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

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hillary Clinton Takes Poll Lead

Quick Post --  

Coming off a successful and well-regarded national convention, Hillary Clinton has taken a lead in one poll in which she had trailed D. Trump earlier.

Via New York Daily News:
Clinton Takes Lead in New Poll

Note:  Donald Trump assumed the mantle of Republican nominee through undemocratic means and thus cannot be considered a legitimate party candidate.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton On Her Way

Hillary Clinton took a step closer to the Oval Office last evening as she accepted her party's nomination for President of the United States.  In a content-rich address she laid out a vision of a country working together for the good of all.  She was forthright and persuasive.

There were policy proposals reflective of the collaboration with Bernie Sanders, such as free tuition for middle-class college students, and health care for all.  This is the kind of program which should have been offered years ago.  I also liked the emphasis on investment for jobs.

This is certainly a worthy platform given by a worthy candidate.  Now it is up to America to respond.

Clinton Nomination Acceptance

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Democratic Convention Makes Strong Case for Hillary Clinton

Last night's Democratic Convention made a strong case for a President Hillary Clinton.  From everyday Americans, some of whom have known Ms. Clinton, to major figures such as Howard Dean, and finally her husband, Pres. Clinton, the case for Hillary was made stronger last night.

After watching the convention for two days I am considerably more comfortable with Hillary Clinton.  Her strengths are many.  Certainly every candidate has weaknesses, but with major figures supporting her, I believe she can be a worthy President.

In fact, the kind of punditry which would indicate otherwise seems quite pathetic to me.  People who question this or that aspect of her candidacy are welcome to do so, but the people writing seem to me to want the moon.

Historically, former Secretary's of State have made good Presidents -- Thomas Jefferson comes to mind.  And she had a strong record as a Senator.  If she is too far left for some or too far right for others, that is what Congress is for -- to advise and consent.  If we elect people of good will and good morals America can do very well with a President Hillary Clinton.

So -- let's get to work, America.   

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Madeline Albright slams Donald Trump

"Many say Donald Trump would harm our foreign policy if he were elected President.  The truth is Donald Trump has already harmed our foreign policy."

                                                          -- Madeline Albright at Democratic Convention tonight

Finally, Unity: Both Democrats and Republicans Praise Michelle Obama Speech

Yesterday's opening night at the Democratic National Convention was highlighted by a warm and insightful speech by First Lady Michelle Obama.  Today it is being praised by both Republicans and Democrats.  And with good reason.

The speech combined telling comments about life in the White House with the advantages of America's diversity.  It was a heartfelt and useful speech seeking oneness among the many.  I seem to remember that theme is the motto of the United States:  E Pluribs Unum (From Many, One).  Have we forgotten?  Michelle Obama has not.

From Huffington Post:
Michelle Obama's Speech a Winner

Monday, July 25, 2016

Bernie Sanders contrasts what we really need to talk about -- jobs and ending poverty -- with what the media talks about -- polls, fundraising, and strategy.  

Sen. Warren Speaks

The criticisms of Trump we are hearing from the speakers are right.  And yet, and yet.  When we have knowledgeable, smart people expressing concerns of some sort of Trump coup and an ability to ignore the Constitution, is this lower level of criticism really relevant?  Do you know what I mean, dear reader?

Recent posts here based on the insights of several talented writers have shown a very dark side to Donald Trump.  It is not for nothing that Trump is being compared to Mussolini.  Maybe the speakers at the Democratic convention feel it is not politic to make such comparisons but I have no such strictures.  I am a blogger, not a book writer -- at least not yet.  But I do what I can do.

So America has a choice.   But it is not a normal partisan political choice.  It is a choice between, as Sen Warren is saying, our values and the values of the privileged few.  But it is also a choice between democracy and demagoguery.  There simply is no other way to put it.
Is Michelle Obama the best parent in America?  I don't know, but if not, she must be very, very close.

Beautiful presentation.
A woman named Cheryl Lankford tells how she was bilked out of thousands of dollars by Trump "University."

Her speech is moving, powerful, convincing.

Bernie Sanders Delegates Protest

Supporters of Bernie Sanders are making their voices heard at the Democratic convention.  I am still getting the details.  I do know there have been protesting voices both outside and inside the convention.  Protests inside the hall appear to have mostly quieted down after a raucous beginning to the convention earlier today.

Clearly, there is something which has not been decided.  Though it may not be said clearly, I see the debate as being over whether the profit system shall continue or whether the economy must serve the people honestly and justly.  

