Webster Quote

Webster Quote

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Campaign Scene

The current Presidential campaign is being called unprecedented.  That is as apt a description as any.

I was fortunate to be able to do quite a bit of reading in major newspapers, plus The Atlantic magazine over the last several days.  It is indeed a volatile situation, if not completely unprecedented;   it is certainly highly unusual.

There are a number of insights I will be sharing in coming days.  The first is an observation that we should not be trying to joke our way through the situation as Germans tried to do in the days leading up to Hitler's ascension to power.  At the time, Germany was a highly developed society, with a flourishing arts community, and a healthy diversity of views in a vigorous political environment.  Sadly, the political environment became unstable after serious economic problems began just after World War I.  The reasons for the instability can be talked about.

But my point now is that Germans mocked, derided, and snickered at Hitler, but not much more. They certainly didn't respond to him with the kind of firm force which was needed, releasing him from prison after it was clear he was able to use his predicament to his advantage.

Does this situation sound familiar?  While most of the Republican candidates have played the victimization card (if one may call it that), Donald Trump has virtually made it into a new art form, something one might call political melodrama.  Melodrama can be considered humorous in the sense that the drama is over-wrought, sometimes indeed comical.

But what we have now simply isn't funny anymore, if it ever was.  Republican leaders are in a near state of panic finally trying to stop a candidate who is far to the left of other Republican candidates on many issues (Social Security, for example), while still managing to be draconian on others (the border wall, and press suppression, for example).

Trump ends up being a danger to both the Republican Party and the country.  As one pundit wrote over the week-end, it is probably too late to save the Republican Party.  It is not too late to save the country.

Image Source:   beastrabban.files.wordpress.com



Friday, February 26, 2016

Last Week-end Before Super Tuesday Looms

Important primaries will be held as part of the Presidential nominating contest in numerous states next Tuesday -- the most so far on one day.

It is a time to be thoughtful, to think about how the country should be owned and run economically over the coming years.  Change is in the winds.  But without attention to the very nature of our economic system, I have seen there can be no lasting change and no peace of a certain kind, either.

I invite you to have a look around this blog, whether you are a new reader or a returning reader.  If you find reason for hope and inspiration, I will be most gratified. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Will the G.O.P. End Up Nominating a Convicted Criminal?

What a preposterous situation.


Trump Slated to Take Witness Stand in May: Report


N. B. By long-standing policy, I believe every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  
Sen. Sanders has left the stage and is greeting what appear to be community leaders.
"...we do not allow the Trumps to divide us up.  That has always been the way with demagogues...We are not going to fall for that!....We are going to create a government that represents us all!... We can win here in Virginia if people come out to vote!"...Thank you very much!


(speech ends)
TMP notes that Sanders' speech is G-rated.  
"Yes, I believe that health care is a right for all people, not a privilege!"

TMP reacts

How can we take on the fossil fuels industry without a serious affect on people's transportation needs?  Just asking, as they say.  
As President, I will take on the fossil fuel industry.  
"Climate change is real."


"Sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in thousands of years."    -- Sanders  
In order to compete, "we have got to be talking about making colleges and universities tuition-free!"


He speaks of outrageous student debt.  "Everybody talks about and believes that education is a good thing.  And yet we are punishing millions of people for the crime of getting an education."



(Quotes are as accurate as I can make them at the moment.)  
Sanders appears to be delivering his speech entirely without notes.    
The criminal justice system is broken, claims Sanders.


"We are going to restore justice to the criminal justice system."


Marijuana is listed as a Schedule 1 drug along with heroine.

Millions of Americans have police records because of marijuana use.

"In my view, we should take marijuana out of"  the Schedule 1 list.  

Facts from Sanders

Goldman Sachs paid a fine of $5 billion of settlement for selling fraudulent financial products.  Others have paid more.  

Sanders on His Contributions

In this campaign we have received over 4 million contributions!  The average contribution is twenty-seven dollars.  So I'm not indebted to Wall Street;  I'm not indebted to those billionaires.  I am indebted to those who gave $27!

Sanders on Infrastructure

We can create 13 million jobs, putting people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

"Well, Bernie, where are you going to get the money."  I'll tell you where we are going to get the money.


