Friday, June 26, 2009

Iran solidarity vigil 6/26/09

Vigil in solidarity with the suffering people of Iran, remembering Neda and the countless others who have sacrificed for a better future for their children, their nation, and the world.

FRIDAY, June 26, 2009 7:30 PM
Stevens Creek and Winchester (Santana Row)

This is a peaceful vigil and memorial. Organizers have requested no flags. More here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So little time, so many lunatics

We're talking about 900 Kiely, the latest development tempest in the Santa Clara teapot. Every time we have a development project, it's the same. The usual suspects, headlined by our very own Village Lunatic Extraodinaire, ringing changes on the I got mine, the hell with you chorus.

Here's Bela Lugosi returned from the dead. "Raaaadeeee00000h-ahhhktiff waste." 

"I've been a homeowner in the City of Santa Clara for..." you fill in the blank -- 40, 79, 2 -- years -- and the "first house on the right parks on the diagonal" or the "lady down the street has 9 cars." WTF? 

And here's Morticia Addams, pointing out that, in addition to attracting the criminally inclined, high density housing lowers property values. The horror, the horror. Can you imagine, having to live next to the kind of people who would live there? As an earlier speaker described it, squatter encampments on the roof. 

A Stepford child, clearly on an exchange program from Village of the Damned, recites: people = cars = pollution = poisoned environment....Somebody call Child Protective Services.

"It takes me five minutes to cross Kiely." OMG!!! Can you imagine the inconvenience!!! What planet has she been living on? 

"I make a trip to Post Office every day." And the problem is...? The people who live at 900 Kiely might go to the post office and then the trip might take 14 minutes instead of 9???? Believe me, they won't be going to the Post Office -- they have to work for a living, something that interferes with daily excursions to enjoy the ambience of the Post Office. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

California's Governator Turns Ballot Initiatives to Bullet Initatives

I can only wish!

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Conspiracy Con 9 - The Live Blog: Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

Dateline: Santa Clara, CA
June 6, 2009 7:53:39 2 P.M.

By the time I check back with Conspiracy Central on Sunday it's 3:30 -- half an hour is spent locating my badge because I figure that saying that I lost my badge will finger me as a New World Order plant or worse. I start in the exhibit where I buy a fascinatingly configurable magnetic jewelry "rope" from Denise Wells of Santa Clara and a 1950s Betty Boop alarm clock from Prudence, who sells antiques and amber jewelry and is clearly a fish out of water here.

The folks from Evergreen Spirulina press on me a sample of "Coffee King – the most nutritious coffee in the world, enriched with "spirulina and ganoderma." The taste is of instant coffee, sugar, Cremora and…rotten garbage. My spontaneous review is clearly unwelcome.

While I'm trying to get a "local color" photo, a tall woman with long white hair who will only give her name as "C," confronts me.

"You're taking pictures," she says, leaning in. Explaining that I just want a photo for the local weekly paper, she quizzes me. "But will your boss and your bosses' owners and their owners' owners allow this story to be published?" I explain that my "boss" owns the newspaper and publishes whatever he damn well pleases.

"An independent newspaper?" She advances cautiously. This seems promising. "So you're going to put this in a good light?" she asks. I explain that I call it "reporting" and as such it's not cast in any "light."

What she's really asking is if I'm going to lampoon it. I attempt to explain that the Weekly simply wants a local color story and that there's no percentage for us in ridiculing people who are bringing thousands of dollars – devalued, worthless Federal Reserve notes though they are – into our town. Although I don't tell her, I'm having my own doubts there's any way to honestly report on the conference that wouldn't shine an unflattering light.

She starts in with a phrase that's become familiar in the last 24 hours: "Do you know about –." I answer no, and further, that that's not really my interest. Her face wrinkles up in disgust. "You need to talk to this man," she says, leading me to Dr. Stan Montieth.

Montieth is a retired orthopedic surgeon who operates Radio Liberty. I ask him why, nearly 50 years ago, he came to the conclusion that "there are very powerful forces," the "Brotherhood of Darkness," that control the U.S. government.

"A friend suggested to me that," he begins, but is interrupted by a question. He picks up the story again in a different place. "A man named Benbella was taking over Algiers. I found the same article would be in the Sacramento paper [as] 'Benbella marched into Algiers to cheers of the throng.' Another story would say, 'Benbella marched into Algiers at the head of his communist-equipped troops.'

"Two words change the meaning of the article," he continues. "Of course somebody covered up the communist influence…I suddenly realized that everything I thought I knew, everything I learned about history was wrong and I'd been lied to. I went back and read the Declaration and the Constitution."

Mentally, I cover another square on my metaphorical Bingo card of the conspiracy experience: the friend who asks you to read a book, review some "material," watch a video, meet someone, or talk to someone. Now, if someone was pestering me to "read some materials" or "meet a very special man I know," I'd assume it was either Amway or Scientology and put their phone number on the "block" list. But conspiracy hunters aren't cynics, and a cigar is never just a cigar.

It's the ages old pattern of conversion: Saul at the Damascus gate. First comes the baptism – the hour of first belief. The meeting, conversation, reading – whatever – is the Call of Irresistible Grace in the form of a revealed connection between seemingly unrelated information:

A newswire story is edited differently in two different papers. A child is kidnapped and murdered on the West Coast and a Washington D.C. highflier is arrested for running a prostitution ring. John Kennedy Jr. dies in plane crash at the age of 39, 36 years after his father's assassination, and 3+9+3+6 = 21, as in UN Agenda 21, the New World Order's plan for depopulating the world.
The revelation, this stepping through the doors of perception, is the charism by which believers become certain of divine election and experience release from the prison of ignorance. Then comes initiation and full participation in the community's sacraments. Which is what this weekend is all about: communal worship.
Just as you don't go to a revival meeting to learn about 12th century Christian Eucharistic doctrines, you don't go to Conspiracy Con to examine evidence of Humanoid-Reptiloid war that's raging on Mars as we speak. (Why doesn't the Mars Rover see it? Simple. The Mars Rover is actually tooling around a secret Hollywood set and everyone involved in setting it up has been killed). The talks are the revival meeting and the speakers are visiting evangelists and prophets.
Where there is light, there must also be darkness. And the next chapter of my journey takes me upriver to the mind-bending depravities of the Luciferian Masters of Darkness: Descent into the Maelstrom

Monday, June 8, 2009

Conspiracy Con 9 - The Live Blog: The Worshipful Master

Dateline: Santa Clara, CA
June 6, 2009 5:30:22 P.M.
I woke up this morning under a heavy cloud of FFA (free floating anxiety). I take a few deep breaths and remind myself that I'm at home, not Conspiracy Con. Clearly I'm too close to this story.
I rolled into last night's dinner at about nine o'clock, which seems to me a civilized hour, But most people are already working on the desert buffet. Perhaps they have an early curfew on the spaceship. 

My first order of business was a drink – my third for the day – followed by a scan for an interesting place to sit. I see the guest of honor, George Noory, at a table with the conference producer, Brian Hall. I take a shot, "Is that seat open?" I ask. Bingo.

A young man named Christopher, whose day job is shredding documents for the State of Califonia, pulls out my chair for me and is a delightful dinner companion; a perfect gentleman of the sort that I thought was long extinct. In the raffle I win a copy of "The Broken Code," by Frank LoVe, a book that should be Exhibit A in any discussion of why editors are important: "This book is a bold and bazaar story....No Pope, No Saint, So Science, No Senitor, No Clery, No Ayatollah is spaired the all seeing eye of God."

I don't get an opening to talk to Noory. His eyes scan the crowd like he's looking for someone. He fidgets, glances at his watch, and speaks quietly to the man next to him, his producer. His body language says he'd rather be somewhere else. He talks to the audio-visual crew about the lighting. "Lower," "Light enough to see," he says, "but intimate."

Finally it's time for the Noory, the pro who deftly walks the crazy line without actually seeming actually crazy himself.

He begins where all conversion narratives do, the moment of insight. 

"When John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated, I was 13 years old," he begins. "It was a few more years before I started to understand there's something going on here. Then I realized that this was going on long before JFK." 

Now it's my "aha" moment. Everyone I've talked to at Conspiracy Con starts their stories at exactly the same point:"When Kennedy was assassinated…"

A picture comes into focus: Baby Boomers and their world.

Children in the time of the McCarthy witch hunts and nuclear attack drills.  P.S. 107, the elementary school I had the misfortune to attend, stressed the immanent perils of communists lurking in Little League dugouts and atomic bombs screaming through the stratosphere directly on target for 13th St. and 8th Ave. in Brooklyn. Teenagers during the Viet Nam war, learned that the CIA had overthrown governments and engineered coup d'etats, and that the federal government did indeed lie – about the Gulf of Tonkin and plenty of other things. Young adults in the time of Watergate, we wrote term papers while watching the unwinding  -- under Sen. Sam Ervin's beetle eyebrows -- of criminal conspiracies at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

I tune back in to Noory. "Where there's smoke, there's fire," he says, dropping his voice on 'fire." Immediately, he makes an about face, dropping that ball of yarn and finishing on an up note. "We're all in this together. We need to keep hope in us. I hope Obama is successful. When you get negative, then they have you. This is our country and our planet. And nobody is going to take it away from us."
No indeed, I think, and head for the exit. Next: Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Conspiracy Con 9 - The Live Blog: Initial Probe

Dateline: Santa Clara, California 
Saturday June 6, 2009 4:28:05 p.m. PDT

After a tour through the exhbit, where Don from St. Paul, Minn. pressed two handfuls of pamphlets on me with titles such as Orthodox Medicine is Public Enemy #1 and Why Silver is the Answer, I check in with Don VonKliest, "The Value Of Minstrels, Jesters and Entertainers In The Future." An idea that I, as a writer, can't argue with.

VonKliest – a professional TV and radio announcer talk show host – contrasts with the prevailing dreariness. He may be paranoid but at least he's entertaining. He grabs the audience right off.
"What a time it was, to be in the 60s," he says, and starts playing air guitar. She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeaaaah. He's talking my – baby boomer – language. (So many Birkenstocks. So many gray pony-tails.)

We're all in good spirits and I'm thinking this maybe isn't all brain-boiling paranoia, when it becomes clear that Don Von's topic isn't the importance of jesters, thespians, and bards. It's the Navy's swastika-shaped building in San Diego. And other than the clip of his interview with Fox News, the next 45 minutes are unmediated stream-of-VonKliest-consciousness.

Swastika building…George Bush Sr… new world order…Spike Jones and the City Slickers…1942 propaganda song, "Heil Hitler's New World Order"….Prescott Bush…2012…666…the computer in Brussels called "the beast"….the end of the age…can you imagine what the world would be like with no money…it's the dawning of the age of Aquarius.

Time for another drink. Next: At the Foot of the Worshipful Master

Conspiracy Con 9 - The Live Blog: First Contact

Dateline: Santa Clara, California
Saturday June 6, 2009 1:57:14 p.m. PDT

After wresting my car from my 18 year-old, I hit the road for the Marriott, which for the next two days is ground zero of world conspiracy theory. This is the ninth -- and we know that 9 is inverted 6 and three of them are the number of the beast---

Where was I?

This is the ninth time this potpourri of High Weirdness has been held in our fair city, and that alone is worthy of note. That George Noory, host of Coast to Coast a.m. -- the nighttime radio talk show focused on all things conspiratorial, paranormal and extraterrestrial -- was the keynote speaker at Saturday's banquet sealed the deal.

When I asked the event's producer, Brian Hall, why he chose the Santa Clara venue, the answer wasn't that Santa Clara was home to a vortex of cosmic power, or the Trilateral Commission's home away from from home. The reason was pretty much the same as why the 49ers are interested in building a new stadium here: Prices are better than San Francisco, it's easy to get to -- close to the airport, easy freeway access -- and it's easy to park.

I was vaguely disappointed. I'd expected something more...conspiratorial.

When I pulled in to the Marriott, for a minute I wondered if I was in the wrong place because the parking lot was so empty. Then I saw an "Income Tax is Illegal" bumper sticker and I knew I wasn't. At the conference registration desk my announcement that I was press got a chilly reception. "Are you pre-registered?" When I replied that I was, and further that I had spoken to Brian personally, the temperature rose a few degrees. Taking out a credit card to pay for the dinner (not included in the press pass), I was told, "We don't take credit cards. Cash or check only."

I should have guessed. "People don't want to use plastic at an event like this," the woman at the desk explained, emphasizing the this. I felt like a conspirator already.

As a I forked over three portraits of Andrew Jackson, an old man wearing a Greek fisherman's cap and holding an open Bible in which every syllable was annotated with runes, leaned over and asked me if I believed in God Almighty. "I do, but I don't have time to talk now." I was on a mission, and taking a deep dive into the Annunaki messages coded in Deuteronomy -- or whatever -- would occupy the day. He graciously didn't pursue it further.

Saving the delights of the exhibit hall for later, I stopped by Webster Tarpley's talk, "How To Defeat The Wall Street Oligarchs, Shred The Derivatives, And Get Out Of The Depression." What lefty progressive can resist that? However, the front screen read:

Trilateral Commission
Coup d'etat

No oligarchs. No derivatives. Just my old pals, the Trilateral Commission. I decided that before I ventured further I needed to lay in some foundational work with lunch and a drink. At the Marriott Sports bar, I asked the bartender if the Conspiracy Con folks were good tippers. "They don't come in here much," he answered.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The vote on the 49ers stadium

The Santa Clara City Council meeting is slowly grinding through the issue of the 49ers stadium. As of now, the meeting's been going on for nearly 2 hours.

I've got a flu bug and don't have the patience to sit through the end of the meeting. Besides, news is more fun when you can read about it before it happens, so let's cut to the end of the meeting and take a glimpse at the final results of tonight's meeting - published before the meeting even finishes.

The meeting will go past midnight - let's say until about 12:45am.

The speakers will have been limited to 2 minutes each given the sheer number of those wanting to speak. Several familiar faces will have spoken - both for and against. The common argument against the stadium will be "why give money to billionaires?" and probably there'll be at least one appearance of the "The City could have given money to a solar startup".

Each Council Member will take their turn to speak. Some will ask questions that sound thoughtful as if they're still trying to decide on the issue and some nuance could sway their vote one way or another.

In the end, the Council will vote to approve. Council Member McLeod and possibly Council Member Kennedy could be the only voices on the Council who might vote against it, but expect to see every other council member back it. I'm not saying Council Member McLeod or Kennedy are good or bad or the other council members are good or bad based on their vote - that's for you to decide.

I'll post an update after the meeting (possibly on Wednesday afternoon) to see how accurate I was....