Sen. Corey Booker Brings the Seriousness and Passion Needed at the Democratic National Convention

Blogging the Democratic Convention

Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey speaks the truth about the way our country was made great by people working together, not by just rugged individualism.  Mr. Booker has the gravitas and at the same time the enthusiasm which is the correct approach in these times.  Well, done, Sen. Booker.

Countering the Polling Naysayers

With the Democratic convention barely underway, pundits and prognosticators are rushing to judgment regarding a few new polls.  Few if any of us have seen the actual poll results.  However, Dr. Sam Wang at Princeton Election Consortium has the correct information on Hillary Clinton's standing at the moment.  Using only polls and not past performance, wind socks, or gut feelings, Wang has been amazingly accurate in numerous recent elections.

Furthermore, Wang reports that a new CNN/ORC poll after the convention states that 44% of respondents were less likely to vote for Donald Trump while only 42% were more likely to do so.  That certainly doesn't sound like a convention bounce.

So the election is not today.  I am not denying that the Hillary Clinton campaign has a great deal of work to do.  And in watching the opening part of the convention this evening, the focus has been on old-fashioned identity politics, as it is called, with little or no focus on actual policy proposals which would help all people economically.  Perhaps this will come later on.

For now, polls should be looked at critically.   They may, however, help prevent over-confidence on the part of Democrats -- because over-confidence is not justified and dangerous.

Sam Wang on the new polls:
Clinton Continues to Lead in State Polls

Trump Could Eviscerate Concept of Checks and Balances

Quick Link --

Here is more evidence that Trump is no normal candidate.  He could easily expand Presidential power even beyond recent expansions.  

Originally posted at Bill Moyers' web site:

The "Irrelevancy" of Checks and Balances

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump As Threat

How to Lessen the Threat

The second Weimar lesson, then, is this: take right-wing populism and Trump's magnetic resonance with large sectors of the American public very seriously. This is a lesson reinforced not just by Weimar but by the Brexit vote in the UK. Progressives must understand how and why Trump connects with millions of Americans -- and then move to undercut resonating ties.
                                                                                        -- Charles Derber, Truthout

Many times during these last months I have worried that normal people were not taking Trump seriously enough.  This was especially true of the press and media last summer and fall.  By spring it became apparent that Trump was likely to win the Republican nomination.  I have alluded to this concern here in various ways.

The article from which the above quote is taken is most serious indeed.  It deals with a subject I have studied both in and out of school -- Germany's Weimar Republic.  The article has the history right.

And the prescription Derber gives is correct, too.  First, people on the left need to take more seriously the economic concerns of workers, especially rural workers.  Any condescension toward these workers must cease forthwith.  As a person with ties to a farm, I can attest to the validity of the concerns of farmers.  Farmers are not necessarily bigoted or far-right.  And they certainly are not stupid, as a group.  It is true they can be, and often are, ignorant of history.

But this should not stop us from reaching out to them with genuine concern.  Many would be willing to be approached if done in a respectful manner.  They may have things to say which can be disagreed with.  But in the main farmers are simply looking to make a living.  Surely this is an aspiration shared by all American workers.

Next, as the author so perceptively notes, the various wings of the Democratic Party and the left movements must come together in a genuine, working coalition to stop Trumpism.  This must be done from the White House on down, or from the people on up -- if you prefer.

The article says it all.  We of democratic persuasion must unite.  There is no time to lose.

The center-left must unite

Quiz-Time Fun?

Who Said It?:  A Quiz

See hyper-link below.

Who Said It?: Quiz

Photo Credit:  New  York Daily News

Electoral College Map Shows Large Clinton Lead

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Most Serious Trump Gaffe Yet

In an interview with The New York Times, Trump said the United States shouldn't automatically come to the defense of fellow NATO members if they are attacked unless those countries have paid their bills to the alliance. That approach flies in the face of one of NATO's bedrock principles, Article 5, which requires NATO states to come to the aid of a fellow member under assault.

                                                                                              -- Politico

Government leaders across the political spectrum decried Donald Trump's published statements on NATO today, calling them "ill-informed," and "dangerous."  The article whose link is below has more.

Almost every day during this Republican convention week there has been some controversy or crisis.  When will we the people begin to shut down this illegitimate* candidacy?

Most Serious Trump Gaffe Yet

*This word is used due to the autocratic quashing of the move to have delegates vote their conscience at the Republican convention earlier this week.

Courtesy post:    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/trump-nato-new-york-times-225942#ixzz4F5kV7BjW
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Colorful But Accurate Words from Salon

It has not been my preference to spend most of my time on this blog calling out D. Trump and Trumpism.  However, there has been no real choice as any thinking, educated American could easily see the danger of the man and the movement.

