Thursday, December 31, 2015

Russian Navy, Rebuilding, Flexes Its Muscles

Quick, Important Link --


The article below highlights a United States intelligence report which shows the Russian Navy newly refurbished and growing stronger.  

While I have praised Russian leadership in Syria, there should be no mistake about my concerns about any nation expanding war-making capabilities.  America must remain strong, but constructive and peace-promoting.  

I hope the totality of my posts here make this somewhat clear.  


Russian Navy Showing Renewed Strength

Up-coming Anniversaries in 2016

It is sometimes startling to remember how quickly time flies.  For instance, it seems only a few years ago that Indira Ghandi was first elected Prime Minister of India.  However in 2016 it will have been Fifty years!  (Mrs. Ghandi had a second term from 1980 to her assassination in 1984.)


Below is a list of some important anniversaries, and a few of lesser importance.  There are many others.  For more anniversaries follow the link below.


And Happy 2016 from The Musical Patriot. 

2016 Anniversaries

15th
Ellen MacArthur youngest woman to sail around the world alone

20th
Dolly the sheep cloned

25th
First Gulf War
Release of the "Birmingham Six"

50th
Indira Ghandi first elected Prime Minister of India

65th
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed

75th
The first Jeep 
Attack on Pearl Harbor

90th
U. K. general strike

100th
Albert Einstein publishes theory of relativity
Tanks used in battle for the first time

400th
William Shakespeare died



Source:

Monday, December 28, 2015

Traditional Republican Third Party May Not Be a Good Idea, Says Journalist

There are dangers to an attempt by traditional conservatives and/or moderates to mount a third-party effort to capture the White House in 2016.  The main danger says journalist Darrell Lucus is that of having a large far-right party participating directly in the political process, something that is never good for democracy.  And by "far-right" we can read "fascist."

It is my contention that what Trump, Cruz and others really represent at this juncture is the danger of a large, organized far-right party in the U.S.  This would be something never before seen in this country.  If one thinks about the hyperbolic anti-Muslim attacks by Trump, especially, what we are really seeing is Hitlerian language, now being put into policy proposals ("Ban all Muslims").

Better than forming a third party, Lucus advises, is for traditional Republican conservatives to work to directly oppose Trumpism in America.  This is something they have been reluctant to do for fear of -- yes -- splitting the party.

Better than any of these solutions is for the media to stop pandering to Trumpism and all its diatribes. What the media is doing amounts to an assault on the American system of tolerance for all religions. This we simply cannot have.

In coming days I plan to concentrate and focus on how the media itself is promoting Trumpism and how the media can be opposed.  Therein, I believe, will lie the best method of opposing nascent fascism in this great land.


The Perils Of a Republican Third Party

Friday, December 25, 2015

Astonishing and Useful Mea Culpa from Journalist Matt Bai

Media member admits egregious errors on the part of the media in current Presidential campaign.  

This article by Matt Bai is a no-holds-barred criticism of the media shenanigans which now pass for media "coverage" of the Presidential race.  The star of this tragicomedy is Donald Trump with a strong supporting role played by the media.  

There is no need for me to comment at length about this article for it speaks for itself.  This article is remarkable for its passionate candor.  There is little or no self-pitying, no attempt to describe mitigating factors.  It is a straight-up description of how Trump and the media need each other.  It is an exploitative situation for all concerned.  Bai is absolutely right to be concerned.  Whether he is concerned enough can be questioned.  What cannot be questioned is his honesty and sincerity.  A must-read.

Journalist Explains Dangerous Symbiosis Between Media and Trump
(Link includes video example.)

Mea Culpa From a Media Member: Honest and Long-Overdue

Coming momentarily -- notice of an important admission of error from a media member

Link included


Media member admits egregious errors on the part of the media in current Presidential campaign.  

 Check back here soon


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Will the Presidential Election End Up In the House of Representatives? (Up-dated with two comments)

There have begun to be serious suggestions that members of the traditionalist wing of the Republican Party, which represents many if not most of the Republican leadership, may bolt to form their own party in 2016.  If this happens it would not be the first time there has been a split in a major political party.  The last time there was anything significant of this nature was in 1968 when George Wallace ran an independent campaign for the White House and won 46 electoral votes.  The election was not thrown into the House of Representatives that year.

To my knowledge the last time this happened was in 1824 when the Democratic-Republican Party failed to unite behind a single candidate for President.

Jeff Greenfield, in a forward-looking article this past week-end, reported Republican Party leaders are aghast at the prospect of  Donald Trump as their candidate.  In order to protect some semblance of a viable party for the future there is talk of forming a third party.  At least one expert believes such a party's candidate could beat Trump in several states.

That prospect leads to speculation no candidate would command a majority of Electoral Votes, throwing the decision to the House of Representatives.  Whether that would be the current House or the House elected in the fall of 2016, I am not sure.*  I will research this and report back later.

For now, things are getting interesting behind the Christmas lights and beneath the tinsel.

*Up-date:  See comment below

Monday, December 21, 2015

Today's College Activists Agitate for Protection

An interesting article on line charts the fairly recent rise of college students agitating for protection from free speech.  This theme echoes an Atlantic article of earlier this year which reported much the same thing:  students organizing against upsetting speech, texts, and teachers.  While the current article referenced may be somewhat overdrawn, the issue is one of importance -- and concern.

Finding the right balance between freedom of speech and respect is hard.  The fact that it is difficult is one reason democracies have had such a difficult time.  Just witness the Trump vs. the World drama now gripping the Republican Party.

At any rate, the article is well worth reading:

Today's College Protestors Somewhat Opposite Protestors of the 60s, Says Author

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Greek Left Split, Continues to Fight Austerity

“This agreement is not compatible with the ideas and the principles of the left. But most importantly, it is not compatible with the needs of the working class and the popular masses. This proposal cannot be accepted by the members and the cadres of Syriza.”

Update --

 Latest developments in Greece underscore the depth of opposition to the austerity measures the European Union continues to try to foist on the Greek people.  

Syriza, the Greek leftist party is now itself split, but with a strong and energized anti-austerity component continuing to speak out and to organize.

It is encouraging to see workers and others continue to oppose austerity even as their own party, Syriza is led by Tsipras and others pushing the E. U. oppression.  More at the link below.


Greek Leftists Refuse to Kow-tow to Austerity

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Continued From Yesterday: Protests Against Media Are Right

The media claims they must report on Donald Trump because he is simply news.  This may be, but as so often in the media it is not what is reported, but what is not reported.  And so often what are left out are context and background.  Also, being left out is the whole truth.

