The Spirit of '76

Brand-new book from author interviewed on "Fresh Air"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Not an "Act of God" -- But...

I don't buy into this business of weather being caused by God to punish people.  And I certainly don't wish physical injury to anyone.

However, it is seemly that the Republican Party, that schism-plagued political organization now performing a juggling act over hot burning coals, should need to deal with tropical-storm force winds at their convention.  Theirs and our first concern should be for the physical safety of convention-goers and residents of Florida and workers in the Gulf of Mexico.  This may mean, at a minimum, cancelling some festive events, out of sympathy for residents of the Tampa area, if nothing else. 

In a related matter -- I am tired of hearing about Mitt Romney, very tired.  That is a personal feeling based on his whole manner and program.  But to have NPR (formerly known as our national public radio) consistently lead their newscasts with Romney is terrible.  Also, we are hearing Romney's voice, then only an announcer's summary of Pres. Obama's speeches.  This bodes ill for the future of NPR, for they must know Romney is a second-rate candidate at best, and Ryan is, well, a clever, handsome fascist. 

So -- safety first.  That goes for both August convention-goers and voting citizens in November.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

McCaskill Leads Akin by Ten Points in New Poll

Sen. Claire McCaskill now leads Todd Akin in Missouri's Senate race according to a new poll by Rasmussen, a Republican-leaning firm.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports a ten point lead by Missouri's Senior Senator.  The Rasmussen poll is the first since the controversy over Akin's comments on rape became widely known earlier this week.

The Post article stresses that it is still early in the race.  Naturally, Republicans are hoping the issue will die down before McCaskill develops any commanding and irreversible lead.  For now, though, what a difference a week makes. 

Latest Poll Puts McCaskill Ahead of Akin

Monday, August 20, 2012

Larry Summers, Discredited Voice, Given Platform by Post

via  t r u t h o u t  --

A political figure who was key to the destruction of 40 percent of

the wealth owned by citizens in the country that signed his paycheck should be

ignored or exiled.

Instead, just today, Larry Summers is given prime billing in The Washington Post to

whip up fear of expanding social safety net costs. Instead of being ridiculed for

helping to pave the way for the destruction of the Glass-Steagall act and for

demanding regulators have no say in the creation of hundreds of trillions of

dollars in unregulated derivatives, Summers is treated as if his opinion is still


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Do We Really Have a Choice?

The author of this article offers a stark and necessary reminder of the coming election:  the choice is not what it may appear to some.  It is obvious that many people are excited about this election of 2012.  It should be clear also, however, that many millions are greeting this election with a collective yawn.  The youth excitement of 2008 is nowhere to be found.  The "Change" slogan could be changed to "Maybe."   "Hope" has become "Let's just pray."  Try running a campaign on "maybe," "if," and "let's pray," and see how much enthusiasm you can generate. 

The Michael Rechtenwald article:
Legitimizing "Choice"

Briefly: The Forgotten Presidential Process

The way the President of the United States is being chosen has gotten so far from what the framers had in mind as to amount to a re-write of the Constitution.  I make the following points:

  • The Electoral College was chosen to insulate the selection process from popular ignorance and whim.   One prime example would be the hysteria following the alledged sinking of the Maine.  (Or think of the abnormal situation following September 11, 2001.)

  • State legislators who were elected were to determine the method of selection of the Electors.   They had and do retain the power to select the Electors from their state.  The idea was that such men (women weren't quite on the scene in Legislatures), would be better informed as to the worthiness and character of the Electors.  Since corporations were allowed to develop, corruption set in and the Reform movement led to popular election of state legislators and candidates. 

  • The idea of parties was not included in the Constitution and George Washington warned against them. 

  • Originally, the Vice-President-elect was the person who garnered the second highest vote total for President.  There were ways in which this was deemed not helpful, so eventually, the vote for Vice-President became a second "race."  Soon, Presidential candidates began running on "tickets" with a candidate for Vice-President.  The Vice-Presidential candidate came to be selected by party conventions.  (Since George Washington there has never been a successful Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidate who was not part of a political party.)

So this is some history. 

What we have now is a mingled system in which the media is so heavily involved as to be an actual partner in the selection process, rather than merely reporting the results of the process.  This is a hideous distortion of the framers intent.*  No matter one's political party, this situation must change -- and soon -- if we are to have the kind of process which we would recognize as democratic. 

*Facts can be given, and shall be in due course. 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Election 2012: the Devil Is In the Details

As the news media chews on and tries to digest the Obama-Romney contest, there are numbers of Americans who remain unhappy with either candidate.  Although there has been relatively low interest in other candidates there is one candidate who is emerging as a potential spoiler in an important state.  Former Congressman Virgil Goode, running as the Constitution Party candidate, is polling at 9% in Virginia, an astonishing number for someone who gets essentially no big-media coverage so far this year.  At 9%, Goode could easily help Barack Obama win Virginia, a key battleground state this year.  Not having any states to lose, Romney should be very worried about Virgil Goode. 

See more about Virgil Goode Here: 
Third-Party Candidate Could Act As Spoiler

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Biggest Flaw in Ryan for Vice President Choice

Rush Post: 

The perennial question for a Vice-Presidential choice is whether the person could save ably as President.  Besides being on the wrong side of the economic divide, Ryan is largely untested on the national stage. 

The Huffington Post tells more, linked below.

Paul Ryan's Biggest Flaw

Friday, August 10, 2012

Romney's Bain Capital Has Financial Ties to Salvadoran Rightists: "Democracy Now" Report

via Democracy Now --

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing new scrutiny over revelations he founded the private equity firm Bain Capital with investments from Central American elites linked to death squads in El Salvador. After initially struggling to find investors, Romney traveled to Miami in 1983 to win pledges of $9 million, 40 percent of Bain’s start-up money. Some investors had extensive ties to the death squads responsible for the vast majority of the tens of thousands of deaths in El Salvador during the 1980s.

