Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Misinformation of Obama being a BIG Spender – this & so many things

slowest-spending

includes stimulus bill and spending cuts (sequester) during Obama’s Presidency

by Richard Saunders – June 29, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Over these past five years—since the 2008 financial recession stoked the undercurrent of fear within our society—our current far-right republicans have been peddling this fallacious narrative that our Federal Government has become increasingly overbearing, herculean, and running amuck with our tax paying dollars.

“FEAR” sells immensely well in our free-market society—this can’t be emphasized enough!  “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is FEAR,” said influential American author, H.P. Lovecraft.  Marketing wizard Martin Lindstrom—author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy—concluded the following:

Fear absolutely sells! Our primal instinct as human beings is to survive; therefore, fear is key to influence people’s behavior. Fear relates to our survival: Do I have enough to eat? Will I have enough money when I retire? Is that product safe? In this respect, Lindstrom claims that political fear-based advertising is effective because it taps into our primal concerns of survival.

So the bottom line is that “FEAR” is an easy sell or a quick way to make a buck for any corporations or individual trying to sell their product.  We MUST understand that the constant peddling of “FEAR” by the far-right and Fox News isn’t the true reality—it’s based on selling their product (ratings)!  These organizations and individuals are absolutely opportunistic—taking advantage of the “FEAR” spawned by the 2008 financial recession and the election of the first black president.

So why are there so many fearful individuals today?  It’s absolutely a direct result of the immensely successful selling techniques by the far-right media and Fox News.  Fox News continuously gloats about having the best ratings among the cable news channels, yet what DOES it really sell?  Journalism with REAL “Fair and Balance” news?  No it doesn’t. It sells a constant theme of “FEAR,” doom-and-gloom scenarios, and what ifs.  At what cost does this constant “FEAR” peddling have on us?  It should be quite obvious—look at the behavior of our politicians.  Our politicians’ behaviors are a direct reflection of what has been propagated and sold to our society and their constituents.  The root of our dysfunctional government ISN’T our politicians—it’s the “FEAR” and anger being sold to us by the far-right media.  So what are the consequences going to be to these organizations and individuals who sell exclusively or predominantly “FEAR” to us at such destructive costs?

Contrary to the “FEAR-SELLING” far-right organizations—let’s look at the REALITY of what has really transpired over these last five years of Obama’s Presidency:

  • We avoided a TRUE financial depression because of CORRECT government policies based on the tried-and-true Keynesian theory—increase demand during market crashes
  • America’s homeland has been extremely safe from foreign terrorist attacks—not easy since many more terrorists have been created since the Iraq War began
  • Al Qaeda mastermind and spiritual leader, Osama Bin Laden, has been killed
  • Benghazi mastermind and Leader, Ahmed Abu Khattala, has been captured in less than two years from the attack—much faster than typical for terrorist attackers
  • Private-Sector economy is adding around 200,000 new jobs every month—about the same rate as before the 2008 financial crisis
  • The Stock Market (Down Jones Industrial)—our most revered indicator of our economy’s health—has increased from 6,500 in March 2009 to 16,800 in June 2014 (an ASTONISHING and AMAZING 158 percent increase in just five years)
  • A record-breaking increase of 1,250,000 New U.S. household millionaires in 2013 according to Boston Consultant Group
  • The national average Real Estate Market has increased from 140 in March 2009 to 170 in May 2014—an increase, NOT a decrease, of 21 percent—based on S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home index
  • Corporation profits are at ALL-TIME record highs
  • Crime rates in America are at the lowest rate since the 1960s based on the Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Inflation has been at the lowest rate since the 1950s
  • Medical Inflation is also at the slowest pace in 50 years—according to The Wall Street Journal and contrary to any conservative talking point

Now let’s finally debunk the far-right’s MAIN “FEAR-SELLING” argument that they have been peddling these past five years—excluding their entire anti-Obama agenda, which is another whole issue that would require its own article.  The far-right has been peddling this fallacious “FEAR-SELLING” narrative that our Federal Government has been growing out-of-control—especially over these last five years—and that we should be “frightened” about our liberties being violated and this out-of-control Federal Government.

To understand if our government is truly getting larger or not, we MUST establish some consistent parameters to measure the size of our government over a long period of time—this is the only way to really understand the truth.  So what’s our baseline to measure the historical trend of our government size?  The baseline measurement should BE the  annual Federal Spending as a percentage of our GDP—Gross Domestic Product, which is a measurement of the size of our economy.  This measurement is BEST because it shows the proportion of our government spending to our GDP; therefore, if our government were ACTUALLY becoming more burdensome on the free-market economy, then the proportion of our government  spending to our GDP would be increasing, correct?  This measurement is also BEST because as our GDP has grown so has our population, companies, industries, infrastructure, and foreign affair relationships and assistance; therefore, more Federal Government overall has been needed.  A government that provides its services to a population of 100 million must increase its size to provide its services to a population of 350 million—does anyone disagree with this premise?  So if we use the annual Federal Spending as percentage of GDP to measure the size of our government, you can much more correctly measure the growth or burden, if any, of our Federal Government on our free-market economy.

Since 1974 the average annual Federal Spending as a percentage of our GDP has been 20.5 percent.  After we implemented the 2009 American Recovery Act—which was TEMPORARY spending to off-set the lack of demand due to the 2008 financial crisis and was GREATLY needed (ask any TRUE economist, not a political talking head who doesn’t have the expertise in this arena)—we are NOW back at the average annual Federal Spending rate of approximately 20.5 percent of GDP in 2014.  See chart below:

Federal Spending

A few side notes:

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office, the annual Federal Tax Revenue as a percentage of GDP has been at a historical low of 15.3 percent during the Obama Presidency yet the TEA Party (Taxed Enough Already) was created—quite baffling indeed and undoubtedly stirred up by the “FEAR-SELLING” far-right machine
  • When Federal Revenue as a percentage of GDP is lower than before, We Americans ARE KEEPING more of our money – not less as so many people believe.
  • The 2008 Financial Recession caused a fall in our 4th Quarter 2008 GDP by 6.3 percent—worst since 1982.  Therefore—using simple arithmetic—when our GDP decreases so much in any year (i.e. 2009), the annual Federal Spending as a percentage of GDP will naturally increase.  ALSO, during recessions, safety-net spending (unemployment benefits, food stamps, increase of medicaid recipients, and other Government assistant programs AUTOMATICALLY increase without any Legislative Bill

However—this CAN’T be emphasized enough—the percentage of Federal Spending in 1974 towards Social Securing, Medicare, and Interest Expense on our debt represented about 25 percent of ALL Federal Spending.  In 2014 the percentage of Federal Spending towards Social Security, Medicare, and Interest Expense on our debt represents OVER 50 percent of ALL Federal Spending—according to CBO.  Therefore, in 1974 using simple math, total Federal discretionary spending  (excluding SS, Medicare, and Interest Expense) was about 15 percent of GDP (total Federal spending was about 20 percent of GDP X 75 percent that was for Federal discretionary spending); AND NOW using simple math, total Federal discretionary spending (excluding SS, Medicare, and Interest Expense) is about 10 percent (total Federal spending is about 20 percent of GDP X 50 percent that is for Federal discretionary spending).  One must conclude discretionary spending has decreased.

DO understand that Federal Spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Interest Expense go directly TO regular individuals—NOT to governmental agencies to pay for government employees (only a fraction does)—and we have deemed these Federal Spendings sacrosanct or absolutely necessary for our society—see charts below:

usgs_piecol

U.S._Federal_Spending_-_FY_2011

entitlement-interest-budget-squeeze-data-580_1.jpg (580×380)

Entitlements

Therefore, we MUST conclude that the Federal Spending towards EVERYTHING else—besides Social Security, Medicare, and Net Interest on our debt—has been GREATLY decreasing.  Can anyone conclude otherwise?  I’m not at all a proponent for a larger government—quite the contrary.  In fact, I believe that the Federal Government provides its services ONLY until the private sector can provide these services instead—realizing that this is a very long view point.  This has been the long-term trend since the establishment of our Federal Government.   A non-exhaustive list of many industries that have gone from predominately or exclusively public to more-and-more private over time below:

  • Railroads
  • Universities and other Schools
  • Energy
  • Telephones
  • NASA
  • Defense Spending
  • Long-term care
  • Roads and bridges

Have we really become this paranoid nation with all this indignant anger?  We need to Stand Up and push back against this “FEAR-SELLING” far-right machine—don’t’ buy it anymore!  Don’t argue that the left DOES “FEAR-SELLING” too so why don’t you call THEM out!  Well, right now – more than I’ve ever experienced and seen before – the GOP is absolutely the perpetrators of this outrageous “FEAR-SELLING.”  Over these past five years, THESE organizations have been so destructive for our Federal Government getting anything done. – thus hurting our Great Nation  These organizations are absolutely at the ROOT of the problems of our current dysfunctional Federal Government.  You can’t be disinterested and a bystander any longer—stating that all politicians are corrupt is strictly a copout of not trying.  You have been endowed by our ancestors with the responsibility to defend our nation against any threats—both domestic and foreign—that harm our Great Nation.  The threat facing our GREAT nation right now is our inability to accomplish anything in Congress—almost SOLELY because of the “FEAR-SELLING” and misinformation of far-right organizations.  STAND UP silent majority—STAND UP and push back!

 

Spotlight: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) – many times “classics” take time to bloom

Original cover of 'The Great Gatsby

Original cover of ‘The Great Gatsby – 1925

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

Fitzgerald, inspired by the parties he had attended while visiting Long Island’s north shore, began planning the novel in 1923 desiring to produce, in his words, “something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned.”

First published by Scribner’s in April 1925, The Great Gatsby received mixed reviews and sold poorly; in its first year, the book sold only 20,000 copies. Fitzgerald died in 1940, believing himself to be a failure and his work forgotten. However, the novel experienced a revival during World War II, and became a part of American high school curricula and numerous stage and film adaptations in the following decades. Today, The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary classic and a contender for the title “Great American Novel.” The book is consistently ranked among the greatest works of American literature. In 1998 the Modern Library editorial board voted it the best American novel and the second best novel in the English language.

Historical Context:

Set in the prosperous Long Island of 1922, The Great Gatsby provides a critical social history of America during the Roaring Twenties within its narrative. That era, known for unprecedented economic prosperity, the evolution of jazz music, flapper culture, and bootlegging and other criminal activity, is plausibly depicted in Fitzgerald’s novel. Fitzgerald uses these societal developments of the 1920s to build Gatsby’s stories from simple details like automobiles to broader themes like Fitzgerald’s discreet allusions to the organized crime culture which was the source of Gatsby’s fortune. Fitzgerald educates his readers about the garish society of the Roaring Twenties by placing a timeless, relatable plotline within the historical context of the era.

Many of the events in Fitzgerald’s early life are reflected throughout The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald is also similar to Jay Gatsby, as he fell in love while stationed in the military and fell into a life of decadence trying to prove himself to the girl he loves. Fitzgerald became a second lieutenant, and was stationed at Camp Sheridan, in Montgomery, Alabama. There he met and fell in love with a wild seventeen-year-old beauty named Zelda Sayre. Zelda finally agreed to marry him, but her overpowering desire for wealth, fun, and leisure led her to delay their wedding until he could prove a success. Like Nick in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald found this new lifestyle seductive and exciting, and, like Gatsby, he had always idolized the very rich. In many ways, The Great Gatsby represents Fitzgerald’s attempt to confront his conflicting feelings about the Jazz Age. Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald was driven by his love for a woman who symbolized everything he wanted, even as she led him toward everything he despised.

Cover Art:

The cover of the first printing of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of art in American literature. It depicts disembodied eyes and a mouth over a blue skyline, with images of naked women reflected in the irises. A little-known artist named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the book while Fitzgerald was in the midst of writing it.  

Reception:

Several writers felt that the novel left much to be desired following Fitzgerald’s previous works and promptly criticized him. Harvey Eagleton of The Dallas Morning News believed the novel signaled the end of Fitzgerald’s success: “One finishes Great Gatsby with a feeling of regret, not for the fate of the people in the book, but for Mr. Fitzgerald.”John McClure of The Times-Picayune opined that the book was unconvincing, writing, “Even in conception and construction, The Great Gatsby seems a little raw.” Ralph Coghlan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch felt the book lacked what made Fitzgerald’s earlier novels endearing and called the book “a minor performance … At the moment, its author seems a bit bored and tired and cynical.” Ruth Snyder of New York Evening World called the book’s style “painfully forced”, noting that the editors of the paper were “quite convinced after reading The Great Gatsby that Mr. Fitzgerald is not one of the great American writers of to-day.” The reviews struck Fitzgerald as completely missing the point: “All the reviews, even the most enthusiastic, not one had the slightest idea what the book was about.”

Legacy:

In 1940, Fitzgerald suffered a third and final heart attack, and died believing his work forgotten. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned Gatsby as evidence of great potential that was never reached. However, a strong appreciation for the book had developed in underground circles, The republication of Gatsby in Edmund Wilson’s edition of The Last Tycoon in 1941 produced an outburst of comment, with the general consensus expressing the sentiment that the book was an enduring work of fiction.

In 1942, a group of publishing executives created the Council on Books in Wartime. The purpose of the Council was to distribute paperback books to soldiers fighting in the Second World War. The Great Gatsby was one of these books. The books proved to be “as popular as pin-up girls” among the soldiers, according to the Saturday Evening Post’s contemporary report. 155,000 copies of Gatsby were distributed to soldiers overseas, and it is believed that this publicity ultimately boosted the novel’s popularity and sales.

By 1944, full-length articles on Fitzgerald’s works were being published, and the following year, “the opinion that Gatsby was merely a period piece had almost entirely disappeared.”  During a revival of Fitzgerald’s works in 1945, Gatsby gained readers when Armed Services Editions gave away 150,000 copies of it to military personnel in World War II.  During the 1950s, the book gradually became part of standard high school curriculum required reading in the United States. In 1951, Arthur Mizener published The Far Side of Paradise, a biography of Fitzgerald. He emphasized the book’s positive reception by literary critics who may have influenced public opinion, and renewed interest in it.

By 1960, the book was steadily selling 50,000 copies per year, and renewed interest led New York Times editorialist Arthur Mizener to proclaim the novel “a classic of twentieth-century American fiction.” The Great Gatsby has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.The book annually sells 500,000 copies and is Scribner’s most popular title; in 2013, the e-book alone sold 185,000 copies.

thanks for following – the eventsfy team

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Gatsby

Is Obama weak or WILL he become the Peacemaker-in-Chief?

peace-american-style

by Richard Saunders – June 20, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)

Would the REAL U.S. Patriots PLEASE stand up?!!  I said—would the REAL U.S. Patriots PLEASE stand up?!! My fellow PATRIOTS and REAL Americans, my objective for this article is to significantly clarify America’s position and options with its current foreign affairs.  Our 24-hour news cycle and our current politicians have devolved our society into reflexive and short-term thinking with misinformation and conspiracies running amuk.  Almost every politician or 24-hours news segment attacks the opposite side with so much righteous vigor—claiming how evil and wrong the other is!  Self-evidently, this cannot be productive yet we still allow our politicians and 24-hours news channels to sow their destructive and venomous anger throughout our society.  In our society, the most negative political campaigns win so WHY would any political consultant strategize to do anything different?  Do we really believe that all this vilifying of our politicians doesn’t have any negative effect on our society?  I say absolutely—Congress’s approval rating is an abysmal 12 percent!  We have vilified the other side so relentlessly that now nothing can be accomplished in Washington because our politicians can’t even be seen working constructively with the other side.  Equally baffling is how POSITIVE words like “compromise,” “empathy,” “fairness,” and “government” have been corrupted to be deemed NEGATIVE behaviors in our political discourse.  You think this isn’t affecting them from getting anything done?  Absolutely it is!  Yet why do we continue to elect divisive and unconstructive politicians??

With that said, the first topic that I would like to discuss with you is the crisis in Iraq and Syria with the extremist ISIS group wreaking havoc and unrest throughout the region.  Let’s start with a long-term and informed perspective (rarely seen in today’s instant informational society) on WHY we are currently in our present situation in Iraq and Syria.  Just like everything in life, if you don’t understand why you find yourself in a particular situation, then you will never know how to appropriately and constructively respond.

In 1951 Iran elected Mohammad Mosaddegh prime minister.  But because he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves, we helped in orchestrating a coup d’état (violent overthrow of a government) of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.  Do remember that America was extremely frightened at the time with the Soviet Union’s growing influence around the world and we were quick to side with any leader opposed to communism—feeling confident that communism was the greater evil.  However, this doesn’t change the facts of what happened in Iran.  After this coup in 1951, we helped to install the Iranian Shah (the leader), who crushed all forms of political opposition and greatly repressed his people until the 1979 Iranian revolution, which was a direct result from their disdain of their Shah and the American/West foreign policies of interfering.

During the 1980s—soon after the 1979 Iranian revolution—The United States supported the thuggish Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, with his war against Iran providing him chemical weapons that he used not only against Iran but also against his own Iraqi people.  About a million Iraqis and Iranians died in this Iran/Iraq War in the 80s.  Obviously, we must interject that America didn’t cause or fight this war—but its actions, undoubtedly with hindsight, were NOT helpful.

After allying with Saddam Hussein in the 80s, we became bitter enemies—attacking Iraq in the early 90s for trying to annex Kuwait and then invading and taking complete control of Iraq in 2003 on the false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq’s connection with September 11, 2001.  The accusations of weapons of mass destruction were our knee-jerk reaction after 9/11 happened.  Our collective fear at the time greatly distorted any rational thinking on our part.  You could say that we were collectively making a very difficult decision under the influence of emotions, which rarely pans out well.  Since we went into Iraq COMPLETELY on false pretenses, a JUST war became untenable for us.  And since we completely blundered the rationality to make Iraq a JUST war, misstep after misstep would inevitably ensue us in Iraq.  A non-exhaustive list of our many blunders in this Iraq war below:

1.  Not following the military’s recommendation for more troops to stabilize Iraq after invading

  • Outcome: led to mass looting and chaos, which bred anger and frustration

2.  Not being greeted as liberators as many foreign “expert” predicted

  • Outcome: bloody insurgent campaigns quickly commenced—Fallujah, Sadre City

3.  Torturing and mistreating prisoners of Abu Ghraib Prison (complete debacle)

  • Outcome: foamed mass anger and trust greatly deteriorated—terrorists created

4.  Disbanding the Baathist Party from Iraq’s Government because Saddam Hussein was a Baathist

  • Outcome: disenfranchised a whole segment of Iraqi’s society that definitely enhanced sectarian divisions between Sunnis and Shiites

5.  Not holding Saddam’s trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands

  • Outcome: Saddam was ruthlessly hanged by Shiite thugs and this enhanced even more sectarian divisions.  World never got a chance to see any righteous with our invasion

6.  Grossly failing to realize that a democratic Iraqi government would undoubtedly be run by the majority Shiites

  • Outcome: Iraq and Iran are allies now

It’s not too difficult to ascertain what a mess this war has been from the onset.  Abraham Lincoln said it perfectly, “RIGHT makes MIGHT.”  Well, we didn’t have the RIGHT in Iraq; therefore, we don’t have the MIGHT now—it’s that simple.  And NOW we have the same characters (let’s call them the “misguided ones”) who led us into Iraq having the audacity and chutzpah to blame President Obama for the current Iraqi situation!  Amazing!  Let’s all remember that Obama was a staunch opponent of the Iraq war—a very unpopular position at that time—endlessly and righteously criticizing the invasion into Iraq.  These “misguided ones” who led us into Iraq fervently complain that it’s all Obama’s fault that:

  • ISIS, the radical group that exists PRIMARILY because of our Iraqi invasion, is taking over Iraq
  • The U.S. didn’t leave troops in Iraq past December 2011—even though Bush signed the agreement for our troops to leave after 2011 AND the political climate in Iraq due to our numerous blunders (see blunders’ list above) NEVER politically allowed us and Iraq to extend this agreement.
  • The U.S. is weak because of Obama’s policies.  This is completely empty rhetoric—although I’ve heard this countless of times.  The United States strength comes from its constitution, economy, military, and its people—not its President.  The President is strictly a byproduct of its people.
  • You name it—just turn on Foxnews and you’re guaranteed to see numerous individuals blaming the President for God knows what EVERY single day.  Anything good that happens, Obama has nothing to do with it—anything bad that happens, he is directly at fault.  Such a shame and a disservice…Foxnews sells fear (this is precisely and undoubtedly what they sell) and we all need to understand this so that we can move past all these nonsensical arguments and get something constructively done.

So let’s bypass the petty arguments and conspiracies espoused on a daily basis and take a REAL constructive look at what Obama has done since day one of his presidency with his foreign policy.  Obama rode into office with the principles of mutual respect and talking with our enemies—most notably Iran—to resolve world conflicts.  Obama received immediate criticisms from all sides—just like his opposition to the Iraq war—because this wasn’t at all a popular position at the time.  BUT he continued pursuing a desire to negotiate with Iran.  How did Iran respond?  Initially dismissively, with the Iranian President Ahmadinejad continually stating inflammatory remarks towards America, Israel, and the West.  However, these inflammatory remarks by Ahmadinejad obviously didn’t work anymore to increase his stature among the Iranian people because they sparked their 2010 Green Revolution against their Iranian leaders.  And because Obama rightfully chose not to invade Iran during their Green Revolution (contrary to the loud and warmongering“misguided ones”), anti-Americanism in Iran didn’t grow.  In fact, anti-Americanism has decreased in Iran because we know that in 2012 the Iranian people chose the much more moderate and Western friendly President Rhouhani, who immediately sent conciliatory tweets to both the American and Jewish people after being elected.  Today for the first time since 1979, the American and Iranian governments are speaking directly on a range of issues—Iran’s nuclear program, Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s instability, and others.  The permissible political climate for Iran to finally speak with the American Government is unquestionably and directly correlated with Obama’s principles of mutual respect and talking with enemies—to understand why the other thinks the way they do.  Enough with saying this country or that country is evil—this is absolutely not constructive!  We need to know and understand Iran and its people so that we can resolve our differences and find solutions that move us towards a more stable and fairer world (we both want this)—just like you would with someone with whom you want to resolve differences in order to create a better work or living environment.  Have you really ever resolved differences with someone if you never talked and understood that person?  Absolutely not!  It’s the exact same thing with countries and peoples too.

Where does the United States find itself today from Obama’s foreign policies?  A list for clarifications:

  • The U.S. has ended two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
  • The U.S. has mobilized the international community to implement crippling sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program—these were not achievable in past administrations
  • The U.S. has avoided going to war in Iran, Egypt, Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq (again)—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
  • U.S. troop deaths and injuries have dramatically decreased
  • Osama Bin Laden killed—never achieved under the previous administration
  • Benghazi attack mastermind had been captured in less than two years
  • The U.S has avoided another costly and bloody war with Russia and has mobilized the international community to implement economic sanctions against Russia—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
  • The U.S. and Iran are negotiating for the first time since 1979 over Iran’s nuclear program and potentially cooperating together on the Iraq and Syria conflict—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
  • The U.S. has kept its people safe thwarting numerous terrorist plots on its soil

However, if you were to turn your TV to the strictly “fear-selling” news channel or listen to any conservative talk radio, you would begin to think that Armageddon or World War III were just around the corner.  These outlets continually push their same empty rhetoric and statements over-and-over that—I believe—they themselves begin to believe these petty arguments and conspiracies as news-worthy topics.  Have you ever heard of the Pygmalion Effect?  This is the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform.  Have you ever heard of the Golem Effect?  This is the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the lower the expectations placed upon people, the worse they perform.  Studies have shown these hypotheses to be true YET we have convinced ourselves that our politicians are worthless and evil.  We reap what we sow.  No wonder our politicians can’t get anything done when we continuously demonize them into evil doers along with our OWN Presidents—in particular Obama.  The political opportunists who should know better somehow have convinced large swaths of our population about the “evilness” of our President.

Calling countries “the axis of evil” or demonizing whole peoples is also just as destructive for resolving conflict. Let’s not pretend that Iran doesn’t do things that aren’t extremely destructive—to say the least—because it supports Bashir Assad (Syrian’s ruthless dictator), Hezbollah (Lebanon’s radical Islamic militia), Hamas (Palestine’s radical Islamic militia), and Shiite Militias that fought American troops in Iraq.  However, we must truly understand that Iran’s main objective is to protect their sovereignty and national interests.  Try to think about the psyche of the typical Iranian—remember: the United States supported Iran’s previous ruthless Shah for over 20 years, supported the Iraqis during Iran’s war against Iraq, invaded both of Iran’s neighbors (Iraq and Afghanistan), and threatened the Iranian government on multiple occasions with potential military involvement.  We need to get past the rhetoric that Iran is evil or the United States is evil—obviously, neither are true.  We need to focus on what the United States and Iran both want:

  • Stability in the middle east and world
  • Sovereignty over its own land and government
  • Economic progress
  • Assurances that the other side won’t attack them
  • Decreased hostilities towards each other—the people at least

If you believe like I do that these WANTS of both the United States and Iran are a great foundation to move forward constructively to resolve century old conflicts, then we actually can and should move forward cautiously with Iran.  Again—it must be repeated: based on his doctrine of mutual respect and talking with our enemies, Obama has given Iran—and America—a golden opportunity to get things RIGHT in the Middle East.  Enough of the empty rhetoric that Obama is the weakest President of all time—this means absolutely nothing.  Once again, America isn’t strong because of who is sitting in the White House; America is strong because of its ideals derived from its divinely inspired constitution, its economic power, its military power, and its political relationships around the world.  So, once again, let’s just bypass these silly criticisms that Obama isn’t macho enough or is the weakest President ever!

The Dick Cheney conceived principle of pre-emptive strike must cease to exist for the United States.  John 8:7 He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.  Is any country without sin to be allowed to cast the first stone?  NO!  Jesus believes we all have sinned; therefore, no one should cast stones.  We must understand others to make better decisions collectively.  We need less judging and demonizing of others and countries.  We need Patriots that support our President and Government instead “faux” Patriots who constantly criticize them.  We need humility and accountability to understand why we are in our current situation—we reap what we sow.  And we need faith and patience to understand that we DO move forward in providing a better tomorrow.  Obama has provided this real opportunity for the United States and Iran to take this GIANT step forward to improve the lives of millions in the Middle East and around the world—with potential stability, potential economic progress, potential partners, etc.  Obama received the Noble Peace Prize in 2009—will this be another Pygmalion Effect moment.  Self-fulfilling prophecies are funny how often they come true.  We in America believe we can achieve what we believe.  In America perhaps we need to believe Obama CAN achieve great things instead of constantly tearing him down because he has already achieved so much that we can all be proud of.  As I started this paper, would the REAL Patriots please stand up?!!  I said—would the REAL Patriots please stand up?!!

Spotligh: Bauhaus Art School (Theory) 1919 – how it has influenced us?

Contemporary-Bauhaus-on-the-Carmel-01

Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was an art school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term Bauhaus literally meant “house of construction,” and was understood as meaning “School of Building.”

The Bauhaus was first founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar with the idea of creating a “total” work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus style later became one of the most influential currents in modern design, Modernist architecture and art, design and architectural education. The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

The school existed in three German cities: Weimar from 1919 to 1925, Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and Berlin from 1932 to 1933, under three different architect-directors: Walter Gropius from 1919 to 1928, Hannes Meyer from 1928 to 1930 and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe from 1930 until 1933, when the school was closed by its own leadership under pressure from the Nazi regime. The Nazi government claimed that it was a center of communist intellectualism. Though the school was closed, the staff continued to spread its idealistic precepts as they left Germany and emigrated all over the world.

 

The creation of Bauhaus—Why and How?

Germany’s defeat in World War I, the fall of the German monarchy and the abolition of censorship under the new, liberal Weimar Republic allowed an upsurge of radical experimentation in all the arts, previously suppressed by the old regime. Many Germans of left-wing views were influenced by the cultural experimentation that followed the Russian Revolution, such as constructivism. Just as important was the influence of the 19th century English designer William Morris, who had argued that art should meet the needs of society and that there should be no distinction between form and function. Thus the Bauhaus style, also known as the International Style, was marked by the absence of ornamentation and by harmony between the function of an object or a building and its design.

However, the most important influence on Bauhaus was modernism, a cultural movement whose origins lay as far back as the 1880s, and which had already made its presence felt in Germany before the World War, despite the prevailing conservatism. The design innovations commonly associated with Gropius and the Bauhaus—the radically simplified forms, the rationality and functionality, and the idea that mass-production was reconcilable with the individual artistic spirit—were already partly developed in Germany before the Bauhaus was founded.

The Bauhaus was founded at a time when the German zeitgeist had turned from emotional Expressionism to the matter-of-fact New Objectivity. An entire group of working architects, including Erich Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut and Hans Poelzig, turned away from fanciful experimentation, and turned toward rational, functional, sometimes standardized building. The acceptance of modernist design into everyday life was the subject of publicity campaigns, well-attended public exhibitions like the Weissenhof Estate, films, and sometimes fierce public debate.

World Impact:

The Bauhaus had a major impact on art and architecture trends in Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Israel in the decades following its demise, as many of the artists involved fled, or were exiled by, the Nazi regime. Tel Aviv in 2004 was named to the list of world heritage sites by the UN due to its abundance of Bauhaus architecture; it had some 4,000 Bauhaus buildings erected from 1933 on.

The Bauhaus has helped produce The Aluminum City Terrace in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, the Alan I W Frank House in Pittsburgh, the Institute of Design (part of Illinois Institute of Technology), among other projects.

The influence of the Bauhaus on design education was significant. One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus was to unify art, craft, and technology, and this approach was incorporated into the curriculum of the Bauhaus. The structure of the Bauhaus Vorkurs (preliminary course) reflected a pragmatic approach to integrating theory and application. In their first year, students learnt the basic elements and principles of design and color theory, and experimented with a range of materials and processes. This approach to design education became a common feature of architectural and design school in many countries.

One of the most important contributions of the Bauhaus is in the field of modern furniture design. The ubiquitous Cantilever chair and the Wassily Chair designed by Marcel Breuer are two examples. (Breuer eventually lost a legal battle in Germany with Dutch architect/designer Mart Stam over the rights to the cantilever chair patent. Although Stam had worked on the design of the Bauhaus’s 1923 exhibit in Weimar, and guest-lectured at the Bauhaus later in the 1920s, he was not formally associated with the school, and he and Breuer had worked independently on the cantilever concept, thus leading to the patent dispute.) The single most profitable tangible product of the Bauhaus was its wallpaper.

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhaus

Spotlight: The Armory Show – the first large exhibition of modern and provocative art in America (1913)

 

281px-Robert_Henri_-_Figure_en_mouvement Robert Henri, Figure in Motion (1913)

 

Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors—the first large exhibition of modern art in America. The three-city exhibition started in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, 1913. The exhibition went on to show at the Art Institute of Chicago and then to The Copley Society of Art in Boston, where, due to a lack of space, all the work by American artists was removed. The show became an important event in the history of American art, introducing astonished Americans, who were accustomed to realistic art, to the experimental styles of the European Avant-garde, including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own “artistic language.”

History

On 14 December 1911 an early meeting of what would become the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS) was organized at Madison Gallery in New York. Four artists met to discuss the contemporary art scene in the United States, and the possibilities of organizing exhibitions of progressive artworks by living American and foreign artists, favoring works ignored or rejected by current exhibitions.

Once the space had been secured, the most complicated planning task was selecting the art for the show, particularly after the decision was made to include a large proportion of vanguard European work, most of which had never been seen by an American audience.

The Armory Show was the first, and, ultimately, the only exhibition mounted by the AAPS. It displayed some 1,300 paintings, sculptures, and decorative works by over 300 avant-garde European and American artists. Impressionist, Fauvist, and Cubist works were represented. News reports and reviews were filled with accusations of quackery, insanity, immorality, and anarchy, as well as parodies, caricatures, doggerels and mock exhibitions. About the modern works, former President Theodore Roosevelt declared, “That’s not art!” The civil authorities did not, however, close down, or otherwise interfere with, the show.

Among the scandalously radical works of art, pride of place goes to Marcel Duchamp’s cubist/futurist style Nude Descending a Staircase, painted the year before, in which he expressed motion with successive superimposed images, as in motion pictures. Julian Street, an art critic, wrote that the work resembled “an explosion in a shingle factory” (this quote is also attributed to Joel Spingarn), and cartoonists satirized the piece. Gutzon Borglum, one of the early organizers of the show who for a variety of reasons withdrew both his organizational prowess and his work, labeled this piece A staircase descending a nude, while J. F. Griswold, a writer for the New York Evening Sun, entitled it The rude descending a staircase (Rush hour in the subway). The painting was purchased from the Armory Show by Fredric C. Torrey of San Francisco.

The purchase of Paul Cézanne’s Hill of the Poor (View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph) by the Metropolitan Museum of Art signaled an integration of modernism into the established New York museums, but among the younger artists represented, Cézanne was already an established master.

Legacy

The original exhibition was an overwhelming success. There have been several exhibitions that were celebrations of its legacy throughout the 20th century.

In 1944 the Cincinnati Art Museum mounted a smaller version, in 1958 Amherst College held an exhibition of 62 works, 41 of which were in the original show, and in 1963 the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York organized the “1913 Armory Show 50th Anniversary Exhibition” sponsored by the Henry Street Settlement in New York, which included more than 300 works.

Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was officially launched by the engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and the artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitmanwhen they collaborated in 1966 and together organized 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, a series of performance art presentations that united artists and engineers. Ten artists worked with more than 30 engineers to produce art performances incorporating new technology. The performances were held in the 69th Regiment Armory, as an homage to the original and historical 1913 Armory show.

In February 2009, the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) presented its 21st annual Art Show to benefit the Henry Street Settlement, at the Seventh Regiment Armory, located between 66th and 67th Streets and Park and Lexington Avenues in New York City. The exhibition began as a historical homage to the original 1913 Armory Show.

Starting with a small exhibition in 1994, by 2001 the “New” New York Armory Show, held in piers on the Hudson River, evolved into a “hugely entertaining” (New York Times) annual contemporary arts festival with a strong commercial bent. The 2008 and 2009 Armory Shows did not hold back on the more crude and vulgar works, which are not unknown for the show, which has been less tame in past years.

On November 5, 2013, Swann Auction Galleries in New York will hold their Armory Show at 100 Auction, which will exhibit works by over 100 of the artists represented in the original 1913 exhibition. The carefully curated catalogue includes works by Henri Matisse, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Francis Picabia, Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis and Alfred Henry Maurer to name several. Swann is the only auction gallery that will hold a specialized auction commemorating the 1913 Armory Show.

Commemorating the Centennial

Five physical exhibitions in 2013 celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Armory Show, as well as a number of publications, virtual exhibitions, and programs. The first exhibition, “The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913,” opened at the Montclair Art Museum on Feb. 17, 2013, a hundred years to the day from the original. The second exhibition organized by the New-York Historical Society, titled “The Armory Show at 100,” took place from October 18, 2013 through February 23, 2014. The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, which lent dozens of historic documents to both the New York Historical Society and Montclair for the exhibitions, has created an online timeline of events, 1913 Armory Show: the Story in Primary Sources, to showcase the records and documents created by the show’s organizers. Showing contemporary work, a third exhibition, The Fountain Art Fair, was held at the 69th Regiment Armory itself during the 100th anniversary during March 8-10, 2013. The ethos of Fountain Art Fair was inspired by Duchamp’s famous, “Fountain” which was the symbol of the Fair. The Art Institute of Chicago, which was the only museum to host the 1913 Armory Show, presented works February 20 – May 12, 2013, the items drawn from the museum’s modern collection that were displayed in the original 1913 exhibition. The DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois presented For and Against Modern Art: The Armory Show +100, from April 4 to June 16, 2013. In addition, the Greenwich Historical Society presented The New Spirit and the Cos Cob Art Colony: Before and After the Armory Show, from October 9, 2013, through January 12, 2014. The show focused on the effects of the Armory Show on the Cos Cob Art Colony, and highlighted the involvement of artists such as Elmer Livingston MacRae and Henry Fitch Taylor in producing the show.

American filmmaker Michael Maglaras produced a documentary film about the Armory Show entitled, “The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show”. The film premiered on September 26, 2013, at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut.

 thanks for following – the eventsfy team

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armory_show