The Spirit of '76

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Still Time to Give Thanks

Amidst holiday bustle, including retail intrusions on the national Day of Thanksgiving, it is good to be reminded of who we are as a people.  President Obama's message this year speaks of what kind of people we are at our best.  It is a reminder of the need to constantly hold up our best ideals, so future generations may enjoy the rights and, yes, reponsibilities of this great nation. 

Presidential Thanksgiving Message

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wal-Mart Employees Challenge "Black Friday" Euphoria

Rush Post --

The Nation magazine is calling yesterday's strikes against Wal-Mart "the largest-ever US strike against the largest employer in the world."

Clearly, many Wal-Mart employees have had enough. 

Wal-Mart Employees' Strike Called Biggest in History

Friday, November 16, 2012

Poetry Is for All Seasons

Amidst political rancor, economic turmoil, and spiritual entropy, can poetry serve a useful purpose?  Poetry stands as one of the great forms of literary art.  Poems are used to say things meaningfully and purposefully.  Poems are used as texts for songs. 

I think poems can be ever so much more than merely pretty words.  Poems can be useful, even in emergencies.  For instance, the Bible contains great poetry, and the Bible has been used in personal and national emergencies for centuries.  The concern over economics world-wide is an emergency.  I propose that poetry be named as one of the tools in a resurgent economy.  Why would I make such a seemingly impertinent suggestion?  To fully answer that question would take some time.  But in poetry we have both useful ideas and the means of expression which can be an effective antidote to despair. 

A beginning can be made at the link below.  Even as autumn is a time of change, may poems about autumn encourage us to see more the beauty of the world and what we may do to protect this precious, lively planet.

Poems for Autumn

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Socialist Weighs in on the Election

A week has gone by since the federal election of 2012.  What strikes me is the silence of Barack Obama.  It is true the Romney-philes have quieted down.  And like the author linked to below, I am glad Romney lost.  My vote was less for someone than against another (Romney). 

But as the author points out, Obama did not talk much about policy in his acceptance speech, certainly he offered very few specifics.  He did, however, talk about fixing long lines at polling places and this was particularly laudable considering all the troubles with voting especially since 2000. 

Yet the political structure cannot abide any discussion of a new stimulus package, so badly needed.  The oligarchs cannot stand a policy of full employment, or fair taxes on the wealthy.  Sure, there are exceptions, most among the privilege class want the same tax rate or lower rates on themselves, certainly not higher taxes. 

It is now more of an opportunity than ever for those who want a better America, a different America.  True change will require desire, knowledge, commitment, talent, and hard work.  Seems to me that is a pretty good list of America's attributes. 

Election, 2012: A View from an International Socialist

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Americans Voted for a Democratic House in 2012

Any claims the Republicans have to legitimacy in House leadership simply don't hold water according to the analysis from Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium.  He is incredulous at the results saying Democrats should have picked up enough seats to win the majority.  That they did not can be attributed to re-districting, says Wang.  That is very likely a major cause.   Perhaps voter suppression and other Republican dirty tricks added to the Republican lock.  I will be checking into this further in coming days.  For now I agree with Wang that it is time for a non-partisan but (small-"d") democratic arrangement on re-districting.

Americans Voted for a Democratic House

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Pres. Kennedy on U.S. Imposing Its Will

In this time of concern for our country, a President has been elected to a new term.  This morning I have had the pleasure of listening to Pres. Kennedy speaking on a few different subjects, everything from his win to his religion to his views on U.S. leadership.  In this video snippet John F. Kennedy gives a vision for a new United States leadership in the world -- one which is strong and tough but does not seek to impose its will on the rest of the world. 

This has been the meaning of the victory of Barack Obama.  Whether he was or was not born in the U.S., as many have argued over, he is now an instrument for fulfilling President Kennedy's vision of leading by example.  That, at least, is the opportunity Mr. Obama has.  If Pres. Obama remembers this principle above all others, America will be successful.  Where the U.S. deviates from this principle whether by launching unjustified wars or through unilateral assassination or imprisonment missions, this country will fail in its obligation to protect human rights.  Should any nation seek to victimize the American people, America must respond.  But let it not be the United States which seeks or encourages opportunities to use armaments simply for glory or the financial gain of the few.  This is what America must strive for now.  For only in this way will America truly respect itself, and truly be safe and free. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

"Blue State/Red State" Lingo Hurtful to America

This is something I have wanted to say for a long time.  The convincing win of Mr. Obama yesterday plus his victory speech last night has inspired me to say it is time to retire this tedious naming of states as either red or blue.  First such summing up of states can be a prelude to the terrible divisions of yesteryear in other countries such as the Orange and the Green.  In America, it is more than the majority rules.  It is majority leadership with the rights of the minority protected.  For many years, for example, Virginia voted Republican, later called red.  Now it seems to be "blue"?  There were always huge numbers of Democrats in the commonwealth and there are still huge numbers of Republicans, both Tea drinkers and old-line. 

And does anyone in the media remember when "red" meant Communist?  What an irony that red now means right-wing! 

Amid the Hoopla, Lingering Questions About the Democracy

Normally, I am critical of anything with a whiff of fatalism.  But sometimes, the truth must be told.  One morning newspaper -- part of the Tribune chain -- stated that cheating is an unfortunate feature of American politics.  This is certainly true. 

