The President’s Speech & My Random Observations


 

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Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Imagine yourself as an African American girl seeing this scene and how different it is from past inaugurations

Imagine yourself as an African American girl seeing this scene and how different it is from past inaugurations

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Imagine killing with or being killed by a Civil War Sword

Imagine killing with or being killed by a Civil War Sword

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

Collective ActionBut we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

Dr. Benjamin Spock

Dr. Benjamin Spock with Julia Suzanne Weber

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

Ask Not-KennedyWe, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.

Quoth Richard Milhous Nixon

Quoth Richard Milhous Nixon

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

StonewallWe, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

****************

Words may show a man’s wit, actions his meaning.”–Benjamin Franklin.

…blood drawn by sword…  This phrase of the President gives me pause and reminds me of Phil Ochs (who I think was some kind of distant cousin), who sang in “I ain’t a marchin’ anymore,”

Oh I marched to the battle of New Orleans

At the end of the early British war

The young land started growing

The young blood started flowing

But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

For I’ve killed my share of Indians

In a thousand different fights

I was there at the Little Big Horn

I heard many men lying I saw many more dying

But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

chorus)

It’s always the old to lead us to the war

It’s always the young to fall

Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun

Tell me is it worth it all

For I stole California from the Mexican land

Fought in the bloody Civil War

Yes I even killed my brothers

And so many others But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

For I marched to the battles of the German trench

In a war that was bound to end all wars

Oh I must have killed a million men

And now they want me back again

But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

(chorus)

For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky

Set off the mighty mushroom roar

When I saw the cities burning I knew that I was learning

That I ain’t marchin’ anymore

Now the labor leader’s screamin’

when they close the missile plants,

United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore,

Call it “Peace” or call it “Treason,”

Call it “Love” or call it “Reason,”

But I ain’t marchin’ any more,

No I ain’t marchin’ any more

It is however, just as true, that some words are actions in and of themselves because they can change peoples’ minds and make them take action.  Take the President’s statement that “preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”  There is nothing new about that statement, yet it remains profound and elevated coming from the mouth of an incumbent President.  The use of the term “collective action” is loaded with history.  It is as profound as the endorsement of collective action inherent in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s statement that “If I were a worker in a factory, the first thing I would do would be to join a union.”  It is reminiscent of the sentiments of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Wagner Act”) and of Section 923 of the California Labor Code which states this state’s public policy on the right of workers to engage in collective action:

Negotiation of terms and conditions of labor should result from voluntary agreement between employer and employees. Governmental authority has permitted and encouraged employers to organize in the corporate and other forms of capital control. In dealing with such employers, the individual unorganized worker is helpless to exercise actual liberty of contract and to protect his freedom of labor, and thereby to obtain acceptable terms and conditions of employment. Therefore it is necessary that the individual workman have full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of his own choosing, to negotiate the terms and conditions of his employment, and that he shall be free from the interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor, or their agents, in the designation of such representatives or in self-organization or in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.

Ben Spock of the Peace & Freedom Party, more committed to the next generation than to the next election

Ben Spock of the Peace & Freedom Party, more committed to the next generation than to the next election

Dr. Ben Spock was one of the most open minded people of great intellect that I have ever known.  He did not resist legitimate opposition to his ideas, he welcomed the criticism and very often, he was motivated by it to change.  Having come under attack for the sexism of his former works on baby and child care and rearing, he took the critique to heart and he changed and helped to change America in the process.

Ben had a monthly column in Redbook.  Recognizing the basic truth that most babies are girls, he thereafter never referred to a baby as “he” but as “she.”  He helped change the sexist language that people of my age grew up with and helped to change the mental images that sexist language places in our minds.  So, fast forward to the President’s speech:

We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal…

That language continues the work of Ben Spock to change our perceptions in the spirit of his 1972 Presidential campaign slogan, “More committed to the next generation than to the next election” (later ripped off by Ronald Reagan).

As quoted above, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Milhous Nixon had two different and yet not mutually exclusive concepts of the people’s role in the United States of America.  President Obama has posed a challenge for the people as:

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity….

That challenge, whether by doing for one’s country as Kennedy put it, or by doing for yourself as Nixon would have it, is still very much about our posterity, our offspring, the generations to follow us.  Will we leave them peace and prosperity, or war, want and environmental degradation?

“….just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall…”  Put yourself in the place of a Gay boy or a Lesbian girl growing up in America or anywhere in the world.  The President of the United States has just endorsed and commemorated self-defense against unjust authority, an act of outright rebellion against the police forces of a nation who at that time, in 1969, were used to criminalize people because of the sexual orientation that they were born with.  That is a very profound concept.

Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.

This is where it comes full circle.  On immigration and every other issue, what will the President do now.  How will his actions show his meaning.  Will he continue to deport more people than anytime since the 1930s or will he do something reasonable and positive to insure that America remains true to the words of Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

by Emma Lazarus,  “The New Collossus,” New York City, 1883

If I had my druthers, we would implement the sentiments of Emma Lazarus’s poem, with the heartfelt sympathy to immigrants expressed by Buffie Sainte-Marie:

I am proud, I am proud, I am proud of my forefathers
And I sing about their courage,
For they spoke a foreign language and they labored with their hands
The same way you do, my friends.  

So welcome, welcome, emigrante, to my country, welcome home.
Welcome, welcome, emigrante, to the country that I love.


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Ishmael Trone & the Holden Machine


 

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If there’s one thing to be said about the Holden Political Machine, founded by scion Nate Holden (former legislator, L.A. City Council member, and California Democratic Council President) all the major male players have female problems.

Nate Holden

Nate Holden

Nate himself was sued repeatedly for sexual harassment. The lawsuits cost the City of Los Angeles alone millions of dollars in defense costs, which were of course paid for by the taxpayers. In a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing, a Nate Holden City Field Deputy, Carla Cavalier alleged that:

 “During my period of employment with Councilman Nate Holden, I was humiliated, embarrassed and offended by his rampant and hostile verbal and sexual attacks on me. Councilman Holden personally created, and fostered with other male staff members, a sexually charged atmosphere . . . ,” Cavalier said in the complaint.

 Cavalier alleges that Holden often stared and made suggestive statements, including: “Come here, Sugar,” “Let me see what you have on, Sugar,” “Turn around for me, Sugar,” and “Um, Um, you look good, Sugar.

 “While saying this, he had a leering look on his face and would be looking my body up and down, dwelling on my breasts, my buttocks, my legs and my pelvic area. . . . Very often he would run his hand down the back of my head and neck in a suggestive manner that mortified me and made me feel degraded,” she said.

The ensuing lawsuit eventually cost Los Angeles $2 million in legal bills and the city settled with Cavalier for $175,000.

Janice "Cookie" Pemberton, NOW and Feminist Activist

Janice “Cookie” Pemberton, NOW and Feminist Activist

Protesting Nate’s repeated bouts with sexual harassment claims, a group of NOW members and other feminist activists—one of whom was my great friend and former SFV/NELA NOW leader Cookie Pemberton—were threatened by the City with prosecution over a perfectly non-violent demonstration at his office.

L to R:  Chris Holden & Ishmael Trone

L to R: Chris Holden & Ishmael Trone

Chris Holden had an even weirder episode with his wife Michelle. In 1998 she was arrested for sex with two teenage boys, 15 and either 14-15 respectively. While she denied in court that she had done anything other than engage in voluntary oral sex with them, she at one point wrote a letter to the County Probation Department claiming to have been raped. The 8 count grand jury indictment charged her with oral sex and sexual intercourse with the older boy and committing a “lewd act” on the younger one.

Michelle Holden

Michelle Holden

At her sentencing hearing, her attorney accused the boys of being “gangbangers,” but given that they had been baby-sitting the Holden family’s children, one would have to call into extreme question why one would hire “gangbangers” as baby-sitters.

Another scandal that engulfed Chris Holden involved “god-squad” former LAPD Assistant Chief Robert Vernon, a right wing religious fanatic, in unlawfully releasing confidential police intelligence files about one of Holden’s opponents, Michael Zinzun, for Pasadena City Council, “outing” his activities with the Black Panthers and the Peace & Freedom Party.

 Now, the Holden machine is putting forth Ishmael Trone as candidate to replace Chris on the Pasadena City Council. In the last election, Chris was elected to the California State Assembly. What inquiring minds want to know is, “where exactly is he living” and is it because he’s separated from his wife or is it all just a scam to run in a district that he doesn’t live in.

Juanita Millender McDonald

Juanita Millender McDonald

Let me back up to a similar situation I investigated involving the son of then Congressional Representative Juanita Millender McDonald, Roderick Keith McDonald (later convicted of felonies and imprisoned). When Roderick ran for State Assembly in the Compton-Carson area, he registered to vote at his mom’s house in Carson and claimed he was living there. The problem was that I verified from the County Assessor’s Office that he had signed on the dotted line for a Home Owners Property Tax Exemption at his home in the City of Long Beach, claiming to live there, about a mile outside the Assembly District he was running in.

 A Sacramento Judge ruled that Roderick couldn’t hold the office even if the voters fell for his scam and elected him, which they didn’t. My complaint to the House of Representatives Ethics committee about his mom’s collusion with his perjury went unanswered and apparently, uninvestigated.

83 E Orange Grove Pasadena

83 E Orange Grove Pasadena

 Fast forward to the Pasadena City Council race. Trone’s running in Pasadena listing his address as the Bail Bond office owned by his parents at 83 E Orange Grove Blvd Pasadena CA 91103-4327. Presumably then, that’s where he’s registered to vote.

3447 Marengo Altadena

3447 Marengo Altadena

The County Assessor’s office, contrary to what it allowed me to access in Roderick McDonald’s case, has officially refused to let me see a copy of the Homeowner’s Exemption on the property tax records for the location that Trone’s family lives at, but the publicly available assessor’s information for that house, located in the unincorporated community of Altadena which doesn’t vote in Pasadena City elections, is:

 3447 Marengo Avenue Altadena CA 91001

 Owner: ISHMAEL AND JUANITA TRONE

Total land value: $178,644

Total building value: $120,644

Total value for property: $299,288

Recording date: 02/12/1993

Year built: 1955

Effective year built: 1970

Area of property: 1,916 square feet

Assessment for fiscal year: 2008/2009

Of course it’s also of interest into where Ishmael is getting his mail:

trone 2 real estate _001

trone 1 church piece _001

    So again, inquiring minds want to know…..is Ishmael Trone “separated” from his wife, Juanita? Is he really living at 83 E Orange Grove in Pasadena or is he living in Altadena and enjoying the benefits of a property tax exemption as a live-in homeowner there while registered to vote in Pasadena?

Having raised that point, let me digress a bit. Can Ishmael Trone be trusted? Inquiring minds also want to know the answer to that question.

According to the Pasadena Weekly on December 12, 2012, Trone’s version of his arrest on firearms charges is as follows:

Trone, meanwhile, told the Weekly he had been working for a bail bond company owned by his parents in 1997 when he tried to board a plane with a loaded 22-calibre pistol in his bag.

Trone said his Pasadena neighborhood was so dangerous he did not feel safe coming to work late at night without a gun. Running late for a conference, Trone said he forgot his gun was in his briefcase while trying to board a plane. He was later charged with misdemeanor possession of a concealed weapon, resulting in a fine.

The problem with his story is that this isn’t what he was charged with. Trone was probably not aware that the file on this case was still in the archives and still available and nobody else in the press seems to have tried to verify the story. According to the Complaint filed in the Burbank Courthouse, Ishmael Trone was charged with :

COUNT I

On or about April 23, 1997, in the above-entitled Judicial District, ISHMAEL TRONE did willfully and unlawfully carry concealed within a vehicle a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, a violation of section 12025(a) of the PENAL CODE of the State of California, a misdemeanor.

COUNT II

On or about April 23, 1997, in the above-entitled Judicial District, ISHMAEL TRONE did willfully and unlawfully carry a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in a public place, a violation of section 12031(a) of the PENAL CODE of the State of California, a misdemeanor.

The specific allegations of the first charge demonstrate that what he was being accused of was a violation of subsection (1) of Section 12025(a) which says “12025. (a) A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when he or she does any of the following: (1) Carries concealed within any vehicle which is under his or her control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.” [Emphasis added]. By definition, an airplane you’re boarding as a passenger is not under your own “control or direction.”

The second charge was also inconsistent with Trone’s story (Fable? Fairy tale maybe?) as told to the Pasadena Weekly because Section 12031(a)(1) says, “12031. (a)(1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.” [Emphasis added]. Again, by definition, an airplane is not a “vehicle” in a public place or a public street.

So, will any inquiring minds in the government try to find out whether Trone actually lives where he claims to live, whether he’s benefiting from a property tax homeowner’s exemption at a home he doesn’t live in, and whether if one or the other is true, is he committing perjury on one or more simultaneously effective government documents that can’t be true at the same time? I’m waiting to see.

***************

Continuing the controversy:

http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/weekly_exclusive_hitting_home/11846/

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-holden-political-machine-and.html?showComment=1358883706240


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Anderson Valley’s Boontling Language


 

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A recent study came out demonstrating that bilingual people’s brains work faster and better:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/254753.php

That is a serious argument for requiring all California school children to become bilingual, if not multi-lingual.  At the same time they should be taught to be multi-cultural.

Bruce Anderson of the Anderson Valley Advertiser

Bruce Anderson of the Anderson Valley Advertiser

One of my favorite places in California (I’ve visited a couple of times when I ran for State Treasurer back in the 90s) is Booneville in the Anderson Valley of California (Mendocino County).  That’s also the home of one of my favorite newspapers, the Anderson Valley Advertiser published by Bruce Anderson, a small town paper with a national and even international following.  Bruce’s insightful and witty commentaries and expository writing on such controversies as Judi Bari’s attempted assassination and poverty pimping have drawn numerous supporters and detractors, but nobody will doubt that it makes great reading.

BoontlingAnyway, the Anderson Valley has an incredible alternative language known as Boontling, and it really ought to be available to California students as a legitimate language elective.  Watch this video and you’ll see just how challenging it can be to a young (or old) mind:

 

http://screen.yahoo.com/boontling-lost-american-language-000000145.htm

Visit Booneville and the Anderson Valley, have a beer from the Anderson Valley Brewing Company and just groove on the nature, or however you say that in Boontling

Visit Booneville and the Anderson Valley, have a beer from the Anderson Valley Brewing Company and just groove on the nature, or however you say that in Boontling

l

 

 


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This Blog Rocks n Rolls!


 

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It took this blog to get to 400,005 individual page hits from 2006 when it started to November 30, 2012 as I printed on that date.

http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/11/30/this-blog-rocks/

Since then, my readership has grown by leaps and bounds, even though my technical “subscribers” have only modestly increased (please actually subscribe using the link above, it makes my job of promoting the ideas expressed here a lot easier, and it enables you to post comments on the blog, which I really appreciate as do other readers).  Anyway, here’re the stats as of now, nearly 56,000 hits since November 30 alone!

Site Statistics

Unique Pages Served: 20094 Total Sessions: 201040 Total Page Hits: 455726

I don’t know about you, but my mind is blown!

 


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Mississippi–Human Rights Struggle Continues


 

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Myrlie Evers comforts her son at the funeral of her assassinated husband, Mississippi NAACP field organizer Medgar Evers

Myrlie Evers comforts her son at the funeral of her assassinated husband, Mississippi NAACP field organizer Medgar Evers

It is very appropriate that Myrlie Evers Williams, widow of slain civil rights worker Medgar Evers and in her own right, former NAACP Chair of the Board from 1995-98, will deliver the invocation at President Barack Obama’s inauguration on Martin Luther King, Jr. day, January 21, 2013.  In 1961, Martin said that “Any man who won’t die for something is not fit to live” and as it unfortunately turned out, he was not only speaking of the eventual fate of Medgar Evers, but also of himself.  Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered April 4, 1968; Medgar Evers was murdered in front of his wife and children on June 12, 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi.  His murder and the eventual conviction of White Citizens Council leader Byron De La Beckwith were dramatized in the 1996 movie, Ghosts of Mississippi starring James Woods, Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg.

1960, Martin Luther King Jr removing a KKK burned cross from his lawn with his son

1960, Martin Luther King Jr removing a KKK burned cross from his lawn with his son

That we have an African American president speaks to just how far that we have come since those dark days at the height of the civil rights movement, but nobody should be lulled by this inauguration into thinking that the human rights struggle in Mississippi and throughout America has been triumphant and can rest on its laurels.  In fact, the sloth of the government to force a cleanup of an environmental holocaust in Columbia, Mississippi points to the truth of H. Rap Brown’s statement in the 1960s that “When government becomes the lawbreaker then people must become the law enforcers.”

Charlotte KeysCharlotte Keys of Jesus People Against Pollution (JPAP) and my friend and colleague Benetta Johnson of the Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition (I serve on the board of ACJC) who alerted me to her struggle, has led a knock down, drag out struggle for justice for all the people of Columbia, black and white, young and old, for years.  Charlotte and Benetta are among the many contemporary activists keeping the struggle for human rights alive.

This video contains the incredible but true story of the trials and tribulations Charlotte and JPAP have gone through trying to get justice in the wake of one of the worst cases of toxic chemical dumping in history in Columbia (my thanks to my friends and colleagues Michael Jones of Digital Evidence and Scotty Reid of Black Talk Radio Network for assisting with the conversion of the DVD and You Tube Posting):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JmFiexWhRA&feature=youtu.be

Don’t just sit back after watching this video presentation and think “tsk, tsk, tsk, what a tragedy.”  Take action:

Contact EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. and demand an investigation of EPA sloth and inaction which has destroyed the health and property of residents of Columbia, Mississippi:

Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. (2410T)
Washington, DC 20460

By Phone: (202) 566-2391  By Fax: (202) 566-2549 

By E-mail:   webcomments.oig@epa.gov

Sign a petition to the White House:  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/redress-marion-county-columbia-ms-de-listed-superfund-site-environmental-justice-health-and-housing/4x9VwF4L?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

Contact JPAP for further information:

JPAP 003


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Van Nuys to Venice in a Weekend


 

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Van Nuys (Lake Balboa), Friday December 28 @ Randevuz 7133 Balboa Blvd.

I came to Randevuz to see one of my faves, Clarinetist Leo Chelyapov & fell in love with the whole Nashi Ludi crew

I came to Randevuz to see one of my faves, Clarinetist Leo Chelyapov & fell in love with the whole Nashi Ludi crew

Started out the weekend partying till 1 a.m. with the band Nashi Ludi organized by Sasha Green from Kharkov, Ukraine.  Before I get to the music, you’ve got to hear about the food at Randevuz.  It was the freaking best Russian buffet I’ve had anywhere and where do you find a restaurant buffet where the staff keeps encouraging you to stuff yourself over and over and over again.  They didn’t even want to let me leave towards the end of the evening.

“Ptsa” — I don’t know what they call it at Randevuz, but I hadn’t had Ptsa in 45 years and their chef, Serge from Belarus, made it just like my grandmother from Leningrad.  It was fabulous and I had three helpings.

12-28-12 003Nashi Ludi’s basic formation consists of Sasha Green – keyboard, vocal; Alex Mostepan – Guitar, vocal; Iliya Mosk – bass, keys,vocal; Adam Gust – drums; Dean Roubicek – sax, clarinet, flute.; Leo Chelyapov – sax, clarinet, flute.  Special guest performers for the evening included: Tatiana Archangel – vocal, Tanya Ivanova – vocal, Yony Babitsky – guitar, Yuri Fedorko – accordion, Gennady Emelyanov – vocal, Marina Pocelueva – vocal, Konstantin Shvuim – piano, Maksim Velichkin – cello, Chico Ray – bass, vocal, and Julia Kay – vocal.

Aside from Russian tunes, the band did certain American favorites in very original and intriguing formulations.  Tatiana and Julia’s rendition of “Hotel California” was mysterious, dark, and captivating.

NoHo, Sunday, December 30 @ Eric Baumann & Michael Andraychak’s pad

L to R:  Isadore Hall, Oliva Rubio, Jan B. Tucker

L to R: Isadore Hall, Oliva Rubio, Jan B. Tucker

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party annual holiday party, as usual, was a great get together to see old friends and make new ones.  Amongst the old friends, the man of the night, newly elected Assembly Member and my CSUN college buddy Steve Fox, who as Eric Baumann put it, “stole” the 36th District from the Republicans by less than 200 votes.  Also my great friends Assembly Member Isadore Hall III, School Board candidate Maria Cano, former Assembly Member and City Attorney candidate Mike Feuer, City Council Member Paul Koretz, former Assembly persons and City Council candidates Cindy Montanez and Felipe Fuentes, John Alford from Rep. Brad Sherman’s staff, and so many others.

Venice, Monday December 31 @ The Talking Stick, 1411 Lincoln Blvd

L to R:  Ana Guerrero, Jan B. Tucker & Olivia Rubio

L to R: Ana Guerrero, Jan B. Tucker & Olivia Rubio

So my sojourn in NoHo on Sunday led to my reconnecting with Ana Guerrero and her introducing me to Olivia Rubio….so we wind up along with Ana’s husband Neal at the Venice Talking Stick on Monday for New Years Eve.  My regular readers are already familiar with the goings on at “the stick” as we affectionately call it (if you’re not, go to this blog’s Search function and just use the search term “Talking Stick” for details about past goings-on there) but for those who haven’t read about it before, it elucidates, exemplifies and illuminates Bob Dylan’s phrase in “Tangled up in Blue” that “there was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air.”

Nickie Black live at The Talking Stick

Nickie Black live at The Talking Stick

It was open mic night at the stick, in fact, the tenth anniversary of open mic there along with New Year’s eve and they must have gone through about 20 or more successive acts over the evening, including poetry & rap interspersed between the musical numbers.  The talent ranged from blues to rock to folk to C&W and was universally superb.

Well, so much for music in the cafes at night, I’m back to fomenting the revolution.


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Tell Obama: LGBTI Ambassador for the Vatican


 

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Ambassador James Hormel

Ambassador James Hormel

On NBC’s Meet the Press this morning, David Gregory discussed the Chuck Hagel nomination for Defense Secretary with President Barack Obama.  As I wrote recently [http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/12/26/chuck-hagel-is-a-breath-of-fresh-air/] vis a vis Middle Eastern politics, Chuck Hagel is a breath of fresh air, however, he has never personally apologized to James Hormel for his statements concerning Hormel’s recess appointment by President Bill Clinton as Ambassador to Luxembourg in 1999 and he really needs to do that, even though he has publicly apologized now that he’s facing confirmation hearings if nominated:

The Omaha World-Herald reported in 1998: “Ambassadorial posts are sensitive, Hagel explained. ‘They are representing America,’ he said [in an interview]. ‘They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.’”

Another vacancy in office that the United States needs to fill is Ambassador to the Vatican.  That office is vacant and President Obama needs to make a nomination for confirmation by the Senate for the post.

One way that the United States can send a serious message to the world, maybe even the strongest ambassadorial message it can as to just how serious it is about supporting LGBTI rights internationally, is in who we send as ambassador to the Vatican, with whom we have “enjoyed” formal diplomatic relations since 1984.  So while watching President Obama and David Gregory discuss the Hagel-Hormel issues this morning, the idea popped into my head which I immediately posted on Facebook:

President Obama: send an LGBTI Ambassador to the Vatican!

Just popped into my mind. The United States can stand up for LGBTI rights by sending an Ambassador to the Vatican as a MESSAGE. Now, if the President wants to send a particular message and start a very specific conversation, he should send a Transvestite Ambassador. Unless the Pope wants to look like a real hypocrite and an idiot, he can’t even object, because after all, the Pope wears a dress. Kudos to folk singer Judy Fjell who once wrote a song about the Pope coming out of the closet when he visited San Francisco, the queen capital of America, wearing a dress and bringing his wardrobe of dresses that would be the envy of any drag queen!

Judy Fjell, Lesbian, Left Folk Singer

Judy Fjell, Lesbian, Left Folk Singer

First, let me explain the literary allusion.  Judy Fjell, one of my absolutist favorite folk singers (who in a curious way is responsible for my incredible and legendary luck with raffle tickets, a story for another day), does this song, Take a Leap John Paul:

TAKE A LEAP, JOHN PAUL   ©1987 Judy Fjell (BMI)

Please Mr. Pope, John Paul,
Now that you’re here tell us all

In the safety of this drag queen town
You can whisper to us why you are wearing that gown
We won’t breathe a word to the press
If you will just confess
Why in the name of God you wear dresses to cover your bod?
Are you afraid of your body?
Then you’ve learned your lesson well
The church proclaims the flesh is naughty
And leads us all down the path to hell
But now I guess we’ll be the ones to break it to ya
Wearing dresses ain’t the way to hallelujah
So, Johnny, jump down off of old St. Peter’s rock
And you can swish all you want when you walk
‘Cause we’re not ashamed of anybody in this city by the bay
We try to love everybody, man or woman, beast or priest
Lesbian, bisexual, straight or gay
So get down off your Vatican high horse
And stop all this papal discourse
All your hoo-hah on homosexuality and such
Well, we think thou dost protest too much
Don’t be ashamed of your closet
It’s the envy of so many men in this town
Don’t leave your hat in San Francisco
Unless you leave your matching gown
What we’re tryin’ to say, JP
Is to be all you can be
And if the pressure to wear pants is ever too much in Rome
Just put your skirts on and fly back home
Because here in this city
It’s more than okay to dress and be gay
No need for fear or pious pity
In a place where anyone, even you, can be queen for a day
So take a leap, John Paul, take a chance
Take off your loafers and join in the dance
If I’m a human you can be one, too
There could be room in this city for you, JP II
There could be room in this city for me and you

For more on Judy Fjell:  Honey Pie Music  PO Box 1515  Big Timber, MT 59011 (406)932-6468   http://www.judyfjell.com

People who don’t know me well might think that is all some typically weird Jan B. Tucker practical joke.  It’s not.  I’m starting a campaign here and now to demand that President Obama send an L or G or B or T or I (and/or any combination of those categories) as Ambassador to the Vatican.  There are three brilliant sayings that guide my thinking, my actions, and my impulse control (which I’m sure will come into question over this blog) in this matter.  The first is, Elizabeth Cady Stanton who said that “The older I get the more radical I become.”  The other is by feminist, suffragist and abolitionist Frederick Douglass:

Power concedes nothing

Finally, Barry Goldwater (whose 1964 Republican convention speech containing this gem was written by Karl Hess, whose parents were socialists and who later termed himself a Libertarian Socialist and joined the People’s Party, the Peace & Freedom Party’s national affiliate):

Extremism in the Defense of Liberty

So, what ought President Obama do with his Ambassadorial appointment to the Vatican:

  • Appoint a male, Gay, Transvestite:  this would be the most friendly message to the Vatican since as I’ve pointed out, the Pope is a transvestite who wears a dress in public, as do many of his entourage
  • Appoint a Lesbian card carrying member of the National Organization for Women who has defended women’s clinics from anti-abortion blockades and who has had a Vatican defying in vitro fertilization to get pregnant
  • Appoint a pre-op Transsexual so that the Pope can learn from the entire process just how reasonable and natural of a process somebody goes through when they have gender dysphoria

If you or your organization wants to endorse this campaign, spread this message and email me at pr@janbtucker.com.


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Demand CA Senators support Filibuster Reform


 

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Filibusters48 Democratic Party caucus (which includes Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont) Senators have committed to voting to force Senators who want to filibuster a bill or a motion to actually have to keep speaking on the Senate floor. Their proposal would also abolish filibusters on motions to proceed and limit the ability of Senators to block the President’s nominees from getting a confirmation vote.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein

California Senator Dianne Feinstein

California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have NOT committed to vote for this critical Senate rules change.

This change is not fully small “d” democratic but it is a step in the right direction. If the Senate was truly “democratic” they would simply adopt the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure of the American Institute of Parliamentarians (“Sturgis” as opposed to “Roberts”). If Sturgis was in effect, you could have “friendly amendments” (which don’t exist in Robert’s

California Senator Barbara Boxer

California Senator Barbara Boxer

Rules), reconsideration could be granted whether or not the maker of the motion voted with a previous majority, and the presiding officer (in the case of the Senate, the Vice President) could cut off a speaker if what they were saying was completely non-germane to the question on the floor, thereby preventing a “speaking filibuster” from simply wasting the Senate’s time.

 Contact California Senators NOW and demand that they vote for the proposed rule change:

 http://www.boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/offices/index.cfm

  http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/state-offices

On December 8, 2012, The Hill reported socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ views on the filibuster reform efforts:

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

“I certainly hope we will succeed with very serious filibuster reform, because if we don’t, we’re going to continue to be tied up in knots,” Sanders said. “Look, the Senate is not the House, and we want to create a situation where the minority, whether it`s Republican, Democrat, whatever, has the right to explain to the American people why they feel the way they feel. That is … important.

“On the other hand, the majority in this country has the right to rule, has the right to make decisions. Obama won a huge victory. We won 25 out of 33 elections in the Senate. We won seats in the House.”

CALLAC_001As state director of the California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) I will be talking to members of our organization, our national affiliate (National League of Latin American Citizens) and other organizations we are  allied with asking them to sign onto a letter to Senators Boxer and Feinstein to support the current effort at Senate Rules Reform AND to seek to further democratize the Senate by basing its rules on “Sturgis.”  Let me know if you will join this effort:

callac@janbtucker.com


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Chuck Hagel is a breath of fresh air


 

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Barack Obama & Chuck Hagel

Barack Obama & Chuck Hagel

Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is a breath of fresh air, especially when it comes to United States policy towards the Middle East.  In his New York Times column today, Thomas L. Friedman made some seminal points concerning Israel and how Chuck Hagel relates to American-Israeli relations.  Two comments that bear further analysis are:

If ever Israel needed a U.S. defense secretary who was committed to Israel’s survival, as Hagel has repeatedly stated — but who was convinced that ensuring that survival didn’t mean having America go along with Israel’s lunatic, self-destructive drift into settling the West Bank and obviating a two-state solution — it is now.

 and:

I think Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction and has been a disaster for the Palestinians. But it is a deeply rooted organization. It controls Gaza. It is not going away. I don’t think America or Israel have anything to lose by engaging Hamas to see if a different future is possible.

Jewish QuestionIn Jewish theological studies, it is traditional for Rabbis to engage their students with endless questioning and answering and more questioning.  It is a very subjective learning process.  It is so intrinsic to Jewish culture that an old joke exemplifies the process:

Q:  Why do you people always answer a question with another question?

Q:  Why shouldn’t we?

So, what questions need to be asked about what goes on with Israel, Palestine and the prospects for peace?

HamasFriedman makes the point that Hamas may be committed to Israel’s destruction.  Unlike the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which runs the West Bank, Hamas has never recognized the right of Israel to exist.  Israel insists it won’t deal with Hamas unless as a precondition Hamas changes its tune on that issue.

Is there some reason why Hamas shouldn’t make such a declaration in exchange for peace talks?  Is there some rational reason for them not accepting the legitimacy of Israel?  Yes, there is.

Actually, there are a number of reasons that explains Hamas’s supposed intransigence but let’s just deal with one that most Americans are completely unaware of.  Aside from a fact that Friedman identifies, i.e. that many of Israel’s current governing leaders believe in annexation of the West Bank, there is also a fanatical element still very active in Israeli politics that has never surrendered the concept of “Israel on both sides of the Jordan river.”

This is the concept of Israel on both sides of the Jordan river, East bank as well as West bank.  This insane claim is based upon what the map looked like thousands of years ago

This is the concept of Israel on both sides of the Jordan river, East bank as well as West bank. This insane claim is based upon what the map looked like thousands of years ago

The major party which formed the Likud bloc, the party of Prime Minister Netanyahu, was the Herut (Freedom) Party which was founded by the Irgun Zvai Leumi.  The Herut Party’s platform never repudiated the concept of “Israel on both sides of the Jordan,” i.e., a call for the annexation of not just the West Bank but of the conquest and subjugation of the Kingdom of Jordan itself.  See my whole commentary on this issue at:

http://janbtucker.com/blog/2011/05/18/words-actions-in-international-relations/

Why should Hamas accept Israel’s legitimacy when important and powerful Israeli politicians continue to this day to actively attempt to settle and effectively annex portions of the West Bank and to publicly advocate subjugation of Jordan?  Those Israeli politicians believe that god gave them the right to take this land, so why should Hamas believe that they will ever give up this goal?

What can be done to get around this division by responsible political forces on both sides?  Instead of either side demanding pre-conditions for peace negotiations, Israel and Hamas should first talk behind the scenes and then simultaneously announce mutual recognition of each other as “belligerents.”  For an explanation of this kind of diplomatic recognition in context, read my article:  http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/11/16/mythology-of-secession/

Best of all possible worldsIf I had my druthers, there would be one democratic, secular state in the region with equality for all, but that isn’t likely to happen.  The “best of all possible worlds” as Voltaire’s Dr. Pangloss might have opined, is going to be a two-state solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace with each other.   However, Israel can still likely not live in peace if it doesn’t itself become a democratic and secular state which it isn’t and never has been.

Israel Family LawTake just one example:  family law.  In family law, there is absolutely not one iota of separation of church and state in Israel.  There are five (5) official religions:  Judaism, Islam, Druze, Bahai and Christianity.  Within Christianity there are ten (10) officially recognized sects.  Each religion is in charge of family law for its own adherents and effectively, since there is no civil marriage in Israel, you have to go outside the country if you want to intermarry, which as an American I find almost as effectively egregious as the Nazi laws that prohibited intermarriage between Jews and so-called Aryans.  For more details on these issues, see:  http://janbtucker.com/blog/2011/07/17/jews-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

Hadash protest

Celebrated Israeli peace activist and author Uri Avnery at a Hadash peace demonstration

If Israel wants to be a democratic, secular and egalitarian society, it needs to adopt ideals like those of one of its most minor political parties, Hadash, whose 2009 election platform called for:

  1. Achieving a just, comprehensive, and stable peace: Israeli/Palestinian and Israeli/Arab
  2. Protecting workers’ rights and issues
  3. Developing social services: health, education, housing, welfare, culture, and sports
  4. Equality for the Arab population in Israel
  5. Eradicating ethnic discrimination in all fields; defending the concerns of residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods and development towns
  6. Protecting democratic freedoms
  7. Equality between the sexes in all fields
  8. Protecting the environment; environmental justice
  9. Eradicating weapons of mass destruction
Dr. Meir Margalit in front of demolished Arab housing.  For opposing these demolitions and supporting the rights of Arabs to build homes on the same basis as Jews, he was recently interrogated by Israeli authorities on orders of the Housing Minister and may be criinally charged

Dr. Meir Margalit in front of demolished Arab housing. For opposing these demolitions and supporting the rights of Arabs to build homes on the same basis as Jews, he was recently interrogated by Israeli authorities on orders of the Housing Minister and may be criinally charged

What are the issues confronting Israel in terms of discrimination against Arab citizens?  Why do many people in the world compare Israeli policies to South African racist Apartheid?  This is an excerpt from a recent American Free Press interview with Meretz Party City Council Member Meir Margalit of Jerusalem, an Argentine Jewish immigrant:

“We are talking about houses that the Israeli government demolished on both sides of the Green Line, what we call the “’48 Palestinians,” Israeli Palestinians they suffer from demolitions because these people build without licenses because the government refuses to give them licenses for building.”

  “In Jerusalem, the municipality refuses to give Palestinians licenses because they’re afraid that one day the Palestinians will become a majority in the city. And the way to stop this process is to refuse to give them licenses under the assumption that then Palestinians will leave the city to live in other places where it’s easier to get licenses. But the Palestinians will never leave the city.”

  “What they do is they build without licenses. And then, the municipality comes and put the demolition order on the wall of the house, and 24-hours later, the bulldozers can come to demolish the house without any previous announcement. This is what we at ICAHD are fighting. We are fighting against these kinds of demolitions.”

AFP asked if the Palestinian birth rate compared to the Israeli birth rate is the main factor driving this demolition policy.

“The demographic element, especially in this city, is very dominant. The Palestinians today, they are 38 percent of the population in Jerusalem, and according to different demographers, in 2020 or maybe 2025, the Palestinians will become a majority. 2025 is not the future, it’s tomorrow, and as you can guess, the idea that in 2025 the Palestinians will become a majority and vote for a Palestinian mayor to the city, this idea makes [the government] crazy. So they are doing everything they can in order to postpone this process, and one of the tools is to refuse to give them licenses.”

Chuck Hagel has shown that he’s not a slave to the right-wing and the religious fanatics who control the current Israeli government or their supporters in the United States.  President Obama should not back down from making him Secretary of Defense.


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Gun Enthusiasts Employed by LA Schools


 

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NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre

NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre

Now I remember why I let my National Rifle Association (NRA) membership lapse a few years ago.  I’m a gun owner.  I’m a private investigator who has to deal with gun violence on a regular basis.  As a long time participant in Los Angeles based United For Education Coalition and in many other civic groups that deal with education and schools, the concept of putting more guns into schools, entrusted to trained security personnel and/or teachers and school administrators, as proposed by NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre, is majorly scary to me.  Let’s get down to cases.

LAUSDIt’s not like the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is a small district that lacks resources.  Not counting adult education, LAUSD has K-12 enrollment in excess of 660,000 children.  Counting adults, LAUSD is educating over 900,000 people in 1,235 facilities over a wide geographical area.

In my experience though, with all of its resources, the personnel department’s staff that conduct so-called personnel investigations, the so-called Human Resources professionals, are a bunch of stark, raving, idiots.  I’ve had to deal with LAUSD issues in a number of capacities.  In one case initiated by a school principal against a custodian, my investigation resulted in the district Personnel Commission unanimously overturning a hearing officer’s decision to terminate the custodian.  In that case I also got the district’s lawyer from the General Counsel’s office removed from the case for racism, after she and another employee were caught red-handed making fun of the thick accent of a Latino student who’d appeared to speak before the personnel commission.

Newspaper GuildWhen I was Human Rights Officer and First Vice President for Local 69 of The Newspaper Guild, my local represented the staff of Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union against that local’s own management and I was involved in those representation issues which gave me unique exposure to the rank and file members as well.  Local 99 represents the classified employees in LAUSD, so I got to hear where a lot of the bodies are buried (that local’s president who had been persecuting her own employees that we represented was eventually jailed on federal corruption charges).

Anyway, with all those resources here are examples of three (3) employees that were formerly employed in responsible positions by LAUSD who were all gun owners and gun enthusiasts:  one teacher, one assistant principal, and one school police officer.

Barry “Apeshit” Krugel

Barry Krugel, aka "Apeshit Krugel"

Barry Krugel, aka “Apeshit Krugel”

Barry Krugel was kicked out of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) repeatedly and always managed to blackmail his way back in, usually by threatening to expose his twin brother Earl Krugel and JDL head Irv Krugel’s periodic forays to Mexican whore houses.  He was also the Los Angeles head of the Jewish Defense Organization (JDO), a split off from the JDL whose founder was kicked out of the JDL for refusing to bathe (according to Irv and Earl, who described his JDL moniker as “stinky”).  Barry’s JDL nickname on the other hand was “Apeshit,” to distinguish him from twin brother Earl, who was known as the “Munchkin.”

“Apeshit” was descriptive of Barry’s demeanor.  He had no impulse control.  He taught English and Math for LAUSD.  That he was allowed to teach children was beyond comprehension to anybody who knew him.  Behavioral examples:

  • After one of my letters to the editor was published in the Bnai Brith Messenger accusing Barry of racism and sexism he came over to my pad and began screaming at the top of his lungs in front of my home.  He had no problem with my accusing him of sexism whatsoever, he was just upset that my accusation of racism might adversely affect his employment by LAUSD.  I had to get a restraining order against him.
  • According to Irv Rubin and his own brother Earl, they once came over to Barry’s Encino home and while he conversed with them he was marching back and forth in front of a mirror in his underwear with a rifle as though he was in a parade, watching himself, while listening to John Phillips Souza marching tunes.
  • He once demonstrated in front of a Mosque waving around a children’s plastic toy sword as though he was a stereotypical whirling Dervish.
  • During one lawsuit he made homophobic statements in writing about me, in a court where the judge was Stephen Lachs (the first openly Gay judge in the state) and then couldn’t understand why the judge sanctioned him $500.00.
  • He was constantly provoking violence and getting involved in violence everywhere he went, but what totally sums up just how crazy he was considered, even by certifiable crazies like Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel, Irv and Earl composed a ditty to the tune of “Pretty Baby” which they distributed in an effort to discredit him:

I’d like to tell a story ’bout a most peculiar guy

Barry Krugel, Barry Krugel

The way he pinches pennies would make old Abe Lincoln cry

Barry Krugel, Barry Krugel

If you want an egg, a look is for free, but if you want to eat it, 8 cents it must be

Hoarding tons of guns and money, is his only game

Barry Krugel’s his name

Steven Thomas Rooney

On the surface, Rooney, Assistant Principal at two different LAUSD schools, sounds like just the kind of guy that the NRA would rely on to protect the students at the schools he worked at:

BACHELOR OF ARTS, LlBERAL STUDIES. HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY MAY 25,1991; MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ADMINSTRATION, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, JULY 25, 2003 690 HOURS POST (PEACE OFFICER STANDARDS & TRAINING) CERTIFIED BASIC LAW ENFORCEMENT ACADEMY, COLLEGE OF THE REDWOODS, 4/30/93

HONORABLE DISCHARGE FROM NATIONAL GUARD, RANK OF 1ST LT ON 8/28/05; AWARDED THE ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE AT WEED ARMY COMMUNITY 27 HOSPITAL FROM JANUARY 5, 2005 TO JULY 31.2005; RECEIVED CERTIFICATE OF CONGRESSIONAL RECOGNITION FROM U S REPRESENTATIVE GRACE F NAPOLITANO ON 9/10/06 (Excerpts from his probation report)

Steven Thomas Rooney

Steven Thomas Rooney

Aside from that, he threatened the step-father of a school girl that he was shacking up with with his gun on January 1, 2007.  Nobody filed criminal charges against him and all the LAUSD did was to eventually transfer him to another school (still as Assistant Principal) without bothering to warn parents, teachers, or students about him.  At his new school, he wound up kidnapping, raping, and forcibly sodomizing a girl there before he was finally arrested.  He also covered up a physical attack on a substitute teacher by two male students who knocked her senseless (a case in and of itself that the school district covered up).

When the LAPD raided Rooney’s home with a search warrant they found adult sex devices, six (6) photos of underage high school girls including one of the aforementioned step-daughter of the man he’d threatened with his gun, adult movie video tapes, and two handguns (one .38 caliber and one .40 caliber) along with ammunition.

Jeffrey Stenroos, LAUSD Cop

A March 26, 2012 story by Andrew Blankstein in the Los Angeles Times sums up the story of Jeffrey Stenroos well.  Here’re some excerpts:

Jeffrey Stenroos, LAUSD Police Officer

Jeffrey Stenroos, LAUSD Police Officer

Stenroos, 31, was convicted in September of planting false evidence, insurance fraud and other crimes. The sentence came after Stenroos underwent a 90-day psychological evaluation to assess whether he should go to prison or receive probation….

 The Jan. 19, 2011, hoax triggered a massive and costly hunt for a fictitious assailant, and it brought a swath of the Valley to a standstill for hours.

 Stenroos, a seven-year veteran of the school police, was found by a passerby in apparent pain on the sidewalk near El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills. Stenroos told authorities that he had been following up on a report of a car burglar in the area when a man with a ponytail and bomber-style jacket shot him in the chest and fled. Stenroos’ bulletproof vest had apparently saved him from serious injury or death.

 Believing that there was a gunman in the area, more than 550 police officers combed the quiet neighborhoods near the school, conducting door-to-door searches and keeping an eight-square-mile area locked down for 10 hours.

Who Else do we Trust with Guns and Badges?

The LAPD through media propaganda has always claimed to have the most thorough and painstaking background investigations on the planet.  If that claim is true, then the public should be very scared about who gets to carry guns and wear a badge.

I had a criminal defense case for an LAPD officer.  He got caught with cocaine and while out on bail, got caught again snorting cocaine in public on the table at a Denny’s restaurant in North Hollywood in plain view.  Not the sharpest stick in the shed.  He eventually jumped bail and then his wealthy father, who was paying the bill for my investigation, stiffed me on the remainder of my bill.

A Patriarca Crime Family criminal record

A Patriarca Crime Family criminal record

I sued the father and needed to have him served with the lawsuit in Massachusetts in an exclusive suburb of Boston.  The constable I had serve him, as a precaution, ran the father’s rap sheet and it turned out he was a ranking figure in the Mafia Patriarca Crime Family of New England, based in Boston and Rhode Island.  Did the LAPD know?  If they didn’t, why not?  If they did, why did they let the son in?

If you can’t trust the LAPD to keep out the coke snorting son of a Mafioso, why would you trust the average school district?

ScamThe Los Angeles Police Department some years ago put out to bid its contract for polygraph (lie detector) services for pre-employment screening.  The bid requirements were so complicated that only one bid was received, from a Virginia based firm which promptly sub-contracted the services out to independent Los Angeles polygraphers.  The test protocols were, according to my sources, absolutely incompetent and in violation of American Polygraph Association standards and ethics.  In both government and private contracting and job recruitment, if you want to rig the process while making it look fair, just write up bid requirements for a specific vendor or applicant where you know that only they can comply with the specifications.  On the surface everything looks fair.

Animal ControlI worked criminal defense on a purported domestic violence case for a City of Los Angeles Animal Control Officer who was accused of violence by his girlfriend, a fellow Animal Control Officer.  During the course of my investigation of the accusers background, I learned that this was not her first brush with violence.  Employed previously as a security guard, she got into an altercation with the wife of a fellow guard that she was having an affair with, but the most startling fact was not what Los Angeles City personnel had not found out about.  What was most startling was what they knew and what they ignored.

In her personnel file were the results of an MMPI (Minnesota Multi Phasic Inventory) examination she had taken.  After all, you wouldn’t want to hand over a badge, a gun, and the authority to arrest people without some kind of psychological screening would you?

L ScaleWell, apparently the results of the test were irrelevant to Los Angeles human resources officials.  My best guess is that like the LAPD, somebody gave out a contract to their buddy to do testing but didn’t really care whether people passed, failed, or were obviously incompetent based upon the results.  They hired her even though her “L” score, euphemistically called the “lie” score, was 76.  For the record, this is not a 1-100 scoring system.  The highest level of “deception” starts at 70.  Here is a very basic description of the “L” scale from http://www.mmpi-info.com/mmpi-2/mmpidict1.html:

L  Lie Scale (Hathaway and McKinley, 1951) (15 items). High: (> Raw 5). Tendency to create a favorable impression as a response bias, conventional, rigid, moralistic, repression, denial, and insightless. A high L can mean anything from a very well mannered normal wanting to give a good impression, to a compensated paranoid. A high L will submerge scales of obvious psychopathology, and inflate scales of healthy functioning such as the Ego Strength scale.  Interview the person to see if they can truly walk on water.  Low: (< Raw 3). Admitting to minor faults and shortcomings, independent, self-reliant.

In spite of her 76 L scale reading, not only was she hired, but the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office considered her credible enough to prosecute my client.  Go figure.

I don’t trust existing authorities to make sound judgments about who they entrust weapons, power, and authority to in the first place.  Why does the NRA think that rapidly expanding gun possession in schools will create a better environment for children?

 

 


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