For instance it was reported that overnight polls declared Donald Trump to be the winner of last's night's Republican debate  ("The Hill" on line).  The poll was conducted of only likely Republican voters.  Apparently, anyone else who may have had the stomach to watch didn't matter.

What is scary is the amount of time given to Trump and the celebrity aura accorded to him in most of the coverage.  America deserves the facts.  Donald Trump is not qualified to be President, temperamentally, or by experience.  What we need from the media is honest analysis of how this man came to be a part of the process of a major American political party's Presidential nominating process.  And we need this "coverage" fast.   

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Up-Dated With Link: Dump Trump Movement Has Appeared

Quick Post --


There is a "dump Trump" movement afoot.  This is good to see.  After I have seen more details I will be back here with more.

It seems that the body politic has tried to digest the latest Trump diatribes, found them completely indigestible and is in process of rejecting the source.  America, it appears, does not want to let the world down, after all.


Try This Link for More Information

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

How Trump's "Islamaphobia Became Part of Mainstream Discourse

Those who have not followed certain far-right groups closely -- and that includes most of us -- Trump's diatribe against Muslims seems almost to have come out of nowhere.  We are not necessarily surprised that Trump would say such a thing.  But we are surprised and frightened that someone who appears to be the most popular candidate of a major political party is saying such things.

The article linked to below shows clearly how this has come to be.  For certain persons on the right have been able to pour millions of dollars into anti-Muslim propaganda campaigns.  And the article puts this in the context of terrorist actions at home and abroad.

Now that we are at this point, Trump must be vigorously opposed.  This opposition should center on the press which has ended up promoting Trump as part of the new celebrity journalism which plagues the Fourth Estate.  Actions could include letters to the editor and boycotts of advertisers, both of which can be highly effective in shutting down the Trump propaganda operation.

It is helpful that some Republican leaders such as John Ellis "JEB" Bush have denounced Trump.  But so far, most of these leaders have said they would support Trump if he is the eventual nominee.  This is simply not good enough.

As I said yesterday, the Trump candidacy must be stopped cold.  Nothing less is up to the greatness of the country;  anything less would be a terrible disservice to the nation.


How Trump's "Islamaphobia" Became Mainstream

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Is Russia Right on Mid-East Policy?

Past Administrations in the U. S. have focused on bringing peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.  The current administration along with other western powers including Britain and France have concentrated in recent years on opposing any Arab leader considered un-democratic to the point of demanding his ouster.  This is evidently what has motivated the Obama Administration.

However, is it possible, just barely possible, that the Obama Administration has been misguided?  And is it possible Russia has been right?  No matter how distasteful such a proposition may be to American pride, facts must be faced squarely.  The article from a Russian source below explains.


 The Russian View on Arabia

Some Take Fascist Line on Trump

Those offering support for or only tepid criticism of Donald Trump according to NBC include A. Coulter, L. Ingraham, T. Cruz, and state Republican Party chairpersons in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Should we quarantine all Republicans from those states?  I hardly think so.  
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," If you want to make America great again, reject this without any doubt or hesitation."
He added that Trump supporters aren't getting "a strong man who's going to fix all of our problems" but "someone who is making it harder to win a war we can't afford to lose, that's a wrecking ball for the Republican party, who's a xenophobic, race baiting, religious bigot."

-- Courtesy, NBC News

John Kasich Faces His Inner Devil and Wins

Chris Christie: "Again, this is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they're talking about. We do not need to endorse that type of activity, nor should we," he said on Michael Medved's radio program.

Republican Candidates Weigh In Against Trump Diatribe

I disagree with Donald Trump's latest proposal. His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 8, 2015

(Twitter)

Now Blogging the Trump Fiasco

The best thing J. E. Bush ever wrote:

Donald Trump is unhinged. His "policy" proposals are not serious. 

-- John Ellis Bush on Twitter

Stop Trump Now

To their credit, Republicans in a growing chorus are denouncing the latest comments of D. Trump to essentially ban Muslims from entering the U.S.  As a person with ties to the Christian community I am no apologist for those who would use any religion as an excuse to engage in terrorism.  But to force people to declare their religion before being allowed to enter the United States is completely against the laws and spirit of this country.

Trump must be stopped now.  His comments are un-American, ugly, and cruel.  It will not do to allow him to continue on this dangerously divisive trajectory.  With Trump at the head of the Republican ticket America would have essentially its first fascist candidate of a major political party.  Even more fascist than Reagan, quite clearly.

If Trump is allowed to continue his powerful attacks and sneering counter-attacks backed as he is by almost unlimited money, we could soon found an agent of social hysteria who cannot be stopped except by extraordinary means.  I for one don't want to face such a maelstrom of horror.

STOP TRUMP NOW
(politically and non-violently, 
but clearly and forcefully)


Republicans Denounce Latest Trump Plan

Sunday, December 06, 2015

A Look Ahead

Coming This Week:

Are terror attacks examples of what is called "blow-back?"  Does the West find itself in a cycle of violence related to past actions of its own?  There certainly are beginning to be allegations of this nature.  Some may have credibility.  I'll be taking a closer look this week. 


Thursday, December 03, 2015

Smart Immigration

The subject of immigration reform is one which is rankling the U.S. political scene, and riling certain individuals.  It is time for an in-depth look at this issue.

As a blogger, I am only able to hit high points most of the time and point the way to sources for further research.  I do know that the 1965 re-write of immigration law contained a provision, included close to the end of the legislative process, which allowed for an expansion in the number of family-related individuals who could come into the United States.  Eventually, it seems, this led to an increase in individuals coming in from non-European countries.

It is often said that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants and this is true.  Persons from all over have been welcomed to these shores.  Sadly, these persons have not always been welcomed in the communities they ended up in.

America does need to remain friendly to persons from other countries.  But perhaps it is time to take a look at the numbers.  This I hope to do at some point.  For too big an influx of people, no matter where they come from, can have an adverse effect on the existing community.  There are issues of  jobs, of adequate social services, good roads, to say nothing of the social impact of the newcomers.

I also know that by the second and particularly the third generation of immigrant families individuals have acculturated, adopting the language and understanding the ways of their adopted homeland. Our concern now is for that first generation.

There are other important aspects to the discussion  including religion.  These other aspects are beyond the scope of this post.

If we are smart we will look at the facts in this situation.  We need cool heads, not inflamed passions.  

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Note to Readers

Dear Reader,

After almost ten years of steady posting here, I now have an analysis of this blog underway.  This analysis is not terribly intense yet, but I expect it will end up being pretty thorough.  Whether you, the valued reader, can expect to see major changes is unknown at the moment.

In the meantime, I plan to continue posting here.  Goodness knows there is plenty of fodder for an industrious writer's mind.


Peace,

TMP

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Fed's Alleged Tax on Workers

Quick Link --

The Effect of Fed Actions on Workers' Wages
At the link above, you will see an attempt to explain how Federal Reserve actions can hurt the buying power of the average worker.  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Virginia State Senator Writes Letter of Support to Syrian President Assad

In keeping with my series of peace-promoting posts here is a letter which I think is with the best spirit of our times, not the worst. 

-- TMP



November 14, 2015
Bashar al Assad President of Syria, Damascus, Syria.
Dear Mr. President:
I was pleased by the Russians' intervention against the armies invading Syria. With their support, the Syrian army has made dramatic strides against the terrorists.
I was delighted by Syria's resounding victory over ISIS at the Kuwairis Airfield. My compliments to those who heroically rescued 1,000 brave Syrian soldiers from certain death. I am convinced that many such victories lie ahead.
The Syrian War was not caused by domestic unrest. It was an unlawful war of aggression by foreign powers determined to force a puppet regime on Syria. General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, revealed that by 2001, Western powers had developed plans to overthrow Syria. Yet after fifteen years of military subversion, NATO, Saudi Arabia and Qatar still cannot identify a single rebel leader who enjoys popular support among the Syrian people.
Foreign powers have no right to overturn legitimate elections and impose their will on the Syrian people. Syrians alone must determine their destiny, free of foreign intervention. I am disappointed that the UN has turned a blind eye to the unlawful interference in Syria's internal affairs.
Before the war began, Syrians had the greatest religious freedom and women's equality of any Arab people. Many Americans are surprised to learn that the Syrian Constitution provides for free elections, religious freedom, women's rights, and the Rule of Law. Before criticizing Syria, the U.S. might first insist that our allies Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait grant similar freedoms to their own people.
I am disappointed that the U.S. has countered Russian assistance to Syria by forwarding shipments of TOW anti-tank missiles to the terrorists. This will only prolong bloodshed in Syria. And supplying weapons to "good terrorists" while denying them to "bad terrorists" is a fools game. The reckless dissemination of TOW missiles threatens worldwide civil aviation. Long-range anti-tank weapons can easily be targeted to destroy passenger jets taxiing for takeoff. As a Virginia Senator, I am concerned that such missiles might find their way to remote areas adjacent to Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport and others. I have corresponded with the United States President about these concerns.
Today, the Army of Conquest receives extensive U.S. military support. The Army of Conquest is formed around al Nusra, which has sworn allegiance to al Qaeda. This means that the U.S. supplies weapons to the same terrorists who murdered 3,000 Americans on 9-11. This is an obscene betrayal of the victims of 9-11.
People have begun realizing that the Syrian terrorists are militarily supported by our allies, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Indeed, ISIS has no more loyal backer than Turkey, which serves as its main conduit for jihadists, weapons, medical support and trade. Although Turkey is included in the Coalition against ISIS, it has contributed nothing of significance toward the Coalition's lackluster performance.
It is apparent that the objective of the Turks and Saudis is to impose a murderous theocratic dictatorship on the Syrian people. If they succeed, Christians and other minorities will be slaughtered or sold into slavery. Many good-hearted Sunni and Shia Muslims will also be burned, drowned, crucified and beheaded.
But world opinion is turning against the terrorists and their supporters. The cruel mistreatment of captured Syrian soldiers by terrorists groups is appalling. Many Americans find the behavior of these so-called "moderates" morally abhorrent.
I bled, fighting to defend this nation's honor. I will oppose American support for terrorists, like the Army of Conquest and ISIS that threaten Syria. Many Virginians join in praying that the Syrian Arab Army and its allies will triumph over the forces of evil, and that peace will soon return to Syria
Thank you for protecting the lives of Christians and of all good people of Syria.
Sincerely, Richard H. Black Senator of Virginia, 13th District.

A Web Site For the Season

A Thanksgiving/Christmas Special Link --


Certain forces in the world would have us fighting over religion, an activity I thought ended with Medieval Times.  But, no, in the 21st Century some people want to revive this very destructive and evil tradition from the past.  Any jousting between religions should be verbal only, and only of the respectful kind.  

What we have now is backward and totally unnecessary.  We should be thinking only of mutual respect, and even love.  

Christian-Muslim Friendship Site

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Washington Post Reviews Second Democratic Debate

An interesting Washington Post online article is featured at my sister blog, Democratic Campaign Watch.  See the bar at left for the link to Democratic Campaign Watch. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Coming This Week

Coming Later --


I have received a report that a United States Representative has introduced a resolution declaring U. S. Administration actions in Syria to be illegal.  As soon as I have further information, I'll be posting more on this matter here.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Remembering John F. Kennedy (Up-dated)

Fifty-second Anniversary of Assassination This Week-end

With no disrespect intended to either, John F. Kennedy was the Barack Obama of his time.  If you were a sentient person in the early 1960's John Kennedy was either loved or reviled.  But mostly he was recognized as a telegenic and charismatic politician.

To those interested in the history of the era, including his most tragic assassination, the matter of who actually caused the death of the President is of no small interest.  Chief among the investigators was Vincent Bugliosi, who left us too soon this year.

Below is an important video talk by Mr. Bugliosi who spent twenty years (!) researching the subject of the Kennedy assassination.  In his book, Reclaiming History, Bugliosi methodically and thoroughly demolishes the conspiracy theorists.  His talk linked to here is very much worth watching.

For those seeing this proof for the first time, it can be a jolt.  But the truth is worth the shock, and in the end is liberating.


Why We Know Lee Harvey Oswald Acted Alone

Additional Evidence, Including Computer Video Analysis:
BBC Confirms Oswald As Lone Gunman

The Failure of Militarism

The media are filled with stories of a new toughness toward Islamic extremists.  This post should serve as an introduction to forth-coming reflections about this  matter.

A beginning was already made here earlier.  The approach being mentioned by Republican candidates and others, for example, is one of a new harder line:  renewed intrusions to Internet privacy (that is, beefed-up Internet surveillance), more air strikes, and the like.  Swiftly, I say this will not work.  The approach, as I have said, must be comprehensive.  And I believe the administration in Washington is coming to see this.

Terrorism of this nature cannot flourish in a vacuum.  This is the same thing as saying terrorism is happening in the context of a certain social milieu in the Middle East -- an environment of economic deprivation leading to instability region-wide.  Now certainly poverty does not itself cause violence, otherwise everyone in poverty would be committing acts of violence.  But in this case, in order to shut down the violence, economic justice must be part of the toolkit carried by diplomats as they seek to combat the despicable acts of terrorism we are currently witnessing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Putin Declares No One Has the Right to Ask Assad to Resign

In the interest of respecting national sovereignty, one nation cannot demand the resignation of the legitimately elected leader of another nation.  It is far from clear to the American people just why the U.S. government continues to demand the removal of Assad.  The Administration can speak for itself on this matter.  But as Assad does not seem to be another Hitler, or even a Saddam Hussein, a call for his resignation appears dubious at the least.  I urge readers to examine the U.S. position for themselves.

In the meantime, Secretary of State John Kerry has voiced what amounts to an evolved policy on Russian air strikes in Syria.  Kerry is indicating a certain level of cooperation on the part of the U.S. military in the country with Russian counterparts.   If this is a prelude to peace, it is all good, as the young people say.


Putin Statement on Assad

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Islamic "State" Financed From 40 Countries: Russian Source

A Russian sources is quoting Vladimir Putin as saying their intelligence study has shown financing for the Islamic radical movement is coming from some forty countries.  If true, this would answer one of my questions from yesterday.

Putin is also calling for a coalition of countries, including the United States, to actively oppose the Islamic movement now known as IS.  So far, he says the United States has refused to join with Russia.  But with the U.S. attitude toward Russia softening in recent weeks, it seems possible Washington may yet change its mind and find a way to co-operate with the Russian government.


Islamic "State" Financed From 40 Countries: Russian Source


Coming later this week:  In honor of President John F. Kennedy, a video of the great Vincent Bugliosi talking about Reclaiming History, his book on the assassination

Monday, November 16, 2015

This Is Not War

As the banner above proclaims, any just person is now praying or meditating on the tragedy which occurred in Paris late last week.  The deaths were more than sad.  They were horrific and shocking.  There has to be just cause for the death of anyone, and these innocents were killed in cold blood, ruthlessly and pitilessly.  Certainly, the perpetrators should be brought to justice.

However, just as after September 11, 2001, blame was laid on so-called "enemy combatants" we must be very careful about calling this an "act of war."  Why?  Why can't this despicable deed be called "war."   The problem involves the historic use of the term.  Traditionally, a war has been fought between nations, or at least peoples.  No one in his right mind would called ISIS a true nation.  They are recognized as such by virtually no one.

Nor is anyone fighting any ethnic group, or religious group.  That theory won't hold water.

All this is critical to solving the problem.  For no matter how horrible the events of last week, we must be smart, complete, as well as strong in our response.  If the response is not of a certain kind we are doomed to an endless escalation of violence.  Already, militants are "promising" mayhem in Washington, D.C.

First, are we sure we know who is funding ISIS -- really sure?  There have been renegades, ruffians, and marauders before, all of which received funding from outside sources.  Think about Afghanistan in the years of the Soviet operation there, for example.  If not funded by secret sources, where are these armaments coming from?  My past research tells me they often come from weapons captured from western forces one way or another.

Second, where is ISIS getting its psychological wind from?   Who is winning the propaganda war in the hearts and minds of the people in that part of the world?  We are told, the west is winning.  If so, why is this group able to operate with this degree of impunity?  Is there more the west can and should be doing to help place the people of that region on more of a level playing field economically?

The world needs U.S. leadership now more than ever.  But it must be smart and comprehensive leadership, not revengeful, vindictive, and narrow.  Go after the brutes, of course.  Bring them to justice.  But, in the process, don't plunge the world into some kind of "war," the definition of which is so vague as to defy solution.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Republican Debate: The Associated Press Checks the Facts

There is such a thing as a disdain for truth.  This can show itself in a careless attitude to facts.  It appears this kind of attitude was once again on display in last evening's Republican Presidential event(s).  (Your Musical Patriot admits he simply cannot bear to watch the Republican "debates" [joint press conferences].)

This lack of interest in facts which may be inconvenient to one's goals is a human failing.  But when it is active in a large number of Presidential candidates, it is of grave concern.

The Associated Press has done some fact-checking of statements made in last night's Republican Presidential debate.  You may see for yourself how the candidates stack up when confronted with the truth.

Presidential Debate Fact Check

Monday, November 09, 2015

Presidential Candidates Accused of Pushing Lies

The New York Times yesterday had a useful, although too-short front-page article on Presidential candidates who are taking lying to a new level.  This problem is truly frightening as the Times made clear.

It seems candidates are not only not telling the truth they are repeating lies even when confronted by media.  At the same time they are going into attack mode, claiming it is not they who are prevaricating but rather the media.  Trump, Carson, and Fiorina are mentioned as particular offenders.

Oddly, Hillary Clinton is also mentioned though the example given for her hardly rises to the same level as those of the others.  (The article has the details).

It hardly needs to be said that what Trump and Carson are employing is a technique of propaganda called the Oft-Repeated Lie.  This was one of the key techniques of Nazi propaganda in Hitler's Germany, although he certainly wasn't the first to use it.  However, to see this happening in the United States is most disheartening -- and scary.

I am glad the media are harping on the lies.  They are absolutely right to do so.  But the vehemence of the push-back raises serious questions about the fitness of these individuals to be President.

The Internet has a role to play in disseminating the truth since those on the far right also have the Internet at their disposal.  I believe that with the traditional media plus the Internet the truth can win out in this case.  But at the moment it's a close call.  

Friday, November 06, 2015

Scientifically Speaking, Smoked Marijuana Damaging: National Association of School Nurses

 NASN recognizes that marijuana made available for adult recreational use poses the potential for increased prevalence and abuse potential among youth. The well-documented, serious cognitive effects; health implications; and safety concerns of recreational marijuana use lead NASN to conclude that the legal availability of marijuana presents more accessibility to the student population and, therefore, puts students at higher risk of use and health consequences.

Media in the United States, especially The New York Times, are putting in print recommendations that out-right prohibitions against smoked marijuana be eased everywhere.  After researching marijuana, my view is this is ill-advised as envisioned.

While there is something to be said for decriminalizing marijuana use, and modifying enforcement procedures against its use, we should be careful about a willy-nilly condoning of the use of marijuana.  I urge everyone to read the statement by the association of school nurses on the harmful effects of smoked marijuana.  There is evidence that memory loss associated with marijuana use can be long-lasting.  There also remains concern about marijuana as a gateway drug.

It is true that alcohol, and to an extent tobacco share many of the same dangers of marijuana use.  But it is inappropriate to use the ill effects of other drugs to justify marijuana use.

As with any other addictive or habit-forming substance, it must be asked what is one's purpose in using the substance.  It doesn't make sense to cavalierly add legal protections for another deleterious substance, especially when marijuana smoked in the home can have such a bad effect on children present.

The marijuana legalization train should be slowed.


School Nurses Association Finds Marijuana Unsafe 

Blog Not Forgotten

I have not forgotten the blog this week.  Recovering from a minor health situation is taking longer than expected. 

Meantime, you may wish to consult my sister blog, Democratic Campaign Watch, for information about an interesting article on the Bernie Sanders question.  See left panel for more.  

 

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

House May Put Private Debt Collectors on Trail of IRS Debtors

Study Says White Middle-Aged Men In Danger of Premature Death

Quick Post --


Experts Suspect Link to Decline in Quality of Life 



Middle-aged men are suffering a greater number of premature deaths compared with their age group in other advanced countries.  The results of the study were unique to the United States and appear to reverse decades of improving mortality rates here.

There seems to be at least an indirect link to a decline in standard of living compared with the that of their parents.  

I'll have comment later on this astounding study.


White Middle-Aged U.S. Men at Risk of Premature Death

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Corporations Conspire to Destroy Class Action Lawsuits

Rush post --

The New York Times has released a special report detailing an actual conspiracy on the part of large corporations to ban not only individual court suits, but class actions suits as well in an astounding affront to the American justice system.  This highly anti-democratic and largely successful campaign threatens to destroy the right of average Americans to gain justice from corporations in American courts.  This campaign is largely unknown to most Americans as it has only been enshrined fairly recently by Supreme Court decisions.

Certainly, there can be such a thing as a frivolous lawsuit, but class action suits have offered the only redress for injured consumers.  The fear now is corporations will be granted a license to misbehave in the marketplace.  This outrageous behavior by corporations and the Supreme Court should be a wake-up call to justice-loving citizens.

Corporations Ravage Judicial System

Friday, October 30, 2015

Trump Must Be Taken Seriously

“He’s catching on with the average Americans who have had it with foreign wars, our trade policies and a stalled economy.”

-- Drew Ivers, Ron Paul’s 2012 Iowa campaign chairman.

Major newspapers this morning have pointed to the weakness of the "Jeb" Bush campaign as an example of a certain new fluidity in the Republican Presidential race.  That Bush is in trouble as the pundits see it is not arguable.

As I read the situation, we have a fairly unusual situation in America today.  With a weak economy and a foreign policy driven by the American empire, it is not surprising that outsiders and radicals are gaining traction.  This does not surprise me.  It does frighten me.

No one should take Donald Trump lightly.  Although one recent poll purports to show Ben Carson gaining, Trump still leads in New Hampshire and is tied in Iowa with Carson.   Of course, to say that Trump is a serious candidate for the Republican nomination is not the same as saying he is a serious threat to the Democratic nominee next year.  Or is it?

We have to understand what we have here.  The electorate is fed up, to put it in the vernacular.  Someone who has a simplistic message, and who can "market" himself skillfully is bound to have a certain amount of success.  What is frightening is the fascist bent of a Trump or almost all of the Republicans.

I do not use the word "fascist" lightly.  And my statement begs an explanation.  I plan to continue to explain myself as I have over the past several years.  But one definition of fascism is when big business and the government become one.  There is a terrific danger this is what would happen if Donald Trump were to become President.  It is also true of virtually any Republican candidate.  Even "Jeb" Bush literally trade-marked his name.

If Trump were a flash in the pan he would already have folded by now considering his many outrageous remarks (such as saying John McCain is not a true patriot because he got captured in war).  But with a shallow-minded media all too eager to consume the flashiness of a Trump and mirror it back to the public, it is understandable why Trump is still around.

It is understandable, and also extremely concerning.  The media needs to immediately re-think their approach to this man, and the others in a Republican Party which is increasingly a far-right party.  This party has managed to find a position to the right of Barry Goldwater, an amazing feat.  And with the glitz of a Donald Trump, anything is possible -- if he is left unopposed.  The American media needs to "get real," and do everything possible to re-frame the picture, so the country does not end up with a Strangelovian figure in the White House.



Trump Organizes Aggressively in Iowa

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The House's Musical Chairs

The House has a new Speaker according to news reports this morning.

The question now is What does it matter?  Will this mean more productive harmony in the Republican caucus?  Will radical and anarchistic members now suddenly toe the line of sweet peace?

The country has been put through an ordeal and needs assurance that the Speaker's game of musical chairs will produce better music, not more of the same discordant cacophony of the past.

We, the people, will be watching, and listening.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Putin Being Looked to for Help By Syrians

It is no longer a secret that Russia has become a key player in the fight against terrorists, including ISIL, within Syria.    And as Russia has stepped into the breach, as it were, the U.S. and its allies have begun a policy pivot, backing the U.S. down from a potential immediate conflict with Russia.  While this result is good news, the U.S. government apparently remains in a state of confusion at lower levels as experts debate just what is to be done to maintain U.S. influence in Syria.

I am not exactly happy to see Vladimir Putin assume this role as U.S. power wanes.  However, I must confess I am grateful someone seems to be providing a more effective shield against terrorism in Syria.  Syria is an important country with a serious history and deserves better than it has been getting for several years.  If President Putin can be effective, and he and his forces are proving that, I say "hurray."  I only wish my own country were equally as effective at this time.


Russia Takes Lead in Fighting Terrorists in Syria

Friday, October 23, 2015

Liberals Win Big in Canada

Note:  Your Musical Patriot has been busy this week finalizing an article for submission to a national music journal.  I appreciate readers' forbearance.  


Canada's new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau
Canada has taken a turn to the left this week as the Liberal Party managed a convincing win in Parliamentary elections.  The win represents a stunning victory as the Party had been in third place in Parliament before the vote.  More details can be found on web sites such as Reuters'.  For a good analysis of what the election means, the article by Paul Krugman linked to below is very good.

Liberal Party leader Trudeau, son of the former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, had campaigned hard on issues such as economics and climate change.

Overall, I am thrilled with this victory which serves as something of a counter-balance to the Conservatives' victory in Britain earlier this year.

