The Different Drummer

By Carl J. Petersen

Politics, Family, Music and other Musings.

Team Red vs. Team Blue - The Further Fragmentation of America

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Politicon.jpgAccording to right-wing mythology, conservatives have been stripped of their free-speech rights. However, while attending this year’s Politicon in Pasadena, California, it was the conservative attendees that seemed determined to drown out speakers who did not conform to their world-view. While he is usually busy interrupting city-council meetings of cities he does not live in, anti-immigrant agitator Arthur Schaper took the time to yell out over questioners who had been called on and to disrupt panel members. Cenk Uygur was heckled throughout his debate with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, with the shouting often starting as soon as he opened his mouth. In comparison, Uygar consistently motioned for his base to quiet down whenever they interrupted his opponent.

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Indivisible?

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

- Francis Bellamy, 1892

In these times of hyper-partisanship, the reciting of the pledge has become a competitive sport. I have long noticed that Tea Party types like to emphasize “under God”, perhaps to compensate their imagined attacks on their Christianity. In the Trump era, progressives have taken to putting an emphasis on “justice for all” in a display of resistance. Still said out of habit but ignored in deed is poor “indivisible”. There is little room for such a quaint notion as the opposing sides prepare to engage in verbal, and sometimes physical, battles.

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Arthur Schaper: A Law and Order Republican?

Arthur Schaper disrupts another Huntington Park City Council meeting. Is this what Republicans mean by "a nation of laws"?

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The Content of Their Character

Arthur Schaper and his band of merry racists display the content of their character after disrupting a Huntington Park City Council meeting...

Make America Great Again, #Resist the hatred.

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The Conman-In-Chief and His Unshakable Fans

I could stand in the middle of Fifth Ave. and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.

-Donald Trump

Head_Scarf.pngAccording to Republican mythology, Barack Obama’s relationship with Saudi Arabia was a disaster. Right-wing critics said that by allegedly bowing to King Abdullah, he was “bending over to show greater respect to Islam" and, thereby, “belittled the power and independence of the United States". In 2015, Donald Trump complained that Michelle Obama had “insulted” her Saudi Arabian hosts because she had “refused to wear a scarf.” Then-candidate Chris Christie called it an “embarrassment” when Saudi Arabia pulled out of a summit scheduled for Camp David and complained that “we’re not listening to them”. When Obama was snubbed by King Salman on his last visit to the Kingdom, Trump said: “It’s called no respect.”

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Moving Past 100 Days: The Lies Continue

Perhaps Donald Trump’s greatest talent is his ability to feed fake news to his fans without interference from the mainstream press. In his signature move, he piles on a bunch of smaller lies and then follows up with an outrageous statement. The press then covers the controversy while ignoring the other nuggets. Meanwhile, his base reads them, sees that they have not been refuted and accepts them as truth. Perhaps this is one explanation for the fact that while his approval rating sits at a historically low 42%, only 2% of his voters regret their decision.

This weekend’s events marking Trump’s first 100 days in office provides an example of the problem as the press gets lost in their coverage of his “deeply disturbing” speech in Harrisburg while ignoring Trump’s weekly address. Meanwhile, this address contains outright lies that feed Trump’s alternate reality. Since our impotent press has failed to provide any type of fact-checking, I’ll do their job for them:

"My fellow Americans, I truly believe that the first 100 days of my Administration has been just about the most successful in our country's history.

If Trump is not lying with this opening statement, then he is surely delusional. The hundred-day was initiated during the FDR administration as he responded to the crisis of the Great Depression and acted accordingly. Obama faced a Great Recession that was threatening to deepen and acted quickly by ushering in a stimulus package. Even if Trump had the ability to display this type of leadership, the circumstances of a deep, overwhelming crisis do not exist that would enable him to unite the country around a solution.

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The First 100 Days: Trump Builds His Wall

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2017 is an Election Year in Los Angeles

Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote.”

- George Jean Nathan

The March 7, election covers the offices of Mayor, City Controller and City Attorney, odd-numbered City Council seats, and even-numbered seats on the LAUSD School Board Community College Board of Trustees. In the 2013 first-round municipal election in Los Angeles, only 21 percent of the registered voters turned out. Will you make sure that your voice is heard on March 7?

The first step in fulfilling your civic responsibility is making sure that you are registered to vote. Remember, if you have moved or changed your name since you last registered, you will have to register again. You can complete this process online at http://registertovote.ca.gov/.

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Blending a Family

This article was originally published in The Patch on April 28, 2013 


TheBackSideOfFamily.jpgThroughout the years, Disneyland has been the background for many happy memories and raising my family in Southern California has allowed us to claim our fair share. Donald fawning over my newborn daughter and then trying to get my Ex to stop yelling in excitement that he had talked. Cinderella declaring to my daughter on her sixth birthday that it was her two hand birthday as we entered the park. My son insisting on standing up to the height check sign to see if he had grown enough in the past couple of weeks to ride the rides his big sister could go on and he could not.

The Happiest Place on Earth took on more significance as the marriage started to fall apart. The kids and I took weekly pilgrimages to escape the turmoil at home and make new memories in our evolving family unit. We made friends with other visitors from an online community of fellow enthusiasts. The days where we would be blacked out from our annual passes were looked upon with dread. 

Once upon a time,

Somewhere online,

A man and a woman met,

And soon after they fell in love.

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Avoiding Our Inner Jack Walsh

This article was originally published in The Patch on April 7, 2013

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In retrospect, the separation should not have been a surprise. However, at the time it came like a punch to the gut. After 16 years of marriage, I was now a single Dad.

As one would imagine, family and friends played a huge role in getting me through that difficult time, filling needs within my physical and emotional worlds. However, my spirit also needed healing. Since I am a man without a religion, I turned to music to soothe my soul.

REM took the first turn: “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.” When doubt set in, I turned to Anthrax’s Finale: “Now I’m free, now I’m free, me me me, finally!” Then it was time to fight and Limp Bizkit’s Boiler took a turn: “But sometimes, some things turn into dumb things, And that’s when you put your foot down.” That agonizing series of “whys” at the end of the song let me know that Fred had also been there.

However, the biggest push from culture came from a movie that I had not seen in many years. Even before the separation was final there a little voice in my head acting like Jiminy Cricket who was constantly reminding me not to turn into the Dad from Pretty In Pink. For those unfamiliar with the movie, Jack Walsh’s wife left him and he never recovered. As a result, family roles have switched and as the movie begins his teenage daughter, Annie, is taking care of him.

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