I support very much the re-election of Obama simply because it means a certain fascist approach to reality will not become -- reality. 

One thing has been gnawing at me -- why there wasn't a Democratic sweep of the House.  I realize many pundits (will we ever be rid of this rather odorous category of opining) hadn't necessarily predicted such a thing.  But I did say here it was possible.  Now comes the hint of validation from the Princeton Election Consortium.  At least my sixth sense was right, if not, perhaps, my arithmetic.  The problem appears to lie with re-districting, combined -- I suspect -- with all the various voter suppression tactics of the Republicans.  More is at the link below.  According to the PEC, it appears more Americans voted for Democratic House candidates than voted for Republicans.  If this is true, it would be only the second time since World War II this situation (actual results differing from the majority vote) has occured. 

So instead of voters desiring divided government it is entirely possible they meant to vote for a unified Democratic leadership, but were stymied by gerrymandering and other assorted deep, dark tricks from the other side. 

Understanding the House

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Democrats Appear to Rebound

At this relatively early point in the proceedings, Democrats appear to be heading toward solid, if not overwhelming gains this election night.  At least one race which earlier in the year seemed out of Democratic hands -- the Senate race in Indiana -- has already been called for the Democratic candidate.

In the Presidential race, even Fox News commentator Brit Hume is opining that Romney will have to get what is known as an "inside straight" in order to win the Presidency. 

In the House, the Democratic tide appears as of this writing to be insufficiently strong to bring the Democrats back to majority status.  But any diminishing of Republican power will be welcome.  As I have said so many times, this is not the Republican party of John Rhodes, and Bob Michel.  I predict a continuing fracturing of the Republican power structure as was seen leading up to the Democratic defeat in 2006.

Monday, November 05, 2012

If Dead People Can't Vote Can We Vote for Dead People?

Today is the birthday of Eugene V. Debs, American writer, union activist, candidate for President, and socialist.  If memory serves, Debs garnered almost a million votes in the 1920 race for President.  This while Debs was in prison.

In 2000, a majority of Missourians voted for a dead man for United States Senator, the late and great Mel Carnahan.  His wife ended up being appointed to the seat.  Perhaps some descendant of the great Eugene Debs could be named President. 

N.B.  No, I haven't taken leave of my senses.  But I believe those who cannot dream, never achieve. 

Garrison Keilor's Writer's Almanac for Today

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Democratic Sweep Possible*: You Read it Here First

Smart observers are beginning to understand that President Obama is beginning to pull away in the race for re-election.  Further, it is becoming clear that Democrats will retain control of the Senate.  And, if Steve Israel is right that House seats whose districts went for Kerry and Obama are in play, the House could revert to Democratic control, too.

For politics, you see, is of a piece.  According to the Princeton Election Consortium, the Presidential election pie was baked weeks if not months ago.  Only vast cheating to deny Latinos, blacks, and poor whites the votes can stop an Obama victory now.  We now have less than forty-eight hours to go and Romney clearly lost momentum last week as Hurricane Sandy was ravaging the coast and bottling up both campaigns in quarters.  Romney needed clear skies and got head-winds instead.  Furthermore, hasn't it always been Obama's race to lose? 

The winds have indeed shifted.  Momentum is flowing Mr. Obama's way.  If voters internalize the Obama message that Republicans are only for the wealthy, coat-tails will begin to lengthen, bringing along numerous Democrats in the process.  See how logical it all is?

Best wishes,


*If "anything is possible," this is possible.
Democratic Sweep Possible

Friday, November 02, 2012

Jill Stein Running for President Under Green Banner

One of a series of reports.

First, please note that under the current election system, strategic votes against candidates are often necessary.  This year is such a year, and Romney is a candidate who must be blocked from becoming President.  Thus it is strongly advisable not to "waste" a vote.   I wish I could say otherwise.  Instant run-off voting or something similar would help prevent this.  But for now in order to stop the fascism which Romney represents (and make no mistake -- he does represent the new Nazis), a vote for Obama is the only way.

However, in a perfect world a great alternative could be Jill Stein representing the Green Party.

Read more here:
Jill Stein, Green Candidate for President 2012

Continuing to Debunk the Mainstream Media Election Narrative

"Super Sam" Does it Again.

I hope Sam Wang will pardon any undue familiarity as implied by my subtitle above.  In any case he has again offered timely information, this time regarding "undecideds."  It turns out that those undecideds are not what media pundits claim they are (and aren't).  Sometimes people may have made up their minds but are unwilling to admit it. 

Again, on the subject of Ohio, Mr. Wang deconstructs the media charlatans who claim to know more than they actually do about polling.  Ohio is not, as various ones have said, becoming a toss-up state.  Pres. Obama continues to lead there, as Sam Wang shows.  Ohio, that state which supposedly will decide the election is still leaning, perhaps heavily, toward Obama.

A Little About What Makes Undecideds Tick

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Vote Discrepancies Reported in Early Voting

We have only just arrived at the month of the national election.  And already there are reports of lost votes.  The article linked below details some of these allegations.

It also calls for a change in the way we elect our President.  While I agree there can certainly be improvements to the way we elect the President the main problem is the power which is given to private for-profit corporations in the U. S. today.  These companies' wings must be clipped, their very purpose changed to something ethical.  We must start now to ensure we have anything like a functioning democratic republic.

Stealing the Vote -- Again

Featured Post

Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism