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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Most Popular Post

My post yesterday on possible Presidential candidates no one is mentioning has already garnered the highest number of views of any of my posts in years.  Admittedly, I don't have as many views as Huffington Post, but this high interest here indicates to me people are interested in some one else other than the announced candidates.  I'll have more to say on all this later.  

Stock Market Posts Worst Loss In Three Years

The stock market closed today sealing the fate of the worst month since May 2012.  I'll have more on this soon.

The bad news in this is always the people who are hurt -- the average investor.  The silver lining is that the events of August 2015 have caused more people to question the basic soundness and value of the international casino we call "the market."

Follow this blog for more.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Possible Presidential Candidates No One Is Mentioning

Satire (Mostly?)

The following is only partly tongue-in-cheek.

The individuals who have put themselves forward for your consideration as the next President are by-and-large less than attractive.  Some are downright scary and most are obnoxious.  These latter are found entirely on the Republican side.  Details can be given.

For now, here is a list, with abbreviated observations, of some persons you may not have considered, but who would be at least theoretically possible.  I include some advantages and disadvantages for each.

Warren Rudman -- a true uniter.  Put together an effort just short of a new Union party.  Disadvantage would be age.

Charlie Crist -- a dream candidate for the Republicans, but they don't know it.  The little matter of his flying the coop to the Democrats could easily be repaired by an "oops" moment and a return to the Republicans.  Another former Florida governor (now deceased) has already done this -- Claude Kirk
(see also Democrats)

Olympia Snow -- the simple fact that she was one of the last moderate Republicans in the Senate qualifies her for consideration at this point

Theodore Roosevelt -- yes, that Theodore Roosevelt.  He was the original environmental President, long before George H. W. Bush.   Disadvantage -- he no longer walks the earth.  I admit this is a major disadvantage but I am running out of living Republican possibilities

Al Gore -- he already won the most popular votes once and could do so again.  Disadvantage -- a divorce, but that didn't stop Ronald Reagan

Charlie Crist -- A dream candidate for any party.  Good on the environment and social issues.  Former state Attorney General as well as governor.  Disadvantage -- foreign policy credentials unknown but this can be corrected

Sam Nunn -- another centrist uniter.  Disadvantages -- lacks a certain charisma -- and age

Gary Hart -- wherever he is, he has to be better than almost any of the current Republican candidates.  Disadvantage -- past season of scandals

Tom Harkin -- A prairie populist.  Great with people, strong supporter of farmers, good on nuclear weapons issues, and has already run for President.  Disadvantage -- age

Sen. Charles Schumer
Chuck Schumer -- Bright, loquacious, has "attitude" in a good way.  Can run a campaign distinguished from Barack Obama because of Iran position.  Disadvantage -- rather too "New Yorkish" for many

Jerry Brown -- One of the smartest, most practical Democrats around.  Has terrific background with his more than three terms as governor of California.  Would have an impressive Electoral College head start.  Disadvantage -- age

Jimmy Carter -- the best ex-President in the history of the world!  Has learned from mistakes.  Real passion and smarts on Middle Eastern affairs.  Disadvantages -- started the de-regulatory craze even before Ronald Reagan;  age.  Mitigating factor:  If he can survive one surgery already and deal with his new diagnosis with tremendous courage and aplomb, he should be able to handle the demands of the office at the level exerted by a George W. Bush at the least.  Would have been a great candidate in 1992 but it was too early for a come-back.  Next year might be the year.

I leave it to the reader to decide what is serious and what is not in this piece.  The amazing thing is, these candidates offer some real appeal.  As for Theodore Roosevelt, can't we just say the results of the election of 1912 were a mistake?

Friday, August 28, 2015

From "Patriot in Exigency":

U.S. Slumps and Slinks Toward Spying Reform

At "The Patriot in Exigency," a post mentions the latest court decision upholding the right of the Federal government to collect and hold bulk spying data involving everyday U.S. citizens.  The ruling is called "troubling."

The Patriot in Exigency (Self-Same) Offers Link on Spying Ruling

"Patriot in Exigency" was created and is written by The Musical Patriot  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Will the Current Market Up-tick Last?; Will Trump Last?

The stock market remains in the midst of its worst slump since 2011 due to rising fears about how China's economic slowdown will impact the rest of the world.

Americans are asking whether the rally of the last couple of days, following more than a week of turmoil, will last. 

The narrator I am listening to here is rather odd, quite British in accent, with somewhat creepy tones. 
Otherwise, the report seems to have merit.  The written report accompanying the video has current statistics from other markets in the world. 

There is also video of a Univision reporter at a Trump news conference being ejected and later welcomed back.  Then Trump says, "I can't deal with this," and keeps talking. What interesting times we live in. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Silver Lining

Amidst all the financial turmoil of today, it is important to remember the ethics underlying this huge sell-off on world markets.  It shows, deeply, a terrific loss in confidence on the part of investors in the system itself.  Why else would they dump stocks right and left?  There will be many ups and downs ahead.

It is time now more than ever for the U.S. government to step in to stabilize incomes in this country, to enact long-needed labor protections so production can be stabilized and begin to grow robustly again.  This is about the strength of labor.  The big investors will simply have to "go fish."

The World Financial Crash: The Facts

This may not be 1929 or 1987, but the situation is alarming indeed.  Below are linked some of the latest facts about this world financial crisis.

Notice I am using the term "financial crisis," instead of economic crisis.  It is not yet clear that this is a production crisis, though China seems to be near such a calamity.  The United States seems still to be strong, Europe less so, and Asia, the least stable of all.

Crash Facts

Blogging the Economic Turmoil of August 2015

I now begin live blogging of the economic turmoil currently roiling world markets.  At present world markets are recovering even as China's market tanks.  

More soon.  

World Markets Recover Even As China Tanks

McDonald's Made "History" in Moscow

Unusual for The Musical Patriot is this video of the crowds at the opening of the first McDonald's in Russia in Pushkin Square, Moscow, in January 1990.  The sheer size of the crowds is moving regardless of the capitalist basis of McDonald's.  Why would American hamburgers be such a draw to Muskovites of 1990?  This was the era of glasnost, so that may be a partial explanation.

There were said to be 5,000 people lined up when the doors opened and a total of 30,000 were served that first day.  These are astonishing numbers.

By the way, how do you say "Ronald McDonald" in Russian?

 Muskovites Mob First McDonald's in 1990

Monday, August 24, 2015

Last Week's Falling Stocks: A Harbinger of Things to Come?

As the week ended I was busy trying to understand just what had happened to the stock market last week.  The paper I had bought had a relatively short article on the inside pages of the Business section.  A buried story, for sure, but at least it was there. 

My main source (Aftershock Publishing) reports China is either near or already in recession.  This is not exactly surprising news given the lead-up to the recent down-turn there.  It is also reported, though, that the U.S. can control the damage.  I believe that is likely so in the short term.  Down the road things get more difficult as we, too, are having a certain crisis, though the corporate media doesn't call it that.

I plan to have more facts and figures soon.  Please join me here. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

The "Quasi- State of War"

CBS News is reporting that Kim Jon-un has said his forward troops are in a "quasi state of war."  Officials and news sources are trying to determine just what this means. 

North Korean Leader Puts Troops on War Footing: UK Newspaper

The Telegraph is reporting that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has placed front line troops on a war footing after an exchange of gun fire with South Korean troops.

The Korean War was never officially ended and a cease-fire has been in place since 1953.  Unlike in Viet-Nam, Korea has remained heavily supported by the American military ever since the Eisenhower administration brokered the cease-fire in the early 1950s.

With uprisings occurring around the world on what seems like a regular basis, it should not be surprising that North Korea would seek to press any advantage.  This situation bears the closest scrutiny and monitoring.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Is This For Real?

A book title tells us that "God Is For Real."   My question today is this:  "Is this campaign for real?"   There is an air of unreality about the current Presidential campaign.  Allow me to explain.  According to The Washington Post, the Iowa campaign event this past week-end was something of a farce, at least as far as a couple of major candidates were concerned. 

First, there was Donald Trump helicoptering into the fair grounds with his own name emblazoned on the aircraft.  Crowds looked to the sky, then swarmed to the landing spot in order to greet the conquering hero  (or alien from the sky, if you prefer).  Once Mr. T. was safely on the ground, on-lookers, fans, and the curious buzzed about, eager for a chance to shake the celebrity/candidate's hand. 

Then, there was Mrs. Clinton, by far the more-experienced of the two, and the more serious candidate.  Mrs. Clinton, poor woman, was surrounded by a covey of press persons, lobbing questions at the former First Lady, as they thrust their microphones in her direction.  Alas, the average voter had something of a hard time even approaching the Lady (formerly the First). 

All this according to the capital paper of record.  I am certainly not one to unnecessarily doubt the Post.  There was the ring of truth about all this, after all.  But what of the other candidates?  Where was Martin O'Malley?   Where was Rick Perry?  Where was the female Republican candidate?  There was at least as much not said in this article, as the facts which were presented.  This much was reported -- neither Trump nor Mrs. Clinton deigned to take the stand to be questioned by voters as is customary. 

Everything points to something unreal, ephemeral.  The one moment of reality in the article was the quote of Bernie Sanders about fighting the billionaire class.  This is exactly what the average voter would like to see.  It is one reason he has virtually tied Mrs. Clinton in a recent New Hampshire poll.  Whether Mr. Sanders can be elected is another matter.  But surely he deserves a chance.  And surely he deserved more than one brief mention in this article of yesterday. 

And I haven't even mentioned the supposed troubles Mrs. Clinton is having -- again according to the same newspaper. 

So what is a voter to make of all this?   Drop out?  Tune out?  Cancel the newspaper subscription?  The Internet is now the go-to place for news and commentary.  That is clear.  Of course, not just any news site will do.  A few recommended news sites can be found in the links section, below right here. 

In the meantime, we should avoid cynicism, no matter how tempting.  For, a Donald Trump is no kind of viable candidate, with his complete lack of political experience, coupled with what can only be called an opportunistic political history, dallying as he has with members of both parties.  (And yet, perhaps this is another example of the falsity of this campaign for the most part.) 

No wonder Vice-President Biden is said to be considering throwing his hat into the ring. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Should Presidents Be Limited to Two Terms?

Is there a case for repealing the 22nd Amendment?

From time to time over the last decades proposals have been made to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.  This is the amendment passed in 1951, after having been proposed by a Republican-led Congress, which limits the President to two elected terms in office.  This amendment was originally proposed by vengeful Republicans to prevent another three- or more-term Presidency, first achieved by Franklin Roosevelt.  Later, Republicans during the incumbency of Ronald Reagan were sorry this amendment was in effect.

Personally, I have not come to a solid commitment on this question.  However, a bill has been proposed in Congress to repeal the 22nd amendment.  I believe it may very well be time to have an airing of this issue.  Such an airing is going to have to occur among the populace first, as the current Congress has no taste at the present time for action on this matter.

There are those who have stated that the 22nd amendment limits the rights of the people to elect whomever they choose;  diminishes the power of the people to influence the mind of the President during a second term;   limits the power of the President to influence Congress;  and otherwise lessens or makes smaller the power and dignity of the American people.  These are charges worth seriously considering since the Amendment was proposed by those with questionable motivations.

 For More Information on the Repeal Effort Click Here

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Donald Trump Appears to Be Tromping the GOP Field

But Is He? 

As someone else has noted, to say that Donald Trump is leading the GOP pack when there are at least seventeen so-called major candidates, is something of an overreach.  As other candidates fall by the wayside voters will inevitably coalesce around other candidates, boosting their numbers.

For now, however, Trump is the darling of the sensationalist media.  This does the voting public no good, for as usual, the issues take second place to the cult of personality of Mr. Trump.  (It is noteworthy that buzz about a Trump candidacy goes back all the way to 1987.)

The current issue of Newsweek tells more.

Why Donald Trump Is Tromping the GOP Field

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fairness to Women

In order to be fair to women, I must say Donald Trump's comments to the debate moderator last week are a new low in Presidential politics.  There are ways to be critical of someone without resorting to such low-brow, graphic imagery.  Women deserve so much better.

How sad that American politics has reached this point.  There is more to be said about the Republican/Fox connection.  But for now, America is not edified by such a spectacle.

N.B.  Trump's comments don't bear repeating here, but are available through media sources.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Dog Days of Summer

Did you know?  Department --

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, these are the Dog Days, so named for the Dog Constellation of which the star Sirius is a part.

Somehow, these early days in August can seem more dolorous than they have to.  The Republican Presidential candidates' joint appearance last week has only added to the effect.  It is hard to comment seriously when a "candidate" such as Donald Trump is included.

But let me not dwell on the cause of summer doldrums.  Between vacation and a slight summer flu, I have had enough to cause low energy.  Fortunately, Yahoo has linked me to an article explaining that Coca-Cola and other sodas have added to my low energy, but covertly.  Now I have the chance to snap out of it by consuming green tea instead.  Joy!   Let it not be said that the Internet doesn't have needed information -- and just when you need it.  

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Journalism Watchdog Web Site

In this day of corporatized media, it is good to know there are several watchdog organizations keeping track of all the folderol.  One of the best groups is Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a group which has been active for a number of years now.  The URL to their site is my latest link here.

It is fine to run good progressives for the Presidency.  It is fine to work to fund Congressional candidates to counter the regressive Republicans who are so common now.  And yet without some kind of media reform effort we are in for a very long haul.  Revolutionaries have long known in order to create a true revolution, you must first have control of the press.  No matter how far-fetched, no matter how daunting such an effort may seem, I have seen there will not be true change until the people have all the information they need.  And just to make it clear yet again, revolution does not have to be violent;  in fact, this blog is opposed to violence.  Further, and by way of a beginning alternative to the major media, blogs do have a role to play in disseminating correct information.

So, kudos to FAIR for all they do.  At the same time, let us be clear:  the way the media is owned, itself, must change.  May this be in a near time.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

Monday, August 03, 2015

Will Joseph Biden Run for President?

Vice-Presidential Announcement, 2008
With Hillary Clinton's campaign suddenly seeming vulnerable, there are beginning to be renewed calls for Vice-President Biden to step into the ring.  The main concern appears to be continuing the Obama legacy.  With Mr. Obama barred from running again due to a 1951 (Republican-inspired) Constitutional Amendment, Mr. Biden might be the best chance to accomplish the preservation of all that has been good.

It would be good to see the Democrats put forward a nominee who has strong executive experience at the state level.  Such a candidate is Martin O'Malley.  Other Democrats also have varying levels of executive experience.  So, let us have the candidates to the fore.

Read more and find a resource article at:    http://democampaignwatch.blogspot.com/

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism