Tag 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

A BLOGSIDE CHAT WITH JAN PERRY

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. The idea of a blogside chat with extraordinary people like Jan Perry proved to be blogging at its best. And I predicted Jan would be running for Mayor in print, before anyone else–go figure!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Think of concentric circles at the middle of which is the greatest common reality. The one thing we can all agree on—perhaps gravity. I know of no one that will step off the roof of the fifteen-story building, which I live in to prove me wrong. Interestingly, those who believe that they can fly without the help of modern invention are usually considered to have broken from sanity—they no longer share in the same common reality as the rest of the world around them. The results of an individual jumping from a building such as mine, arms flapping to no avail, are not comical—they are ruinous. And such is the fate of a society that has lost its ability to communicate and broken with itself.

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Today, it is incumbent on leaders, and those with vision to communicate their ideas in the way that people not only want to hear but trust and understand. The great leaders of times past wrote and delivered speeches. Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, and King all delivered leadership and vision with their words. Their words, the people knew these men through their words. In person, in print, on radio, on film, on television, past generations heard their leaders in their own words and they trusted and understood them.

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And because downtownster is nothing if not intensely interested in all things—I started floating the idea to the business and political leaders of our world that we’d like to chat. Not interview—CHAT. An invitation, if you will, to speak to people in the way that they now listen. BEWARE: no recorded speeches, written by someone else, with no opportunity to be questioned will be passed off as real communication on downtownster.

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Imagine an ongoing dialogue, that can take hours at a time to have, taking place in public places, sometimes over a meal and sometimes over coffee—my drink. Imagine a person of power in business or politics that is willing to talk to you, albeit through downtownster, no speeches, no teleprompters, no handlers, no questions in advance, no ground rules. Clearly, this person has said much about themselves before saying anything to us at all. But be sure much more will be said.

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Because much of Downtown is encompassed by the 9th District, let us put this fact into a greater perspective, Downtown Los Angeles is the heart of the biggest city, in the largest state, of the most powerful nation on Earth, I could not think of someone better to chat with than 9th District City Councilwoman Jan Perry. 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

IRAN

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.

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.

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. The weapons, which will be delivered through a terrorist network will come from one of the following: North Korea, Pakistan, the former Soviet Union, or if it is allowed to continue, Iran. But make no mistake; Iran is exponentially more likely to supply such a weapon, because Iran’s leaders are compelled by ideology and the other’s are not. Literally, Iran’s leaders are not afraid to bring about the destruction of their own country as long as they have destroyed America in the process.

So it can thus be surmised that Iran is a greater threat to America than it is to Israel, but this is an issue of extreme complexity. 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

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME?

My writing has come to span a variety of topics. And because one can never truly know what lies beyond the next door I, on occasion, write about what was once reserved for my most personal of conversations—politics and business. You see, I admittedly have a passion for both subjects, but in the ideal sense; what people do in the reality of politics and business brings to my heart darkness, and this is for me a source of great frustration. But in this moment of extreme egomania I can’t help but to think that I may say something that will help others tread on a better path…Business in America has lost its way, and government intervention / artificial stimulus aside, it has fallen, appropriately so, on the members of the business community to be the causation of a now much needed, tectonic like shift in the business PARADIGM.

First, the context of my thoughts on today’s downward spiral of business is from the vantage of growing up, born and raised, to do OLD BUSINESS—my father was a World War II veteran who opened a car lot on Whittier Blvd. and later or additionally an auto parts business—he was a straightforward businessman. Because of my age (44) I came to majority as a businessman in the 1980’s the cradle of the commercial digital revolution, which much to my father’s concern I embraced. The net effect being that I think about business today, as everyone should, in terms of what was, what is and what will be. Or more simply put: did the old way yield a better result than the new way or is the inverse true and worthy of evolution?

“When times are good people drink. When times are bad people drink more!” an eloquent and insightful cliché. Do not step into the trap of thinking that clichés are myths in need of debunking, because more often than not a cliché articulates the most universal of truths. However, not all clichés are born from truth and great harm can come from such ideas.

“If you build it they will come,” a paraphrased line from a movie, now a cliché, but not exactly a universal truth. And be frightened, because this flaw of thought has permeated American business culture. IF YOU BUILD IT THEY MAY NOT COME!!! Please feel free to quote this humble writer. And, because my vocation is telling people about things, I am the first to divulge the obvious that it is in my interest to weigh in. That being said, business is as much about perception as it is product—you can have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows of its existence, financial challenge will be imminent, and that simple fact, AWARENESS, only broaches perception. A product can be great, people can be aware of it, and it still won’t sell.

 

American Cars For Example: Continue reading