Now from Salon comes a trenchant piece on the true nature of the Trump campaign as well as the role of the media in it.

Certainly there are exceptions to the kind of media described here.  But in the main, the media are quilty of something approaching treason.

An excerpt is below:

But Trump’s real power (and thus, danger to American politics) comes from how the so-called smart people in the commentariat have tried to make sense of a campaign that is, on a fundamental level, just a celebration of buffoonery, stupidity, and bigotry. Unfortunately, there is no singular voice such as that of Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow with the courage to publicly and plainly state that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is an exercise in bovine scatology.Donald Trump is one step away from being President of the United States of America because of this fact. The American corporate news media has elevated Donald Trump to the level of being a serious presidential candidate when they should have instead thrown him into the political dustbin many months ago.

from "The Ghouls Have Won" by Chauncey Devega 

Anti-Trump Republicans May Have More Up Their Sleeves

The protests against Trump within the Republican Party are not over, according to press reports today, including from The New York Times.

Here is another story:

Republican Delegates Against Trump May Not Be Done Yet
The Republican Convention briefly descended into chaos Monday night as an attempt to undergird the concept of  voting one's conscience was defeated by Trumpists.

See the "Democracy Now" report here:

Monday Night at the Follies: Republican Convention Chaos

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Needed Comic Interlude

Flashback --

Here is Tina Fey being interviewed by David Letterman in the fall of 2008.  Fey, you may remember, nailed Sarah Palin in a telling impression made up mostly of actual Palin quotes.

Unusual for topical humor, both the original impression and this interview hold up very well after eight years.  Fey is nothing but wonderful in this interview:   funny, warm, even humble.  And this is Letterman at his best, as well:  intelligent with apt questions, willingly sharing in the humor.

Watch and enjoy:

Criticism of Justice Ginsburg Ignores History and Justice

Recent critics of Justice Ginsburg's comments of grave concern about Trump's fitness for office are ignoring a good deal of American history say the authors of the Washington Post article below.

They are also ignoring simple justice, decency and compassion.  For Trump has had numerous breaches of decency, compassion, and even simple justice throughout this campaign beginning with his announcement speech.

What we have primarily in the current reportage is a cascade of amoral opining, false equivalencies, and ignorant blathering.  Quite a few examples of this ongoing journalistic travesty have been reported here and more shall be.

Criticism of Ginsburg Ignores Much of American History

Up-Dated: Convention Chair Appears to Have Engaged in Chicanery

With Sen. Mike Lee calling convention chair actions unprecedented, Trump operatives appear to have engaged the services of the chair in refusing to allow a roll-call vote on rules changes which would have confirmed delegates had the right to "vote their conscience" and thus refuse to support Trump.

One wonders whether this tactic of trying to change the rules was a wise one, if in fact the delegates already had the right to vote their conscience.

Trump as future President is on full display now with these strong-arm and likely dishonest actions.


 The delegates said they surpassed the threshold of a majority of delegates in seven states to join their efforts, saying they turned in enough signatures for 11 states. 
But the RNC says they only turned in enough signatures for nine, and that delegates from three states rescinded their signatures, moving them below the seven-state threshold. 
The “Free the Delegates” movement says the RNC won’t tell them which states left the movement. They believe the delegates were bullied into submission. 

Rules Challenge Blocked by Convention Chair: TMP Read

Cleveland Or Bust

Blogging The Republican Vaudeville

If it is my duty to post about this Republican battle formerly known as a convention, I will do my best.  

The convention is heating up according to sources.  

I'll do what I can to counter any and all claims that Donald Trump is any kind of legitimate or normal candidate, or even person.  That is my greater duty.  

More coming

Friday, July 15, 2016

"The RNC Has Rigged This Nomination"

Rush Post --

Spokesman for Delegates Unbound movement nails the matter on the head:


Republican Conservatives Set to Revolt After Rules Committee Rebuke

Quick Link --

Conservatives deeply concerned about an autocratic Trump Presidency are upset over yesterday's Rules Committee vote denying them the right to "vote their conscience."  I have not had the chance yet to review carefully the actual events.  However, I am aware of the depth of feeling against Trump. And an effort to simply silence dissent will not work -- not in a Republic, not in a democracy.

Conservatives to Revolt?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Newspapers Continue to Decline: Why It Matters

Eric Alterman has written in a recent issue of The Nation about the continuing decline of newspapers.  While this is no longer news, the continuing decline after previous losses, is very significant.

As the late scholar of journalism, James W. Carey, wrote, the "vital habits" of democracy disappear in such a situation and we are left with "the quack, the charlatan, the jingo, and the terrorist."

This excellent piece by Alterman illuminates the sad information environment we are found in now -- an environment in which "verifiable truth becomes harder to find, while lies and misinformation become easier to exploit."

This does indeed help explain the rise of a Donald Trump.

Read more on this important story:
Newspapers Continue Their Decline: Why It Matters

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Trump Being Marched to the Dumpster?

There has been a subtle change on the Internet regarding the movement known as Free the Delegates or Delegates Unbound.  Whereas before most stories were negative, the proportion has done a flip-flop.   Recent stories are either positive or neutral.

Clearly, the anti-Trump movement among Republicans has been growing and getting more organized. The main hold-up now is divided opinion about just who should lead the ticket this fall.

For an increasing number of delegates, that person should not be one Donald J. Trump.

'Free the Delegates' leader claims sufficient support for minority report

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Court Rules Against Trump in Major Victory for Democracy

Here is a statement yesterday from Free the Delegates, one of the major groups working to stop Trump at the Republican Convention.  This is indeed good news for the doctrine of free association.  Meanwhile major media outlets such as NPR have continued to give Trump favorable treatment.  Their lack of information and understanding is appalling and continues to be passed on to an unwitting American public to the detriment of our democracy.

Statement Monday from Free the Delegates:

This afternoon, in a groundbreaking decision, the courts overturned a Virginia state law that bound delegates to cast their convention votes for the winner of the state's primary.
The suit, which alleged that such a law violates the First Amendment rights of delegates, was brought by Beau Correll — a Virginia delegate and a founding member of Free the Delegates.
He said:
"Delegates to the Republican National Convention who cherish their freedom of speech, association, and voting their conscience applaud today's favorable decision by the federal court. This ruling establishes fresh precedent that the Rules Committee, all delegates to the Convention, and the Trump campaign themselves must take heed of. The strong-arm of the government has no business commandeering the actions of private individuals in private organizations, such as political parties."
This is a victory that puts upwards of 20 states in play, and could upend Donald Trump's path to victory as more states unbind their delegates.

Free the Delegates

Friday, July 08, 2016

Trump Declines to Rule Out Resigning Before Serving If Elected

Whether Trump can be elected is a big "if."   But Trump, when asked, refused to say whether he might resign or refuse to serve if elected.

This is indeed uncharted territory.

But with the Free the Delegates movement continuing and even gaining steam, it is not impossible that he could be defeated at the Republican convention, or that he might choose to withdraw at any time either before or after the convention.

As for "resigning" after election, one would think Trump would have issued an ironclad denial.  This he did not do.  Read more here:  <   Trump Could Resign Before Term Begins, If Elected  >.

Trump Baffles Members of Parliament(s) With Fund-Raising Appeals

As Paul Ryan said in another related context, "You can't make this up, sometimes."  Even P. T  Barnum running for President couldn't have been this annoying.

However, perhaps this is exactly the kind of campaign we could expect from  America's first celebrity TV show Presidential candidate.  But as the MP's (Members of Parliament) are expressing, this is more than a little baffling.

And there remains the matter of U.S. law which bars foreign contributions to U.S. election campaigns, the last time I checked.

Interestingly, The New York Times was appealed to by one of the recipients.  The question to be asked about the entire Trump nightmare is not so much Why is Donald Trump the way he is?  Rather, it is how could someone like this have come this far in the first place?  The answer has everything to do with the U.S. media.*

The Baffling Trump Fund-Raising E-mails

*Many details can be given.   Exceptions to the overall venality of the media exist, though they are not exactly plentiful.  (See elsewhere on this blog for the good and bad nature of the media's Trump coverage.)   

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Germans See Parallels to Hitler in Trump

There have been moments in this election campaign that have brought back dark memories. In Mississippi, Florida and elsewhere, presumed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump asked his supporters to raise their right hands and pledge their allegiance to his cause: "I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there's [sic] hurricanes or whatever. Will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for President." Tens of thousands raised their right arms and repeated the oath after him. The America media drew comparisons to Adolf Hitler.

Has the most powerful nation on earth become vulnerable to an authoritarian, nationalist leader?...

This was written several weeks ago in Germany's respected periodical Der Spiegel in their online version.  Clearly, Germans are concerned about Trumpism in America.  It is not hard at all for them to see comparisons with their dictator, Herr Hitler.  

