“An Argument Against Political Parties”
When Mike Rotkin says, “Down in flames” (1995), you goddam well better believe “Down in flames.”
Santa Cruz Sentinel, Letter | Questionable tactics surround housing measure 6-18-2023.
Santa Cruz Sentinel, Letter | Enabling bad behavior not helping disenfranchised 1-29-2023.
Good Times, Letter | “Don’t Accept Dual Endorsements” 11-30-22.
To redirect public opinion from looking at proof of corruption, 2022’s first elected Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley became the gung-ho promoter for local Superior Court Judge Ariadne Symons 2020 re-election, who fixed her own red light ticket.
Abuse of power was aided and abetted. Its consequence was the normalization of political corruption. It doesn’t matter how environmentally and/or socially aware a politician appears, or how effective a bureaucrat, having refused to stand up and recognize and respond to abuse of power—the single most important act for a political leader, and where suppressive opportunism too often prevails, and is often rewarded.
Keeley’s path for normalization of corruption began April 4, 1995 while Chair of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors with Resolution #114-95 (https://bit.ly/3T6nKBp). Resolution #114-95 procedurally exonerated the District Attorney for directing an under duress Assistant D.A.’s timecards to be falsified overlapping his 1994 re-election campaign. Does anyone today believe the election context was irrelevant? For raising the issue his opponent was accused of “Sour Grapes” in a Sentinel editorial at the time.
Symons was indeed officially censured by the California Commission on Judicial Performance (https://bit.ly/3MmVFDG) May 8, 2019. The penned and pushed by Fred Keeley post-censure “alternative facts” revisionist history “Statement of Support for Judge Symons” (https://bit.ly/3egPRPR) emphatically states, with bold alacrity, “She is a person with impeccable ethics and always places service above self.” It is signed by a stunning list of prominent Symons aggrandizers that includes 18 former and current elected officials, 12 members of the legal community, four members of the law enforcement community and 10 community “leaders.”
Opposition arose to Ariadne Symons and she dropped out, knowing she would have had to answer public questions about fixing her own red light ticket and other judicial performance concerns. It turned out not to be the slam-dunk Keeley anticipated. The pity of it is nobody cared then, and nobody cares now.
Fred Keeley didn’t need a white horse to ride triumphantly into Santa Cruz, he needed a whitewash. “Would not meet you anywhere, as you are the single craziest person in Santa Cruz.” Fred Keeley – Bob Lamonica email exchange 12-26-21 to 12-27-21.
“Progressives” remain on high duck and cover alert years after local Judge Ariadne Symons fixes her own red light ticket and Fred Keeley fronts her for 2020 re-election. Recognition and response to abuse of power my ass. No remorse Judge promoted for re-election: “Judge Fixes Own Red Light Ticket.” 12-26-21.
Petty power over principle. How to cover-up abuse of power with local ACLU Chapter collusion: “The Double-Plaque Cover-Up of the Santa Cruz County D.A.” 9-4-17.
To take on local application of values abuse of power is to be marginalized out of fear of outcome. Those in positions of political authority fear the unpredictable outcome and the ensuing unpredictable fallout if they were to stand up accountably against local application of values abuse of power. So, they blow it off, dismiss it, diss it, suppress it: “Down in flames,” “My plate is full,” “We’re too busy,” “It’s not our purview,” “HE’S DEAD,” etc., et al, onto the next petty power over principle photo-op enabled puff piece. Historical revisionism is the charge that will stick. Implicit cowardice will inevitably be brought to the fore by shame.
Why bother with abuse of power revisionism accountability? Two reasons: Teaching and healing. We need to find ways to do this, with dignity and honor, which can be done, in Santa Cruz as elsewhere. It is our duty, as enfrancised citizens, to stand up. Do all local analogies trivialize? Did MLK “repeat” himself? Every important redress of grievance in history had to be repeated until it generated enough shame for reconciliation.
Abuse of power is an unlawful act in an official capacity. Example: A Judge who knowingly submits false information on a traffic ticket. Replied Fred Keeley in classic last word finale style, “DON’T YOU THINK I READ THE FUCKING THING?” Of course you did. See “Judge Fixes Own Red Light Ticket” for an analysis of the cited example. I marvel at how a former California Assembly Speaker Pro Tem would possess the temerity to front the re-election of a Superior Court Judge literally caught fixing her own red light ticket, who should have been censured out of office rather than promoted for re-election. It was only when competition emerged with challenger Annrae Angel that Symons knew she would have to answer questions publicly about fixing her own red light ticket. Nancy de la Peña entered after Symons calls off her re-election. Nary a word from the local ACLU Chapter before, since or later. Many people figure that’s just how it is. Others fear the outcome if they were to speak out, so they look the other way.
“It’s OK for you to use ‘foul language.’ It discredits me. Furthermore, I could genuflect before you and it wouldn’t make any difference.” I’ve never actually said that to anyone, but it comes to mind for the previous entry.
Historical revisionism is always current. I realize how difficult the material presented is. It has to do with political double standards, hypocrisy and cowardice. I’ve heard it all, from the dismissive “My plate is full,” to the evasive “I don’t know enough about it,” to “They’re all like that,” the latter usually followed by the fear-laugh. I try to be polite. But I realized long ago, and it’s regularly reaffirmed, that most, not all, but most, are petrified by having their accountability, and their opportunist denial, pointed out. So invariably it’s my fault. And they’re not “victims of my jealous envy,” though I’m OK if that’s claimed. I’m to blame for being too late, too angry, not following proper protocols. Whatever excuse works. Others see the same contradictions and lies I do, but most do not speak out, or only obliquely, at least not currently; that will inevitably change. I speak out, and I’m a pariah. I’m OK with that. Like, so what? Have at it. I’m not into goonsquad politics, agenda control, or going along to get along and looking the other way for petty power over principle.
So, why bother? Pt. 1. First of all, politically, am I right? If “yes,” then you know why. If “no,” or, my current favorite, “we’re too busy,” nothing will convince, not even shame, because it means standing up, taking accountability and showing it. Remember, we’re talking about documented abuse of power, defined as an unlawful act in an official capacity. The only reason the petty power over principle set would take a stand against local application of values abuse of power historical revisionism is they are shamed into doing so, and there’s a wall of aloof pretentiousness opposing the bolt to acknowledge shame, still. However, there are signs of culmination, and shift. It can be done. There is an accommodating, teaching, healing outcome.
So, why bother? Pt. 2. On a motivational level: Importance. Growth. Truth. Knowledge. Insight. Strength. Honor. Stuff like that. Stuff that might be called “virtues,” a nickel-and-dime word for sure, but any analogy would “trivialize,” as was said to me when I compared the two Danner plaques on the County Building to Confederate statues. I want to say I don’t care, and I don’t, in regards to outcome, or who likes me or doesn’t. I get enough positive feedback from sources I value. I’m fascinated by the degree of brazen duplicity and the tawdry justifications provided. Amuses and motivates me. I do get a lot of laughs, moreover onto this day, out of efforts to recognize and respond to local application of values abuse of power historical revisionism, so let’s just say “I’m in it for the one-liners.” (I actually got to use that line, more than once.)
The institutional fraud, front and farce Santa Cruz Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union’s true role is to block recognition and response to local application of values abuse of power. This can be documented by it’s deafening silence from 1987 when then-Santa Cruz County District Attorney Art Danner’s at-fault bodily injury car wreck victim’s blood was tested and his wasn’t all the way up to 2019 when Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Ariadne Symons was caught fixing her own red light ticket.
What kind of Journalism is this? Bruce McPherson, former Editor and former Publisher of the Santa Cruz Sentinel was campaigning for the State Senate in 1996, and at a public gathering I asked him directly, “Why didn’t the Sentinel report that the District Attorney had been drinking prior to his at-fault bodily injury car wreck of 1987?” He said, “It wasn’t in the Police Report.” A picture was taken of us, and he walked away. Why wasn’t it in the Police Report, and what about it anyway? Don’t we have a right to know? There’s a story there, apparently unfit for Sentinel coverage, then or now.
The Macro becomes the Micro and vice versa. The Far Left becomes the Far Right and vice versa. What happened in 1994 when the Santa Cruz County District Attorney directed timecards to be falsified overlapping his re-election? Nearly every prominent politician in Santa Cruz eventually decided to go along to get along and to look the other way. See “The Double-Plaque Cover-Up of the Santa Cruz County D.A.
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“Now that we’ve solved the world’s problems.” Ever heard that phrase, as a rejoinder to a serious discussion? It’s a dismissive, debasing ridicule, rooted in fear of self-expression. Like we’re supposed to stay stupid, talking trivia, chattering and boasting, because we’re scared shitless of expressing ourselves. Like the vote is a meaningless joke, individual accountability isn’t politically relevant and ambiguity isn’t frightening. Vulnerability might disfellowship you from your “neighbors” social circle sloganeering, and all the self-righteous, doctrinaire, shout you down, shit-eating grin, proud to be air-heads you think it’s important to associate with.
Why is it some people can look you in the eye and lie? Because for them loyalty takes precedence over truth. It doesn’t matter what the truth is, it’s who discredits whom.
Lying punk scoundrels never apologize. They never express remorse, which is seen as a sign of weakness, not honor. You are expected to “move on,” debased, insulted, even from calumny, because their credibility, they are convinced, is greater than yours will ever be.
I try to be polite in my interactions. Debase me, cut me off, shout me down. I’ll let you, once. Play the bombast hotshot once and your interactive privileges are withdrawn until expressing acknowledgement, accountability and remorse. I don’t care who you are, or think you are.
I’ve long ago tired of out-agress, dismissive hotshots who demand to tell you what to think or ban you. I marvel how punk scoundrels lie publicly, purge dissent and stay goon squad groupie supported, claiming deception as their right.
It is the privilege of the self-righteous to shout you down, cut you off and walk away in classic last-word opportunist coward finale style. Most goonsquaders I know can’t last three mutually respectful exchanges when their platitudes have been challenged.
I have a low tolerance for boasting and chatter. Triviality bores me. Initial encounters, OK. Beyond that if you are fearful of provocative, open up ambiguity politics and religion balanced participation sharing, avoid me. If you invite me, expect me to be myself.
Interaction is action. Thus, we affect everybody around us and justify ourselves. Discourse is crucial if we are to grow and it can unquestionably be by polite display of mutual respect. Can you express your unique individuality on issues? Is being asked your opinion on politics and religion a personal attack? Can you handle disagreement? Aren’t long-winded lecture-speeches, motor-mouthing and out-agressing behavior inappropriate, in fact rude? Can you listen 30 to 90 seconds and not cut someone off?
Most people can on first encounter open up with vulnerability. Once, then fear of exposure sets in. The second time they may attack by the usual methods of raising voice, motor-mouthing and cutting off to contradict their previous vulnerability.
Commit/Omit. Imply/Infer. Survival/Self-Interest. Imperfection. We are accountable, can be used, and can use. Manipulate. Treachery. Deception. We justify, up to and including “I was told.”
A political party is for all practical purposes a functional religion. Like all politics beyond reproach religions their objective is to win converts, votes and money by enthusing potential followers with acceptance of broad-based meaningless slogan branding.
Political parties take on the inherently self-righteous authority of religion to hoodwink and deceive and most importantly to effectively cloak and disempower individual accountability. The vote doesn’t have to be goonsquad groupies looking for enemies.
I’m not into goonsquad politics. I despise it, in all forms and guises. I actually got to say “If you’re looking for an agenda clone I’m not your guy” during a 2014 Santa Cruz County Supervisor so-called “Labor Council” organization endorsement interview. I marvel at the many people I have encountered, even recently, that express individuality, moderation and ambiguity in one-on-one settings who revert to cheering, leering goon squad groupies in support of a social cohort position on an issue.
Political/Religions retool as necessary their “end of discussion” positions. There must be conclusions to goonsquad rally around, to be saved from ambiguity by comrade liberation obedience. It is rude to disagree no matter how polite and will inevitably trigger a naysayer accusation to boot your ass. To provoke, to arouse thought, is not the same as to insult, to scornfully debase. Both stimulate reaction. Fake leadership can’t/won’t distinguish, out of fear, requiring strict agendas for control, aka “Agenda Control.”
“Dinner party set” politics is the true source of political authority, in Santa Cruz as elsewhere. Go along to get along and you’re in. Look the other way at double standard hypocrisy no matter how blatant or you’ll be a naysayer. We want to win!
What’s this “both sides of the aisle” nonsense? There is no “aisle.” There’s no such thing as “bi-partisan.” There’s no such thing as “party whips” in the Constitution. Political parties are fake constructs. Political parties are expediencies to power, fast tracks around individual integrity, cover-ups for accountability. They offer payoffs of inner circle power and favor for going along to get along and looking the other way at blatant hypocrisy.
One person, one vote has been achieved, imperfectly, but as practical participatory opportunity for the majority. Can you deal as an accountable individual with your vote responsibility or do you beg to be told, as in “I was told”? Can you handle ambiguity? Do you fear being wrong? Do you fear disfellowship? Is it OK to hoodwink, lie and deceive as long as you win?
Is there to forever be no individual accountability politics? In life? If it be so, one person, one vote doesn’t matter, except as an acceptable platform for consumer political persuasion. Thus it is proclaimed by some it’s the media and big money’s fault we vote and behave the way we do. The only hope is for US to tell THEM what to think. Individuality can’t be trusted, only manipulated.
It ultimately comes down to accountability of the individual and acknowledgment of ambiguity, imperfection and being wrong. Then we can flow, aware of fake leadership, goon squad groupie political alignment scams, and deal with being accountable.
Assuming imperfection, Mutual Respect and Personal Accountability is my political philosophy. How to think, not what to think. I avoid labels like Conservative, Liberal, Left, Right, Democrat, Republican, Progressive. What’s the issue, who’s the candidate, is what’s real.
“Leadership” is not posturing safe mediocrity. Leadership is an ongoing dialogue sifting through ambiguities and coming to decisions on advocacy. Platitudes like “family values,” “public safety” and “progressive” are not substance, not positions on issues.
Is the appearance of activism a substitute for activism itself? It certainly is, and you don’t have to waste “political capital” on actually sticking your neck out. Hence, the appearance of leadership becomes the endorsed substitute for leadership.
Why do the poor revere the rich? What manner of sin and blasphemy is it to question plutocratic pomp authority? The new gilded age is upon us, lobbyist bought and paid for, in advance. Rejoice! Long Live Big Donald!
Sociology is hierarchy relations, in contrast to politics, which is power relations. Sociology assumes stability, Politics assumes turbulence. Social change, if there is such a thing, is the biological paradox of “Coming of Age in Samoa” and “Mein Kampf.”
The assertion of divine political authority is ancient, universal. Yet, the only thing truly provable about religion is its utility as a persuasive device. Religions retool so that onto this day their contradiction reconciling apologists influence politics unduly.
Wearing a religious brand on one’s person is an affinity advertisement for others to witness. It proclaims the wearer’s presence represents the religion, and their political expressions are to be presumed, by “divine authority,” to represent the “faith.”
Dead deities make great endorsements. It’s your right to wear religious symbology at a political meeting not sponsored by a religious organization and my right to hold it in contempt.
Invariably, without exception, religious adherents claim divine right for their positions on issues. Whatever “good” comes out of religion is incidental, driven by leveraging those institutions for what we may look back on as positive social change.
Are you “entity conscious”? Read “Psychic Dictatorship in America” by Gerald B. Bryan, 1940. One-liner packed fun! Woo-woo types cashing in! Hail the undetected! Mount Shasta “vortex” pilgrims get fleeced!
Bob Lamonica’s still-favorite political action was hour and a half long Open Gatherings, moderated small group (ideally 3 to 8) discussions aimed at balanced participation (ideally 30 to 90 seconds each time speaking) offered in Bay Area cafes, including in Santa Cruz, from 1983 to 1991.
Bob Lamonica initiated and was co-producer of the first Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo in 1998 and producer of the succeeding 3 annual events. Only in Santa Cruz. Legendary. Never replicated. 1998-2001 Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo web archive.