Category Archives: Politics

THE STATE OF THE UNION

Friends,

After writing eight books, ten movies, two Vegas shows, a dinner show, a television series, four hundred blogs and one famous poem over a ten-year period, I concluded it might be time to pause—drive around the country, do some cooking (I’ve been cooking and doing dishes at a restaurant in Montebello known as the Eastside Chippery) and frankly, do some thinking and try to rediscover myself.

And while much cogitation has been about my own life, my mind has at times wandered to the contemplation of the world around me, not as a blogger / pundit, but as a hard working American. Not so surprisingly, over the course of the last two years a variety of people have asked me to share my thoughts on what’s going on or as many might think, what’s going wrong in our country, yet I have refrained. Why? Given that I am not known for being shy with respect to speaking what I believe to be the truth, irregardless of who it might offend, even the rich and powerful, actually, especially the rich and powerful. Well, simply put, I decided that it was best to give our leaders a chance to right the ship. And yes, I knew that they would fail. And yes, I let them do so, while I cooked and did dishes. And I’ve thought about and continue to think about this decision a great deal. There is not a problem that our country faces that there is not a solution to, but a solution is in the realm of the abstract unless implemented…And do Americans really want solutions? I haven’t decided, none-the-less, I have concluded that I would at least share a few observations.

The National Debt is close to 15 trillion dollars. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling the Federal Government will default on many of its obligations. Note: Our government borrows 40% of every dollar it spends. Continue reading

162,000 New Jobs! Not!!!

Last week I wrote a blog that identified the fundamental flaw at the core of Health Care Legislation—FREEDOM! This week I’m compelled to write a blog that identifies not only the fundamental flaw at the core of all economic stimulus efforts to date, but the one game changing idea (for the better) that is now being discussed at the White House and beyond. This initiative and public support for it are so important that I urge all readers of this blog to share it with others and to voice support.

The title of this blog “162,000 New Jobs! Not!!!” exemplifies the fault of all economic stimulus efforts to which I speak, in its absolute entirety—INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY!!! An administration and a media that suggests that the U.S. economy has turned a corner as demonstrated by a jobs report that encompasses temporary jobs, created by the government, funded by deficit spending, is engaged in cognitive dissidence, at best, and outright intentional deception at worst. And for those who are not as familiar with the specifics of this report as I, let me just point out the most obvious—48,000 Americans have been employed temporarily to take the U.S. Census.

Problem solving is a function of truth. Politics, self-interest, and ego are abhorrent to the problem solving process and must not be present if absolute answers are to be found. To date the problem solving process that has been utilized, with respect to the most recent collapse of the U.S. economy, has been completely polluted with the three previously mentioned toxins. Imagine the damage a small business could do to itself if it were to spend money on capital improvements believing that the economy had indeed turned the corner as reported—it could be a deathblow. The current administration would do itself and the country a service if it were to simply tell the truth—the stimulus, to date, has not worked. The baseless prediction that unemployment would top out at 8% was wrong. There’s no shame in being wrong and moving on. Problem solving, by definition, is a matter of trial and error. If President Obama would just say the truth, not bother with endless rationalizations, and tell the American public what he plans on trying next, the public would support him—I suggest this highly!

So what’s the good idea? The administration is considering legislation that would reduce capital gains on investments into small businesses to ZERO. Continue reading

PASSOVER HEALTHCARE & THE AMERICAN WAY

Foreword by Stan Lerner: a lot of people have asked me to write about healthcare legislation and while there is much to be said, I thought it best to focus on the core issue, which has little to do with healthcare.

Passover (which is observed this week) is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Muslims, Christians, and of course Jews are all well versed in the account of the Great Prophet Moses confronting the Pharaoh Ramesses and demanding that God’s people be released from their bondage. It took ten plagues and ultimately the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army to achieve this freedom for the Jewish people. Subsequently, the story of Passover has been recounted by Jews for thousands of years over a dinner called a Passover Seder—a commandment from God.

So how is this relevant to an American in the year 2010? A question certainly worth asking. And why am I writing about it? A question I am asking myself. The answer is FREEDOM. Let me explain:

Over the course of the last week it was not possible to turn on one’s television set and watch the national news without hearing story after story focused on the new healthcare laws. If you supported the legislation that was passed you are for a still larger presence of the government in your life. If you did not support the legislation that was passed you are opposed to a still greater presence of the government in your life. I was astounded by the endless array of discussions that focused on every other possible aspect of this legislation, intentional or not, this did our country an incredible disservice. Of course every American would like every American to receive the best possible healthcare, the question is at what cost—and I do not inquire this in any way with respect to money. America and Americans do not, and should not value money more than FREEDOM!

The word Seder means (in Hebrew) order. So Jews celebrate their freedom from slavery by having a dinner called order. Puzzling? Continue reading

IRAN

FOREWORD BY STAN LERNER: downtownster does not celebrate its first birthday until February, but I still feel compelled to post the TEN BEST downtownster blogs of 2009. And while I think all of our blogs have been great, these are the ones that readers read the most and gave us the highest level of props for writing. Although controversial, “IRAN”  ranked at the top of our political blogs.

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Several months ago I wrote in a downtownster blog that Iran was seeking to develop nuclear weapons – unequivocally. I went on to say that sanctions would not cause the Iranian government to halt their development of a nuclear weapon. I did not mention the not so well kept secret of the uranium enrichment facility built into a mountain, in the middle of a military base, near the city of Qom…I thought it prudent to leave that to our elected officials who are entrusted with the safety of our country, but I certainly did suggest the possibility. And because we begin with some necessary reflection I must also reiterate that the only way to put an end to the Iranian nuclear weapons program is through decisive military action.

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My regular readers, no doubt, still pondering my recent call for a force of one million soldiers to be deployed to Afghanistan, might think a second military action in the region over reaching—it’s not. Iran will require a massive air assault aimed at destroying all of its nuclear facilities and a ground invasion that should first secure Iranian oil assets and second destroy the Islamist government infrastructure that aids and abets global terrorism. As a punitive action for flagrantly disregarding international law the Iranian naval fleet should be additionally targeted and destroyed completely. This is the only course of action that can be taken, given Iran’s outright treachery.

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Previously I’ve described the scene America will awake to when a nuclear weapon is detonated in one or more of our cities –Washington and New York are the targets.

Continue reading

AFGHANISTAN ALL IN

There is never an end to the building of a country. The United States has been and always should be under construction. And all should know it to be true that good construction requires a solid foundation.

Subsequent to the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack on the United States there was great need for building, but most Americans understood that the attack itself revealed tremendous flaws in the foundation of our country. Now, eight years later, the President and his top advisors are trying to decide what the objective and course of action of the United States should be with respect to the war in Afghanistan. So much of what afflicts this great country can be directly traced to this particular disrepair of its foundation, that it is incumbent on all Americans to achieve clarity as to what our national course of action must be.

In recent history Afghanistan has been known to the United States as a failed state. During the 1990’s an Islamic fundamentalist government, the Taliban, was allowed to gain power. This government once in power gave refuge to the terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda—headed by Osama bin Laden. This history is well known to most and it should be easily concluded that this threat to our country would have, best, been dealt with at its inception. But because it was allowed to crest into what became known as 9/11 an entirely different course of compulsory action became required—and remains so until this very day. 

The removal of the Taliban and the disruption / destruction of Al-Qaeda, the stated goals of the Bush administration and the restated goals of the Obama administration, was not, is not, and never will be the solution to the threat the United States and other liberal democracy’s face from Islamic terrorism. The only way to end the threat is to UTTERLY DESTROY not only the enemy combatant of today, but their entire way of life, so that there will not be an enemy combatant of tomorrow. And make no mistake about it; we have done this before. President Lincoln ordered General Sherman not just to destroy the Southern Army, he ordered the destruction of the South and the Southern way of life—Sherman literally burnt the South to the ground. President Roosevelt and his successor President Truman gave neither Germany nor Japan the opportunity for anything other than UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. And this was only achieved in both cases after the entire force of American military power was brought to bear on these heinous enemies of humanity.

The reason that President Obama suffers the quandary of Afghanistan is not of any kind of mystery to even the most slightly informed—eight years have passed and the enemies of the United States have yet to feel anything close to the full force of American military power. A few days after the attack of September 11th several people inquired as to my thoughts on an appropriate response. I shared my belief, then, that the size of the United States military would at a minimum need to be doubled and realistically should be thrice its peacetime size. I was definitive that the force, which needed to be sent to completely eliminate the threat in Afghanistan, was a force numbering one million soldiers with no less than three hundred thousand combat troops. I was also definitive that once the leadership of Al-Qaeda was tracked to a small enough geographical region the use of tactical nuclear weapons should be an option. ONE MILLION SOLDIERS AND EVERY WEAPON IN THE ARSENAL, I said this then and I repeat this now. Continue reading