Some historians here say Trump is more like Mussolini than Hitler.  I can take their point.  But whether Trump is more like Hitler or Mussolini is hardly the point now.  What matters is how America deals with this budding autocrat.  Signs are beginning to point to a more effective defense against the Trump verbal onslaught.

But we must remember that Hitler's atrocities began with verbal thrusts.  The Jews were an early target.  Here in America, too, Jews have been targeted in recent days.  This represents a shocking decline in American political verbiage.  America doesn't have to put up with our own version of fascism, whatever the stripe.  

The article here:

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Sad State of Affairs: Child Rape Case Filed Against Donald Trump

What I am investigating this afternoon 

Under our great American system, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  This is just as true of Donald Trump as it is of, say, Hillary Clinton, or O. J. Simpson.

Yet as the writer of the article below makes clear journalists have a special obligation to investigate the credibility of allegations made against political candidates.  Your Musical Patriot does not like to traffic in most matters of a personal nature.  In this case, though, the author makes such a strong case for investigation that I will go along.  Now, will the mainstream media follow suit?  They should and must.  For the sake of the country.

Note:  Donald Trump has denied the allegations.

By Lisa Bloom, NBC News legal analyst:
Child Rape Allegation Against Trump Evaluated

Court Filing Online Here

From "The Hill":

Group Works to Ensure Ballot Access for Alternate Candidate

The Hill reports that a non-partisan group is working hard to secure ballot access for an unknown future alternative candidate in the 2016 Presidential race.

Here is an excerpt from the article.   
A nonpartisan group working to ensure that a potential independent candidate for president will be on the ballot in all 50 states says it hopes to have locked down a challenger in one month’s time. 
          Better for America Chairman John Kingston, a conservative donor with ties to George W.                     Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney, said his group has been in discussions with current and               former senators, governors and senior military officials and “absolutely” expects an independent             candidate will emerge.... 
 “By the end of July it’s still plausible,” Kingston said. “You can be disruptive beyond that and still get on some ballots through August and September, but to get to a place where you can win outright would be a challenge beyond August 1.” 

[Donald Trump is said to have the most committed delegates to] the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, while Democrats will likely nominate Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia on July 28. 

Kingston would not disclose the names of any potential candidates he’s spoken to, but the group is open to someone of any affiliation. 

Better for America launched earlier this month to ensure that any potential independent candidate that emerges will have ballot access in all 50 states. 

Monday, July 04, 2016

Jimmy Carter Speaks on U.S.-China Relations

Here is a talk given by Pres. Carter at Emory University on the subject of U.S.-China relations.

There is great history here, including the story of secret negotiations in 1978 which led to the normalization of relations between the United States and what had once been called Red China.

He also speaks on the modernization of the Chinese economy, and the Chinese contribution to global warming.

Fascinating and informative.

Consider this your Independence Day gift from The Musical Patriot

Sunday, July 03, 2016

What the Republican Party Nominating Process Really Is

 It is more than interesting to think of the Republican Party primary votes as a "beauty contest."   Yet, in a very real way this is exactly what they are.  For it is -- legally and otherwise -- only the actual convention delegates who select the nominee.  This fact is being obscured by most media and the Trump campaign.

What must be kept in mind is that a political party is a protected organization under the First Amendment's freedom of association.  Thus, the party's rules for procedure can be developed and altered as the party itself best sees fit without interference from the state.

It is also interesting to see the movement to stop Trump as accelerating.  I agree.  Sadly, major media writers, who seem now to be little more than (mostly) men with a pen, cannot be trusted to describe the inner workings of a major political party.   More here:    What a Party Convention Nominating Process Really Is  .

President Obama Speaks on Populism: Video

Here is President Obama speaking on true populists, and false populists, evidently with Donald Trump in mind.  The video is very much worth watching with numerous pertinent and pithy comments.

The video has obviously been heavily edited, so I'm not sure what that means for the original speech.  However, the editing works in my view, and if at all accurate would seem to have enhanced the content.

Source: Egberto Williams

Friday, July 01, 2016

NASA Spacecraft Will Reach Jupiter Monday, July 4

The NASA Juno spacecraft will reach Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, on Independence Day, Monday.  The spacecraft, launched in August of 2011, will probe closer to the planet than ever before.  Dedicated exclusively to exploring the mysterious planet it contains instruments which are expected to help the space agency to develop a new understanding of the far-off world.

The U.S. can be proud of this achievement.  Independence Day fireworks do not only occur on Earth, it appears.  Some fireworks are of the intellectual, scientific kind.  (Read more at the link below.)

NASA Spacecraft Reaching Jupiter on July 4

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism