California College of the Arts November 2022 Ground Breaking Ceremony

On November 15th, 2022 California College of the Arts will hold a ground breaking ceremony for the San Francisco campus expansion over an Ohlone shellmound (named “Project Double Ground”) During legally required archaeological testing on the backlot of the SF campus, CCA discovered fragments of shells, bones and tools located 40 feet below the surface in the bore samples. The samples identify Ohlone activity before the Bay Area was violently colonized dating back more than 7,500 years.
Hold CCA accountable for building over an Ohlone shellmound (

A few days a week I work programming websites on Irwin Street across from the California College of the Arts. It is a jovial office of designers who produce very good work. Across from the office, on November 15, 2022, CCA held a ground breaking ceremony for a new campus extension, but this was all simply pomp and circumstance as they have been digging, flattening and scraping the ground for many months on  land that last year was a parking lot.  You see large equipment that looks like pile drivers (not looking forward to when that gets started) and the area has been flattened and groomed for construction. We all looked out from the second story windows for a few minutes to take in the special event. It was a bright crisp autumn day.

Map of San Francisco California 1853 - From this Map it appears that Irwin Street was under water.
Map of San Francisco California 1853 – From this Map it appears that Irwin Street was under water.

What Really Went Down

Irwin Street, like Wisconsin Street nearby is often a place were the unhoused put up tents and hunker down surrounded always by a strange assortment of personal belongings. A week before the ground breaking ceremony, about a dozen police officers and social workers who do homelessness outreach started clearing out the tents and unhoused folks. It was a major operation complete with bobtail trucks to haul away the stuff. Word had it that they were taking them to a hotel – hot showers and some fresh clothes, a fresh start to life perhaps.  I do hope that they find their legs, as it must be a drag to camp night after night on the sordid streets at the base of Potrero Hill..

The following week on November 15th, 2022, Irwin Street, outside the California College of the Arts, was once again closed off. This time there were white canopy style event tents and various tables, chairs organized in rows, a lectern and about a half dozen people milling around. It all began to make sense. You cannot have a ground breaking ceremony next to a homeless encampment – it is just not a good look. The largest canopy faced the new campus extension and there was a lectern. It looked like a set up for a wedding or maybe some sort of graduation ceremony.  Caterers were nowhere to be found. Food would not be part of this celebration. The sidewalk where the homeless were was all clear and  smelled of bleach.

In the middle of the day, about a hundred people gathered. From our second floor window, we heard speeches which we could not make out.  On the periphery there were protesters holding professionally printed signs that said “SHELL MOUND.” They stood and listened and were entirely peaceful. A few round of applauses, more speeches  and then a multi-racial and multi-gendered New Orleans style second-line style brass band came marching out of the main CCA building playing a joyous tune. They marched around the crowd and played for about five minutes then returned to the main California College of the Arts building from whence they came.  It was all a bit surreal and felt a bit odd. Mercenary horn players are always easy hires for well-paid five minute gigs. The band was indeed very good.

Then you had applauses and the whole thing was over, people mingled for a bit and then the staff started taking down the canopy tents and packing away the chairs.


(For those wanting to do a ground-breaking ceremony on native grounds in San Francisco)

STEP 1:  Clear out the homeless encampments the week before.

STEP 2: On the day of the ceremony set up tents and chairs.

STEP 3: Give speeches and thank people. (Not sure what they said about the history of the spot)

STEP 4: Hire a New Orleans style second-line style brass band to make everyone feel better about the whole shebang.  Have the band march around to spread the joy.

Who are the Ohlone?
Ohlone is a collective of around 50 separate tribes with related languages that were collectively placed under the umbrella term: Ohlone. The Ohlone are Native American people located in the Northern California Coast, tribes inhabited areas from the coast of San Francisco through Monterey Bay to lower Salinas Valley. The Ohlone family of tribes have been living in the Bay Area for 10,000 years


San Francisco map composite. 1856 -2022
San Francisco map composite. 1853 -2022
San Francisco map composite. 1856 -2022 - Close Up Mission Bay
San Francisco map composite. 1853 -2022 – Close Up Mission Bay

San Francisco is Ohlone land and over the last 300 years has been completely transformed.  It would be amazing to go back in time 300 years and stand at what now is Irwin and 7th Street and just look around. You probably would need a canoe. According to a map from 1853, Mission Creek flowed into the San Francisco Bay (see map above) and the area was probably wetlands and underwater. Humans have completely changed the geography of San Francisco, filling in the bay, making more space for development. This has been going on for hundreds of years. It is Western Civilization’s obsession with conquering, not living in harmony with nature. We see this same ethos today with notion that we must “fight climate change.” Sunrise on Mission Bay must have been a sight with certainly a lot of wildlife and from early accounts huge flocks of birds.

Where the California College of the Arts new extension building is being built is along 7th Street and towering above is Interstate 280. If the Ohlone time-traveled to today, and attended the ceremony they probably would not recognize anything and many would probably be perplexed and perhaps terrified of the brass band.  However, that the area in question, the Shell Mound is now the place for an Art School is probably a good thing. It could have been turned into unsold luxury condos, an IKEA or perhaps a headquarters for some tech company with the latest get-rich scheme.  Maybe one day the California College of the Arts will make a plaque to acknowledge the Ohlone and their history.  Perhaps, a student looking for meaning to their art will stumble upon the Ohlone basket tradition and incorporate the designs and ideas into their work. But one thing is always true. When you are feeling down and out, and perhaps need to smooth over a tricky political situation, or simply want to feel good about something – anything, simply hire a second line brass band.  They even do funerals.

EDITED 11/22/2022 – Added images and updated some text for clarity. Fixed typos. Map composite an approximation.

Chauncey Gardiner, the Messiah Complex and How Jerzy Kosiński Got One Thing Wrong

I recently made a comment to the October 12, 2022 NY Times article House Jan. 6 Panel Plans a Sweeping Summation of Its Case Against Trump  

In what may be its final public hearing, the committee intends to present new evidence about the former president’s state of mind and central role in the plan to overturn the 2020 election.
New York Times – October 12, 2022

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Gustav | San Francisco
I am still a bit on the fence about President Trump. Did he incite a mob that then violently invaded the capital to stop the election certification? It could have been just one of his First Amendment comedy routines. Did he make calls to election officials in Georgia to “find” 12,000 votes? You would do it if you were a billionaire. It will be in the follow up sequel to “The Art of the Deal – Season II.” Did he walk off with top secret documents? Not a chance. We all know President Trump does not know how to read. How can he possibly be guilty of sedition? He’s a seemingly wealthy white guy with really fantastic hair. He must be innocent.

Initially the comment was approved and must of passed through their AI detector but then was pulled down – being disingenuous I guess was the reason. I made the comment in jest just to point out how the fact that Donald Trump has not been carted off to jail is absurd. Indeed, the only thing that seems that would put him in jail is if he did actually shoot someone, point-blank on 5th Avenue.

But it could have been unpublished simply because my comment stated that Donald Trump does not “know how to read.” This may be a untrue as it would be more accurate to say that “he does not like to read.”

In any event, it got me thinking about Jerzy Kosiński and his brilliant 1970 novel Being There which was turned into a movie starring Peter Sellers as Chauncey Gardiner. Today Chauncey Gardiner would be diagnosed as being “on the spectrum.” He lived a protected life, never venturing out of the house and besides the few people he saw and the garden he tended, his outside reality was defined completely by television. Sound familiar? He was illiterate.  When his guardian dies he has to venture alone out into the world. The story unfolds with Chauncey becoming an endearing figure to the rich and powerful as well as the common folk. They become enamored with his simple child-like logic about the world. In the end, the political leaders of the country discuss making Chauncey Gardiner the next President of the United States. The story ends with  Chauncey Gardiner, a Christ-like figure, walking on water across a lake.

In many ways Chauncey Gardiner was a premonition of what was to come. Chauncey Gardiner and Donald Trump do share the fact that they both either cannot read or do not read. They both have gained favor with the rich and powerful and certain common people by their obsession with television and simplistic views of the world. The similarities end there. While Chauncey is a benign character, comparing every aspect of life to the care of a garden, Trump is the opposite. His character was probably best summarized by Michael Cohen, his former lawyer.

“In some ways, I knew him better than even his family did because I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man, – Michael Cohen

But then again, oddly enough, Kosiński perhaps got something right. Such characters do become Christ-like characters as we witness the MAGA crowd adoration of their messiah.

I wonder what Peter Sellers would have had to say about our present situation.  He probably would have told a joke – with a straight face of course.

Barbara Ehrenreich – Legacies and Book Recommendations

I never think delusion is ok.
Barbara Ehrenreich in an interview with Jon Stewart

Barbara Ehrenreich died on September 1, 2022 at the age of 81. She was a modern-day muckraker who’s books exposed sexism and rampant capitalism  in the health care system, wage inequalities, the latest silly fads in psychology and the challenges of living in our modern capitalist America. Her best selling  2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, is a memoir of her three-month experiment surviving on a series of minimum wage jobs. It is an easy read, a bit of a “one hit wonder” and ironically gave her some financial freedom to continue to write on topics of her choosing. You can read the New York Times obit which seems to have been picked up by other papers and is  the only obit of Barbara Ehrenreich that I could find.

I have three of Barbara Ehrenreich’s books.  It has baffled me how of all her books Nickel and Dimed was so successful.  People did not know that living off of a minimum wage job is next to impossible? But then again Nickel and Dimed was written as gonzo journalism and hit right when reality television shows were coming of age. People often read to confirm their beliefs not to challenge them. Many of Ehrenreich’s books were written in this first person, lived confessional style. However, to this reader, if you want to read some of her most interesting and powerful works, read the books she co-wrote with Diedre English, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (1972). and For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women (1978) were she writes as a researcher and scholar about the disenfranchisement of women and  the transformation of healthcare over the last 200 years. This is a story that our present medical model and especially the AMA (American Medical Association) does not want the public to know.

Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers ( For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women  are both books written in the 1970s at the height of Second-wave feminism.  Both books look at the history of medicine and how the role women as healers and experts was usurped  by the emergence of a medical “profession.”  The overriding theme is how this new male dominated profession dealt with what was called the “Woman Problem.”

For decades into the twentieth century doctors would continue to view menstruation, pregnancy and menopause as physical diseases and intellectual liabilities. Adolescent girls would still be advised to study less, and mature would be treated indiscriminately to hysterectomies, the modern substitution for ovariotomies. The female reproductive organs would continue to be viewed as a kind of frontier for chemical and surgical expansionism, untested drugs, and reckless experimentation.
For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women

In many ways this sort of medical arrogance has continued. For years women who went through menopause would be prescribed hormone replacement therapy to deal with their “Woman Problem,” as though nature needed help with the natural process of life and aging. It was later found that hormone replacement therapy created risks including heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer.

And as of 2014, gender is now considered a pre-existing medical condition where God often seems to makes “mistakes.” In many ways, if you connect the dots, the “Woman Problem” has not ended – it just has been repackaged.

Hopefully, someone will take up the torch of critical thinking that Barbara Ehrenreich lit and continue on with her early style of research and questioning the medical establishment and the powers that be. An interesting study would be how the profession has changed now that women are entering the field of medicine at about the same rate as men.

Catching up With Ralph Nader

One of the podcasts I follow is Sheer Intelligence which features thoughtful and provocative conversations with “American Originals” — people who, through a lifetime of engagement with political issues, offer unique and often surprising perspectives on the day’s most important issues.

Every six months Robert Sheer has Ralph Nader on the show and the two octogenarians muse over the state of politics. The conversations are always  enlightening, depressing and entertaining all at once. Ralph Nadar – the person who made sure cars had seatbelts and the world was a little safer place brings up the dangers of cellphones especially on kids – not something the powers that be want to hear about.


Republicans Buying Elections, DINOS and the Politics of Party Affiliation

The June 7th, 2022 California Primaries are over and the results are in. As expected Gavin Newsom is in control of the Governor race. In San Francisco, Chesa Boudin the District Attorney has been recalled. The Republican’s millions of dollars, the paying for signatures, the war chest bloated by billionaires has ousted a qualified, hard-working, corruption-free district attorney who was simply doing the job he was elected to do with the approach that he campaigned on.  In plain sight, our democracy is for sale to the highest bidder.  Let us now see what happens when Mayor Breed appoints a new D.A. and supposedly the homelessness will disappear, the pharmaceutical company instigated opioid epidemic is solved, and all the burglaries and violent crime vanishes into thin air. I will not hold my breath.

Nationally, there is a trend and strategy for wealthy Republicans who want to suddenly dive into politics of changing political party not because of values, ideology or philosophy, but because it is politically convenient. After being registered as Republicans for their entire lives they  register as Democrats. They do this as they know that as a Republicans they  do not have a chance at the ballot box and so at the eleventh hour join the Democratic party . This is the opposite direction that Donald Trump took when he ran for president, but in his case he was always simply a New York style mob leader and fascist – his party affiliation has been simply a matter of convenience . Donald Trump is in every way the RINO in the room and has made it so the Republican party now looks nothing like the party of Eisenhower, Reagan or Bob Dole.

In Los Angeles the mayoral race  between Rick Caruso and Karen Bass is just another example of this pay to play politics. Rick Caruso is a wealthy Republican real estate mogul who registered as a Democrat simply to run for mayor. A good friend came up with a name for such people – DINOS. Rick Caruso and such characters are indeed “Democrats in Name Only.”

In the end, money talks.


Let’s Form a Well Regulated Militia

Second Amendment
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
– The U.S. Bill of Rights

The United States could partially solve the out of control gun issue in this country by playing the “originalist” card and beat the “conservatives” at their own game. Originalism is the the notion that it is best not to interpret The Constitution and that the words must mean what they meant when the document was written. Five years ago I pointed out that the Trump administration did not even post the actual Second Amendment but rewrote it a bit – took out the “well regulated Militia” part and simplified it to basically say  “everyone gets guns.” It is odd that the originalists did not find issue with this rewriting and often they have interpretations like Trump’s on their websites.

From my ninth grade history class with William Putman I learned that the whole “well regulated Militia” part had to do with the situation at hand. The newly forming country knew that many of the citizens. especially in rural areas, were armed probably mostly so they could hunt and survive. They did not want the British to take away their weapons and needed these folks to be able to join their cause. Thus you have the antiquated phrase “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.”

So let’s indeed have a well regulated Militia.  Everyone who owns a gun is now a part of the Militia. I would have all these people with all their guns show up on July 4th to the town armory.  Individuals would be assessed for their mental stability, physical fitness and  understanding of the US Constitution. There would also be required safety trainings. They would be given an official “I’m a Member of the Militia” ID card, and then at the end people would turn in their guns as our “well regulated militia” now no longer needs these weapons.  Indeed, the British are NOT coming. The Militia would now consist of a few thousand folk who use their guns to hunt small birds, rabbits and deer to help with deer wasting disease.

Of course, I write this opinion in jest, as it would never happen, but I write to point out the absurdity of “originalism” and how it is used only when convenient. It does cut both ways.

Judge Kentanji Jackson and Definitions

On March 23, 2022, I submitted the comment below on the NY Times website.

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Gustav | San Francisco
The Republican’s obsession with child pornography was odd theater. What they did not realize is that Judge Jackson gave them an answer that they should have been pleased with. Saying that the definition of a woman is done by a biologist is the traditional view. More often today it is an “internal sense of self” and then that “sense of self” is affirmed by a psychologist. They are so caught up on, and terrified that a Black woman could be on the Supreme Court, they have stopped listening.


Judge Kentanji Jackson had to sit and watch and respond while the Senate asked questions mostly to grandstand and score political points. The Lindsey Graham tirade was especially painful. The whole confirmation hearing should have been really dry and boring, to see whether or not she is qualified and understands the law. But politics is now more about division and entertainment. It is like mud wrestling or perhaps a demolition derby.

After reading the New York Times article above I commented on it which you can read above. This was approved for a time but then the next day, wondering if someone had commented on my remarks, I noticed that the comment was taken down. This happens to me with the New York Times – they censor my comments at times and practice a sort of thought police. Good grief! I must be a dangerous thinker.

Issues of gender and identity are the new elephant in the room and both the left and the right are thoroughly confused. Judge Jackson’s response to the definition of a woman should have pleased the Republican senator, but he was unprepared, seemingly dense  and probably wanted the answer to be about gender roles and something like “a woman is someone who does the laundry, takes care of the kids and cooks me dinner each night.” Judge Jackson’s response was actually similar to how Judge Neil Gorsuch has responded to issues of gender. In a recent case about discrimination (Bostock vs. Clayton County) Gorsuch wrote. “That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” In the same way that Judge Jackson said that a woman can be defined by a biologist, Gorsuch used the word “sex.” In the end, for legal purposes, it is biology evidently that still defines us.

While certain feminists are rejoicing with her response, most on the left are apparently oblivious to the ramifications. People on the left may look at a Black woman and think that she shares all of their progressive beliefs and will do everything to keep them happy. Republicans are so caught up on, and terrified that a Black woman could be on the Supreme Court, they have stopped listening and simply long for the days of the old White boys network. But for now, it doesn’t really matter as Judge Kentanji Jackson is imminently qualified and will be a welcome addition to the court.

On March 23, 2022, I submitted the comment above on the NY Times website. At one point I commented a few times every week. It is so odd that my comment was pulled down. Can someone explain why? The NY Times would not say.

Law and Order

More Law and Order!
Arrest Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows immediately!
They are a danger to society.

Isn’t it odd that the people and politicians  that promote the concept of “Law and Order” are the very same people who want nothing to do with the law when they are summoned or sentenced though a court of law.  Richard Nixon comes to mind. All the fascist dictators as well. Donald Trump’s house of cards in slowly beginning to crumble. “Law and Order.” Sounds like the way to go.

2022 – Happy New Year

Serene Lakes at Soda Spring

Much to be thankful for in this New Year and much to be wary about.  Let’s start with the thankful. Snow in the Sierra! Below is an after (Jan 4) and before (Nov 28) satellite photo of snow around Lake Tahoe.

That is a lot of snow! For December, 2021 in California it is officially 210 inches give or take a few feet and plus or minus 80 inches if the plows came by.

Playing in the Snow

I grew up in snow. I love snow. I even enjoy shoveling snow. Thanks to some gracious friends we were able to get up to Donner Pass the last week of December 2021. Below are some photos.

Thus concludes the pleasant part of this post.

Treachery and the Great Downfall of American Democracy

Treachery and greed is the way these days. The slow, methodical deterioration of American democracy. The coup attempts. The regrouping of white nationalists. Henchmen running free, disobeying court summons at the highest level of government. Many people would assert that the whole system was rigged from the beginning – the racist concept of the electoral college, the overwhelming influence of the rich, corporations and big money, the federal reserve. The travails are many, but at least in an earlier time period the notion of decency was a virtue.  The truth mattered.

This trend towards fascism has been written about by many of the major mainstream progressive magazines. The Atlantic started having pieces about this six months ago and recently has devoted an entire issue to it.

The Crystal Ball

I see the 2022 and 2024 elections down the road like a car wreck in slow motion. It is night. A car is parked on a hill without the emergency brake on.  All is well until a storm blows in and a breeze picks up in the middle of the night. The sky turns dark. The carload  of Treachery and Greed slowly begins to move, inch by inch, making it’s way gradually faster and faster, down the hill.  We all look on in disbelief. At the bottom sit the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Monument, the Capital buildings of Wisconsin and Georgia all gazing innocently off into space. With a loud crash the out of control car knocks over every one.  I wake up.  It’s 2022 my friend. Be well and Happy New Year!

The Quarterly Report – November 2021

The Quarterly Report: A brief synopsis of the news in San Francisco over the last three months.

Quote of the week:

“Anti vaccine types are like people who wear shirts of a band who have no idea what that band sounds like.”
Anonymous (from a comment on the San Francisco Chronicle)

Sporting News

As the World Series ended with the Atlanta Braves winning over the Houston Astros in six games, the professional baseball season for the San Francisco Giants ended in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Dodgers on a ninth inning check swing. There is just something so wrong, ill-suited and anti-climatic about ended your season on a check swing. The Giant’s bats went to sleep in the end and when it comes to the playoffs you need to have hot bats and catch a few breaks. I don’t write the rules. That’s just the way life works. As of today, Buster Posey announces his retirement. So ends an era for the San Francisco Giants.

About a month ago, the seasons changed and the surf season started.  We now go through a sequence of glorious sunny days, with offshore winds and head-high surf to stormy weather to out of control 25 foot days. Winter surfing has arrived. Buy a new leash.

San Francisco Politics

Because of strange election laws San Francisco is in the process of having recall elections for both the District Attorney and the School Board. Talk about a really stupid system that opens up even more ways for big money to enter into politics. Let us simply vote people out of office when their terms ends if we do not like how they are doing their job. The recalls makes for an endless election cycle that is no good for anyone save the people with deep pockets.


Luckily, in mid-October we got pummeled by a large storm. This was the equivalent of dousing a campfire with a gallon of water. While the “fire-season” did not officially end then it sure did help. After a few more subsequent storms, there is even a little snow in the mountains.

COVID-19 Pandemic Update

In San  Francisco the vaccine rates are above 80%. The streets and roads are returning to their pre-pandemic madness.  We even see the Google Buses are back. What short memories we humans have.


Parklets, Haircuts and Where the Sun Does Shine

And the sun does shine now as the summer fog usually has disappeared.  Unfortunately the parklets are slowly disappearing as things return to normal. Speaking with business owners, the common complaint is that the city is difficult to deal with concerning the parklets and the cost is exorbitant. Too bad as the parklets are generally a really cool idea and makes for more spaces for musicians to perform.

And many of the “slow streets” are being opened for cars. OK everyone. Go out there and drive around, cart your kids off to the fancy schools make money and burn up this planet!!!

That is The Quarterly Report – November 2021. Be well. If you have not already got your vaccine time to get the jab. Do it for grandma. Drink plenty of water, get regular exercise and for the love of God stay away from “social media.”

Photo Gallery of SF

Recommended Reading: BIG by Matt Stoller

On the SF Journal website we have not had a post for a while about intellectual property or copyright. We simply felt it was not worth the ink, and besides it tends to bore people to tears. I find the whole topic fascinating, but then again, I find the maintenance of harmonicas enthralling. To read about how the laws in the late 1990s was a huge gift to the tech industry and a sort of shake-down of the creative class, read my posts in

Many times when writing and reading about how copyright laws in the late 1990s and the digital age have made it so copyrights have become meaningless, people tell me that the problem is not copyright laws, it is about the concentration of power into a few hands and the monopolies of our time – Facebook, Google and Amazon to name the most easily recognized. Matt Stoller’s BIG is a Substack blog that writes about these monopolies and what Matt calls “the anti-monopoly revolution  happening today.” I am not so sure it should be called a “revolution” but what is true is that the tech monopiles are being challenged by the FTC and they are fighting back.  Perhaps the biggest change was the Biden appointment of Lina Khan as the chair of the Federal Trade Commission.  Lina is just 32 years of age, extremely bright and going to court to take Facebook to task for illegal anti-trust behavior.

Read BIG by Matt Stoller.

Long and in-depth articles that get way into the weeds about anti-trust laws and how people like Lina Khan are attempting to break up these monopolies.  Highly recommended.

What is interesting about the whole concept of monopiles, is that the major players in the tech industry have always been about controlling and dominating a channel.  Amazon,  for years going in the red just to undercut small bookstores and put them out of business. Facebook buying Instagram to take out a competitor. The list is long and the secret sauce is all laid out in Peter Thiel’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. This book discloses the recipe for creating a monopoly and crushing everything along the way. The author, oddly thinks this is all for the better, but then again Peter Thiel is a billionaire and may be a little out of touch with people working in an Amazon warehouse living paycheck to paycheck.

Anti-trust laws are often complex and full of nuance that can often leave Congress people scratching their heads save for Amy Klobuchar, who wrote a serious book on the matter Antitrust – TAKING ON MONOPOLY POWER FROM THE GILDED AGE TO THE DIGITAL AGE.



2021 California gubernatorial recall election – Official Endorsement – VOTE NO

San Francisco Journal – Official Endorsement
Election Day: September 14, 2021

You are now done. Do not vote for any of the candidates on the back.

Just remember to vote by mail or September 14. This is very IMPORTANT. It is quite possible that we could have a complete moron running the state of California.


The Backstory


A dreadful disease has plagued the empire. It is determined that the best way to curb transmission of this ghastly disease is to wear a mask over the nose and mouth.  If possible, all the people who work on computers, or can convert to working on computers from home, start working from home. School classes are rows and rows of boxes of faces staring into the abyss. Everyone else who has to work goes out into the storm of virus and disease wearing masks to fend off the wolves, farm food, stock groceries, care for the sick and bury the dead.


The orange-headed emperor thinks the entire disease thing is out of control. So bad for the ratings!  “No disease folks. Just a minor cold. Gargle with bleach. Works for me. Look at my beautiful hair!” Said emperor contracts the plague. After a week in the hospital he is saved by all his fancy, expensive doctors. He is not humbled in the least but nevertheless is dethroned by the electorate. He refuses to concede and retreats to his castle by the beach to swing his clubs at small white balls.


One of the regional governors,  goes to a party at a fancy restaurant with a name that sounds like a place you wash your clothes. Little did he know that he would soon get stuck in the rinse cycle. Normally he wears a mask, and promotes notions of accountability, peace and  good sense but the party is downing a few cases of a wonderful 1982 Napa cabernet that is paired elegantly with the grass fed prime rib. “Let’s just use these masks things as napkins to soak up the gravy.” laughs the Governor.


The unmasked governor’s rivals from the party of treachery and greed find out about all the bare faces and begin to whine and make a fuss about the Governor’s hypocrisy. “Look at this ruler” they tweet. “He breaks his own rules!!!”


After meetings were they eat wild boar matched with a zinfandel with oaky undertones , a hint of apple and a good finish, the party of treachery and greed conjure up a recall plan. Maskless, they also start bashing the poor Latino help and insisting on more wild boar. “Cigars on the patio gentlemen?” The wild boar gravy stains their pants. They have no French laundromats in sight to clean their trousers.


Dozens of people, mostly from the party of treachery and greed, submit their candidacies. These include talk show hosts, mayors, YouTubers, former Olympic decathlon athletes who instead of sporty sneakers now often don high heels, a hairstylist, a college student and an LA tour guide.

FINALE: Democracy a la carte

That there is even a recall is absurd. Gavin Newsom has simply done his job during difficult times, is not being tried for a felony offense, is dealing with a horrific wildfire season, to name but a few things on his plate. Considering the circumstances he has done a good job, listening to the health experts, standing up for people in need and the working class. He may not be perfect, but Gavin is driving this ship until the next election. It is just the best option folks.

Save for a few mayors in the race, the majority of the candidates are a joke and simply not qualified – they have no idea how to run a state government. If the party of treachery and greed wins this one,  it will put the final nail in the coffin to any notion that the U.S. form of democracy is honest and fair. Shining light on the hill? Yeah, right.

It is like “Calvin ball,” where the rules change not in the name of fairness or equality, but simple as a method to gain power.

It is really easy. Vote NO. You even got your ballot in the MAIL!!!

The editorial board is an independent board of one that meets twice weekly.  The board does not take donations from any party, business or corporation. To submit letters, comments or criticism of the aforementioned endorsement, please use the form bellow. 

The Great Highway and the Save the Great Walkway Rally

Save the Great Walkway Rally
Start: Sunday, August 15, 2021 • 10:30 AM
Location: Great Walkway at Judah • 1398 Great Highway, San Francisco, CA 94122

If you are interested, attend the march this Sunday.

The Great Highway, due to the pandemic, has been pedestrian-only for about a year and a half. It is a great safe place to walk., catch views of Ocean Beach and the Marin Headlands, and even perhaps muse over the absurdity of life. To the south you see all the way to Pedro Point in Pacifica. Out on the ocean you can often see the large container ships lumbering along. When the air is clear you can make out the Farallon Islands and even see all the way up to Point Reyes.  During fire seasons the air at Ocean Beach is often the best around with the ocean breeze far from the burning forests.

Kids have spent the last year with a place to get out and ride bikes. Runners and bikers of all ages use this highway. There is no reason to give it back to the cars commuting from Marin. They can take Sunset Blvd or 19th Ave or simply work from home.  If we have learned one thing from this pandemic is that it is not business as usual, and time to slow down and enjoy and protect the public spaces. No cars on The Great Highway!

Save the Great Highway for the people. It is better for our health, public safety and our kids.

Some random pics from the last year and a half out along the Great Highway.

The Quarterly Report – May 2021

This SF Journal Quarterly Report for May 2021 is brought to you by Chile Lindo Empanadas. Located on 16th Street, Chile Lindo is a great place to get a taste of how the Mission District in San Francisco was before the tech invasion. Great empanadas, beer and wine and live music. See the San Francisco Live Music Calendar for times and dates.

News of Plundering

“There are two modes of invading private property; the first by which the poor plunder the rich… sudden and violent; the second, by which the rich plunder the poor, slow and legal.”
JOHN TAYLOR, An inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States (1814)


The last SF Journal Quarterly Report stated: “In San Francisco there has been a fair amount of rain in the last month. With over 200 inches of snowfall in many parts of the Sierra, for another year we can enjoy all that amazing, clean fresh water.”

We would like to update this weather report. While it is true that there was snow in the mountains, on further analysis it has been determined that we are in a drought. The big storms did not arrive and the snowpack is way down. This does not bode well for the upcoming fire season which evidently has started in May and will then run through to maybe November. All I can say is “good grief!” In a coming year we may see a drought were there is actually no rain at all. It is bound to happen.

It is May 15, 2021 and along the coast the fog is thick and the northwest winds howl. Welcome to summer in San Francisco.

COVID-19 Pandemic Update

Another inaccurate prediction from the last SF Journal Quarterly Report was “I predict once Kaiser starts a vaccination program, things will move quickly. ” If your idea of getting a vaccine means driving for an hour and a half across the state, that was the Kaiser model. Kaiser completely dropped the ball if you ask me. The pandemic has laid bare how a for-profit health care system and the lack of a public heath care system and made it so battling a pandemic virus is problematic. As usual just follow the money and you will see what is really going. I got my Moderna vaccines courtesy of the San Francisco Department of Public Heath in the small parking lot behind the El Chico Produce.  Kaiser Permanente is not about public health. If it was they would have dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic differently.

The National Political Scene

Kudos to Liz Cheney for attempting to call a spade a spade and calling out the “big lie.”  Of course it comes about five years too late. While her dad Dick Cheney was a master of disinformation and treachery it is best to take individuals on their own merit.  You really have to wonder what was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. How for four years Liz Cheney played along with Donald Trumps lies.  Perhaps the cover is that there are plenty of other Republicans, surely some who embraced the Lincoln Project, who are forming perhaps another party.  Time will tell but it is fitting that it was a woman who was taken down for standing up to the wealthy white guys. For some women at least, there is no price tag for a clear conscience.

That is The Quarterly Report – February 2021. Be well. Wear a mask if you have not already got your vaccine. Drink plenty of water, get regular exercise and for the love of God stay away from “social media.” Read books.

Photo Gallery of SF

Catching up with Ralph Nader

You do not hear much about Ralph Nadar these days. Once a public figure, and a household name, Ralph Nadar is not a regular guest on FOX News, ABC, CBS or even NPR. So it was with great curiosity that I listened to an interview of Ralph Nadar by Robert Scheer on Scheer Intelligence, Robert’s podcast. It is a great conversation between two brilliant old sages. While listening I kept imagining these two octogenarians as the old guys up in the balcony in the Muppets, spouting off their wise observations. A very candid conversation.

Scheer Intelligence

Below are some quotes.
“One thing I’ve learned is that Democrats are on an infinite journey towards cowardliness,” responds Nader, “because now they’re getting credit for their $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, 100% financed on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren, without a single effort to [rescind] the Trump tax cuts that are at least $2 trillion over the ten years since they were passed in 2017.”

“What we’re seeing is an entrenched corporate state, where Wall Street controls government and turns it against its own people. And the awareness of the young generation, of what’s going on, in terms of the corporate supremacists’  controlling our political economy, strategically planning every conceivable nook and corner, their commercializing childhood, they’re strategically planning higher education, they’ve planned our tax system, they’re strategically planning our electoral and political system, our public budgets, our military foreign policy. They’re strategically planning the public lands and its disposition… daily… one third of America. They’ve strategically planned the epidemic of obesity that they knew full well was the result of their high fat, high sugar, high salt diet that they have seduced young people with billions of dollars of TV advertising over the last forty years.”
– Ralph Nader: Democrats Ushered in an Era of Corporate Fascism – March 19. 2021

And then Ralph takes the kids to task:

“And this young generation, that calls itself progressive, and “change agent(s)”, they just don’t have a clue! They don’t read! You don’t read, you don’t think. You don’t think, you don’t read. If you don’t do those things, you don’t set the stage for social justice movements. We all know this.”
– Ralph Nader: Democrats Ushered in an Era of Corporate Fascism – March 19. 2021

Nadar goes on to show the way and how to bring about change.

“Here’s the rub,” explains Nader. “It has never taken more than 1% active citizens scattered throughout the country representing [or building] the majority public opinion to change Congress on any number of agendas throughout history.”

Ralph Nadar.  Someone, who in the year 2021 does not own a computer or a cellphone. Probably the reason we all have and wear seat belts in cars, can drink clean drinking water and have safer consumer products. Unfortunately, also why Al Gore lost the presidential election in 2000 and George Bush II came to power and got the United States entrenched in wars in the Middle East.

Ralph Nadar. Someone to listen to.

Why Facebook is Not Like the Bulletin Board at the Laundromat

This essay explores different perspectives concerning Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Movies such as The Social Network have finally made obvious to the broader public some of the toxicity of social media and this essay is to point out that Facebook and other social media companies are not like cork message boards at the laundromat but rather a modern, innovative and complicated form of publishing. For some background, read the New York Times article Tech Companies Shift Their Posture on a Legal Shield, Wary of Being Left Behind where in the comments a gentleman from New York commented the following:

– Kenneth, ny
Section 230 is the wrong tool for regulating tech giants; it’s how people can say something on the internet without bringing down the hosting service. Let’s remove it; we’d lose these comment boards because now the Times is liable for its contents. Twitter gets nuked completely (possibly a good outcome in your estimation!) but so too does every place users can place comments. The analogy that impressed me in law school was the idea of a cork message board — if someone comes along and staples a defamatory statement, you go after the person who posted it. You don’t sue the owner of the corkboard. And if the corkboard owner removes the defamatory statement, then the original speaker doesn’t get to sue them in turn. That’s the point and purpose of section 230. If the corkboard owner owns all the corkboards, then okay, that’s why we have antitrust laws. But unless you want to start scrutinizing all online speech via legislation, we should use other means to attack the power of the internet giants.

ACT 1:  The Metaphor Trap

Trying to make sense of the new digital world, people conjure up metaphors from the physical world. For many years it was called the Information Superhighway and the internet was something that you surfed. Lately, servers are called the cloud.  These are convenient ways we, or probably more accurately, marketing departments, try to give people a reference for this fast moving world.  But in actuality you do not surf the internet and it is not a cloud. It seems skepticism is sometimes in short supply these days. The notion that interacting with social media and “posting,” is at its essence, the same voluntary action as  posting a notice about your lost cat on the local laundromat cork message board is simply naive.  Facebook is not a cork board. It is far more complicated.

ACT 2: Horses and cars

Comparing Facebook with cork bulletin  boards is perhaps  like comparing horses with cars.  Both horses and cars are a means of transportation. Indeed, when the automobile became ubiquitous the motor’s strength was horsepower. This must have been a certain horse in a good mood, and it surely was just an average and not very accurate.  Because horses were not cars there were all kinds of regulations about how fast they could go, and how you had to drive with lights on at night and wear seat belts, and eventually it got so bad, you had to have a drivers licence.  Cars, as long as they had gas could go for hours on end. Horses need rest. While horses and cars are tools for humans to get from one place to another, they are apples and oranges. Facebook is not a cork board. It is far more complicated.

ACT 3: Geography

A cork board in the laundromat always stays in one place .  In  reality the only reason the owner of the laundromat put up the freakin’ cork board in the first place was because people kept taping room rentals and lost pet posters on the wall and she was getting tired of cleaning off all the sticky tape.  People who see Facebook stuff have it on their phone, on their computer at home, in an internet cafe (they still have those) – basically everywhere they are they can get news and messages from people they do not really even know. They see the social media stuff everywhere.  The message board at the laundromat hangs out in the laundromat all night in the dark with the florescent lights off waiting for the morning for the door to be unlocked and someone to poke it witha thumbtack in the morning the next day.

Furthermore, your laundromat bulletin board is not a two way mirror where some creepy white guy in a hoody is  behind the glass spying on your every move, changing what you see on the bulletin board by gauging your mood and even where your eyes focus.  It does not track whether you were in the laundromat last week, or how many loads you did, or whether you just came from the grocery store. Facebook is not a cork board. It is far more complicated.

ACT 4: Classified Ads

In reality a cork board in a laundromat is perhaps more like a free classified service like craigslist but the cork board in a laundromat is physical.. However, unlike craigslist and for that matter Facebook, when someone posts a notice on the cork board they do not have to give the owner of the cork board their birth date, email, or any other personal information. On the cork board people post their “stuff”and often write their phone number many times on the  notice so that people can tear off the phone numbers and easily call them .  People are usually pretty anonymous and everyone sees the same stuff. The woman who owns the laundromat (or craigslist for that matter) does not customize the cork board for different laundromat users based on their politics, gender orientation or sport teams affiliation. Facebook is not a cork board. It is far more complicated.

ACT 5: Selling Your Self to the Devil

Unlike Facebook, I would wager that a cork message board in my local laundromat is pretty harmless. It is not a platform associated with radical white extremists that are conspiring to kidnap the governor, or entire governments intent on marginalizing and murdering certain members of society as what happen in  Myanmar.

The cork board is probably not a place where strange inaccurate and totally false conspiracy theories propagate. Perhaps Facebook is more often like a toxic dump site, that is oozing falsehoods and devious schemes all night. but appears benign. Facebook is not a cork board. It is far more complicated.

ACT 6: What if I post stuff that is copyrighted?

A few years after Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 was the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) which ushered in the 21st century that often marginalized tradition creators of music, art and publishing.  The DMCA made it completely legal for hosting companies and most often large monopolies to make money off of the music of the last 100 years and be free of any legal consequences for copyright infringement as the material was posted by users.  Sort of like taping your 100 gig drive of all your CDs as MP3’s on that laundromat cork board and telling everyone to just come and make  free copies while the laundromat got financial kickbacks.

I have been writing about how the DMCA is unconstitutional for years.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act 18 Year Anniversary

Facebook is not a cork board. It is far more complicated.

