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

Friday, January 31, 2014

Radio Inventor's Fascist Connection

Have you ever noticed after you buy a new car, you suddenly see that model everywhere, when you had scarcely noticed it before?  Something like that has happened to me after reading about the beginnings of Italian fascism. 

This morning while reading a book on the Titanic by Michael Davie, I read how radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi became a member of the Italian Parliament and was a strong supporter of Mussolini.  Marconi, it seems, participated in an arrangement with The New York Times by which that newspaper was granted exclusive rights to the story of the sinking of Titanic, that great leviathan, from the point of view of the surviving Marconi system operator.  It appears he also knew the operator, Harold Bride, was to get a fee. 

We see here at work the essence of the profit motive -- make money any way possible.  How little things have changed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Italian Origins of Fascism

Several weeks ago I began a series of articles here on fascism.  I promised a definition of fascism and an article about the origins of fascism.

I certainly don't claim to be an expert on the origins of fascism.  I have, however read the story in Robert Paxton's Anatomy of Fascism.  Below is another book I have begun reading just this evening.

Over the coming weeks I plan to discuss what I am learning in this book.  If you wish to take a look at the book you, too, can join in the discussion.

It is clear from the opening of the book that fascism began amidst social turmoil in Italy beginning around 1870 .  This turmoil came about partly because of a division between the social elites and the vast numbers of Italian poor. 

We can imagine, if we will, an Italian man of 1882 working hard to feed his family from the family farm.  Bad weather and low prices have plagued him in his working life and it has not been easy to provide for his own family.  Now there is a stirring in the countryside.  This farmer, let us call him Guglielmo, has heard other farmers complaining.  No one knows where the troubles will end...

Book: Italian Origins of Faascism

Monday, January 27, 2014

Have Pity on the Fascist Apologists

Actually, this admonishing is part tongue-in-cheek.  For those in America who support this highly corrosive, destructive economic system called the profit system, or capitalism, often do not realize they are, in fact, supporting fascism.  For fascism is the tying together of the profit motive with the government to attempt to present a solid phalanx against all competitors to the system of over-weaning greed which is our model.  Whatever the level of consciousness, or perhaps manufactured non-seeing, there are millions of people today who support to one extent or another what might be called Fascism Light. 

As part of my continuing looking at fascism I am today focusing a bit on the role of a capitalist motive within a fascist government.  Now, of course, I am not saying that the U.S. President is a Hitler.  However, I do sometimes hear echoes of the old Nazi Party seated in the Bundestag -- grabbing for power within a failing Weimar Republic -- in our own U.S. House

At this point, I only have the time and resources to toss out certain ideas which may have the reader think.  A fuller and more careful analysis will have to await another day.  But let it be said clearly that you don't have to have the storm troopers, and the gas chambers, to have fascism.  There are different forms and intensities of fascism.  And what we have in the U. S. and certain places around the world is a rather lighter form of fascism.  However, this makes it all the more pernicious, as it is more easily disguised as something else. 

Perhaps you can fill in your own details from your own country.  Perhaps what I say has a ring of truth to it.  If so, I encourage you to continue your thinking along these lines:  suppose there were a way to diminish the power of oligarchical corporations to a point where they no longer could twist policies and public debates to their advantage.  Let us imagine this as a prelude to reality.  For today's supposition, is tomorrow's goal, and next year's reality. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Poetry

Have Hope
         B. A. G. Fuller

Have Hope!  it is the brightest star
     That lights life's pathway down;
A richer, purer gem than decks
The Midas that may turn to joy
     The grief-fount of the soul;
     That paints the prize and  bids thee press
     With fervor to the goal.

Have Hope!  as the tossed mariner
     Upon the wild sea driven
With rapture hails the polar star--
     His guiding light to haven--
So Hope shall gladden thee, and guide
     Along life's stormy road,
And as a sacred beacon stand
     To point thee to they God.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Former Virginia Governor Indicted

Immediate past Virginia Governor, Robert McDonnell, has been indicted by a grand jury for accepting what essentially amounted to bribes.  McDonnell had been under suspicion for months.  An eventual indictment had seemed quite likely.  Now that indictment has come down and the waiting is over.

The indictment of any public official is no cause of rejoicing.  And I do have some concerns in some states about the way influence pedalling laws can be construed.  Foremost, every defendant deserves his or her day in court.  This is no less true for a former official.

So -- let justice be done.

Former Virginia Governor, Robert McDonnell Indicted

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King at Riverside Church, 1967

It is natural and proper that the world honors The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., this week for his work in race relations.

Yet this year, as in every year, Dr. King's opposition to the economics of his time is a fact prominently over-looked.

In the speech heard at the link below, Martin Luther King makes clear his opposition to the Viet-Nam War and to the philosophy of exploitation behind it.   

Martin Luther King, Jr. at Riverside Church

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Is the Profit System Worth It?

For a good long while now, Americans and citizens around the world have been told that the profit system is the engine of economic success and development.  This story has been told so long it is hardly refutable in the eyes of the general public. 

Yet where are we today?  Even with recent declines, the unemployment rate in the United States stands at 6.7%.  And did you know that persons who have stopped looking for work are not even counted in the statistics?  Average hourly earnings are up a scant eighteen cents over the last six months.  Yet the consumer price index may be starting to advance at a greater pace.  (Source of information:  U.S. Dept. of Labor.  See link below.)

There are many arguments made in behalf of the highly-touted profit system.  One is that everyone has a fair shot at success.   Yet, at the very least, it seems that somehow certain individuals have a fairer shot than others.  Why does a Bill Gates have the money to buy a gigantic mansion, and still create and promote his own educational system?  Why does Warren Buffet complain that he does not pay enough in taxes?

Operating in the profit system is something like playing one of the state lotteries.  How many people do you know who have won a million dollars?  How many do you know who have won even $500?  Clearly, the chances of winning a substantial amount of money are very low, yet the opportunities to spend a great deal of money are plentiful.  This is exploitative and deceitful.

And it can be said here that state socialism is not the only alternative.  In fact, neither state socialism or communism are fit alternatives to capitalism.  The alternative to the profit system, (in which the ultimate goal is to get a corner on the market), is simply a just and truly free system -- one in which the basic needs of all are seen to, including enough food to eat, and basic health care.

Clearly we do not have this in the U.S. and really not anywhere.  Yet, once there was no public education system either.  And now there is.  Once there were no public hospitals, then there were many.  (Profit corporations have largely taken over community hospitals in recent years.)

So much more can be said.  Yet, this is a discussion America is yearning to have.  Can we not manage an intelligent discussion on this topic?  Must we have a more corrupt government than Finland?!   Must we have a hideously expensive health care system, when Norway does not?!  It is time to end the hysterics and get down to the business of devising a more just, and, yes, more competitive economy. 

Latest Department of Labor Statistics

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Please Help Review New 9/11 Film

Can you please help review a new film on the subject of the attacks on September 11, 2001?

This film seems important, if flawed.  I will be watching this film and invite you to do the same.  I would be interested in your opinion, as well.

Since so much of our history these last years has been affected by the Bush and Obama Administrations' response to what has been called a false flag operation, it is important to know the truth behind what happened on that day. 

For example, did you know there were three buildings which collapsed on that day?  Building 7, which no one has ever claimed was hit by a plane, nevertheless fell in free fall fashion on that day.

This film purports to examine the academic "necklacing" which was committed against professors who dared speak out against the official version of events on September 11. 

An article on the film can be accessed here:

New Film on 9/11/01 Attack

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Story to Watch

Rush Post --

Yesterday's New York Times reported on the way cash is flowing to states in the wake of the Citizens United decision and in light of the political gridlock in D.C.  This valuable information helps make clear just what is going on in America now. 

I will link to this article a bit later. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Two Governors Inaugurated, Both Under Clouds

Two governors are being inaugurated this week-end, one under a metaphorical cloud, and one under a real cloud. Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia was inaugurated yesterday in damp weather at the Capitol in Richmond. With former President Bill Clinton, and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, in attendance, McAuliffe carried forward his campaign themes of open government, improved support for education, especially community colleges, and equal rights for all. The inaugural came as a breath of fresh air after a season of allegations of corruption in the Bob McDonnell administration. Even the Attorney General, Ken Cucinelli, had been tarnished during the crisis. McDonnell survived in office, but with a cloud over his tenure.

In New Jersey, former rising star, Chris Christie, the 55th governor of the Garden State, was set to be sworn in for a second term amidst a scandal involving use of the governor's office for political gain, potentially a federal crime. Underlings of Christie maneuvered -- incredibly -- to engineer roadway lane closings as retribution for a mayor who refused to endorse Christie for re-election last fall. For now, Republicans, at least, are giving Christie the benefit of the doubt. But if he is found to be lying about his lack of knowledge of the lane closings, pundits say it could be curtains for any Christie Presidential bid. As for this writer, I believe an executive must take responsibility not only for the actions of his official associates, but also for the act of hiring such people in the first place. Christie obviously failed this test here.

Monday, January 06, 2014

NPR Catching Up with the Times

Quickly NPR programming which I listened to on Sunday was replete with up-to-date reporting on important developments from the past. Yes, I am writing tongue-in-cheek but I was heartened to hear reporting on 2013's false "news" reports picked up by mainstream media directly from the Internet. When I have the time to check the NPR web site I'll have more to say. The story about the false news reports was truly scary as the reporter's interview subject said if this continues the time will come when we cannot separate truth from fiction. A frightening prospect indeed.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Saturday Poetry

A Song by Walt Whitman
COME, I will make the continent indissoluble;
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet shone upon;

I will make divine magnetic lands,

With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies;

I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about each other's necks;

By the love of comrades, By the manly love of comrades.

For you these, from me, O Democracy, to serve you, ma femme!

For you! for you, I am trilling these songs,

In the love of comrades,

In the high-towering love of comrades.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

2014 Anniversaries to Watch For

The new year will see the following 50th anniversaries, among others: February: First Appearance of The Beatles on American national television ("The Ed Sullivan Show") August: Gulf of Tonkin Resolution September: Warren Report Released November: Election of "Landslide Lyndon" Johnson as President

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Forgiveness in 2014

First H A P P Y N E W Y E A R! When was the last time you forgave someone? When was the last time you felt you should but didn't? I know these are unusually personal questions for The Musical Patriot. Yet somehow they seem relevant to the main purpose of this web log -- events both public and private. The name of the book I mentioned two days ago is Total Forgiveness and the author is R. T. Kendall. I have only just begun this book. There always seems to be too much competition for book-reading time. Yet the thesis of this book is so important and the need for it seems to be backed up, at least anecdotally. The author claims that forgiveness, no matter how difficult, brings a certain kind of peace which may be ever so needed by the forgiver. Of course seeing the need for forgiveness is a requisite first step and I believe there is another method more advantageous than this book for prompting a certain kind of seeing. But once the need is seen this book does give a good introduction to the subject of forgiveness. So what in the world does forgiveness have to do with world events? It will be important for our purposes here to understand that individual acknowledgement of grudges held is key to understanding the human psyche in this area. And, quite obviously, national repentance, if you want to use that word, cannot happen without individual repentance. I realize this may sound more like a minister speaking, but apparently the secular psychology world is confirming the benefits of forgiveness through research studies. The Middle East conflict comes to mind immediately. But let those of us in other areas not be smug. How easily Weimar Germany drifted into fascism through a sense of enraged victimization. Anyone one of us has regrets. Some are legitimate. The point of Total Forgiveness is that those of us who have been wronged may be able to bring peace to our own souls through forgiveness. May the study of forgiveness become the new study, more popular and more useful each passing month. So, I repeat: Happy New Year!

Featured Post

Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism