Facebook Impressions: Our Current Political Landscape, July 6-24, 2016


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Just after I decided to start posting some of my Facebook commentaries here, Tim Kaine was picked by Hillary Clinton as her choice for VP. Much of what I’ve been posting lately addresses both that possibility and reality. I’m gonna lay out some of my thoughts below as originally written for Facebook posts and commentaries. There’s definitely some overlap of ideas, here, but I wanted to share them nonetheless. There are some insightful articles attached to the comments below which I think make for some thought-provoking and informative reading:

July 6, 2016: Despite the title of this article and many others like it (“Bernie Sanders Booed By House Democrats For Refusal To Endorse Hillary Clinton” by Sam Stein), there were FAR more Democrats, apparently, who did NOT boo Sanders and were respectful.

But those who DID boo… Those are the very ones that make this journey all the more important, all the more crucial. I understand that what Sanders is doing is out of the ordinary step-aside deal-making that happens at this junction in an election cycle, but if Bernie were to abandon his ideals and whatever leverage he has now to simply fall in line, then he would be no better than most of the intimidated, for-sale politicians he has been criticizing, who are now, of course, trying to intimidate him and his supporters to be more like them. 

This is why Bernie Sanders represents the conviction, the integrity, and the alternative of genuine ideals that speaks SO loudly to SO many of us and that goes so far beyond the outcome of a presidential race. And this is why his supporters remain so committed and see him as walking the walk. Unlike those we know who just talk the talk.

I’ve never seen Hillary Clinton display the courage of her convictions. So I get that when her direct challenger does, it makes her look bad. As it should.

Continue reading “Facebook Impressions: Our Current Political Landscape, July 6-24, 2016”

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Facebook Impressions: Our Current Political Landscape, July 6-24, 2016

Puerile Endeavors: Netanyahu’s Speech


Republican Frat Boys

Republicans are fond of being the first at things. The first to invade a country that didn’t attack us. The first to undermine a sitting President’s authority by inviting another world leader to speak before Congress AGAINST the U.S. President’s foreign policy initiative in the midst of negotiations…

Like most things these oversized children enact, it failed miserably. Were they trying to win the Jewish vote? They probably succeeded in the more orthodox sectors, but they already had them, so it’s not quite a win. Anyone else with open eyes and even the slightest sense of politics can see just what a disastrous idea this was. Disrespectful, yes. Damaging, dangerous and irresponsible? Absolutely.

Continue reading “Puerile Endeavors: Netanyahu’s Speech”

Puerile Endeavors: Netanyahu’s Speech

Spielberg Makes Sure Fans Know He Is NOT George Lucas


Say what you want about Steven Speilberg, but he is fast becoming a firm and vocal voice against the re-writing of film history. So much so that he has not shied away from some very vocal jabs against old pal George Lucas who has recently come under fire once again for his incessant altering of his Star Wars franchise to the point that there is a fan campaign to boycott the upcoming Blu-ray release of these films.

At a recent screening of a new digital restoration of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK at Los Angeles’ Hero Complex, Spielberg commented on filmmakers who alter their films, thus erasing their historical context:

“Speaking for myself, I tried this once and I learned to regret it. Not because of fan outrage, but simply because I was a little disappointed in myself. I got very kind of overly sensitive to some of the criticism E.T. had gotten from parent groups when it was first released in ’82. Having to do with Elliot saying penis breath or the guns with the CIA. And also there were some rough around the edges close-ups of E.T. that I had always thought if technology ever evolves to the point where I can do some facial enhancements with E.T. I would like to. So I did an E.T. pass for the third release of the movie and it was okay for a while then I realized that what I had done was I had robbed people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T. My only contrition that I could possibly do because I feel bad about that, the only contrition that I really performed was when E.T. came out on DVD for the first time. I told Universal, we’re going to do this or we’re not going to put E.T. on DVD. You have to put two movies in the box and one movie will be the 1982 version and the other will be the digitally enhanced version. What I’d like to ask is this. We’ll do a little poll here. I know we’re coming out with the Blu-ray of E.T. If I came out with just one E.T. on Blu-ray, the 1982 one, would anybody object to that? [Audience shouts ‘No!’] Ok, so be it.”

But friends and colleagues must be careful of just how “critical” they are of their pals. Spielberg also added:

“Let me put it this way, George does what he does because there’s only one George Lucas, and thank god for that. He’s the greatest person I’ve ever worked with as a filmmaker collaborator and he’s a conceptual genius. He puts together these amazing stories and he’s great at what he does. My feeling is that he can do anything he wants with his movies because they’re his movies and we wouldn’t have been raised with Star Wars or Indiana Jones had it not been for George.”

But luckily, Spielberg’s point has been made and it is a most welcome response to Lucas’ continued alterations and his open disdain for the people who are fighting for the very things he himself once stood before Congress and campaigned so vigorously for (see my post HERE). Let’s hope more filmmakers take the same stand Spielberg has. Which, in supporting the importance of film and its history, automatically sheds a light on just how selfish and misguided George Lucas has become. Perhaps one day, Lucas himself will come to understand and respect the wishes of those of us who care about preserving film and cultural history and remember that there was a time when he was one of us. Let’s hope that Mr. Spielberg is, in perfect Dickens fashion, the first of many ghosts to haunt Mr. Lucas.

Spielberg Makes Sure Fans Know He Is NOT George Lucas

Self-Proclaimed Barbarian: The Altering Of Our Cultural & Artistic Heritage


Let me begin by explaining here that I am not a rabid Star Wars fan. I did love the original film as a kid. I was, in fact, quite obsessed with it. But I was also 13 at the time. Now, at the ripe old age of 47, my desire to go back and see the original Star Wars films is one of nostalgia more than need or great passion. I think they’re terrifically fun films. But the reason I choose to write about these films and what Lucas is doing is simply because I strongly believe in preservation. I believe that film represents our culture. A time and place. Emotionally, sociologically and technologically. Lucas’ much reviled attitude toward fans of his work and his insistence on erasing history is as worthy a topic for my blog as it is for the many, many forums out there voicing their opinions on the subject. Certainly as worthy as Lucas himself bringing this same argument before Congress in 1988.

In that fateful year, George Lucas stood before Congress –with many other filmmakers by his side– and protested the altering of films and the resulting altering of film history. Since then, he has become the poster-child for such alterations with his constant reworking of his Original Star Wars films (though he only directed one of the three) and his insistence that the original versions not be seen. He did, under protest, release the original cuts to DVD years ago in low-grade, non-anamorphic transfers. The result is these films will disappear forever in this hi-tech world. And this is, according to Lucas himself, exactly what he wants to see happen.

Here is the transcript of his plea to Congress. How is it that one so passionate could lose all sense of self and environment to become the greatest transgressor of what he so articulately argued against?

My name is George Lucas. I am a writer, director, and producer of motion pictures and Chairman of the Board ofLucasfilm Ltd., a multi-faceted entertainment corporation.

I am not here today as a writer-director, or as a producer, or as the chairman of a corporation. I’ve come as a citizen of what I believe to be a great society that is in need of a moral anchor to help define and protect its intellectual and cultural heritage. It is not being protected.

The destruction of our film heritage, which is the focus of concern today, is only the tip of the iceberg. American law does not protect our painters, sculptors, recording artists, authors, or filmmakers from having their lifework distorted, and their reputation ruined. If something is not done now to clearly state the moral rights of artists, current and future technologies will alter, mutilate, and destroy for future generations the subtle human truths and highest human feeling that talented individuals within our society have created.

A copyright is held in trust by its owner until it ultimately reverts to public domain. American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history.

People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society. The preservation of our cultural heritage may not seem to be as politically sensitive an issue as “when life begins” or “when it should be appropriately terminated,” but it is important because it goes to the heart of what sets mankind apart. Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race.

These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tomorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with “fresher faces,” or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor’s lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new “original” negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires. The copyright holders, so far, have not been completely diligent in preserving the original negatives of films they control. In order to reconstruct old negatives, many archivists have had to go to Eastern bloc countries where American films have been better preserved.

In the future it will become even easier for old negatives to become lost and be “replaced” by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.

There is nothing to stop American films, records, books, and paintings from being sold to a foreign entity or egotistical gangsters and having them change our cultural heritage to suit their personal taste.

I accuse the companies and groups, who say that American law is sufficient, of misleading the Congress and the People for their own economic self-interest.

I accuse the corporations, who oppose the moral rights of the artist, of being dishonest and insensitive to American cultural heritage and of being interested only in their quarterly bottom line, and not in the long-term interest of the Nation.

The public’s interest is ultimately dominant over all other interests. And the proof of that is that even a copyright law only permits the creators and their estate a limited amount of time to enjoy the economic fruits of that work.

There are those who say American law is sufficient. That’s an outrage! It’s not sufficient! If it were sufficient, why would I be here? Why would John Houston have been so studiously ignored when he protested the colorization of “The Maltese Falcon?” Why are films cut up and butchered?

Attention should be paid to this question of our soul, and not simply to accounting procedures. Attention should be paid to the interest of those who are yet unborn, who should be able to see this generation as it saw itself, and the past generation as it saw itself.

I hope you have the courage to lead America in acknowledging the importance of American art to the human race, and accord the proper protection for the creators of that art–as it is accorded them in much of the rest of the world communities.

I ask, most humbly, that George Lucas heed his own impassioned words and allow the original cuts of these immensely influential films to be restored to their original state so as to be seen by, as he so eloquently put it, “those who are yet unborn, who should be able to see this generation as it saw itself, and the past generation as it saw itself.”

Self-Proclaimed Barbarian: The Altering Of Our Cultural & Artistic Heritage

Donald Trump Wants Al Gore Stripped Of Nobel Prize


Yes, another brilliant move by one of the nations wealthier Americans. Donald Trump joined the ever-growing pack of idiots that proudly flaunt their complete and utter misunderstanding of climate change, also known as “Global Warming.” It seems the word “warming’ has confused some of our more “successful” entrepreneurs. You see, they saw some big snowstorms so, clearly, global warming isn’t happening. Cause snow is cold. Not warm. Get it? It’s cold. Brrrrr…

Not doing his little boy homework, Trump never discovered that climate change can be both warm AND cold. Yes… The effects of Global Warming result in volatile weather patterns.

But Trump saw snow.

“With the coldest winter ever recorded, with snow setting record levels up and down the coast, the Nobel committee should take the Nobel Prize back from Al Gore… Gore wants us to clean up our factories… when China and other countries couldn’t care less… China, Japan and India are laughing at America’s stupidity.”

Now I don’t know if he’s just really stupid or whether he’s just using this opportunity to appeal to the “lesser-educated” Americans out there ready to throw some stones (or snow balls). Trump laid his claims before a country club crowd of 500.

Luckily, Trump was trumped by another even wealthier, successful American. Bill Gates. According to CNN:

Gates said the deadline for the world to cut all of its carbon emissions is 2050. He suggested that researchers spend the next 20 years inventing and perfecting clean-energy technologies, and then the next 20 years implementing them.

The world’s energy portfolio should not include coal or natural gas, he said, and must include carbon capture and storage technology as well as nuclear, wind and both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal power…

Gates told the audience that climate change will cause poverty and famine that will disproportionately affect the world’s poorest people.

So what IS Global Warming really? According to Wikipedia:

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation… The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century was very likely caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting from human activity such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation

An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably including expansion of subtropical deserts. Warming is expected to be strongest in the Arctic and would be associated with continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice. Other likely effects include changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, species extinctions, and changes in agricultural yields. Warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe, though the nature of these regional variations are uncertain…

These basic conclusions have been endorsed by more than 40 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

You know, if anyone’s actually interested.

In reality.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post put it all quite humorously into perspective:

“As a scientific proposition, claiming that heavy snow in the mid-Atlantic debunks global warming theory is about as valid as claiming that the existence of John Edwards debunks the theory of evolution.”

Ouch. But point made. Milbank goes on to suggest why so many people are misinformed or confused about Global Warming:

For years, climate-change activists have argued by anecdote to make their case. Gore, in his famous slide shows, ties human-caused global warming to increasing hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought and the spread of mosquitoes, pine beetles and disease. It’s not that Gore is wrong about these things. The problem is that his storm stories have conditioned people to expect an endless worldwide heat wave, when in fact the changes so far are subtle.

Other environmentalists have undermined the cause with claims bordering on the outlandish; they’ve blamed global warming for shrinking sheep in Scotland, more shark and cougar attacks, genetic changes in squirrels, an increase in kidney stones and even the crash of Air France Flight 447. [There’s a website that lists over 600 things that have allegedly been caused by global warming, from “acne” to “yellow fever.”] When climate activists make the dubious claim, as a Canadian environmental group did, that global warming is to blame for the lack of snow at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then they invite similarly specious conclusions about Washington’s snow — such as the Virginia GOP ad urging people to call two Democratic congressmen “and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend.”

Alas, misinformation mixed with a basic misunderstanding can be a dangerous tonic. Especially if it is in the hands of people who make some of the bigger decisions regarding Climate Change. Like Ed Rogers, once White House staffer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and chairman of BGR Group, a self-proclaimed “premier bipartisan government relations, strategic communications, and investment banking firm”:

There is global climate science and then there is the Global Warming Movement. The movement hijacked the science a long time ago, and it has had its share of setbacks lately. Its leaders have tried to stiff-arm their way past errors, lies, fraud, pointless tax increase proposals and some really peculiar posing in Copenhagen.

Now they have suffered a coup de grace: public ridicule brought on by a record-breaking blizzard blasting their East Coast home base. The movement was already dead in Congress for 2010 (its climate-change bill has been sidelined), but Snowmageddon buried it. How could it be that heat waves evidenced global warming, but so did a cold wave? The public isn’t buying it anymore.

In November, the public will give a cold shoulder to a bunch of intellectually frozen hypocrites who demand economic sacrifice to solve a problem that voters don’t see or feel. At least for a while, the left will have to think up a new way to dictate a lifestyle for the rest of us. Maybe now the science can continue without the clumsy overreaching of the movement’s priestly class.

Hmmm… I prefer Federal global warming program director of Environment America Emily Figdor’s simple but accurate response:

The snowstorms that ground the nation’s capital to a halt only underscored the need for bold action to fight global warming. Heavier, more frequent snowstorms are just what scientists predict in a warming world, as extreme weather events – whether blizzards or heat waves – become more common.

So, will ignorance, stupidity and misinformation win out over truth and reality? Only time will tell…

In the meantime, dress warm.

Donald Trump Wants Al Gore Stripped Of Nobel Prize

GOP Rep. Trent Franks Vomits Up More Obama Hatred


In a speech Saturday before the How to Take Back America conference, Rep. Trent Franks

trent-franks-2In a speech Saturday before the How to Take Back America conference, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) commented:

“Obama’s first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers’ money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries. Now, I got to tell you, if a president will do that, there’s almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that. We shouldn’t be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can’t do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity.”

Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way replied:

“Rep. Trent Franks’ remarks at the How to Take Back America Conference show a stunning lack of respect for our president and the office of the presidency itself. Rep. Franks is following the lead of Glenn Beck, but he’s a member of Congress, not a talk show host, and he should act like one. Americans, and especially members of Congress, should be able to disagree passionately about politics without making wild and irresponsible accusations.

“President Obama’s views on reproductive rights are supported by a majority of Americans, and it is outrageous for Rep. Franks to claim that anyone who holds such views is unfit for public office and an ‘enemy of humanity.’ Rep. Franks, like Rep. Joe Wilson before him, owes President Obama an apology.”

GOP Rep. Trent Franks Vomits Up More Obama Hatred

Jimmy Carter Grieves Obama-Directed Racism From Wilson & Others


People Carter AngelouAt a town hall held today at his presidential center, Jimmy Carter stated about Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech to Congress last week that:

“I think it’s based on racism. There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president… I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.”

Mr. Carter believes Wilson’s outburst is part of a trend directed at President Obama:

“Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care. It’s deeper than that.”

To counter Mr. Carter’s belief, Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the Democratic Party in South Carolina and someone who has known Wilson for a long time, stated:

“I think Joe’s conduct was asinine, but I think it would be asinine no matter what the color of the president. I don’t think Joe’s outburst was caused by President Obama being African-American. I think it was caused by no filter being between his brain and his mouth.

“You have a bunch of folks out there looking for some comfort in their racial issues. They have a problem with an African-American president. But was he motivated by that? I don’t think so. I respectfully disagree with President Carter, though it gives validity to racism.”

Here is Mr. Carter speaking on MSNBC:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Jimmy Carter Grieves Obama-Directed Racism From Wilson & Others