ACT 7: Facebook is actually a Publisher with Unpaid Content Providers and is Edited by Algorithms

Imagine if your Facebook feed came to you once a day in print delivered to your doorstep.  It is a “book” by the way. Your print version of Facebook would contain the news from some traditional news source, the warm and fuzzy stories and op-eds from your crazy uncle. It even has comics. It is published in billions of editions and every user gets their own custom versions. This siloing of content is  one of the reasons why our democracies are breaking into the tribalism of identity politics. Everyone lives in their custom realities and subjective idealism with their own version of truth. (The customization of various editions is not unlike  the New York Times that has a “west coast” version. ) On Facebook and the New York Times are ads and classifieds and Facebook makes billions off the advertising in their publishing business.  Facebook is not just a platform, it is a modern, complicated form of publishing with vast editorial power.  Indeed, if I posted this essay on Facebook it would soon end up at the bottom of everyone’s feed and eventually the trash. How do I know this? It has happened before when I posted on Facebook such critiques. Facebook is not a cork board. It is far more complicated.

ACT 8: Anti-trust and Toxic Waste Dumps

The quote above that started this ramble speaks of anti-trust and breaking up the likes of Facebook as Teddy Roosevelt helped do with the railroads a hundred years ago.  Anti-trust laws will surely be the legal path, but I still maintain:  Facebook is not a cork board. It is far more complicated. The legal world needs to realize that the internet is not one huge cork message board at the laundromat where no one is accountable.

Kamala Harris Quotes

“I know predators, and we have a predator living in the White House, and let me tell you, there’s a little secret about predators. Donald Trump has predatory nature and predatory instincts. The things about predators you should know, they prey on the vulnerable. They prey on those who they do not believe are strong. The thing you must importantly know, predators are cowards. I have a background where successfully, I have prosecuted the big banks who preyed on homeowners, prosecuted pharmaceutical companies who preyed on seniors, prosecuted transnational criminal organizations that preyed on women and children, and I will tell you we have a predator living in the White House.”
Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator and Presidential Candidate – July 3, 2019

“Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the black women who are often too often overlooked, but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.”
Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator and Vice Presidential Elect

“Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?”
Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator Questioning Brett Kavanaugh – September 2018

Brett Kavanaugh had no answer and looked dazed and confused.  And isn’t it peculiar that like Jeff Sessions who said “you scare me” to Senator Harris when she was questioning him on the floor, Kavanaugh seemed a bit terrified. January 20th will be a great day for woman. For little girls it will be a day where being smart, tough and thinking critically is now part of the accepted performance.

For people in the Bay Area there are three camps. People who hold a grudge for Kamala Harris over the simple fact that she was District Attorney of San Francisco and made some mistakes along the way. Those who are simply glad that you have someone who is intelligent, qualified and decent. And, the few Republicans who think she is soft on petty crime and social issues.

There was an op-ed in the New York Times recently that took the point of view that Kamala Harris should be given a more substantial job than Vice President.

All I can say is: there’s still time.

Kamala Harris – For the People, here we go.

The Treason of Donald Trump and the Republican Party

It is now a week after the November 3, 2020 election. Because of Covid-19 and the large amount of mail-in ballots, it took until Saturday for Pennsylvania to be called for Joe Biden.  The United States of America is still counting votes but the outcome is clear. Joe Biden won the Electoral College vote as well as a popular vote margin that when everything is counted will be over 5 million votes. Donald Trump is soon to be evicted from federal housing.

However, Donald Trump is playing the sore loser and claiming election fraud with no evidence that anything fraudulent happened. This is a typical Trump maneuver and this behavior of “deny, deny, deny” is a skill he learned from the notorious scumbag Roy Cohn. The prediction that Trump would never concede was pointed out by Michael Cohen over a year ago.

Michael Cohen Warned Us In February 2019

That just about every Republican supports Trump in his chronic denialism and legal maneuvers is deplorable.; Mitch McConnell has always been deplorable. At this point the Republican party is a party of traitors and treason and the oaths that they took to The Constitution are absurd.

NOTE: The opinion above is only that of the author and does not represent the San Francisco Journal, investors or subsidiaries. Letters to the editors can be sent via the contact link below.

Donald Trump Gets Covid-19 – Why Are People So Concerned?

The latest news on the national level is that Donald Trump has contracted Covid-19 – the Corona Virus. It seems odd that this is a big deal. All along Donald Trump has explained that Covid-19 is little more than a mild flu. Please let us stop with the hyperbole. Donald. Go home and get some rest. It is just a mild illness. Maybe check back in a few weeks after you down a few Dixie Cups of Clorox or perhaps have your “come to Jesus moment” like what happened to Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“It’s going to disappear one day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
Donald Trump

“A lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat, as the heat comes in, typically that will go away in April.”
Donald Trump

“Covid-19 affects ‘virtually nobody’”
Donald Trump

“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? “Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.”
Donald Trump

“It’s a little like a regular flu that we have flu shots for, and we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”
Donald Trump .

Quotes begin from statements made by Donald Trump starting in February 2020.

Is Amy Goodman the new Walter Cronkite?

Democracy Now! is a daily television and radio news broadcast probably not known to many in the United States of America. The show is hosted by journalist Amy Goodman, who also acts as the show’s executive producer. Besides having the best theme music for any news show ever, Democracy Now! attempts to deliver the news in a style that is actually similar to the way Walter Cronkite read the news in the 1960s. Unlike Fox News or many current news programs, the emphasis is not on the personalities of the host and there are are no leggy blondes perched up on bar stools complaining about the weather and personal skin care products.

If you compare the delivery of the news between Walter Cronkite and Amy Goodman it is striking how their intonation, style and rhythm are similar, albeit Amy Goodman’s is probably a fifth higher. Close your eyes. The similarities are almost shocking.

Just compare these two videos.

Walter Cronkite

Amy Goodman

I am no scholar of the history of television journalism, but this style and approach surely have something to do with Edward R. Murrow and his journalistic  philosophy,, approach and style – a thing of a bygone era.  They simply read the news deadpan with a consistent rhythm and no chatter.

So if you want to see or hear the headlines like it was Walter Cronkite staring at the camera reading the news, watch Amy Goodman and the DemocracyNow! headlines. It is like a strong cup of black coffee – hold the cream, no sugar.

Michael Cohen Warned Us In February 2019

Of all of Donald Trump’s henchmen, Michael Cohen is the only one that seems to have had a personal reckoning and has admitted his mistake of ever dealing with Trump. His closing speech in February 2019, before they took him off to prison for a brief time, is an honest assessment of the situation.

“I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power. And this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”
– Michael Cohen, Closing speech to the Senate – February 2019

Which is all at once spooky, insightful and clairvoyant. As of late, Trump repeatedly states that if he loses the 2020 election that it is all “rigged.”  What a mess we are in!

I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.
– Michael Cohen, – from his book Disloyal

UPDATE: June 13, 2023

Fascism seems to just keep gaining strength is the United States.

Earlier Tuesday in Florida, Trump was arrested in a historic arraignment in a Miami federal courthouse where he pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal charges.

Trump is the first former president to face federal charges and was arrested and booked alongside his aide and co-defendant, Walt Nauta.

This indictment comes just months after Trump was charged by a Manhattan grand jury in a separate hush-money case.

CNN, Trump pleads not guilty in historic federal indictment

It is time that a brave judge simply locks him up in a jail until the trials begin.

UPDATE: September 21, 2022

And here we are, more than two years later, and Michael Cohen’s prediction has proved to be correct.  Not only  was there never a peaceful transition of power, but the shenanigans continue at an even higher decibel.  We do not hear much from Michael Cohen these days, but he probably sleeps just fine at night. It is hard to find tranquility without truth and a clear conscience.

When he gave his testimony before Congress in February of 2019 it was an interesting view into some really basic psychology that every parent knows. Michael Cohen, no longer the glib, brazen New York lawyer who fixes legal woes for rich folk, appeared humbled, calm and sober. One could only surmise that he had conversations with his family and his wife, which may have made have made him change his tune.  In the final Senate hearing, Michael Cohen’s entire body language changed, and unlike many on the stand who twitched and blinked in odd ways, anyone in the room could see that Cohen was confessing the truth. His eerie prediction evidently fell on the deaf ears of the Republicans.  But then again, I sort of feel that the adults left the room somewhere around 2015.

Today, Michael Cohen is probably saying “I told you so” to the people who will listen.

UPDATE: August 27, 2023

“After surrendering on Thursday at an Atlanta jail to be booked on state felony charges alleging his involvement in a criminal conspiracy to void the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump sat for a mug shot in which he scowls like a psychopath out of a Stanley Kubrick film.”

I was hoping they would just lock the guy up in jail in a group-cell with other dangerous criminals. Michael Cohen’s predictions and assessments were correct.

The New York Times Comments and Censorship

It is a good thing that large newspapers have found a way to keep in business in the digital landscape. For a time, in the world of journalism,  it looked like even the big players were not going to make it.  I subscribe to the local paper and the N.Y. Times. From time to time I will post comments to various N.Y. Times pieces and enjoy reading the contributions and ideas from the many mysterious contributors – Socrates, CynicalObserver, God on wheels, Great Family and Friends Dish. Pretty much all of my comments are approved and people recommend them and life goes on. About a week ago I wrote a comment about how a certain article seemed to just brush the surface of the topic.

What Happens to Some L.G.B.T.Q. Teens When Their Parents Reject Them

My comment was approved and garnered a fair amount of recommendations and then was taken down. When I asked the N.Y. Times about why it was taken down, I got this for an answer: “While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderation decisions are subjective.” I find it odd that they censored this comment as it is not off-topic and abusive only if you think the truth is intolerable. What I was simply saying is that this topic is complicated  – “a complicated story with many players needing more than 3000 words.”

But in the end the N.Y. Times has every right to not publish my comments. It is a private company and can do what they want, just as Jack Dorsey should have kicked Donald Trump off of Twitter years ago for violating their terms. However, I feel that my comment below is certainly not off-topic, not abusive and perhaps even insightful. For posterity, the comment that was taken down and the N.Y. Times response is below.

What do you think? Did I cross the line?


Wed, Nov 11, 8:33 AM
Your comment has been approved!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with The New York Times community.
Gustav | San Francisco
I think it is important to look at the rapidly changing landscape of identity among young people with a more nuanced eye. A big change in the last five years is that the medical community has become very aggressive in intervening in the bodies of youth who declare that they are transgender. Hormones and surgery are used as early interventions and “treatments.” A story not told on the NYT is how the rise of social media and the ubiquitous smart phone has stressed out many kids. Today identity is everything and many have gotten lost in transgender echo-chambers. The ignorant medical community just gets out the needles and scalpels – a complicated story with many players needing more than 3000 words.

And the N.Y. Times response to why they removed my comment.

Michelle (The New York Times Customer Care)

Nov 20, 2020, 8:00 PM EST

Hello Paul,

Thank you for contacting us here at the Customer Care Center here at The New York Times. Let me first personally thank you for your ongoing support and readership of The New York Times. I appreciate your loyalty.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderation decisions are subjective. Our Community desk will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

If you have any questions or require any other assistance, please feel free to reply to this email. You can also call us at 800-698-4637, or chat with us.

Thank you again for contacting The New York Times. Enjoy your day and be safe!

Michelle G,
Customer Care
The New York Times

Op-ed: U.S. Supreme Court and Bostock vs. Clayton County

In a 6-3 decision, the court said the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars employers with 15 employees or more from discriminating on the basis of sex, requires them to treat male and female employees equally regardless of their sexuality or biological gender at birth — regardless of whether they are gay or lesbian, straight or transgender.
SF Chronicle – U.S. Supreme Court rules job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal – June 15, 2020

It is a good thing that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal ( Bostock vs. Clayton County). To condone discrimination based on who people love and are attracted to  and people who are on hormones to self-authenticate their gender is simply unethical.   Prescribing hormones to people to self-authenticate has its own set of ethical questions, but that is another topic all together. What is lost on many journalists and commentators who think this is simply a big win for people who are homosexual or identify as transgender is that they miss a key aspect of the ruling. What the ruling does is simply reaffirm the 1964 Civil Rights Act which bars employers with 15 employees or more from discriminating on the basis of sex

Gorsuch wrote. “That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

What this means, and what the court is saying is that sex is real. In our current world of polarized political rhetoric, identity politics and solipsism this may seem like a minor point, but in reality it is significant. Bostock vs. Clayton County may be framed as a win for LGBT rights but it far more subtle. Gorsuch frames the issue with “it does not matter whether you are gay or identify as transgender you are first, fundamentally a human – female or male.” Surprisingly, he is looking at the issue from a feminist, not really a LGBT, perspective.

Eventually there will be other judgments by the court that will disappoint the LGBT community. They will become shrill and irate and claim that Gorsuch has changed his views and backpedaled but in fact they will not understand the premise of his argument and reasoning.  Indeed, the ERA, that unfortunately never passed, is an amendment that would have deemed equality not based on gender but sex.

It is refreshing to see the Supreme Court function as it was intended. A place where cases are argued and laws are created that take the long view and are not susceptible to the politics and fads of the day,

NOTE: The opinion above is only that of the author and does not represent the San Francisco Journal, investors or subsidiaries. Letters to the editors can be sent via the contact link below.


Facebook’s Strange Terms of Service that Facilitates Fascism

“This came to yet another head last Friday night when Mark (Zuckerberg) decided Facebook would not remove Trump’s post in which he invoked a historically racist phrase to threaten violence against civilians. Mark suggested that it didn’t violate Facebook’s terms of service because Trump was a state actor and so his threat was more of a warning.”
Jessi Hempel, June 3, 2020 Will employee protests fix Facebook’s power problem?

What a strange terms of service. So if you are a “state actor” you can get away with racist hate speech, toxic and dangerous lies and sexist insults. But if you are a black man, in our society you get a knee in your neck and killed by the police for just breathing air. Facebook is toxic. It is really that simple. Mark Zuckerberg is simply a greedy capitalist… a lot like Donald Trump. Mark Zuckerberg is NOT your “friend.”


Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebooks – Further Proof that Facebook is Not Your Friend

What I Would ask Donald Trump

It amazes me that reporters are still taken aback at how vile, misogynistic, sexist, selfish and self-aggrandizing Donald Trump is at press conferences.  This sort of behavior has been going on for as long as Donald Trump joined the world of entertainment and politics.  Reporters often stand amazed with their jaws dropped while Trump insults them and calls them bad reporters and their employers “fake news.” It is as though they have not realized that the rule book of civility was burned in 2015 as he climbed his way to power. I suggest that instead of ever thinking they will get a straight answer from this guy, play his silly game.

Instead of asking a question like “Dr. Fauci has stated that it is best that many parts of the economy stay in shutdown. Why against expert advice, do you think it is good to open up the restaurants and bars now?”  To which they will either get an incoherent rambling or an insult or two.

Perhaps it would be better to ask a question where you catch Trump off guard in such a way were he looks even dumber than he already is.  For example, “Mr. President, you stated last week that you have been taking  the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure for Covid-19. We were wonder if you gargle with bleach before of after you take the hydroxychloroquine?” Such a question would remind the room that Trump has recommended crazy medical theories in the past, and thus he could not deny that he recommended ingesting cleaning products.  The reason that this tactic is essential is that Trump refuses to govern and the only hope for the press is to simply state the truth with as much irony and humor as possible.

If Trump insults them once again, at least the press will get the last laugh.


Softening the Edge – Examples of Weak Language at NPR

In journalism the choice of words to describe events and the world is critical to meaning. Often in the New York Times articles will state that President Trump “misrepresented the facts” or that he used “false and misleading statements.” This type of language avoids the obvious fact that the best word for what Trump does constantly is “lie.” Trump does not “misrepresent facts.” Every English teacher would take a red pen and cross out those two words and write “be more direct, simply use the word “lie”.”

Today the glossing over Donald Trump’s  lies is the most obvious watering down of direct language by the mainstream media. But this weak and soft language is common throughout many topics.

“President Trump was caught flat-footed with the Federal response to the coronavirus.”
– NPR News – May 2020

The term “caught flat-footed” is to my surprise not known by many people but the gist is that person who is “caught flat-footed” is innocent about something and was simply caught off-guard or perhaps by surprise. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trump knowingly disregarded  urgent warnings by many of his top advisers – from health experts and even people in the business community. A more accurate choice of words would be that Trump “ignored warnings” and refused to utilize the powers of the federal government to prepare and protect citizens. To this day, he still thinks he can simply wish Covid-19 away.

“The shortcomings of the United States prison system”
– PBS News Hour – May 2020

What an odd phrase. “Shortcomings” allows the listener to project their own meaning on the story. “Shortcomings, you bet you! Let’s lock more poor people and people of color up! ” The United States prison system does not have “shortcomings.” The United States prison system is the “United States Prison Industrial Complex” and as Michele Alexander intelligently points out in “The New Jim Cow,” the prison system is simply used to control black people like laws were  in the Jim Crow era.


That the prison system has been largely privatized and a place for large corporate profits is the real story.  The shortcomings of this type of PBS Newshour journalism is that it waters down the truth and reframes the narrative to the advantage of the powerful. Language matters and eventually shapes the political dialogue and perceptions.

NOTE: The opinion above is only that of the author and does not represent the San Francisco Journal, investors or subsidiaries. Letters to the editors can be sent via the contact link below.

Reflections on an Erratic, Narcissistic President

It is April 20th, 2020 and the world is in shutdown mode as the coronavirus travels around the globe. Health officials and governmental officials who listen to them and are reasonably intelligent have deemed human life as more important than short-term profits, stock market fluctuations and popularity polls.   California Governor Gavin Newsom who has been taking an intelligent and cautious path even referred to the people who have died of COVID-19 as “souls.”  I cannot remember a politician refer to humans as “souls” in a very long time.  It made me think that perhaps Gavin Newsom reads old political speeches from bygone eras. It sounded almost spiritual.

And then there is Donald Trump, who takes responsibility for nothing and credit for everything when things appear to go well. We found out that this is what “stable geniuses” do during the 2016 debates. The concept of going bankrupt over and over again and thus not having to pay federal income taxes was “intelligent.” That few questioned this as being unpatriotic, inept, irresponsible or slimy is odd.  And then when the stimulus package was ready to roll out, Trump insisted on delaying the payments for he insisted on having his signature on the checks; a strange twist of fate for someone who has avoided paying taxes.

Trump, even though he is in charge of the executive branch, sees the federal government as the enemy. This is why he insists on doing backroom deals with foreign governments, spewing nonsense and hyperbole on Twitter and in the end never actually leading and  taking responsibility for anything associated with him. Months ago when the pandemic was due to hit and medical supplies where low, Trump refused to invoke the Defense Production Act and take over sectors of manufacturing businesses to create the medical supplies needed for such a scenario.  This is because after years of dodging taxes and NOT paying taxes, he cannot fathom that the checks people write to the federal government can actually be used to help the populous as a whole.

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not before.”
Rahm Emanuel -Interview to the Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2008.

What is truly perplexing is that all politicians know that it is times of crises when you can act in a way that will bring people over to your side that usually would never support you. If Donald Trump simply listened to the experts in the room, and made some key decisions at key times, less people would be six feet under and ironically his poll numbers would be through the roof and he would be unstoppable in 2020. But then perhaps these are the choices of a “stable genius.”

Save our souls.

NOTE: The opinion above is only that of the author and does not represent the San Francisco Journal, investors or subsidiaries. Letters to the editors can be sent via the contact link below.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebooks – Further Proof that Facebook is Not Your Friend

In the March 2020 edition of Wired Magazine is an article written by Steven Levy entitled Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebooks. Steven Levy has known Zuckerberg for many years so had a fair amount of access. These notebooks are where Zuckerberg  plotted to rule the world and the notion of physical evidence like notebooks surely adds to the intrigue and mystique of one of the powerful players on the world stage.

Of all the internet billionaires, Mark Zuckerberg is perhaps the most controversial. Starting with your date of birth and your high school, Facebook’s creepy form of surveillance capitalism built the Facebook empire. The Facebook empire influences all things in our modern society –  journalism, marketing,  advertising, commerce, education, politics and personal lives to name the obvious. It is a platform build on modern humans’ natural addictive tendencies, narcissism and social insecurities and is nothing about the justice and equality that seemed possible in the early days of the internet. That people are so gullible to the deviousness of Facebook is surprising.

The secret sauce of Facebook is outlined below:

“Zuckerberg envisioned a three-tier hierarchy of what made stories compelling, imagining that people are driven chiefly by a blend of curiosity and narcissism. His top tier was “stories about you.” The second involved stories “centered around your social circle.” In the notebook, he provided examples of the kinds of things this might include: changes in your friends’ relationships, life events, “friendship trends (people moving in and out of social circles),” and “people you’ve forgotten about resurfacing.”

“The least important tier on the hierarchy was a category he called “stories about things you care about and other interesting things.” Those might include “events that might be interesting,” “external content,” “paid content,” and “bubbled up content.”

From Wired Magazines’ “Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebooks”

This secret sauce reaffirms my disgust with Facebook and social media as a whole. Web 2.0 and Facebook in particular has perpetuated our present era of what I call the era of “Digital Narcissism.”

“He was an avid Latin student, developing a fanboy affinity for the emperor Augustus Caesar, an empathetic ruler who also had an unseemly lust for power and conquest.”

There is this tendency in the United States of adulation of the rich. The notion that Zuckerberg was an “avid Latin student” attempts to affirm a notion that Zuckerberg was some sort of child genius who studied the classics. Whenever I have heard Mark Zuckerberg speak in public he does not seem worldly, well educated or secure in the least. Memorizing a few Latin phrases when you were eighteen to help you conquer a video game does not a Latin scholar make. In reality, Zuckerberg was mostly writing php “for loops” and working on “membership data models. ” Latin scholar… yeah right.

Zuckerberg’s initial reaction to criticism was most often defensive. But when misinformation could not be denied and Congress came calling, he clicked back into apologize-and-move-on mode.

And then near the end of the article there is this completely strange and obtuse  sentence that would make even  George Orwell snicker. “When misinformation could not be denied” means when written in plain and clear English – “when the truth came out. “ Indeed, truth is in short supply and Facebook is in the business of often perpetuating lies.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebooks is an interesting and insightful piece but as with most articles in Wired, barely questions the digital powers that be and instead holds them up in reverence.  Reverence is not journalism –  it is cheer-leading.  There is no mention of Facebook’s tax avoidance, the millions of accounts where passwords were in plain text and hacked, the perpetuation of false advertising and political smears and lies that are ubiquitous on the platform.  A quote not mentioned that was literally Facebook’s mantra for years is “move fast and break things.” Now that Facebook has broken lots of things, why cheer on Goliath?

Hiram Johnson, Grooms and Corpses

Hiram Johnson, governor of California around 1911 and part of the Progressive Republican party. It is so odd to think that Republicans at one point were actually progressive, fighting for the environment, working folk, attempting to combat the concentration of wealth.

Below is amusing quote from an excellent book on California history.

“The personality of Hiram Johnson bore some resemblance to that of Theodore Roosevelt, and in the early years of their association Johnson exploited this resemblance to the point of imitating Roosevelt’s gestures and exclamations. Both were extraordinarily intelligent and courageous political fighters, but also had in extraordinary degree the human failing of self-centeredness. It might have been said of Johnson, as it was said of Roosevelt that he disliked attending weddings and funerals because at a wedding he was not the groom and at the funeral he was not the corpse.”
California – An Interpretive History – Eight Edition James Rawls, Walton Bean (p. 280)

Progressive Republican party, these days seems like quite an oxymoron. While politicians are al
ways full of themselves, the quote above puts a comic spin on the self-indulgence

Zoe Lofgren States the Obvious

“Representative Zoe Lofgren said that like Nixon, Trump abused his power when he attempted to influence the 2020 presidential election. But unlike the former, Trump “used a foreign power to do it.” – House leans on Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s experience from Nixon, Clinton impeachments

Zoe Lofgren is a Rock Star
Zoe Lofgren is doing a great job as well as Adam Schiff and all the house managers. In recent times two Republicans were impeached by the House of Representatives for attempting to rig a Presidential election – Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. Nixon had the wherewithal to simply resign and get on an airplane, walk up the stairs with Pat, raising his arms with that ironic and  stupid victory sign thing that Roger Stone (now in jail) has tattooed on his back.

Bill Clinton, however, after Ken Starr followed him around like a gringo Inspector Clouseau for two years , ended up getting impeached for getting far to close to the interns, surely sexual harassment  and personal misconduct.

So there is a moral to this story. Never trust sleazy hotel mobsters who like to hide their taxes and thus ties to Russian mobsters. Never trust paranoid, baritone, hard drinking former governors with really bad posture. And surely never trust “neo-liberal” saxophone players who chase dresses, harass women, never practice and can barely play in-tune.

Trump Impeachment Trial Summary
Sure, let us have more witnesses for otherwise this would not even pass the sniff-test for city jury duty. President Trump has been publicly calling foreign  governments to meddle in our national elections since 2016. The trial is simply about Trump again meddle in our elections through executive and back channels. This is completely obvious. Republican Senators. Have you completely lost your senses?

NOTE: The opinion above is only that of the author and does not represent the San Francisco Journal, investors or subsidiaries. Letters to the editors can be sent via the contact link below.

Please do not pray for the President – It Creeps Him Out

“Even worse than offending the Founding Fathers, you are offending Americans of faith by continually saying “I pray for the President,” when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense. It is a terrible thing that you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!”
– Donald Trump’s letter to The Honorable Nancy Pelosi – 12/18/2019

We live in such strange times and this letter to the Speaker of the House by the President Trump is just another example. That the President gets so irritated about Nancy Pelosi’s Catholicism and her daily prayer is actually sort of funny. It reminds me a bit of the final scene in the movie The Princess Bride in which the Spaniard states over and over again in the final duel “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” After about the fifth time the Count, who Inigo Montoya is about to kill yells “STOP SAYING THAT!” Donald Trump is just like the Count. “STOP PRAYING FOR ME! IT’S CREEPING ME OUT!”

Speaker Pelosi has gotten under his skin and Trump just cannot take it anymore. It may be Trump’s downfall in the end, and hopefully the Evangelicals that voted for him should be aghast. Questioning the ritual and power of prayer. How un-Christian. How un-American.

My bumper sticker for those “fly-over” states.

Please do not pray for the President – It Creeps Him Out

Treating Symptoms, Not Causes – Why the United States Will Never Adopt a Single-Payer Medical System

It’s Treatment Based on Symptoms, Not Income
Billboard in San Francisco – Sutter Health

That healthcare can be a lucrative line of work has been a feature of the healthcare system in the United States for over 150 years. The American Medical Association (AMA) has been doing all it can to elevate doctors and dismiss community traditions like midwives and alternative medicine. Of course when there is money involved all sorts of shady people come out of the woodwork, trying to make a buck. Think of the wallpaper that you sometime see on folksy restaurant bathroom walls of reproductions of late 18th century newspapers. Ads for tonics and elixirs, perhaps often disguised liquor, that cure everything from heart conditions, digestion issues and even your sex life.

This sort of commercialization of healthcare, even when they are  “not for profit” institutions is so ubiquitous that people rarely think twice. So when I saw the Sutter Health slogan “It’s Treatment Based on Symptoms, Not Income” I was struck with the thought of whether this was created by the Sutter Health marketing department, the Sutter Health finance department or the Sutter Health doctors. It all sounds so altruistic and noble but give me a break; the CEO of Sutter Health a few years back made over 7 million dollars a year; the CEO of Kaiser Permanente made 16 million a year. Even though these institutions go under the moniker of “non-profit” in the end it is really about money and just like the petrol-chemical and banking industries, the main message of most marketing is often not about the actual product but about the political spin and supposed benevolence of the organization. I would wager that there are people today dealing with the Sutter Health billing department.

A larger question would be what does “treating the symptoms” actually mean?  If you were a roofer, treating the symptoms would mean that your leaking roof would never actually get fixed. Instead of treating the cause, that perhaps your roof is twenty years old and needs to be replaced, roofing companies would simply charge you for expensive plastics buckets indefinitely to capture the symptom – the water dripping through the ceiling. If you were a glass shop, you would indeed treat the symptom, the broken window but never get to the cause – perhaps  the golf driving range next door.

If our healthcare is now simply about “treating symptoms,” our healthcare system will over time become more expensive and never become single-payer. There are simply trillions of dollars, whole economies, insurance companies,  medical technology companies, a cultural ethos and entire small cities built around our current healthcare system.  That the pharmaceutical industry is also built around treating symptoms simply closes the loop.

A better slogan, but one where there is a lot less money to be made would be,

“Identify the cause,  the symptoms may go away.”

But that would would take some actual work and people always want a quick fix – give me a pill, make it go away.

Kaiser Permanente

While taking the BART back from a show in Oakland, I was struck by the fact that every single billboard in the 19th Street Station was bought out by Kaiser Permanente.  All fifty or so billboards had doctors looking directly at you.  With the slogans “There When You Need Us”, “Care at the Center”. This must have cost a lot of money. Every billboard was rented which meant perhaps fifty units in one of the most expensive markets in the United States. Meanwhile, every few minutes a somewhat desperate looking person would approach you  panhandling and looking for a few bucks. The irony was a bit hard to take.

Modern medicine, especially the technological advances when it comes to intricate surgeries, are amazing. If you get in a car accident, the tools available to doctors today are much more powerful than just ten years ago, but that is just part of the story of our current state of Western medicine.

The “Medical Industrial Complex” is upon us. Dwight Eisenhower who’s final speech as president gave us the term, “Military Industrial Complex” is probably just shaking his head. It is probably dangerous for healthcare slogans to be made by marketing departments and in the end not good medicine.

Theodore Roosevelt and Elizabeth Warren – The Similarities Abound

An angle not represented in the media is the similarities in the policies and platforms of Theodore Roosevelt and Elizabeth Warren.  In the media, most often there is this constant score keeping of who is on the left or right and how someone went further in a certain “directon.” Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for universal healthcare put the media in a tizzy.  “Good grief! That is socialism! Elizabeth Warren has gone further to the left!”  In the New York Times you can read The Billionaires Are Getting Nervous about the possibility that they would be taxed more than they are now and how the economy will be in shambles if we help poor people with healthcare. A pretty odd headline when you consider that billionaires have in essence little to be be nervous about. They do not have to worry about their next meal, surely have a fancy private doctor and will always have a roof over their heads – probably three or four mansions. Really? Nervous? That Trump slashed the marginal tax rate by 21% for billionaires  just increased the inequities in the United States. Let’s not worry about the billionaires and their anxieties that they may one day be simply millionaires and maybe even have to stand in line at the DMV.

In all aspects of modern life and especially in marketing, social media and politics the maxim that “perception is reality” seems to gain more and more traction.  The phrase “perception is reality”  is a simplification  of an 18th century theory called “immaterialism” or “subjective idealism.”  It’s the childish notion that something does not exist if it is not perceived. It elevates reality to only things that are registered in our senses.

Theodore Roosevelt was male. Elizabeth Warren is female. How could these two people be possibly similar? They look so different. One is a vigorous macho male who traveled to Africa to shoot wild elephants. The other a very smart, experienced, competent woman who probably has never shot a wild boar, a deer or even a pheasant! Simply look beyond the covers and the similarities abound. Let me list out the similarities. I will put Roosevelt’s name first just because he came first and is now dead, not because he is a guy.

Both Theodore Roosevelt and Elizabeth Warren where once Republicans who left the Republican party.

After being the youngest president and a Republican, in 1912 Roosevelt left the party and helped formed the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party which called for wide-ranging progressive reforms.

Elizabeth Warren was a registered Republican from 1991 to 1996. She now is running for president as a Democrat.

Both Theodore Roosevelt and Elizabeth Warren proposed universal healthcare.

Roosevelt saw the government as a crucial force in regulating industries to improve the health of people. He saw through the Pure Food and Drug Act, Meat Inspection Act. While Theodore Roosevelt lived at a time before antibiotics and had infected abscesses in his leg craved out with a sharp knife,  you get a sense that he believed in some form of universal health care with the government playing the prime role.

“Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us. Let me add that the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear a most important part.” Theodore Roosevelt – 1910

Elizabeth Warren has a  Medicare for All plan which gives everyone good insurance and cuts their health care costs to nearly zero – without increasing middle-class taxes one penny.

Elizabeth supports Medicare for All, which would provide all Americans with a public health care program. Medicare for All is the best way to give every single person in this country a guarantee of high-quality health care. Everybody is covered. Nobody goes broke because of a medical bill. No more fighting with insurance companies. Elizabeth Warren – 2019

Both Theodore Roosevelt and Elizabeth Warren saw the monopolies of their day as a problem.

Roosevelt through anti-trust laws was able to break up the railroads and regulate food industries and big-oil.  The list is long and complicated, but like our present era of vast income inequities, the early 20th century had its similarities with vast fortunes in very few hands

Elisabeth Warren wants to breakup the tech monopolies like Facebook, Amazon and Google. If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he would do the same thing.

Perception is not reality. Reality is the actual stuff that exists even if we do not see it. It is the stuff under the glossy cover.

Sunday, September 29, 2019 – News, Opinions & Gossip

It is Sunday, September 29, 2019. I find it incredibly odd after reading the Sunday Chronicle “Fast and furious threat unlike Trump has faced before” by Julie Pace and Zeke Miller, that the journalism about President Trump and his arm twisting of the President of Ukraine and resulting whistle blower complaint and impending impeachment is often not about the facts but opinion and whether there is political momentum for impeachment. Editors and journalists should do themselves a favor and have the op-eds on the op-ed page and not on the front page masquerading as news. Opinion has bubbled up. This is sloppy journalism.

What would be better is not to assume that the reader is well-versed in civics and the Constitution of The United States of America, and rather explain exactly what laws the president may have broken. This would reinforce that we are still a nation of laws and not merely a place of perpetual gossip, where people can get away with crimes due to their position.

“The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

— U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 4

Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Seems like public opinion has nothing to do with this case. Just let Congress investigate and have the the chips fall where they may.

Kamala Harris Taking a Stand

“I know predators, and we have a predator living in the White House, and let me tell you, there’s a little secret about predators. Donald Trump has predatory nature and predatory instincts. The things about predators you should know, they prey on the vulnerable. They prey on those who they do not believe are strong. The thing you must importantly know, predators are cowards. I have a background where successfully, I have prosecuted the big banks who preyed on homeowners, prosecuted pharmaceutical companies who preyed on seniors, prosecuted transnational criminal organizations that preyed on women and children, and I will tell you we have a predator living in the White House.”

Kamala Harris
U.S. Sentaor
Presidential Canidate
July 3, 2019

You can point to Bernie’s “billions and billions,” Warren’s epiphany to break up the monopolies in big tech, even Andrew Yang’s idea that we need to move to higher ground, but the quote above speaks to the reality of our current society. There are predators taking advantage of the vulnerable everywhere and it has unfortunately become acceptable and part of business as usual.

Technology, The Digital Era and the Shaping of a New Geography

It took until I went to college in the early 1980’s that I learned that geography was not only about maps, states, countries and continents. I took a class by Yi Fu Tuan where I learned about spaces and places. That besides physical geography there was also the whole world of human geography. Inside of human geography there were many sub types, cultural and political to name but two.

Political geography is defined as:

“Political geography is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures. Conventionally, for the purposes of analysis, political geography adopts a three-scale structure with the study of the state at the centre, the study of international relations (or geopolitics) above it, and the study of localities below it. The primary concerns of the subdiscipline can be summarized as the inter-relationships between people, state, and territory.” –

I find it interesting that I have been unable to find any writings on how technology has affected human geography over time. Imagine with every technological change how our understanding of the earth, other spaces, places and cultures have been influenced. For instance, starting with the invention of the wheel the world has become a smaller place. People are always devising new ways to get around more efficiently, faster or easier. Fast-forward to 1450, in the West, the printing press made it so descriptions of faraway places were mass-produced and then could be consumed by many people. Notions of that world were given a perspective always from the cultural point of view of the observer. The telegraph made it so people continents apart could send messages instantly. Later the telephone, radio and then television perpetuated this phenomenon of space taking on new meaning. As time goes on, these technological advances have had profound effects on human psychology and geography. The world is no longer your family and farm, local community or village. It is seven continents and you can visit any one digitally and by pushing a few buttons. In our current world, this notion of space and presence has been invaded by the internet, but more significantly the cellphone and specifically, the “smartphone.”

From a human experience perspective, all of the modern communications technologies of the last 150 years have to do with changing this sense of space. A telegraph over the wire was like an arm reaching across an ocean. Radio had the effect of making it so someone hundreds of miles away was seemingly sitting in your living room. Television. simply added a visual component. At the beginnings of each of these technological advancement was a time of readjustment and decentralization of society and political power. Eventually, overtime, the power became monopolized by few powerful players. In television, in the United States it was the three major broadcasting networks. Now on the internet it is Google, Facebook and Amazon.

In 2019 the cellphone makes it so many people for most of the day are mentally not even in the physical location that they preside. I noticed this phenomenon when at the beach. It was a hot day and people went out to the ocean to cool off. I noticed a woman wading in the water while at the same time having a video chat with someone on her cellphone. Was the woman at the beach or was she with the person on the cellphone? Where was the woman? Is human geography simply where we occupy the planet or where we preside in our minds? The digital era makes it so geography no longer is a place at all but spaces that are digital and psychological.

The ramifications of this effect are many. We see it in the way the political systems around the world are in upheaval. No longer do you simply build walls and moats to keep away intruders as in the end the digital landscape has no borders. We see it in how political systems have become more reactionary and full of jingoism.

Furthermore, while people have this notion that they are in control, nothing could be further from the truth. The large internet companies are tracking everyone’s digital landscape and using techniques from behavioral psychology to reward or punish certain behaviors with the motivation of both political and economic influence. This has been dubbed the “surveillance economy.” George Orwell is surely snickering in his grave but probably not, as humour was not his strong suit. He is probably screaming – “I told you so!”

Where this will end up is unknown but for those who think that the digital era is a time of liberation and some sort of political and economic equalization are wrong. The same centralization of power that happened in previous technological eras has happened again. Monopolies have emerged as the powerful players. There are dangerous silos of digital communities that are like echo chambers reaffirming racist and cult-like manifestos based on ignorance and flawed science. This is happening in all spaces, both on the political right and left

What is the one constant is that the undesirable qualities of humans that have existed over centuries are unchanged – greed, vengeance, vanity, violence to name a few are still prevalent. In some ways, with the internet they simply are amplified.

The State of the Narrative

“You know, whether you send a bomb or receive a bomb it’s important to remember that we have some very fine people on both sides.”

Albert Ross – Colorado
From comments to NY Times article After Bomb Scares, Trump Tries Bipartisanship, Then Blames the Media

Two weeks before the November elections and all kinds of stories emerge. We are guided by narratives which is really about shining light on certain realities.  Assassinated journalists close to home reporting on events far away. Strange, explosive packages in the mail. Disenfranchised, vulnerable people migrating north from Central America in search of peace and opportunity. All events true and all extremely symbolic.

I cannot help but think what is the big deal about the migrants coming north. There are so many crappy jobs to fill in the United States of America that we should just open the doors and let them in. “Here’s a pizza and I think there may be a gig cleaning toilets at the Trump hotel or gardening at one of his golf courses. But be careful. Many people in El Norte are pretty stressed and on narcotics.”

One of the narratives which is perhaps heavier than anything in the news is the latest story in the New Your Times about the sorry state of the Pacific Ocean off of California. California’s Underwater Forests Are Being Eaten by the ‘Cockroaches of the Ocean’

If our oceans die, we die. That should be obvious. The intelligence of homo sapiens is way over-rated.

Nevertheless, remember to vote and if you do not vote you are letting some nutcase determine your future and you have nothing to complain about.

The Quarterly Report – September 2018

As the news-cycle screams forward with ever-more velocity, here is your San Francisco quarterly report – a condensed look at all the really important things going on around San Francisco over the last three months. Perhaps this sounds presumptuous, but I think as a species we often have a difficulty slowing down and observing and taking note of what is going on around us and documenting these events and changes.

San Francisco elected London Breed as new mayor. She is the first African-American woman to be mayor. So far so good, but her election was one were the progressive side of the San Francisco Democratic party was left eating their lunch. As often the case, some pretty clever politicking ruled the day as Ron Conway surely pulled some switches with some big cash and clever strategies. Often in politics if there is no news that is good news and people are simply doing their jobs but you never know. It will be interesting to see how long the big open smile on London’s face will keep smiling. City politics always gets controversial in San Francisco but things are pretty much the status-quo. Homelessness everywhere. The Tenderloin full of junkies and shopping carts for storage and portable closets. Skyscrapers leaning evermore one direction and lots of cranes all over the place building condos and stadiums.  The Golden State Warriors stadium is being built in record time. Seemingly two feet above sea level and that place will have a shelf-life of twenty years or until the next iceberg melts.

The usual op-ed writers dig into familiar positions. The latest is Tim Redmond bashing Heather Knight.  I think that what really needs to happen is for BART executives to draw straws to get the job of cleaning the 16th Street BART station for a year . That would get people a bit more focused at the top and they could make a reality TV show about the whole thing and make millions. They could call it “Strange Smells” or “Altered States of Vomit.”

The fire season was pretty much on fire this summer. There were so many fires you kind of lost track. I am wondering if the next time I go up to Lake County there will be any trees left at all. I am sure there are still burns going on now as it has not rained yet. A few months ago, in San Francisco you would wake up in the morning to white ash dust sprinkled lightly all over your car. This is getting so common now that you hardly think twice about it.

We are heading into our Indian Summer weather but so far the North West winds have continued to blow and we have had just a few warm days. It really is anyone’s guess what kind of rain we get this year. I have always been of the mind that our water supply comes down to five really good storms that last about three days each and dump all that snow up in the Sierra. This happened in January 2017 but last year was pretty dry overall. Mother nature does always bat last even though we think we are omnipotent, she always has her way in the end.

Speaking of batting, while the San Francisco Giants are almost in last place the ever-scrappy Oakland A’s are looking to be heading to some sort of playoff birth. I have not followed them this year but, being the fair-weather fan I am, will watch and root for them down the stretch. Barry Zito do you still have that curve ball?

Tech Industry and Google Buses
Here they are. A gaggle of Google buses. In the mornings they leave. In the evenings they return, pushing there way back into the city. Raising the rents and making it impossible for people not on the same pay-scale to live San Francisco. I hear this sort of tech-commuting is happening in other cities as well.

Here is a gallery of Google buses for those who are interested on what they look like up close. What is interesting is that they have no advertising on the sides. Sort of ironic as most the people in the buses are in the end working to market and sell something. You would think they would have the imagination to leverage the situation but then again perhaps they prefer to try to be incognito. Pretty sneaky.

Sunsets are Beginning
One of the things that keeps people living in this golden state are the sunsets. The fog is starting to push back and we are starting to get those great autumn golden colors and magical light with its sharp, crisp shadows. Hopefully by the next report I can talk about all the great rain storms we will be getting.

Until then.

Epiphanies from Hotel Stebbins

On vacation for a few weeks. Out of the fog and fires of California it was good to be in Wisconsin for a family reunion then Minnesota for a week, working out of my sister-in-law’s house in Minneapolis. Ninety degree weather made for great working conditions, shorts and a t-shirt – the fan set to “hi” blowing the air around. Lots of recreation on water – a pontoon boat ride, canoes, sailing and kayaks. Much enjoyable visiting with family and old friends. My sister even got married and we had a nice memorial for my mother who passed away five years ago.

For a few nights we stayed in a hotel room in Algoma, Wisconsin at Hotel Stebbins, one of the oldest hotels in Wisconsin. I highly recommend Hotel Stebbins as the rooms are nice and it is pretty darn cheap. Also you are downtown and close to the beach, winery, antique shops and brewery.

“I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.”
– Molly Ivins

In all of the rural areas of the Midwest it seems as though people have gone flag-crazy. You see them flying up and down main streets in the front of most houses. It seems that all the Trump banners of 2016 have been replaced with American flags. I am not sure why people are now so obsessed with this symbolic emblem of our country but perhaps it is a sign of insecurity. I always liked the Molly Ivins’ quote “I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.” which would be wise to post on large billboards in these fly-over states. Indeed, it would be good to hand out copies of the United States Constitution to all these flag waving mid-westerners for they surely need a refresher course.

In the hallway of Hotel Stebbins was a whiteboard with what were called “epiphanies.” Seeing as it is Sunday and a day of reflection, I post some of them here. Good stuff!

Never argue with an idiot, people watching won’t be able to tell the difference…
– Unknown source

You must do the thing which you cannot do
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.
– R. Scott Fitzgerald

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.
– Unknown source

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes
– Oscar Wilde

It always seems impossible until it is done.
– Nelson Mandela

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
– Helen Keller

San Francisco Jury Duty – A True Story

Mission 14x bus to 6th and Bryant Street

Called into jury duty after deferring once. I took the Mission 14x bus to 6th and Bryant Street. On the first day the vague details and outline of the case was explained. On 6th Street and Market in front of the Baltmore Hotel a murder had taken place in 2012. A man with a gun shot another man and there was an accomplice. Both defendants were African American males around the age of 25. Both were large, dressed in button down shirts and ties. One of the defendants seemed to have at one point been beaten as one of his eyes was at an unnatural skew.

The middle aged Asian judge was a rather playful fellow who talked incessantly about food and providing a lunch of sticky buns for all the chosen jurors  and that “wasn’t it great we were not at the dentist!” He tried hard to make jokes but the humour fell a bit flat. Good thing he is a judge and not a comic. He then proceeded to demonstrate his prowess in three Chinese dialects and said that if you were Chinese American and did not understand English it was not an easy way out.

5 Spice Chicken for Lunch – Reading Time – Really Bad WIFI

During the jury selection one of the defendants lawyers went to great lengths to try to find if people had implicit bias. It was interesting to hear from the diverse potential jurists and their takes on implicit bias which lead to the discussion of racial profiling. Concepts of data and metadata as relating to phone calls was brought up and interestingly the prosecutor seemed quite naive about such concepts. Let us explain. The actual call is the data. The time, date and location of the call, which the phone company surely knows, is the metadata. There surely is more to data and metadata in this case but that is the basics.Two younger folk in the technology industry were released. A few others were released due to past histories.

Mission 14X bus to 6th and Bryant Street

A few people called as potential jurors seemed quite intelligent. A few lawyers, a retired Professor named Brown who had written a book about police conduct in Los Angeles filled the room with interesting observations.  A few people related to police officers in the case were dismissed. A funny old Latina grandmother a bit hard of hearing and maybe with a screw starting to come loose upstairs admitted that because years ago her purse was snatched by an African American see could not trust “those blacks.” At one point people laughed and she shushed them which made it even funnier. She was dismissed.

Lunch in the Park on Harrison – Rain but Some Sun

We are down to the final jurors and the alternates and the judge states that juror selection is coming to an end. It is looking like the 80 or so people left in the room will not be on the jury. I am starting to relax and thinking how cool the whole process has been – how interesting the conversations were and how nice it was going to be to be in a building that actually had ventilation. For some reason the entire wing in this part of the Hall of Justice had no air. It was hot and the air was stale – a bit sufficting really. And just when I started to think how the poor ventilation systems probably made for some interesting escape attempts from the county jail I heard “Paul Lyons” and then there I was – “In the box.” Out of all the people in the room, I was the last juror called. I picked up my bag and took my seat.

Of course there is a list of questions on the board that I had to answer – occupation, family and years in San Francisco. The first defense attorney read my answers to the questionnaire that I had filled out a week earlier.

“I find it odd that the judge seems compelled to bribe the potential jurors with promises of food. I think that jurors should be paid a fair wage for their service.”

That is all that I had written thinking that I would never be called. The room burst into laughter.  I did not realize that I had used the words “bribe” and “judge” in the same sentence – not exactly prudent.

Next, the second defense attorney started grilling me to which the prosecuting attorney for the first time actually objected to a question – “Objection Your Honor!” – that I do not now recollect. Everything started moving very fast. I do not remember my exact answers to the next questions at that point but I remember stating that “the jury process, while not perfect is a good thing and the best that we have. I played my cards very close to my chest.”

Other recent seated jurors were asked similar questions. Due to the questionnaire we had filled out a week prior, one of the questions was about the ability to be comfortable with seeing photos blood and of gruesome scenes. Paradoxically the rather tattooed and pierced woman sitting next to me stated that she was “uneasy about looking at gruesome photos of blood” but in the end confessed that she would get over it and be a willing juror and could handle it.

A few minutes later the three lawyers and the judge dismissed themselves to the chamber in back  and came out soon after to swear in the three alternates none of which were me. In other words, I was dismissed.

A truly strange, interesting but edifying experience. Time to write the judge an apology letter and thank him for his service. I will mail it to him in May, long after this trial is done.


The two men in the trial were convicted of murder. Let it be known that the jury was quite diverse. There were three black people on the jury – one a black woman over 65.  An Asian man. People of all ages. The evidence must have been clear. I read online that the San Francisco district attorney expressed that both of the men would “spend the rest of there days in jail.”

The whole thing is a sad story. Two boys born into a society where the cards were stacked against them. A stupid series of decisions. A culture of poverty, probably struggling schools, violence and revenge.  I cannot help but think that the real crime goes much deeper. It is a crime against humanity – a failure of humanity.



Zorba the Greek and Thugs, Leeches, Shouting and Playing Piano in the Lobby

“ Mr. Fintiklis, 39, declined to comment, but he has made several notable — and provocative — appearances at the hotel in recent days. On one evening, following a verbal confrontation with Trump employees, he and his entourage of about a dozen people retired to the lobby and had pizza delivered from a restaurant on the property. Then Mr. Fintiklis played music from “Zorba the Greek” on the lobby’s baby grand piano while his friends sang along.”

From N.Y. Times – Thugs, Leeches, Shouting and Shoving at Trump Hotel in Panama (March 3, 2018)

This story in the Sunday N.Y. Times seems like the perfect material for either a documentary or a piece of historical fiction. We are at a point where in the world of politics, reality is stranger than fiction. Imagine Mr. Orestes Fintiklis, a young millionaire in a tussle with Trump and he uses art (playing a song in the hotel lobby) as a way to state his position. If this was a proposed screenplay it would never make the cut – too unbelievable. I like the fact that this really rich guy takes pleasure in playing the piano and singing songs from the mid-twentieth century. Imagine the party eating probably Dominoes pizza in the lobby hanging around the piano singing songs while the security in military garb and armed with AK 47s stood guard. What a bizarre scene.

Perhaps the movie would be called Orestes the Cypriate.

Observations on the Word “Feminism”

“According to Merriam-Webster’s “feminism” was the most searched-for word in its online dictionary, up seventy percent from 2016. But who in 2017 needed to be told what “feminism” means? Upon searching, these people would have learned from Merriam-Webster that “feminism” is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Some number of them where probably relieved to learn that it is still just a theory.”

From The New Yorker – Jan 8th, 2018 – Talk of the Town – Words of the Year (Louis Minead)

There are some words that are confusing by their very sound and came to life in a way that in the end does not serve humans or the word well. “Feminism” is one. “Net neutrality” is another.  Wordsmiths and politicians conjure up others. Citizens United, the law that allows corporations to be treated as citizens is another and should really be called Corporations United to Screw You Over. But once a word takes life it is hard to undo the confusion and damage.

The reason why people were probably looking up “feminism” is because for many it conjures up an image of the feminine – perhaps lipstick and high-heels, but originally it was not meant to mean that at all, but I digress and am “mansplaining”  – a word that is quite good and accurate – way better than “feminism.” But I hope the people who looked up the word “feminism” are satisfied with the Merriam-Webster’s definition. That is how I have always had it defined in my head.  Equality. Maybe it should be “equalitism,” but that almost sounds like a mathematical theory.

It is strange that the UCLA feminist magazine and website Fem is staffed entirely by woman. I think it may have to do with the confusion about the word “feminism” and perhaps a feeling by men that they are not welcome. Surely nothing could be further from the truth. One of my friend’s kids that is off to college joined the  school’s Latin Dancing Club and is loving it. Very few men and a lot of woman who are eagerly looking for dancing partners. Smart guy.

Anyway, this little essay ,Words of the Year, is extremely well written and also pretty funny. I have been exposed to the New Yorker since I was young. When I was a little kid, I would eat my bowl of cereal and page through the single pane cartoons and never get a single joke. Now I look at the cartoons and marvel at how they came up with such great ideas. Usually the Talk of the Town is all about the dreary state of politics. It is good that they mix it up from time to time.

Why Facebook Really Sucks

Over five years ago I wrote a piece for this publication called THE VAPID STATE OF AFFAIRS – FACEBOOK AND THE NEW NARCISSISM (MAY 26, 2012). In it I mused over the Facebook IPO and whether it would survive as the revenue model was all in advertising and market share. I have never clicked on a Facebook ad in my life and I do not even remember what they are about except recently they have become a bit more aggressive as I am suppose to go to Kelly Slater’s surf camp next summer. Yeah right. I was wrong. Subliminal messaging is a gold mine. The new narcissism has now elected a narcissist buffoon as president of the United States of America. As a nation we are becoming less intelligent and self-absorbed by the second.

I have always been skeptical of Facebook and it’s privacy policy, the algorithm that determines my feed and just the weird way that Facebook has made it so it is actually more difficult to contact your “friends.” In this post, I will outline the features of Facebook that really suck. No one talks about this much but it is time to shine some light on this strange company, actually a monopoly,  that has crept into the private lives of so many people.


  • 1984 and Rewriting of History: Probably the #1 reason Facebook sucks is that Facebook will delete your posts if you are critical of Facebook as though they are  “thoughtcrimes” controlled  by the Thought Police as described in the novel 1984. I have experienced this first hand on Facebook.  A few years back I made a post explaining that Facebook was a for-profit corporation and that the space is actually not public but private and while they try to appear public the key motivating factor is profit and money. It made for a lively discussion on Facebook and (not that I care) got more likes and interaction than I had ever seen for a post of mine. When I tried to find that post months later, it was wiped from the site. Creepy shit. Mark Zuckerberg’s plea that the platform promotes democracy is just plain horseshit. Stop deleting posts that are not out of line if they happen to intelligently critique you or one of your allies.
  • Mental Health: Your feed is like a lab rats sugar water bottle feeding you spiritually non-nutritious waves of energy. Harry Shearer calls it the “envy machine.” “Good grief! Look at Charlie  Jones on vacation having such a good time and his dog is just adorable.” “What the hell am I doing in this cubicle thinking about picking up that flea medicine for Fido.” In the hospital mental health wards in a few years there are going to be people with Facebook addictions and 12 step social media recovery groups.  People who feel let down that people simply did not read their posts. My 23 year old son says that the site should have a warning when you log in similar to cigarette products. WARNING: THIS WEBSITE CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. IT HAS KNOWN TO CAUSE DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND UNPREDICTABLE NEGATIVE REACTIONS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
  • Terrible contact system: Contacting people on Facebook is obfuscated.  Do not even get me started with Messenger. It crashed my android phone.  By being able to control your method of contacting other people you are giving Facebook incredible power. How many people, your “friends” on Facebook do you actually have a mailing address, email or phone number for?   This is strange and devious.  Why can’t you just leave your phone number and email address on Facebook and get on with your life? These are your “friends” Here’s my number. When you are in town give me a call. I have left my phone number in a post and it is always wiped from the system.
  • Privacy: The sick concept of making money off of peoples’ intimate life experiences starting with your birthday. Why would users waste so much time contributing content to a website that could disappear in a flash or simply hold your content ransom? What happens in thirty years when you want to find something or someone you connected to on Facebook?  Will you have to pay to obtain the information you created? I simply do not trust it with any of my information. As they say, it is free and you get what you paid for.
  • All the bad parts of high school on steroids: Facebook is a bit like those cliques in high school but unlike in high school, you really have no idea who is in your clique. This is just creepy. Your feed comes up steering you psychologically in directions not of your choosing. It is like a carnival ride.
  • Facebook does not work for promoting local events If you play in a band Facebook is terrible as a platform for promoting an event.  You can invite people. Make a link to the event. It hardly ever works to get people out. The other problem is that your friends are all over the freaking world end up being the people who get more excited about your “local” event so promoting an event is pretty much useless. I get the feeling that the local people do not even see your post about the event.
  • San Francisco General Hospital This is something that is not written about in the news much, but it is the phenomenon of tax-dodging tech billionaires either building hospitals our making wings of hospitals and then having their names on the the front of the hospital. San Francisco General Hospital after Mark Zuckerberg gave 75 million dollars to the hospital is now called Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center and the hospital had to go through the hoops of changing the actual acronyms of the hospital to ZSFG. What a jerk. “I will give you this money but only on the condition that you change your name and jump through these hoops.” Zuckerberg’s wife is a doctor/resident that works in that hospital. In essence he was simply making for better working conditions for her and twisting city higher-ups around.  This becomes even more disgusting when you realize that Facebook for many years has been avoiding paying taxes and offshoring capital.

Benevolent player for the betterment of humankind? I think not. Just the same old greedy capitalist.  Giving money to public institutions should not make it so your name goes on the front of the building. Photos of the all the signs they had to change coming soon.

Now I could post this little piece on Facebook but it would be gone in a few days – dragged off in handcuffs to the great Facebook digital trashcan.″

Scheer Intelligence – Danny Goldberg: In Search of the Lost Chord

I cannot say I have read this book In Search of the Lost Chord but I have been really getting into this podcast. Robert Scheer, the veteran columnist from the LA Times and editor and producer of Truth Digg. The guests that Robert Scheer gets on the show are all surely friends of his but he still manages to keep their feet to fire and Robert asks some direct and often challenging questions. Here are some quotes from this interview.

Bill Graham also liked to get paid including in the 60s and he’s an example of somebody who balanced.. wasn’t perfect but the good outweighed the bad. I mean if you expect perfect people, you are going to be disappointed. Even Doctor King had some human frailties.

Danny Goldberg

When you bet on artists its a good bet and that’s the one thing I feel good about. I’ve always tried to put the artists I work with first and they have taken care of me.

Danny Goldberg

I have to say that it is a moment of sadness reading your book because San Francisco is gone. It’s gone not just in the sense of the summer of love its gone as the baudy town of honky tonks.

Robert Scheer

To check out the whole interview, go to

San Francisco Pride Parade 2017

June 25th, 2017 was the day of the big parade for San Francisco Pride – a celebration of diversity. For many years I had not paid attention to this event, usually trying to avoid the traffic congestion associated with such a large crowd in town. This time I had relatives and family marching along with the California Bluegrass Association Pride float. Below are mostly photos of California Bluegrass Association Pride float but I could not help myself to get photos of all the “diversity” and “causes.”

Intact Genitals are a Human Right
Intact Genitals are a Human Right

I vaguely remember the Gay Pride parade as being in the Castro but that was years ago. This year it was amazing how many sections were corporate – VISA, Google, Facebook, Workday, Wells Fargo, Intel, Bloomingdale’s, Levis just to name a few. These were all pretty tame in terms of visual presentation and you just had to wonder about the concept of punching the clock for your corporate job and walking down Market Street for your gay pals at VISA – how tame.

Foreskin is not a Birth Defect and It’s Not Your Mother’s Penis 

Signs at the SF Pride Parade

How times have changed as there are surely a few old timers in the gay community scratching their heads about the irony of success. Unlike a lot of parades the music in the Pride Parade is not really the showcase. When there is music it seemed to steer towards a prerecorded sort of night club drum and bass thing. Strange I never heard “I Will Survive,” Tina Turner or even Tony Bennett. There is a musical history to this movement.

Nevertheless, here were some truly interesting and bizarre groups. My favorites where the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” (just the name is awesome), Church Ladies for Gay Rights dressed in loose-fitted old fashion dresses,  and the many church groups marching.  -The group against circumcision – Foreskin is not a Birth Defect and It’s Not Your Mother’s Penis was an interesting juxtaposition to the many medically altered people marching.

California Bluegrass Association Pride Float
California Bluegrass Association Pride Float

Then the California Bluegrass Pride Float came by. The float was truly awesome with the rainbow colors and a sort of front porch theme. The band was picking some fast fiddle tunes when they went by our spot. I am not sure if bluegrass has been played in many parades but the high register of the instruments and the lack of brass and drums make it a bit tricky to garner much impact.  It sounded a bit like bees a buzzin’.  But overall it was truly great to see some headline acts participating on the float – veteran Laurie Lewis along with members of the band Front Country.

While in the San Francisco bluegrass community there are actually very few openly gay people,  you could tell it was pretty special for Brandon Godman who came to San Francisco after being outed and discriminated against in Nashville. Brandon is an amazing fiddle player and was welcomed into the San Francisco musical community with open arms. In San Francisco, people are usually not discriminated against for who they love and choose to sleep with. Just ask the Church Ladies for Gay Rights standing up for others in their community. Women have been shit upon and pushed around since the beginning of time so look out –  the Church Ladies got your back!


Where is Janice Raymond?

The Internet has a strange way of broadcasting value and worth. A forty-year-old book about transgender issues can be a cornerstone of critical thought at the time but then gets misquoted and passed off as old fashion. Today the book is out-of-print but fetches around $100 used on Amazon for a used hard cover edition. You have to wonder why the publisher does not make another printing? Modern books read like pop self-help books, quoting daytime TV shows and sourcing checklists of acceptable pronouns. The Transgender Empire written by a “radical lesbian feminist” (how did she ever get that label?) is both academic, historical and cuts to the chase and journeys deep into the topic. Below is just a short quote from the 1994 reprinting.

The medical model is also a disease model. And here exactly is the rub. If transsexualism is treated as a disease, then does desire qualify as disease? As Thomas Szasz asked in his New York Times review of The Transsexual Empire, does an old person who wants to be young suffer from the “disease” of being a “transchronological, ” or does a poor person who wants to be rich suffer from the “disease” of being a “transeconomical”? Does a Black person who wants to be white suffer from the “disease” of being a “transracial”?

All these questions, of course, raise larger social and political issues and remove these conjectural “diseases” from the medical/psychiatric framework.

From The Transgender Empire – Janice Raymond
Reprinted in 1994 by Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
Originally published in 1979 by Beacon Press
Copyright © 1994 by Janice G. Raymond

Download the pdf

Open letter to Robert Thompson of NewsCorp

This is an open letter to Robert Thompson of NewsCorp. There is no link on your webpage on how to contact you so I thought I would write a letter. Sort of “old-school” don’t you think? I recently read Fake News and the Digital Duopoly in the April 5th version of the Wall Street Journal. Found it on a cafe table. Great op-ed, and I agree with everything in it. Clear and crisp writing and the article shed much needed light on lots of things.

Fake News and the Digital Duopoly
Google and Facebook have created a dysfunctional and socially destructive information ecosystem

Robert Thompson – Wall Street Journal

“publishers will routinely and selectively “unpublish” certain views and news.”

Robert Thompson – Fake News and the Digital Duopoly Wall Street Journal

I posted a piece on Facebook that was critical of Facebook and Google, the gist of which was just making sure all my “friends” know that Google and Facebook are private companies and that the space is NOT public and that they gather and mine your intimate personal history starting with – of course your birthday. This post of course disappeared from my history a few months later… never to be found again.

Your business model can’t be based on both intimate, gradual details about users and no clue whatsoever about rather obvious pirate sites.

I hate to tell you Mr. Thompson. Google and YouTube are the pirates. YouTube is one massive landscape of unlimited counterfeit movies and music. That should be the first thing addressed. It is called the revising of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It is wishful thinking that this will happen by the sense of goodwill and altruism of YouTube.

Read about it here –





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Great to hear that vinyl is still the go to medium! Booker Little on trumpet is completely amazing! This is an album that I am not familiar with that is perfect for these times. It is truly incredible that it is over 50 years since this was made. It gives you the feeling that in present times we are moving backwards!

The U.S. Constitution and White House Interpretations

On the new United States President’s website is a page about The U.S. Constitution. What is strange is that it is not the actual U.S. Constitution but an interpretation of The Constitution – so inconsistent with the strict constructionism or originalists so popular with conservatives these days. Is Scalia rolling over in his grave? Why would the U.S. Constitution be presented on the website this way? It is actually a form of disinformation or what is often now called fake news. Kids, remember to always refer to the original source not some hack’s interpretation of the document.

Let’s do a comparison.

First Amendment

Actual U.S. Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Trump’s Whitehouse Website

The First Amendment provides that Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So far pretty good, but why not just publish the actual text and not how to think about the text. Then things get weird.

Second Amendment

Actual U.S. Constitution.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Trump’s Whitehouse Website

The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms.

In Trump’s version there is no mention of the “well regulated Militia.” As always, people see what they want to see and disregard the rest. What we are witnessing here is what George Orwell called “Newspeak.” A simplifying of words, meanings and vocabulary.

You can read the novel 1984 or see more information at

Welcome to 2017. A few years late, but we finally made it to that totalitarian state.

Read the source!!!