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, 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

Featured Post

Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism