Monday, September 19, 2005

Why James Dean is worth remembering.















Our Christmas card the year I met Jimmy

Earlier this month the Fresno Bee published yet another article, citing someone who postures as an authority on the life and significance of James Byron Dean; this September 30th will mark the half century anniversary of Dean's death in a automobile accident in Cholame, California. During his life time James Dean was not famous. At the moment he died only one of his three movies to have been released was East of Eden. Rebel Without A Cause was not yet in the theaters.

When he died no one had yet considered the tiny body of work Dean left behind as his legacy. No one expected him to die. James Dean's movies represent the only tangible statement of his skill. But those movies in themselves proved to be a monumental commentary. The three films illustrate ability- that plumbs depths and exhibits an intelligence unusual in an actor only 24 years of age. The roles he created in those movies expand to dominate the screen against far more experienced actors. The intelligent portion of Hollywood understood that, but as with all professions only a few could see that. Most people who are fascinated by the magnetic appeal Dean was able to project ascribe that appeal to those causes that more define themselves than they do James Dean.

"He represents eternal youth," Legnon says, leaning on the memorial. "If James Dean had lived, he wouldn't be the icon he is. He'd just be an old guy, like [Marlon] Brando or Montgomery Clift or any of the actors that Dean came of age with."

It is easy for strangers to ooze opinion about someone when that person has been six feet under for a half a century. James Byron Dean died when he was 24 years old; he died having completed only three movies but those movies burn with the intelligence James Dean brought to every facet of his life. Many young actors are the product of the need in Hollywood for fresh meat. Not so with James Dean.

Shelby Legnon, who never knew Jimmy, says that if Jimmy had lived he would have been, “just some old guy, like Brando of Montgomery Clift.” No one could be more wrong. Legnon did not know him.

But his movies speak to those who possess the wit to understand.

Jimmy was an individual who saw clearly and who had values that were defined and honed through years of thought.

If he had lived Jimmy would have transformed the entertainment industry; injecting the vibrant ideas and values that moved him originally into acting. Because that industry supplies the memes and cultural content of so much that we, as Americans, live and breathe every day of our lives, and because the world watches us as the edge of cultural change, it is fair to say that James Dean would have changed the world. That was his intention and his aim; to impact the world through the craft of acting.

He understood how it could be used. He intended to use it.

James Dean had confronted such issues and the life of the spirit, mortality, the profound differences between people, and the ideas that drive the world when he was very young. He began life as a Mama's boy, enveloped in maternal attention. He shared with his mother a world of make-believe.; they also talked about ideas. That world was shattered when his mother died and he was relocated to Indiana to live with his aunt and uncle, two people who were decent, kind, hard-working and very different. He was a sensitive child. He did not forget his mother, he continued to remember and to grieve, creating an intense internal life of ideas. Those ideas eventually took him into acting. People who are highly intelligent and creative make their own rules.

I knew James Dean; he was no hormone-driven Hollywood wind up doll. He was insightful, intellectually alive and very aware of the kind of people and motives that confronted him in the reality of Hollywood, 1955. To be successful in Hollywood you had to play the games Hollywood expected. Jimmy understood people; he understood their limitations and their prejudices. He had learned to project what was expected of him.

The Hollywood perception of James Dean is colored by the timing of when he died and by the limited access he allowed to those whose approval he needed to succeed in the career he was passionately pursuing. If he had died three years later he would have had time to let Hollywood know who he really was; if he had died ten years later he would have changed Hollywood. But that is not what happened.

There was only one James Dean. How much of him you saw depended on how much it was safe for him to show.

Jimmy knew what Hollywood wanted him to be so that is what they saw. He was much more.

I have spent my life fascinated by ideas and James Dean was a major influence in creating that interest.

James Dean explained to me the process of photosynthesis by telling me when I was just a small child that, “Trees breathe; Live exists on Earth because the green growing things breathe in the light of the Sun and produce the oxygen that we, and all life, needs to survive.” An amazing way to make that process real and viscerally available to a child.

James Dean loved thinking about the processes of life. He loved books and the ideas that roil in the mind when that mind weaves the possibilities of what is now with what could be. He pounced on new facts with delight.

The first time I met Jimmy it was over Beanie sandwiches in the kitchen of the family home in West Los Angeles. He was a student; I was a kid. He was the kind of person who listened to children and responded thoughtfully, by which I mean he was able to connect and engage in a real discourse, not talking down to me but exploring the ideas that found their way into our conversation, introducing ideas as part of the text. With Jimmy if there was conversation there were ideas to discuss.

It was on that very first visit that Jimmy and I discussed mortality. It was the first time anyone had mentioned the subject to me. I had been watching a tortoise dissolve back into dust, so to speak. I had discovered the tortoise already very dead behind a bush in the back yard of the house. I was fascinated by the process of its dissolution as ants carried it away and it shrank into itself. I had not told anyone else because I knew how they would reaction. The tortoise would evoke shrieks and Mom would remove it.

Given a chance I hauled Jimmy back to look, too. Jimmy was delighted. He proceeded to tell me about observing the same process with a cow on a farm back home. Then, squatting down for a closer look, he told me that the essence of the tortoise, the thing that had make it move and live, was gone. The same happened to all that lived, he told me.

From that time on we talked about ideas whenever he showed up for a visit. Towards the end of the visits he had started talking to me about books he was reading and the ideas that excited him in those.

Jimmy was looking forward to a career; that career would only begin with acting. He mentioned moving on to directing and other work. He had been unhappy with the way a book he had read was made into a movie. The book was Fountainhead. He wanted to remake it because he thought the characterizations were flat and had failed to evoke the wonderful potential of the human life. I suspect now, looking back through a life time that has afforded me the opportunity to know more than I want about Objectivism, that if he had tried to do the remake he wanted Ayn Rand would have strenuously objected. Jimmy had a strong sense of spirituality that would have offended her. Jimmy would probably have ignored her objections. He was like that. He knew what he wanted and he was determined.

I have many memories of Jimmy; he always found time to talk to me and since we shared a fascination with ideas there was always lots to discuss. The essence of spirit, the past and how we know and understand it; the flow of time. All of these things were subjects we discussed. He did most of the talking, naturally. I listened carefully and asked questions.

Does a shallow, self indulgent kid greedy for fame and the potential for self importance and what fame can buy spend that kind of time with a child? No. Would that kind of discourse slip from the lips of an angst ridden pop tart? Hardly.

If Jimmy had lived he would not have become a fat, self-indulgent has been. He would have taken the capital he had created in name identification and respect and invested it in projects that pushed the edges of thought in new directions. Hollywood would have followed his lead because he was worth following. He would have started projects for kids in Fairmount, Indiana; he would have, perhaps run for office. He would have done good in all directions. He cared about people and he cared about the kind of world his generation would leave behind.

I know that to most people he exemplified the undirected angst of youth. Ironically the image he left immediately in the minds of most Americans was the product of hard work at the craft of acting. To see that perhaps Legnon should stand back and consider the intellectual vigor it takes to achieve that outcome. Jimmy was directed, focused, intent, inquiring and passionately interested in everything around him. That remains the unspoken and compelling presence that continues to fascinate, even if the viewer does not understand why.

I wish you could have known him. Then you would understand why he is worth remembering.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Beatty vs. the Governor: Send Arnold back to Hollywood

I read with interest the article transcribed from a speech given by Warren Beatty today from the keynote address delivered at the graduation ceremony for UC Berkeley's Goldman School for Public Policy. While I agreed with the underlying sentiments expressed I found myself wishing Mr. Beatty had stood up for actors. Certainly there is no reason to assert today that actors contribute less to our common happiness and wellbeing than do politicians. I would make a case for the contrary. I know one honest politician but I have known several honest actors. And actors do not expect the lavish retirement accorded to members of Congress and the larger legislatures. They know if they don't give the audience what it wants they could starve. A laudable attitude that keeps them on their toes.

The state of California would be far better off if this actor turned governor were still making the same quality movies for which he was so well known.

So I would I suggest to Mr. Beatty that his respect for politicians is misplaced. We all have wish lists of issues but first and foremost America needs to return control of governance to the people and reinstall accountability in governance. That is after all, the original idea. That does not mean handing control off to a new form of aristocracy which is what politicians have become.

Being elected to office is the equivalent of winning the lottery.

It has been going bad for a long time but it was the idea that politicians can experiment on us that destroyed the basis of accountability. The ideas of the past, grounded in the failures of socialist thought and utility theory do not work. With the advent of socialism in the early 1900s the practice of installing clever ideas with no proof they would work became accepted. Theories are nice but should never be used without full liability for harm caused and a comprehensive impact study, not in business and not in government.

No-fault divorce, welfare reform, and other nifty ideas foisted on us through legislation have destroyed the expectations of generations of Americans. It has to stop.

And in a world where Americans cannot trust the electoral process discussing health care is like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

We are as able to audit the accounts of those convicted of crimes like Enron as we are the ballots that elect our leaders. Therefore, America has no reasonable expectation of an honest vote. That should scare you. So, while I very much enjoyed the warm sentiments and insights of Mr. Beatty I would urge him to rethink his priorities.

Consider for a moment the retirement and benefits packages of those who serve. Definitely not what they voted up for us. Personally, if I had my way I would put the Congress on whatever privatized Social Security system they elect for us and give the elderly the retirement packages customized for Congress. To expensive you say? Just cancel the present war and we can afford it, I answer.

Which brings us to another issue on which I disagree with Mr. Beatty while sharing his sentiments. Taxation is not the best way to equalize wealth. The robber barons of California went after the money with the help of various legislatures and then bought respectability and acceptance, which was all too cheaply for sale. Being able to buy acceptability without fear of liability makes thievery carried out under the guise of “business” and “government” far too attractive. If this had not been the case, if liability were the disincentive it should be, then the problems with California's 'energy deregulation' would by now have resulted in the seizure of the ill gotten gains and hopefully restitution would have been rendered to those harmed. Jail time is far too good for them. Give them jobs at Walmart. Wealth is not the problem; what wealth makes acceptable to us is.

This kind of predatory behavior is not a recent development and predates both Mr. Beatty and myself.

Far from representing a forgotten era of capitalism the Roaring Twenties was alive with larceny, the legacy of law and practice already distorted by the growing partnership between government and big business that is only today reaching its full flower through the logical consistency of the NeoCons. The motto of these Grandees of Greed ought to be, “If you are going to steal, steal everything.” No one can deny they are efficient. Who else would have ended combat pay the second a soldier is wounded and then charged the injured for food and treatment while still in the hospital, rendering a bill on discharge?

One can imagine the murmurs of awe and respect issuing from the now dead lips of Nazi bureaucrats.

I will happily accord any politician the respect I give my plumber if he or she does the job as promised. Politicians deserve exactly as much respect and profit as they earn by fulfilling the duty they owe to those who pay their salaries. Perhaps at sometime in America's past being a politician meant a life of service but for longer than either Mr. Beatty of I have lived being a politician in America has meant, for most of those 'called' to that profession, serving up Americans to the interests of power. Being an actor is a profession far more worthy of respect. Honor is in any work well and honestly performed, not in the kind of work. Any actor posing as a corpse can tell you that.

So, Mr. Beatty, give actors the respect they deserve. I'd rather have a bad actor acting than one playing politician any day.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Faith and Religious Practice: Quantum Consciousness

When we accept the presence of the sacred in our lives and begin to listen to the flow of spirit coming to us from a place unseen we are confronted with a profound choice. Will we choose to hear or will we shoulder past the ineffable and continue on our way, ignoring what our minds tell us is irrational?
No choice comes without risks. But what is risked is not necessarily apparent, either to the one confronted or to those watching the logic of choice work its way out into the material circumstances that will record the totality of our individual lives.
The verities of the religious experience may be very different than we have thought.
This goes to several questions. One of these touches on the nature of reality, which we are beginning to understand through the insights offered through quantum physics as very different that previously believed. It is not the finite, knowable world that we saw it to be at the beginning of the 20th century. Most human institutions still rest on the assumptions of that century if not on an even earlier century. The structures of human institutions, born from the ideas of generations past, function as repositories for the conservation of moral and institutional capital and are therefore falling edge indicators for coming change.
This takes us to the question of faith, not in the way we have traditionally understood this but in a new way that I characterize as quantum consciousness. According to quantum physics each part of the whole, no matter how far removed from all others, is actually in immediate and intimate contact. This means that the faith derived article of belief stating that all life connects is literally, physically true, the spiritual then being understood as an aspect of our nature heretofore seen as separate and problematical.
But if we are all cojoined, both with our own spiritual nature and with the material world that extends from that nature then this is not faith but intuitively derived truth. There have been indications for a long time that those arenas of human insight, including art and literature, actually function as predictors for oncoming waves of change in how we perceive the nature of reality.
Dr. Leonard Shlain's book, Art and Physics, Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light, notes the relationship between the underlying conceptualizations in edge art and their predictive function in physics.
What, then is intuition and how can we use it as a tool for human progress?
Is religious intuition a partially understood means through which we as humans may understand our own nature and progress towards some unseen horizon? This would seem to be the case. But as with all intuition this is subject to interpretation filtered through the veil of ideas each of us uses to construct the immediate nature of our everyday reality. Because we see through those filters of our own internal experiences we use iconic representations that provide a context for meaning. This in large part explains the difficulty in communicating between individuals coming from different perspectives. But only in part. We can also be mistaken about what specific iconic representations mean to others seen through cultural filters when we translate these into language.
Assumptions about what may seem obvious are a constant block to real communication.
We are spirits living in bodies that see the world through images, language and ideas that may vary widely in understanding. Our backgrounds, genders, cultures, level of spiritual development, education, age, and other factors moderate our 'beliefs.' Our beliefs create the reality with which we react and interact with others.
We are spirits in process of becoming. What we are becoming lies beyond the horizon of our ability to understand. But if we are connected in the way that intuition and quantum physics now indicates then the comfortable and artificial limits we have provided through human culture, practice and religion are as fragile as a curtain suffering long exposure to the sun. It is ready to tear and only our assumptions are holding it in place. Those assumptions are what created it in the first place, let's remember.
So what does this mean to us as individuals and as a people? It means that as individuals we need to confront the nature of the world in which we live and the nature of the world that lives in each of us. Today that need is greater because we are living in a time of transition. Every institution of humanity is showing the strain of long use that has worn it to shreds. Those institutions, forged from the ideas originating in the human mind, are failing because they are not modeling the coming change in consciousness that has been so long predicted.
Baldly stated, that change is from a hierarchal structure for human organization to a flatter, matrixed model for human relations. Equality expressed spiritually.
This is evident everywhere, even in the excesses of hierarchy reaching its logical conclusion as a form of resistance to change. In politics today it can be understood as the one predicted Rapture, that being in truth, the realization that all are one, Christians seeing this as a union in the spirit of Christ, others seeing it through the explanatory iconic representations of their own belief systems. Interestingly enough, nearly all human religious have predicted a transition in this period of time, another argument that the intuition driving these visions has predictive value.
As with all monumental transitions this one is tumultuous, impacting many in immediate ways.
The form and content of churches, giving place to the continuing human need to experience the sacred, are changing in unexpected ways that are leaving members of the older generations bewildered and isolated. The cognitive process to which the younger generations have been subject may well have changed them organically far more than we yet understand. The familiar structure of the human experience, firmly invested in a hierarchal world view is rapidly growing flatter through a series of punctuating events. This bald fact has been observable in business, with the downsizing of the Fortune 500 through the collapse of middle management with the advent of the desk top computer. This has been balanced by the almost hysterical desire of those in positions of power to hold on to the past by accumulating reservoirs of wealth.
The effect of quantum consciousness first appeared in venues for human action that were most easily modified by the forces of market choice. America, representing the optimization of freedom remained a mystic beacon for human hope even as the objective conditions that had made this true were diminished. Where choice is possible, in religion, in occupation, in relationships, choice has been exercised with growing frequency. We are seeing it last in government and other organizations that fail to allow for the modifying power of individuals voting with their feet and finances.
Quantum consciousness is the realization of human freedom, not in the political realm but in all parts of all venues for action.
Individuals from all parts of the world have accepted the idea that they should by inherent right be free. All of us are now trying to understand what freedom means practiced in the individual life. Our beliefs and the hope it generates may be changing the larger direction through the compiled force of quantum consciousness itself. Nothing is separate, as we are coming to see.
The body of human knowledge has increased exponentially. It is no longer possible for any one human being to know everything in even a subsection of one discipline when only ten generations ago it was possible for one individual to have working knowledge of the whole of human knowledge derived from Western Civilization. This rate of change has only shifted upwards with the interface created by the presence of the Internet and other means for the dissemination of memes that would previously have taken years instead of seconds or minutes to change the idea sets of individuals across divides of space and time.
So what does this say about how we should view religious practice?
With respect, with an open mind and with the view of understanding it as an overlooked tool for human understanding of the entire human experience.

Evangelicals are hypocrites: Do not emulate them.

Evangelicals are hypocrites: Do not emulate them.

It is all well and good to call for the signing of endless petitions asserting some kind of ownership in a belief in Christ, but those are empty words. No one owns the message; but each of us can deliver it. How we do that tells everyone whether or not we are living in the Work.
It is not hard to tell. No one mistakes the concentration camps as acts of Christian love. No one who really looks and listens can believe that the evangelicals now pounding their chests and staking out the moral high ground are about anything but deceit. That many of them may be deceiving themselves as well is pathetic.
Those evangelical Christians who offend by using words to change His message are not acting as Christians. But are you? Christ is not about politics in the sense that politics can be used to force others to act. Christ is demonstrated in us when we act as Him, allowing the Gift of His spirit to move us in our own lives.
Sorry if this seems unkind but it should be so obvious. I spent most of my life as an atheist until Christ claimed me. But now I have no doubts.
Reclaiming Christianity cannot be done with words. As the gift was given so must it be lived. Only your acts have the power to affirm His message. Consider for a moment the message of Christ.
Christ gave us his body and blood as a meal to satisfy our needs. He did this freely. He could have at any time avoided the pain of torture and crucifixion. He welcomed it. This was not in His words but in the sacrifice of His human life on the Cross. That was the first part of His gift, but not the greater. The fact of His eventual death was determined at the moment he was born. What could death, even death on the Cross, be to the Son of God who clearly saw beyond its veil?
That death meant nothing. But then, He rose from the grave and appeared again among His followers to speak and to teach. He told them He had still one gift to give. And this time He gave His Spirit. It was not in words that He gave His spirit to dwell in each of us. This He did as a tangible, living act that broke His spirit like the loaf of bread He had held in His hands at the last Supper. After that moment in time we dwelt in Him, as He lives in us, all of us. It does not matter if you believe in Him, He lives in each of us no matter how we doubt and fear.
He has given this precious gift to each of us.
His actions changed the course of history. Because of His acts today we are different. The reality of his acts and Gift sent a message into the world that became greater than its parts. This happened because Christianity was not founded on words but on actions. If you would reclaim Christianity then you must retake it by the compounded acts of your life speaking out the simple but profound beliefs spoken by Jesus with His own life.
We are One in Him. What you do for anyone else so do you do for Him, directly and immediately. Love others as yourself. Love yourself so that you can love others.
This was foundational to the beliefs of the church Christ left behind in trust.
It was this belief made manifest throughout the first centuries of Christianity that changed the face of the world, moving humanity towards a vision of love and unity through the life of one Man.
As it was so it is today.
So toss that petition in the trash can. Now take your life, which is a gift from God, and make with it the living reality that speaks the essence of the message and the reality that is our living gift from the Messiah. Make your own statement. By so doing you will confound those who misuse Him.
Instead of requesting that someone else, in this case the government of the United States, care for others take up the duty left to you by Christ and do it with your own hands. In so doing you can bring the consciousness of Christ back into the world. Where there is disease, heal, as did the Christians of the early years.
In those early centuries the cities of the Roman Empire were frequently subject to plagues that killed thousands. As a practice, pagans had abandoned their own relatives to die when they fell ill. But early Christians, recognizing these victims as extensions of the Body of Christ, made them comfortable, feed them and tended to their needs. As a result as many as 70% lived. This was living the Word; the extrapolation of faith into acts.
The early church was a tool for making the Word real in the sight of all humanity. They heard and came. But this process was not through preaching words but in the eloquence of action.
There were many reasons for becoming Christian. To be Christian was to be persecuted, marginalized, despised. But it was also a force for change and the least among pagans saw, heard, and came.
For a woman becoming Christian meant that she owned herself. She could not be sold into marriage when she was as young as 10. She was not required to abort or kill her babies if her husband did not want them. She controlled her own property. If her husband died she was not given back to her father to be sold again into marriage. She could control and sell her own property and hold positions in the early Church. Many early Christian women did just that.
The promise of freedom built an early church culture of benevolence and love. 60% of early Christians were women. We know these things from careful study of the objective facts left behind, not from the obfuscations of later generations of 'church fathers.' Read the Rise of Christianity by Dr. Rodney Stark, a study in the sociology of the early church if you doubt.
The human spirit was hungry for more than food. They also hungered for freedom, especially the least of these, women. Women had no standing or rights in the pagan world.
That was the living truth on which Christianity flourished, the living word of Christ in works.
Where there was hunger, they feed that hunger. In a world that hungered mightily for freedom Christianity was a feast of the spirit. We know Christ today because that early church feed all of the hungers of a humanity with many needs.
We hunger for freedom today as much as for food to fill our bellies.
Where there is want and lack fill those needs.
It is much easier today than it was 2,000 years ago.
Now we have cooperative organizations enabled through our culture that allow us to donate, work, teach and heal with our spare time. Because we are more productive we have spare time. Go into your own community and see what needs to be done. Then do it.
Given the direction of the government of the United States and the message now being delivered by the Evangelicals awaiting the Rapture in the Rose Garden, there is, every day, more to be done.
Stop giving unto Caesar what is not due to him. Today you can choose. You can start giving to those who hunger for all of the things that the early church gave to those who they touched. Those things are still needed. You can hold up a mirror that makes the lies that offend you obvious to all who see.
But do it from your own heart, from your community, and from the love that Christ gave you without using the coercive power of government.
Christ never voted for the lesser of two evils and neither should you.

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Lovely Tea at the White House with Laura Bush!

Jacque Stafford of  Colorado, a good friend. (Melinda took the photo)
Thanks for the Memories that are rather soured
The White House – May 11, 2001
By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

The tea was held upstairs, past open doors that held the portraits of First Ladies and mementos of previous administrations. The People’s House is large enough to hold all of the variations of which America is capable. Therefore it must be large, more on the inside than in any other dimension.
We scaled the broad and beautiful stairs while listening to the floating music of a military string quartet that played in the foyer across a gleam of marble flooring. The music drew us on.
Various of our number stopped to study the portraits of the presidents that hung on the walls and more than a few paused in front of the bust of Lincoln that gazes into a place far away at one side of the hallway.
   The People’s House hushes voices and fills the heart with pride.                                                                   
  We have known so many disappointments and failures. The light was gold and clear drifting down to touch the marble and gleaming carpets.
The event was everything any of us imagined it could be. We had dressed accordingly.
The tiny pastries epitomized all that is delicious. As rapidly as we could empty the trays they were replenished by the hovering servers. Our noble best did not suffice to empty even one before it was whisked from sight to make way for another.
The day was warm. So instead of sipping hot tea our thirsts were quenched by the most excellent iced tea, delicately flavored with just a touch of mango. Cautioned not to take souvenirs a few of our number did tuck a single paper napkin into a dainty purse.
We basked, remembering the hours of labor that each of us have invested in bringing this administration home.
Pictures were taken, smiles and words exchanged with the First Lady. She shared with us her hopes for a better tomorrow through her work for all children everywhere. Her hopes were made tangible and accessible through programs that enable each to work within their home and community. We listened, moved and delighted with her simple informality.
The contrast served to remind each of us that this administration is very different from the last.
The People’s House is large. It is not so much a home as a symbol and destination for thoughts and deeds. We snapped our own pictures; unofficial mementos to be savored over and over again through the months and years ahead.
Tea. Pastries. Music. A lavishing of thoughts and a reminder that the building is a symbol of things we cannot touch. Those things we can and did take with us.

Laura, two other NFRW Regents, and Melinda in red

Raspberry Gumballs and the President

Raspberry Gumballs and the President As told by Little Carolyn to her Mom.

Please note that in 2012 much of the anguish suffered by my parents and others in the family was explained when I realized 'Little Carolyn' is a psychopath.  Accepting this was devastating, but necessary.  Recognizing the signs of psychopathy are important to all of us.  No matter how painful it is better to know and take action to protect ourselves and others we love.   January 27, 2017.


She hungered for raspberry gumballs. These ecstatically wonderful delights could only be had from the gumball machine at the local Safeway Market. She knew it was after curfew. This limitation was an annoyance that had been mandated by frisky high school students wandering through the night looking for very different excitements. This could not apply to her. She was law-abiding and careful of the proper rights of others.
Little Carolyn was always a law unto herself.
She got dressed. Her aunt would never know. She could almost taste the gumballs now.
The Safeway was just a few blocks away, a matter of a five-minute walk. She had often ventured into the night on some such small adventure, but this time it would be very different.
The place was pretty quiet except for a clutch of people around the checkout stand at the other end of the store. Little Carolyn, standing around 4’ 8," ignored them, eyes firmly on the source of coming delight.
The coins clinked into the slot and she turned the handle. The machine groaned, coughed, and fell silent. No raspberry gumballs appeared in the spillway. She tried again. Still no gumballs. She knew that appealing to the store manager would result in a smirk and dismissal. That had happened all too often. The gumball machine seemed to be sneering at her.
"Hey! You can’t shake that machine!" Little Carolyn looked back to see a friend of her grandfather’s glaring at her. She had to look way up as he was well over six feet.
"It stole my money and it is not going to let it get away with it – this time." She returned to her activity. Smack.
Little Carolyn felt herself seized bodily and hauled off.
"Apologize to the Manager, Carolyn. Your grandpa is going to be very upset when he finds out."
"No. This machine steals my money and the manager won’t give it back or fix the machine. He promised he would the last time. Grandpa would say I was right to insist on having the gumballs. He might not have wanted me to hit the machine but…."
"But we do not smack machines. They aren’t our property."
"So I guess it is alright to steal from kids?" She looked up into the face of the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan who had paused while bagging his own groceries in Goleta, California in 1981 to intercede, recognizing the grandchild of an old friend.
Little Carolyn would be hauled off by a grim faced President and his accompanying Secret Service cortege and deposited home into the horrified custody of her aunt. She remained unrepentant.
Authority misapplied that ignores the proper rights of individuals was the issue. It is too bad that with the best intentions in the free world President Reagan failed to see this small revolution as what it really was. Standing up for your rights includes the gumballs – even when authority wants you to shut up and just take it.
Maybe if it had been jelly beans he would have understood.
(The above story is the honest go God truth and took place in 1981. I sent a copy of this to Mrs. Reagan on the occasion of the President's borthday in 2003.)


God Bless you, Mr. President

Women, War and the ERA

Women, War and the ERA


The American Revolution would not have been won without its women. They have never gotten the credit they deserved. It is time they did.
They don’t want much. Just equality, something they still don’t have under the existing Constitution. You might have thought it happened. It didn’t. America has not ratified the Equal Eights Amendment. It is time it did.
The bill has been payable for over 200 years. It is time to pay up.
It is a well known but misunderstood fact that the Revolution was funded and fought for the most part from the New England states. New England was able to put a huge army in the field because it had always depended on the productivity of women, who sharing the goals and dangers of the war, redoubled their efforts to allow fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons, to take up arms.
The household based economy of the New England States made up the largest part of the capital investment that carried the revolution through its years of conflict. The women who bore this burden believed that their risk and investment would be repaid through the capital of liberty thereby produced. They expected that after the war they would receive a full share in the freedom won.
Ironically, women were less free after the Revolution than before. Before the war many New England states tied the right to vote to property, so many women voted. After the war franchise was firmly tied to gender. Emigrants who had contributed nothing to the effort to establish freedom were given the prerogatives of citizenship denied to these original investors. After the war the various States asserted the right to further control women through marriage and divorce laws and other measures that restricted their freedoms.
But subsequent generations of women took up the burdens of the fight for a human emancipation they did not yet share. They became the weight and the will of the Abolitionist Movement. They worked for social reforms and against poverty. Again, believing they would be included along with their black sisters and brothers in full citizenship, they were disappointed when the 14th Amendment failed to include them. They were told to wait while the Black Man had his day. Black Sisters did not matter any more than did they. In each case only a handful of men, those who enjoyed the benefits of their sacrifices, went on to work with them for the liberty of women.
Those of us who cry for their rage remember those names. The honorable deserve the credit of their actions.
Subsequent generations of women patriots have also been denied both the moral credit for their sacrifices and a page in history. They are still not included as full citizens under the law of the Constitution.
The ability to wage war is not just about men in battle. For every soldier in the field many others labor to supply the weapons, the munitions, the food, the essential support that keeps him or her there. Today we well know that the benefits of such service are extended to all of those specialties that never include exposure to the moral dangers of battle. They are nonetheless soldiers that serve to support the effort.
Why then do we deny to women the full franchise and protection of law, granting this to all men? Women have always served. They have simply not been recognized or compensated.
As a long time member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, as an American and a patriot I object.
Extend to women the full rights of citizenship. Ratify the ERA
Equality of the genders under law is no longer negotiable.

Phyllis Schlfly is wrong - but so is everyone.

Why Everyone is Wrong on Title IX

I really meant to be at the debate in Santa Barbara on Tuesday night between Phyllis Schlafly and Anita Perez Ferguson, but it just didn't happen. So I called around and asked questions, read the paper the next morning, and ascertained that for the umpteenth time the same arguments on Title IX with reflections on the usefulness of law as a means of enforcing/changing gender roles had occupied center front of the debate. I was kind of glad I missed it at that point. These arguments go like this:
Feminist - "If public money is spent on sports it has to be equally proportioned between males and females." This treats males and females as if they were on opposing teams instead of enforcing the original principle, so long ignored, of the larger American vision that we are individuals and should be treated as such. Since the Founders also flubbed that one it is hard for me to apportion too much blame on this one.
Anti-Feminist - "Public money spent on sports should be apportioned as it has always been; Mostly to males because males are better at sports." Men have a right to preferential treatment because they stole it fair and square. It is a sanctified American tradition that needs to be continued. This is the argument of Right by Conquest applied internally.
Both arguments assume public money should be spent on sports. Both arguments assume that somehow competitive sports are a positive benefit that justifies their cost.
Both arguments are silly.

This is how things REALLY ought to be - to recycle a phrase from a confessed drug addict.
No competitive sports should be paid for through public funding of any kind. Schools are for educating individuals, helping each child discover and optimize their inherent strengths. Public schools should not be a farm team system for professional sports. Professional teams are a profit-making concern and should pay their own way. The need to find talent may motivate them to fund after school sports programs.
Baseball, football and basketball are not what America is about. Neither is golf.
All students do not benefit from participation in competitive sports and focusing on such activities asserts values that have nothing to do with education. Unfortunately except for a very few exceptional individuals the direction of professional sports has been bad for the values of America. The ranks of professional athletes hold nearly as many felons, rapists, wife abusers, and bad credit risks as we find in Congress. Both groups are erroneously held up as models for public behavior.
We now live in a free country where cities can steal land to build sports stadiums and no one blinks. It is a very wrong picture.
The original issue was fitness for children.
Physical fitness is essential to individual health and well-being. We all want our children to have positive experiences and optimize their health. But the families of students should provide those activities that they think best support their own children. These programs could be direct tax credits, either individually or through employers thus reducing the money controlled by government.
Presumably, providing such programs would be a cooperative effort with the many organizations, mostly nonprofits, already providing such activities for students after school. If local schools and the parents who should have input there feel they need physical fitness on campus during school time those activities should help each student become more fit instead of pouring money into programs that focus attention and resources on a few athletically gifted students of either gender.
The mistake perpetuated by feminists was their failure to recognize that the present system takes control from parents and delivers it into the hands of bureaucrats. Feminism must be about individualism because the State has never been anything but hostile to the rights of women.
The mistake of Libertarians and small government Republicans was one of inconsistency. If individual freedom of choice and markets are the answer then why did they fail to make this point when Title IX was originally proposed? Title IX is a clunky add-on to a failed system meant to redress generations of preferential treatment for males now long gone from the educational system. But punishing young boys for the crimes and omissions of their elder counter parts only creates more generations of resentment. The answer is probably because most Libertarians and small government Republicans are male and they like football, basketball and baseball just the way they are, thank you very much. Southern slave owners had a similar problem.
But those mistakes are in the past. It is time to do the right thing, fix the problem, and move forward together.
Phyllis should go home to Missouri and act as a model for a housewife who does not speak unless spoken to. That is the gender role she says she favors; let her try it for herself. This debate might well be an attempt by Phyllis Schlafly to find new ground from which to oppose the real issue, that being the long awaited ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment so she can go on making a profit by attacking the rights other women struggled to create for her. The Eagle Forum is cheesy but it has given her visibility and benefits beyond measure.
Contrary to what the overwhelming majority of Americans believe men and women are not equal under law and this has rankled and lies at the foundation of the bitterness expressed by the Women's Movement.
The truth is always in what you do, not in what you say. While Americans had ratified equality in their hearts and actions the law does not reflect that and when the question is posed at the Supreme Court we already know that our Constitution will not support equality.
The failure to ratify the ERA, find solutions to such issues as domestic violence, the sexual abuse of children, and the fiasco of no fault divorce, another extreme outrage to the concept of individual accountability, has driven women out of all political parties in growing numbers. Women know there is a problem but do not know where to go for a solution.
Democrats demand women carry the bags in elections but have consistently failed to do anything to forward a real agenda for social justice, preferring to create more customers for government largess whose dependence will reinforce their power. Republicans demand women carry the bags and pull the wagon, too.
The most recent Democrat justification is, amazingly, expressed in Joe Conasons's new book, Big Lies. It is that they, Democrats in Congress, steal less than Republicans. Nice to know he is honest enough to acknowledge what is usually an unspoken verity of government activity. I would like to see that one on a bumper sticker.
It is time women wised up. It is time Libertarians and small government Republicans saw that they have common ground with the one group who can make freedom a reality in our lifetimes.

Accepting the Courage to Live

Accepting the courage to live: A response to William Safire

William Safire approaches one of the most profound points now at issue in human discourse in his July 10th opinion piece on Laleh and Ladan Bijani, cojoined twins who died trying to achieve the fullness that their personal circumstances had denied them. He then slides off into a tangent leaving the reader unfulfilled.
The real issue is individualism versus collectivism as the best tool for driving human choice.
As Americans who have just celebrated the anniversary of a Revolution that asserted the right of individuals to choose against the most traditional form of collectivism, monarchy, we should remember the courage of two women who accepted their risks and chose to reject the limitations of the known, reaching instead for a future that offered them more scope.
They understood the step they chose. In characterizing this as a step into the realm of neuroethics Mr. Safire missteps and falls off the cliff into irrelevancy.
This was not about the potentials of brain enhancement; it was a life style choice predicated on the essential self-ownership of the individual.
The issue was the individual’s right of self-determination. It was their lives and their choice. Mr. Safire’s piece assumed the right of the State to limit individual choice.
That presumption should be at issue. We should be questioning how well this entrenched form of centralized control and choice limitation has served us.
Each of us must consider new choices made available through technological advancement when and if they become available. Responsible professionals need to consider the guidelines they will use to determine if they wish to offer those highly specialized and risky services to potential clients. But there is a long distance between rehabilitation and brain augmentation and this was the shoal on which Mr. Safire floundered.
Treatments to alleviate conditions that diminish the quality of an individual’s life are rehabilitation. The technological developments Mr. Safire cited will broaden the options now available. They are not life style choices but rehabilitative options. Such options belong firmly in the informed hands of individuals. Mr. Safire’s reliance on ‘professionals’ is ill placed.
Understanding the complexities of the human mind through neurobiology will give individuals the ability to make better decisions when confronted by real circumstances. Here science provides tools, new to us, but in a short time taken for granted. The history of medical science does not lend the thoughtful observer to rely on their judgment without strong reservations. When it is your own life or the life of someone you love you are most careful.
Mr. Safire’s comments relating this to medical ethics brings into focus the tendency for professionals to assume the right to decide life-impacting questions for individuals while at the same time seeking to limit their liability for making such busy-body decisions. They generally hide this tendency behind elevated rhetoric, such as supplied by Mr. Safire.
Their means for enforcing their power to choose for others is the State. This always-encroaching form of collectivism denies individuals the right to choose for themselves.
The books written by Antonio Damasio give new form to the relationship between human emotion and logic, entirely rebooting the historical presumptions that divided these two formats for decision-making. All of his books should be on the You-Really-Oughta-Read-This List. He is redefining the philosophical underpinnings of several disciplines simultaneously. Ethics, the economics of human behavioral strategies, will be only one of the things immeasurably impacted.
Human liberty, that subtle weaving of choice and accountability, is the tool that lies behind all human progress. Someone takes a risk, whether it is for revolution or an operation to give him or her a fuller future. Their choice gives each of us valuable input we immediately use, taking note of their success or failure.
In this way we reduce our transaction costs, watching as others stamp down the first grassy steps through unknown wilderness towards better worlds. There is no gene for conscience but it is time we asked ourselves why we tolerate what does not work. Individual choice works; Collectivism does not. If you wouldn’t trust a Congressman to watch your child why should they mandate our medical choices or dictate our energy sources?
It would have been a far sadder fate if Laleh and Ladan Bijani had not been able to choose. One hundred years ago they would have faced the wall of impossibility. They died having exercised their right to really live. We speak of spending our lives, recognizing in those words the temporary nature of human existence. The right choice may empower the soul, even as it kills us. This is the epitaph of all revolutionaries, including Laleh and Ladan.

Rove sends bouquet to Barbra Streisand

Did Karl Rove reprogram Barbra Streisand?


If Barbra Streisand could forward plan well enough to play chess with a six year old she might have a future in politics. Political competence requires that the participant think out the ramifications of actions and learn to lie with a straight face and without too many contradictions. One’s motives should be so obvious.
The decision of CBS to redirect the film, The Reagans, which is astonishingly offensive about every member of a very public family, is not a bad day for the 1st Amendment and free expression. It is a good day for civility and good taste. The offense level would have been much lower if Barbra and her funny friends had made a movie about, say, George Bush being lifted up to heaven in a final rapture as Armageddon is fought out on the plain beneath him. It would also have been much more on point and inject some humor into the ongoing horror movie of American foreign policy.
She is also wrong about who is offended. This is not a right-wing plot. It is not even a Neocon plot; though they will certainly try to use it for their own ends. I am sure that Karl Rove will begin buying Barbra’s albums in thanks.
This was a spontaneous eruption of outrage against extreme bad manners and a level of nastiness that offends individuals at all points of the political spectrum. Compare it to the recent recall, or to the sentiments expressed with Prop. 13. The Dixie Chicks are doing well now because the viewpoint they expressed is now very much in America’s main stream.
Americans are not stupid. They mostly ignore government because it is such a monumental waste of time, but they do notice when it gets too big for its britches and when ensuing events clarify the motives of those in power they will change their minds.
Ronald Reagan was a good man with some flaws. None of us is perfect. His last public act was to use his own illness to encourage support for those also inflicted with Alzheimer’s. He didn’t do that to get votes he did it to use his own pain and suffering to ease the burden of others.
I never voted for Ronald Reagan. I disagreed with him politically over and over again. But I am still offended; not only by this movie but by the stupidity and cowardly dissembling I see in Ms. Streisand and those involved in this production.
Ms. Streisand should learn from her mistake, apologize and move on.
This is clearly a very political movie aimed at impacting the public perception of a man who has become an icon not just for Republicans but for the many Democrats who also voted for him. What they wanted to do was impact Republican loyalty at the beginning of the presidential campaign period. But they should have taken on the present administration instead of a family who needs our love and support through a long agony.
Ronald Reagan projected an image of tough goodness and honesty. This made him unusual in politics because in his case it wasn’t just image. Ms. Streisand is handicapped in her attempts because so many people in Hollywood and in California knew him well.
I never voted for him but along with many thousands of others I saw his behavior over a long period of years not through photo-ops orchestrated at disasters for the media but through personal experience. He had sprightly conversations with my daughter on the phone when he called my Dad, who worked with him through his position at the University of California occasionally. His last conflict with my daughter, fought out near his ranch in Santa Barbara, over the propriety of making war on larcenous gum machines was one war Reagan lost. (see Raspberry Gumballs and the President)
The public may be appeased by having the use of the film shifted to a smaller audience. Maybe. The NeoCons, those right-wing crazies who are neither right wing or crazy but actually unprincipled and canny, will doubtless use this in attempts to stifle appropriate protests against a foreign policy that is leading us into a generation of war aimed at lining the pockets of a subset of corporations owned or controlled by their cronies. In that regard one could wonder if Karl Rove actually wrote the screenplay for this public relations disaster. If not I bet he wished he had.
.

When Justice is Dead: Save KT Delettre

FREE KT – Justice in America is dead

The defense attorney read a novel, ignoring the defendant who, near tears, begged her to speak up. Witnesses to her innocence were not called; evidence was not presented. Those witnesses that were seated in the witness box were not asked the questions that would have exonerated her. All had traveled from New Mexico at their own expense. The court refused to pay for their travel, normally a routine adjunct to a fair trial. Her court appointed attorney refused to subpoena witnesses. The court refused each day to let the defendant defend herself despite her absolute constitutional right to do just that.
In America even those accused of murder can defend themselves, if they ask. But not in Placerville. Or, more accurately, not KT Delettre. She has proved herself too competent for the court’s comfort.
The defendant had been incarcerated for six months before trial, her weight dropping to 83 pounds because her allergies made the food and chlorinated water allowed to her poison. She was held on half a million dollars bail. Recommended bail for this charge is $15,000.00.
Asserting that she is a flight risk she was remanded to custody until her November 7th sentencing. At all costs she must not be heard or have a chance to work in her own defense.
KT has still not entirely recovered from the incarceration caused by the $500,000 bail. It is difficult for her to walk very far or for very long.
This is a short version of the travesty of a trial endured by KT Delettre before she was found guilty for a crime that the court knows perfectly well she did not commit This is a case of an active conspiracy to use the law to destroy and perhaps to kill.
What crime did KT Delettre commit?
None at all.
Arrested and tried for kidnapping her own son more than a year ago the evidence clearly shows that she had legal custody of her small son; that the court never informed her they had given custody to her violent ex-husband. The court had changed custody ignoring state law prohibiting such an action. They had manipulated events so that KT was not informed of the hearing.
There are witnesses who will testify that Loren Oliver, her ex-husband abused their son.
They accused her of hiding but the court always knew where she was. They waited two years to begin action so that the charge could be a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
Living in Columbus, New Mexico, KT was a proactive and involved citizen, opening a much needed food coop and rebuilding her life for two years. The mayor and other prominent citizens respected and admired her. The victim of domestic violence for the 13 years of her marriage she reached out to help others -until the FBI broke down her door in June of 2002.
Over and over again this court has denied her constitutional and procedural rights and finally denied the right to a counsel who would present the facts to a jury. The defense attorney who was more interested in her novel than in doing her job is a friend of the prosecutor.
Everyone on the other side of the table is well acquainted, drawn together by bonds of greed and hate.
This is business as usual in Placerville, California. They should be ashamed. The innocent people living there should be very, very afraid. If it can happen to KT it can happen to them, too.
American’s system of courts has become a tool for the greedy to put money in their own pockets by doing favors for the guilty and the violent. The judge, defense attorney, district attorney, and entire system in KT’s case acted in collusion with the intention of keeping KT from speaking out and to do a favor for a friend, KT’s abusive ex-husband, Loren Oliver. Loren watched and gloated while they put shackles on KT’s tiny wrists. His new wife regretted not having brought their camera.
They not KT, should be in jail.
This pattern of institutionalized abuse is now repeated over and over in courts all across our country.
Something must be done in Placerville, California. Action must be taken in Grand Junction, Colorado. It can happen no matter where you live in America today.
We must act to save those at risk; we must act to save ourselves and America’s justice system. Justice must be for all of us; it must not be allowed to remain a commodity for sale to the highest bidder.
KT nearly died last year, held for over six months, unable to make the $500,000 bail until those who know and understand pledged their own homes. Now she faces something even worse. KT expects to die in prison.
But there is still hope.
The case has been appealed to the next level of court; the perpetrators have been reported to all authorities.
KT is in jail but all of America is at risk. No matter where we are today someday we too may need justice. Lend your voice to our appeal. Call your Congressmen, call the office of the Governor in California. Call the office of the Attorney General of California. Injustice has no place in America.

Rhetoric vs. Reality : A NeoCon ploy

An Honorable Rhetoric; an Ugly Reality - The Bush Inaugural Address

When my oldest son was small I always knew it was time to examine his activities when he felt moved to tell me multiple times that something was true. So when he told me that it was not he who blew up his sister’s Cabbage Patch Doll in a glorious display of the power of gun powder collected from caps I knew perfectly well who had reduced the cherished plaything to a shredded pile of lettuce leaves. Parents know this. Frequent repetitions of such denials drive the point home.
This familial insight becomes politically relevant when considering the content of the recent inaugural address delivered by President Bush. If you use the vision of “freedom” and “liberty” that many times you are not talking about either. But your actions will outline the bald truth.
Do not mistake rhetoric flights, no matter how filled with blandishments of surpassing beauty for anything but public relations. Their emoted words do not match reality but such effusions do provide us with valuable insights.
George Bush used the words ‘liberty” and “freedom” over forty times in that recent speech. He gave that speech surrounded by more security than has ever stood between a monarch and his subjects at any time in history. So turn down the volume control on your mind and watch what he is doing. It is what they do that is true.
We have invaded a foreign country and plan more of the same.
We are selling the natural resources of that country to pay our costs and to make a profit.
We are ignoring the continued presence of terrorist’s threats.
We must now tolerate the presence of an internal military police force miscalled “Homeland Security” that is mandated to spy on us, imprison us, and take our property with impunity.
Our right to free speech is under fire.
Women must again worry that they might not be the ones who ultimately control the right to choose whether or not to give birth.
Marriage, and the definition of the same, has become a matter of state policy. Military serving in Iraq are sent in harms way without body armor.
Our returning veterans are ignored to death.
The message conveyed through the clear lens of reality bears no relationship to “freedom” or “liberty,” two words denoting the emancipation of the human spirit to choose for itself the course most resonate with our sense of the sacred. It is not freedom when we cannot speak out; it is not freedom when we dishonor our obligation to veterans. It is not liberty when the government usurps our right to choose for ourselves. It is not freedom we protect when we use lies to justify an invasion. We are not thus made more secure. Freedom is nowhere in that equation.
A true liberty is founded only in the empowerment of individuals. Our government was originated as a tool to let a free people govern themselves, providing for a common defense and for such services as they were unable to supply for themselves. That has not changed. The vision of America is still valid. If there is a difference it is that now we have many more ways to provide those services without recourse to government.
In each of these matters the rhetoric used by President Bush fails the test to match reality. Each day that slips by finds us less free.
As our Founder Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” He was right. He would have been confounded by the world today, shocked by the use of rhetoric as a means of deceit.
Who among us has not experienced those who lie to get their way? We must not let the trappings of power overcome our discernment. We must not become afraid to speak out. It is bad, but it can get worse.
This administration has institutionalized the use of political operatives in the media, paying these agents for presenting their assertions as objective fact. In the case of Health and Human Services head Tommy Thompson, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher was paid a reported $21,500 from the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote administrative proposals. This is a species of lie new to politics; a conversion of the formerly independent media into an arm of the administration.
It is impossible for ordinary Americans to know what is happening under the cover of authority – but we can watch what they do and compare it to the rhetoric. And as the two diverge we can judge them. Turn down the volume on the rhetoric.
Actions speak louder than words.

Susan B. Anthony for Governor of California

Susan B. Anthony for Governor of California


As happened with Proposition 13, the present surge of public enthusiasm for a recall of California’s Governor, Gray Davis, astonishes and perplexes the political establishment. Those settled into the perks of privilege have amazing lacks of insight.
Proposition 13 was passed into law despite the inequalities inherent in its conceptualization. To the powerless any tool will do. They cannot afford the time to obfuscate, debate and further deplete their sparse resources. As Prop 13 was a loud NO to property taxes the Davis recall is a NO to politics.
Every new political wanna-be coming up the pike talks about reform. The message politicians should hear now is that the public is fed up with talk from them and from those who make a living talking about reform. It is time for the REAL thing. .
The most important lesson to be drawn from Proposition 13 is not about disgust with taxes. There is a more important lesson there that those who are really fed up need to hear.
Proposition 13 was the brainchild of a woman with everything to lose. She had no idea she was starting a revolution. She just wanted to save her small home.
The shock of reading her property tax bill must have been tremendous. By all reports she lived not far from the Kmart in Granada Hills, California and had a fixed income. Along with that her only asset was that small house. She reportedly wondered if a mistake had been made; if a decimal had been misplaced on the bill. She had owned the small house for many years but this tax bill meant she wouldn't be living there very much longer - unless she did something.
So she took a roll of drawer lining paper down to the Kmart at the corner of San Fernando Mission and Balboa Blvds and, seated at her dilapidated little card table, began collecting signatures. People pulled out their own pens when hers disappeared. They were all in the same boat.
I would tell you her name if anyone knew what it was. They don't. And therein lies the story. It soon became obvious that there were careers to be made in Prop. 13. The idea was stolen several times as ad hoc organizations battled over the idea until on election night the divisions necessitated two separate victory parties in Los Angeles. I have often wondered if either Jarvis of Gann bothered to invite our anonymous heroine.
All too soon reformers become the establishment, picking up the same greedy habits as those they replaced. Immediately they fundraise more and do less.
In a real revolution the revolutionaries would go home and get real jobs. In the ‘political revolutions’ of today’s world the revolutionaries immediately get jobs in politics. That is a very wrong picture.
How could it be otherwise? Politics fulfills the definition of an attractive nuisance. It tempts people who are at moral risk. People who want to be in politics or talk about politics instead of holding honest jobs are always at risk.
It is not surprising that Gray Davis is desperate to keep the privileges and perks of the governorship of California. It is not surprising that the Clintons are determined to see him remain in office. A Democratic hold on the state of California is important to their future plans. Neither party has a good history in California. Ronald Reagan instituted withholding taxes when he was Governor. The present Republican Party is actively hostile to women, even within its own ranks.
It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the public, instead of having the option to vote for Tom, Dick and Harriet, could have voted for none of the above. Empty offices leave many things undone, good and bad.
The Mother of Proposition 13 lingers in anonymity. Desperate people look for solutions to their problems. Sometimes they declare their own small revolutions and those movements catch the fire of our imaginations and change the world.
Prop. 13 sent a message, but in its aftermath a new wave of reformers planted themselves as a new establishment who talked more than performed. They are still talking.
Human problems have human solutions - if you are desperate enough to find them. It is time to look for real solutions.
On October 7th I will be voting for Susan B. Anthony. In life she spoke a message of indomitable courage and real justice. She supported herself and accepted no government salary. In death she will not disappoint me. If she was a politician, now she is a good one.

Recalling Gray Davis: He failed to act

The real reason Gray Davis should be recalled


Buddy has not seen his mother in over a year. His mother misses him
desperately. She is no longer quite sure what he looks like. A child changes so much at eight. She thought about him while she was locked in jail, held on half a million dollars bail. This is the second time Buddy has been kidnapped by the authorities responsible for keeping victims of violence safe.
KT Delettre, Buddy's mother is the survivor of domestic violence. Her abuser, Loren Oliver, tried to abort her son when she was eight months pregnant, battering her pregnant abdomen. He told her he would kill her, if he could get away with it.
What he did not accomplish then he is trying to do using the courts. KT nearly died in prison. Unable to raise the half million dollars her weight dropped to 82 pounds as she was slowly starved nearly to death.
The authorities know exactly what they are doing.
By trading favors with the powers that be in El Dorado County, California this violent abuser has stretched his violent hands through the system to continue an abuse that lasted the entire 13 years of their marriage.
KT fears her son is again being abused, as he was when Buddy lived with Oliver the last time the same court charged her with kidnapping. In 1998 the jury took just a few minutes to exonerate her entirely. She was free, but financially destroyed.
This District Attorney is being investigated by the Grand Jury. It was a long time coming because many people were afraid to speak up. Ugly things happen to people in El Dorado who speak out.
KT is a wonderful mother. The social worker assigned to her case in 1998 said she had never seen better mothering skills. By California law batterers are prevented from having custody. This court ignored the law
The system in California does not work. With billions of dollars being spent on politics justice is still impossible for this tiny woman and her son. This is the true measure of who is heading the government we pay to maintain. This is who Gray Davis really is.
He is the man who ignores the suffering of those who are powerless.
Gray Davis could have prevented this atrocity but he was too busy with his perks and with politics as usual. He rubber-stamped the paperwork that jailed KT for half a million dollars and took her child from her.
He was repeatedly begged to intervene. He never bothered to respond. Of course, neither did anyone else.

State Senator Sheila Kuehl knows KT. KT gave testimony that moved the dialogue on the measure passed to ensure that abusive men could not get custody of children. Senator Kuehl is too busy to help. Her aide told KT to stop bothering the senator with her pleas. The senator was too important to care. We can all be sure she is anxiously considering her employment opportunities for when she is term limited out of office.
This is not an issue of the lesser of two evils. It is a pity we cannot recall them all.
We trust government to oversee our institutions of justice. Human life is always more important to us than money. We trust them to make sure that the power we put into their hands is not abused. That is a trust that has been badly placed.
Ordinary people matter. If it can happen to KT and her small son it can happen to any of us.
We volunteer our time and money after paying taxes to keep shelters open and provide safety for victims. We see every day how flawed and unreliable government is for making small lives are safe.
When Buddy was seized by force and turned over to a man with a long history of violence he was looking forward to a summer spent helping his mother continue developing the family’s successful new business. The business is closed now. Her family is destitute. A year of her life has been eaten up with incarceration and poring over court documents. She is handling her own defense. She has been denied procedural and constitutional rights the denial of which has freed sexual predators from prison. Perhaps if she were a sexual predator the governor and the legislature could identify and her life would matter. But Kt has always been law abiding, careful to obey the courts, even when they were entirely unreasonable.
This court did not to tell KT about the illegal order that took away legal custody of her child. With full knowledge of her whereabouts they accused her of hiding. The records speak for themselves.
If they had informed her she would have been there to protest. Uppity women have to be smacked down; no matter what laws the court must bend to do it. This is justice El Dorado style; it is an injustice that is tolerated by this state run by this governor. They claim they protect the rights of victims. They lie. Recall Gray Davis.

Pray for the fallen that God might lift them up. (It won't be theNeoCons doing it.)

''We pray that God will bless and receive each of the fallen, and we thank God that liberty found such brave defenders,'' President Bush on the first casualties from the War in Iraq. (Hypocrisy comes in all tones and flavors. Here is some of the Republican kind. Democrats are no different but just now they are less abuse-abled.)

Rene needed a wheel chair for her son, a Vietnam Vet who is confined to a care facility because he is a paraplegic. The Veterans Administration told Rene they could get her a wheel chair she could lift. It would just take five years. Five years before Rene, an elderly woman, could hope to take her son on outings since she could not lift the chair that the VA had provided.
Cuts by Congress have immediate impacts on the lives of Americans who have given the best of their lives to their country.
Rene cried. She knew that in five years she might well be dead.
When our soldiers put their lives on the line our debt does not die with the 21-gun salute. We are a wealthy nation and their service exacts an obligation of honor from each of us.
Soldiers have families who need to survive while those they love are in danger of death. While so many are at risk doing the bidding of their government the Congress that sent them is voting to cut $24.7 billion for veterans’ medical care, disability compensation and other benefits and congratulated themselves on their thrift.
Congress, that body so quick to stand up for its own pay, retirement and benefits is buttering its own bread and stealing the crust from the mouths of those who serve. They whine about how tough it is when they experience that bad day in the posh Congressional dining room; they whimper about how hard it is to make it on the most lavish benefit package the world has ever seen. Then they vote to cut benefits to disabled veterans.
If you are a real American you need to understand what they are doing while the eyes of America’s concern are firmly on our troops in Iraq.
Pickpockets depend on distraction.
Slipped into legislation with the experienced slight of hand wielded by these pickpockets of privilege, the Congress, in cooperation with the Bush Administration, are cuts to the slim funding now allowed to those who truly serve. These reductions slash past the bone into the pittance now allowed to those on active service and to veterans. Not satisfied that military families are on welfare the Congress seeks to grind them into abject poverty and abandon them to insolvent old age and disease.
You can trust the government to do two things; make sure that their own personal pockets are lined and that everyone else pays.
Doris is the wife of a sergeant on active duty. He is in the Gulf. She cannot afford to feed their children on what the Army pays. These well-mannered children struggle to help her cut costs. No second helpings are requested at their table. They understand that pennies are not to be wasted. Doris cries because, along with the terrible uncertainty of a husband at risk comes the sadness of being unable to buy balloons for her child’s birthday party or call her mother. Toll calls are too expensive on her slim budget. Her mother is dying along with her faith in her country.
It is not all bad news. The same people who originally established services for American Veterans bought Rene a wheelchair she could handle. Now she takes her son on those small journeys into the sunlight. Doris has balloons for the party.
But not because of Congress.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks established the first hospital for America’s veterans just after WWI. No money from Congress was involved. Now, local lodges raise money as individual Elks reach into their own pockets. Rene went to them. They heard her. Rene had her wheelchair in one week. Toney Russell, the Chairman for Veterans in Santa Barbara, where Rene and her son both live, made sure it happened. I contributed. It was the least I could do. Her son fought for me, too. My daughter skimped to send money to Doris for the party. Individual Americans see what must be done and do it because it is the right thing.
Thank God for real Americans.
Congress is still working on the least it can do. Less for everyone else - more for them. That is one goal they always manage to accomplish. The right thing is obviously way beyond them. They have problem understanding such esoteric concepts as ‘honor’ and ‘justice.’
Real Americans should send a message even Congress can’t ignore.
No member of Congress should have a benefit package better than is given to our armed forces. No member of Congress or any administration should enjoy benefits denied to those who risk their lives to give us freedom. Cutting benefits to Congress would save money and send a powerful message to these purveyors of privilege who abuse power every day of their lives.
And instead of a Congressional dining room let them eat MacDonald’s. But no Happy Meal toys, that is far too good for them.

The Mother of Proposition 13

The Mother of Proposition 13 - No one knows her name


The shock of reading her property tax bill must have been tremendous. By all reports she lived not far from the Kmart in Granada Hills, California and had a fixed income. Along with that her only asset was that small house. She reportedly wondered if a mistake had been made; if a decimal had been misplaced on the bill. She had owned the small house for many years but this tax bill meant she wouldn't be living there very much longer; unless she did something.
So she took a roll of drawer lining paper down to the Kmart at the corner of San Fernando Mission and Balboa Blvds and, seated at her dilapidated little card table, began collecting signatures. People pulled out their own pens when hers disappeared. They were all in the same boat.
I would tell you her name if anyone knew what it was. They don't. Over the years I have wondered about her and silently thanked her for her insight and courage. She saved me, too.
The Mother of Proposition 13 lingers in anonymity along with who ever it was who fired the shot heard around the world. Every April 19th I think about the person who fired that gun. And I think about the courageous lady from Granada Hills. Both were heroes. But in the lady's case, we know what she meant to accomplish and we know that, despite not receiving any of the glory, money or power that accrued to those who grabbed the motley little movement that eventually resulted in Proposition 13, she accomplished her objective. We can only hope that relief came soon enough to ensure that she stayed in her home.
Today we associate Proposition 13 and the subsequent tax revolution in California that swept across the country with Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann. But they were late adherents, coming in after the fact of our lady's desperation had launched so many ordinary people into political action.
They got the glory. But the credit is hers. April 19th is again approaching. If you live in California; if you were able to keep your home because of Proposition 13; if you are appalled and horrified over the waste and abuse of government, think of her then. Light a candle. Volunteer time to a cause in which you believe.
Desperate people look for solutions to their problems. Sometimes they declare their own small revolutions and those movements catch the fire of our imaginations and change the world.
We live in a world threatened with terrorism. We live in a world fraught with a drug war that is destroying our children and our security. We are living on the edge of an abyss we did not even suspect existed.
On April 19th this year think about your own revolutions of the mind. Human problems have human solutions - if you are desperate enough to find them. It is time to look for solutions.
You can get a lot done if you don't care who gets the credit.

Libertarian Retrospective: And thanks to James Byron Dean

The Libertarian Party: A Personal Retrospective of a Time Long Past.


Note of A Political Nature to Chris Hocker

Privily speak I of promises well made
For I would have you know I them remember
For pen to paper thus I put - for so you bade,
And hearing thus your words could I malinger?

You said that you would give me many wonders
For papers writ with wisdom good and clear
That Clark did read to parry many blunders
Of policy when run he did last year.

And murmured you of booklets that you wrote
Designed to teach my candidates of things
That will make them yet less clumsy with the votes
And credit to the cause of freedom bring.

So find the stuff - tout suite, and make it fast!
For I needed it all months ago, you ass!
(1979)

Earlier today Lee Wright, the editor of Libertyforall.net as well as the present vice-chairman of the National Libertarian Party and I were chatting about my most recent contribution to his excellent publication and the subject of my early memories of the LP came up. Natural enough since I was myself a long time activist starting in the Libertarian Party starting in the early 1970s.
The upshot was that I threatened, promised, to jot down some of those memories for the amusement and edification of those Libertarians of more recent vintage having only had to be nudged a little to attack my computer. So here it is. Part memories and part memoir; personally gleaned insights I hope will serve to make some points that need making.
Long ago and far away when we were all young and less wrinkled and I was the shiny eyed young mother of several small children (the number magically continued to grow) and learning some interesting lessons about life, the Universe and Libertarianism I found a wonderful thing. It was called freedom. I had been reading about it since my initial encounter with the ideas of liberty when I was six. That was the year James Dean told me about his views of freedom, just days before his own life ended.
James Byron Dean was 24 then, unimaginably young when I look back on it through the shrouding events of so many decades. But the vividness of that afternoon stayed with me. Freedom became forever a magical destination for me; something to be cherished that made me most truly human. At age six I had listened, enraptured to the words of someone who seemed as old as Methuselah to me then. I was barely breathing I listened so intently. Jimmy told me about how we each choose and how sacred the right to make those choices is. When you choose, he said, it is your life you mold and make. When someone else chooses for you your life belongs in part to them. Jimmy had told me many things but this telling was perhaps the most important. Jimmy had been coming over to visit since I was two or three. My first memory of him had been the sharing of Beanie Sandwiches at the small table in the kitchen where I always ate lunch. He came back regularly for sandwiches and conversation. His mom and mine had been friends before she died and he went to live with his aunt and uncle in Fairmont, Indiana.
That day Jimmy told me the story of a man named Howard Roark who saw freedom as building in his own way. Roark suffered to learn his craft and then to practice it. His way was to make the structures a part of the Earth so that his buildings sheltered, enclosing those who lived and worked in them economically and well. The buildings were the extension of the mind of Roark and by building them Roark made his statement about himself and the world. That was freedom for Howard Roark and it did not matter what he had to do to build them. When he was doing that work he was free.
For Jimmy being free was doing different kinds of things. His freedom was his craft done so that he merged with and because the character he played. He loved acting and intended to try every part of that art. He got to do just a few of those things but all of his work spoke his intense spiritual commitment to his craft and to his right to choose for himself
Jimmy told me what he would do with the freedom God gave him. To do that he used the story of Roark from Fountainhead. I listened. That is where it started for me.
The reason I became a Libertarian was because I loved the ideas of freedom. James Dean was my personal inspiration.
When the Freedom Movement began its present incarnation in the early 1970s I was an eager participant. I had passed out literature for Goldwater, read Atlas Shrugged, and gorged myself on the science fiction books of Robert A. Heinlein. I thought I knew everything , just like we all did.
I was wrong, of course. But it was never boring and along the way I did learn a few things.
We made history, like it or not; good or bad. And that history needs to be remembered.
The history of the Libertarian Party and the Freedom Movement holds insights that can be helpful to the next generation of souls hungry for the freedom enunciated by people like Jimmy and so I am going to share some of those stories with you and try to make some small points. Studying any successful movement is as much about accepting what went wrong as what went right.
The real issue isn't heading towards freedom, the issue is arriving.

The Libertarian Movement launched itself towards freedom. It arrived someplace else. How that happened is a story both horrifying and instructive; horrifying because it happened, instructive because it is not too late to change direction.

From a living room in Denver in December of 1971 where it was founded by David and Susan Nolan and a handful of others, the viewpoints propounded by the LP grew into the major force in American policy. We began as a resounding NO! To the imposition of wage and price controls by President Richard Nixon. So our birth cry was born from the impact of policy on the lives of individuals who decided they were just not going to take it any more.
Both major parties eventually embraced our ideas; examining laws coming into existence today make that clear. So where is the freedom? America has never been less free; the Libertarian Party remains small and is wracked by power politics and greed that might intimidate the denizens of the major parties.
The answer is in the form adopted, the relationship of form and action to rhetoric, and to the underpinnings of culture in which each of these reside.
The structure of the LP is hierarchal and adversarial. It sends the message that success is counted by moving up an organizational structure. In Libertarian politics words speak louder than action. Winning, no matter how, is the final justification for what you do to win nominations and rake in money for fundraising. But that is all wrong, of course. That is not the world we wanted to create.
This happened because the LP spoke a rhetoric of freedom through the infrastructure of centralized control. Each major party has been through the same cycle of idealism leading to internal corruption. The Democrats spoke an agenda of socialism and the Republicans of economic opportunity. Each talked about freedom nearly as much as did Libertarians. They all have become corrupt no matter how hard we work to fix them.
This happened faster in the LP than in other comparable movements of the last two centuries is due to the kind of people who became Libertarians. Over 60% were male.
It is women whose efforts provide the consistency and the institutional memory for an organization. This provides a compass and stability. While women do not exercise much control in the Republican Party they historically do most of the volunteer work. In the Democratic Party women share power more equally, although women in general are disenchanted with them, too. In the Libertarian Party there are, percentage wise, far fewer women than in either major party. The lessons of our history are therefore more quickly forgotten.
The means by which our values are transmitted are always cultural. Culture is the water in which we live and breathe.
The means of transmission for new ideas into law is policy. Through policy, read and bred in the spin offs of politics, the think tanks, the new ideas are turned into bills, becoming the walls, doors, and guts of law and through law the customs and practices of the court and commerce.
Ideas are the tools we use to build new worlds; but weapons are also tools. And the ideas of liberty have been turned and used to forge the weapons that have helped to destroy the founding principles on which America was built.
All of this starts with people; what they say; what they do and the sometimes yawning gap between the two. In the lives of people the real story is always present.

The people I met on the road to liberty became my friends, adversaries, lovers, and enemies. Sometimes all of them rolled up into one. In the stories of the people is the truth most finely writ.

Roger Mac Bride was the adopted grandson of one of the three women who were the godmothers of the Freedom Movement of the 1950s – 2000 period. Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, was the actual author of Little House on the Prairie Series. Rose wrote the series of books, basing the story line on the recollections of her mother's childhood. Into those recollections she injected the values that made the books instant classics, still being read by yet another generation of young people.
Rose was the author of The Discovery of Freedom and pursued the issues of freedom in multiple directions. Her adoption of Roger stemmed from their mutual commitment to those values.
Roger was a good guy. It was his act as an elector from Vermont in 1972 that put the LP in the history books. Roger jumped ship and cast his vote for John Hospers instead of the newly elected Republican incumbent, Richard Nixon. In doing so he also cast the first electoral vote in history for a woman, Tonie Nathan the LP candidate for vice president. This act was incredibly valuable to the Libertarian Party. How they repaid Roger speaks loudly about the values of the LP.
So in 1976 Roger Mac Bride was not unnaturally a shoo in to be the nominee for president of the shiny new Libertarian Party. His running mate was David Bergland, an attorney from Orange County, California. A wealthy man, Roger campaigned from his own plane, fondly known as NO Force One. Roger was himself a pilot as well as producer for the original television series created from Little House on the Prairie. Roger paid for a big chunk of his campaign himself. I later realized that this was the high point of the movement. We all believed in what we were doing; everyone chipped when there were projects to be paid for; we all worked; and while there was much debate on things like platform there was very little backbiting and unsocial behavior. Debate on issues continued with a modicum of dispassionate civility.
In the late 1980s Roger left the Libertarian Party. He was disheartened and disappointed. He had endorsed Hunscher for President in 1979 and could not understand the political machinations used to defeat him. It is the practice with all major parties that their former presidential candidates are treated with decorum and courtesy. In the case of Roger Mac Bride this was far from true. After his departure he asked to address the national committee as it met in Las Vegas on a project he was undertaking and was treated with discourtesy and barely disguised contempt. This would never have been the case in either major party; the contributions of presidential candidates are there remembered and honored even when the principles have been political enemies.
This was wrong not just because it was rude but because it devalued what had been built on the months and money Roger had contributed. This sent the clear message that those who work do not necessarily create credit for what they have done. It is just one of dozens of examples of similar behavior.
Respect should be created by the acknowledgment of virtues, not for reasons of political expedience. When Roger was still active in the LP he had been generous. He loaned money to those trying to make it, contributing to their attempts to achieve their dreams. One of those to whom Roger loaned money was Michael Emerling Cloud. Michael repaid him by declaring bankruptcy without even a thank you. Yet Michael Cloud is celebrated and far more well known to Libertarians today than is Roger Mac Bride.

In Santa Barbara while Roger Mac Bride was running for president Bob Poole was putting Reason Magazine together on the dining room table. The Libertarian Party had used the Reason list to get started in 1971 when Bob loaned that list to David Nolan. The two had both belonged to YAF and Young Republican for Goldwater in the 60s.
Bob had bought the struggling magazine when it was just months old from the founder and editor who had solicited from Bob his first article. Bob himself determined the subject and it was to be a pivotal issue that would eventually change national policy. The subject was deregulating the airlines. The reason Bob chose the issue goes straight to the heart of a young boy.
Bob grew up in Florida and his dad was an airline pilot. Bob had a cousin and his uncle, the cousin's father, was also a pilot. But in the old days airlines had routes set by government mandate. Bob's cousin could fly west and thus enjoyed many, many vacations at Disneyland. Bob could only go north to NY and DC. The Statue of Liberty did not measure up to Mickey Mouse in Bob's eyes, understandably. This injustice burned in the heart and mind of young Bob. The deregulation of the airlines was the outcome.
The personal moves us; small injustices live in our minds even when we are long past the events themselves. Bob shared this story with me in 2000. He had not realized himself why he chose the subject until I asked.
It was Bob who originated the term 'privatization;' He has not become wealthy working for liberty but now he does have time for his consuming hobby, model trains.

The birth of Cato Institute came about when a young man named Edward H. Crane, III clearly saw something that another insightful young man would notice twenty years later. There is a market for policy. Ed announced his intention to, “go to D.C. and get rich.” in the elevator of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco during the National Libertarian Convention in 1977. The immediate means for this tidy plan were the brothers Koch, Charles and David. To this day they remain stalwart funders of Cato.
Now, wealth is not in itself a bad thing. Money, even vast amounts of money earned through consensual exchange beneficial to all parties is laudable. But money earned through the misuse of power is just another more sophisticated form of theft. When that happens it is the duty of those closest to call foul especially when the law, which always lags in enforcing what is appropriate, has not allowed for specific abuses.
Over the next twenty years the 401ks of those employed at the think tanks, including Cato, continued to be burnished; the Cato banquets grew ever more lavish. The policy proposals that wended their way through into law using the libertarian tools of deregulation and privatization to redirect the flow of cash and power grew in number and in scope. Those on the receiving end were not necessarily the ones who had created the wealth.
Policy is a legitimate tool for enabling changes that allow for better outcomes. But when policy, like the hazardous but glittering blue of your unfenced pool lures in the innocent or when policy is used to disguise that what is happening is actually a subtle form of wealth transfer then it is imperative that those who profit to be held accountable. Those who made the tools share culpability.
So here we are today living in a world where George W. Bush is discussing 'privatizing' Social Security, the idea originated, surprise, in a white paper researched and written for the Clark Campaign in 1979 and borrowed from Bob Poole. When done right privatizing the functions of government returns choice and control to the individual. But unfortunately, this is not always how it works.
Ed Crane was the man in charge of the Clark campaign and the man who ensured that Ed Clark received the nomination over William Hunscher, a candidate who pledged to campaign full time for a year. Bill Hunscher was a wealthy businessman and good friend of Roger Mac Bride.
For those of you who are newbies I will mention that Ed Clark was the Presidential Candidate of the Libertarian Party in 1980. Ed did very well, though not as well as Edward H. Crane, III promised Charles and David Koch he would do. The means for funding the Clark campaign was the vice-presidential candidacy of David Koch. The mother and father of the campaign was Ed Crane.
This is where personal agendas come in.
Much of the policy new being formulated and sold by Cato is now being used to advance the agenda of those willing to pay for a justification to steal and then cancel all liabilities. The problem with privatizing Social Security is that this ignores the fact that the fund does not exist and 'privatizing' the program means that the millions of victims of theft are left high and dry, facing old age without the money they hoped would carry them.
The name of the man who noticed how well policy could be marketed in Texas in the early 1990s was Karl Rove.
Today Karl Rove is celebrated as a genius in political strategy. But this is not really accurate. A genius is one who originates. Karl Rove simply, with nearly Japanese intensity to detail, optimizes existing practices. That practice can be summarized as chopping off body parts from one set of individuals to sell to another. That, and wearing silk underwear are his most stellar virtues.
Now, I wonder where he got the idea? The means of transmission could well have been yet another Libertarian. This one's name is John Fund.
John Fund got his start in Libertarian politics as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of California. From sleeping on the floor of the northern office because the LPC, always careless of their financial obligations, ran out of money to pay him, he was hired by Evans and Novak in D.C., who seeing his potential as a political operative sent him on to the Wall Street Journal. There, John Spent 18 years on the Editorial Board before being fired for being too well known for things the Wall Street Journal doesn't like being known for.
It was John who colluded with Matt Drudge to make up the story that Sidney Blumenthal beat his wife. That's a fact. Lots of freedom-types paid good money into a defense chest to protect Drudge from charges that were absolutely true. Why did they do this? It was to keep the White House busy so they would chase their tails instead of doing what they were supposed to be doing. Not that I wanted them doing that, either. But if the truth does not matter then because the bad drives out the good soon there will be no truth at all – which is remarkably close to where we are now, isn't it?
Now, we all know that acting as a political operative when you are overtly a journalist is not considered to be quite the thing. But it pays well, far better than being a journalist would. It also provides access to power and all that comes with power.
Not all of the above are Libertarians, but all have and continue to use the tools created by the movement for liberty. Think about that and ask yourself this: Have we arrived at liberty?

Each of these is a personal recollection. There are lots more. The poem at the beginning of this essay was written when I was managing campaigns for 14 candidates in the San Fernando Valley and serving as Southern Vice-Chairman of the Libertarian Party of California. Chris said he would send it; didn't; and then asked me to drop him a note to remind him. I sent the poem. Then I borrowed the white papers and copied them for my candidates. Most of the papers, I understand, ended up in the hands of large donors, which I certainly was not.

So that is the first few pages of my recollections. No sex, not yet. Maybe later. But I include in closing this poem that seems suitable.

18. The Predator (dedicated to Michael Emerling Cloud)

The hooded eyes intelligent, assessing and unfed
Taste the likelihood of meat to be found, brought down and dressed.
But the eyes have human contours and the face is human born
Predators walk among us, their identities deeply worn.

Their goals are sex and power; all forms of human wealth.
Their means are fraud and violence and every form of stealth.
They smile, use charisma; they milk cajole and bleed.
Their goals: enjoy and prosper, make sure they’re first to feed.

They choose the weak and needy; they use our trust and minds.
They speak the rhetoric of honor to carry out their crimes.
They insinuate with widows and they take a cripple’s time.
They use the rhetoric of honor to pad their bottom line.

You find them selling cars and you meet them down the block.
They smile and drip charisma as they grimace, share and talk.
But their eye is on the income and their hand is in your purse
They will slander and defame you if it isn’t something worse.

But real humans have the power to remove the jungle’s maw.
The predators of the hour can be reformed through rethought law.
Reform the standards for deception; so the weak can see wrongs called.
Eliminate exceptions that allow abuse, misuse and fraud.

The statute is the enemy of freedom and the truth
The common law is justice that conforms to honor’s roots.
The predators live in darkness; their acts must not being seen
For what they do is ugly and the light defines their being.

I see a world a-borning where truth is not disgrace
Where children know that human is the world behind the face
Oh, the futured world of human promise, where doing right is safe.
A world of commerce and of honor; a place for human grace.