NOTES FROM ABOVE GROUND
By Honey van Blossom
(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste)
A big rock stands on the right hand side of Pacheco Road as you drive from Martinez. Low yellow hills lie on each side of Pacheco Road at that location. A metal plate on the rock reads: “Dr. John Marsh California Pioneer murdered here September 26, 1856.”
Dr. Marsh was on his way from his Rancho Los Meganos to Martinez in his horse and buggy that day, headed for San Francisco.
He may have followed a road – all roads were dirt then –from today’s Antioch to today’s Willow Pass Road to some road that wound through what would become Todos Santos (today’s City of Concord) and then down to a road that led to Martinez.
His route, whichever he took, from Rancho Los Meganos was one that passed through unfenced ranchos where cattle roamed. The City of Concord did not yet exist. Pacheco did not exist. Walnut Creek was still “Four Corners,” a meeting of roads near the bottom of the western flank of Mt. Diablo.
He may have intended to get from Martinez to San Francisco by a water route. Paddle wheel steamboats traveled between San Francisco and Sacramento since 1850 with a stop at Benicia, and a ferry opened between Martinez and Benicia in 1850.
San Francisco was a relatively new city in 1856. It was incorporated as a city in 1850. Prior to 1835, no one other that Ramaytush Indians lived north of Mission Creek, the creek that once reached inland to the mission, although Ramaytush villagers had lived there before the mission and presidio were built (1776).
Dr. Marsh had arrived in California on the Santa Fe Trail and lived for a year in the then newly incorporated Mexican city of Los Angeles, working as a doctor. Read more
By Mary Reinholz
First published in The Villager in New York City
In this season of searing electoral discontent with Donald Trump, the trash talking Republican nominee for president, and Hillary Clinton, his hawkish FBI scrutinized Democratic rival, it’s hardly surprising that increasingly fed up voters are considering Third Party challengers campaigning to occupy the Oval Office.
The most visible contenders are Green Party standard bearer Jill Stein of Massachusetts, a Harvard educated physician turned leftie revolutionary who, for starters, seeks to create millions of jobs by 2030 through clean renewable energy and advocates eliminating college student debt; and Gary Johnson, a former two-term pot smoking Republican governor of New Mexico who is at the top of the Libertarian Party’s ticket. Johnson, 63, is fiscally conservative but opposes the death penalty and supports same sex marriages and legalizing marijuana.
Excluded from the presidential debates and lacking significant exposure by the media, Stein and Johnson were overwhelmingly defeated in 2012 when they first ran, with Stein getting a minuscule 0.3 percent of the popular vote and Johnson barely 1 percent Both are now gaining more traction because of the high negatives of Clinton and Trump, especially Johnson, who has been polling at ten percent and higher in match ups with the two major party candidates. Read more
WRITER WALKER PERCY
By Bob Vickrey
As most former Baylor journalism students who studied under David McHam know, he was never your typical college professor. He was known for his unconventional teaching methods during his celebrated 54-year career at four Texas universities.
During a current events pop quiz in one of his journalism classes, he once asked the correct spelling of “Vickrey” (the name of the school newspaper’s sports editor) and then looked toward the back of the room in my direction and shouted: “Your answer doesn’t count.” Although his playful question likely qualified more as current trivia than current event, McHam liked to keep his students guessing and slightly off balance during his classes. Read more
Tony Schwartz, ghostwriter for Trump’s “Art of the Deal,” confesses his remorse for “putting lipstick on a pig”
By Mary Reinholz
First published in The Villager in New York City
Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter for Donald Trump’s famed 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” has appeared on such broadcasts as “Good Morning America” and “Real Time with Bill Maher” after issuing a much publicized mea culpa in The New Yorker last month, announcing that the best seller he penned in his younger days was basically a form of fiction.
“I put lipstick on a pig,” Schwartz explained to Jane Mayer for the magazine’s July 25 issue, referring to his nearly 30- year-old autobiography of Trump which the Manhattan mogul has touted on the campaign trail as a how-to business bible second only to Holy Writ, one that showcases his skills as a negotiator.
Trump’s impending role as the Republican Party’s nominee for president apparently alarmed the 62-year-old Schwartz so much that he was moved to confess that he had prettied up the candidate’s early career shortly before Trump got his official nod from the GOP at its Cleveland convention. Schwartz’s disclosures created considerable buzz in political circles on both sides of the aisle. Read more
Randy Reis wrote:
So tell me as a well to do property owner, Mr. Big Mouth, why is voting for Donald Trump against my self interest?
Doug Weiskopf responded:
First a qualification: Voting for Mr. Trump is not voting against your self-interest because your vote won’t mean a damn thing in a California, which isn’t a swing state. His election as President–and that alone, would, however, be against your self-interest because the economy would likely suffer and you and me along with it.
As for the Hillary Clinton’s bad character, it should be obvious by now that character is a highly overrated virtue when it comes to politics and is prized only where people are not being honest with themselves. For example: Bernie Sanders was probably told by his economic adviser(s) if not by someone around him with just a lick of common sense that a $15 per hour minimum wage throughout all of the U.S. was not only unwarranted but would have a devastating impact on the economy. Nevertheless, Bernie Sanders, being the principled nut bag that he is, championed it anyway. He was being “honest.” He was also probably told that much of the Dodd-Frank legislation from 2008-2009 was directed towards and succeeded at curtailing risky investments on the part of banks and that breaking up the banks into smaller units was unnecessary in view of what Dodd-Frank had accomplished and and would, moreover, be bad for the economy. (The big U.S., German, and British banks often lend to smaller countries. To the extent that the U.S. banks do this, it adds to the nation’s prestige and provides yet another reason why the dollar is the world’s currency. Splitting up our banks would put the British and German banks ahead of ours.) But Bernie Sanders is highly principled and, of course, doesn’t see it that way. Read more
The long block of 39th Street between Flower Street and Grand Avenue here in Los Angeles, that runs under the Harbor Freeway, has long been a tent small town for the homeless. Maybe 30 people live there. Usually it is an unbroken façade of camping tents. But on Tuesday, August 16, the city was due to arrive for a cleanup. It had been posted for a day or two in flyers taped to the underpass walls, to start at 8:00 am.
I got there around 7:40. A few of the tents were already gone and people were carrying or wheeling bulky belongings out from under the freeway and stacking them up on Flower to the west or Grand to the east. An extraordinary collection of furnishings was materializing. Read more