L.A. City Council To Remove Marijuana “Hardship” Exemption

In what will be a disappointing move for medical marijuana providers and beneficiaries, the Los Angeles City Council is in preparation to close a legal exemption to the city’s marijuana law. Voters may remember when, in 1996, they approved Proposition 215 (the Compassionate Use Act), which made legal the production and consumption of marijuana for medically prescribed pain relief with a doctor’s approval. However, because “the spirit and intent of Proposition 215 has been exploited and abused for both profit and recreational drug abuse by many of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of Los Angeles” the city council voted in 2007 to adopt Interim Control Ordinance (ICO). The ICO effectively halted the creation of any new dispensaries but did allow an exemption for those dispensaries that could prove they faced “hardship” and could provide an adequate reason why they should be allowed to open. Councilman Greig Smith now recognizes the exemption as a “tragic mistake.” Continue reading

BARACK OBAMA’S NEW SUPREME COURT NOMINEE

Barack Obama recently announced his choice for the new Supreme Court justice. He has selected Sonia Sotomayor – apparently because of her impressive record and the fact that she is female and Latino.

Bravo to them both. But if the President really wants to shake things up with some bold choices, here are my picks for the newest appointee to the court.

1)  Hillary Clinton. Now, I realize she wanted to be President. But seriously, she would have made a perfect judge. It’s just too bad she already has a position: Secretary of State. Lord knows Obama wanted her in a job that would send her FAR away most of the time. Having her in Washington DC would probably be too close for comfort. He wouldn’t want to have to always sleep with one eye open.  Lady Macbeth anyone?

2)  If he wants to replace one judge with another, why not pick someone with true experience – and great ratings?  Judge Judy! Imagine her in DC at the highest court of the land. Do not pee on my leg, Clarence Thomas and tell me that it’s raining! Continue reading

A BLOGSIDE CHAT WITH JAN PERRY

Jan Perry A Blogside Chat

It is late at night or early in the morning, hour fifteen of work has passed by some hours ago, and as the quiet of the night will often lead me to, I find myself reflective. My screenwriting obligations have precluded me from blogging the past few weeks as much as I would liked to have, but many of downtownster’s twenty-four writers / soldiers of truth and enlightenment, have made up the difference. And to them I say, THANK YOU.

The fact that I have not posted more than a piece or two a week does not however mean that I have been remiss in working on stories. Admittedly, I am backlogged, there is simply more to write about than I have time in the day and that would be true even if I were not busying myself with two screen adaptations and a television pilot. But one story must begin and that is the story of something I think to be unique to downtownster—I call it the blogside chat.

We live in challenging times. And if we are to be honest with our collective selves, most generations can claim such. Of course the challenges differ from generation to generation, but almost all are challenged nontheless. What are our difficulties? How are they resolved? These are questions that should be first and foremost on all Americans’ minds. The answers to these questions and their many tangents are rooted in our ability to communicate with each other. And for the purpose of this blog, and all to come, it is imperative to recognize that communication begins with understanding the concept of common reality. Continue reading

Obama’s Paradoxical Stance on Gay Marriage

All politicians make promises on which they cannot or will not deliver. That they do has to be one of the oldest truths in politics. You watch them at rallies and fundraisers, throwing promises out like confetti and know – with hardly a dash of cynicism – that political reality will swallow most of their campaign platform the moment they leave the dais and enter their office. How could it be otherwise? The political process (in Washington especially, but elsewhere as well) moves fantastically slow. There are always pressing issues that command a legislators undivided commitment; seniority (and lack off it) will usually block or ignore most items proposed; and a politician may find that they just do not have the necessary support to maintain a promise made to constituents. They might have tried very hard behind the scenes but failed. And invariably there will be politicians who will say whatever the crowd they are speaking before wants to hear. Speaking before Latinos, they are liberal on immigration; speaking before the Minutemen, not so much. You get the idea.

Gay voters across the United States are reading the news and wondering which strain of candidate is President Obama. Continue reading

The Best Pirates Are Swedish

Welcome, pirates, say I!

But wait – the word has had a somewhat ballooning course through Western culture – to what pirates do I refer? Certainly it is not to the ones lurking about and around the Somali high seas. Though they have the most ready claim to the title “pirate,” used with its original intent, their choice of outfit (namely, the machine gun and necklace of bullets) forces me to consider the likely possibility that these individuals may make unruly guests.

Then, do I refer to their distant relatives, perhaps; the brigands and blaggards of the seven seas? The fifthly yet loveable, villainous yet soft-hearted, scurrilous yet charming characters now popularized by Disney and Johnny Depp? No – I happen to belong to a very small group of stodgy and boorish critics that thought all Pirates of the Caribbean films (not just the sequels) were …well, stodgy and boorish. And I am afraid the reputation of the loveable pirate has so far been unable to recover.

In fact, I welcome to the table and political conversation a group of enterprising Swedes. Continue reading