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, May 29, 2011

The Musical Patriot: Fifth Anniversary

Five years ago this weekend I began a new blog on the relatively new service from Google called Blogspot. It seemed others were getting into the spirit of the times. I decided to join them. This was in the days when George W. Bush was President and all of Congress was under Republican control, as well as a majority on the Supreme Court, which had acted in a clearly partisan fashion earlier in the decade in Bush v. Gore.

I wrote on May 28, 2006:

I begin offering to friends this log of information on events local and beyond. The focus will be on national and world events.

Posted by The Musical Patriot at 6:25 PM

With these simple words I launched an effort which has spanned these tumultuous last years, including a landslide victory for Democrats in 2006 and 2008, with a Democratic President taking charge in early 2009. At a later time, I hope to give more of an overview of the many events dealt with here. This has been a labor of love, one which has actually garnered financial support from several in the last six months through Kachingle, the support group for on-line bloggers.

It is a privilege and an honor to put -- if not pen to paper -- at least word to byte and have my words viewed by hundreds of readers. I hope to be increasingly worthy of this distinct privilege.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Big Win for Democrats in New York

Democrat Kathy Hochul won the race for New York's District 26 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. She bested Republican candidate Jane Corwin and tea party adherent, Jack Davis.

This is a clear victory not only for Democrats locally but for the party nationally as the national Republican party poured money into the race and even House Speaker Boehner traveled to the district to campaign.

The race revolved around the Republican budget agenda, especially Republican House plans to end Medicare as we know it. Voters in New York this week clearly didn't like the Republican plan and said so by handing the seat to a Democrat for the first time in forty years according to reports.

It is evident Republicans will have to run scared in 2012 if they continue to advocate gutting Medicare.

View Ms. Hochul's victory speech at the You Tube link below.


Friday, May 20, 2011

You Have Been Warned: The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report

The blow-by-blow chronicle of regulatory negligence and Wall Street recklessness released...by a Congressional commission amounts to a scathing warning to the government about ways to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis.

So begins The New York Times article about the report which was released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. This report, which I will begin reviewing today, delves into several areas of the crisis and contains several case studies of actual institutions involved in the crisis. Contrary to the view that no one could have seen the crisis coming, the report is said to offer specific recommendations for ways such a dire tragedy can be averted in the future. The report is available at the referenced link.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The President Surprises

Briefly --

In his recent speech at the State Department, Barack Obama set forth his vision for the Middle East. Observers were pleasantly surprised with the clarity of the vision.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strauss-Kahn Feared Political Trick

The Daily Mail (U.K.) on line is reporting that Strauss-Kahn had said he feared a political enemy would pay a woman to allege rape. The newspaper is also reporting suspicious circumstances relating to the first reports of the story.

More at this link or by clicking on the blog post title above.


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Remarkable Solidarity of Wisconsin Laborers

What is happening in Wisconsin now has its antecedent in the 19th Century Grange movement and kindred movements of protest and solidarity. Anti-unionists thought Wisconsinites would fail to stand up for state workers. In this they were sorely mistaken, for Wisconsin workers of every political stripe have rallied to the defense of state workers. They realize that if union rights for state workers end, rights for all workers are in serious danger.

This article at Family Farm Defenders tells more:


Friday, May 13, 2011

Gorillas Increasingly Endangered

The following letters arrived recently in my e-mailbox. They are important, especially at this time of proposed Draconian and needless budget cuts. I felt they would be of interest to my readers.


The Musical Patriot


Gorillas are gentle giants. Like us, they play, hug, and laugh. But they're endangered and under assault – from illegal hunting, mining, agriculture, and infectious diseases.

And if we don't act now, they'll soon have another threat. Federal lawmakers are planning to cut vital funding for international conservation programs that save gorillas' lives and protect their habitats.

Send a letter to your members of Congress right now and urge them to stand up for Africa's gorillas.

Bob Fertik


From the Wildlife Conservation Society --

Dear Friend of Wildlife,

Adult gorillas weigh a colossal 500 lbs. and stand six feet tall, but they don't eat meat. Instead, after they've eaten enough of the very tastiest plants they can find, they do what we do – play, hug, and laugh.

But right now these gentle giants are facing a three-fold struggle for existence: they are killed for their meat; their habitats are destroyed by logging, mining, agriculture, and other invasive activities; and infectious diseases ravage their families.

Today, the U.S. government funds vital programs that help alleviate these threats to gorillas. But the newly-released federal budget is promising deep cuts in these programs – putting the future of these animals and other threatened wildlife in even greater jeopardy.

Tell your members of Congress to rescue funding for these gorillas, before it's too late.

These are just some of the critical international conservation programs that could be crippled if we don't speak up now:
The US AID Biodiversity and Sustainable Landscapes programs support the Central African Regional Partnership for the Environment (CARPE), which brings together seven central African countries to work together to find ways to protect forests that serve as vital gorilla habitats.

