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, September 27, 2012

Are Professional Musicians Workers?

Occasionally I am able to present an issue which justifies my moniker as being a Musical Patriot.  Today is one of those occasions.

Recently, the musicians of the world-renowned Chicago Symphony went out on strike.  As music is rarely a front-page issue, I had not heard about this until reading of it today at the site linked here. 

Evidently, local press in Chicago printed many comments critical of the musicians' union.  As a former and to-be member of the American Federation of Musicians I can attest to the fact that the musicians' union helps to provide a minimum level of support for musicians. 

And as the author says here, it is all about power.  Anyone who has been employed, especially in a large corporation knows what it means to be in the loop or out of the loop regarding such issues as how the corporation's money is spent, for example.  A union, then, restores some sense of balance in the relationship, helps assure a minimum salary, and supports contributions to pension plans. 

Working in a major symphony orchestra is very rewarding, but it is very much a job.  Musicians at this level must practice at home, usually balancing this with teaching, and family duties.  Like anyone else who has a degree, younger musicians must re-pay loans.  If you think "sawing away" at a string instrument for several hours a day isn't work, I don't know what is.  And to be able to keep feeling the music no matter what is going on in one's personal life is an absolute triumph! 

As a fellow musician, I can speak for the physical wear and tear on the part of the musician.  And I can speak for the other stresses musicians endure.  Yes, the rewards of music are wonderful, but high-level musicians deserve fair pay just like any major professional sports athlete. 

Debating a Symphony Strike

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pres. Obama Hanging Onto National Lead

President Barack Obama is hanging onto a lead in national polls according to The Huffington Post, which tracks a variety of polls.  Of special interest is his lead in the Electoral College, which at the moment is overwhelming.*

Meantime, I have a brand-new book listing various statistics relevant to the great Election of 2012.  The tome appears straightforward and useful.  I plan to have more to write about this after looking the book over more thoroughly. 

*The effect of state legislation mandating Electoral College votes go to the supposed winner of the popular vote (who verifies that?) is unknown. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Billionaire Bandits

I continue to read Greg Palast's new collection of reports, Billionaires and Ballot Bandits.  Gathering together a series of essays full of facts, Palast shows just how deep the corruption of our politics has become.  As can be seen from the book our politics is so corrupt as to make a mockery of the designation "democracy."  This is a painful thing to have to say, though I have said it in different ways in this web log over the last six years.

As one of my friends recently said about the new 9/11/01 documentary recently broadcast over PBS, reading Palast's book gives one a sense of responsibility to do something.  In this case, the suggested to-do list is included at the end of the book. 

This is an important book -- one which should be read by every voting citizen.

Note: This book contains its fair share of profanity and is not suitable for students, except the very oldest high school student.  This feature also makes the book unsuitable for church, garden clubs, and true gentlemen.  I'm sure Palast would consider this last quite quaint.  I still like Palast a good deal and his information should be regarded as highly reliable. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week-end Time Out for Humor

A Few "Great" Headlines --


-- courtesy of S. P., Manchester, New Hampshire as printed in the 2013 Old Farmer's Almanac, p. 252

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Why Revisit 9/11," Asks New Boradcast Film

Rush Post 

via Colorado Public Television --

A film just broadcast on PBS has just been rated as the third most-watched documentary on the network.*  In a path-breaking move Public Broadcasting has decided to broadcast a film casting doubt on the official government story of why the Twin Towers and Building 7 collapsed on September 11, 2001. 

The film can now be viewed at the link below.

*  Source:  Digital Journal

"Why Revisit 9/11," Asks New Broadcast Film

Facebook System Appears to be Censoring Freedom of Speech

The more Orwellian aspects of current computer technology come into focus in the article linked below.  I assume the notice received by Citizens for Legitimate Government from Facebook is indeed part of the Facebook system and may not have even been created by a live human being. 

However the message was generated it speaks to a disturbing methodology on the part of Facebook's review system.  It would be just like Big Brother to claim that criticism of the government was caused by some kind of mental illness.  "1984" didn't occur in A.D. 1984.  It is occuring in the twenty-first century.  Without resorting to any kind of paranoia, it is best to be aware. 

Facebook Concerned About Legitimate Political Opinion?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New York Times Reports Significant Bush Administration Negligence Leading up to 9/11/01

As this blog has reported, the G. W. Bush administration was warned about the possibility of just the type of attacks which occured on September 11, 2001.  Now comes a report from the New York Times that warnings were more numerous and insistent than previously reported. 

It is a sad day every September 11, and none less than today.  This morning I rang the bell at the church next door to memorialize the victims of that hideous day.  To have confirmation that the federal administration failed America adds enormously to the grief.  Yet, above all, the truth is better known, than hidden.

New York Times Reports Significant Bush Administration Negligence

Friday, September 07, 2012

Commenting on Huffington Post Article

The article linked below is useful, but Willard ("Mitt") Romney is not the answer.  Romney proves the truth of his statement that he did not watch the Democratic Convention.  Evidently the writer here either did not hear or correctly evaluate former Pres. Bill Clinton's speech on Wednesday evening nominating Barack Obama.  It is perfectly fine to criticize Barack Obama.  However, Mr. Clinton was right on the money when he said the Republican's essential message is "We made the mess, the President isn't cleaning it up fast enough, so put us back in charge."  Even Franklin Roosevelt didn't "clean up" the Great Depression in one term.  Let's welcome a dose of realism. 


Romney and Obama on the Things that Matter Most: Closer Than You Think

It is not true that there are no important differences between Democrats and Republicans.  For example on education, health care, the environment, and the social safety net, Democrats are far and away the superior party, especially now that the Republican Party is dominated by the far right. 

However, there is another level of policy where Democrats and Republicans inhabit the same territory.  This includes such issues as big agribusiness, Big Oil, and "clean coal."   Sadly, both parties are intimately involved in propping up a failed economic system.  At this week's Democratic convention I heard more than one speaker praise our American profit system. 

This praise, amidst so much uncertainty, hardship, and pain, is what is troubling Americans most, though they may not be able to articulate the problem.  Why, four years after the economic panic of 2008, have the structural issues not been truly dealt with?  This failure to address underlying economic weakness is the reason the economy is still not "robust." 

I challenge us to look at the numbers.  What are the numbers of jobs being created compared with the number needing to be created in order to get us back to where we were and even better?  How can an economist be quoted by a leading news organization as saying we are not near to getting back to "full employment" conditions of 5-6% unemployment

No matter who is elected President the economy will not recover until issues of essential fairness, including the absolute right to a job are addressed. 

Romney and Obama: Closer Than You Think

Coming:  The Successes and Failures of the Democratic Convention 2012 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Pres. Bill Clinton in a Stem-Winding Game-Changer!

This amazing speech by a former President in top form has changed the dynamics of the 2012 election by totally skewering the Republican strategy and energizing not only Democrats but the entire country.

-- The Musical Patriot

In what must go down as the most energetic and right-for-the-moment speech at a party convention in U.S. history, former President Bill Clinton showed both Presidential timber and citizen power in an amazing speech at the Democratic Party convention last evening in Charlotte, North Carolin.  Before an enthusiastic convention throng and a nation-wide audience Mr. Clinton completely eviscerated the Republican strategy in 2012 through the use of humor, charm, and -- most importantly -- facts. 

This speech is a must-see for anyone seeking rejuvenation and solace amidst a very dismal election-year campaign marred by incessant attack ads and gross misrepresentation of reality by Republican operatives.  Examples can be given.  But for now, it was utterly refreshing to hear someone speaking from the heart with energy and clarity of mind.  It was a pleasure listening to someone who could marshall the facts to support intelligent budget policies without sounding in any way pedantic or patronizing.  What a joy!  What a relief!  What a feeling from a man of Hope!

Watch Pres. Bill Clinton Nominating Barack Obama

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Calls it a $4 Billion Election

In this brief video Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., talks about the unprecedented levels of money being spent in this election and why. 

New Greg Palast Book Unmasks the Bandits

In a new book entitled Billionaires and Ballot Bandits author and respected reporter Greg Palast reveals the money behind the Republican throne in this year's election.  He reveals what makes Romney tick, what makes Ryan run, and what makes Republicans giddy.  The anwer?  It has pictures of green Presidents on it.

Greg Palast's New and Revealing Book

Republican Dirty Tricks Effort Already in Operation

Rush Post:

Greg Palast is reporting a high level of vote suppression efforts and other dirty tricks already underway by Republican operatives.  Help me review this information at the following link.

Greg Palast Reports on Republican Dirty Tricks

Romney Is First Recent Republican Nominee Not to Get Convention "Bounce"

The Gallup polling organization is reporting no convention bounce for Mitt Romney following last week's Republican convention -- the first recent Republican nominee to fail to garner the typical rise in poll numbers. 

The Gallup web site has this to say about the implications of the latest polling:

Convention bounces are an expected part of each presidential campaign, so the fact that Romney did not receive one is surely a disappointment for his campaign and his supporters. However, with Americans' engagement in elections much higher earlier on in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections than in prior election years, conventions may no longer serve to introduce the nominees to Americans.

Gallup also mentions that it would not be surprising for Pres. Obama to also fail to get such a rise in his polling numbers following the convention.  However, judging from last night's series of strong speeches, it should not be surprising were Mr. Obama to get the expected bounce. 

Meantime, there was so much about America which was not addressed in last night's speeches, though the economy was highlighted.  However, when the economy was spoken of it was usually in the context of trying to explain why the President has not done more.  Such an explanation is the least the Democrats can do.  But the needed explanation must surely include the obstructionism of the Republicans in Congress most of whom adopt a cynical strategy of "do nothing and hope the country blames Barack Obama." 

In the main it was heartening to hear the Democratic voice last night after so many days of hearing all about Romney/Ryan.  These two are like the Katzenjammer Kids rebelling against the authority of the President. 

As one speaker has put it, Romney's "concern" for others is really about what will advance his own interests in the end.  It is this difference, subtle yet important, which separates the Romney convention from the Democratic convention.  The Democrats have more true feeling for the people, working together to lift one another to greater heights and accomplishments. 
Gallup Report on Latest Romney Poll Numbers
Question of the Day:  When will either party put forth a program to end poverty as we know it? 

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism