Bratton…reactions to and from Brave and Free Santa Cruz, Sandy Lydon talk, goodbye Linda Burman-Hall, movie critiques. Greensite…on West Cliff Drive well-funded not-so hidden agenda. Schendledecker…what makes safer streets. Steinbruner… county codes and Swenson, coastal commission and grant, new Aptos library, new county charter. Hayes…August’s flower. Patton…Kissinger’s crimes. Matlock…flight risk on the stare away to the big chair. Eagan… Subconscious Comics and Deep Cover. Webmistress pick of the week: strange celebrity talents… Quotes. “Hard Work” & “Labor Day”
DATELINE August 28
BRAVE AND FREE in Santa Cruz.
Joy Schendledecker wrote her weekly piece here in BrattonOnline a couple of weeks ago (August 7). She dealt with and mentioned the Brave and Free group. It caused all sorts of hell. From one reader…
“About the malicious article, it’s clear that Joy knows nothing about Brave and Free and has never been to a meeting. Last week, the featured speaker was Lira Fillipini detailing the work to get the Stop the Skyscrapers on the ballot. We also have had videos about the WEF, the push for digital IDs through the cashless society. Joy has some wonderful politics but she is not cut out for holding office. I don’t think she could win an election as she has alienated some of her base”.
MORE BRAVE AND FREE REACTION. Keith McHenry, who is the co-founder of the global movement Food Not Bombs, wrote a 4000 word response to Joy’s essay. I’m running the entire piece…its well worth thinking about…
JOY FOR MAYOR – Welcome to Brave and Free Santa Cruz
“It’s easy to understand why people in less-educated classes have rallied around Trump as their best warrior against the educated class” – David Brooks – commentator – August 4, 2023.
In her post on BrattonOnline (8/7), Joy Schendledecker may have jumped to some conclusions about the local community group Brave and Free Santa Cruz. I am pleased that she has given me the opportunity to introduce more people to our efforts to protect our health, defend our civil liberties and work for peace.
Brave and Free’s first action was our participation in the Fourth of July Parades in 2022, where we were greeted with enthusiastic support by the public. It seems many people were done with the coercion, restrictions and mandates, and were relieved that someone was breaking the silence.
With economic conditions growing more difficult, with attacks on our privacy through the implementation of biometric ID connected to programmable Central Banks Digital Currency, and with threats of a global war, we need more groups like Brave and Free Santa Cruz that are bringing people together from diverse political, racial and cultural backgrounds.
I have found that people share much more in common with one another than what the media says divides us. We all want to enjoy time with our families and friends. We want to have a safe place to sleep and tasty food to eat, we want to live a life of meaning with dignity.
But those in power want us fighting and have intentionally magnified our differences, fostering a red blue tribalism.
One of the most terrifying features cultivated by those in power is how close-minded people who support their agenda have become. Anyone who isn’t on board is considered a dumb hick Trump Putin puppet.
We are considered that “basket of deplorables”. Yet we are that working class that Joy for Mayor’s campaign literature claimed to be supporting. We are the people who repair your cars, prepare your food and wire your homes. We are people who are capable of thinking for ourselves.
Joy’s essay echoes the perspective of David Brooks, when he sneers at struggling Americans calling us “the less-educated classes”, while also assuming we all support Trump. But really, we are the essential workers. Thankfully, a growing number of people are understanding that the amplified caricature of division exploited by the ruling class isn’t a true depiction of our country. It’s a fiction.
I would have never imagined that the left which I have been a part of for over five decades would come to support NATO expansion and the arming of white nationalists and Nazis. A left that supports the escalation in the nine year Ukrainian war. We denounced Victoria Nuland and her boss Dick Cheney when they instigated the Iraq war based on lies, but we praise her today for starting the war against Russia also based on lies. This conflict with Russia is on the verge of becoming a world war, this time between nuclear armed nations.
This is a left that has abandoned class struggle and instead embraces the master’s hyped-up divide and conquer culture wars. Many of my left friends have become enforcers of the program to geofence ourselves into the billionaire class’s digital prison. A left that has abandoned the right to free speech, and now argues that we must be protected from information that might challenge the interests of the military industrial state.
The gatekeepers of correct-think work at places like the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder, whose website brags of the inclusion of former CIA agents on its board. These gatekeepers work at NATO’s Atlantic Council and the International Monetary Fund, with their plans for a programmable Central Bank Digital Currency linked to biometric facial recognition. They also work at the United Nations, which is promising to provide “proof of personhood’ digital ID for everyone on Earth. No wonder Elon Musk plans to place 65,000 satellites in orbit in this program to connect everyone to their totalitarian matrix. Privacy has vanished.
THE LEFT’S LONG TRADITION OF RESISTING THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE ECONOMY
The left I have been a part of has a long history of organizing against the globalization of the economy. On a chilly March 26, 1981, Food Not Bombs set up its first soup line outside the Federal Reserve Tower on Atlantic Avenue in Boston, to protest the policies of the Bank of Boston, its interlocking board of directors, and their investments in a global web of resource extraction and ghetto creating redlining.
We protested Clinton’s NAFTA. We rallied outside the offices of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund during their annual meetings. In 1992 I joined tens of thousands of labor, environmental and human rights activists in Bonn, West Germany to protest the creation of the Euro and the European Union.
Every year the left gathers in Davos, Switzerland to denounce the exploitative policies of the World Economic Forum. In 1997, I spent two months traveling North America on the UnFree Trade Tour, speaking out against the World Trade Organization’s framework of corporate consolidation. We formed the Direct Action Network, disrupting the WTO’s Seattle summit in November 1999 and took our protest against the WTO to Cancún and Genoa.
I worked with anti-war activist Ronnie Cummings and food sovereignty activist Vandana Shiva on the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign in an effort to stop the patenting of seeds. Private ownership of life is one key element of the trade agreements that we have been fighting against.
So, when the institutions that those of us had spent decades protesting against started to implement what they called Build Back Better, Fourth Industrial Revolution, and “Great Reset”, I knew I had to push back.
CITIZEN POLICING IN THE SERVICE OF THE STATE AND THEIR BILLIONAIRE MASTERS
What surprised me was how many of those I had been working with suddenly came to the defense of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, and his deployment of the military counter measures born from the gain-of-function research that my friends and I had spent decades organizing against.
Even more horrifying was the way these allies willingly enforced the authoritarian orders of the corporate state. They blocked the participation of the working class from their meetings, cafes and film showings, a working class which is understandably suspicious of government mandates and threats to their employment.
So, on the day Biden announced the end of the pandemic, I went to London Nelson Community Center to support Joy’s campaign for mayor. Soon after I arrived, when I failed to show my vaccination papers, three of her supporters started physically assaulting me in this public facility. That “show your papers” demand recalled the dark days of Apartheid South Africa, the East German secret police Stasi or my days with working with Palestinian farmers and merchants on the West Bank. Another local peace activist in her 70’s was also the victim of assault and battery at the same event when she failed to show her papers. Violently brutalizing your supporters might not be the best way to win an election.
Naturally, when I was being personally threatened by the emergence of this new totalitarian atmosphere, I supported the formation of a local movement to stop it. There were many months when my family and I thought we were alone in seeing the formation of a dystopian fascist corporate state. I recalled the sad entries in German artist Kathe Kollwitz’s diary about her colleagues’ growing support of Hitler. It would be months before I would learn that other progressive activists shared my horror at the clampdown.
ARE THESE PEOPLE REALLY GULLIBLE FAR-RIGHT HOMOPHOBIC RACISTS?
Two local women, Diane D. Jones, a retired carpenter, and Kathleen Lynch, a social worker, started Brave and Free Santa Cruz to defend the freedoms that are under attack. Kathleen expressed that you must be brave in these Draconian times if you wished to stay free.
A mass hysteria had ensued against anyone who did not agree with the messaging of the New York Times, National Public Radio and CNN. People were insulted and bullied into compliance with unscientifically based orders. We now know, from FOIA emails of the NIH and court cases that the masking and six foot “social distancing” were just made up by the security agencies without any scientific basis. Stopping the virus dead in its tracks with two injections and two weeks to flatten the curve turned into months of restrictions and regular boosters. Our vaccinated friends kept getting COVID while the unvaccinated rarely contracted the illness. Now, it looks like the drumbeat demanding a return to those failed policies is again growing louder in the halls of government, in the media and online. Another winter of virtue signaling and social control.
I was as frightened as anyone when the pandemic was announced, but I soon started to think that some things were not adding up. My friend, virologist Dr. Shannon Murray, who had spent years at the NIH developing the mRNA technology, warned me against using the experimental countermeasure. She explained that the survival rate of their lab subjects was very poor and that there could be another agenda behind the pandemic.
Yet, those who just years before had been my allies in denouncing the military, the CIA and corporate power were now treating me as though I was diseased. A baseless Witch Hunt of political correctness descended on our community. Noam Chomsky even suggested the unvaccinated be interned in prison camps and left to starve. I could relate to the concerns of Kathleen and Diane.
Joy’s essay included, “I have nothing against any of the individuals in this group, since (as far as I know) I don’t know any of them particularly well. I suspect that a few people that I like very much may be increasingly drawn to them as they are drawn to support RFK Jr’s seriously effed-up presidential bid or Ukraine anti-war positions that may lean towards Putin-apologists.”
ARE THESE PEOPLE REALLY GULLIBLE FAR-RIGHT HOMOPHOBIC ANTI SEMITIC RACISTS? (Part 2)
One of the people Joy doesn’t “know particularly well” is Kathleen Lynch so I will share a bit about her and you can see if you think she is politically naive and would as Joy said, “employ dangerous tropes and misinformation, while partnering with people and organizations that are funded by the far-right”.
When Kathleen was attending San Jose State University, she volunteered with the Catholic Workers sharing meals with the homeless. She became a staff person at the San Jose Peace Center and joined Scott Kennedy and others here in Santa Cruz in organizing against war. She was arrested protesting the nuclear arms race outside Lawrence Livermore Labs, spending two weeks in Santa Rita Jail. She also spent time incarcerated with others from the Abalone Alliance protesting the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station.
Kathleen joined Peace Brigades International and moved to El Salvador, spending 6 years of the war in the zones of combat. She stood between a death squad and striking workers barricaded inside their factory in San Salvador, helping win their demands. She survived aerial bombing raids and armed assaults, secreted people out of the country to freedom and organized women’s groups across the rebel held territories of Morazán.
When she returned to the United States, she organized a patients’ union at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Years later she would walk precincts in the snow in Reno for Bernie Sanders, and proudly stuck a Bernie for President sticker on her car’s bumper. Kathleen has also been an active member of SEIU walking picket lines.
Kathleen was a Medical Social Worker at Good Samaritan and Dominican Hospitals during the pandemic. She taught our Food Not Bombs volunteers the COVID safety protocol. She helped COVID patients, and once Trump’s vaccines were introduced, she found herself helping the vaccine injured navigate the medical system.
Most of you know something about my history. I will share some of what you may not know about to see if you agree with Joy and share her claims that I am also gullible and would let myself be used by the far right.
You may know that I co-founded the global movement Food Not Bombs in 1980. The movement is active in over 1,000 cities in over 65 countries. When Russia’s Special Military Operation started, our Moscow Food Not Bombs volunteers were arrested for marching for peace. A Putin linked white supremacist group murdered several of our volunteers, including Timur Kacharava in St. Petersburg as he was leaving the Food Not Bombs meal in November 2005. So, I am not really a fan of Putin.
This is the background of this “deplorable” who must be an anti-semitic racist homophobe. The suggestion that Brave and Free condones racism and homophobia is odd considering my history.
What you might not know is that the Klan marched around my family’s home in Virginia with flaming torches and threw rocks at our house, because my parents stood up for the rights of our town’s only Jewish family during a PTA meeting. That same elementary school was finally forced to allow black children to attend when I was in the sixth grade, but like me they were placed in the special education class to keep us away from the good white students.
I am proud to count as good friends Black Panther leaders Kiilu Nyasha and Carol Hill. I delivered groceries to the Black Liberation Army controlled housing project at Columbia Point in Boston in the early years of Food Not Bombs. I was the director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, the native American political prisoner, and helped Pam and Ramona Africa on the campaign to free Abu Jamal. I have worked with Food Not Bombs volunteers in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Palestine, Turkey, and dozens of cities in Eastern Europe, Mexico, the Philippines and Indonesia. Racists always join people of color in addressing the suffering of war and poverty.
I participated with Act Up in protests against Anthony Fauci, and the police violence waged against my gay and trans friends in the Castro. I designed the weekly full color drag queen magazine “Current News”, staffed the Kansas City’s Gay Lesbian Hotline, and like most of us I have gay and lesbian friends and family members who I love.
As you may know, I did 500 nights in jail in San Francisco and faced twenty-five to life in prison for my work with Food Not Bombs. I was captured on three occasions and taken to a dark room, had my clothing ripped off, was lifted by my arms and legs until my ligaments and tendons tore, and was stuffed naked into a stress position cage for three days each time.
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force sent a memo to the San Francisco Field Office on August 29, 1988 after witnessing our arrests at Golden Gate Park, claiming Food Not Bombs was a “credible national security threat”. That is a huge endorsement of my ability to organize.
When I arrived at Chris Krohn’s recent San Francisco Mime Troupe after party, a dear friend and owner of Veg News happened to walk by with her brother. He had just finished reading Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” He was excited to tell me that I was included in Zinn’s book. I shared that Howard and I had been friends and that he wrote the forward to my first two books. Chris Hedges wrote the forward to my last text, ‘The Anarchist Cookbook.”
NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE TO WAR AND THE ATTACKS ON OUR FREEDOMS
Again, I tell you all this in response to Joy Schendledecker’s attack against Brave and Free in Bruce Bratton’s newsletter www.BrattonOnline.com (8/7), where she claims the group is some stealth-racist far right group made up by innocent dupes. Do you really think I am that politically unsophisticated?
Kathleen initiated Brave and Free Santa Cruz, using her decades of experience in the peace and social justice movement to inform the strategy of our local resistance to the AI managed digital prison being implemented as this phase of global centralized control. I designed the Brave and Free logo and most of our literature.
Working class people of every background joined the group. We held a series of workshops on how to build a nonviolent movement against a totalitarian government. We asked our members to read “CANVAS: A Guide to Effective Nonviolent Struggle”. A group of about thirty people met at the Resource Center for Nonviolence writing our Values and Mission Statement, as suggested by what we had learned from studying the process that the activists in Serbia had used to build their nonviolent resistance movement against Milosevic, much of which was based on the teachings of Gene Sharp.
When CodePink announced a national protest for an end to the nearly decade long war in Ukraine, the members of Brave and Free Santa Cruz agreed to participate. It was chilling to see our peace rally being hijacked by supporters of Ukrainian Nazi leader Stepan Bandera with their “Clear the Skies” signs. This particularly disturbed me because, in May 2014, I watched a livestream video of a mob attacking the Trade Union Center in Odessa, Ukraine, setting the building on fire and killing over 40 people. Some of those attacking the union hall waved red and black flags that I generally associate with left anarchist allies. So I wrote my Food Not Bombs friends in Ukraine to find out why anarchists were involved. They responded that that was the flag of the far right Nazi group Azov and that their members had been terrorizing our volunteers for years. They said that they had a history of attacking the annual gay pride march and often assaulted the Roma community.
The “Clear the Skies” group at our rally were proud to show me their Facebook pages with Bandera’s photo and red and black profile backgrounds. One board member of the Resource Center for Nonviolence vigorously defended them when I expressed alarm that Nazis were participating in our peace protest, and were calling for an escalation in the conflict that would most certainly lead to a nuclear war. CodePink’s Medea Benjamin also expressed frustration that they had attended our protests. That red and black flag can still be seen in current videos and photos flapping over the graves of those killed during the war in Ukraine, and flying on the tanks provided to them by the taxpayers of America and Europe.
While social media censors their reporting, if you look hard enough you can follow journalists like Patrick Lancaster, Wyatt Reed, and Eva Bartlett who have been reporting from the Donbas for years covering the war.
I am currently getting 15 to 20 heartbreaking calls a morning from seniors who live in rural America, seeking food. Many express anger that we are sending billions of dollars to Ukraine, while they are down to their last can of tuna and don’t have money to buy gas for their car. This crisis is only going to become more dire. LendingTree reported on March 30, 2023 that more than 8.07 million people in the United States were behind in their monthly rent payments.
While nearly half of the members of Brave and Free probably call themselves progressive, we also have support of people who may have voted for Biden or Trump. Some members might be backing Trump, Robert F Kennedy Jr or Dr. Cornel West. Others like myself don’t care at all about the divisive Presidential theater that was designed to pit Americans against one another, to insure we will never be a threat to power. Brave and Free doesn’t endorse any political party or personality. We are united against the threats to our health and freedoms, bound together by our values and mission statement. We stand against war and the increased escalation in Ukraine that brings us closer every day to a nuclear conflict. That is why we chose to hold a rally for peace in Ukraine on Hiroshima Day, the anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons on a city.
THOUGHT POLICE – SUPPORTING CENSORSHIP TO PROTECT CORPORATE DOMINATION
Joy Schendledecker also attacked the website “The Last American Vagabond” where independent journalists like Whitney Webb publish their ground breaking research on the inner workings of power and the role of the mafia, finance, and the security state in building a system of control that has no allegiance to any political party or political personality.
Whitney Webb’s two volume book “One Nation Under Blackmail” provides a detailed account of covert manipulation of our society. I can confirm from direct experience that the perspective on power that she details are accurate. We plan to show one of her interviews at our next meeting. Two of my old leftist friends, Dr Shannon Murray and Palestinian American journalist Sam Husseini both suggested I read Webb’s work, and I am pleased that they introduced me to her research.
When social media started to censor unofficial information and flooded the media with their divide and conquer propaganda, the information provided on far left sites like “The Last American Vagabond” and “The Corbett Report” provided access to information that had been silenced at the request of the state. We now know from discovery in federal lawsuits, FOIA requests and the Twitter Files that the government was able to hide experts who expressed perspectives on the pandemic, war or the economy that interfered with the agenda of the corporate state. We have direct personal connections with the people whose websites we have linked on our website, and we know they are not supporting racists, or homophobic hate.
Joy, you seem to believe that these websites are based on the dog-whistle images on unrelated ads you may see pushed by AI algorithms. You seem to be making things up to fit your ideology. For example, it’s weird to accuse Brave and Free of endorsing a t-shirt simply because it’s on the same merchandise platform as that used by a totally different channel. Currently, I can’t access the braveandfreesantacruz.org website because our “webmaster” Commander X has disappeared with the details, and I have more important things to do. But if I could, I would add more links and sure would not remove the great links we already have.
These censors live among us. Google’s Trust and Safety team is managed by three former CIA agents. A total of 165 people from the Intelligence Community work at Google. Facebook and Twitter also have large numbers of spooks gatekeeping speech. Three years ago, everyone on the left would have been horrified by the use of the security forces to silence dissent.
Our digital history is even being rewritten. The co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, has been making some serious allegations about the manipulation of information on the platform by intelligence agencies, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Information I could find three years ago while writing my memoir has vanished.
Before 2020, those of us on the far left lived by a slogan “Question Authority.” We stood against censorship, militarism, big Pharma, mass surveillance and CIA coups. We supported bodily autonomy, labor rights, the protection of the environment, and defended our civil liberties. That seems to no longer be the case for many of our colleague, who see themselves as the “educated class” and believe that the working class are ignorant antisemitic, homophobic, racist rednecks.
“Obey Authority” has become the slogan of the lockdown liberals.
The black, gay, lesbian, trans and Jewish members of Brave and Free Santa Cruz might not agree with Joy Schendledecker and her depiction of our organization.
Thankfully our movement is growing in response to the increasing threats to our freedom and the very real danger of a global war between nuclear armed nations. I encourage you to join us in what has become one of the most important times in our half century of resistance to the totalitarian policies of these global institutions. I encourage Joy and her supporters to attend one of our meetings to verify their claims.
- BRAVE AND FREE SANTA CRUZ
- ANARCHIST COOK WORDPRESS – PART 1 [with photos]
- ANARCHIST COOK WORDPRESS – PART 2 [with photos]
- THE POST THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO
- Please contact Joy Schendledecker here: email@example.com
SANDY LYDON EVENING…plan ahead. On Saturday October 14 Sandy Lydon will give a talk at the Rio Theatre 1205 Soquel Avenue, East Santa Cruz at 7p.m. He’ll start at 7 and the doors open at 6:15. Tickets will go fast… so go to sandylydon.eventbrite.com. It’s sponsored by Leadership Santa Cruz County. If you want to read more from Sandy like his opinion on the college name change go to sandylydon.com/
WE’LL MISS LINDA BURMAN-HALL. It was and will be nearly impossible to enjoy serious music in our community without thinking about Linda Burman-Hall. Herb teaching music at UCSC for decades, her creating and staging the Baroque Music Festival for so many years and so much more. Even recently Linda’s devotion to the “new” radio station KSQD made it a huge success. She was great fun to go to concerts with because she always knew more than the program notes.
I search and critique a variety of movies only from those that are newly released. Choosing from the thousands of classics and older releases would take way too long. And be sure to tune in to those very newest movie reviews live on KZSC 88.1 fm every Friday from about 8:10 – 8:30 am. on the Bushwhackers Breakfast Club program hosted by Dangerous Dan Orange.
THE POPE’S EXORCIST. (NETFLIX) (6.1 IMDB). This scary, religious horror movie is taken from books by a Roman Catholic priest who actually did some exorcisms in and around the Vatican community. Russell Crowe is the priest and he’s as good as any actor could be in this touch-feely scary role.
TELEMARKETERS. (HBO) (7.7 IMDB). This is a fake documentary about those damned telemarketers who call all of us saying they are with the police and are trying to raise money for some phony police event or cause. It gives us a comedic view of their lives and how fake and almost illegal it is. Watch about half an hour…you’ll learn enough.
GOLDA. (DEL MAR THEATRE). Helen Mirren carries the role of Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan is in it and Liev Schreiber acts as Henry Kissinger. Golda is the first head (prime minister) of the new state of Israel and as you’ll be shown is/was a chain smoker (Chesterfields). It’s absorbing, well made, complex and basically covers the three week Yom Kippur war. Don’t miss it.
SHELTER. (PRIME) (6.6 IMDB) Tough to follow this mystery. A man dies in a terrible car crash…but does he die? His high school age son is nearly devastated but endures several other worldly experiences involving his dad. It’s even light and cute in parts and there’s even a Batlady and a character named Dylan Shakes. Watch at your own risk.
JURY DUTY. (PRIME SERIES) (8.3 IMDB) Be very careful this is billed as a comedy but if you’ve ever been on a jury or been excused from serving on one…it’s no laughing matter. This jury selection takes place in Huntington Beach near LA. (or as we know it “Surf City”). It’s done in a pseudo-documentary style and goes through all the legal time and mind consuming legal steps in how a jury is selected. Not too bad a movie but torture if you’ve ever done time on a complex court case.
FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL. (PRIME SERIES) (7.7 IMDB). Not a new one, but a good one about the disaster during and after the Katrina hurricane that hit New Orleans in August of 2005. Vera Farmiga is one of the staff and all the acting and special effects are well worth watching.
JESUS REVOLUTION. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (7.1 IMDB). A very sweet, well intentioned Christian feel good and true movie about Los Angeles teenagers in the 1970’s. Kelsey Grammer plays a minister who eventually sees that the hippies around his part of LA mean well and they all join together to worship Jesus in a slightly different way.
SPECIAL NOTE….Don’t forget that when you’re not too sure of a plot or need any info on a movie to go to Wikipedia. It lays out the straight/non hype story plus all the details you’ll need including which server (Netflix, Hulu, or PBS) you can find it on. You can also go to Brattononline.com and punch in the movie title and read my take on the much more than 100 movies.
DEPP Vs. HEARD. (NETFLIX SERIES) (4.7 IMDB). Watching all 3 episodes was the guiltiest pleasure I’ve had from a screen in months. I was on Amber Heard’s side against the 60 year old Johnny Depp. And since experts say, “About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced some form of intimate partner violence”. It’s a terrifically spliced together documentary so that we think they were both in court at the same time. They are both actors and you sense it constantly but do watch it…it’ll take you attention away from almost everything.
KILL BOKSOON. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.6 IMDB). She is an assassin and very good at it except that she has a daughter that she loves and who loves her too. It’s a Korean film as so many are these days…and usually they are a cut above
THE BOYS. (PRIME SERIES) (8.7 IMDB). This mess of a takeoff on Marvel Comics has Jack Quaid and a bunch of sillies dressed as Superheroes acting a nutso plot in the real world. Elizabeth Shue is back and is a welcome addition. The rest of the movie isn’t worth your time or rental.
GUILTY MINDS (PRIME SERIES) It takes place mostly in a courtroom in India when a case against a guy who’s like Harvey Weinstein gets charged with and how he handles his case. It’s complex and includes video games even a murder and an abortion. Absorbing but not great.
UNLOCKED. (NETFLIX MOVIE) (6.4 IMDB). A Korean movie that centers on cell phones and hi tech murders. One woman loses her cell phone and a very clever killer finds it and uses it to tease and torture her every single move for days. It’s fast paced, subtle, well-acted and has a surprise ending which is worth watching and waiting for
SEARCHING FOR THE HIDDEN AGENDA
In the above photo, if you recognize the room as city council chambers, you’d be correct. What are the people doing? My computer auto selected “A group of people praying in a church” which is not correct. Another possibility: a group of people simultaneously discovering their shoelaces are untied. Again, incorrect. It is a group of people, including me, being led in Climate calisthenics by the city’s Sustainability and Climate Action Manager at a City Council Study Session regarding West Cliff Drive on August 15th, 2023. The people in the pews include two Department Heads and other senior city staff. On the other side of the podium were four city council members, the city manager and city attorney, the latter two absenting themselves from the calisthenics portion. A total of thirteen city senior staff was in attendance, either in person or via zoom, not including the city clerk and deputy city clerk. Plus, of course the consultant team from Farallon Strategies.
This is the third city-generated public gathering addressing West Cliff Drive that I have attended. All have abundant senior staff and the consulting team in attendance. This one, held in council chambers was named, Understanding the Dynamic Coast. It was largely a repetition of previous meetings with a few updates. If you believe as I do that there is a not-so-hidden agenda here, then some of the consultant and staff comments were signaling.
Repairing last winter’s storm damage to portions of West Cliff Drive appears as an afterthought at these meetings. Even the diverted traffic off West Cliff, causing headaches for residents is labelled a “pilot-study.” Pilot for what? We did get a brief update from the city Public Works director regarding repairing the Bethany Curve Bridge where Woodrow enters West Cliff. Repairing this bridge is key to re-opening the road. According to the director, the inability to secure contractors earlier on means the timeline for the bridge repairs to begin is predicted to be spring of 2024. If fixing the damage and restoring the drive were the main goals, there would be no need for the ongoing involvement of multiple senior staff, repeated public meetings and the ever-present consulting team. Occasional updates from Public Works would be all that is needed.
The council-approved development of a fifty-year vision for West Cliff Drive should not require such an investiture of senior staff, consultants, and public monies and if it does, then maybe we cannot afford to do visioning at this time. Unless behind the scenes, these players already know what they want for West Cliff Drive and are gaming the system to fulfill that goal.
We heard a lot about Adaptive Management Strategies and Adaptive Pathways, which includes “knowns and unknowns.” That there is “regularity uncertainty” which means agencies such as the CA Coastal Commission (CCC) haven’t yet made up their minds about the future of West Cliff Drive. The red flag is if the staff and consultants who are talking with the CCC staff are pushing their agenda of “managed retreat” which will certainly include turning West Cliff into a one-way road. I suggest that is what is happening, and it excludes the public, especially those who will be most impacted by any departure from the current road configuration.
Then there’s Nature-based solutions which are being promoted and we learned have many definitions. We heard that riprap and sea walls can alter surf breaks which is true except the areas of West Cliff which need repairs already have riprap which failed due to lack of maintenance since the 1990’s, according to the engineer from Public Works whose voice has been curiously silent or silenced since the first days after the storm damage. One Nature-based solution to create wider beaches suggested in an online local publication is the depositing of sand off-shore. The writer used Seabright Beach as a great example. That beach, which significantly widened after the Small Crafts Harbor was built, also deflected the mouth of the San Lorenzo River including the build-up of a summer berm leading to flooding of the Boardwalk basement, necessitating the recent erection of expensive pipelines and pumps to keep the river lagoon water level at five feet. Be careful fiddling with Mother Nature.
We heard from the consultants that there will be limitations in future funding from the state and national levels (not supported by evidence, nor does it apply to repairing the current damage) with the conclusion that the burden for resilience will be shifted back to the local level. Does this imply that future economic development along West Cliff will therefore have to be accepted? The non-profit Save The Waves which has an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the city and accepted money from the city according to its website, highlights economic development for this stretch of the coast.
The constant refrain is that there will inevitably be similar damage from future storms, a conclusion not supported by statements from the city engineers. Of course, if repairing the current damage is delayed, there may be more damage this winter, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The consultant handed it over to the city manager to conclude the meeting. His words suggest a very different future in the works for West Cliff Drive. He advised everyone “to recognize the moment, to be bold, to be innovative and forward-thinking. At the heart of all this is to build out the innovative, ambitious fifty-year vision. A foundational vision for achieving some really exciting things along West Cliff over the decades to come.”
The need to fix the damage, to return the road to its pre-damaged state for all to enjoy, to protect the lower westside neighborhoods that will be devastated if they shoulder the burden of future diverted traffic doesn’t rate even a bit part in this vision. That exclusion will not sit well with those impacted. I expect there will be bold, innovative resistance.
|Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association http://darksky.org Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.|
WHAT MAKES SAFER STREETS, AND FOR WHOM?
Last Saturday I moderated the “Safe Streets” panel at the Transportation Justice Conference put on by the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation. It was an honor to be part of the conversation, and a great opportunity for me to dive into the subject of street safety and “Vision Zero.”
Vision Zero is a program adopted in Sweden in 1997 to eliminate traffic-related serious injury and death. Dozens of countries, and dozens of cities in the US, have adopted it in various iterations since then. At the US federal level, the National Roadway Safety Strategy and Zero Deaths and The Safe System integrate Vision Zero principles, with “Safe Streets and Roads for All” funded by “Build Back Better” infrastructure funding (aka H.R.3684 – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act).
There are six principles that form the basis of the Safe System approach: deaths and serious injuries are unacceptable, humans make mistakes, humans are vulnerable, responsibility is shared, safety is proactive, and redundancy is crucial. Instead of the Street Smarts program created in San Ramon 3 Es (Education, Engineering, and Enforcement), Vision Zero is moving from individual blame to shared responsibility, including for those who design and implement the systems.
I see a kinship between Vision Zero principles and Harm Reduction and Abolitionist philosophies.
“By taking action at the local (and state) levels to prioritize safety in our policies and practices, we can create a new reality in which everyone — those of us walking and driving, and those of us riding a bus or a bike —feel safe and comfortable moving about our communities.” Vision Zero Network
According to the National Harm Reduction Coalition: “Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.”
Miriam Kaba defines abolition as: “It’s trying to bring into being a world where we have everything that we need to survive and thrive. …That includes food and shelter and education and health and art and beauty and all the things. That’s what PIC [Prison Industrial Complex] abolition is as a framework and a practice.”
The City of Santa Cruz Public Works has been using the “Street Smarts” program. Though in 2019 city council passed their Vision Zero resolution, with a year-long Street Smarts media campaign as the main educational component, county-wide. In addition, the City of Santa Cruz 2021 Local Roadway Safety Plan addresses safety for unhoused pedestrians and cyclists, but not for others with access and functional needs.
At the county level, significant and ongoing unmet needs have been laid out by the county Elder and Disability Transportation Advisory Committee. Vision Zero is working to support municipalities and bring together agencies that historically have not collaborated much, but clearly there are deep structural and cultural challenges to full, fast implementation.
For a fascinating (depending on how much you like public policy) look at some of the challenges with implementing Vision Zero on our local streets, balancing the needs of all street users–including people with disabilities and those who feel unsafe in other ways than by traffic–watch the presentation and community dialog on Item 15 of the March 15th council meeting.
Caption: Under equality, everyone gets the same resources. Under equity, the specific historical and present-day circumstances and abilities of individuals and communities are taken into consideration to provide appropriate solutions that provide everyone with opportunities to live safe and healthy lives. © 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Modified, with permission, by FHWA. https://highways.dot.gov/safety/zero-deaths/equity-roadway-safety
Another problem is the continuation of traditional enforcement measures within many adaptations of Vision Zero. For example, California Office of Traffic Safety (CA OTS) grants money to local police departments for enforcement programs. One funded program is “Before Aggressive Drivers Get Everyone Stopped” or BADGES, a multi-jurisdiction effort focused on enforcement, in place since at least 2006 and ongoing through at least September 2023.
Meanwhile, Santa Cruz County traffic stop data shows a continued pattern of racial profiling in traffic stops. Police accountability and transparency is sorely lacking in all four municipalities, though to comply with state law AB 953, The Racial Profiling and Identity Act of 2015, we should be seeing that data in their transparency portals any day now.
Image caption: screenshot of https://www.santacruzcounty.us/VisionSantaCruz/PerformanceMeasurement/TransparencyPortal.aspx
I have lots more I want to write but I’m past my deadline! See my notes and an article that I didn’t find a way to link to here. Perhaps there will be a part 2 to this column soon, getting more into mobility justice and traffic stops. In the meantime, I’ll end with an extended quote from the website of Bike East Bay.
“People experience different intersectional barriers to mobility and feeling safe on our streets such as car-based violence, harassment, economic insecurity and public policies and processes. Mobility Justice is about investing in and supporting innovation in our marginalized communities so that we can all move free, safe, and unafraid.” And “We work with people who have lost loved ones to traffic and police violence, in neighborhoods left behind by systemic racism, and fight bureaucracies that neglect the human impacts of its actions. In the face of grief, trauma and frustration, we revive and sustain ourselves by nurturing, healing and caring for each other.”
“We work to ensure transportation planning and policies are developed, applied, and implemented to counter and redress the effects of systemic and institutional racism. We prioritize improving safety and access to bicycling for people of color, lower-income people, and immigrants to improve the health outcomes of these communities. We recognize people of color are more likely to be stopped by police for bicycle and pedestrian infractions and we will call on local police departments to disavow racially biased traffic enforcement. We strongly believe that displacement is a transportation issue and we work to keep communities in place.”
|Joy Schendledecker is an artist, parent, and community organizer. She lives on the Westside of Santa Cruz with her husband, two teens, mother in law, and cats. She was a city of Santa Cruz mayoral candidate in 2022. You can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.|
COUNTY CODE COMPLIANCE IS COMPLACENT FOR SWENSON
Last week, I included some photos here regarding the problems that Swenson’s Aptos Village Project Phase 2 is causing the public and the environment. I filed a Complaint with the Santa Cruz County Code Compliance Dept. about Swenson’s contractors using most of what little public parking is left on Aptos Creek Road, even using a large pickup truck tailgate parked in front of a fire hydrant in a red curb zone. I asked why the County was allowing this, when there is a Swenson mobile construction trailer and space for parking within the construction zone?
County Code Compliance’s answer below is shocking. Please write Matt Machado email@example.com and express your thoughts on the matter.
We understand that this project might bring challenges to public roads and public parking. However, the public space utilized by the project helps meet its needs/goals to make expected progress and will only be temporarily. We appreciate your time.
COASTAL COMMISSION DELAYS CONSIDERATION OF COUNTY’S PLANNING DOCUMENT
The Coastal Commission will grant itself a delay of up to one year for further consideration and approval of the County’s Local Coastal Plan (LCP) proposed update for dense in-fill development in the coastal areas.
The next California Coastal Commission meeting is September 6-8. It is a hybrid format, with in-person meeting in Eureka (location recently changed to accommodate many large wildland fires in that area). The Commission will take actions on September 6 that affect Santa Cruz County.
Although the County’s LCP was deemed complete on May 24, 2023, the updates within are so significant, tne Commission needs more time to review them. LCP-3-SCO-23-0004-1-Part B (Sustainability Update – Time Extension)
The proposed update would affect agricultural and urban areas in the coastal zones, and would restructure the permitting schemes, change zoning regulations “(including expanding allowable uses in most zoning districts and changing development and design standards), among other changes.”
- The proposed updates would “foster mixed-use development within existing developed communities and along primary transportation corridors. The amendment also updates much of the LCP’s background text regarding the County’s physical, social, and biological context, allowed uses within particular zoning districts, and standards related to priority land uses and potential conversion of those uses, among other things.”
CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION AWARDS $780,000 GRANT TO SANTA CRUZ COUNTY FOR CONSULTANTS TO STUDY SEA LEVEL RISE IMPACTS AND ADAPTATION PLANS
When in doubt, do a study, and hire expensive consultants to do it. The California Coastal Commission is set to approve awarding the County of Santa Cruz a $780,000 grant to hire a consultant to study the impacts of sea level rise, gather “robust” public input, and make some recommendations as to how the County could adapt. Planner David Carlson asked for $733,000 in the application. Take a look at the cost of the consultants vs. staff. The photos are amazing, but there are none from the flooding in the coastal areas in the unincorporated areas near Watsonville.
I guess the Commission has extra money…and will award an extra $50,000 more than what Planner Carlson requested from the $31 million the State has made available. What is not clear is why.
“Staff recommends that the Commission award $780,000 in Local Coastal Program (LCP) Local Assistance grant funds to the County of Santa Cruz to complete a series of technical studies on sea level rise (SLR) hazards, economic impacts, and adaptation pathways that will culminate in an LCP amendment on SLR. The project would build adaptation approaches at both the countywide and neighborhood scale, including phased, trigger-based adaptation pathways, as described in the County’s grant application”
I always wonder why such recommendations for our Communities have to come from an outside consultant that knows little about the area?
WILL YOU PLEASE RECONSIDER THAT?
The dates of the LAFCO Resolution approved August 2, 2023 to order the Branciforte Fire Protection District to dissolve are all inaccurate and the CalPERS cost analysis of moving the Branciforte Fire staff over to the Scotts Valley Fire District staff expired July 1, 2023. There was no accurate budget information given to the Commission to verify the repeated claim that “this ship is sinking”. Information supplied by the County Elections Clerk, Ms. Tricia Webber, showed that if there were to be district-based elections after the consolidation, Branciforte Fire District voters would have 51% representation in their district, and will compose more than 10% of the total voters in the combined Scotts Valley Fire District, not 7%, as LAFCO’s staff claimed.
For these reasons and more, I filed a REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION, for Public Benefit, with the LAFCO, as any person can do. I feel this is important because LAFCO is planning, in my opinion, a number of annexations (or “reorganizations”, as this one has been termed) and the manner in which the Branciforte Fire Protection District is handled sets a precedent.
As it stands, the people in that existing District will surrender all monies and assets that include their fire station and engines, yet have no effective representation.
At the time of writing this, LAFCO has not yet posted the agenda for the September 6, 2023 meeting when the REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION will be heard. Meeting Schedule, Agendas & Minutes | Santa Cruz LAFCO
NEW APTOS LIBRARY GETS BIG MONEY BOOST FROM FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY
Last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors accepted $394,000 from the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. Listen to the presentation here, as Item #7
The new library is massive, and is due to open in October. I am glad to see the solar panels on the roof…projected to supply all the energy the library will need for operation.
NEW LIVE OAK LIBRARY ANNEX MOVING ALONG BUT WILL HAVE NO BOOKS
If you haven’t visited the Simpkins Swim Center lately, you might be interested in knowing what the new Live Oak Library Annex is looking like these days. Even though the County used monies from Measure S Library taxation to pay for this, there will be no books and no librarian there.
Contact your County Board of Supervisors with your thoughts; Board of Supervisors firstname.lastname@example.org
WE WILL PAY OVER $9,000 EACH MONTH FOR THE NEXT 13 YEARS FOR A PARK THAT KIDS CAN’T SAFELY ACCESS?
Last Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors swiftly approved $2.3 million to purchase the 38-acres property at 188 Whiting Road for a new park out near the County Fairgrounds, with zero discussion regarding how kids will be able to safely access the proposed “temporary soccer fields”.
While the staff report made claims of collaboration and agreements with the Fairgrounds, this park has never been publicly discussed as an agenda item by the Fair Board in the last four years and the current CEO knew nothing about the new park next to the Fairgrounds.
Will it be safe for kids to ride their bikes on Highway 152? The alternate route is Paulsen Road, which is narrow and has no shoulder.
The deal has been struck behind closed doors. The taxpayers will shoulder $9,000 every month to pay for this purchase at a time when Parks Dept. cannot even take care of what they already have, and upgrading the existing County-owned Pinto Lake Park or developing the vacant County-owned land at Freedom Boulevard and Crestview where families can easily and safely access the parks was never even discussed.
Write Parks Director Jeff Gaffney email@example.com with your thoughts and solutions.
WHAT ABOUT A NEW COUNTY CHARTER?
Tune in this Friday at 1pm to Santa Cruz Voice and “Community Matters” to hear a discussion about what happened when citizens tried to change the Santa Cruz County Charter.
A HAPPY AFTERNOON CONCERT IN FELTON
Many thanks to Hallcrest Vineyards in Felton for the wonderful outdoor concert featuring well-known cowboy singer and song writer Dave Stamey and Annie Lydon singing harmony. It was a great venue, and wonderful music for a lighthearted afternoon.
WRITE ONE LETTER. MAKE ONE CALL. ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING AND ASK QUESTIONS THAT SIMPLY NEED TO BE ANSWERED. GO TO A CONCERT AND HAVE SOME FUN.
MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK BY JUST DOING SOMETHING.
Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.
Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com
California harebell is the native wildflower I’m challenging folks to seek in the near future. August seems like it might be a difficult month to see wildflowers, but this species wasn’t easy to pick out from a wide variety of native wildflowers blossoming right now. I picked California harebell (Smithiastrum prenanthoides) because it is not easy to find, but finding it will lead to lots of other discoveries.
Harebells – what an evocative name! Perhaps this common name is from association with rabbit (hare) habitat. I haven’t heard anyone call a local rabbit a hare, but I just saw a large rabbit in the high snowy areas of the Eastern Sierra Nevada which is called a ‘snowshoe hare.’ It would be a mistake to associate this California harebell with bunnies for reasons I’ll share in a bit.
Harebells are common garden plants for folks who are keen on blue flowers in their gardens. Blue is a sought-after flower color for gardeners, and harebells in the garden area large, luxuriant bell-shaped flowers. Our California harebell, however, is a speck of a blue flower, easily overlooked. And, with additional irony, our harebell is not bell shaped, at all. This is getting confusing!
One day, if anyone wants to help, I’ll lead a common name registry for plants…to help solve some of the confusion with names. How many people have given up on plant identification from frustration with Latin names or the many vastly different common names assigned to plants. There is also the problem with common names that don’t fit. Like, in this case, ‘bellflower’ – I was imagining what one would need to do in order to make a bell shaped like this flower. The bell would have had to have been made of pliable metal and dropped from a very high location to explore the side of the bell in ribbons. Somehow, in this scenario, the ‘clapper’ of the bell would have to survive to stick way outside of the exploded body. If I were to rename this windflower in a way that makes it easier to relate to the plant, I’d call it something like ‘tiny blue woodland trumpets’ The plural in this case because you always see the flower in bunches, never singly. Delving into the Latin is a cause for a headache, but bear with me to discover what botanists put up with.
When I first learned the plant, it was called Campanula prenanthoides but then it was changed to Smithiastrum prenanthioides. My botanist friends did their solid best to train me to this new name and then I started writing this essay to discover the name has changed yet again to Asyneuma prenanthoides – that genus has similar non-bell shaped flowers but is found in Northern Africa and Eurasia, with lots of interesting species found in Turkey. Being a gardener, and squint as I may, I couldn’t see how this plant was a campanula except for its beautiful blue color. So, any of these new names are better than the old one, with its odd reference to what might otherwise conjure bells and rabbits and such. Oh, but the common name stayed!
If you can get past the issue of Latin names, which seem here to stay with the classification of Life, there is one thing you might celebrate about the bouncing about of Latin names. Let’s smile and shout out cheerily every time something changes its Latin name. It means that someone is making a living studying, and publishing, taxonomy. Yes, someone is actually making a living studying the relationships of living beings to one another.
Where to Look
Back in the real world of flowers, how might you find these beautiful blue wildflowers? Santa Cruz County is ALMOST the southern range limit of this species along the coast. Botanical wizard extraordinaire Dean Taylor documented the species on the West Slope of Cushing Mountain in Big Sur- so, maybe others can find the species in more Monterey County locations. In Santa Cruz County, look in dark moist spots in forests. I find it in areas that are seepy in the winter and dry and shady in the summer where there isn’t much competition. Roadcuts are good, but let’s try to find the species where roads haven’t made marks.
Visiting shady forests is a good thing to do in midsummer, anyways, don’t you agree? Get cool, smell that distinct warm redwood scent, feel the crunch crunch of dry redwood branchlets and needles under your feet. And, celebrate the lack of smoke in the air this summer, at least for the time being.
Grey Hayes is a fervent speaker for all things wild, and his occupations have included land stewardship with UC Natural Reserves, large-scale monitoring and strategic planning with The Nature Conservancy, professional education with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and teaching undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz. Visit his website at: www.greyhayes.net
Email Grey at firstname.lastname@example.org
Having recently had a birthday, Henry Kissinger is now over 100 years old. If you don’t know who he is, please feel free to click the following link, which will take you to an extensive Wikipedia write up on Dr. Kissinger.
The unflattering picture of Kissinger, reproduced above, comes courtesy of an online story from the London Times, dated in May 2021. This current blog posting of mine, referencing Kissinger, was stimulated by a May 24, 2023, story published by Democracy Now. Here’s the Democracy Now headline, with a link to the story:
To summarize what Democracy Now has to say, let me give you the initial paragraph:
A bombshell new investigation from The Intercept reveals that former U.S. national security adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was responsible for even more civilian deaths during the U.S. war in Cambodia than was previously known. The revelations add to a violent résumé that ranges from Latin America to Southeast Asia, where Kissinger presided over brutal U.S. military interventions to put down communist revolt and to develop U.S. influence around the world. While survivors and family members of these deadly campaigns continue to grieve, Kissinger celebrates his 100th birthday this week. “This adds to the list of killings and crimes that Henry Kissinger should, even at this very late date in his life, be asked to answer for,” says The Intercept’s Nick Turse, author of the new investigation, “Kissinger’s Killing Fields.” We also speak with Yale University’s Greg Grandin, author of Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman (emphasis added).
When I was in college, I read what was then Kissinger’s brand-new and much-heralded book, The Necessity of Choice. I gather, from an online search, that this book is pretty much out of print, today. Amazon reported having two paperback copies available (as of May 24, 2023), with the low-priced paperback listed at $84.73. Yesterday (I just checked), those seem to have been sold. I couldn’t find my own copy, which kind of surprised me, since I never throw away a book, but I haven’t exhausted all the bookshelves on which I might have lodged it, and if I can find my copy, maybe I can make some money by selling it off. I more or less remember thinking that the book was quite good, when I read it, shortly after it was published in 1962, but then I met Kissinger personally. Having done so, I have never since been a fan.
MY HENRY KISSINGER STORY
As I say, I did meet Henry Kissinger personally, at Stanford University – and I had some dealings with him. This was back in 1964; at least, I think so. I am a bit unclear on the actual date; it could have been in 1963. Having just read in the Democracy Now story that Kissinger should really be considered a war criminal, I thought I would tell my personal “Henry Kissinger Story,” to demonstrate to those reading this blog why I am NOT a Henry Kissinger fan – aside from the fact that there is a good argument that he is, and should be considered, a war criminal. Based on my personal experience, I expect the worst from Henry Kissinger, always, and I am not that surprised to hear about how he, personally, helped our government to commit atrocities not previously all that evident. As I reviewed the Wikipedia entry on Kissinger, I noted that it says that the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Kissinger, in 1973, was “controversial.” Well, those who protested were definitely on to something!
I entered Stanford University as a freshman in the Fall of 1961, and during the 1961-1962 academic year, I lived in Wilbur Hall, a dormitory for freshmen men. During the Fall and Winter Quarters of the 1962-1963 academic year, I attended the Stanford overseas campus in Tours, France. I was back on the Stanford campus for the Spring Quarter of 1963, residing in Stern Hall. I also lived in Stern Hall during the 1963-1964 academic year.
While living at Stern, I helped coordinate the Stern Hall “Guest In Residence Program.” Again, I am not certain, now, what year this was. Notable people would come and actually live in the dormitory, eat with the students, and also make speeches for the campus and community at large. During the time I helped run the program, Henry Kissinger was our invited guest. As I say, I am pretty sure that was sometime during the 1963-1964 academic year.
I can’t remember all my responsibilities, but I guess I was considered to be “in charge” of the Guest In Residence Program the year that Kissinger was our guest – although I certainly had played no part in deciding whom to invite. One day, I was called to the phone, to take a call from Dr. Kissinger. There were no “texts” or “emails.” Phones were the high-tech way to communicate, and the call from Dr. Kissinger, which somehow came to me, was made four days before Kissinger was supposed to arrive for his stay at Stern Hall. In the call, Dr. Kissinger told me that he wasn’t coming – at least, he wasn’t coming if I couldn’t pay his first-class airfare to and from Stanford. I think that was then about $1,000. Kissinger was under contract to show up, and there were no provisions in his contract for any reimbursement for transportation. I did know about the contract, and so I reported the contractual situation to Dr. Kissinger. Well, said Kissinger, that was his booking agent’s fault, but WE were going to have to rectify it.
I had not made the arrangements with Kissinger myself, but I was now tasked with getting Kissinger another $1,000 or so, all within a couple of days. If I couldn’t deliver, the whole program would go down in flames.
I more or less remember appealing to the President’s office, and to the Politics Department, and to the administrators of Stern Hall. Somebody, and I don’t remember who, did come through. The money was found. Kissinger came.
When he arrived at Stern Hall, Kissinger was met by an official delegation, and I was among them. He shook my hand cordially, and gave me a big smile. No apologies for shaking down the program. No acknowledgment that he had acted badly.
Like I say, I am NOT a fan of Henry Kissinger. And I am not a fan of his war-mongering foreign policy either.
If you would like to learn a bit more about the kind of foreign policies that Kissinger has enabled, I do suggest that you read the article in Democracy Now. Or, read what The Nation has to say, in its article, “Kissinger, War Criminal – Still at Large at 100.”
On the other hand, there are those who celebrate Kissinger. The former President of Armenia, for instance, Armen Sarkissian, calls him a “great teacher of statesmen.” Click this link to read what Sarkissian has to say. If you can penetrate the paywall erected by The Wall Street Journal, you will find that Sarkissian finds great virtue in the kind of cynical realpolitik that qualifies Kissinger for that “war criminal” designation, in the eyes of others.
Eyes like mine.
Like I say, I am NOT a fan.
Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net
Email Gary at email@example.com
FLIGHT RISK ON THE STAREAWAY TO THE BIG CHAIR
Donald Trump surrendered on Thursday of last week after being indicted by the Fulton County Georgia grand jury, with all the hoopla that one might expect from him as he took advantage of the prime time TV coverage that milked his every move as he traveled from New Jersey to Georgia and back again. A threatened “major news conference” to prove his innocence with “new evidence” was cancelled the previous Monday at his legal team’s insistence since his claims were without merit, though he insisted he is innocent of any wrongdoing and is being politically persecuted, a broken record that is wearing awfully thin at this point as the evidence continues to mount. Trump’s attempts to relitigate the stolen election claim within the cases against him will certainly be a sticking point for the legal system and will require a strong push to keep him at bay.
Trump had earlier expressed his unhappiness about the judge setting his bond at $200K in the Fulton County Georgia case, but confirmed that he would nonetheless surrender, at the same time lashing out at DA Fani Willis in a bizarre, mocking post on Truth Social. “The failed District Attorney of Fulton County, Fani Willis, insisted on a $200,000 bond from me,” he wrote. “I assume, therefore, that she thought I was a ‘flight’ risk – I’d fly far away, maybe to Russia, Russia, Russia, share a gold domed suite with Vladimir, never to be seen or heard from again.” He added, “Would I be able to take my very ‘understated’ airplane with the gold TRUMP affixed for all to see? Probably not, I’d be much better off flying commercial – I’m sure nobody would recognize me!” Sure, and maybe Putin can arrange a small business jet for the last leg of your journey!
Trump’s bond agreement, known as a consent bond order, sets strict rules for his release. He will not be allowed to communicate with witnesses or co-defendants about the case, except through his lawyers, and is barred from intimidating witnesses or co-defendants. He cannot make any “direct or indirect threat of any nature against the community or to any property in the community,” including in “posts on social media or reposts of posts” from others on social media. His attorneys crack the whip as much as they dare on this restriction, but try as they might, the uncontrollable Former Guy can hardly restrain himself as he slowly digs a deeper hole. Bond agreements set for eighteen of Trump’s co-conspirators varied in bond amounts and court orders, though restrictions were not as strict as those set for Trump, and all were charged and processed during the week like any other arrestee, with fingerprints and a mug shot taken at the main county jail. The booking during prime-time viewing hours was also said by some to be an effort by Trump to minimize the charges and distract from the indignity of his surrender, but the almost instantaneous offer by his campaign for t-shirts with the newly released mugshot dispels that notion. “NEVER SURRENDER” it blares beneath the glowering and hostile shot of the former prez, a pose that he undoubtedly aped, and rehearsed…unlike an unexpected arrest, from a black and white shot of Adolf Hitler, as posted on Steve Schmidt’s The Warning blog on Saturday, August 26…a picture is worth a thousand words.
Some are calling Trump’s look as “The Kubrick Stare,” one of movie director Stanley Kubrick’s techniques, where he had the character stare at the camera with a forward tilt, conveying to the viewer that the individual on the screen has reached the peak of mental derangement. Think Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’; R. Lee Emery in ‘Full Metal Jacket’; and Malcolm McDowell in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ One writer refers to the Greek myth where the goddess Athena punished Medusa by transforming her hair into a bed of serpents, whereupon this monster creation would then turn to stone anyone who gazed into her eyes. Seems right! Instead of snakes, Trump’s head may be covered in mousse or spray, but avoid those eyes. As writer John Waters mightsuggest, our Hairpiece Himmler may use cornstarch to stiffen his locks…which would explain why he avoids going out into the rain, and by ignoring Melania or Barron, keeps his umbrella to himself, otherwise…Gravy Train!
Megan Garber in The Atlantic says, “Welcome to the age of mugshot rule. Trump, evidently pleased with his portrait, broadcasted it on social media. The caption he appended to the shot suggests that, in this elemental legal document, questions of legality are beside the point. And it attempts to turn the language of the accusation against itself. It is a reminder to all who see it of the threat embodied by a vengeful Trump. His photo is a symbolic gesture, but is also something of an omen. This will never be over, it suggests. That face, with all its dangers, will only become more difficult to avoid.” Ned Ryun of the American Majority, a conservative political-training organization, was asked by Fox host Jesse Watters to comment on the mugshot, in reply saying that Republicans should counter with their own indictments. “You’re saying Republicans should promise mugshots of Democrats,” Watters suggested. “One hundred percent,” Ryun shot back. Fox’s Sean Hannity began his show, displaying Trump’s new picture, with the intro, “You are looking at Joe Biden – oh, I’m sorry, Donald Trump’s official mugshot.” Pausing, he went on, “Joe Biden will be soon enough anyway.”
Former Trump attorney, the indicted Kenneth Chesebro, apparently attempted to get DA Willis in a bind with trial scheduling, by requesting a speedy trial, which by law must occur within the next succeeding regular court term, after August 31. Consequently, if a trial is not initiated within sixty days, the defendant goes free, per Georgia law. Chesebro probably choked when Willis indicated she’s ready to go, scheduling a trial on October 23; Trump and his team probably choked since they have been attempting to delay the start of trials until the 2024 election is past. By doing this, citizen Trump might be able to lose twenty-five more pounds of weight, and reach a height of seven feet; upon his arrest in New York he told registrants that he was 6’2″ and 240 pounds, but at his Fulton jail processing he had lost twenty-five pounds and grown an inch taller! Or maybe the lifts in his shoes are saltwater logged. Stormy Daniels then posted on X, “Mmmkay! And I’m 110 lbs and a virgin!” She says she’s known 215 pound men, and Tiny Trump was not one of them.
Alina Habba, attorney and legal mouthpiece for Trump, was interviewed by Fox News Sunday host, Shannon Bream following the Georgia booking, saying, “We’re not concerned because we know the facts of these cases, which I can’t get into obviously for privileged reasons. But I can tell you it’s to tie him up, it’s definitely political.” Habba insists there is no need to prep Trump for any of the four pending trials he’s facing, and the team isn’t concerned because he’s “intelligent.” Bream didn’t fall over backwards, nor ask Habba for clarification on this pronouncement, but we can visualize the MAGA base across the nation, in unison, nodding their heads in agreement. No, that was NOT a Taylor Swift earthquake, only marbles rolling inside spacious skulls, but it was terrifyingly real! Attorney Habba went on to say, “If this was a normal person, I could understand the concern. President Trump is not your average person. He’s incredibly intelligent and he knows the ropes. He knows the facts because he lived them.” She then says he doesn’t have to be prepped for the truth, not when you’ve done nothing wrong. Alina, Alina, Alina…now tell us how a person so smart gets into multiple quagmires of these magnitudes? Oh, and Your Honor, in an effort to guarantee a fair trial, we move for a change of venue to the defendant’s imagination…and free baby unicorns for all.
And keep sending money, folks. Remember, our ex-Commander-In-Cheat is running out of money, having spent more than half of his grifting funds on legal fees this year. It’s reported that his ‘Save America’ pac, which is paying his legal bills, is running low on cash. Assuming he even has it, he certainly won’t be spending any of his personal funds on his troubles…it’s a service to the country, his standing between US and THEM! Donations to the Trump Presidential Campaign see 10% going to the pac. Even Crazy Rudy Giuliani is running out of money, selling off personal property to stay afloat. A trip to Mar-a-Lago to beg for Trump’s assistance on his defense fund resulted only in a promise from The Don that he would sponsor a fund raiser for America’s Mayor, but we know where that’s headed, right? When Trump did fundraising for Herschel Walker’s Senate Campaign during the midterms season, only 10% went to Hersch, so we suggest, Rudy, that you keep those Ebay fires burning!
Recently, CNBC reported that several of Trump’s indicted co-conspirators who put their efforts into overturning Joe Biden’s election, were never paid by the Trump crime syndicate for their legal work, and topping the list are Rudy, Sidney Powell, and John Eastman. Giuliani, who worked five days a week during the last two months of 2022, will never see the $800K in fees he billed – a handshake will have to suffice. All they have to show for their loyalty is careers in the dumpster, and serious criminal charges that may result in prison terms. It appears that Loser Trump took in $250M in donations off his Stop the Steal attorneys, while funneling money into the ‘Save America’ political pac, leaving his loyal band on the outside looking in, as he paid a contingent of different lawyers to serve his own interests. Never mistake the crime syndicate’s godfather for a truth teller. We can only hope that by stiffing this band of corrupt attorneys, the unprincipled Trump has contributed to his own demise.
A few weeks ago, Trump spoke at a rally in Ohio for 103 minutes, speaking over the music playing as they tried to turn off this windbag. “This is deeply, deeply weird,” tweeted conservative writer, Tom Nichols of The Atlantic. “It really is Jonestown-level stuff. These people are worshiping a real estate developer from Queens who can barely hold a thought in his head. This is beyond un-American. It’s psychotic. I think Democrats should run clips of the rally and ask: ‘Is this the party you want running the country?’ Trump is the best weapon Democrats have.” Retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey warned, “Astonishing Trump language. The crowd is similar to a Nuremberg rally in 1936. A lawless Trump in office after a 2024 election would slide us into autocracy and deny our Constitutional safeguards. This is our greatest danger as a nation since 1860.” “Very scarily and tragically, this will only get worse…a rally or a death cult?” wondered Arne Duncan, former Education Secretary. Washington Post columnist, Helene Olen reported, “This is seriously strange. Also: notice the empty seats.” Poignantly, Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote, “Fascism…now with music!” But thanks to Alina Habba, we are assured that he is intelligent!
On Monday Trump posted on Truth Social, “Roomer (sic) are strong in political circles that Ron DeSanctimonious, whose Presidential run is a shambles, and whose poll numbers have absolutely crashed, putting him 3rd and 4th in some states, will be dropping out of the Presidential race in order to run, in Florida, against Rick Scott for Senate. Now that’s an interesting one, isn’t it?” Providing no basis or source for this “roomer”, he later posted, “THE GREATEST & ‘HOTTEST’ FORM, SYSTEM, & PLATFORM OF COMMUNICATION IN AMERICA, & INDEED THE WORLD, TODAY. THAT’S WHY I USE IT. THERE IS NOTHING THAT COMES EVEN CLOSE!!!” Looks as though he needs a more intelligent Spellcheck to make it halfway decent! Now, back to you Ron!?
A scene at the Pearly Gates: God asks George W. Bush, “What do you believe in?” W answers, “I believe in the free market, and a strong, faithful America!” “Very well, come sit at my right hand,” says God. He then asks Barack Obama, “And, what do you believe in?” Barry replies, “I believe in the power of democracy, with equal rights for all!” “Come, sit on my left,” says God. Facing Donald Trump, he says, “I hear you are intelligent…what do you believe in?” Glaring back, Trump answers, “I believe you’re sitting in my chair.” Sounds of trumpets, thunder…lightning flashes…over and out!
Dale Matlock, a Santa Cruz County resident since 1968, is the former owner of The Print Gallery, a screenprinting establishment. He is an adherent of The George Vermosky school of journalism, and a follower of too many news shows, newspapers, and political publications, and a some-time resident of Moloka’i, Hawaii, U.S.A., serving on the Board of Directors of Kepuhi Beach Resort. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Deep Cover” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.
(and hard work)
“Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.”
~Gordon B. Hinckley
“You always pass failure on your way to success.”
“Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”
Here’s a neat little Graham Norton compilation of strange celebrity talents…
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