The Great Ape Conservation Fund, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, protects gorillas in the wild in Africa through support to anti-poaching, monitoring, and collaboration between conservation organizations, governments, and timber companies to stop illegal hunting and bush meat sales.
The Wildlife Without Borders program, which trains local wildlife managers on how to tackle issues as far-ranging as climate change, the bush meat trade, infectious diseases, and local community development.
Programs that enable the U.S. Forest Service to work with African land management agencies to promote sustainable forest management and slow the destruction of the rain forests.

We are facing an uphill battle today. Programs protecting the world's wildlife and wild places amount to only a minuscule part of the overall federal budget. While we all recognize the need for responsible spending, skimming off funding for international conservation programs won't solve our budget problems. But it will strike a devastating blow to species already on the brink of extinction.

Send a strong message to lawmakers: These animals are already endangered. Don't rob us of our chance to save them with shortsighted cuts to international conservation.

The tight budget season makes an urgent situation for these critically endangered animals all the more dangerous – please, join our call to action today. Make sure Congress knows that conservation is a priority for their constituents.

Thank you for standing with us.


Liz Bennett
Vice President, Species Conservation
Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ministers Decry Rejoicing Over Death of bin Laden

Note: Normally I shy away from religious issues and topics. With the death of Osama bin Laden, an exception is appropriate.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has today printed an article describing the views of several pastors in the area who have decried the public cheering over the death of Osama bin Laden. I share the criticism by the pastors over this celebrating of the death of a human being. Traditional Christian teaching says that everyone is a child of God, yet all have gone astray. The first statement is represented by the commandment to "love one another." The second leads to a doctrine of forgiveness.

Forgiving does not mean denying the reality of sin. But if all are sinners, all may lay claim to forgiveness. (A major exception is the traditional Presbyterian doctrine of pre-destination. However, quite a few Presbyterians do not actually believe in the doctrine.)

Without going any deeper into theology, a field I have studied but am not an expert in, it can be said that the cheering of the death of any individual is more than suspect. We can say that in every foreseeable case, the forced death of anyone is tragic, and many would say wrong prima facie.

All the evidence we have seen points to guilt for Osama bin Laden. But if America had been so sure of his guilt, why not capture him alive and bring him to trial? This was too difficult? Then we have a failure of American leadership and diplomacy. For any criminal of this nature should be tried in court, as was Milosevich.

People are not mere animals to be exterminated. Along the religious line again, "'Vengeance is mine,' says the Lord." Let us not disdain the teaching of the wise patriarchs of Bible times.


Friday, May 06, 2011

Dare I Ask It?

Has Osama bin Laden become a martyr? Dare I ask the question? Certainly in portions of the Arab world he has become so.

Now comes evidence the Obama administration broke International law to accomplish the gruesome business. This from a President who promised to re-establish the rule of law.

For days I have avoided reading press accounts or listening to broadcast reports of this murderous deed. I knew I wanted to form my own opinions without media blather. This I am beginning to do tonight with the help of the important article linked below. Author Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler* has quite clearly set forth the way crimes of the nature attributed to bin Laden are to be handled. He exposes the hypocrisy of an administration which lectures countries about their human rights abuses, then does not even follow International law itself. (I suspect, but cannot yet prove, that this assassination was contrary to U.S. law.)

I love my country very much and I decry the dramatic and atrocious killing which took place on September 11, 2001. But as is said here, Osama has proved he could not be killed legally. What a sad commentary on the state of affairs in the United States and the world.

* Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler is an international lawyer with an office in Washington D.C., a professor at Webster University and the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, both located in Geneva, Switzerland, and the representative of Nord-Sud XXI at the UN in New York and Geneva.

Source: < Jurist.org >


Monday, May 02, 2011

The Useless Euphoria of Killing

We have now the death of another Arab leader at the behest of the United States. And this time the killing has been done directly by Americans. There is so much to say about this. The main thing is this was not so much justice as revenge for here was no indictment by any grand jury, no trial, no judge, indeed no court room. Only death.

When one begins to grasp the facts surrounding September 11, 2001 -- especially when one follows the money trail -- it becomes clear there was more to the story than met the eye at the time. In any event Osama bin Laden did not act alone. No one claims he did. Are we then to exterminate the totality of al Qaeda? This is deadly child's play with nothing funny about it.

Here is what David Swanson has to say:

Our killing of Saddam Hussein has been followed by years of war and hundreds of thousands of pointless deaths. Our attempts to kill Muammar Gadaffi have killed his children and grandchildren and will end no war if they eventually succeed. Our attempts to kill Osama bin Laden, including wars justified by that mission, have involved nearly a decade of senseless slaughter in Afghanistan and the rest of the ongoing global "generational" war that is consuming our nation.

It is time for both truth and peace.


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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

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