Monday, October 8, 2018

What is Cultural Appropriation?


“If I have seen further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants”-  Sir Isaac Newton

Cultural appropriation is another intellectual device to attack people for what is considered, and has been throughout history, normal everyday behavior. I can understand their sense that cultural symbols can be used or appropriated in disrespectful ways, but it is those appropriation critics that seem the most disrespectful, the most intolerant and the least open to new experience. Beyond being a propaganda tool that frighteningly inhibits free behavior, I cannot make any sense of it. Others agree and use the term loony left. Some time ago a local pundit on a local forum complained that some current practice dilutes Mexican culture and was therefore wrong.  Apparently she has never observed a Fourth of July piƱata. Mexican immigrants become Mexican American, not unlike all the prior immigrant groups, and contribute to our dynamic American culture. We all eat burritos now, just like we eat pizza or bagels.

But in addition to the desired process of assimilation, I also can’t comprehend the premise of cultural appropriation. After all, what is Mexican culture? It’s a blend of Spanish and Aztec. Aztec culture is a blend of the prior Olmec plus other indigenous peoples. Spanish culture is a blend of the Visgothic and Roman cultures. The Roman culture, in turn, is a blend of the Etruscan and Greek with prior indigenous Roman culture. This has always been called human history but is now apparently considered a social construct like the multiple genders.

In the posted comments section of some discussion a while back some anti-Semite said that the Jews were a fraud because they stole Hammurabi’s Code and then sold it to the world as there’s.  While some Jewish scholars may not recognize their Babylonian origin including the prior Epic of Gilgamesh, logic says it’s likely just as the prior Sumerian and Akkadian cultures helped create the later Babylonian culture.  The early Hebrews built on their past and created something new. That led to Christianity. Is Christianity invalid because it’s a cultural appropriation from Judaism?

The only example I know of in history of the freezing of cultures was Stalin’s program of preserving folk cultures which turned them into meaningless ritual. Cultures are dynamic. If we didn’t learn from each other humanity would surely be in an even sadder state.  Rootless ahistoric experts like those who proclaim multiple genders are now deified as philosopher kings. The expression loony left is probably an understatement.  The dangers are obvious and imminent.

Copyright 2018, Mark L. Bennett

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Yes on 6 and End Bike/Ped Studies


I spoke at the Republican Party Labor Day picnic and made the following remarks:

“On the November ballot is Prop 6, Repeal the Gas Tax. This new tax could honestly be called the Caltrans Corruption Tax. We have all witnessed Caltrans in our local area. Projects are broken into smaller and smaller pieces. I’ve gone to Pine Grove/Hwy 88 meetings for at least 20 years now. Caltrans appears to organize their work to employ their staff and enrich their consultant buddies. I would consider this as structural or institutional corruption. But Caltrans employees handing out No on Prop 6 flyers to motorists during their work day clearly illustrates a more fundamental corruption. Plus reliable sources claim the existence of the more traditional types of corruption in contracts and construction, but without details. However, I will relate two of my direct experiences with Caltrans.
With an original estimate of a mere $64 million dollars Caltrans wanted to build an HOV- high occupancy vehicle lane- on the Hwy 50 Freeway in Sacramento. They needed an endorsement from Sacramento Transit. This landed on my desk, but I could not find any benefit from this project. The only bus route this lane could possibly use, the one from Orangevale, required more time to transition in and out of the HOV lane than if it stayed in the right lane. I turned in my negative findings. I was later layed off with this project having been given to someone else. Caltrans did receive their needed Sacramento Transit project endorsement by promising them $7 million for a light rail extension as mitigation money. So in their logic light rail mitigates a busway.

This imperial arrogance surfaced when Los Angeles decided to reopen the LA-Long Beach for an initial cost of $400 million. Caltrans’s transportation dominance was so threatened by this that they built a billion dollar busway on the parallel Harbor Freeway. I’ve always been curious about how and who made this decision.

We can temper their power by repealing the gas tax. Yes on 6 yard signs are available to order right now. Please talk to your friends and neighbors to vote for repeal. This should also help to bring out the nonvoting Republicans.

And there is a thing we can do to improve our roads that doesn’t involve Caltrans: Abolish the Bicycle/Pedestrian Fund.  The sales tax on gasoline goes into the Local Transportation Fund for roads and transit of which 2% goes into this bike/ped fund. While some has been spent such as sidewalks in Ione, most of the funds are banked for future matching grants from Washington to build a probable million plus bike trail. Of course, this fosters the future vision of a select few Amadorians. However, the flow of Federal dollars into our county is a valid and seductive argument. But the reality is quite different. As slight as these grants possibilities are, they have also hopefully diminished with President Trump. But to get these grants you must have an updated Bike/Ped plan. So every ten years or so tens of thousands of dollars flow to consultants as a subsidy to the environmental left.

The bike/ped fund is not large, about $330,000 now plus some uncalculated overhead. But it is our money sitting there rather than filling potholes. This fund should be abolished for us and the other 14 counties in California with under 50,000 residents. Can we contact our supervisors, state legislative representatives and RCRC, Rural County Representatives of California, to bring this to a vote in Sacramento?” 


Monday, August 6, 2018

Buena Vista Casino & Public Transit

I spoke at the Amador Transit Board of Directors/Amador County Transportation Commission meeting on 8/2/18 and made the following remarks:

“I am here speaking as a private citizen and not as a member of SSTAC (Social Services Transportation Advisory Council). However, through that involvement I have become aware that transit service to the Comanche area, which once was more frequent, is presently our most significant unmet need. But service to meet this need should also be designed for maximum ridership potential. The best routing solution, although complexified by the institutional framework, seems to be Valley Springs/Ione. It would split within the Comanche area similar to the present loop. It could develop two directional travel, a perquisite for efficient transit as well as probably reducing the costs of the present Ione route. If, at some later date, a non rush hour service to Sacramento via Ione begins then we will have greater interconnectedness, another perquisite for efficient transit. And more service to Sacramento is the second unmet need in importance after the Comanche area.

While these suggestions all received positive responses among SSTAC members, they stayed dormant. But circumstances have changed prompting me to appear here today. Is Amador Transit a participant in the present mitigation discussions and agreements regarding the Buena Vista Casino? Aside from the obvious possibility of direct subsidy, I have other concerns. Will the casino operate buses from Valley cities as some casinos around Sacramento presently do? Do we have transfer possibilities that could add convenience and ridership/revenue? Will any potential transit service be able to stop at the main entrance without canopy or pavement problems?

Therefore, I ask that this commission, by whatever is the appropriate procedure, officially request that Amador Transit be included in these discussions and agreements. Thank you.”

In addition to the above it should be noted that an Ione/Valley Springs route could produce seat turnover, like table turnover in a restaurant, and therefore produce more revenue. Probably the largest ridership market for this possible service will be casino workers. Can an unskilled young person take advantage of these new employment opportunities without owning a car? Also the casino impacts will likely require redesigning existing service in the Comanche area whatever Amador Transit’s participation in the mitigation process is or isn’t.

Since I spoke during the citizen comment period, on a nonagenda item, there was no discussion among the commissioners. But after the formal meeting conversations ensued. One commissioner stated that the county and casino had already made their deal and that to reopen negotiations was a can of worms. That’s a point well taken because it sets a bad precedent. Another said that the casino canopy design will be reexamined. Overall, my presentation was thoughtfully received, but will anything be changed?

Shouldn’t have Amador Transit have been included in the original process? Is asking for 50K to 100K annually in mitigation fees for this new bus route considered outrageous? What do other Amadorians think? What is the final verdict of public opinion?

Mark Bennett, Pine Grove

Monday, July 23, 2018

Fly Over Country

Many years ago I was driving cross county and had a breakdown near Council Bluffs, Iowa. I went ahead to get help and my companion stayed with the vehicle. When I and a tow truck returned, she spoke astoundingly about all the people that stopped and asked if she needed help. She vowed to remember that place because she found this unusual having lived only in San Francisco and Long Island, New York. But it wasn’t unusual; that place was the United States of America.

Years later at a dinner party in Hollywood, a very successful screenwriter told me of his involvement with the CIA. Following 9/11 they wanted help in understanding the minds of Islamic and other terrorists and convened a secret group of fiction writers to assist. (I can tell this story just as he was able to tell me because it was leaked to and disclosed by the “patriotic” New York Times) This writer was honored to be selected and even more honored to serve. But as the conversation proceeded, I learned that he had only lived in Philadelphia and Los Angeles and was too afraid to travel through Middle America. He saw those inhabitants as all possible Klan-types complicated by and projected from his fear of anti-Semitism.

These personal experiences reflect the ongoing American cultural divide. But how deep and persuasive is this? About 25 years ago I heard a Bay Area clairvoyant speak. She hated George W. Bush and looked into the future to see the outcome of his policies. But what she saw was the breakup of America into a series of regional republics. We all were dumb struck. Later I realized that the question was not a future breakup of the USA, but rather are the preconditions here? Bill Bishop’s book, The Great Sort, lays out the intensified political polarization and increased sorting of the population. Locally, two former Mother Lode Tea Party leaders have vamoosed to other states.

I don’t know the outcome, but I suspect that it will get worse before it can get better. Certainly the #Walk Away Movement of Democrats saying bye-bye is hopeful given their attitude of down home American common sense. Perhaps our new media is replicating Sam Adam’s Committees of Correspondence. I pray that we can heal. But I’m also always aware of the years of miseducation that negates rather than loves America and that still lives within many younger people. We have too many Americans who live here, but don’t know where they live.

On personal note, when I left home, I was full not only of the history of America, but the romance as well. I walked and hitchhiked the Oregon Trail, I sunbathed on the levees along the Mississippi, and I got drunk on the corner of 12th and Vine in Kansas City.

Copyright 2018, Mark L. Bennett

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sanctuary State


I spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting on 5/8/18 and made the following statement:

"I am speaking here to urge a unanimous resolution against the sanctuary state. Without a border we are not a nation. There is no need to repeat the grim data on MS-13 and other illegal immigrant criminals, along with the personal tragedies endured by too many Americans.  This mayhem also costs us taxpayers considerable sums including a vastly increased burden on our social welfare system."

"Many illegals work in the underground economy. Walk the back alleys of Central Los Angeles and count how many sewing machines can be squeezed into a garage powered by a tangle of overhead extension cords originating from just one or two outlets.  I was once told that a certain Modesto area grape grower had his farm workers line up for their two week paychecks with immigration agents arriving shortly thereafter. The workers then ran away unpaid. No one should have to work under these circumstances.  Anyone who supports the sanctuary state supports gangster style employment.
This is not about opposition to immigration. Nationally we have, and have had since the early 1960’s, a very liberal immigration policy. If so desired we could legally, through Congress, vastly expand quotas for Mexicans, Hondurans or anyone else. And we can also have a secure border and keep the criminals out."

"Congress should make a compromise deal on the dreamers. Let’s get it done and move on. The mistakes that created that situation happened over 30 years ago and can’t be changed.  It is easy for a feeling person to be sympathetic to many of the dreamers as well as to the Hondurans fleeing a brutal dictatorship installed during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent tenure."

"But approving sanctuary state means officially promoting lawlessness.  What have we become if we find solutions, instigated from the top down, outside the law and democratic process? The sanctuary state is not only wrong, but a chilling precedent. Please unanimously approve a resolution opposing sanctuary state.  Thank you."

Mark Bennett
Pine Grove


Monday, April 16, 2018

Wild & Scenic in its Environmental Context


I recently appeared before the Board of Supervisors and made the following statement reproduced here with a few minor revisions: “I am speaking today against any wild & scenic designation for any part of the Mokelumne River and to protest this total waste of tax payer money for this absolutely unnecessary study by GEI Consultants.

Firstly, the very term wild & scenic is a misnomer. These are controlled dam release flows which are “coincidently” ideal for rafting.

The very idea of what we are doing today, examining Wild & Scenic in isolation, is absurd. Place all the Wild & Scenic designations, conservation easements, land banks, carbon capture forests, etc, on a map and you have the land tenure system of medieval Europe. Probably almost everyone in this room is descended from people who voted with their feet to leave that behind and join the American dream instead.

This proposed designation fits directly into the evil globalist plan to depopulate rural areas and house us in stack and pack big city apartments. Our job is to change the bed linen for the Bay Area liberal elite high tech tourists. Our way of life and prosperity are as important to them as was the life of the last housefly we killed. The importance GEI Consultants give the global warming fraud, the corrupted scientific reason for much of this, certainly substantiates this point of view.

Page 2-10 of the study states, “Using projected future water supply and demand under three climate change scenarios, the study concluded that Amador’s future water needs would ultimately exceed its current water rights if existing land use designations under the County General Plan are built out.” So why further restrict water use? Also plans are plans, not the reality of an unknown future with assuredly unexpected events.  I find it easy to envision a future, given the increasing Federal debt, where we are under some sort of martial law to mine our gold and sent it to China to maintain our sovereignty.

This state designation is simply a prelude to the even more restrictive federal designation, which is probably an illegal inverse condemnation under the 5th amendment.  Even if some existing uses are grandfathered in, this precludes the activity of future generations of entrepreneurs and flushes the American dream down the toilet.

Furthermore, this designation doesn’t change anything in the present. Nothing will change and rafting, dam releases, etc will continue. The argument of protecting the river is fallacious. If anyone were to propose anything of significance along the river the environmental litigation would probably last longer than my lifetime.

The Mokelumne River Canyon/Devil’s Nose Dam maybe one of two outstanding water storage sites left in all of California.  What I assume this means is the most water stored for the least capital expenditure.  This is an obvious trade off decision since there are countless other rivers in California for tourism and recreation.  I have heard differing opinions on this and would have researched this further, but without funding from the George Soros Tides and Rose Foundations like the Foothill Conservancy has, my time is limited.

All the water that Amador County loses goes to East Bay MUD. And while assuredly within the law, the Foothill Conservancy and EBMUD have been in cahoots for years. They have a shared interest despite an occasional lawsuit. Also the Foothill Conservancy has a potential conflict of interest with O.A.R.S, a rafting company, whose proprietor sits on the Foothill Conservancy board. Is it possible that the county council look into this situation?

I came of age in the 1960’s and since then have adopted a saying of that time: Tell it like it is baby, tell it like it is.”

Katherine Evatt of the Foothill Conservancy took issue with my statements and posted the rebuttal that follows: “Mark, you asserted that an FC director may have a conflict of interest because he is among the owners of a rafting company. There is no commercial rafting on the Mokelumne today. His company, which has for years provided raft trips to the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program, the Stewardship Through Education (youth education) Program, and yes, the Foothill Conservancy, does all those trips w/o receiving any compensation for them. His company was not engaged in negotiating the PG&E project's federal Mokelumne license and he joined the board 16 years after the license was put in place.

Shame on you for defaming good people, your continued personal attacks and defamation, and after all of these years, failing to actually learn what the heck you are talking about when it comes to river, hydropower, water projects, water law, etc. 

You also asserted that the FC works with EBMUD because directors and staff sometimes attend their meetings. FC reps also attend local water agency and city and county government meetings (I went to two today). Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't. Same with EBMUD. The FC was the only entity in Amador County who took on the risk, expense, and stress of suing EBMUD to stop their proposed expansion of Pardee Reservoir, which was opposed by nearly everyone in Amador and Calaveras. The FC forced EBMUD to open the Middle Bar reach of the Mokelumne to public access. 

The FC works with any number of interests when interests align. One example - many years ago, the FC worked with Amador County and Georgia-Pacific to support more federal funds for fuel reduction in national forests. Several years ago, the FC helped secure more than $16 million dollars (plus equal U.S. Forest Service match) for restoration and fuel reduction projects in our local projects. 
See https://www.fs.fed.us/.../ACCGCornerstoneCFLRAproposalfor...

The Foothill Conservancy does have an “interlocking directorship” with O.A.R.S. They have a significant operation as any visit to their website (https://www.oars.com/) will testify. As Katherine states, it is legally constituted, the Conservancy is clever and can afford legal advice. And, of course, services or revenue to the “public charity” of the Foothill Conservancy does not constitute “commercial rafting”. But all this still doesn’t pass the smell test. If a board member of the Red Cross ran a company selling blood donation kits, eyebrows would raise. She further states O.A.R.S admirable record of public service. But every enterprise from the corner store to the multinational corporation does the same, often reaping more benefit from the PR exposure that their actual expense.  In O.A.R.S’s case it also represents a free sample of their product for future paying customers.

As a child at our neighborhood theater I once saw a newsreel about crazy daredevils rafting down wild rivers in the West. It was perceived in the same vain as skydiving and other extreme sports. Years later I lived in Colorado and observed the controversy regarding the building of I-70 in the Colorado River canyon. Those opposing the highway cited the need for rafting on the river. Rafting became a political ploy.  Its publicity morphed an obscure pastime into a desired sport. During a somewhat recent trip to Colorado which crisscrossed several mountain rivers west of the Front Range cities I witnessed the enormity that the rafting industry has developed into.  The roads were congested with trucks hauling rafts. Storefront after storefront supplied goods or services to rafters. And while there is certainly nothing inherently wrong with the sport of rafting, an awareness of how it became a promoted sport is instructive and should be seen within its actual historic context.

So rafting has developed into a new sport with the clever intent of being used to freeze river usage and deny other economic possibilities. Its importance in the environmental /globalist agenda is rather evident on this website of one of the Foothill Conservancy’s funders, the Soros affiliated Rose Foundation:  https://rosefdn.org/tag/wild-scenic-film-festival-on-tour/ https://rosefdn.org/tag/wild-scenic-film-festival-on-tour/

In addition to having regulated water flows most advantageous to rafting, many costly improvements are necessary for the rafter’s convenience. Since having those paid for from government funds for a privileged few could have created an outcry it was done quietly. (Does anyone remember media coverage?) These connivers were clever and got PG&E’s continued use of the river dependent upon their paying. So we all pay through increased PG&E bills in a way far less noticeable than a tax increase or public controversy. We are the charitable givers, not the non-profit Foothill Conservancy or the always generous O.A.R.S enterprise.  The Mokelumne Relicensing Settlement Agreement, Mokelumne River Project, FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) Project No. 137, November 27, 2000 documents all on a year 2000 cost basis these expenses:  the Electra Run Take-out Facilities, $200,000 to the BLM for the specific facility plus $25,000 for site studies; the Devil’s Nose Run Put-in facilities up to $25,000 for site studies and up to $30,000 for facilities and the Electra Afterbay Dam Portage for $5,000. This agreement also requires, without a stated monetary amount:  Tiger Creek Run Put- in Facilities, Tiger Creek Run Take-out Facilities, Devils Nose Run Take-out Facilities, Ponderosa Way Run Put-in Facilities, Ponderosa Way Run Take-out Facilities and Electra Run Put-in Facilities. These facilities often include parking, signage, trails and portable toilets. Obviously all these facilities require maintenance and supervision plus needed assistance to now privileged rafters. So PG&E, meaning again us ratepayers, must fork over on an annual basis (again in 2000 dollars) additional sums. These go to the BLM for two River Rangers during rafting season $25,000 and $5,000 for maintenance plus $10,000 to the Forest Service for maintenance. Additionally, the overhead administrative expenses to all those involved in this complex arrangement is not calculated or considered. 
               
The alleged beneficence of O.A.R.S and the charitable nature of the Foothill Conservancy need be examined in the light of day which shines clearly from this river use agreement. Our PG&E ratepayers’ subsidy along with tax dollars provided the rafting ready river that then became exhibit number one in the wild & scenic crusade.  We outfitted an amenity that now must be saved.
East Bay MUD and the Foothill Conservancy share a common interest in not impounding Amador County’s water and sending it downstream to Bay Area consumers whatever their relationship at a given moment. I agree with the Conservancy and many others in our community the Pardee Dam expansion was a bad project.  It was obviously a second rate proposal since the far better dam location at Devil’s Nose was defeated. East Bay MUD was only attempting to fulfill their legal obligations.

The Foothill Conservancy claims pride for their very real efforts in obtaining Federal dollars for forest fuel reduction.  But Federal dollars is a cynical euphemism for money we borrow from the Chinese and Saudis without any way to pay it back except through inflation or other economic hardships. Furthermore this is akin to administering first aid to someone you just assaulted given the environmental movement’s record on forest management. And the smoke generated by fuel reduction burning is hardly an environmental plus.

Katherine Evatt likes to assault me with minute details trying to trip me up as uniformed. While the Foothill Conservancy is but a small part, it’s the big picture of the larger environmental movement with their stark reality that affects us all and demands our attention.  The fire danger frightens us all and has already devastated far too many. While droughts will come and go, logged forests minimize or prevent this risk. An unlogged forest is not a “natural state”. Native Americans have logged and maintained our forests for untold millennium.  The “natural environment” has developed in symbiosis with humans; any other notion is a godless intellectual fiction.

This ungrounded attitude is evident: “"The northern spotted owl is the wildlife species of choice to act as a surrogate for old-growth forest protection. Thank goodness the spotted owl evolved in the Pacific Northwest, for if it hadn't, we'd have to genetically engineer it," joked Andy Stahl, staff forester for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund at a 1988 law clinic for other environmentalists.
Along with fire danger the costs of this travesty we are all enduring are innumerable.  County revenue is vastly reduced by our diminished share of Federal logging funds along with the huge reduction in tax revenue from the mills and related economic activity.  Not surprisingly our roads have deteriorated (and our vehicle suspensions, struts, etc as well). Also not surprising, but rather sad, is that various local spokespeople and candidates for office who appear to have supported these policies now blame the conditions of our roads on the leadership that has fought all these restrictive policies. Isn’t this what Orwell called doublethink?

But it wasn’t doublethink or doubletalk to the unemployed mill workers.  A few dozen of them in Amador and surrounding counties committed suicide in the years following the mill closures. The death certificates don’t say the mill closures, but family and friends do.  I wonder what brand of hand wipes the Sierra Club and their fellow travelers use? That may be the only good recommendation they have.

Sierra Pacific has been blamed for ending the supply of cedar logs to the former Pioneer mill. Both Ms. Evatt and I have agreed in prior discussions that Sierra Pacific is not always the best corporate citizen. They have a monopoly, or near monopoly, that controls of much of our local forests which they exploit to their advantage. But this situation only came about through the restrictions and over regulation caused by the environmental lobby that drove out the smaller companies. Again, as with our reduced local revenue and roads, this prevailing attitude is duplicitous.

I have discussed the hardships endured by our county government and the death toll of those disfranchised.  And while we all suffer from the reduced and transformed local economy, our personal balance sheets probably reflect the greatest damage. When I bought my home here I envisioned future logging of my property as a source of retirement income and once had a reasonable estimate of that assumed future revenue.  But what was then an asset is now a liability that consumes time and money to maintain as fire safe. That loss, however, pales in comparison to the huge increases in fire insurance rates. Of course, droughts will come and go, but forestry policies need not.  I have spent (wasted) over ten thousand dollars on unnecessary fire insurance premiums not counting the potential logging loss. Multiply that by all the Amador homes in forested areas plus the adjacent counties and you have tens of millions of dollars. This is environmental extortion. Along with the personal costs of this travesty our ability to finance opposition and fight back is reduced.
But lumber from primarily from Oregon and British Columbia is readily available at a probable higher price than local lumber. To add to our misery and over burdened budgets the State of California in their inimitable charming fashion has imposed a 1 % lumber tax upon us to help the perpetrators cope with their created crisis. But destroying our communities (those without closeness to big cities and without tourist attractions such as Amador County have become hellholes such as Josephine County, Oregon) and devastating the forest products industry, is only the start. With our forests now under environmental control, wild & scenic is just an opening salvo for water control.
Firstly we have negotiated impounded water releases to make an otherwise dry river “wild & scenic” which then becomes an excuse for preservation with likely future water rights reductions. Drought regulations substitute for water storage or desalination projects.  Our wells are next with metering and other proposals in the works.  The environmentalists/globalists want us out of the countryside and squeezed into the overcrowded cities. And while that is certainly the agenda of most of them some are even more diabolical. "The AIDS epidemic, rather than being a scourge, is a welcome development in the inevitable reduction of human population... If it didn't exist, radical environmentalists would have to invent it,” said Dave Foreman, Earth First! & Sierra Club director, 1995-1997.

This is the new reality unfolding in a blatantly apparent pattern. All actions have consequences; some are intended, some are unintended and some seem conspiratorial. If you care about our future, or if you more precisely care that we have a future, action is required. But many don’t have the time or inclination for activism. However, we can all vote. A turning point election is upon us. Brian Oneto must be reelected. Jeff Brown must unseat Lynn Morgan. Travis Allen should be our next governor. This is not a question of whose hands our future is in, but rather if we have a future that does not discard American tradition and make the land of the free and the home of the brave a footnote to history.

End notes: While I don’t want my remarks to be misconstrued as painting the Foothill Conservancy responsible for all of the environmental movement’s destructiveness, it is essential  that we see them clearly within the unfolding big picture.

Copyright 2018, Mark L. Bennett

Monday, February 19, 2018

Slave Labor & Absent Discussion


Untold thousands, if not millions, of illegal immigrants work in the underground economy without any civil rights.  Next time you buy that cheap shirt or blouse made in China remember that the item itself as well as the Made in China label could have come from Southern California.  Louis Vuitton spent millions combing the slums of Manila, Calcutta and similar cities searching for those counterfeiting their products. But an investigator from Santa Ana found the illicit factory in Southern California. Meanwhile, the government bureaucrats in their lofty perches scratched their heads wondering why the LA sewage treatment plant kept overflowing. It was commonplace for a dozen or so people to live squeezed into a one bedroom apartment. Anyone who supports open borders supports a gangster style slave labor system.

But this discussion of legal or illegal has been too often defined as being pro or anti immigrant. Manipulation of the defining terms is, however, more clever than the blanket rejection of information all too often evident in local Facebook discussions. I wonder about these people who don’t try to examine both sides of an argument because thoughtful people read both sides and seek understanding. Politics is the art of the possible.  Any mature person knows that that are good and bad sites across the political spectrum.  I consider Liberals Unite to be a hate site while Counterpunch offers factual, reasoned analysis although I usually question their assumptions and discard their conclusions.  One left wing feminist article I read had observant insights contrasting women’s roles in the Tea Parties with the Republican Party. Reading differing points of view makes one think, the apparent unthinkable to many local commentators. Instead these Facebook commentators instantly and unequivocally reject many sites or sources as fake news. This obviously reflects their negligible commitment to democratic process. Their only real interest is in pushing their restrictive agenda.

Their persuasion substitute (as noted above with terminology control) lies in their techniques. Another example often used to confuse is to frame the debate as Democrat versus Republican. But the conflict of our time is globalism, which includes far too many Republicans, versus we the people populism. One doesn’t have to look further than the wild & scenic designation for part of Mokelumne River or our General Plan for evidence of our predetermined slot in globalist nightmare. It is our future and it must be in our hands. 

Copyright 2018, Mark L. Bennett