How Do We Get There, If We Don’t Pull Together? (repost from 2010)

Saying it is ok to drive on any side of the street you like doesn’t work. We need government to avoid self-destruction. The idea that government is the problem is being exploited for political advantage, for and by politicians who lack moral character. However inappropriate and illogical the tactic might be, it is effective. It wakes up the aimless, disenchanted and confused and puts them into an agitated, ready for action state of mind. Just point them in any direction and turn them loose. They will do something disruptive.

This tactic is sinister, intentional and unacceptable. It is a threat to our stability and security as a nation and a people. We are a socio-economic federal republic complex. We are held together by common purpose, spirit, desire and law. We use government to keep us on track. We are in this together. We are the government. We are not the enemy. We are the people.

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When The American Nazi Party Came To San Diego State, Recalled Through The Lens Of Charlottesville Today

A crowd gathered at the Greek Bowl, an open amphitheater, to hear George Lincoln Rockwell, the head of the American Nazi Party speak, on March 8th, 1962. I was a curious Freshman, sitting about 10 rows up, in the middle of the bowl. There was an expectation that he would make incendiary remarks, and he did.

Standing on the stage, backed by a few brown shirt guards, he began making derogatory remarks about Jews. The crowd booed. He doubled down, the crowd got louder. He challenged anyone to dispute his accusations.

Ed Cherry, a student, walked up on the stage, to cheers from the crowd and tried to get to the mic. Rockwell didn’t want to let him speak. Some words were exchanged and Ed slugged Rockwell, at which point the brown shirt security stepped in.

A crowd of several hundred, were now standing and began moving toward the stage. Rockwell was shuffled off, to protect him from what was an increasingly angry situation. Shortly, Rockwell was escorted to a waiting car. The crowd followed and began egging the Nazi entourage and moving around their car. It was a tense few minutes, but Rockwell’s driver was able to get through the gathering crowd and leave.

The biggest difference between then and now is; Rockwell wasn’t a core part of the President’s (JFK at the time) base. And, although anti-Semitism and racism was as prevalent as it is today, it wasn’t well organized and certainly wasn’t backed with armed militias and networked propaganda outlets.

Beyond some cursory soul searching about 1st amendment rights, there was a general expectation that free speech came with responsibilities. The school newspaper was likely the most concerned, and even they quickly moved on to focus on routine events, an emerging manned Space Program, Louis Leakey’s fossil finds, rumors of Global Warming Theory and the school’s transition to a University. The country was in an unremarkable period of exceptional prosperity that came to be seen as the norm, and wouldn’t be interrupted until November 22nd, 1963.

With Winter all but gone, my thoughts had turned to weekends in Ensenada. Politics were nowhere on my horizon. Anyway, that’s my recollection, an odd parallel to the amplified events in Charlottesville today.

By way of comparison, here’s what the school paper reported:

Transcription of The Daily Aztec Reporting – March 1962

Self-styled American Nazi party leader George Lincoln Rockwell was slugged, hissed and booed when he spoke in the Greek Bowl March 8, as he hurled verbal blasts at minority groups to a crowd of about 3,000.

Rockwell said that he had no intention of causing trouble. “If I had wanted trouble I could have worn my uniform with my armbands and the whole works. Believe me, I know how to stir people up if I want to,” he said.

Rockwell was slugged in the face by Ed Cherry, a SDS senior physical education major, when Rockwell said that “the Jews are engaged in a great conspiracy.”

“I wanted to counteract Rockwell’s lies,” Cherry said.

A press conference followed in the Aztec office. Rockwell predicted that he will be in political power in Virginia within five years. However, he said that he has no special office to run for.

The following days found the incident receiving coverage on television and in newspapers all over the nation.

Rockwell was brought to the campus by the Committee for Student Action.

 

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It’s Nearly Impossible To Govern

It’s nearly impossible to govern our nation effectively when an intransigent GOP blocks all efforts to correct problems, refuses to bring anything but polarizing social issues to the table, insists on campaigning nonstop, lets funding expire for critical agencies, holds the national credit rating hostage for crazy political ransom, refuses to collect taxes on those with the means to pay, increases financial pressure on those already stretched to the breaking point, denies science in favor of religious dogma, floods the airwaves with bigoted propaganda, challenges settled law in courts, insists on fabricating an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, exploits national resources and pushes to privatize control of energy, water & air, resists regulation of criminal financial operations, pledges allegiance to subversive activists, protects rights of anarchists, plants rational for assassins to act on, insists on loading the dice against workers rights and demonizes civil servants. But, who’s keeping track?

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Fear Has Gripped The Republican Party

The orchestrated chaos coming from the Trump White House that Republicans have willingly allowed to fester, in order to promote their agenda of drastic cuts to high end taxes, business and environmental regulations, public education and social safety net programs, is carrying with it an increasingly unmanageable paranoia, for the party controlling Congress. Republicans, rather than facing disoriented opposition, in their moment of opportunity, are looking into the face of a gathering storm, and fear is setting in.

What began, on November 7th, as shock, disbelief, and outrage in the country at large, has coalesced into indivisible resistance, confrontational bravado, unfettered resolve, growing political power, spontaneous organization, and enthusiastic activism. Support for legislation that might have swiftly moved through Congress to be signed into law by a President in more orderly times, has been met and challenged every step of the way. Republicans have gone from a disciplined Party, with a small government, private enterprise message, to disconnected clusters of single issue groups who spend every hour of every day defending the insane actions of a delusional maniac, who is more concerned with his papier-mache image, than his role as Chief Executive.

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I finished My 6 Months of Chemo Today

I feel very good now, the side effects will kick in over the next few days, then taper off over the following 2-3 weeks. I gave the Infusion Team at the La Jolla VA a Thank You Note (see below) and they gave me a Graduation Certificate. They are an exceptional crew.

I will spend the next 6 weeks normalizing, then have a PET scan to see how I’m doing. A clean report will put me back into the maintenance mode. I’m looking forward to more certainty in my life.

Thank You To The Infusion Crew

 

 

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Unwelcome Winds of Change

Individual threads on the tattered edge of a time bleached fabric of generations flutter,
disconnected from each other,
clinging against disappearing hope, to a final tiny anchor of their identity.

Humbled and alone before relentless raging winds of destructive structural decay,
they’re overwhelmed and torn away,
disappeared from what remains of their dissolving dreams of unified serenity.

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12-24-16

Winter arrived last night,
with a combination fury
worthy of a defensive back.
Sustained fits of pounding rain and wind
assaulted the darkness relentlessly from every angle,
enraged at whatever it found in its path.

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