The Different Drummer
Politics, Family, Music and other Musings.
By Carl J. Petersen
As the temperature heads towards 120° in Los Angeles, I am trying to concentrate on cool thoughts. Having been part of the last generation of paperboys in suburban New York, there are plenty of snowy memories to rely on.
In one of my favorites, I woke up after an overnight snowstorm having to deliver a thick Sunday paper using roads that had still not been plowed. Not wanting to make several trips, I had the brilliant plan of strapping a milk crate to my sled. This worked great for the first half of my route, at which point the sun came out in full force and completely melted the fresh snow. It took me forever to finish my route as I dragged the sled over solid ground.
“Man Plans and God Laughs.”
- Yiddish proverb
After serving our country as president for eight years, Barack Obama now finds himself in an unexpected melt. His best-laid plans have been upended by a successor who has taken every opportunity to roll back the policies that he put into place, regardless of how these policies benefited the country. A worldwide effort to slow global warming (120°!) - abandoned. A compromise plan to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons - also abandoned. A years-long decline in the number of Americans without health insurance - ended with a jump of more than three million in one year under Trump.Read more
"Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and, as such, growing, distributing, and possessing marijuana in any capacity, other than as part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities."
- Obama’s Justice Department
While the right-wing likes to pretend that Barack Obama was “the most liberal president in America's history”, the fact is that he governed from the corporate center. He may have campaigned on a stimulus package that would have created a $10 billion foreclosure prevention fund and a $60 billion infrastructure bank, but the end result was a package that relied more heavily on $288 billion in tax cuts. In the 2008 campaign, he opposed Clinton’s call to use the Republican idea of mandating the purchase of health insurance coverage, but this was a key part of the Obamacare system that was eventually passed. Candidate Obama expressed concern about “a system that locks away too many young, first-time, non-violent offenders for the better part of their lives”, but President Obama left office with many of those prisoners older and still behind bars.Read more
Jess Phoenix and Katie Hill answer questions about federal education policy as they seek to replace Republican incumbent Steve Knight.
Read the article on K-12 News Networks The Wire.
If Jon Pelzer is able to take the second spot in the CA-30 primary election on June 5, against Brad Sherman he would set up a debate between progressives and establishment.
Read the article on K-12 News Networks The Wire.
I was a little hesitant about buying tickets to see Finland’s Nightwish on their current tour. The press release promoting the tour was promising to feature “rarely heard material from the earlier era,” but these weren’t the songs that had drawn me to the band. I had discovered the band after stumbling across their Showtime, Storytime video on YouTube and the newer songs from their twenty-plus year career are the ones that had made them one of my favorite bands. These are the songs I wanted to see them play.
I should have had more faith.Read more
“Jesse Gabriel announced that his campaign has raised more than $500,000 for the upcoming April 3rd Special Election.”
- Jesse Gabriel
What do the former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s adviser David Crane, “symbol of the greed and money of the tech sector” Ron Conway and WalMart Chairman Greg Penner have in common? They are co-founders of Govern for California, an independent expenditure committee that seeks “to influence elections for the California Legislature under the state’s new top-two primary system”. Their efforts are focused on supporting moderates and Republicans. One of their beneficiaries has been Jesse Gabriel, who is running in Tuesday’s special election for Matt Dababneh’s seat.
“Her current scandals and controversies will continue throughout her presidency and we will make it honestly, look, it's gonna be virtually impossible for her to govern. Now, the Republicans have talked very tough and the Democrats. It's gonna be just another mess for another four years, folks. A mess. We've got to get back to work, right? I mean, we have to get back to work.”
- Donald Trump, November 5, 2016
At no other time in history have we had access to so much information. Unfortunately, even with 24-hour news channels and the Internet, our news media provides us with very little depth. As an example, you probably heard plenty in the past week about trade wars, White House staffing turmoil and a possible summit with North Korea. But how many times did the talking heads and Internet pundits mention the following aspects of the stories:
If the shooter in Parkland, Florida had been named Mohamad, we can be sure that Donald Trump would have immediately taken to Twitter in an effort to use the tragedy as proof for the need of his Muslim ban. If instead, it was Jesus or Jose, the subject of those Tweets would have been his border wall. Instead, the killer was just a run of the mill domestic terrorist who used a gun to kill 17 people in a high school. Therefore, we will be told to offer hope and prayers and ignore that this was the eighth school shooting in this new year. To do otherwise politicizes the tragedy and disrespects the victims and survivors and their families.
- Donald Trump
Before the public ever thought that Donald Trump would run for President, he “bought space in multiple New York City newspapers calling for the execution of the five black and Hispanic teens accused of raping a jogger in Central Park.” To this day, he still believes that they “were guilty, despite being officially exonerated by DNA evidence” and the fact that someone else has confessed to the crime. To begin his campaign, Trump descended an escalator before a gaggle of paid “supporters” to announce that Mexico was “sending people that have lots of problems”. Unfortunately, it was not poverty or joblessness that he was concerned about but his false accusation that they were involved disproportionately in drugs, crime, and rape. During the campaign, he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”. After Heather Heyer was killed for protesting against white-supremacists in Charlottesville, Trump went off script to declare “that were very fine people, on both sides.” He described any NFL player who would dare to respectfully protest police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem as a “son of a bitch”. Are we really surprised that he thinks that only white people from rich countries deserve the opportunity to immigrate to our country?Read more
“BLACKWHITE...a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to BELIEVE that black is white, and more, to KNOW that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.”
- George Orwell, 1984
The Right-wing has spent a good portion of this year complaining that their First Amendment rights are under attack. Considering the vast amount of speech that now occurs on the Internet, it would seem that they would, therefore, place a priority on protecting Net Neutrality rules that ensure a level playing field for all content providers on the web. Unfortunately, this is the era of Trump and protections that “prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers’ customers” are now labeled as “oppressive”. Welcome to the corporatocracy where “restoring freedom to the internet” requires you to allow your Internet access provider to decide what information you are allowed to receive.Read more