The Spirit of '76

Brand-new book from author interviewed on "Fresh Air"

Thursday, March 31, 2016

More Strongly Organized Anti-Trump Effort Takes Shape

Very few media outlets or  pundits or associated members of the nation's elite have much of any real idea of how to stop Trump.  Part of the problem is that Trumpism is not an isolated phenomenon.   Trump arose out of the Republican Party, which itself is virtually the political arm of Big Business.  

The Big Business way is, in short, "My way or the highway."  This is Trump's mode, too.  It is this very immature approach to politics which propels Trump along his destructive path.  Whether it is women, minorities, or immigrant children, Trump barrels along, espousing a kind of right-wing populism which this writer asserts is really fascism.  (One may research the beginnings of Italian fascism among the farmers of northern Italy for background.)  

There are, however, indeed ways to stop Trump.  What it will take is a counter-movement.  Force (not necessarily the violent kind) must be met by force (not violent).  Here I am referring to the laws of physics.  Trump and Cruz and others are something like a force of nature.  The problem is they really aren't for the world, but against the world.  (And now I am getting into metaphysics, that much-neglected area of philosophy ever so important.)  

This is what it amounts to:  a hostility toward Things As They Are, engendered by admittedly tough economic circumstances for so many.  The American elite, including many on the left, must immediately advocate for increased support of the American worker through new stimulus measures, new strictures on overseas out-sourcing of jobs, outlawing of off-shore registering of American corporations and other measures to ensure the average American worker gets a fair shake.  This does not have to be done through "socialism."

It does, however, require leadership.  Such leadership is not coming from our political class, many of whom do not represent the average worker -- think Mitch McConnell, for example.

But the coalition of progressives and African-Americans who are organizing to stop Trump represents a start.  If the people truly do not want Trump, and if they can be organized, there is hope.  

Several days ago I wrote about the difficulty in putting together a complete Stop-Trump program here.  I did, however, offer to post the program in parts.  I hope this post will be one of those parts.  

Coalition Forms to Stop Trump

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Newly Released Surveillance Video Said to Show Physical Abuse of Female Reporter By Trump Manager

Today's Breaking Story

The Washington Post reports that Jupiter, Florida, police, have released surveillance video which they say shows the Trump campaign manager engaging in strong-arm actions against a female reporter.  The reporter has claimed the manhandling has produced bruises, and she has also released photos of the alleged bruising.  The manager has denied injuring the reporter.

It is difficult for a layperson to tell from the video just what is going on.  However, the police clearly believe the video to be important, according to The Post.   

New Ads Assail Trump Statements on Women

Quick Link --

Below is a link to an important news article on ads telling the truth about Trump's horrible statements about women.  

New Ads Condemn Trump View of Women

How the Electoral College Can Stop Trump

I feel as if I have been put into a London fog, a somnambulant state, where my fellow citizens -- including the journalistic elite -- mill around, nod uncomprehendingly, and mumble to one another in monosyllables about not much of anything.  
This seems to describe my emotions as I watch the American political system grind on during the continuing primary season.  While there are a few instances of responsible journalistic sources -- and the article below represents one such source -- the TV-dominated political discourse has created one of the most frightening situations in my memory.

Granted Trump is said to support Social Security and the social safety net in general.  But for how long?  Can this man be trusted?

Your author here grows rather weary of the Trump campaign.  It is already of a nature which defies logic and rational thought.  It is almost pure emotion, and emotion largely of the hyperbolic and vitriolic kind.  Historically, this is the most dangerous kind of movement.

For the Trump campaign is more a movement than a campaign.  In fact, the campaign still shows signs of weakness -- the lack of state grassroots organization, and the continuing wins by Cruz.  But that may not matter.  If we are truly in the midst of a rising social movement -- one based purely on emotion mostly fear, along with the threat of violence toward opponents -- we have entered new territory in Presidential contests.  And no one can predict what can happen in such a situation.

Really, only an effective counter-movement can stop Trump now.  Rather than wait for such a movement to magically materialize, we must all pull together and do our part to change the direction of this campaign.   We can do this by spending time reading up on how demagogues have been stopped in the past, and by volunteering for and donating to other candidates and causes.  We can also create boycotts of advertisers who support media outlets who give Trump a free ride.

It is dangerous to simply wait on the sidelines at such a moment as this.  Let's not wait until November to hope for a last-minute Electoral College rescue.

How the Electoral College Can Stop Trump

Concluding thought:   How can we persuade legislators in the states to intervene and stop the election of Trump as the article above suggests?  Is this possible?  TMP says, of course this is possible.  But there must be a sea change in the way the media is currently operating.  At this point, I will take any sign of hope that this sea change is beginning.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Regret of the Press

Nicholas Kristof's column in yesterday's New York Times was quite heartfelt, and useful.
However, if Donald Trump should gain the Presidency, the public is going to need much more from the press than a sanctified "I'm sorry."

Already, the American people have suffered a kind of abuse from the toxic comments of D. Trump.  What it would suffer under a Trump administration is unthinkable.

The Kristof piece, however, is helpful in giving facts and statistics.  The very idea that the media provided Trump with $1.9 billion (that's billion with a "b"), is completely horrifying.

Of course, other Republican candidates could not be said to have been exactly impressive.  But what of the Democrats?  Why did they not get this level of "publicity?"  

The regrets, while appreciated, are too little, too late.

God help America.*

New York Times Writer's Mea Culpa

*And allow me to say, TMP believes He has and will.

The Press' Mea Culpa

Quick Link --

At least one member of the press documents the role of the media in the rise of Trump.  

I'll have more to say about this most serious matter later.

New York Times' Writer's Mea Culpa

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Trump Can Be Stopped

Almost ten years ago, in the very first months of this blog, I ran a series of articles based on the DVD video of the book Theologians Under Hitler.  This landmark book showed how the church in Germany largely accommodated itself to Hitler and his agenda.  This series of blog posts remains something I am proud of.

Now, ten years later, America is confronted with the possibility of a strongman taking over the Presidency -- Donald Trump.  Once again, the church is like the deer in the headlights.  The church feels that if it ignores Trump or remains silent about him, the problem will simply go away.  However, this is not true!   Trump, like Hitler, has an attitude of againstness which is not only not constructive, but is destructive, splintering and demoralizing.

The story of the current split within the Republican Party is a bit complicated.  The article at the link below makes it simpler to understand.  Having been a major Party for so long, naturally it has had millions of adherents from all walks of life.  Now, though, the rank and file -- at least a portion of them -- are in revolt against the wealthy elites.  That their savior -- Trump -- is himself "filthy rich," is an irony which can be explained through the concepts of envy and aspiration, also modeling.

Trump remains dangerous.  He is stirring up dangerous passions, even violence.  This is not America!  This should not be!

Most of the articles in the popular media aren't very useful in opposing Trump, even if well-meaning.  A few snippets which I have gleaned are useful, and when put together, begin to show a path to successful opposition to this political goon and demagogue.

First, though I disagree with his primary program, John Kasich is right when he states that the Republican Convention is a part of the political process.  It is there that cooler heads must prevail.  The roots of popular passion can be understood.  That does not mean their results must be accepted as in the best interests of the country.

And one article has promised to tell us how the Electoral College can be a final brake on the Trump renegade movement.  (I have not yet read this article, but I do know about the College's inherent ability as a leveler.)

Also, Congress has the final say in whether to accept the votes of the Electoral College.  And there have been contests to the Electoral votes.  The last major contest occurred in 2005.

It is sad that we have this whirlwind of press writings which are so ill-informed.

Here at this blog, the emphasis will remain on hope, as the masthead promises.  For not only can Trump be stopped, he must be for the sake of the country

Republicans In Revolt (Against Their Own Party)

Parting words.   One of these days, your Musical Patriot looks forward to getting back to the constructive issues of our times.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jacobin Magazine Declares Trump Protestors to Be Protectors of Democracy.

I agree.

Protestors at Trump rallies are protecting democracy, not interfering with it, says Jacobin, a magazine new to me.  I agree with Jacobin.  

Briefly, I will tell why.  As important as free speech is, there is one thing a democracy cannot tolerate and that is intolerance itself.  Intolerance has long been a troubling thread in the skein we call the Republican Party. 

 To oppose intolerance vociferously is to favor tolerance.  This is where Hitlerism went wrong.  It wasn't enough for Hitler to criticize various whole groups of people -- that was bad enough.  But he felt he had to annihilate them. 

Trump comes close to the idea of annihilation when he advocates "knock[ing] the c***" out of people.  

For free speech, you see, is not an unlimited good.  The courts have long held that speech which is seriously injurious, such as yelling "Fire" in a crowded theatre may be prohibited.  Free speech must be coupled by responsibility.  It is these twin pillars which are a bulwark against despotism not one or the other standing alone.

Free speech, yes.  Intolerance for the right to protest peacefully, no.  

I applaud Jacobin for their insight.  

Protestors Are Protecting, Not Threatening Democracy

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Donald the Kahn

Genghis Khan, Conqueror from Another Era
Peter Wehner describes in today's New York Times the concern our Founding Fathers had for the danger of a demagogue arising to challenge rule by the people.  Both Madison and Lincoln spoke eloquently about the ease with which autocrats had come to power in societies of the past.  The danger was a real and present one.

But in American history no one person has posed a serious threat of assuming the powers of a strongman until now, says Wehner.

Obviously, this former member of Republican administrations is very concerned.  He is right to be concerned.  Sadly, he offers little in the way of a solution for our national dilemma.  And make no mistake it is a national emergency, not just one of the Republican Party.  For Trump and his movement threaten to out-muscle the Republican Party itself.

There are solutions for our developing crisis.  Completely delineating the steps in such a solution goes beyond the original intended purpose of this blog.  However, what I can do is raise the alarm, and offer the best prescription for resolution in somewhat piecemeal fashion.  At some later point perhaps I can help put the pieces together.

Meantime, the warning has been sounded.  It is up to us, dear reader, to take the warning seriously -- and get busy shoring up the foundations of our democracy.

A Demagogue Threatens America

Trumps Ascendancy Was Not an Accident

Brave Protestors Block Route to Trump Rally

Protestors braved eventual arrest to block a highway leading to a Trump rally in Arizona yesterday.  The article at the link below tells more.

Roving protestors in New York also targeted Trump properties there.

Protestors Block Route to Trump Rally

Friday, March 18, 2016

Your Musical Patriot was busy this morning (even before light) reading up on the Republican campaign as well as the nomination of Merrick Garland to be a Supreme Court Justice.

As is common knowledge, these are some of the strangest times in anyone's memory.  Under such circumstances it takes more time to untangle all the webs, trying to separate out truth from fiction.

One thing I discovered from NBC News Online is that the Republican race is far from over.  It is often forgotten that it is the convention which ultimately chooses the candidate.  And with a substantial number of Republicans still apoplectic (rightly) over a Trump candidacy, efforts are being made to derail his nomination, chiefly through the agency of the Rules Committee at this time.  The details are a bit much to go into here, but you can read more at the NBC site.

What is important to know is that the autocratic Mr. Trump appears stoppable at this point.  I'll have more in the future.

Also, I hope to be able to give more time to other topics of importance in the near future.  This Republican disarray business has been extremely distracting, but necessary to deal with.  I hope America's time of trial and tribulation will come to a close soon.


One way to take the steam out of certain protest movements and make people feel better would be to enact a new economic stimulus program as the first one was too small.  It isn't too late to use common sense.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Hidden Campaign.

Stopping Trump Now

Quick Link --

The Republican Party has another campaign for President, this one out of sight.

from The New York Times:

Republican Campaign in the Shadows

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Ascent of Lyndon Johnson

I am now finishing Means of Ascent, the second book in the Robert Caro trilogy, The Years of Lyndon Johnson.    I had already completed the first book in the set.

The present volume deals with Johnson's lean years in the House of Representatives.  These were years of marking time, as Johnson had long had greater ambitions.

The last portion of the book deals with Johnson's second U. S. Senate campaign, in 1948.  (Johnson lost his first campaign for the Senate.)  It is a fairly sordid tale in the end, as it is known things were not kosher in the vote counting in Texas that year.

What stands out for me is the venality of the Johnson effort.  While he claimed he didn't have direct involvement, the record shows otherwise.  Yes, there were minions carrying out the dirty work, but Johnson knew extraordinary efforts, including the buying of blocs of votes, were being made.

While this buying of blocs of Mexican-American votes in south Texas was not new, the scale on which it was done by the 1948 Johnson campaign was breath-taking even by Texas standards.

Johnson was able to carry on this stealth campaign through the use of lavish funds, supplied by the Brown and Root firm, and others.  By this time the Brown Brothers and the others had too long a history with Johnson to do anything other than spend whatever it might cost to elect him to the United States Senate where he was considered sure to support government largess to their benefit.

The Johnson campaign, in its scale, was to prove a watershed in Texas campaigning.  And because of Johnson's power and his eventual ascension to the Presidency, the election of 1948 had national significance.  And eventually, of course, we got Viet-Nam.  The Viet-Nam War is something America has never apologized for, to its shame.

There is not exactly a direct line from the Lyndon Johnson Senate campaign of '48 to today's campaigns awash as they are -- with few exceptions -- in vast amounts of money from private sources.  Yet that campaign showed a new kind of politics, one combining radio and helicopters with seemingly inexhaustible financial resources, producing a tainted but ultimately successful result.

In future posts I will explore the power of the media in the current campaign.  Do come back.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Motives of Donald Trump

Briefly --

Yesterday's New York Times had an interesting article about what motivated Donald Trump to run for President.  Much of his motivation apparently came from the need to be taken seriously, and even the need to belong.

Part of the article was how the Republican Party reacted to his increasing activity within the party from 2011-2015.  Mainly, no one took Trump seriously when he began this involvement.  Even after it became evident he was interested in the Presidency, he was essentially patronized and not taken seriously.

There must be plenty of Republican Party big wigs and operatives who regret this now.  Wherever they are, they aren't talking.

It's not too late to stop Trump.  In fact, with all these recent episodes of violence, I can hardly imagine any responsible Republican defending him, much less campaigning for him.  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Astonishment of Now

Your Musical Patriot has been fairly astonished, and terrified in as dignified a way as possible in recent days, as scuffles erupt at Trump rallies, and a ludicrous American Republican Party Presidential contest unfolds.

There is so much to comment on, so much which can be said, one feels temporarily throttled.  And I do want to be as thoughtful as possible about what is clearly a difficult situation.

I have been reading a wide variety of online literature in an attempt to fathom, first, what is happening, and second, why the malaise is with us.

Speaking of malaise, this situation makes Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech look tepid.  Interestingly, Pres. Carter never used the word "malaise" in that fine 1979 speech from the White House.

Jimmy Carter comes increasingly to look like the best person to inhabit the Oval Office in anyone's memory.  FDR was more clever and adept politically, and got more done.  But Carter was smart and had integrity.  His major downfall was his policy of deregulating industries which shouldn't have been deregulated.

Returning to the present time:  America is lurching headlong into the future, no longer so sure of its place in the world or in history.  (One can mention that even to this day, the U.S. has never apologized for the Viet-Nam War, for example.)

So, this post has been rather unusually rambling.  Trying to be fair to all that is now has made for the ambling or rambling nature of this post.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Sanders News From Democratic Campaign Watch

In a stunning upset, Bernie Sanders has upset Hillary Clinton in Michigan's 2016 Presidential primary.  Sanders apparently had his best day ever with African-American voters. 

