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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Continuing Collapse of Corporate Capitalism

Author Chris Hedges is currently on C-SPAN 2 talking about his new book entitled "Death of the Liberal Class." This is a fascinating and passionate appearance criticizing not so much "penny capitalism" where farmers bring their goods to market, or regional capitalism which involves single individuals owning a factory or a local hardware store -- but corporate capitalism. He warns that credit is no longer available to most people the way it was, and food is hard to find in many inner cities because, costing so much, it is not even sold there.

This is a wonderful appearance. The link to his book is provided below. You may also see his book by clicking on the post title above.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Taking Stock

The last couple of days have been a time for reflection and taking stock of the true state of the nation. For quite some time the true state of the nation has not been something the President could convey in public. And by "quite some time" I mean something like a lifetime. It seems that Franklin Roosevelt was able to both describe the nation's woes and yet offer true hope. This is why he was loved and why many homes displayed a photograph of the President. But before and since Mr. Roosevelt, truth-telling of the deep kind has been hard to find emanating from Washington, D.C..

So one is left with what one can glean from press sources and friends plus the ubiquitous television which has replaced the Greek oracle in both function and fondness.

Let us hope for and work for a better foundation for true hope. For hope must be part of that greater Truth we all yearn for, but less frequently believe to be real. Again -- let us hope for and work for a better foundation for true hope.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Speech Ends, Governing Must Begin

The nation will be watching to see whether this government can get the economy back on track. President Obama spoke early in the speech about the recession which occurred two years ago as if it is no longer a part of our reality today.

The "out-of-tuneness" continued with CBS News coverage which failed to comment in any meaningful way about the pain of job insecurity and low wages felt by the average American worker.


Continuing to blog the 2011 State of the Union Speech --

Why does it feel so good to see the whimsical yet dignified smile of Senator Al Franken?

Something Welcomed

In the midst of the mandatory laudations of our war-making machine, a welcome hand extended to American Muslims.

Listen Carefully to the Language on Social Security.

The President speaks of preserving the benefits of current retirees. This is, of course, fine, but what of future retirees? Are they to suffer?

A Change of Faces

Does anyone else miss the sight of Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House sitting in her customary spot on the dais?

Domestic Freeze Proposed

I am sorry to report that the President has foolishly and rigidly proposed a freeze on domestic spending for five years. Certainly this is better than cutting all programs! But this proposal will soon be seen to be unworkable.

An Appropriate Defense of New Health Care Regulations

Mr. Obama refuses to go back to the days before 2010 when it was harder to get and keep good health care.

Good Defense of Regulations

Safe food, clean water, financial reform: these are justified and necessary says President Obama.

Inadequate Reference to Education

The President almost reduces national education policy to two principles: 1) reward "good" teachers; and 2) stop tolerating "bad" teachers. This simplistic approach, so common in recent years, should offend the sensibilities of any carefully-thinking American.

President Hits Popular Themes

The President mentions our need to innovate, to educate, and to invest.

Opening Language Is Appropriate, Lofty, and Up-Lifting

In speaking about the tragedy of Tucson, the President remembers Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He states this event has set the stage for a re-examination of the nature of the public discourse.

Capitalism Front and Center

President Obama states the obvious: the so-called Free Enterprise System is our dominating economic system. Yet he acknowledges the pain of individuals who have suffered mightily because of its injustice.

A Special Note

In 2008, this blog writer communicated concerns that Barack Obama could not prove his status as a natural-born citizen. I have not forgotten those allegations. However, this is the man who took the oath and functions as our President. Thus, this speech is newsworthy for better or worse.

NPR Broadcasts Prelude to State of the Union

National Public Radio began the broadcast with guests E.J. Dionne, Mara Liasson, and Linda Chavez who was a cabinet officer in the Reagan Administration.

Guests have obviously seen an advance copy of the speech, telegraphing phrases from the up-coming speech.

Host erroneously states Presidents have come to this room to deliver the State of the Union for over 200 years. In fact, after the first two Presidents came to Congress in person, Thomas Jefferson regarding the practice as reminiscent of royalty. From his time until Woodrow Wilson in 1913 the State of the Union was delivered only in writing. (Source: Washington Post,Tuesday, January 25, 2011.)

Blogging the State of the Union

At this hour on this evening, I begin sending blog entries in real time during the State of the Union message. This is my honor and privilege as a citizen and as a viewer.

Coming Later: About Capitalism

Shortly, I will be commenting on Thom Hartmann's new article on capitalism and the province of Mondragon. I see the future and relevance of capitalism as the new point of discussion for 2011. A look at Hartmann's article shows why. Please check back here soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tending to Music

This past week-end I was fortunate to participate in some continuing education in the field of music. This experience renewed my faith in the human spirit as I was witness to talented leaders of all ages demonstrating skill and love in a cooperating mode. I thought to myself, "It is time for the musicians to take over [the country]." Now, there are many kinds of musicians, some professional, but others dedicated amateurs who pursue a wide variety of careers in other fields, including government and politics. Does anyone remember now that Bill Clinton sang in his church choir while governor of Arkansas?

If politicians can sing in choirs, why cannot musicians experienced in leading diverse groups of volunteers participate in public service? This is a subject I hope to return to during 2011 as the country struggles to redefine itself after violence visited upon a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Fifty Years Ago: Dwight Eisenhower delivered his famous speech decrying the rising influence of the military/industrial complex. It is not too late to heed his words of warning.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Response to "Anonymous"

Here is my response to "Anonymous" who commented on my post about a recent Paul Krugman article. (See Monday's post.)


Your interest in this post is appreciated. One of my hopes for this blog has always been to encourage a thoughtful discussion of important issues. In responding to your comment I went back and looked at the Krugman column I made reference to. I also consulted the blog post you referenced.

After review, I see no problem with the point Krugman is trying to make, which is that if a Democrat used a phrase such as that used by Ms. Bachmann such a speaker would likely be ostracized by fellow Democrats.

At the same time, I see the point of the writer in your referenced post which is that Bachmann was apparently not referring to weaponry, but rather the facts as in "armed with the facts." It is useful to place things in context.

As soon as I am able I want to get an independent source for the Bachmann quote as I do not see it sourced by J. Gordon in his post. At this point I can only take it on faith that the writer has the story straight.

I do find the phrase "armed and dangerous" to be a bit too colloquial coming from a U.S. Representative. Regrettably, this is now common among politicians of both major parties. And we now know that although you and I would not take her advice literally, there are people who, when reading such a statement, might do just that.

The only other point I care to make at this time is regarding Gordon's phrase: "...he shamelessly used a tragedy to smear his political opponents,...." This makes it seem that Krugman is a politician when in fact he is writing as a journalist and as a member of the free press in his role as a watchdog of the public trust. Any politician's statement can be criticized by anyone, particularly when not libelous. Then the critic's statement can likewise be criticized. Following this the original critic has a right to respond. (See the letters of "The Patriot" [Thomas Paine] and "Cato.") This is what democracy is all about and what the Founding Fathers intended to happen in the new nation.

Perhaps I will have more to say later on this very important topic. For now, thank you again for participating in my blog.


Here is the relevant quote from Paul Krugman's article: 'It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.'
9:03 PM

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Careful and Deeper Look at Ms. Palin

I have now read the entire article on the every-day speech of Sarah Palin. (For more information see the post immediately below.)

If words have meaning, as the Palin critics have been saying, then words as literature have special meaning. I remember the best-seller by Rudolf Flesch of a number of years ago: How to Write, Speak, and Think More Effectively. This book, read when I was about fourteen, was very influential to a young mind. Although I have forgotten the exact details of the book, I remember the basic tenets: speak, think, and write in an organized way and engage in each activity with authenticity.

John McWhorter's article here shows how we have something less than complete honesty from the erstwhile Vice-Presidential candidate.


A Deeper Look at Sarah Palin's Everyday Public Speaking

As I've said here before, I ordinarily dislike recommending links to articles I have not completely read. However, there are exceptions to this rule and the article linked in this post is one. I am about two-thirds of the way through this article and its cogency and applicability to today's events cause me to send it out to you, dear reader, right away.

There is much to be said about Ms. Palin. For one thing, not to my knowledge in modern days has there ever been a defeated Vice-Presidential candidate who has received so much media coverage. The article here raises major questions about just why she is considered influential.

This is the real story in all this: that Sarah Palin is considered by the media to be a person of influence deserving of major attention. Why would this be? Is it because she was part of a Presidential ticket of a large political party? Is it because she is raising large amounts of money? Or is it because she is entertaining in a newsy sort of way? The last is the most logical explanation since other defeated Vice-Presidential candidates of major parties have not received this kind of attention.

You are invited to help review and criticize* the criticism of Palin's everyday speech.

* The word "criticize" here is used in its artistic sense, as in theater or movie criticism.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Paul Krugman on the Violence in Arizona

It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of “civility,” the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. Politeness may be a virtue, but there’s a big difference between bad manners and calls, explicit or implicit, for violence; insults aren’t the same as incitement.

So writes Paul Krugman about the tragedy in Arizona and our current political climate in The New York Times. My only real criticism of this article is it isn't long enough, the commentary is so useful. In the article, Krugman shows how while the Arizona shooter appears to be a lone-ranger, his action comes in a climate of hate in which threats to lawmakers have skyrocketed.

Right-wing radio talk show hosts are busy defending themselves when they should be full of nothing but sympathy for the victims and their families. This shows a certain selfishness and defensiveness.

Indeed this event has prompted a long-overdue national discussion of the vitriol which has spewed from certain sources. Krugman's article helps clarify the fact that a certain kind of vitriol, especially that suggestive of guns and violence, is coming overwhelmingly from the right, Republicans, and tea partiers. As the author says, we must protect vigorous speech, even when full of energy, mockery and sarcasm. But to advise one's constituents to be "armed and dangerous" as one Rep. Michelle Bachmann recently did is irresponsible in the extreme. It is time to name such for what they are: persons whose comments are completely out-of-bounds and impermissible in Congress or anywhere in civil society.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


I join all caring Americans in this time of national tragedy in expressing my sympathies to the families of the victims of the insane shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona, yesterday. There can be no excuse for such violence. Further, I support comments of Sen. Richard Durbin by calling upon the media to refrain from giving voice and virtual celebrity status to those who use irresponsible terms evocative of violence.

Friday, January 07, 2011

More About House Gallery Protestor

As I mentioned earlier today, a protestor cried out from the House gallery in Washington, D.C., yesterday as a member was reading the portion of the U.S. Constitution dealing with the qualifications for the Presidency. Here is how The Washington Post reported the incident:

The reading was interrupted when the clock hit 11:31. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) was reading from Article II, Section 1, the mandate that only a "natural-born citizen" may be elected president, when a woman rose in the public gallery and shouted: "Except Obama! Except Obama! Help us, Jesus! My name is Theresa..."

We know the woman's name was Theresa Cao. I will have more on Theresa Cao and this incident soon.

House Protestor Reminds Nation of Obama Birth Controversy

Here is video of yesterday's interruption of House proceedings by a woman protesting that Barack Obama is not eligible to serve under the Constitution. Only some of the words of the woman, Theresa Cao, can be understood. I will try to find a better audio. I will post the text of her words shortly.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

An On-line Organization of Note

In order to get this resource posted as soon as possible, this blog entry will be short. I am impressed with what I have read on the relevant web site so far. It is important to get clear about what our values as a country should be. That, of course, is a huge subject. As readers may have already suspected, I am informed and inspired by the values of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and especially the Christian ethos. Again, this is a very large subject. I think a web site such as the one referenced below can be shown to be consonant with the Judeo-Christian heritage of concern for one's fellow human beings.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Special Thank-you

A special word of thanks is in order, sent to those who have donated to help keep this blog active. In this day of often-skewed information and major media with less-than-pristine motives, alternative sources are vital. While no information source should be considered uncritically, I endeavor to present information from sources I trust.

Donations to this and other blogs may be made through the Kachingle system as indicated to the right. Whether you are able to donate or not, you are most welcome to visit here as often as you like. I pledge to continue working to bring news and information of quality and value.

Monday, January 03, 2011

A New Blog of Note

It isn't often I have reason to recommend another web log. But today, for my first post of the new year, I am glad to refer you to the blog of Richard Bolles, the author of the famous What Color Is Your Parachute? series of books. The blog is unusually well-written -- and inspiring.

Several times in the past I have gained strength from Bolles' books on job hunting. His blog doesn't deal only with this subject, although it is included. But from Christmas to street sweepers to movies, there is a good variety of topics, all written about in an interesting, semi-whimsical, philosophical and at-times poetic way.

It seems a good way to start the new year by highlighting this fine web log.


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