intend to deal in greater detail with the various statements made here. For now, I can say many of the articles are invaluable, offering a much-need corrective for our times. The Articles perform an invaluable service by pointing up the national emergency which exists now in an America confronted by a government all too often in violation of the Constitution.

My main criticism of the document is its frequent Libertarian bent. That is a capital "L" as in Libertarian Party. The standpoint of the document relative to economic issues, which elevates the so-called free market to nearly mythical status is no longer in the mainstream of American thinking after the disastrous economic turmoil of 2008 and beyond. There are other hints at excess, such as when the document actually declares the family to be in conflict with the government.

Thus, there is a certain narrowness here. A longer time in preparing for the Congress with a greater notice by the media might have allowed for a wider diversity of views. There is also evidence of haste in the adoption of the document. There is much which is presented in almost a list format with little detail or background given. (I hope to give examples in future posts.)

Still, there is much good here. The document shows what Americans can do in a time of crisis.

The document can be viewed at < www.givemeliberty.org >.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Time to Rest and Gather Strength

Dear Reader,

On this the first day of the new year, I find myself needing to re-gather strength having been fighting an infection for several weeks. While the end is not yet in sight, I am making progress and know good health will return before too long.

As I have been resting I have been reading and attempting to gather encouragement from numerous sources. How fortunate I am to have access to a wonderful civic library as well as a personal library! Next to music, books are my greatest passion and source of inspiration.

I have just started reviewing some important information and wanted to rush the reference to you so you, too, may examine certain documents and gain insights and feel encouraged. After I have had a chance to go through the documents I will have more to say.

The information I refer to is from the We the People Foundation and the documents include the Articles of Freedom adopted at Continental Congress 2009 (see elsewhere on this blog). First, I am reading a statement from the Foundation giving an interesting history of the formulation of the idea and then the work leading up to the Continental Congress held this past November. I was proud to stand as a delegate nominee to this important Congress. Later, after going through the Articles themselves I will have more to say.

In 2010, this blog will celebrate its fourth anniversary. The past three years and seven months have been rich in experience and meaning. The new year promises to be a pivotal year. It may be another difficult year as persons become clearer about the choice they must make now. I wish fortitude to those who are working to restore a fully-functioning Republic to these shores.

See this link for further information or simply click on the title above.


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