Friday, September 30, 2011

Why can't we all just get along?

It’s been more than 20 years since Rodney King was arrested by the Los Angeles police for speeding on the 210 freeway in L.A., but his story has particular relevance for today’s society.

On the night of March 2, 1991, Rodney and two friends (Bryant Allen and Freddie Helms) spent the night drinking and watching a basketball game at another friend’s house. Later that evening, he reached a speed of 117 miles per hour while being pursued by the police for speeding. Five hours after he was stopped, his blood alcohol content was just below the legal limit, which meant that during the chase, his BAC was roughly 0.19, more than twice the legal limit.

When he was finally stopped by the police, he resisted arrest, and the police finally needed to use extraordinary measures to bring him under control. The “extraordinary measures” were captured on video by a man named George Holliday, and the video’s subsequent release to KTLA television created an uproar.

Ultimately, charges of police brutality were filed against the officers involved, and their trial was held the following March in a new courthouse in Simi Valley.

When the jury acquitted the officers involved, pandemonium erupted in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles riots lasted a total of six days. In the end, the damages included 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, 7000 fires, damages to 3100 businesses, and roughly $1 billion in final losses. Businesses owned by Korean-Americans were hit especially hard by the riots.

Midway through the riots, Rodney King himself made a public appeal for a return to sanity:

can’t we all just get along?

Prior to his arrest on March 3, 1991, he had had two prior brushes with the law, which is why his defense team did not allow him to testify at the trial. More significantly, he has been involved with
NINE incidents since that night
, the most recent being September 29, 2001.

After the riots ended, pressure mounted for a retrial of the officers involved. Ultimately, Rodney King was awarded $3.8 million in damages by the City of Los Angeles. He invested most of his money in a record label called “Straight-Alta Records”, which folded shortly after its founding.

We can all argue until the cows come home about the cause of the L.A. riots of 1992, but my opinion is this:

The irresponsible actions of a lone individual (King) indirectly led to 53 deaths and $1 billion in damages. To add insult to injury, the city that suffered significant financial loss due to his actions was forced to pay him $3.8 million dollars in damages, which he squandered.

At this point, let’s fast forward to 2011, so that we can tie the events of 1992 to our current political environment.

In April of this year, the irresponsible actions of a small number of our elected officials nearly caused the Federal Government to shut down. In August, the same group nearly caused a default on our national debt. Just last week, the recent debate over FEMA funding again pushed the government to the brink of shutdown, but a last minute spending bill pushed the day of reckoning back to November 18.

Even though I told you not to blame the Republicans on July 15 ..

it’s time to blame the Republicans.

The Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa on August 27, 2012. As of this morning, there are FOURTEEN declared candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination.

In addition, there are SEVEN more potential candidates, and 15 others who have declined to pursue the nomination.

The general consensus among most of the political commentators is that George Romney is the only adult in the room, but the list of candidates DOES include a few folks who would be interesting alternatives. The list of candidates, and my comments on each, is attached below:

Michele Bachman - current chair of the Tea Party caucus, which automatically disqualifies her as a serious candidate -

Herman Cain - former chairman of Godfather’s pizza - interesting candidate, but being a black Republican will probably be a liability -

Newt Gingrich - a total idiot, and a morally bankrupt individual -

Jon Huntsman - personal friend of Obama - another interesting choice, but not enough name recognition -

Gary Johnson - unelectable due to name recognition

Fred Karger- strong gay advocacy would be the kiss of death for a Republican -

Andy Martin - another total idiot - originator of the hysteria surrounding Obama’s birth status -

Jimmy McMillan - unelectable, but fun

Tom Miller - former flight attendant - unelectable due to lack of experience

Ron Paul - Libertarian views - not conservative enough for the Republicans - unelectable

Rick Perry - another total idiot - extreme right wind views - unelectable due to extreme views -

Mitt Romney - front runner - still doesn’t understand Obama’s Cairo speech, but still the front runner -

Rick Santorum - bigoted and opinionated, which will make him unelectable -

Vern Wuensche - no name recognition

Presidential candidates aside, it’s safe to say that the general public has become damn tired of the politicians who are more concerned about their own agendas than the welfare of the country. As of this morning, the Congressional approval rate is 12%, one of the lowest scores on record.

Fortunately, there ARE some solutions that can be put into place sooner, rather than later, to help fix the problem.

19 out of the 50 states allow recall elections on a mid-term basis. Wisconsin recently “put the screws” to nine elected officials in August, but only two were recalled. Both Arizona and Michigan will be having recall elections in November, and I’ve already registered to vote in Arizona.

Even though the state of Minnesota was actually shut down for two weeks in July of this year, no recall elections are planned at this point in time because, well, the folks in Minnesota are famous for being nice and polite.

In my opinoin, Barack Obama remains the person who is the most qualified to lead our country, but he’s been hampered by the efforts of extremists who seem determined to undermine everything that he is trying to accomplish.

If you haven’t read, or listened to, his recent speech in San Jose about the American Jobs Act bill, you’ve missed some very important information.

For the record, has investigated an astonishing 274 rumors about Barack Obama. If you research all of them individually (as I’ve done) you’ll discover that 58 % of them are totally false, and another 20% of them are a mixture of true and false information. Although 19% of the rumors are actually labeled as “true”, fully HALF of those are simply verification that someone said, or wrote, something about the current President. That leaves a total of 11% of the total that are true, but NONE of them contain information that would be considered relevant by most people. Significantly, there also three links that would release a virus if you opened them up.

You’re certainly free to do your own research on any of the above topics if you’d like to, but here’s my advice:

If you receive any “Obama-bashing” e-mails from anyone, do the smart thing.

Hit “delete” without reading it.

I try to read 2 or 3 newspapers on a daily basis in order to get a balanced view of the world, but I can’t hold a candle to John F. Kennedy, who read ELEVEN newspapers on a daily basis. Included in that list are the following papers: the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, New York Herald Tribune, New York News, New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the Washington Star.

You’re free to read whatever newspaper that you’d like, but if you’re not reading The New York Times at least once a week, you’re missing a lot of intelligent conversation.

However, if for some reason you don’t read ANY newspapers, and get all of your information from Fox News and/or talk radio, you need to be aware of the fact that Rupert Murdoch controls both of those venues, and they are NOT reliable sources of information.

If you’ve read John Grisham’s book, The Appeal, you’re aware of the fact that wealthy people with loose morals can be very effective at distorting the wheels of justice and the electoral process. Unfortunately, that is EXACTLY what’s happening in America today. I won’t mention any names (since I already did that back in March) but be assured that the three billionaires most responsible for our current mess don’t have your best interests at heart.

We’re too good a country to be held hostage by thugs who are determined to destroy our country in order to achieve their own narrow objectives.

We need to have thoughtful and intelligent conversations again, and to eradicate as much negative news as possible.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, we need to (once again) ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country.

Most importantly (to quote Rodney King) we simply need to find a way to just get along better with each other.

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