Sanders Bests Clinton in Michigan Shocker

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Raise Your Hand If You're Sure

Some may remember a commercial slogan for a deodorant which advised watchers to "Raise your hand if you're sure."  Whether or not the Trump campaign needs to be deodorized, the slogan and the sight of thousands of people raising their hands in solemn salute swearing to vote for Trump has raised concerns among anti-defamation advocates, media figures and others.

The idea that Trump's message is reminiscent of Hitler's Germany is obviously resonating with more people.  So much can be said about all this.

This is the kind of media concern we should have seen months ago.  It is not too late to stop Trump, but we must be very intentional and persistent now.

More on the Trump salute here:
Media and National Leaders Question Trump Pledge

Monday, March 07, 2016

Sanders Continues to Win

As you may be aware, Sen. Bernie Sanders won contests on Saturday, plus the Maine caucuses on Sunday.

Sanders says the power brokers of our country would love to see him defeated, but that he is not going away.  The week-end's results give him backing for this statement.

I'll have more news and commentary on this later.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Summarizing Republican Presidential Situation

I have almost reached a surfeit of views on the Republican Presidential campaign.  But here is another brief from the Post which would seem to somewhat summarize the situation now.

But, but, but: Don’t read too much [into] Cruz’s victories. They were caucus states that didn’t allow non-Republicans to vote. He’ll likely get crushed in some of the upcoming contests with lots of delegates. Michigan could go poorly. “Cruz still needs to start winning primaries that aren't his home state of Texas or don't border it, but Saturday was, all things considered, a good night for his narrative,” writes The Fix’s Aaron Blake.

Trump Must Recalibrate

As the few "factoids" below indicate, Donald Trump is apparently going to have to recalibrate his strategy if Cruz continues to show strength.  Voters' opinion of Trump appears to have turned somewhat against him in recent days.  
More from The Washington Post --

While Trump is favored to win Michigan this Tuesday, Kasich edged him out in a poll published yesterday by the American Research Group. It’s a crazy outlier, and Trump has led in every other poll, but this is a crazy year.

Pundits, Media Recalculating

Another Washington Post blurb

From another conservative radio host:

"Tweet" edited for TMP 

Trump Suddenly Seems Stoppable

Quick Post

via Washington Post Online --

From a veteran of the Bush and Reagan White Houses:
Based on today's results, something significant is happening. Trump attacks may be having an effect. Trump fatigue/fear may be setting in.

Friday, March 04, 2016

The Media With Their Fingerprints on the Trophy, Their Thumbs on the Scales

Early this week, CBS CEO Les Moonves came out and said it: Profiting from hate is not only more important to him than the good of the country — he wants to do more of it.Speaking on a panel in San Francisco, Moonves said Trump’s campaign “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS” and that “The money’s rolling in, this is fun.” He went on to say, “it’s a terrible thing to say, but bring it on, Donald, go ahead, keep going.”1Having the CEO of one of the nation’s most powerful corporate media outlets blatantly admit that profits and ratings are driving the non-stop, wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric is not only a damning indictment of corporate media, but also incredibly dangerous for the country. We need to make it clear to Moonves, CBS, and all traditional corporate media that Americans hold them to a much higher standard when it comes to racism and intolerance and the media’s responsibility to accurately and fairly inform the public.

-- Credo Action  

This is confirmation for something I have been saying for some time.  The media, through its excessive presentation of Trump, is inappropriately interfering in the election process.

Site for signing petition (Commercial Company)

Image Source:  

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Romney "Strafes" Trump

In a speech today at something called the Hinckley Institute former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacked Donald Trump for being "a phony" and "a fraud."   He further declared:   “He’s playing the American people for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat."  The reference here was to the red hat Trump wears and apparently gives out to people.

What is happening in the Republican Party is important for America.  If the wiser heads can stop Trump I personally will be grateful. America has suffered enough already with the diatribes of Trump.  

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

No Crystal Ball

I have no crystal ball and no way of predicting what is likely to happen to the Republican Party after Super Tuesday's events yesterday.

But people are now calling Trump the "presumptive" candidate, a technically meaningless appellation, but one with significance in the realm of perceptions.  I am not ready tonight to issue any profound predictions about what is going to happen.  But at this time it would seem the only way to stop Trump as far as Republicans are concerned would be to mount a third party effort with Romney or some other candidate of like nature at the top of the ticket.  This would split the Republican vote, electing the Democrat, but denying the ever-threatening Trump the office.

The main problem would be getting ballot access at this stage.  I assume that would not be an insurmountable problem but surely Lindsay Graham, the Koch brothers, and others of this nature will have to move quickly.   

Not So Fast, Press and Media

Last night during National Public Radio coverage of the primary election results, Mara Liasson commented that Democrats said early on they did not want a coronation (of Hillary Clinton).

That's still true, Mara.  Bernie Sanders won several primaries last night and is vowing to take his campaign (or "revolution") to all the remaining thirty-five states.  He continues to raise money.

At a very bare minimum, we should let the other states have their say.  Hillary Clinton is not yet ready to take on Donald Trump.  The contest on the Democratic side needs to continue.

As they say out west, Hold your horses, media.  

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

From the Hillary Clinton Instagram Web Site

This is presumed to be Hillary Clinton's response to the Donald Trump campaign.  

Why Take the Chance?

 ...get ready for a slew of ads in states all across America tying Republican candidates to Trump. This is going to be fun. :)

-- A state-based Democratic blog 

With all due respect, the attitude and approach represented by the quote above is exactly what I have warned against in recent days.  I admit I don't understand exactly what the blogger is referring to -- his blog is too disjointed for that.  And he is clearly friendly to democratic interests.  

But making reference to anything having to do with Trump as a candidate for President as "fun" is inappropriate and a little sickening.  We must remember the demagoguery of this man.  Here is someone who admitted to Maureen Dowd of The New York Times that whenever he saw people in his audiences getting a little restless and leaving the hall, he shouts out "And we will build a wall!" -- and the people come to attention again.  This is a classic technique of demagogues.  Many more examples can be given -- the demonizing and scapegoating of whole groups of people, including Latinos, and Muslims.  And women.  The list goes on and on.

We must remember that demagogues can and do take over countries.  Yes, I do take comfort from the still-decentralized nature of government in the U.S.   But what some are forgetting is the nationalization of the media along corporate lines.  This is essentially an oligarchic media, some would say a fascist one.  And this media is not only having great "fun" with Trump, there is some fawning over him going on.  Bernie Sanders is just as meriting of attention as Trump, yet look at the imbalance favoring Trump over Sanders in the media, especially broadcast media, where most people get their news.  This is de facto propaganda -- fun with a purpose.  

And now, some stalwart Republicans are actually saying they are warming to Trump!  This is hideous and grotesque, certainly nothing to laugh at.  

Of course this is a great country, with wonderful people.  But why are we playing around with the possibility of a protracted Trump candidacy -- one which does not bring out the best in people, but the worst?  Such campaigns have been known to do lasting damage.  Here think of Mussolini or Franco.  More recently there were Amin and Qaddafi. 

So this is a screed against the Trump candidacy.  It's nothing personal.  I'd be doing the same thing if Cruz were threatening to take over the Republican Party.  But there is a difference with Cruz.  At least he does have experience in the national legislature, though brief.  

What this is not, is a road map laying out a plan for how to stop Trump.  In the reading I did earlier this morning, several action items did stand out for me.  But first and foremost is this wild media infotainment machine which keeps spinning out an ever more fantastical spew of hysterical and hostile folderol concerning the Republican campaign.  

America doesn't deserve this.  I say to the media:  let's stop this "Greatest Show on Earth" panoply of pomposity. pretense -- and propaganda.  It is uncalled for and dangerous.  

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism