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Postcards from the Political Edge: Greetings from the Sea of “Change” May 15, 2009

Vintage linen postcard--Same Old Moon

Vintage linen postcard--Same Old Moon

As I was watching the news this morning, I could not help but wonder if Washington D.C. or the American presidency will ever be quite the same again. Usually I am not one that is given to making sweeping generalizations. I am also not saying that everything should remain the same in Washington. Of course every president brings “change”. Change is a good thing. Disaster is not. There are some disturbing conditions emerging from Obama’s sea of change. With no able seamen on deck, I am not sure that America can stay afloat much longer. Washington’s most socially progressive experiment is going down fast and the result may be the liquidation of American values.

Washington Postcard

For those who believed that Obama would be a refreshing change from the previous 8 years, I would hope that the “blame it on Bush” approach is wearing thin. With his usual flair for self-aggrandizement, all paths lead back to Barack Obama and he is politically overplaying his hand.  What was most interesting to me as  I flipped between Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC (ick) is the media agenda, especially from the left and the persistent sense of tampered memory that will shape Obama’s narrative. This media weathering is downright painful to watch. Concerning the Nancy Pelosi debacle, Rachel Maddow had a guest speaker on last night spewing connotations of political warfare. Of course everything is the fault of the Republicans. They made Nancy lie.  Of all the networks, MSMBC is by far one of America’s most ardent liberal revivalists. Keith  Blabberman and his lapdogs attempt to recapture the magic of Kennedy’s Camelot by restoring fashion, pulchritude and misogyny in their coverage of anything Obama.

During the past decade we have witnessed the decaying of political integrity. Yes 10 years –“I did not have sexual relations with that woman” .  Remember that?  We have also witnessed the decaying of journalistic integrity. Just take a look at any “Sideshow Rob” Gibbs press conference. Every briefing is a farce. A grammar school debate team could fair better than that guy.   Nancy Pelosi’s Monday press conference “I did not lie” blah, blah blah, was far from convincing. Forget Camelot. It is gone forever. You can cling to that first edition of Profiles in Courage all you want. Camelot will never return. At the present moment there are things that should be much more paramount than our desire to return to the glorious days of Kennedy land.

This goes for you too my fellow Republicans. Reagan is dead. What was is was and we need to move the fuck on. There is much work to be done. Get my drift?

by George Will
WASHINGTON — Anyone, said T.S. Eliot, could carve a goose, were it not for the bones. And anyone could govern as boldly as their whims decreed, were it not for the skeletal structure that keeps civil society civil — the rule of law. The Obama administration is bold. It also is careless regarding constitutional values and is acquiring a tincture of lawlessness…

Such a federal ukase (the word derives from czarist Russia; how appropriate) to a state legislature is a sign of the administration’s dependency agenda — maximizing the number of people and institutions dependent on the federal government. For the first time, neither sales nor property nor income taxes are the largest source of money for state and local governments. The federal government is.

The SEIU says the cuts violate contracts negotiated with counties. California officials say the state required the contracts to contain clauses allowing pay to be reduced if state funding is.

Anyway, the Obama administration, judging by its cavalier disregard of contracts between Chrysler and some of the lenders it sought money from, thinks contracts are written on water. The administration proposes that Chrysler’s secured creditors get 28 cents per dollar on the $7 billion owed to them, but that the United Auto Workers union get 43 cents per dollar on its $11 billion in claims — and 55 percent of the company. This, even though the secured creditors’ contracts supposedly guaranteed them better standing than the union.

This is not gross, unambiguous lawlessness of the Nixonian sort — burglaries, abuse of the IRS and FBI, etc. — but it is uncomfortably close to an abuse of power that perhaps gave Nixon ideas: When in 1962 the steel industry raised prices, President Kennedy had a tantrum and his administration leaked rumors that the IRS would conduct audits of steel executives, and sent FBI agents on pre-dawn visits to the homes of journalists who covered the steel industry, ostensibly to further a legitimate investigation.

Baroque Obama-Our New Founding Father

Baroque Obama-Our New Founding Father

Will is correct, the outright socialization of America can be glimpsed in several recent examples: the auto industry;the banking and finance industry; and soon the health care industry. Are any eyebrows raised?  As Americans, these examples should make it clear to us that by the second half of Obama’s first term, the freedoms and values of our country will sink gently into the sea of change. When I say values, I am not speaking of gay marriage which I am for, or pro-choice legislation which I support. I am not speaking about religious values but rather our American values and traditions that are more secular in nature. I am speaking about traditions which do not include our being distantly cooler towards allies such as Great Britain and Israel, while cowering to historical enemies and threats to our safety.

When we hear President Obama lecture us about the true intentions of our founding fathers, does he know that they were actually all strong advocates of republican values?

Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Even Abraham Lincoln held Republican values. Values that when applied correctly (Not the Bush/Cheney way) foster liberty and the rejection of government interference.

Forget about the historic moment and the images of two little black girls see sawing on the White House lawn. We have to clean up the poop deck.

Will continues:

The Obama administration’s agenda of maximizing dependency involves political favoritism cloaked in the raiment of “economic planning” and “social justice” that somehow produce results superior to what markets produce when freedom allows merit to manifest itself, and incompetence to fail. The administration’s central activity — the political allocation of wealth and opportunity — is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.

As has been mentioned the “blame it on Bush” defense is wearing thin. During the Pelosi press conference, the media was not focusing attention on her obvious stammering and untruths. The story became “Oh I hate to see poor Nancy go through this”. Remember that these were the same journalists that called Hillary Clinton names throughout the Democratic Primary. How dare Hillary cry tears of frustration in New Hampshire? But poor Nancy is being attacked by the big bad Republicans. Nancy Pelosi, the pariah of botox bipartisanship. The reality is that “poor Nancy” complicates things for herself even more by calling the CIA a liar. I am sure they will offer negation and she will be challenged. Get ready Nancy and I hope you’ve got back up because Barack Obama is not really known for throwing out life preservers to Obamabots gone overboard.

Charles Krauthammer agrees:

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It is so nice of Nancy to remember us by sending a postcard. ( Image by BigFurHat from "American Thinker")

It is so nice of Nancy to remember us by sending a postcard. ( Image by BigFurHat from "American Thinker")


Putting Out the Obamabutts: Is the Right To Smoke Constitutional? April 25, 2009

Josephine Baker in a vintage smoking ad

Josephine Baker in a vintage smoking ad

Many of us have tried smoking at least once. As I write this I can recall my first time smoking and it was also my last. I was twelve years old and in science class at a Chicago Public School on the West side. My friend came to me and flashed four cigarettes. “They are Virginia Slims” she said. “We can smoke them after school.”

Ah, Virginia Slims. I loved their proactive girl power advertisements which had a tremendous influence on my attitudes towards smoking. “YOU’ VE COME A LONG WAY BABY”. The ads made me want to smoke. Smoking carried essences of gender identity. My entry into the smoking culture was synonymous wuth being a feminist. I would be a bitch ass feminist in sexy clothes- a nonconformist, carefree, trail blazer. A woman’s role is to query, survive, and smoke!!!

That entire afternoon, I impatiently twitched at my school desk waiting for 3PM to arrive. When it did my gal pals and I walked several blocks from campus to an abandoned building. No one would see us here except for the dope fiends that lived there. I took my Viginia Slim and lit up. Okay, I did not feel like a woman. It was awkward holding it between my fingers.
“Why are they so skinny?” I asked.

My friends laughed. “They are for girls that is why they are called slims.” They mocked me by rolling their eyes. Clearly they were having a better time than I. I began to cough

PSA Anti-Smoking Campaign Ad

PSA Anti-Smoking Campaign Ad

“It stinks” I said, taking it out of my mouth and throwing it down. Maybe I would like it some other time.
“You’re not even finished! You wasted it!” My friend was mad.
She was always ahead of me in every respect when it came to being what we thought at the time was a woman. She lost her virginity at nine, got her first period at ten. I was nearly thirteen and had experienced none of those things. “Sorry” I said. “I need to go home”

At home I was a total basket case and told my mother everything. She said I smelled like smoke and she had this premonition that I was up to “no good”. As usual she harassed me for being friends with “that girl”. Mother was not a smoker but her son was. She regretted ever letting him start and was obviously disappointed in me.

I promised never to do it again. I didn’t want to. Maybe I would try to be a woman by drinking Smirnoff (They had sexy ads with women in them also). I would never pick up another cigarette again.

I was living in New York City when the laws were passed banning smoking in public places. Gone were the days of a maître d’ asking “Smoking or Nonsmoking?”

I won’t lie to my readers. I was glad. The smell of cigarette smoke annoys me.

I would never think of cigarettes again until I moved into an apartment building filled with upwardly mobile gen-Xers. I walked off the elevator one night only to be accosted by one of my neighbors.

“Are you the one on the floor that smokes?” he asked.

“No.” I said. He looked pissed off-like veins popping from your forehead pissed off.
“Someone on this floor is smoking and I intend to put an end to it”

“I don’t think you can” I said. “There are no condo association rules saying that you cannot smoke in your apartment. It is their apartment”
My neighbor stomped off. What later ensued was a battle of fluorescent post it notes stuck on the door of the butt in question. The smokers ended up putting an electronic Glade air freshener in the hallway which unfortunately violated fire codes. They ended up moving four months later. Judging from my neighbor’s good mood, the exodus of the smokers was mentally satisfying.

I could not help but feel that the entire incident was blown out of proportion. You have the right to do what you want in the confines of your own home…Right?

The federal government is cracking down on smokers by raising taxes on cigarettes. That makes it pretty damn hard to smoke given the current economic crisis. Still cigarette sales have only dropped 25%. Though it is ironic that the smokers are indulging in an unhealthy habit and the government is collecting taxes from it to fund child healthcare.

Much has been made of President Obama’s urge to light up. Recently he was contacted by an Illinois man, a Democrat who worried about Obama’s health because he had lost his father to lung cancer.

Vintage Ad For Murad Cigarettes

Vintage Ad For Murad Cigarettes

Chicago Tribune
April 21, 2009

It’s been 30 years since his dad died, and Michael Powers still misses him.
That’s why he wrote to President Obama urging him not to smoke so he could be there for his daughters…
Powers told Obama his dad, Benjamin, smoked three packs of cigarettes a day –and later died of lung, throat and bone cancer.
He enclosed a photo of his dad. It was returned in a sealed plastic bag with Obama’s reply, he said.

President Obama's Personal Handwritten Response To Michael Powers

President Obama's Personal Hand Written Response To Michael Powers

Isn’t Obama’s smoking habit his business? As an archivist, I admit that I do cringe at the thought of Obama smoking in the White House. Former President Bill Clinton was the first to officially ban smoking in the White house. What if Obama decided to allow it again?
Afrocity is grappling here. I want to be fair.


Anyone who examines the history of smoking will see that it is a hot button issue which creates social and political tensions. My love for the constitution and protection of individual rights sends red flags when I am confronted with various news on anti-tobacco legislation. My primary fear is that the anti-smoking culture is restricting liberty and is in need of an exercise in the reality of free will and the freedom to choose. In our quest to create a smoke free environment are we sacrificing the rights of the individual?
Beneath the veneer of concern for the public good are anti-smoking activists going to far.
Take this story in the Boston Globe for example. Now landlords can advertise “smoke free apartment buildings”.


Boston Globe
Landlords lead push to ban smoking at home
By Stephen Smith
Globe Staff / April 24, 2009

When apartment dwellers in Belmont, Calif., complained about cigarette fumes from down the hall, the City Council sprang into action on their behalf, outlawing smoking in apartments and condos and threatening to ticket violators.
When tobacco-control activists in Massachusetts embraced the same cause, they made a tactical decision that seemed surprisingly meek in a state long recognized for its prohibitions against harmful habits: They rejected the idea of governmental regulation.
It was one thing, they figured, for lawmakers to banish smoking from restaurants and bars. It was something else entirely to deploy city or state laws to prevent apartment tenants and condo owners from smoking in their own homes.
So, instead, they are leaving it to market forces, convinced that the supply side – landlords – will listen to the demand side – nonsmoking tenants – and adopt smoke-free rules.
It appears to be working.
“Now renting! Smoke-free apartment living” trumpets a banner billowing from a blocklong apartment house rising in the shadow of TD Banknorth Garden

It appears that Boston apartment dwellers are embracing this. My only question is what are the consequences? We are building these regulations on the foundation of public health and atop sentiments of disgust for all things tobacco ,but is it constitutional?

Stephen Helfer, who has fought on behalf of smokers’ rights for years, said there is nothing subtle about efforts that he argues will further marginalize the poor and the mentally ill, who smoke at rates higher than the state average.
“I think they’re trying to almost blackmail landlords into doing this,” said Helfer, who lives in a Cambridge condo where smoking is allowed. “The reason they are not trying to regulate it is because they feel they don’t have the political will right now. But make no mistake: They’re going after us in our homes.”
In many respects, the home represents the final frontier of tobacco control.

Is the right to smoke conceptually related to our civil liberties? The liberals seem to be the forerunners in the anti-smoking campaigns. Cigarettes are now over $9 in some areas. Please do not misunderstand. Yours truly, Afrocity is neither a smoker nor am I advocating smoking. I just know from experience that when it comes to the Democrats, raising taxes is habit forming and dangerous to our health. The same goes for restriction of our freedoms.



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