Webster Quote

Webster Quote

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Humor to See Out the Old Year

You may be interested --

A comedy group known as the Capitol Steps was broadcasting on the radio today.  This is the comedy troupe which, in the past at least, has partly been made up of Capitol Hill staffers.  Their humor tends to be dead-on and is reliably entertaining.

I caught part of this year's broadcast on the theme of "politics takes a holiday."  Of particular value were songs letting some of the hot air out of the politicians' very hot balloon.  This kind of humor begins to hint at the public's mocking disdain for Washington politics.

What seems missing is any hint of the dishonesty of the election process itself, a process which is now so tainted as to be unworthy of any kind of voter fealty.  This is a point I have been making repeatedly here ever since the November vote.

So The Capitol Steps in hilarious musical satire have skewered the self-importance of the politicians. Wittingly or unwittingly, however, they have pointed up the Democrats' supposed new emphasis on the Democratic base.  Traditional Democratic concern for the poor and disadvantaged was highlighted in the broadcast..  Somehow U.S. politics still matters enough to remember this key demarcation between Democrats and the modern Republican party, dominated by what the Capitol Steps rightly called the crazy far right.  

It has been a fairly wild year.  Until the desire for honesty grows stronger, the new year will be much like the old.  However, such an outcome is not inevitable.  The increasing clarity of the average voter's observant eye gives hope for a degree of movement toward the truth before another "silly season (of politics)" commences.  That would definitely be a step up.


Capitol Steps on the Radio

Sunday, December 28, 2014

'Tis the Season

Your Musical Patriot is currently on Christmas break and will resume posting here soon.


Best wishes for the season.  


TMP

Monday, December 22, 2014

LATEST BLOG ANNOUNCED

Dear Reader,

In recent days it has become obvious that a new blog was necessary due to changed conditions.  With the extent of Republican cheating in the last election becoming more obvious, it has become clear to me that an entirely new blog is justified and is indeed necessary.  So, without further adieu, I am happy to announce PATRIOT IN EXIGENCY, my latest web log!

I'll have more details about the new blog soon.  Briefly, the new blog will focus more on understanding where the U.S. stands in world history now, where we are going, and how we can get there.  This is a tremendous set of expectations I am announcing here.  However, after nearly nine years of writing THE MUSICAL PATRIOT, and continuing outside research, including on the heinous "election" of 2014, the change in direction seems natural and comfortable.

For the time being I will be maintaining The Musical Patriot and Patriot in Exigency simultaneously, as well as continuing Democratic Campaign Watch.  Blog posts will be distributed among the three according to their respective relevance.  In the beginning all post content from The Musical Patriot will be migrated to Patriot in Exile.  As time goes on I plan to edit down Patriot in Exile to only those posts most pertinent.  If you are a fan of The Musical Patriot, don't worry, all content will remain available here, including all information on the side bar.  Information on the side bar appropriate to the new blog will also be copied in due time.

Please check back here soon for more information on this exciting development.  In the meantime, you may find the new blog at Patriot in Exigency .    < patriotinexile.blogspot.com >.

Happy new adventure!


--  Best wishes,
The Musical Patriot   

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Beautiful Process Unfolds

I am coming to an appreciation of the American people which seems new, as if some unexpected dawn were bringing light into a darkened room through a dingy window pane.  Against all odds there is clearly a shift going on as people around the world are beginning to understand just how corrupt our elections have become.  Blogs like this one are trumpeting the news of the soiled election results of 2014.  And, people are beginning to react.

I am somewhat amazed that statistics show this blog is just as popular now as it was before the election.  And virtually all of my posts since the election have been about one subject:  the fraud of that tainted tally.  People are clearly interested in the truth, no matter how distressing.

The full effect of all this is unknown at this time.  Yet I sense people do care.  People still believe in America as the light of the world, not as some economic bully bearing a sheath of nuclear weapons.

So, onward ye peoples of the world!  Onward to further truth and beauty!


**********************

On another matter --

Congratulations to Raul Castro and Barack Obama for the negotiations which have begun to bring some sanity to U.S.- Cuba relations after so many years of hostility.  This is a major advance and should have happened long ago.

Now perhaps we can have a new detente with Russia, a country deserving of more than the pushing and shoving coming from the economic royalists in the west.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Information on Voting Irregularities -- the Latest

Blogger Brad Friedman is one of the few in the popular media along with Thom Hartmann who are continuing to shine the light on a very dark corner of American election politics.

The main suspicious matter  here is the Oregon vote on HMO labelling.  According to Friedman, after the political process denied the counting of some contested votes, the HMO labelling proponents are conceding defeat in the election.


Brad Friedman Reports Pending Votes



This post is part of my special continuing effort to expose the frauds and scandals in Election 2014.  This effort shall be on-going.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Republican Divisions Apparent

As Americans recover from one of the dirtiest national campaigns in memory, predictable fault lines are erupting in the Republican Party.  While wise heads undoubtedly recognize the danger of division, the grass roots are full of competing interests, primarily between "Tea Party" Republicans and "Country Club" Republicans.  A recent article in The Washington Post, for instance, reported on divisions already showing up among Virginia Republicans ahead of next year's state Assembly elections.

The Republican Party has had these splits before -- most notably in 1912, when Progressives split off from the entrenched oligarchical wing of the Party, helping to elect a Democratic President.  The same thing could happen in 1916, this time with the conservative wing either splitting off or sitting out the election.  With the kind of rhetoric coming out of Virginia, anything seems possible, as the Post noted.

Meanwhile, I have been unable to make any progress on my research project seeking to contest the results of certain Senate races.  I will have more to say on this subject and its implications soon -- schedule permitting.

Thank you, dear reader for your continued interest in this issue, and in this blog.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Election 2014: Where to From Here

The holidays are impinging on my schedule, delaying my postings here.  However, there is also inspiration to be felt and uplifted by.

Very much still on my mind is the disastrous "election" of last month.  I had the opportunity to share some of what I know with a local voting registrar yesterday.  This registrar was very friendly, not your typical stoic bureaucrat by any means.  She welcomed news of all the voter suppression tactics being used these days.

This is a time to be vigilant and dutiful.  In coming days I will continue my research on just how to lobby Congress to launch an investigation of this election.  Clearly, such an investigation is warranted.  (See previous posts here and at Brad Blog.)  If such an investigation is not held American prestige will fall further around the world.  For the world is watching.  This blog is proof of that.  We Americans must do the best we can to oppose this egregious undermining of democracy through the polls.  

Monday, December 08, 2014

Louisiana the Latest Hoax?

Patriotic Blurb --  


If the media is to be believed the Louisiana Senate seat contested this year has flipped to the Republicans.  Is this true?  Who knows?  We have heard of these flips before.  It will be my aim to find out more about this race.

Please check back here soon.  

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Election Crime of 2014

Quick Post --   


The story of the stolen election of 2014 is the story of the year in the U.S.  At the link below you will find a good summary of all that went wrong this year.  Thanks to "Kos" for this listing.


Daily Kos on the Stolen Election of 2014


Kos:   We're not fighting Republicans[;] they can be beautiful people. Their party is stolen, too.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Congress Has Power to Refuse Seating to Cheaters

Section 5
1: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members....


Congress already has the power to refuse seats to any members who are not qualified.  Further Congress has the power to serve as arbiter of the validity of the election of its members.  

For more on this important matter, see my sister blog, Democratic Campaign Watch, link to above.  

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

"Cynic" to Become Senate Majority Leader?

Interviewing more than seventy-five people who have known or interacted with Mitch McConnell in some way, author Alec MacGillis documents the rise of Mitch McConnell from a liberal Republican local official to today's far-right ideologue and would-be Senate majority leader.

MacGillis appeared on National Public Radio recently and described how McConnell  realized he had only been elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky due to Ronald Reagan's coattails.  Seeing the political winds blowing he began shifting his positions to align with the so-called Reagan revolution.

Today, this man, whom MacGillis calls a cynic, is poised to assume a role as the powerful leader of an erstwhile Republican majority -- a majority which according to Greg Palast and others may well be based on cheating.*




*For more on this see posts past and future here.  


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Musical Inspiration

This is a beautiful rendition by conductor Andre Previn of Rachmaninoff's gorgeous "Adagio" from the Second Symphony.

May it be an inspiring start to your week.


Thanksgiving Not Lost After All

The Thanksgiving holiday was miraculously not lost in the lead-up to Christmas after all.  In spite of the best efforts of commercializers, I was able to focus on Thanksgiving by staying over-night in a retirement facility and avoiding most all advertisements.  This brought me back to a measure of sanity this season and helped me remember the reason for Thanksgiving Day.

The holiday week is drawing to a close and I will be back here commenting and reporting soon.


Best wishes,

TMP

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Poetry

This poem by William Butler Yeats is highly evocative and almost subversive in its style.  It is best read more than once, if you are not already familiar with it. -- TMP


On a Political Prisoner

By William Butler Yeats, 1865–1939



She that but little patience knew,
From childhood on, had now so much
A grey gull lost its fear and flew
Down to her cell and there alit,
And there endured her fingers' touch
And from her fingers ate its bit.

Did she in touching that lone wing
Recall the years before her mind
Became a bitter, an abstract thing,
Her thought some popular enmity:
Blind and leader of the blind
Drinking the foul ditch where they lie?

When long ago I saw her ride
Under Ben Bulben to the meet,
The beauty of her country-side
With all youth's lonely wildness stirred,
She seemed to have grown clean and sweet
Like any rock-bred, sea-borne bird:

Sea-borne, or balanced in the air
When first it sprang out of the nest
Upon some lofty rock to stare
Upon the cloudy canopy,
While under its storm-beaten breast
Cried out the hollows of the sea.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sadly Go the Democrats

I still very much support the traditional Democratic Party, the party which gave the country Social Security and Medicare, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.  Some of these were supported by old-fashioned patriotic Republicans.  Hooray for them all!

But now I have cause to wonder whether either party cares about the vote.  With evidence of voting irregularities, glitches, and other assorted dirty tricks on the part of Republicans in 2014, the Democratic Party is silent.  Yet they still are asking for money.  It's understandable.  And I'm not against asking for money.  But asking for money and at the same time ignoring the serious credibility problem of our elections is simply unwise.

We the people must let our legislators know that we care about the vote, we want to vote, and we demand that our vote be counting in a verifiable, traceable way.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Economics, Elections, and Martin Luther King

Just as big business took over the food supply, health care, and now parts even of  our little educational system, big business has infiltrated the voting process itself, through ESS and various political consortia such as ALEC.  How did we get here and what can we do about this intolerable situation?

Perhaps we may start with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his lesser-known speeches, especially the speech at Riverside Church in 1967.  This speech, highlighting the horrors and injustice of the Viet Nam War also points to the inequities in the profit system, though surely King does not say this explicitly.  In America now a battle rages, a battle for the heart and soul of every American.  Are we to be a country of aggrandizement, of perpetual wars, of rampant avarice?  Or are we to be a country of purpose and pride with fairness and justice for all?

King, here, asks the right questions at the time of the Viet Nam war.  And his imminent conclusions lead inexorably to the failure of the economic system of America then and now to deliver on its promises.  These are strange times in which we live, yet times of promise amidst change.  May w
e be inspired by Martin Luther King to a deeper self-examination than ever before.



What Does Martin Luther King Have to Say to Us Now?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Media on Trial

In the middle of a budding controversy about Election 2014, there is today on Yahoo a New York Times report about the case of a wild beast snatching a baby from the wilds in Australia.  I will let the video tell the story.

The video can bring tears.  But there are certain lessons to be learned here, many of which are clearly-articulated in the film.  That the media plays a key part in not only delivering the news but in the interpretation of the news becomes clear here.

For now I will let you the viewer make up your own mind.  Later, I will have more thoughts on all this.


Media on Trial

The Scandal That Won't Go Away

Two weeks and a day later, I still can't get the pseudo-election of 2014 out of my mind.  Nor should I.  For this was the worst campaign and election I have ever seen -- even worse than 1984 when Ronald Reagan was announced as the king of a new morning in America, while out-sourcing and hunger in America were still in "mid-night" mode.  

Brad Friedman is also one who has not forgotten this travesty.  Indeed we are only beginning to understand what actually happened before and on November 4 (and after?).  What should happen now is a contest in the various states' certification process wherever there has been a credible suspicion of dirty tricks or fraud affecting vote totals.  Even one vote mis-allocated due to outside interference is still a crime.  Thousands and even millions of such votes would be the scandal I speak of.  Who can commit to checking into this?  

Sadly, Jimmy Carter was and is right when he said a number of years ago his institute, The Carter Center, could not now verify elections in America due to interference in the voting process.  

The one hopeful sign I see is the increase in international readership of this blog (and I assume other such blogs).  The apparatchiks in the Republican Party are still operating in 1972.  But now there is a direct international audience.  As long as a free Internet remains, the truth can get out fast.  World opinion may yet be a saving grace for this precious democracy.  



Video Re-Post (Previously Posted Here)


Monday, November 17, 2014

This Changes Everything

Naomi Klein's title is proving to be a very useful one at this time in the nation's history.  There is much to think about and much to understand.

So today I am processing several news items from yesterday, including press reports and a radio news program.  I'll have more on these later. 

Plus, I am thinking about Brad Friedman's contention that those who failed to vote two weeks ago did register a vote -- either 1) for the status quo or 2) against both political parties.  The last one is the plausible theory.  It is one I have hinted at from time to time here.  There are many reasons why people would not vote this year, including illness, confusion, being out of the country at the last minute, and -- sadly -- inability to provide photo identification.  This last issue snared me. 

So there is life.  With turn-out this year the lowest in many years, the electorate surely was sending a message.  That's why the euphoria many on the right felt two weeks ago hasn't lasted very long.  There are just too many people who didn't share in it, including some on the right.. 

I have my own proposed solutions which I have shared here and on my sister blog, Democratic Campaign Watch.  What my approach boils down to is a recognition that this was a pretty horrible campaign, with seriously negative advertising and even more serious efforts to quash Democratic votes.  I call upon all in authority to investigate the allegations of voter fraud.  We simply cannot have a government people have confidence in if the vote cannot be verified. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Election 2014: Following Up

We are entering a dangerous period regarding the elections of last week.  Dangerous in the sense of getting the story straight, an important story for the United States.  At the encouragement of the Democratic Party, some Democrats are attempting to simply "get over" the loss, including allegations of wide-spread Republican dirty tricks.  Because these dirty tricks involve efforts (which seem to be have been successful) to suppress the votes of blacks, and others, this is a Civil Rights issue.  The Justice Department needs to investigate.  And the people need to raise objections vocally.

I will continue doing research in this area and only wish I had the time and resources to do a more thorough job more quickly.  Nevertheless, I'll do what I can.  I encourage all readers here to do your own research and certainly to speak up to friends, press, and members of Congress.  

Will 2015 Be 1937 Again?

With the economy showing signs of improvement after the Great Depression, in 1937 the federal government over-reacted to concerns about inflation and sent the economy back into recession.

With a new Republican majority in Congress such a scenario for 2015 is a real danger. Read more at the link below:


Member of the Fed Expresses Concerns About Economy

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More Election News Coming

News about last week's election has not stopped even though the voting is nine days in the past.  I will be going live here soon with more news of the wide-spread voting irregularities around the country.  In the meantime, I have more about all this on my sister blog, Democratic Watch (see link above).  Also, watch the video of Brad from Brad blog below for information on voting irregularities in Wisconsin.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Brad from Brad Blog on Voting Irregularities

:...votes are counted by computers that fail all the time."






N. B.  I will continue reporting on the atrocity of November 4.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ILLEGITIMATE;  UNACCEPTABLE

After reading the run-down of all the Republican dirty tricks in election 2014 there can be only one conclusion:  If the allegations are true -- and they are quite credible at this point -- the new Congressional majority has no credibility whatever.  As individuals the Republicans may be great guys and gals, nice to children and old ladies.  But to have a Mitch McConnell as "majority" leader is unthinkable.  Why is this so bad?  Again, it is not completely about Mitchell the man.  It is about how he will have gotten to his position of leadership.  

Cheating to "win" is now acceptable in the Republican Party.  Those, even like Susan Collins, who are moderates (now few in number), have found it convenient to over-look the facts; and for reasons of approval and success to remain silent in the face of this dirty scandal.  It has happened before in history -- many times.  It is simply that in America such wide-spread cheating has been relatively rare.  But to have a whole campaign built not on the issues as much as on voter suppression is simply heinous.  And, it is un-American!

I do not intend to "mouse around" on this issue.  I'm not going to lose my head, either.  But it is, in fact, no matter what it may sound like, irresponsible not to speak up about this stinky mid-term election and the rotting mass of drivel it represents.   


Notes
*  There are many fine Democrats in Congress.  They are to be lauded for their willingness to serve.  However, they, too, unless we the people stand up, will remain silent.

*  Regarding Republican operatives, I am reminded of the old saying:  Figures don't lie, but liars figure.  The Republicans have been figuring for years.  You may draw your own conclusion from that.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hot on the Trail of the Tricksters

Coming this week --

Last week saw a pseudo election in which literally incredible totals were supposedly piled up by Republican candidates.  This week I will be following up with information disputing many of these totals.  I began my investigation last week with a run-down posted on Brad Blog, much of which I re-posted here.

As we go forward let us remember that it is not he who casts the ballot who has the power, but he who counts the votes.


Friday, November 07, 2014

TUESDAY'S ANNOUNCED RESULTS 
NOW HIGHLY SUSPECT


With thanks to Brad Blog I am posting a significant excerpt of his article on all the problems with voting on Tuesday.  Here is the real story from Tuesday:  the democracy, as in 2000, was subverted at the polls.  Can we not say it clearly?  True Democracy in America is dead.  However, we the people are very much alive.  And, as Thomas Jefferson assured us we the people have the right to change the government when it becomes injurious to the people.  But has this happened?


*********************
The Brad Blog excerpt:


It's been happening for years now. On the day after elections like last Tuesday's, media figures begin navel gazing to figure out how pre-election polls, created by dozens of independent pollsters using dozens of different methodologies, could all find the same thing but turn out to be so wrong once the election results are in.
The presumption is that the results are always right, and if they don't match the polls, its the polls that must be wrong, as opposed to the results.
On Wednesday morning, after Tuesday's mid-term election surprise in which Republicans reportedly won handily in race after race despite pre-election polls almost unanimously predicting much closer races or outright Democratic victories, FiveThirtyEight statistics guru Nate Silver declared "The Polls Were Skewed Toward Democrats".
His analysis of aggregated averages from dozens of different pollsters and polls this year found that the performance of Democrats was overestimated by approximately 4 percentage points in Senate races and 3.4 points in gubernatorial contests. Silver's assessment relies on a "simple average of all polls released in the final three weeks of the campaign," as compared to the (unofficial and almost entirely unverified) election results reported on Tuesday night. He doesn't suggest there was anything nefarious in the polling bias towards Dems this year, simply that the pollsters got it wrong for a number of speculative reasons.
Citing the fact that nearly all of the polls suggested Democrats would do much better than they ultimately did, when compared to the reported election results, Silver asserts it wasn't that the polls were more wrong that usual, per se, but that almost all of them were wrong in a way that appears to have overestimated Democratic performance on Election Day.
"This year's polls were not especially inaccurate," he explains. "Between gubernatorial and Senate races, the average poll missed the final result by an average of about 5 percentage points --- well in line with the recent average. The problem is that almost all of the misses were in the same direction."
Silver is much smarter than I when it comes to numbers; I'm happy to presume he has the basic math right. But he seems to have a blind spot in his presumption that the pre-election polls were wrong and the election results were right. That, despite the lack of verification of virtually any of the results from Tuesday night, despite myriad and widespread if almost completely ignored problems and failures at polls across the country that day, and despite systematic voter suppression and dirty tricks that almost certainly resulted in election results (verified or otherwise) that were skewed toward Republicans...

No doubt you're familiar by now with many of the surprising results Silver cites --- he describes them as "missed 'calls'" and "errors". For example, he notes, pollsters erred in the governor's races "including in Illinois and Kansas and especially in Maryland, where Republican Larry Hogan wound up winning by 9 percentage points despite trailing in every nonpartisan poll released all year."
In Senate contests, he wrote earlier on Wednesday, "Some of the worst misses came in states like Kentucky and Arkansas where the Republican won, but by a considerably larger margin than polls projected. There was also a near-disaster in Virginia. It looks like Democratic incumbent Mark Warner will pull out the race, but the polls had him up by 9 points rather than being headed for a photo finish."
There are many more examples you likely know by now. There were similar surprises in some ballot measures and down-ticket races as well. For example, in Kansas, controversial Republican Sec. of State Kris Kobach was reportedly "tied" with his Democratic challenger last week, according to KSN-TV's SurveyUSA poll. Yet, according to the results on Kobach's own KS Secretary of State site, he "won" the election by a remarkable 18 points. (That's a single poll, not an average of many, but you get the idea.)
Those results, as well as the ones cited by Silver, could, in fact, be correct. The trouble is a) we don't know, because nobody bothers to verify the computer-reported results (even in states which use paper ballots systems that could be verified, unlike states that use touch-screen systems) and b) they ignore all of the problems with voting systems and the ability of voters to even access them in the first place.
While many Americans may be familiar with the surprise of Tuesday's reported results, not nearly as many are aware of the problems that plagued voters across the country. So, here, for those who aren't regular BRAD BLOG readers, are just a few examples of those problems where not all, but most, seemed to skew the election and its results away from Democratic voters and towards the GOP:
Polling place Photo ID and other voter ID voting restrictions have been shown, over and over again, in study after study and court case after court case, to adversely and disproportionately disadvantage Democratic-leaning voters. Wendy Weiser of NYU Law School's Brennan Center for Justice released a report on Wednesday, rounding up summaries of data in four states suggesting that "in several key races, the margin of victory came very close to the likely margin of disenfranchisement."
In the Kansas gubernatorial race, Weiser explains, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) beat challenger Paul Davis (D) by "less than 33,000 votes". That, despite a strict Photo ID law "put into effect right before the 2012 election, and a new documentary proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration," implemented by Sec. of State Kobach. "We know from the Kansas secretary of state that more than 24,000 Kansans tried to register this year but their registrations were held in 'suspense' because they failed to present the documentary proof of citizenship now required by state law."
Silver cites the pre-election polling average in the state that gave the Democrat Davis a 2.8 point advantage over Brownback in the days leading up to the election. Brownback reportedly won the race on Tuesday --- Silver calls it the "Actual Result" --- by 3.8 points, a 6.6 swing between pre-election polls and election results.
How many voters couldn't vote because they were blocked due to Kobach's scheme to disallow voters who didn't turn in some sort of "proof" of citizenship, even though they'd registered to vote with the national voter registration form that says nothing about a need to supply such documents?
Weiser goes on to cite the Senate race in Virginia, where Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner, who had been pegged by pre-election polls to win by 8.5 points, beat Republican challenger Ed Gillespie by just .6, or "just over 12,000 votes". That, despite the state's new Photo ID law, enacted last year, which, according to the Virginia Board of Elections, means that "198,000 'active Virginia voters' did not have acceptable ID this year." Moreover, as Silver himself estimated when he worked for the New York Times (he now works for ESPN), such restrictive voting laws reduce turnout by about 2.4%, meaning, according to Weiser, "a reduction in turnout by more than 52,000 voters" in Virginia.
In Alabama, on the Friday before the election, the state Attorney General quietly issued an edict that Public Housing IDs would no longer be allowable for use in voting there under that state's Photo ID voting law. How many lost their right to vote on Tuesday?
In Arkansas, though the state's Photo ID restriction was struck down by the state Supreme Court after being found a violation of the state's constitution, poll workers were reportedly asking voters for Photo ID anyway, leading the Arkansas Times to declare there were "voter suppression reports from all over" on Election Day and a "steady stream of complaints...from voters who say election officials around Arkansas demanded a photo ID before they could vote today."
In that state, pre-election polls predicted that Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor was likely to lose to Republican Tom Cotton by 4.7 points. The results show him as having lost by 17.
In Texas, reportedly, "the number of provisional ballots cast more than doubled since the last mid-term election in 2010." That, after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a strict polling place Photo ID law to be implemented this year, and despite a U.S. District Court finding, after a full trial, that the GOP law was "purposefully discriminatory", an "unconstitutional poll tax" and could disenfranchise as many as 600,000 disproportionately minority and poor registered voters.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found in a study earlier this year that polling place Photo ID restrictions in Kansas and Tennessee had decreased voter turnout in those states by 2 to 3% after they were enacted in 2012, and at even higher rates for minority and young voters.
While we'll have to wait to learn more about the specific effect of Photo ID restrictions on voters this year --- and we'll never know how many didn't even bother to show up, knowing that they lacked the specific type of Photo ID now needed to vote --- is it too early to consider how all of that voter suppression affect the reported election results this year in TX, AR, AL, KS and VA? More or less than the "Democratic bias" Silver finds in almost all of the pre-election polling averages?

Suspicions About Announced Results Beginning to Grow

Developing Story --

...nobody bothers to verify the computer-reported results (even in states which use paper ballots systems that could be verified, unlike states that use touch-screen systems) and...they ignore all of the problems with voting systems and the ability of voters to even access them in the first place.

Brad Blog is now questioning the announced results in last Tuesday's election.

I can say now for the first time, I myself was not able to vote last Tuesday due to circumstances related to the state's photo I.D. requirement.  Today, I am continuing to investigate the results of last Tuesday which some are calling "impressive," others "amazing."   I am calling them literally "unbelievable."  I do mean it quite sincerely.  The facts were not available on Wednesday, but they are beginning to trickle in now.  The article below is a start.


Brad Blog: Questioning the Announced Vote

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Beginning the Post-Election Analysis

The Christian Science Monitor on line is reporting that exit polls showed vast voter dissatisfaction with the economy.  This dissatisfaction is, of course, very understandable.  Why the Republicans, who after all have had control of the purse in the House of Representatives for the last four years, didn't appear to share the blame is less clear.

There are a couple of major themes to all this which are emerging.  One theme is that of vast dissatisfaction with the direction in which the country is headed, especially regarding the economy.  The President, fairly or not, has take the brunt of the blame in this election.  And for some reason Senate Democrats have borne the blame, but not House Republicans.

This leads to another avenue of investigation I will be pursuing here:  Why this discrepancy?  More specifically, why is Sam Wang reporting the Republicans performed, on average, more than 5% better than polls predicted?!  First, a further question:  Where are the exit polls this time around and what did they predict?  Also, what was voter turn-out?  Last, which party voted in greater numbers?  If you, dear reader have access to any of this data, could you kindly forward it to me via the comment function below?   I and my readers will be most grateful.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014


It's clear that something is wrong in Rome.  But just what?  Elections?  Money?  Morals?  Or all of these?  If you guess all, you'd be right.  But there is a four option called More of These.

In a certain way, the whole history of this blog is about what went wrong last night.  I have been trying to hint at what I think is wrong within the self which leads to national nightmares like last evening.  But since this is mainly a blog about current affairs, not a treatise on philosophy, my deeper explanations must await another place and time.

Still, those looking sharply will see a trend of thought similar to the one in the article below.  If the probablem is really within us, there is hope, because we can change ourselves.  It is much harder to change the make-up of the Fascist Supreme Court, for example.

More on this matter coming.


How Our Democracy Is Broken

Several Items of Good News from Last Night

It is very important now not to minimize the horror of what happened in the soupy election of yesterday.  This so-called election was a concoction of bombast, money, and the worst election "coverage" by the press since the fall of 1984.  (The autumn of 2000 is a close runner-up.)

In keeping with my promise here to provide hope and inspiration I offer the following facts.

1.  Tom Corbett, said to be simply a really bad governor, was defeated.

2.  Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown was defeated in a bid to become the newest Senator from Massachusetts.

3.  The minimum wage was raised in four Republican-led states

4.  Amendments putting "personhood" at the moment of conception were rejected.*


There are many other bright spots including, Democratic governor victories in two of the largest states:  California, and New York.  The election of the great Cory Booker in New Jersey (U.S. Senate), among others.

There will be time soon to begin to analyze this overall disaster once all the facts are in.  For now, perhaps the greatest silver lining of all is the seeing so clearly how money has corrupted our entire process and how the democracy has been seriously weakened.


A Salon article is linked below.
Please ignore, if possible, the claim that legalizing marijuana -- a drug with known major health affects -- is "progressive."  It is nothing of the sort.
Items of Good News From Last Night According to Salon


* The Musical Patriot, while not truly liking abortion, believes it is not the government's right to interfere in this kind of family decision.


N.B.  I'll try to have more data on the dangers of marijuana soon.  
Election 2014:  Fascism Regnant

Around the U.S. yesterday right-wing and far-right candidates stomped their way to victory in an election demonstrating unbelievable strength by economic fascists.  From Rick Scott in the far south to a Gardiner in Colorado, Republican candidates defeated worthy and experienced centrists in a display of chutzpah not seen in years.

In the wee hours of the morning today I found myself reading about the work of Greg Palast who has uncovered yet another Jim Crow scheme by Republicans meant to suppress the vote this year.  I'm sure there were other such efforts.  I'll have more details later.

But the "results" as announced yesterday hardly qualify as an endorsement by the American people of the end of the Civil Rights movement in America.  With relatively low turn-out expected, the large body of the populace has not yet spoken at the ballot box on questions of economic security, health security, and the right to a decent education by all.

What we do have is a kind of putsch by wealthy oligarchs who have just purchased the best Congressional leadership money can buy.

God save America.

Greg Palast on Voter Suppression in North Carolina


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Drawing the Curtains

Sadly, I must draw the curtains on this election night.  

Colorado Lost in the Smoke

In the old westerns, some poor Native American chap would issue the classic line, "Me smoke peace pipe."  Times have changed and the image of native Americans is only marginally better.  But if I may be permitted a rather graceless question at this late hour in the evening, "What were Colorado voters smoking today?"  The defeat of Sen. Mark Udall, if true, is astounding, unbelievable.

I will look up Udall's record later, but I simply cannot imagine what responsible adults would be thinking out there in western land.  

Scouring the Internet Before Things Turn Sour

Races in many parts of the country this past week have remained extremely close.  The wait the country is experiencing now is one result.  As I scour various news sites tonight, I am struck by the weakness of our current election process.  Money has tainted everything.  There remains little legitimacy to much of our government processes.  The National Weather Service gets the weather right some of the time, but at least they are honest.  Can you imagine if the Weather Service suddenly began touting "the best weather prediction experience in the history of the country.  You can trust the National Weather Service to deliver the best forecasting products directly to your intelligent computer or intelligent phone.  Sign up today for our new Severe Weather app and learn where political storms and real storms are likely to intersect.  Click here for the Weather Service app store."  Did I hear someone just say they already have that app.?  Let's hope not.

Still, are we not at the point of having the most commercialized federal government in history -- if the Republicans should win control of the Senate?  Who says these neanderthals won't start up the impeachment machinery over some new technicality or other?  That is, if they win the Senate, still not a sure thing.

Sam Wang, where are you now when we need you?

I Wonder

Hogan, Republican candidate in Maryland for Governor is trailing in very early reporting.  This is the man the Washington Post said had almost tied the race.  Could it be the "Post" had it wrong?  I wonder.   

Democrat Wins in Pennsylvania

Democrat Tom Wolf has unseated unpopular Republican Governor Corbett in Pennsylvania.  Hurray!

Source:  Politico on line

Unconfirmed

If readers will pardon me a bit of uncertainty, I can report that Politico is reporting the Democrats currently have a net loss of two seats in the Senate.  However, I cannot find which state has the second loss with West Virginia being the one pick-up in an open seat. More later (I trust).

Republicans Not Seeing Major Senate Gains So Far

It is certainly still early in the evening, but at this point, the Republicans are not yet seeing major gains in Senate races.  There is much more to come I am sure.  However, as I have chorused before, the Republicans should have wrapped this election up weeks ago.  That is the real story tonight.  

Much of the Blogging Tonight...

...will be found at my sister blog, Democratic Campaign Watch.  However, I do plan to have reflective work here and even some breaking news if I get it.

Thanks for joining me.  

Democrats Call for Longer Voting Hours After Problems in Hartford

The Hartford (Connecticut)  Courant is reporting voting problems this morning, prompting Democrats to call for longer voting hours.

Voting Problems in Hartford

Voters at Hartford Seminary


N. B.  I will be blogging the election during the day and evening.  Please also visit my sister blog, Democratic Campaign Watch for even more information.  

Monday, November 03, 2014

Polling Now a Part of the Election Process

What I am saying here is not completely new.  However, there is something about the way polls have been used this year which seems to have a new edge to it.  We have been seeing polls used for political purposes ever since Thomas Dewey was the first candidate to establish his own in-house polling unit in the 1948 Presidential campaign.

Over the past several days newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, have in one way or another utilized polling to virtually declare a Republican sweep.  One newspaper yesterday actually had a headline congratulating them!

However, Sam Wang of Princeton University points out polls in mid-term elections are significantly less reliable than those in Presidential years (which are still not completely accurate).  And when you have "ouliers" such as Fox polling and Rasmussen polling, even the polling of the aggregators (those "polling the polls"), seems unreliable.

I'm not going to attempt over the next two days to keep up with polls.  If I see something which is especially accurate or noteworthy I will, of course, pass it on.  But for now, the poll regime, as it were, has come to be used as a tool for maintaining one's preconceived narrative -- in this case a Republican sweep is coming.  Remember:  the Republican sweep is imaginary -- for now, and maybe for good.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Election 2014: Something Is Stirring

If this had been a Republican wave year, as the media has been trumpeting ad infinitum, the G.O.P. would have wrapped this whole thing up long ago.  Instead, the race for control of the Senate is almost as tight as it can be, and Republican governors elected in 2010 are almost surely going to be defeated, if we believe other pundits.

The only wave to be seen is in the U.S. House where a number of gerry-mandering schemes have tilted the scales toward Republican control for several years now.

Think what a Republican Congress would mean:

* Threats of government shut-down likely, resulting in real government paralysis with a loss of U.S. credit and prestige around the world

* Increased efforts to end Social Security as we know it, threatening both current and future retirees

* Legislation to stop the Affordable Health Care program and return us to a lone-ranger form of health care where the wealthy thrive and the sick falter and die

* Weakening or elimination of environmental laws leading to newly-fouled streams and even dirtier air

*  A reversal of efforts to under-gird and support alternative-energy sources

* Opposition to any court nominees who don't pass the litmus test of the Tea Partiers

... and much more.  Of course with a Democratic President in office the threat of a veto looms, and a closely-divided Senate could hardly expect to marshal very many, if any, veto over-rides.

Thus, the biggest concern would be governmental paralysis at a very dangerous time in national and world affairs.  We simply cannot afford such a situation.

If you are a conservative, vote for the most conservative Democrat you can or simply don't vote in that race.  Whatever you do, don't vote for any Republican politician -- he or she is simply too close to big-money power interests.

The choice is yours.  This truly is an election of extreme importance.  As Harry Truman said, Vote for Yourself!**


** And, thankfully, a vote along these lines is also a vote for our dear country and all those living in it.  



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Polls Are and Are Not

Recent polling indicates improvement for Democratic candidates in Alaska and Georgia, among other places.  Democrats are behind in polls elsewhere but many races remain very tight -- according to the polls.

This brings me to the point of this blog post.  What is the true purpose of polls?  A better phrasing might be:  What is the true use of polls?  The astonishing truth is that polls are a snapshot of history.  They show what was happening at the time the poll was taken, often many days or even weeks in the past.  With today's fast-moving environment this is simply not good enough.  It is good to know what was happening last week-end but what about today?

Polls are actually not completely predictive of race outcomes.  So much can happen in politics.  The main problem I have with polls is that some people attempt to use them to show what policies should be included in any given race.  If followed, this would turn a discussion into a fiat referendum. That would be disastrous for a democracy.  In many ways, we are already there.

Certainly, Wall Street interests don't like elections.  It is a frightening time for the very rich right  now.  The plain truth is they are worried about losing their money.  This is why I have been presenting the words of Pres. Harry Truman during this most important time.  For Harry Truman saw what the real issue was -- just who was going to control and run this country -- the powerful monied interests, or the people?

It is still very much a question in 2014.  Increasingly, though, as the days wind down until next Tuesday, the people are gaining strength and beginning to be heard.  I am grateful for an Internet which provides a way around the media oligarchy of today.  If we can continue to enliven this web-based "community," we can have the change in 2014 we hoped for so keenly in 2008.  Let us keep true hope alive!   

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Harry Truman Reminds and Exhorts

In Dexter, Iowa, on the campaign trail Truman had this to say:

You remember the big boom and the great crash of 1929.  You remember that in 1932 the position of the farmer had become so desperate that there was actual violence in many farming communities.  You remember that insurance companies and banks took over much of the land of small, independent farmers -- 220,000 farmers lost their farms....
I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you find out who's hitting you?
The Democratic Party represents the people.  It is pledged to work for agriculture....The Democratic Party puts human rights and human welfare first....These Republican gluttons of privilege are cold men.  They are cunning men....They want a return of the Wall Street economic dictatorship.   

There is much to be said by way of commenting on this excerpt.  But who can deny that our situation in 2014, though different, certainly, in technological and other respects, is not so different in the basics?  We have had actual racial violence in Benton Harbor and Ferguson.   We have had banks and insurance companies putting families out of their homes.  And there has been much more -- an increase in hunger, stagnation of wages, jobs moved over-seas, corporate inversions whereby these outfits refuse to pay taxes to America.  The list goes on and on.

How long, indeed, do we need to be hit over the head before we do the right thing and rise up in mass to vote out the Republican gluttons of privilege and their Congressional henchmen?

Let's make next Tuesday and the days leading up to it, the beginning of a new arousal of conscience.  Let's make this a new period of moral activism, combining the personal ethics of Theodore Roosevelt with the social ethics of Harry Truman. Let's get out there and get the job  done.  

"It Will Be the Greatest Campaign..."

It will be the greatest campaign any President ever made.  Win, lose, or draw people will know where I stand.   -- Pres. Truman to his sister, autumn 1948



I am grateful to the esteemed author, David McCullough, not only for the quotes of Harry Truman but for the entire book Truman, in and of itself a work of art -- written with such warmth and skill.  A major contribution to American non-fiction.   

Let's Give 'Em H***

Greetings!

It's good to see ya'll today.  This is Harry Truman Redux.  Just think of me as Pres. Harry Truman come back to watch after your best interests.

In the next few days I will be sharing some of my words of encouragement and inspiration with you. Most were first said by me from the back platform of the Ferdinand Magellan train as it rolled across the country during the 1948 campaign.  We stopped at around 140 places on our first official campaign trip and I gave about 147 speeches and shook some 30,000 hands.  There were over a million people in Los Angeles.  My life in the White House had become practically a prison, and it was a joy and an honor to get out and meet all the people.

You may know that I always did love music and that I played the piano.  Some people said I played pretty well.  Anyway, my friend (I call most people that), The Musical Patriot, has decided to use my words to help out in this 2014 campaign.  I say, Go right ahead, and give them h***.  Actually, it is just going to be the truth and our opponents are going to think it's h***!

As you can see, I still care about the country, even up here in this eternal Missouri some call heaven. Bess is here and doing fine, and, now Margaret, too -- sweet thing.  Follow me here for the next few days.  Have a good time, but mostly get out and vote and ask your friends to vote, too.  And this time, unlike in 2010, vote for yourselves.  Vote for yourselves!


Very sincerely yours,

Harry Truman

Monday, October 27, 2014

Harry Truman Redux

Harry Truman, Super-President

For all his faults, Harry Truman remains a likable President in his domestic policy.  And in his "whistle-stop" campaign of 1948 he is still remembered as a campaigner nonpareil.  Over the next nine days, as Campaign 2014 comes to an end I will be remembering Pres. Truman the Great Campaigner.  From David McCullough's magnificent book, Truman, I am gathering some sparkling and often tart quotes from a plain-speaking, eloquent President. 

Come back here all this week for inspiring words from Pres. Harry S Truman. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Report on Truman 1948 Acceptance Speech

Watch here a report on Pres. Harry Truman's acceptance speech at the 1948 Democratic convention.  While not the whole speech, several excerpts are given.  Listen to Harry Truman's words, compare his description of the Republican Congress then, to today's Congressional Republicans and be inspired and uplifted.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bill Clinton Plus Hillary, Barnstorm the Country

The Huffington Post reports ably on the Clinton contribution in this year's mid-term elections.  The former President describes himself as an old horse being tested to see whether he can still run.  Run, he can!  See more at this article:
Bill Clinton (the Old Campaign Horse) Slapped on the Posterior, Runs All Over the Country

As They Say in Paris

As they might say in Paris, America is an aristocracy, no?  No matter how controversial or depressing it may sound, yes, America is an aristocracy with one important caveat: it has elections of a sort.  For America has become something just short of an aristocracy.  It certainly isn't a democracy in the full sense of the term.  With unlimited corporate spending to both major political parties, it is almost impossible for any third party movement to gain traction in America now.  Of course conditions can change, and things do not look good for the Republicans at the moment (details to come).  But for the foreseeable future, the United States is stuck with a government whose elections are dominated by big money.  To call that a democracy is to tell a serious untruth and thereby do an injustice to both the English language, and the country.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ebola Media Frenzy: Disaster Capitalism At Work

Briefly --

Saturation-level coverage of the Ebola "scare" has been distracting at best and destructive at worst.  It has taken attention away from the mid-terms and has been destructive to morale.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Clash of Classes

Here is what happens when classes clash.




Courtesy of J. Bieber Vine post

The Bird Is Tweeting

Here is my "tweet":

With the press continuing to follow their ridiculous "Republican year" narrative, it is time to boycott their advertisers.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Is It Time to Lower the Voting Age?

In the article hyper-linked below, the Huffington Post writer says anyone who can be tried and convicted as an adult, arguably should have the right to vote.  It is hard to disagree.

Of course, much more can be said, and the issue deserves careful thought.  But if Tacoma Park, Maryland, can give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote, it is time for all jurisdictions to consider the implications of withholding the right to vote from teen-agers who pay taxes but have no voice in elections.

Time to Lower the Voting Age

What's Wrong With the Polls?

DRAFT POST -- released early for reasons of timeliness


Democrats who were enamored of the glorious statistical finery of Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium may be scratching their heads over numbers which once showed a "93%" [?] probability of Democratic control of the Senate if the election were held "today" to a mere 30% plus or minus 15%  for the election held in November.    What went wrong?

Sam Wang is perfectly capable of defending himself and this post is not meant as an attack on him.  However, I do want to underscore some things I have said over the past month.  The polls can indeed be wrong, and have been many times in the past.

What, then, is the place of polls in a political campaign?  Are they over-rated?  Most assuredly they can be over-rated, and often are.  How, then, to use them correctly?  Again, Wang does a good job of describing the correct way to use the polls.  One must dig a bit to get at this information but it is available on his Princeton Election Consortium site.

As Wang himself says, now is not a time for Democrats to wring hands or moan but to get busy.  I admit I sometimes moan at the wash of aristocratic money in this campaign.  We this kind of money, the Republicans should have locked up this election weeks ago. The fact that the polls seem to indicate them merely leading is a small miracle.

But as for hand-wringing, that part has escaped me.  That is to say, I am still willing to follow the situation and work through efforts such as this blog to call attention to the abysmal record of the Republicans who have had control, the Elephants in the House.  What have they done for the American people?  Can the average person mention one single thing this group has done, actually done to make life better, easier, or more fulfilling for him or her?

This has truly been a do-nothing House.  And the idea of now having a do-nothing Senate is unthinkable.  And here the media with their ludicrous narratives are very much to blame.  That will be the subject of a coming post.

For more on recent polling see:
Are the Polls Wrong?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Elections for Thoughtful People

The current campaigns for the U.S. Senate, among other things, are shaping up to be some of the more interesting mid-term campaigns I have ever seen.  For one thing, if Greg Orman wins in Kansas his presence in the Senate could potentially determine which party controls the Senate.

Time Out for the Arcane

If no party wins a majority of Senate seats how can it claim a majority and thus the right to lead the body?  This happened immediately after the elections of 2000 in which the body was split evenly for the first time.  And it could happen again, although with two independents already seated, technically there cannot be a true 50/50 split, no matter what.

Time In

There are other things to think about.  For instance, Sam Wang wonders whether the polls may be wrong.  This is a good thing to think about and something I have already hinted at here weeks ago.  Wang makes the point that when polls are wrong it is usually the Democrats who "gain" votes.

Time Out for the Arcane

Sadly, the Libertarian candidate for Senate in Iowa perished in a plane crash this past Monday. Condolences to his family.  Will the Libertarians be able to put forth a replacement under Iowa law?  Or, as Wang indicates, will the deceased candidate's voters need to go elsewhere?  And where will they go?

Time In

There is something big going on with the American electorate.  There has been such a disgust with the stalemate in Washington primarily at the hands of the Republicans, that the issue is beginning to turn from a simmer into a boil.  Thus we may very well have as many as three Independents in the Senate -- the most in my memory.


So the "game" of politics goes on.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Health Care Still and Emergency in the U.S.

Despite certain reforms enacted through the national legislature, health care remains essentially a jerry-rigged system in the United States -- certainly in practice.  Unfortunately, I am beginning to have personal experience with this issue.

I just had a very unproductive phone call with a governor's office and saw first-hand just how bad things are.  There was no one available to answer policy questions.  The number I was referred to was answered only by an automated machine which didn't make sense to me.

By policy, I do not like to identify individuals here until such person has a chance to respond.  So this particular office will remain anonymous.  In due time, if circumstances permit I will identify this office.  For now, it is not that important.  What is important is the difficulty of getting health care in this country.  I will try to give details later.  For now, I must tend to my health as best I can.  

Thursday, October 09, 2014

John Keats on This Beautiful World

Here  find  a  bit   of  joy  from  famous  poet  John  Keats.   His sentiments  seem  appropriate  at  this  time  of  year.  


-- TMP

Endymion, Book I, [A thing of beauty is a joy for ever] (excerpt)


John Keats1795 - 1821
Book I
  
  
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:  
Its loveliness increases; it will never  
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep  
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep  
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.           
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing  
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,  
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth  
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,  
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways            
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,  
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall  
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,  
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon  
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils            
With the green world they live in; and clear rills  
That for themselves a cooling covert make  
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,  
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:  
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms            
We have imagined for the mighty dead;  
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:  
An endless fountain of immortal drink,  
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.  
  

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

This Changes Everything

Times change.  And sometimes they really change.  Such are the times we live in now.

To make things clearer, along comes a brand-new book by Naomi Klein titled, appropriately, This Changes Everything.  In this important book Ms. Klein shows how the climate problems we are facing are not being solved because our economic system won't let that happen.

Over the coming days I will be saying more about this book. I just procured this book yesterday and am not far into it.  But just having the climate problem put this way is useful, clarifying, and somehow liberating.  I look forward to saying more soon.  

Monday, October 06, 2014

Group Funded by Koch Brothers Charged with Voter Disinformation Effort

A group funded by the Koch brothers has been caught giving out erroneous information to prospective voters according to witnesses interviewed by MSNBC.  The state of North Carolina is currently investigating the charges.

Dirty dealing seems to have no end.  Fortunately, this particular ruse seems to have been brought to light.  Read more here:

Koch Brothers Indirectly Implicated in Voter Disinformation Campaign

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Understanding Election 2014: What it is NOT About

With big media continuing to focus on the horse-race aspect of next month's election, it becomes difficult to focus on what this election should really be about.  But due to this pervasive media fog, it might be helpful to think for a moment about what this election is not about.  Sam Wang, poll aggregator* extraordinaire, puts it this way:

 I believe that analysis of polls should not take center stage, but be a service that liberates readers to focus on big questions: where the race is, and what they can do to affect the outcome. To me, politics is not about polls, or even about the horse race. It’s about candidates and issues. When the analyst becomes the story, that’s antithetical to what data-based journalism ought to be. I hope we can get past this, and return to the real issues at hand between now and November 4th.

At this point barely a month before the election, we must begin to focus on issues and what is at stake.  I agree with Sen. Bernie Sanders that what is at stake is a possible right-wing extremist take-over of the Congress.  We simply cannot let that happen.

For now, let's consider what this election is not about, then move as quickly as possible to what it should be about -- an equal opportunity for all to succeed with a good education and good health.

Please put your thoughts here  [...................................].    



* one who combines things in such a way as to obtain a meaningful whole

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is This Not Illegal?

The article linked to below tells of little niceties of law which make the bombing of Iraq and Syria illegal.  Especially in the case of Syria where the head of state is opposed to American intervention, but in Iraq, too, America is violating its treaties, according to David Swanson.

No matter how much we loathe the so-called Islamic state, offensive operations of this nature are an act of war.  The author here lays it all out.


The Legalities of War

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Protesting Students Receive Support

Students in a Denver, Colorado, suburb have received support from the College Board in their protest movement against a school board member who would sanction a conservative re-write of history.  The board member wants to cut out the portion of the AP History test she and her cohorts disagree with.  The College Board, which administers the test, has issued a ringing endorsement of the students in their efforts at "[c]ivil disorder...."


Read more on this exciting story here:
Students Protest Right-Wing Re-write of History

Friday, September 26, 2014

Beware the "Probabilities"

This must be quick -- we need to be cautious as a midnight cat when it comes to win "probabilities" in the fall election, as announced by news media organizations.  Sam Wang of Princeton Election Consortium is the best in this regard because he takes the time to explain what a probability means.

For those who take the time any probability is a snapshot based on current polling.  There is, at the same time, an argument to be made that past polling is a somewhat good predictor of future outcomes.  What I object to is turning someone's probability number into mathematical certainty.  Here is where Wang is good.  He makes clear that  probabilities are based on past and current polling only (in his model).

Others such as the late professor Neil Postman wrote a great deal about the numerical approach to life, and the dangers of such an approach.  And, rather than be awed by numbers, we should be skeptical -- at the least -- of turning politics into something one can put on an abacus.

Yet the drive to just know what is going to happen is strong, and understandably so with so much at stake.  The Princeton Election Consortium is still showing a "70%" chance of the Democrats holding the Senate in November.  I urge involvement on the part of all who care about the economic and health rights of all Americans, to get busy -- give money, volunteer, whatever is possible.

Then, let's continue the struggle for fair elections, and a fair economic system for all.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Full Plate of Steaming, Hot News

Begging your pardon for a few days being out of action here --

The news has, in a fashion, been all over the place the past few days.  The careening nature of world events is one reason your Musical Patriot has been led to seek refuge in a mental and emotional cottage of reflective relaxation.  Or, in any event, it becomes a good time to tend to other issues such as family matters.

But now it is time to come back to reality, as it were, and see what the new season of autumn is bringing us.  The most serious issue is the ISIS-ISIL vs. America conundrum.  The newspaper says today the tide has turned, and so forth and so on.  It is all so dreary, repetitive, and reminiscent of so many wars in the past.  Most all seem to begin with great gusto accompanied by stern statements of resolve from the President and other leaders.

Of course, this by no means is meant to minimize the threat of what we may call the "ISIS of evil."    Whatever the intent, the ISIS group is brutal, maniacal, and actually not all that successful.  Here is a clue to the situation:  If one looks on a map, one sees this Al Qaeda redux hasn't really won that much land, although the land it has won is important.

Thus the conundrum I spoke of earlier.  But aren't conundrums what we pay millions if not billions of dollars a year to unravel?  And don't we pay money to keep things and groups like this from developing in the first place?  Just asking, as they say.

Along with the drum-beats of war we need to hear another beat:  the beating of footsteps to the doorsteps of our legislators.  "What exactly do you have in mind, Sir?"  and "When will this end, Madam?"   and "How is it that this war will permanently solve this problem?"

Just asking.

-- The Musical Patriot

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hot Money -- Capitalism As a Cause of Global Climate Change

Naomi Klein in her brand-new new book, This Changes Everything, calls capitalism's contribution to global warming, "hot money."   This clever term is evidently an apt description of what the magnates of international corporations have been trading in as they have sought to defend their power and privilege, even in the face of impending climate disaster.

Klein was interviewed on the radio and TV program Democracy Now! yesterday.  What she had to say was very important indeed.  Based on this interview I recommend a look-see of her new book.  The link below will take you to Amazon's page for the volume.


This Changes Everything

Third Party Danger 2016

The estimable Bernard Sanders, U. S. Senator from Vermont, is floating the idea of a run for the White House in 2016.  As much as I respect Sen. Sanders, I advise against a third-party run by Mr. Sanders in 2016, under our current system.

The last time a major socialist candidate ran for President was Eugene Debs in 1920.  Impressively, Debs garnered nearly a million votes.  This shows how desperate people were for an alternative under the profit system of the time.

As soon as I can I will research the Presidential race that year to see what kind of impact it had on the Democratic candidate.  The only time in my memory a Democratic Presidential candidate did well against a third party left-of-center opponent was Pres. Harry Truman in 1948.

Now Sen. Sanders is also talking about the possibility of running as a Democrat in the primaries in 2016.  That makes more sense, though it is not immediately the most natural move, since Sanders has an identifiable image as an independent.  Still, I see him as able to contribute in important ways to the national discussion in the lead-up to the nomination, even if he did not get it.

But a third party effort?  Think again, if you please.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

United for Peace and Justice

Quick Link --

It is apparent the idea of going into Iraq and Syria militarily is not universally popular, though immediate polling has indicated a majority of Americans in favor of the Obama approach.

One group which works for both peace and justice is a group called United for Peace and Justice.  I have been aware of this group since at least the Iraq War of 2003.  Now Americans seem to have a longer memory and that war is remembered.  This time there is opposition from the President's own party, with at-risk Democrats such as Begich and Udall announcing they are against various aspects of this new proposed war.

Let us be about the important task of uniting for peace in the Middle East.


United for Peace and Justice

Monday, September 15, 2014

Learning from North Carolina: Get Out There and Work!

Over the last two years, decent and caring North Carolinians have had to learn how to combat an aggressive attempt to turn back the clock on voting rights and other issues.  It took some time, but progressive leaders in the Tar Heel state have been able to show disheartened citizens that all is not lost in their state.  First came weekly protests at the state Capitol.  Now there is the campaign of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, surely the biggest surprise of the season, leading her Republican challenger in several polls by a small but clear margin. 

It seems that when a candidate sticks to bread-and-butter issues, the electorate responds.  Democrats are, of course, doing this across the board.  The biggest obstacle to truth in America now is the media -- a media which gulps down huge splashes of ad money like a bloated whale in a sea of sardines.  If the Koch brothers can spend multi-millions to tip the scales in races all over the country, that is of no concern to the amoral media.  Where is our free air time for our democracy -- a plan which was announced several years ago?  Other major industrialized countries have such a requirement.  America squanders its media opportunities in banal "political ads," with little or no obligation to tell the truth.  It is indeed a sad state of affairs.

Yet somehow the picture is not entirely dire.  For here and there appears a Kay Hagan, or a Greg Orman, or any of a number of solid, courageous Americans ready to do their duty for the country through government service.

Hip, hip, hooray for responsible courage in America!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Youth Develops What May Be a Break-through Cancer Test

Science News

A new test developed by a fifteen-year-old young man is said to possibly be one of the most important discoveries to hit the world of cancer science in years.  See more here:!

(Two copies of video displayed.  Working to correct duplication.)



Note:  Video from Smithsonian may show other content when played.

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

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