The Different Drummer

By Carl J. Petersen

Politics, Family, Music and other Musings.

The Dark Knight - A Congressman Votes Against the Interests of His Constituents

Steve_Knight.jpgAs multiple fires burned out of control throughout Southern California, including the Rye Fire in Santa Clarita, Congressman Steve Knight used his Twitter feed to provide his constituents with vital information. However, the help needed by the victims of these disasters cannot be delivered on social media, they will need their governments to provide them with an actual safety net. Unfortunately, the tax bill voted on by Knight last month eliminates one way that this assistance is already provided as it “would phase out the ability to deduct personal casualty losses from wildfires and earthquakes...but keep the deduction for damage from hurricanes and floods like those in Florida and Texas this year.” Knight’s “yes” vote helped to pass the bill.

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Bright Shiny Objects: Trump's Real Art is Diverting Attention

There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute

- Popularly attributed to P.T. Barnum

We need P.T. Barnum, a little bit, because we have to build up the image of our country

- Donald Trump

As Barack Obama left office the economy had “gained jobs for 75 straight months -- the longest streak on record." Of course, that had not stopped his successor from claiming that he had inherited a “mess” with jobs “pouring out of the country.” Still, even as Trump struggled to keep up with the numbers posted during Obama’s last year in office, his unshakable fans acted as if it was his accomplishments alone that had brought us to a point “close to what economists consider full employment.” Then on Friday the Labor Department announced that preliminary numbers show that winning streak has come to an end; “the United States lost 33,000 jobs in September”.

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False Flag: Mistaking A Symbol for the Ideals It Represents

Trump_on_Flag_Burning.pngA confession - I have burned an American flag. In fact, I have burned a few. On one occasion I even involved my young children in the process. We removed the worn, faded flag that had stood outside our house since September 11, 2001, folded it neatly into a triangle and placed it on the flames within our fireplace. In doing so, I showed them how to fulfill our patriotic obligations under section §176 of the U.S. Code. This section states that “the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Trump_merchandise.pngPerhaps this is nothing more than an example of why it is a bad idea to formulate presidential policy in 140 characters or less. However, it is more likely that Trump is unfamiliar with how the law suggests how “respect for flag” should be shown. Otherwise, he would not have announced his candidacy in front of a wall of American flags. The code is very clear that the flag is not to be used as decoration and that instead “bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below should be used”. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee would also not be selling shirts emblazoned with the flag in violation of prohibitions on using it as “wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery”, “for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever” and as “a costume or athletic uniform”.

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

Militia.png

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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