Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny. -- Daniel Webster

Thursday, 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***


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

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism