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

Friday, 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


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. 

"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)

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 

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Is This Joe McCarthy or Charlie McCarthy?

The Internet is suddenly beginning to buzz with the news that Kevin McCarthy will seemingly not have a clear path to the Speakership in the House of Representatives.  A new contender has come on the scene:  Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

Mr. Chaffetz says America wants something new.  Yes, indeed we do.  We want a House of Representatives that functions on behalf of the American people.  We want an economy that works, and a society which doesn't frighten us.

For those who may not know, Joseph McCarthy was the main propagator of the rabid form of anti-Communism in the early 1950s.  That is, he was far-right.  Charlie McCarthy was Edgar Bergen's dummy on radio.   He had a wooden head.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Are the Republicans Really Only an Insurgency and No Longer a Political Party?

In a posting recently, I shared a short paper written by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, normally thinkers located at different points on the political spectrum.  But in the paper the two scholars joined together to advocate a new view of the current political division, which has now become a division of crisis proportions.

For the political system in Washington no longer actually works, not in the normal sense of the word. At best it appears to work only very slowly and not without a certain venomous rancor which poisons the well of democratic process.  Witness the various government shut-down threats and "fiscal cliffs," and the like.  

Mann and Ornstein have declared that while both political parties need reforming, the Republican Party no longer behaves as a responsible political party in the traditional sense.  Instead they are organized and behave as an insurgency.  It will be up to others to trace the path of this political resistance movement through the legacy of the Civil War, the Isolationists of the early 20th Century, the so-called Silent Majority, through the Moral Majority to the tea party movement of now. 

However, it is not hard to see echoes of previous political movements as we watch the antics of a fractured Republican conference in the House.  True, there are a few adults in the room, but they have little power.  It is the grand-standers and the blowhards who rule the roost and command the attention of a venal and rapt media establishment.  

Fortunately, there are beginnings of a remedy coming into view.  The Mann-Ornstein paper is a good start.  Now it is up to us to demand of our press and media a new sense of responsibility to the American people and not to short-term shock-and-awe techniques which belong more to the entertainment pages than to the news section.  


The original re-post of a few days ago:

Saving the Constitutional System

Re-posted from Patriot in Exigency -- 

At the article linked to below, writers and scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein write about the problems now besetting the U.S. government.  Built-in safeguards are breaking down, they say, and paralysis is the result.

The authors offer useful, though not necessarily easy solutions.

Useful Article on Current Problems With the U.S. Federal Government

Thomas Mann (l), Norman Ornstein.  Courtesy You Tube

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