The Different Drummer
Politics, Family, Music and other Musings.
By Carl J. Petersen
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
As 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.Read more
- Popularly attributed to P.T. Barnum
- 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”.Read more
A 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.”
Perhaps 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”.Read more
According 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.Read more