Sanders mentions corporations with billions in profit, but zero in federal taxes.  Under my administration they are going to start paying taxes.  We are going to use that many to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and we are going to put our people back to work.
Unemployment rate, high school graduates ages 17-20:  


white -- 33%

black -- 51%

--- Bernie Sanders speech, Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia, just now
Sanders questions the "official" unemployment rate.


Another report looks at underemployed an no longer looking for work.  That figure is closer to ten percent.  
We are going to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share of taxes.

....

We are going to raise the wage from a minimum wage to a living wage -- fifteen bucks an hour!
We work longer hours than any other people in the world, including the Japanese.
Camera shows a large crowd of all ages at Scope Arena Bernie Sanders event.

Sanders:


Top 1/10 of 1% earns almost as much as the bottom 90%.

Now this is not talked about it by the corporate media or their corporate sponsors.

When I am President... we're going to do something about it!
Sanders:  Income inequality is worse in America than at any time since 1928.
Bernie Sanders rejects the race to the bottom in terms of races.  He mentions low wages in China

Blogging Bernie Sanders Live in Norfolk

Bernie Sanders is speaking now at Scope Arena in Norfolk, Arena -- noon hour.

Watch live below.


Bernie Sanders in Norfolk

Monday, February 22, 2016

Can Sen. Sanders Win the Nomination

The Bernie Sanders Situation

At the link above is a decent article on Sen. Sanders' situation as of now.  The Socialist Worker article has some good information and insights.

This is what campaigns are supposed to be about -- process -- and "pathways" as the article puts it.  We are all on some great path just now in America.  There is a change from the old way of doing things to something more just.  Change is coming in fits and starts.  But for the moment, overall it feels more like real change, not just the campaign slogan of 2008.


Sanders' campaign has rekindled the spark of rebellion that has been flickering since the Great Recession hit. It's up to all of us to build the organizations and social movements that can shield the flame from those who will try to extinguish it--starting with the leaders of the party in which Sanders has chosen to run.

-- Socialist Worker 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Fall-Out From South Carolina Republican Vote Throws Party Leaders Into State of Confusion, Despair

Calendar of Up-Coming Voting Contests

The New York Times has provided a useful calendar of up-coming contests in the race for the White House this year.  This calendar may be imported into your existing Google calendar (or one you create).  See link below.

Otherwise --

This evening I am catching up on campaign news, including the fact that Bernie Sanders may not have won the majority of Latino votes in Nevada as earlier reported.  So far, The Times appears to have the best overall coverage of Saturday's voting events.

In short, Trump remains a threat to the body politic.  The man should never have been allowed to get this far.  There can hardly be words of recommendation for any of the other remaining Republican Party candidates.  Sadly, the Grand Old Party of Lincoln seems to have become the party of the super-rich and the Cuban-Americans, at least in terms of viable Republican candidates.

I'll have more to say about the state of the political Union soon.


2016 Democratic/Republican Voting Calendar

Friday, February 19, 2016

Today's Humor

Vote CHIMP for President! He will build a wall to keep out those dangerous Gorillas from the savanna. He will protect Chimpianity from gorilla distemper. And he will be the biggest job-creator since God! I can't wait to vote for CHIMP! Can you?
C H I M P 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Television and Politics As One

Coming Soon --

Have the media, and specifically television, morphed into one and the same?  Maybe not quite, but with a former TV celebrity high in the Republican polls, it is beginning to seem as though perhaps media stars have an edge going into politics.

I'll have more soon, with references to Neil Postman's landmark work, Amusing Ourselves to Death.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Trump Candidacy: Just the Facts Ma'am


Long-term readers here may remember my references to the Princeton Election Consortium in 2012.  Once again Sam Wang and crew are hard at work mining the data, polishing their gems, and publishing cogent, even brilliant analysis pieces about 2016.

The most recent example of truth-telling is at the link below where the Consortium details how the Republican primary process works.  Explained as well is how Trump can be stopped and how little time there is for Republicans to do so easily.  I think you will find the analysis scary but fascinating.

The major question at this time is whether America is going to accept this new, hyper-conservative Republican Party.  This is now more a Tea Party than the traditional Republican Party of Wall Street honchos and Main Street small businessmen (and a few business women).

What we have now is something akin to the right wing in Italy with their Berlusconi.  A comparison between Donald Trump and Berlusconi would make for an interesting study.

If what we have is a far-right party, why are the media and pundits still treating it as the broad-based party of Nelson Rockefeller -- something it may never have been in reality, but was in principle and appearance.  (Think here of the wonderful Margaret Chase Smith, for example.)  Surely, this is journalistic malpractice of the highest order.

In coming days I plan to do my part to help correct this horrible imbalance.

The Trump Candidacy: Just the Facts, Ma'am


Photo:  carroll.org   

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Supreme Court Vacancy

Supreme Court Fight a Harbinger of More Serious Trouble Ahead?


I felt sadness early Sunday morning as I caught up with the news of Antonin Scalia's passing the previous day.  Human beings are social animals, but in one sense we pass to the next life alone.  The process inspires something like awe, along with sadness, and even fear.

Accompanying news of Mr. Scalia's death was news that Mitch McConnell had announced the U.S. Senate under his leadership would not so much as hold hearings on any nominee of President Obama's, ostensibly because Mr. Obama is in his last year of office, a clearly ridiculous position.  As a matter of fact, some 14 nominees have been appointed to the Court in the final year of a President's term, according to my source.  

Whether this strategy of the Republicans will succeed or backfire remains to be seen.  And how much harm such a tactic can do to the country also remains to be seen.  But of more concern is whether this move by recalcitrant and rebellious Republicans will be a harbinger of a future major crisis in Constitutional government in the U.S.  

One reason for the concern is the increased polarization of the political parties.  The cause of this polarization is related to the economic dislocations and the accompanying anger and fear felt by ever so many people.  Even a cursory reading of American history shows increased governmental instability or stress during such times.  

It seems to me this is a time for the people as individuals and working collectively to draw together in humility and solidarity in order to preserve the public good and the viability of the government.  At the very least we need to be thinking about what lies ahead and to begin planning and preparing to shore up government while there is still time to do so.  



Elizabeth Warren Attacks Republican Refuseniks

For Republicans such as Mitch McConnell to state they will not consider any Supreme Court nominee from President Obama in his last year of office is fairly outrageous.  God forbid, what if another of our esteemed elderly brethren or sisters of the Court were to die in office before next January 20?

We only have one President at a time and our country does not need a divided Supreme Court.  Read more about Elizabeth Warren's position here:

Elizabeth Warren Attacks Republican Refuseniks

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Internet at Center of Political Discourse This Week-end

Briefly --

Hasn't political discourse in the nation moved more and more to the Internet?  This has been said before, but in the discussion about the Supreme Court now, Elizabeth Warren's online post is more potent than CBS News coverage, for example.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Speechless in Seattle, and Charleston, and Reno

Your Musical Patriot is almost speechless at the current state of the Presidential campaign, especially on the Republican side.

First, we now have a Ted Cruz ad in which children pound a Donald Trump action figure into a model hotel.  Is this what Presidential politics has come to in America?

As for the Democrats, their verbal jousting is not on such a puerile level.  However, the nature of their contest can hardly be called edifying or constructive when the need for party unity is considered.

To play devil's advocate for a moment:  A discussion about who should be owning America now is entirely within bounds and is, indeed, necessary.  This seems to be Senator Sanders purpose and to that extent I support him.  But putting these two dignitaries into such a contentious and even perhaps belittling situation such as this is regrettable. What are we supposed to do -- hope it all comes out fine in the wash?


One does wish for the presence of a third party, a leveler -- someone like -- yes -- Martin O'Malley. Absent Mr. O'Malley, the diatribes seem to be getting sharper.

Back to the Republicans:  I have already referenced the new Ted Cruz ad.  And, by the way, my criticism of the Cruz ad does not imply support or even sympathy for Donald Trump.  Now one candidate (Trump) claims he is willing to consider suing Cruz over Mr. Cruz's "natural" citizenship.  The amazing thing is Trump could be right.

So, you see how easily we can get on a merry-go-round of recriminations.


Is this Republican campaign not the lowest level of "discussion" of any Presidential campaign in modern history?  The only redeeming quality I can see is that now the dirty tricks -- the push-polls, the foul and disdainful language, are more out in the open than in 1972, for instance.  However, overall, the 2016 campaign makes the 1972 campaign look like Saturday afternoon tea among gentlemen.

At least now we have a gentle lady.   And I'm not completely sure about that.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Hampshire Fall-Out

It has taken me a couple of days to begin to unravel the meaning of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary results.  There was a good bit of news coming out of the state.

Today's Washington Post had numerous timely and important articles.  E. J. Dionne, for instance, clearly said the debate in America now is whether capitalism can continue or whether we shall have something like European socialism.  I favor the latter, though never "state socialism."

One more comment.  I contest the use of the term "winner" as it is being applied by the media.  Any candidate who won delegates in New Hampshire was clearly a "winner."

I'll have more on all this soon.  

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Decline of Couth

New sign for Republican campaign events?
While one Republican candidate has captured most of the media's attention, we cannot say the current Presidential campaign is worthy of the best of America overall.  Language coming from candidates, at least the Republicans tends to be street-wise to put it kindly.

The lack of couth in this campaign as demonstrated as recently as yesterday by Donald Trump is at times shocking.  Sadly, the other candidates aren't much better.  While perhaps a direct line cannot be drawn from the decline of language as seen in movies and on the Internet, we can say this campaign does not exist completely apart from them, either.

However, if the movies are an art form reflecting society, the same cannot be said of this scary campaign.  In one sense the campaign indeed does reflect our society.  However, I deny that it is art, even bad art.  It is more akin to boxing, that sport now sidelined in our culture due to health concerns.

Will our politics go the way of boxing?  Will we decide this kind of language is toxic to the system?  Will the American Psychological Association issue an official cautionary statement?

Enough is enough.  Let's either have decency in the Presidential race, or let's change the channel.  

Friday, February 05, 2016

Wall Street Power Remains a Major Point of Discussion Among Democrats

In last night's Democratic "debate" (now missing the mannerly, gentlemanly Martin O'Malley), Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Sanders responded to questions about Wall Street.


Thursday, February 04, 2016

Iowa Democratic Caucuses Results

Certified vote totals in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa appear to be unavailable on the Iowa Secretary of State's web site as of the time of this posting.   

Another Report Of Vote Total Uncertainty in Iowa

Linked to below is another report of confusion over vote totals in the Iowa caucuses.  Since this report is now two days old, I will keep trying to find the certified results.

As the Sanders campaign official says, because the whole world is watching it is important to be accurate.

Sanders Suspicious of Hillary Clinton Win

Bernie Sanders and his campaign have been reviewing the announced results of the Iowa caucuses earlier this week.  According to the Sanders campaign, due to various factors, the actual results may never be known.

In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama said we have to fix our politics.  I imagine he had many things in mind.  One would be various voting anomalies.

The other major problem is the tenor of the campaign, so undignified and inappropriate at times.  The media has become a part of the process in a way never envisioned by the Founding Fathers.  It is indeed time to "fix" our politics.


Sanders Campaign Review of Iowa Results

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Iowa Caucuses: The People Rise Up

The main story coming out of Iowa today is that the people rose up.  In both parties, voters were of a mind to challenge traditional politics in America and vote for true hope and change.  (Yes, where have we heard those words before?)  Whether the decision of the voters in the key mid-western state were wise, only time can validate.

But it is clear that vast numbers of Democrats, for example, chose not to support a highly-qualified, experienced candidate -- but yet one who represented (to them) the Wall Street millionaires;  but instead chose to support a fiery oldster with a young heart, Bernie Sanders.

Republicans would take more time to analyze, for they actually voted for a candidate with an Ivy League background, whose wife has ties to Goldman Sachs, according to my research.  In this case, Sen. Cruz, the Canadian-who-would-be-President, decided that what voters don't know won't hurt them.  This is where we get into the area of delusion and deceit, so well-practiced over a long period within the Republican Party.

Of course, Mrs. Clinton is claiming she has won, and indeed she may end up with the most votes.  Sanders has the moral victory in the eyes of many pundits for "almost up-ending" the Clinton campaign.

As for Mr. Trump:  May I be so bold as to claim to having been on the right side of history at least as far as Iowa is concerned?  I mounted here the most vigorous series of anti-Trump verbal sallies I could manage.  It seems the majority of Republican voters in Iowa agreed that Donald Trump is not the Godsend he claims to be in the world of American politics.    

Featured Post

Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism