Obama’s Green Scam

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The other day, Glenn Reynolds labeled the Obama Administration the Omerta Administration. This morning the president is once again demonstrating his mob-like contempt for the law with his speech at Georgetown University.

The audience has been limited to approximately 400 sycophants, and the President is expected to unveil his plan to use executive power to shut down the coal power generation industry. This has been his goal all along, along with stymieing all other conventional fuels. He is once again bypassing Congress to ram through his agenda.

At a time when America desperately needs jobs he and his green allies have done their best to sabotage conventional energy sources. They have 5 year record of harassment and obstruction of the oil industry. They have crushed the nuclear power industry into submission. And they have monkey wrenched the natural gas boom. Everywhere that real, profitable and even clean energy alternatives have shown themselves the fury of the Left ensures their demise.

They have used crony capitalism and graft to develop solar and wind power, both of which are incredibly more expensive than conventional energy. And in doing so they have squandered the competitive advantage of our country. How can we compete in the global economy with foolish and dishonest limitations that play right into the strengths of our competitors?

What is more disturbing is the confluence of scandals pointing towards a sinister power grab that echoes of dictatorship.The President has muzzled his opposition any way he can. He has waged vendetta on his political opponents through the IRS. He has persecuted whistleblowers and criminally prosecuted anyone who is not one of his official mouthpieces.

All the while he sits like Alfred E. Neumann with a Cheshire cat smile as one after another scandal swirls around the White House. His minions stonewall subpoenas and claim executive privilege while his Attorney General runs interference. This is not democracy. It is a putsch.

President Obama has proven to be the most devious and dishonest politician in our history. From his stonewalling of his personal records to his arrogation of power to the White House to his Administrations criminal misapplication of the law he has brought dishonor and disgrace to his office.

How many scandals does it take? How many of our liberties must be infringed upon?

The Left is running rampant over our civil rights. The United States founded on the principles of small government and civil liberties. Property rights, the rule of law, and enlightened capitalism are our underlying principles. Today, every one of these rights is under assault by our own government.

Mental Health & Violence – The Great Disconnect

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The other day a woman taking a picture of three homeless men holding up signs using profanity was stabbed to death in front of a high-end retail store on Hollywood Blvd.

I had just been in the neighborhood the week before. Standing and waiting to get into a Tom Petty concert at the Fonda Theater, it could have been one of those same hustlers with the same sign accosting the crowd. They are street drunks and junkies who have hit rock bottom and just don’t care anymore except for the next buzz.

The mother of the murderer, a police officer in Arizona said that she was not surprised at what her son had done and that he had to pay the price for his actions. She had tried for years to get him the help he needed, but our mental health system failed him.

In Aurora, Colorado and in Newtown, CT and in Tucson, Arizona the crazies with guns have focused attention on the state of mental health care in America. But the same primal urges and demons drive people like Dustin James Kinnear, the Los Angeles murderer.

You can find them muttering to themselves or fighting over imaginary slights or a bottle on any skid row. They litter our penal system. These are our violently mentally ill. Only when they commit an atrocity do they come to our attention.

But this happens every day. The cops scoop them up and maybe dry them out and then they’re back on the street in 90 days or less. If the crime is homeless on homeless it doesn’t reach the papers.

Back in the 1960’s and 70’s Thomas Szasz argued that societal reaction to mental health problems violated the human rights of the mentally ill, and in fact that mental illness was a construct of control. He ignored the reality of the mentally ill and those closest to them, as well their effect upon society at large in favor of a libertarian interpretation that the rights of the individual supersede those of society.

My grandmother had a nervous breakdown in the mid 1930’s and never came back. She was committed to the notorious Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queen’s, NY. She lived there for 35 years. It was the state’s answer to a pressing issue. What to do about those who are incapable of caring for themselves and  are a danger to themselves or others. The failings of the mental health system were as much in funding and management as for the one size fits all governmental model. If anything, the nature of mental illness is that it sometimes requires the most complex and individually based treatment.

In reaction to Szasz and other campaigners, and in response to medical professionals seeing patients who had fallen through the cracks and were in the “snakepit”, as it were, politicians sought to both reduce costs and solve the problem of too many patients held against their wills.The New York Times had an article in 1984 on what went wrong.