Romney's Alleged Ties to Salvadoran Death Squads

Thursday, August 09, 2012

"To Tell the Truth" Montage

Below is a montage of photos from the Garry Moore version of the TV game show "To Tell the Truth."  The montage is great, but the real reason I wanted to post this video is for the complete theme song.  Although I heard the theme in its abridged version or with loud applause and commercial messages over top of it when broadcast, this is the first time I have been able to hear all the words.  I find the music to be good, entertaining.  The lyrics are surprisingly personal and hard-hitting, telling the object of the song, "You dont' know how to tell the truth!"  I find the overall song to be taking and even great.  See what you think!  

     ...but I'm going to try to teach you how "to tell the truth." 

Music by Score Productions

Huffington Post Blogger: Obama Leads in Projected Electoral College Vote

Writer Chris Weigant is doing valuable analysis of the projected Electoral College vote totals. 

As good as his work is, there are other issues to be concerned about.  These issues have been delved into on this blog in the past and may or may not affect the election out-come.  However, the issues of concern are these:  1) the unprecedented amount of money being raised by unaccountable outside interest groups, especially on the right;  2) energetic voter suppression efforts on the part of the Republicans;  3) dickering with the laws concerning selection of Electors, now successful in several states.

As time goes on I will be attempting to present more information on these issues of concern.  Sadly, we cannot be concerned with simple poll numbers, but must be prepared to dig deeper. 

Persuasive Election Analysis

Salon Reports New York Going After Political "Welfare" Groups' Records

Groups such as Karl Rove's Crossroads fund-raising group are set to be audited by Eric Schneiderman, New York's Attorney General.  Seeking records from groups on both the right and the left, Schneiderman is operating under New York law which requires tax-exempt groups which do business in or raise substantial amounts of money in New York to submit auditors' reports and their federal tax returns to the Attorney General's office.  Since New York is a center of political fund-raising, this effort could give Schneiderman oversight of groups which up until now have been operating with little or no disclosure or federal oversight. 

New York Attorney General Asks for Political "Welfare" Groups' Records

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What President Obama Needs to Do to Win in 2012

The red flags have been thrown and the warning lights are flashing. The re-election campaign of Pres. Obama is in trouble. It is to the President's credit that under the poor economy his numbers are not totally tanking. But this is small comfort when Romney's donations have topped Obama's for a third month in a row and Democratic enthusiasm is way down from 2008 levels. Things are going to have to change dramatically if Barack Obama is to win this election.

Democrats appear to be asleep, depressed, or on vacation.  Mr. Obama has had a much better message the last several months, but Americans seem to sense he does not have the program to lift America out of tepid growth and  historically low unemployment.  It is true that Republicans have blocked every recent initiative of the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats on jobs.  And Romney is clearly is own worst enemy, inspiring neither confidence nor enthusiasm. 

The election looks much like that of 1960.  A young Democratic candidate at least offered youthful energy.  But many Americans found they could not put their full confidence in a relatively untried Senator.  Barack Obama, of course, is already the President with a track record.  But that record is not strong enough in the mind of the public.  The reasons for this are complicated, as indicated above.  But unless President Obama can make a stronger case for his own program as opposed to merely bashing his opponent, we are in for a harrowing experience between now and election day. 

Washington Post on What Pres. Obama Needs to Do to Win in 20012

Monday, August 06, 2012

Troubles in Europe Continue to Cause Alarm

I am continuing to watch the situation with the Euro and the so-called Euro Zone, still being rocked by financial turmoil.  In Senate testimony last week, according to a news source, former International Monetary Fund official, Simon Johnson, startled members of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs with testimony that the current bail-out plans will not work, that there isn't enough money to bail out all the various troubled economies.  This contradicts testimony by Treasury Secretary Geithner who has said U.S. bank exposure to Europe is "limited." 

I will keep a wary eye on this situation.  If any reader knows of any reliable source of up-to-date, non-biased information, please assist by contacting me through the comment button below.  In the meantime, I will be searching out the best sources of information I can find.  It's very much one world now financially and to be prepared citizens we must know precisely what is going on in Europe. 

Latest News on Corporations' Antics

PR Watch -- "PR" for Public Relations, of course -- is a good source of information on not just the public relations industry but of corporations in general. Particularly useful is a new article on what ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is doing to suppress voters' rights.  This ALEC group has been introducing copy-cat bills in legislatures all over the country with the hidden agenda of advance corporate rights over the rights of individuals.  The PR Watch web site has some excellent background information on this nefarious group. 

We need to recall the attitude of Franklin Roosevelt who proclaimed that the big wealthy forces didn't scare him, that in fact he welcomed their opposition.  President Obama of late has been echoing this line to some extent.  We need to back up this new-found opposition to big money and end corporate welfare as we know it. 

 Latest News from PR Watch

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Why the Continuing Cut-Backs in Education?

The author of this article begins to link a rise in corporate profits to cut-backs in education.  Though the link is not clear here, it is useful to compare numbers.  Funding for education has been decreasing even while the economy has been growing modestly.  Corporate profits, however, have risen significantly. 

One thing is clear -- corporations could be taxed more.  Education funding is still done primarily at the local level as is appropriate under our American system.  So the real question is: What are corporations doing, if anything to shore up local business.  I think we all know the answer to that:  essentially nothing.  Being that large corporations are focused on their own health, they are not interested in shoring up any local competitors.  Can anyone deny this?  

Why the Continuing Cut-Backs in Education

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism