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Author: Philip Drucker, Constitutional Law Professor & Columnist, Los Angeles Free Press (page 2 of 13)

Phil Drucker Rants for 3-3-20: “My Apologies if You’ve Never Seen the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special.”


Sometimes even I have a hard time explaining what sets off my “passion” button. My most recent passion involves “Biomass” or waste to energy municipal solid waste.

https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/biomass/waste-to-energy.php

This is not as odd as it sounds. I have always been interested in thrift shops, mostly to see if I can add to my collection of items depicting well-known trademarks. My favorite mascot-mark is still Tony The Tiger, the second longest-running trademark in the breakfast cereal universe, second only to Snap, Crackle and Pop. See Tony’s journey from funny kind of football-shaped looking a little on the scraggly side Tony to the present-day icon he so rightfully is.

https://www.frostedflakes.com/en_US/home.html

Aside from mining the thrifts for pop culture gold, I am also curious of the generally, still usable items people choose to discard. Not so much clothes mind you, bodies change, styles change, fabric wears out. Sometimes I think thrifts are like little museums of the moment, documenting the changing of culture, what was “in’, is now out, obsolete or, as with the Toys on Misfit Island, unwanted and unloved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRIQFYMMNYY

The most wonderful day of the year indeed. And yes, the plaid-clad snowman is Burl Ives. Did I mention I have a collection of his vinyl records? Mostly bought at, you guessed it, thrift shops. Recycled music is a wonderful thing. And yes, Bumbles bounces (ask Yukon Jack).

https://www.discogs.com/artist/310187-Burl-Ives

Never miss Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or the Family Guy episode

“A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas” where the band Kiss saves Santa Clause from pterodactyls by playing the guitar for as everybody knows, winged extinct dinosaurs can’t stand the noise.

https://familyguy.fandom.com/wiki/A_Very_Special_Family_Guy_Freakin%27_Christmas

And as we’re all friends (we are, aren’t we?), please enjoy the Muppets version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. You can’t have too many Kermit the Frogs in your collection, now can you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aNhlDekJW4

Returning to “Biomass” or waste to energy municipal solid waste, yes, we as world will continue to recycle our garbage, including mining our land-fills for reusable sources of clean, renewable, energy while continuing to eliminate plastics, save the world, and yes Virginia, we in California, will someday build a bullet train that runs on magnetic tracks from San Francisco to San Diego. Yes, we can. Note: The use and spread of magnetic technologies is another thing I’m strangely passionate about. The actual SF to SD train, not so much, but it would be cool

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WxZpVGNPN8

Granted, not all passions are the same and yes, they can be funny things. But in the final analysis, is it not better to have a passion, however small, then have none at all?

Did you get your fill of Phil?

 

Druckerreport.com/blog

@DruckerPhilip

Instagram: Philip_Drucker

Phil Drucker’s Rant for 2-25-20: “94 Pu (244), 92 U (238.029) Go!”


My first involvement in grass-roots politics and door-to-door campaigning came in 1976. I was 17 years old, on summer break from high school and a rebel without a cause. Throw in a little teenage angst coupled with homicidal tendencies and voila! A living, breathing, ticking, in my case, nuclear time bomb. It was time to decide whether I would try to blow it up or save the world. Both sides of the equation had its good and bad points. In the end, I decided “save” was probably the better option. The Dodgers were looking competitive (they came in second), and there was surely going to be another Rolling Stones album. Unfortunately, Black and Blue, (the horrid “Fool to Cry” was the single. Never heard of it? Not surprising.) came out that year and so we all had to wait another two years until Some Girls was finally released. So, looking back…

For the record, being young really bites. Everything seems so unbelievably important, but in the final analysis, virtually none of it is. My personal saga/tragedy at the time included my second ever girl-friend (my first was when I was five, Maria, but not unlike West Side Story, it was doomed from the start) and prom date at the time leaving me just days before the gala event of our lives for another girl/woman. You know who you are. If that doesn’t leave scars on your average hormonal almost legal under the watchful eyes of the law young male psyche, I don’t know what will. But I’m over that, now. Maybe.

What I still can’t get over was that California was building nuclear power plants without an economically feasible way to dispose of spent fuel rods. I never said I was your average teen Breakfast Club (criminal, jock, Brainiac, basket-case and whatever Molly Ringwald was supposed to be) stereotype. I was obsessed with atoms, the stability of atoms, half-lives and R-A-D-I-O-A-C-T-I-V-I-T-Y! And, get this, there was a Kraftwerk album of the same name that just came out which did wonders to fuel my nascent and steadily growing, though not entirely unreasonable, paranoia.

https://youtu.be/M0D7MBBI2Ik

Then came almost heavenly sent salvation in the form of a ballot initiative. California Proposition 15 (1976).

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_15_(June_1976)

The words of the proposed legislation were like magic. A dream come true. No longer was I alone in this cold, dark and very scary world. Somebody else cared. The following excerpt was, in context, an acknowledgment, representation, and validation of no less than the sum-total of my life to said date.

“After five years, requires derating of existing plants 10% annually unless Legislature, by two-thirds vote, confirms effectiveness of safety and waste storage and disposal systems.” (emphasis added.)

After contacting the proper authorities, a fellow very much on the strange side classmate and myself took our pamphlets and literature to the streets. We would go door-to-door, bringing our message of safety and sanity to a waiting world ready to not only invest in the future but to have a future. We thought it would be a no-brainer. How could the adults not listen to us? Turns out, they didn’t. Door after door, mind after mind, opened and closed. Approximately eight hours later, the only thing we accomplished was at best a sort of obnoxious condescending attitude. Better than contempt, which also occurred, as in, “Do your parents know you are doing this?” (They didn’t), but barely.

As the sun started to set in the West and on our dreams of a better future, the sobering unbearable heaviness of being  weighing on our shoulders, we quit for the day. It was Saturday. Sunday would be better. It wasn’t.

Why am I telling you this 44 years later? First, for Greta Thunberg and all who are like her. Not unlike toxic spent fuel rods, the dangers of climate change are real. Greta if you are out there, don’t give up. Never give up. It’s worth it. 

Second, for all the “grown-ups” who don’t understand why young people are voting for Bernie. It’s because you have forgotten what you wanted. Change. As have the other Democratic presidential candidates who want to “fix” a clearly broken, in this case, a mature capitalist economic system that entered into its dying phase 35 years ago? Reagan’s voodoo economics, the myth of trickle-down wealth, the purposeful undermining and destruction of unions and middle-class. If you were born after 1980 this is all you know. That and suddenly rampant gun violence and racism. What is there to “fix” particularly when the opportunity for C-H-A-N-G-E presents itself?

And third, because I was right and “they” were wrong. The supposedly older, wiser generation (well, they were older) did not see the new reality. They did not understand the seriousness of the issues. They gave us nostalgia. They gave us guilt. They gave us grief. They gave us everything but what we needed. The truth.

How do I know I was right? Because the supposedly safe, economically feasible method of disposing of toxic radiation from spent fuel bars that won’t lose its deadly radioactivity for (10,000) years wasn’t just around the corner. They didn’t invent it when they needed it. Today, it still doesn’t exist. It doesn’t. Check it out. Look it up, do your research, take a stand, whatever your age. Vote for Bernie. He’s electable (don’t believe the cable news hype). Be the adult, even when they, the actual adults won’t. My advice? Listen to Greta. Climate change is man-made and the existential threat is real. Trust and believe in yourselves because for the most part, they, the adults who as I have shown from my own experience do not always know what is better for themselves, much less you, won’t. And that’s wrong. That’s why we had Three Mile Island. This is why the polar ice caps are melting. This is my past.  It is also, your future.

 

 Did you get your fill of Phil?

Druckerreport.com/blog

@DruckerPhilip

Instagram: Philip_Drucker

Phil Drucker Rants for 2-18-2020: “Shiva Ascending in Bob Dylan Minor AKA The End of Times They Are a Changin.”


Change, rebirth, transformation, evolution, revolution and reform. In this presidential era of unbridled and unprecedented corruption, these are just some of the words (along with king, monarch, fascist, despot and the ever-popular tyrant) heard daily on (and off) the campaign trail. But with all due respect to shall we say colorful reporting, and as is my mantra, words matter.

Politicians come and go, but their policies remain. My firm guess is this dictatorial, less than presidential and deficient in almost every way that matters, King Don the Con will leave behind a legacy of deceit, despair, agony and destruction. The aftermath will hopefully be a time of sober reflection and redemption. When, as now, creation is no longer a viable option, and destruction becomes the path of least resistance, surely (surly?) we must acknowledge we are at  the beginning of an era of renewal, rebirth and transformation. Of Shiva and Bob Dylan ascending. Sounds scary but it need not be. The question then becomes, what will we, the people, in the political, social and aspirational sense, make of it?

Moving on from Hinduism and 60’s protest folk rock, I recently watched the movie “The Two Popes.” On top of being an excellent film well worth the two-plus hours running time, Pope Benedict and future Francis engage in an interesting discussion I would like to expand on.

What is the difference between compromise and change?

By time the end credits came and went, other than a short and rather circular argument (they’re different because I said one louder than the other) by both Popes, I thought the query worthy of further, if nothing else, pondering. And so, ponder, I did. This is what I came up with.

To compromise, one must give up something to get something. To change, one must give up something to get something. Conclusion? They are different and indeed, the difference is quite profound. Let me go into a deeper dive.

Compromise invariably involves a starting position and in the end, a digging in of one’s heels. The two sides are invariably drawn as if by gravity into a black hole at the bottom of which, there is hopefully some mutual ground. If the ground is firm, the now two positions in one where nobody gets everything they want but at least part of what they thought important enough to take a stand, becomes the new “common” ground. If the dirt is packed firm enough, and the sub-laterals hold, (and the creek don’t rise) voila! The newly discovered land of compromise. Perhaps a nice place to raise your kids, but a place where invariably, everyone is unhappy.

Change on the other hand, is not quite so simple as a negotiation between two sides who think they know what they want, for true change requires, let’s call it a leap of faith. True change isn’t about gravity, it’s about weightlessness. It is allowing the old, the familiar and often comforting past to float away for the chance that a future based on the new will be not only equal, but superior to that which came before, worked, didn’t it? But now obsolete, must be at least, in part, if not completely, replaced. With something untried. Something new. For better, or for worse, this is change. Change happens. Change is what we should want for change is good, unless it isn’t. 

My hope is that the next generation initiates an era of sober reflection, reincarnation, reconstruction, songs of redemption and Turn! Baby Turn! (Had to get the Byrds in there, too). Or maybe Burn Baby Burn (Dante’s Disco Inferno?) Either way, I’m good. Peace sign out yo.

Did you get your fill of Phil?

 

Druckerreport.com/blog

@DruckerPhilip

Instagram: Philip_Drucker

Phil Drucker’s Rant for 2-11-20: “From One Bonhomme Richard to Another”


One of the most curious assertions I keep hearing over and over is that the Founding Fathers never anticipated a scenario in which the Legislative Branch, refused to use its oversight power to check and if necessary remove a president of such low moral character to save the country from further harm, and tyranny. This is nonsense.

For one, the Founders were well-aware of rule by a mad monarch. His name was King George. The British Colonists didn’t vote to impeach and remove a president. They started a revolution to depose a king. An out of touch despot who was not capable of ruling in the best interest of or with representation of the people. Sound familiar? It should.

When the war was over, and we were a free nation made up of patriots, loyalist sore losers, religious zealots and a lot of people who still didn’t care one way or the other (sound familiar?) the persons who would shape our government met to decide just what the heck that government would be. In truth, they knew very little about the task ahead. They knew from the Declaration of Independence (see last week’s article) we the people would be entitled to exercise our natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without undue interference from the government. They knew we the people consent to be governed, but only by a government of legitimacy, that at a minimum put the people’s interests and by extension the interests of the country, first. In short, they knew they didn’t want a king and so, in many ways, it would be perfectly acceptable at constitutional-themed cocktail parties to present the Founders’ primary goal as a shot-in-the-dark, it might work, experiment in the defeat of tyranny.

They knew from history the best way to defeat tyranny was to break the three central areas of government power into separate branches with no one person possessing simultaneously the power of the legislative, executive and judicial. Next, they created a system of dual sovereignty. The Federal and the States would co-govern the people, each having their own separate and distinct responsibilities to the people. Can a state constitutionally “fight back” against federal acts alienating us from our natural rights? The answer is yes. Can an individual state arrest a sitting president for his criminal acts committed while in office? I think they can, or at least, there is nothing in the Constitution that says they can’t.

Next, to facilitate the purposely segregated, perhaps more like fractured, and multi-tiered construction of government, the Founder decided a Republic, meaning government by representation in the form of elected, not necessarily by popular choice, mind you, and sometimes appointed officials, who, at a minimum, put their self-interests aside, would make, enforce and when necessary, adjudicate the newly enacted laws of the land.

Still, at the very top, and bottom of the pyramid (with or without the all-seeing eye) is the power of the people. Our primary governing document, the Constitution starts with We the People, and ends the Bill of Rights 10th Amendment with all powers not ceded to the State or Federal sovereigns residing with the people. With Democracy. This is big “D” Democracy.

So, to recap, the United States of America, a grand, noble experiment of social and political science, in an effort to defeat the rise of and takeover by a tyrant, was dividend to the Federal, itself being divided into three separate branches of equal power, then, placed parallel to the power to provide for health, safety and welfare of its citizens in a system of dual sovereignty, a Republic, meaning representation of the people by their chosen officials, all in an effort to protect our big “D” Democracy,  the power of the people, through one person, one vote representation (with I admit the Electoral College more on that later) to protect and ensure our natural rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Do you hold these truths to be self-evident and that all persons are created equal? If so, that’s what the American system of government of the people, by the people, for the people means, Charlie Brown. And so, as the Founding Fathers predicted, there will always be some insipid, boorish, bad, corrupt, maybe they didn’t anticipate orange, persons of low IQ, much like the so many despotic kings and queens of the past, who may rise to power through trickery, chicanery, fraud, and certainly as is now, the demagoguery of a pretender to a throne that does not exist.

In the final analysis, as the Founders intended it, all roads lead to the power of the people who in America always have the final say.

I close on a question modeled upon the famous quote of the great American seaman and patriot, John Paul Jones, “Have you yet begun to fight?” I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the inept, clown-circus, Jenga in the making take-down by if nothing else voting out the morally corrupt and bankrupt Trump administration, here we are at primary season and we’re just getting started. The power is yours. Don’t forget to use it. Vote. It’s the American way.

 

Did you get your fill of Phil?

 

Druckerreport.com/blog

@DruckerPhilip

Instagram: Philip_Drucker

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