29 years later, nothing has changed.

In 1959, California had 37,500 mental patients in state facilities. By the time of Jerry Brown Jr., there were less than 20,000. By 2011, there were 4,300. The population of the United States has grown from 226 Million in 1980 to 308 Million today and we are losing facilities, not gaining them.

And the pundits and politicians wonder why and how the violently mentally ill are abroad and without supervision. There is no wonder at all. It is public policy.

It ties into narcotics abuse and other social issues as well. But instead, politicians argue for gun control.

The original planning for community treatment and local services was cast aside, and the psychiatric community freely admitted that their plans were misguided. And what has been done since to ameliorate the problem. Nothing.

It doesn’t matter whether it is an unknown street crime or a mass shooting or a sensational murder on Hollywood Boulevard. We must address the issue of the violently mentally ill. Their families know this. Mental health professionals know this. But our political class knows this as well and refuses to address it. What is to be done?

Look Imam! I’m on top of the World!

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The afternoon’s UK Independent reports exclusively that Iran is now sending 4,000 troops to Syria to support Bashar al Assad. Al Jazeera reports that Egypt has cut diplomatic ties and is demanding a “no fly” zone. Assad has received crucial backing from Russia and Iran and China, and with his victory in al Qusayr and support from Hezbollah  is now going for the jugular.

Lebanon is being dragged even further into the war but the Sunnis have no leadership.

In the meantime the United States has promised small arms and the U.K. and France are pleading poverty.

What we are about to see is the triumph of authoritarianism. The West is weak and dissolute while the axis of Russia, China, Iran, and even Venezuela has grown more powerful. This is not just about Sunni – Shia, but about geopolitics writ large. The same alliance that challenged the Bush Administration is in place to put the Middle East oil patch in “check”.

Turkey is self absorbed. Israel is threatened and while Hamas has been kicked to the curb for the time being by Iran, the Sunni Ummah will be outraged and will not sit still. And most of our government is now on summer hours and being run by rank amateurs.

Despite the promising election results in Iran this morning nothing has changed. The country is run by the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard, Assad’s most important supporters. Iranian officers are rumored to have replaced many of the senior defectors from the Assad regime.

Unless there is a decisive punch thrown soon on behalf of the rebels they will have lost. Hezbollah will have been strengthened. Assad will be completely beholden to Iran and Russia, and Iran will have extended its naked power to the Mediterranean.

With the threat to accelerate to building 30 bombs per month, the mullahs in Qom will feel unassailable, much like Jimmy Cagney in Public Enemy. “Look Imam! I’m on top of the world!” And this time we are living with a geopolitical power structure that lets the bad guys win.

The Real Problem

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Jared Loughner – Tucson, Arizona                          24 Years Old                  Mentally Illjared-lee-loughner_1

James Holmes – Aurora, CO                                25 Years Old                        Mentally Illjames-holmes-red

Sung Hui Cho – Virginia Tech, VA                          23 years Old                      Mentally Ill

sung Hui Cho

Adam Lanza – Newtown, CT                                20 years Old                         Mentally IllAdam Lanza

John Zawahri – Santa Monica, CA                         23 Years Old                      Mentally IllJohn Zawarhi

 

There have been repeated efforts to enact firearms bans in an unprecedented assault on the Second Amendment rights of ordinary citizens. There has been nothing done to address mental illness in this country, specifically that which affects so many young men.

Kermit Gosnell, Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, and Barack Obama – the intersection of politics and murder

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On January 19, 2011, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist, was arrested and charged with 8 counts of murder.Dr. Gosnell specialized in late-term abortions. It was estimated that he had performed thousands of them over the course of his career. This despite the fact that to do so past the 24th week is considered murder in the State of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Gosnell was convicted on May 13 of First Degree murder of three of his victims, enough to merit the death penalty. He immediately plea bargained for life without parole.

And Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Kathleen Sebelius, three of our highest officials, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, are strong advocates for late-term abortions. Close to 70% of the American people oppose late-term abortion and yet the support of the Bloody Four is adamant.