As with so many liberals these days, the one area I cannot agree on is the legalizing of marijuana. Scientific experts do not recommend such legalization, though de-criminalization is another matter.

Otherwise, this victory of the Left-center in Canada is most welcome indeed.


Canada's Liberal Party Garners Convincing Win

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Unbearable Cost

Today I have begun reading Unbearable Cost, by James K. Galbraith, on the cost of war in modern times.  This is a book for any time, although it would have had a particularly salvific effect when read during the Bush II Administration.  As it is now, the book recreates a time some eight years ago when the End of the Age appeared for many of us to be nigh.

We know better now, of course, for the earth still turns.  And yet it is apparent early in the book there is value for today as enduring principles are obviously behind the writing of the book.

I particularly like the analogy between the Bush Administration and a corporate structure. Comparing the Supreme Court to a Board of Directors is a master stroke.  And comparing the Supreme Court of autumn 2000 to a corrupt board is quite accurate.

Several times over the course of the history of this blog I have alluded to the importance of understanding recent history.  The history of the Bush II Administration will do as well as any.  For it was here that America took a new turn in terms of the way the democracy functioned -- or didn't.  In spite of the election of Barack Obama, the democracy -- never completely solid -- was slammed by forces in a way it has never recovered from.

Take the Iraq and Afghani wars, for example.  These were wars begun under specious pretenses, long and costly in duration, even down to the present day.  This is a cost the measure of which can hardly be taken.

But so it is with a corporate view of government.  To some the government runs best when it is conducted in such a way as to control people rather than serve them.  Yet, as Galbraith points out, even a controlling administration must at a certain point bend to popular will.  And herein lies our hope for the future.  Let us make the most of this hope.


Friday, October 16, 2015

The Governing Crisis in Washington

If Congress seems virtually unable to function, at least we have books being written about the problem.  The one linked to below seems to offer something scholarly.   I have not had the opportunity to look over this book.  After I do I will be here with a bit of a review.

In the meantime, perhaps we can take heart from the final chapter which proclaims things will get better "but we are not sure how."


Why Government Isn't Working Now

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Speechless in Cyberland

The day after the first Democratic debate I find it hard to express completely my concern over the way we are selecting our next President.  The debate as presented by the Turner creation, CNN, was something like a reality TV show.   The opening was like a Movie of the Week opening, but with a scary movie this week.  Anderson Cooper was second-rate at best, combative, not terribly well-informed, and unfair in his meting out of time.

By far the best ingredient here were the candidates.  All five seemed reasonably competent.  However, the format of the show brought out less than the best all too often.  I understand emotions are on edge in America now.  The Democrats feel what people are feeling and want to do something.  But the free-wheeling nature of this program, complete with audience cheering like something out of "Let's Make a Deal," was cause for serious concern.   

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton does well in defending herself, but says nothing about reinstating Glass-Steagull as O'Malley just spoke about.
Martin O'Malley recommends reinstating Glass-Steagall.  Finally!  And fantastic.
Sen. Sanders is doing a good job answering the question about what he would do differently from Pres. Obama on the economy, as he sees it.
Here is a prediction:  the pundits tomorrow will say that the debate has done nothing to ruin Hillary Clinton's chances in this race.  They may phrase it differently, but that is one of the results of this debate as it has proceeded to now.

However, let us not exclude the voices of anyone else.  And history shows campaigns cannot be predicted with total accuracy.  
Back to Sen. Webb.  He is doing nothing but helping himself.  This is a very serious individual.  
Sen. Webb calls for the President to come to Congress in a situation like Libya.  He is the first candidate to mention this.
Unfortunately, Sen. Sanders takes the tack that Putin is going to regret what he is doing in Syria.  That may or may not be the case, but is Mr. Sanders showing his age here with comments which are straight out of the Cold War? 
Here is Sen. Webb coming forward with credibility on the problems with Syria and the Middle East.  Every single one of these candidates is highly informed, caring, and thoughtful as well as appropriately passionate.  Can the same thing be said of the Republicans?

Just a Question

Has Congress declared war on Syria, according to the Constitution?  Just asking.
O'Malley comes on strong regarding Middle Eastern policy.  He is clear, non-abrasive, cool, yet passionate.  This is impressive.
Cooper has a question about an important issue which his Syria.  However, he frames it as a question about Vladimir Putin.  Putin is not the issue -- the violence in Syria is.   
If this is going to get ugly, I'm going to leave this.  In fact, I just turned down the sound.  It's the format, friends, not the people.  The format is bringing out the worst.  No one here is even allowed to be an Abraham Lincoln or a Sen. Douglas.
The format and Anderson Cooper's behavior make this a joint press conference, not a true debate among candidates.
For the first time in memory capitalism itself is a subject for debate in a U.S. Presidential debate.  This is historic.  
Moderator tries to put Ms. Clinton on the defensive. She is more than capable of meeting his challenge.
The opening statements have ended. 
Clinton's energy level goes up.  Content stays strong.
Secretary Clinton is able and impressive.  Her energy level is below that of Sen. Sanders.  Her content is good.  She does, in fact, sound like a President.
Sen. Sanders is almost incredibly strong.  Talking about income inequality,  with passion and facts.
Sen. Chafee, Sen. Webb, and Gov. O'Malley are all excellent.  
Thanks to computer technology, I am able to tell it is going to be three and a half minutes of commercials.  But, who wants to be petty?
So far this is nothing more than a show.  Well, God bless America, because God loves show people, too.

The only thing saving this show, however, are the dignified candidates on its stage.

But -- wait!  We must go to commercial break.  Yes, of course -- it is a corporate America now.  
Sheryl Crowe with a pretty voice, but seeming to run out of air and power.  This singer needs the accompaniment of a good instrumental group.  
The worst introduction to a debate I have ever seen.  Bad, "scary" music, "horse-race" language.  I need say no more. 

The Democratic Debate

Tonight for as long as I am able I will be blogging the Democratic Presidential debate.  Debates, alas, are not what they used to be.  Witness the headline I just saw at CNN "dot" com:  " Dem candidates in one another's face for first time."  Now just what kind of headline is that?  Besides being grammatically incorrect and awkward, it is inaccurate, unkind, and un-Presidential.

Yet, this is the kind of verbiage around the Presidential race we now take for granted.  And does anyone remember the neutral third-party nonprofit organization which sponsored several debates?  It is and was called the League of Women Voters.  Forced out of the sponsorship of debates by circumstances, the League is still very much around.  It is now working on reform of the redistricting process in this country which has turned into a gerrymandering field day exercise in ever so many of our states.

Yet here we are, attempting to elect the President of the most powerful nation on earth by using phrases such as "in each other's face (sic)" and "jabs."   Such language may have been all right in the nineteenth century when the nation was still mostly undeveloped.  But for a world leader in the 21st century it is the picture of ridiculousness.  

Man Attacks Robot "Clerk" in Japan

Analysts Fear Future is Seen


The year is 2015 A.D.   Robots are operating as clerks in Japan.  When a man attacks a robot in a store in a furious rage, the world begins to realize there is a problem.

Is this a passage from a book by Aldous Huxley or Arthur C. Clarke?  No, but it appears to be reality today.  Below is a must-read article.  


Robot Development Progressing Rapidly

Middle-East Power Politics in Flux

The situation with the major powers in the Middle East is changing rapidly.

It is both a sad state of affairs, yet welcome, when the Musical Patriot must rely on Russian news sources for a beginning understanding of just what is going on.  This does not mean that I am any less loyal to the United States.  But it does mean I am not interested in a new Cold War, or a descending of international relations to some nineteenth century status of barbarity when nationalism trumped all other values.  Such a development would negate everything the United States worked for in the establishing of the United Nations.  

House in Crisis

I am reminded of various science fiction movies in which a flashing red light with the words "COMPUTER MALFUNCTION" fills the screen.  What we have in Washington now is a very serious dysfunction, if not outright malfunction in the House of Representatives.  Never in my lifetime I have seen the House in such disarray.  I have been describing this disarray over the last few weeks.

It is now clear to me that the turmoil in the House goes much deeper than any conservative "study group," or other pressure group.  What we are seeing in the House is an outcropping of the dissent simmering just below boil throughout the U.S. now.  Thinking people know there is something seriously wrong.  This is a topic I have been addressing off and on throughout the more than nine year history of this blog.

There is such a thing as justice.  Ethics is not only a study but a force.  The better angels of our nature are calling a halt to the selfishness and greed which have been running the economy and corrupting our politics and government.  It is a hopeful sign when a Congress desiring to destroy Social Security, abolish both Medicare and Obamacare, simply cannot function.

It is a time for deep thought, but also action.  It can be a hopeful time if we make it so.


Sen. Danforth and Others Discuss House Dysfunction

Monday, October 12, 2015

Republicans Fear They May Need Democratic Help to Solve Speaker Crisis

Put a group of forty or so inexperienced but audacious men (any women here?) in the House of Representatives and you get chaos.  The so-called Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House is not only not getting what they want, they may end up helping the Democrats.  Huffington Post  has provided details for this story of plans gone awry in the Republican-led House.

Rep. Steny Hoyer even went so far as to say the Democrats would welcome Republican help in electing Nancy Pelosi the next Speaker.  And if none of the pundits is supporting this idea as even a possibility, we shouldn't be too worried.  They didn't foresee either Speaker Boehnner's resignation or Kevin McCarthy's stand-down either. So what good are the pundits?

Beyond the fracas over Republican leadership, it is as good a time as any to talk about Republican gerry-mandering, along with a whole host of Republican voter-suppression dirty tricks all over this country.  If the Republicans are suffering a noxious intra-family row in the House, who should be crying tears of sorrow?  Certainly not this writer.  


Republicans May Need Democrats' Help to Solve Leadership Crisis

House Speaker Crisis Goes Deep

Over the last several days I have had the opportunity to delve a bit deeper into the crisis over the House Speakership.  Just how, I asked myself, has it come to this -- a full-on fiasco?

The roots lead inexorably to dissatisfaction on the part of the public.  Although few citizens would be happy about the crisis in leadership we now see in the House of Representatives, events are occurring in an environment of overall unease and even anger over what seems to be the general unfairness of things.

I'll have more to say about this soon, with references.  For now, I can say it is clear the House leadership crisis didn't happen over-night but had been building for months.  Let's just hope the House hasn't built some kind of Edgar Allen Poe wall sealing it's doom.  

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Remembering Recent History

James K. Galbraith had a book a number of years ago which covered important subjects necessary for us to understand now.  Perhaps you saw it;  I  missed it.

In reading the reviews of this book early this morning I was taken with the clarity of thinking and the accurateness of the reporting of a very important period in history -- the Bush II Presidency.

I was especially impressed with the analysis of economic conditions and manipulations.  This is the history we must remember, digest, and understand before moving into the next election.  With the victory of the Right in Britain this year, we must be clear about the same kind of forces which are at work here.

Incidentally, I find the word "unbearable" in the title of the book -- Unbearable Cost -- to be exactly the right term.  What went on then was virtually unbearable; it had to end.  In some ways there was a change when Pres. Obama came into office.  But there has not been enough of a change.  If a book like Unbearable Cost can help make us clearer and more certain of our direction, we should take it in, value it, and act upon it.  The time is short;  the moment is now.


James K. Galbraith Book on Bush II Presidency

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

McCarthy Dangerously Unqualified to Be Speaker

By now, most of us have heard of the truth-telling of Kevin McCarthy which landed him in hot water with those who would rather deny the truth that the Benghazi hearings at this time are largely a partisan political power play.

But there is more to the story, much more, as the linked-to article below shows.  It seems the man who would be second in line to the Presidency can't even make sense with the English language.  Who is to blame?  His teachers?  Or has he only himself to blame?  Much more importantly, we cannot afford such a person being two steps from the Oval Office.

America must awaken to the danger, and quickly.  

The Scariness of Being McCarthy

Monday, October 05, 2015

Humor 


Saint-Saens was a composer of the last century who composed in the late-Romantic style.  One of his most famous works is entitled, Carnival of the Animals.

It occurred to me that what we have in the House of Representatives now is a carnival of animals.  So, with apologies to Saint-Saens, I offer the following taxonomy.  The information is organized by what are called movements, or sections of music.  


Now, on to the Carnival of Animals in the House  


Introduction et marche royale du lion (Introduction and Royal March of the Lion)


The lion -- John Boehner  

Description -- As in "The Lion King," the mighty ruler of the jungle really
 has a heart of gold and ends
 up crying at the end.
Strings and two pianos: the introduction begins with the pianos playing a bold tremolo, under which the strings enter with a stately theme as the Speaker descends the grand staircase. The pianos play a pair of scales going in opposite directions to indicate the various Members running in different directions. The pianos then introduce a march theme that they carry through most of the rest of the introduction. The strings provide the melody of leadership, with the pianos occasionally taking low runs of octaves which suggest the roar of a lion. The two groups of instruments switch places, with the pianos playing a higher, softer version of the melody. This describes McCarthy switching places with Boehner.  The movement ends with a fortissimo [very loud] note from all the instruments used in this movement, signifying excitement and sadness at once.

II Poules et coqs (Hens and Roosters)


Hens and Roosters -- The Republican Study Group and the Conservative Caucus
Strings without cello and double bass, two pianos, with clarinet: this movement is centered around a pecking theme played in the pianos and strings, which is quite reminiscent of chickens pecking at grain. The clarinet plays small solos above the rest of the players at intervals. The piano plays a very fast theme based on the crowing of a rooster's Cock a Doodle Doo.

III Hémiones (animaux véloces) (Wild Asses: Swift Animals)


Cousins of Hens and Roosters
Two pianos: the asses depicted here are quite obviously running, an image induced by the constant, feverishly fast up-and-down motion of both pianos playing scales in octaves. These are zig-zag asses that come from forlorn places and are known for their great speed.

IV Tortues (Tortoises)


There is only one tortoise left in the House -- the Parliamentarian
Strings and piano: a satirical movement which opens with a piano playing a pulsing triplet figure in the higher register. The strings play a slow rendition of the famous 'Galop infernal' (commonly called the Can-can) from Offenbach's operetta Orpheus in the Underworld. Today, only the Parliamentarian and the Democrats are interested in the House as an institution. 

L'éléphant (The Elephant)
The Elephant -- Keven McCarthy
Mr. McCarthy is the elephant for two reasons:  First he 
described the
elephant in the room -- the true nature of the 
House Benghazi hearings;  
and secondly, because he wants to be the next biggest 
animal in the jungle.
Double bass and piano: this section is marked Allegro pomposo, the perfect caricature for an elephant. The piano plays a waltz-like triplet figure while the bass hums the melody beneath it. Like "Tortues," this is also a musical joke—the thematic material is taken from the Scherzo from Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream and Berlioz's "Dance of the Sylphs" from The Damnation of Faust. The two themes were both originally written for high, lighter-toned instruments (flute and various other woodwinds, and violin, accordingly); the joke is that Saint-Saëns moves this to the lowest and heaviest-sounding instrument in the orchestra, the double bass.

VI Kangourous (Kangaroos)


Kangaroo -- this would be Jason Chaffetz, who wants to skip over 
McCarthy on his way to the
 Speaker's chair.
Two pianos: the main figure here is a pattern of 'hopping' fifths preceded by grace notes. When the fifths ascend, the tempo gradually speeds up and the dynamics get louder, and when the fifths descend, the tempo gradually slows down and the dynamics get quieter. This represents Chaffetz's mad dash to the Speakership, and the denouement when he either wins or loses. 

VII Aquarium


The Aquarium -- the entire House, full of many swimming fish 
Violin, Viola, Cello, (Strings without double bass), two pianos, flute, and glass harmonica: this is one of the more musically rich movements. The melody is played by the flute, backed by the strings, on top of tumultuous,glissando-like runs in the piano.  

VIII Personnages à longues oreilles (Personages with Long Ears)

This movement represents the Democrats sitting in committee
 who must listen to harangues by 
Republican freshmen.
Two violins: this is the shortest of all the movements. The violins alternate playing high, loud notes and low, buzzing ones (in the manner of a donkey's braying "hee-haw"). Music critics have speculated that the movement is meant to compare music critics to braying donkeys.[4]

IX Le coucou au fond des bois (The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods)

Let's see -- who is the cuckoo?  My remaining respect for the 
House of Representatives precludes
 me from identifying the Cuckoo.
Two pianos and clarinet: the pianos play large, soft chords. while the clarinet plays over and over a C and an A flat, mimicking the call of a cuckoo bird. Saint-Saëns states in the original score that the clarinetist should be offstage.

Volière (Aviary)


Like the cuckoo these are the House birds who are ready to 
fly the coop almost any day.  
Strings, piano and flute: the high strings take on a background role, providing a buzz in the background that is reminiscent of the background noise of a jungle. The cellos and basses play a pick-up cadence to lead into most of the measures. The flute takes the part of the bird, with a trilling tune that spans much of its range. The pianos provide occasional pings and trills of other birds in the background. The movement ends very quietly after a long ascending scale from the flute.  Saint-Saens indicated the solo bird is Webster of Florida.  

XI Pianistes (Pianists)


These represent the 88 members who still want to vote for John Boehner
Strings and two pianos: this movement is a glimpse of what few audiences ever get to see: the pianists practicing their scales. The scales of C, D flat, D and E flat are covered. Each one starts with a trill on the first and second note, then proceeds in scales with a few changes in the rhythm. Transitions between keys are accomplished with a blasting chord from all the instruments between scales. In some performances, the later, more difficult, scales are deliberately played increasingly out of time. The original edition has a note by the editors instructing the players to imitate beginners and their awkwardness. After the four scales, the key changes back to C, where the pianos play a moderate speed trill-like pattern in thirds, in the style of Eric Cantor, while the strings play a small part underneath. This movement is unusual in that the last three blasted chords do not resolve the piece, but rather lead into the next movement.

Title page to "Fossils" in the manuscript including drawing by the composer

XII Fossiles (Fossils)


These are Bob Michel, Newt Gingrich, and Dennis Hastert -- former Republican 
leaders and Speakers. 
Strings, two pianos, clarinet, and xylophone: here, Saint-Saëns mimics his own composition, the Danse macabre, which makes heavy use of the xylophone to evoke the image of skeletons playing card games, the bones clacking together to the beat. 

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"Le cygne" performed by John Michel

File:20091104 Alisa Weilerstein and Jason Yoder - Saint Saëns' The Swan.ogv
A novelty arrangement for cello andmarimba performed by Alisa Weilersteinand Jason Yoder at the White HouseEvening of Classical Music (2009-11-04)

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Audio only Weilerstein and Yoder version

Problems playing these files? See media help.

XIII Le cygne (The Swan)


This is, indubitably, Nancy Pelosi who glides gracefully and effortlessly 
past all the other animals both aquatic and land-based.  
Two pianos and cello: the lushly romantic cello solo (which evokes the swan elegantly gliding over the water) is played over rippling sixteenths in one piano and rolled chords in the other (said to represent the swan's feet, hidden from view beneath the water, propelling it along.





Source:  Wikipedia, with help from TMP 

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