Sebelius has a history of virulent advocacy for late-term abortion. Dr. George Tiller, the late-term abortionist who was gunned down in church, was one of Sebelius’ biggest supporters. Sebelius protected Tiller even in the face of criminal charges filed by her own state’s Attorney General. She went so far as to declare a vendetta against Phil Kline, the AG.

The other day, Nancy Pelosi was asked about the Gosnell case and replied that the case was disgusting, which was dutifully reported in the mainstream press. However, in the longer clip, she also asserted a “sacred right” to abortion, including late-term abortion.

Barack Obama has been clear in his support of late-term abortion. In 2003 when running for the Senate, he stated unequivocally so. His wife has also gone on the record.

While first trying to bury the Gosnell story the media then declared it “local news” after a massive uproar. The coverage of the case expanded and the Left professed, as Captain Renault in Casablanca said, to be “shocked” at Gosnell’s actions . The only thing that shocked them was the mass revulsion to the mindset of the “pro-choice” megalith.

And good Catholic she, Nancy Pelosi reminded us of our sacred rights.

We have a right to be interrogated and investigated and snooped on, so long as we do not agree. We have a right to be forced from providing adoption services as has happened to the Catholic Church and other faith-based organizations if we do not kowtow to their politically correct philosophy.

We also have a right to be demonized and hated if we do not keep our mouths shut.

The abortion industry is huge and is a huge supporter of the Pro – Choice movement. Over 700,000 abortions are performed per year. The industry generates hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Planned Parenthood has a budget of $1 Billion and performs close to 1/2 of all abortions. There are thousands of independent abortion clinics around the country.

Politicians are if nothing else self-serving. Waving the abortion flag became a fundraising technique. Pro-choice became the mantra rather than pro-abortion. And then the Democratic Party decided that Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare would be excised from the party platform at the convention last year. Why?

Thus Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius can magically declare that they are not only pro-choice but radically so while maintaining a facade of Christian faith. It’s good for votes and for donations.

Barack Obama has turned political fundraising into a high-tech machine that vacuums up every dollar (or Pound or Euro) he can find. The Obamas have already declared themselves as leading supporters of the most violent abortion procedures. Why not make money from it as well?

It is not about the child or the mother’s health in the end. It’s about political power and money. Who cares about a doctor who swore the Hippocratic Oath who instead kills the helpless and then dismembers their bodies?

Their enablers can simply go on television or radio and state how horrible it was, get right back on the late term abortion bus, and move on as if nothing ever happened. This is truly an American tragedy.

Iran is winning in Syria and we are screwing it up

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If you haven’t noticed, Hezbollah has changed the tide of the Syrian civil war. Their troops with the Government forces took back Qusair, a key junction for supplying the rebel forces. More than 50 people were killed, including many civilians as artillery shells dropped on the town at a rate of over 50 per minute.

Qusair is 6 miles from the Lebanese border, where fighting has been going on in Tripoli for at least 3 weeks. On the other side of Syria, central Iraq and especially Anbar province have become a Wild West. The country had its highest kill rate since 2008 in May with over 1,00 killed in car bombings, political assassinations, and minor massacres. Factions are jockeying for position and the Sunni/Shiite struggle is raising its head again. Prime Minister Maliki is seen as weak and a tool of the Iranians. Iraq has, despite several warnings from the United States, been allowing unfettered transit both by land and air of arms shipments from Iran to Bashar al Assad’s forces and to Hezbollah.

The Russians have now raised the stakes even higher for the West by shipping advanced anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria. Those systems will directed specifically at NATO and Israel’s first line air forces.

Hezbollah has gone all in with Assad, their closest ally, now. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, broadcast a television message to his supporters and the world that the alliance of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran was the new paradigm in the Middle East. “According to the Iranian Kayhan newspaper, the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah entered he Syrian civil war “in response to the injunctions” of Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei.”

The spillover into Tripoli and Hezbollah’s involvement have effectively dragged Lebanon into the war. A war most Lebanese have no taste for.

On the southern border of Syria the Israelis bombed a convoy carrying heavy armaments destined for Hezbollah with massive corollary explosions on the outskirts of Damascus as Assad threatened to retaliate against Israel. News of Syrian rebels begging for  Israeli assistance in providing surgical support of wounded rebels is being touted in the Syrian press as evidence of Israeli involvement rather than as humanitarian aid.

At Turtle Bay, the Russian government has been obstructing and obfuscating the case against the Assad regime for over 2 years now.

And in the background the Gulf Arab states and Iran have been supporting the Sunni and Shia factions respectively with hundreds of millions of dollars in arms.

With the entry of Hezbollah and Russian support, Assad is on a roll. Our Secretary of State, John Kerry and Senators such as John McCain are like deer caught in the headlights with no clue what to do as our president dithers. The same is true in Europe. Leadership is clueless.

And in the meantime, Iran is ready to install Saeed Jalili as their next strong man upon the orders of the Supreme Council. Mr. Jalili has been the fox in the henhouse on Iran’s nuclear negotiations for the last several years. He has lied every step of the way, and with news of Iran’s desire to develop up to 30 nuclear warheads per year according to an Israeli MP, the Iranian government is clearly reaching for the matches to light the gasoline.

Israel has been on edge for the last 5 years. In the Fall of 2008 as the election went down to the wire, President Bush was rumored to have reined in Israel’s plan to strike at Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Our country revised its MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) program to deliver bombs that could go deeper and more destructively in order to stave off what would be a necessary Israeli nuclear strike on secret Iranian weapons facilities.

The STUXNET virus which was revealed through a White House leak was directed at this program. And now Mr. Jalili wants to build 30 warheads per year.

So what are our next steps? The risk of an Iranian nuclear option has all of the Gulf States and Israel on edge. The risk of a pan Iranian empire from  the Afghan border, where they are interfering,  to the shores of the Mediterranean is real and present.

Our government and our people are tired of war. Only this morning did I receive the news of another Green on Blue attack which killed an American Colonel and of another VBIED attack  which killed a young LT and and an SPC.

And yet we are looking at the Megiddo spoken of in the Bible. Sunni vs Shiite. Damascus, one of the oldest cities in history, is partially destroyed and now the specter of nuclear weapons has risen.

There is a weird confluence of interests. The West, Israel and the Gulf States desire to rein in Iranian interests. Turkey and Lebanon must stabilize their borders.

if Iran wins in this conflict, the world is fundamentally changed, doubtfully for the better. The nexus of crazy wins.

So what is next? Do we have the thinkers and doers to find a solution?

 

 

 

Tom Petty – Running down a Dream – Fonda Theater, Hollywood

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The first time I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play was deep in the winter of 1976/77. I had just come back home to LA from 3 1/2 years in college in New York City. The last 60 days or so were a disaster.New York was electric and raw and alive but when it turns on you it can crush you.TPHB

It was the coldest winter in memory and I was living in a -20 sleeping bag on the sofa in the living room of a friend’s apartment in Bensonhurst. There was a 2″ gap under front door, and an incredibly bitter wind was blowing in right off of the Atlantic.

My relationship had gone to hell and I was outraged at one of my professors enough to quit school with a few months left to go. I figured I could make up the semester later on. I was done with the city.

But while there it was in fact electric. it was out of control; bankrupt, on its knees and it was the middle of the bad old 70’s. But down in SoHo and up in Harlem the was a new message. It was “screw you and your contrived music and your contrived society.”

At places like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s and a bunch of no name clubs bands like Television and Talking heads and the Dictators and the New York Dolls and Patti Smiths and Blondie were all inventing a new genre.

Uptown it was Gil Scott Heron and the Last Poets and Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaata were inventing hip hop. And any band worth anything was playing everything from the Garden to the Schaefer Music festival to the clubs and palaces.

I left that for Los Angeles. Walking into my parent’s house with my few possessions on my back it was Hotel California once again, almost literally. Stunning neighbor girls, the surf, sailing. Warm. Warm is good when you roll in from the Arctic.

But I was a musical outrider. I had seen the next big thing. It was incredible and vital and raw unlike the highly produced LA Sound. And it was just beginning to filter into LA. I said to my brother, “Deacon, you have to check this out.”Tom petty

And so we went up to LA one winter night, probably with the top down on his Fiat 124 and got to the Whiskey a Go Go to see this hot chick with a band who could, on a good night, knock your socks off.

We got there for the first show and the place was pretty much empty. Maybe 50-75 people. No one had ever heard of Blondie. And then the openers got on stage and proceeded to blast anything in their paths off of their foundations.

It was a primal American band, maybe the primal American band. Incredible, minor key narratives of love lost, betrayed, shredded and freedom and raw ya ya emotion played very loud.

I am guessing, 35 years later that they may have had their first album out. But their set was for the ages. I loved Blondie at the time, but they had just had their doors blown off.

Breakdown, American Girl, Anything that’s Rock & Roll, Rockin Around with You, there wasn’t a bad song played that night. We walked out of the club a couple of hours later stunned. I had seen Springsteen break it open with Born to Run at the Bottom Line 6 months earlier and there I was again.

The next day I found the vinyl and it became a cult object played at full volume at least once per day. Strangers would appear at the front door asking who the mystery man was. I was the main man at parties. Chicks dug it. Slowly the world caught up.

A few years later, married and in my Magic Christian phase we went again to Mike Campbellsee the Heartbreakers at the Hollywood Bowl. This time it was a limousine and dinner at the Polo Lounge. A night for living large with my other brother and his wife. Tony Curtis and one of the old cowboy movie stars were a couple of tables away and it was Hollywood classic. The show was great as well, Petty in his prime in the mid-80’s.

I would see the Heartbreakers a number of times over the past 20 years and it was always enjoyable, always different. One of the things I respected most was their own respect for the music and for rock & roll.

Tom Petty is not a classicist. The music is far too alive to him and his cohorts. It’s still fun to stretch and bend the notes. Speed it up or slow it down or remake a song into something new. Over the past few years it seems his geographic center is somewhere between Memphis and Chicago. A lot of blues and roots rock. The Heartbreakers were Florida swamp rock long before rockabilly made its appearance and yet they have that rock mentality that everything in rock & roll is fine.

They are at the stage now that the could give a sh*t. They play for themselves and for their fans and every set list is mixed up. That’s what happens after so many years together. It would be boring otherwise. This tour is different as well. A lot of small venues and extended stays. It’s tough to be on the road and moving all the time. We were lucky that they still live in LA for the most part, so the Fonda Theater at 1,200 capacity was a perfect venue.Every other night and not a lot of the weirdness of their younger days. I think John Entwhistle’s death on the eve of The Who’s tour a few years ago was a memento mori.

The show Sunday night was special for another reason. Both of my daughters insisted on going. from their earliest years, the Heartbreakers were part of the soundtracks of their lives. Unusually for their age, they have always dug deeper into the past than their contemporaries. Of course this was Dad’s master plan anyway.

A part of my parental duty was their musical education, and so James Brown and Ray Charles and Etta James shows were part of the curriculum along with the symphony and the opera. I tried to keep them away from those nasty bluesmen and they never had a huge taste for gangsta rap.

And so there were the three of us standing towards the back on Sunday as the band led in with one of the old standards. They followed with another classic, but newer. The same rock & roll fire; a bit more grizzled and the highs not quite as high but now tom sounds like one of those whiskey voiced bluesmen. The latest album, Mojo, plays to this with several classics thrown in with some incredible new stuff like “Candy” and “U.S. 41”.  “I just want to make love to you” was a bit of an embarrassment for a father with his daughters there, but they even knew that Muddy Waters classic. Strange kids.

A little like Dylan. A little like Muddy Waters, but all TP. The kids were engrossed. They may have been some of the youngest people there in their 20’s but they know the songs and the vibe.

On Saturday night the band was shut down by the fire marshals for overcrowding, which I doubt would have happened 30 years ago. But the band made it up to the fans with full refunds. It sucks to miss the whole set, but free is good. Sunday we got the full show.

Unfortunately this old man had to bug out. Tom and the band can sleep in on a Monday morning. I can’t.

Hopefully someday soon we will renew our acquaintance. Hopefully the girls may come back with me, maybe with the next generation. If not, well, like the Dude, Petty abides.