Category Archives: Politics

Can White NFL Players Please Step Up?

I had something on my mind this morning and I’m purging it now.

Feel free to not read this or to disagree with it, that is your call.

And this is my call.

I’d like to see more white NFL players, preferably all of them, joining the black players who kneel during the anthem. The “it’s not the right place for that” argument is such a 1950’s style restrictive, conformist shout-down in my view… while I don’t think it’s racist to say “it’s not the right place” it IS, by definition, restrictive. Unfairly restrictive in my view.

I view an NFL game as the perfect place for protest in a society that worships celebrities and athletes, and banishes those who dare take a stand on social injustice… Who decides where the right and the wrong places are for these protests anyway?… What’s the criteria again?… Who can answer that objectively?… What I wonder is, what if Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or JJ Watt or Carson Wentz or Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger or Andrew Luck were to start kneeling?… What would happen then? If even just one of those guys kneeled?

These guys could help move the needle but they won’t. I can’t blame them.

What if the entire league kept kneeling at every game until communities get more serious about solving the problem of unarmed black people getting gunned down by police?

I bet it’d save a lot of lives.

But too many people value money more than they value lives. Let’s face it, no one wants to get “Kaepernicked” – and I can’t blame them even if it is disappointing. But to tell the few players courageous enough to be willing to take a stand that they’re doing it in the wrong place, to shut the hell up and go to work, entertain us right now —  is just morally wrong.

It’s dismissive, reductive and dehumanizing. And if you’re saying that what is being protested is the flag then you’re not paying close attention.

Purging complete.

Dr. Gonzo (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being Unplugged)

A principle familiar to propagandists is that the doctrines to be instilled in the target audience should NOT be articulated: that would only expose them to reflection, inquiry, and, very likely, ridicule. The proper procedure is to drill them home by constantly presupposing them, so that they become the very condition for discourse.” – Noam Chomsky, “Third World, First Threat” 1993.

I was hired by the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper to be a writer in 1993, and I worked in the sports section and also in the entertainment section. I saw a wave coming early on when our chief competition, the San Jose Mercury, launched the Mercury Center via AOL. It was the beginning of the end of the print news business, even if most of us, even the most forward thinking of us, didn’t really know it.

In those days, we got a lot of our stories off of the Associated Press (AP) or United Press International (UPI) newswires, which were kind of like telegram cables. The quality of the content of the news had to be high. There were professional standards that must be adhered to. And, as my editors were quick to point out, the people who are in positions of power are our adversary, pure and simple. The media acted as a check in the grand scheme of governmental checks and balances: the executive and the legislative and the judicial branches ALL must be held to account by the media. My favorite practitioner of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, threw in his own style of literary flair to hit on truths bigger than What, Where, When, How and Why. For example, is it not right, or true, or in keeping with the duty of media, to call Ronald Reagan a stinking swine when he blabbed to People Magazine in 1986 that “This generation will likely have to face Armageddon,” or to say, quite simply, that Nixon was a bad drunk?

Yes, Hunter was a lot of things. But, I have to say, Hunter was authentic.

Few writers could boil down the essence of a campaign, a candidate, like Hunter S. Thompson

Few writers capture the essence of a campaign or candidate like Hunter S. Thompson

We were duty-bound and truths like the ones he’d write were important and informative.

Unfortunately, we were doomed. Time and technological advances made the public fall victim to rapidly accelerating media saturation…  and as such, the media’s relevance faded, and it’s duty was no longer to serve people with unbiased and direct information regarding our elected and unelected government officials.

Rather, media became propaganda for whoever paid the best. As such, media became a bad salesman, pitching a broken down lemon of a healthy, thriving, functioning society. And yet, the pitch is effective and accepted as truth.

Here's Donald being contrite for inferring this woman was on her period when she asked him a question he didn't like. Then she, like so many in the media, dutifully played her part in the fake ass show.

Here’s “The Donald” being contrite for inferring that this woman was on her period when she asked him a question he didn’t like. Then she, like so many in the media, dutifully played her part in the propagandist, fake ass show.

The media do not say things like: “The United States ALWAYS supports democracy, NEVER aggresses against other nations, and always ALWAYS opposes terrorists.” Nor do advertisers explicitly say that the key to happiness and the good life is the unceasing and ever-expanding consumption of purchasable products.

But the message still comes through, loud and clear, as a presupposed truth.

We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning. Contemporary society is dominated by computers and algorithms. There’s hardly a second that we’re not plugged in, in this “civilized” world. As mankind races toward achieving seamless virtual realities and artificial intelligence, it stands to make me wonder whether or not a simulation of reality is actually our new normal, now, and far beyond anyone’s control.

Most of us spend almost all of our time in highly artificial environments, far removed from nature. We move about, from one building to another. We travel in little bubbles: cars, trains, airplanes. Even while we’re in route we’re buried in our mobile, wireless phones, connecting to all of the information out there. Ours is a world of steel, brick, cement and glass, not that of mountain, meadow, tree, and stream.

The last Presidential primaries/general election have concluded, and what struck me most about that crazy show was that Dr. Gonzo is dead. So dead.

The evidence was in the unprecedented dominance of public relations and advertising in media, resulting in disinformation and propaganda, and, most importantly, increasingly brazen strong-arm tactics to make sure, absolutely sure, no matter what, that Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton would face Donald Jackass Trump. It didn’t matter who won. Not to the rich people who determine these things. Neither of them were a threat to current of the $currency$, the status quo would be preserved.

People scream that Russia “influenced” our election via hacks on the DNC (the contents from those hacks has never been disputed, only who actually hacked & leaked that info.) People freak out because Russia propagandized and misinformed voters via trolls on Facebook and Twitter? But if you learn history and don’t ask yourself if America’s track record is any better, then you’re not thinking critically enough.

What about American propagandizing via social, alternative AND mainstream media? Not only in MANY other countries, but even in our own?

I could go through a million examples to show this was all orchestrated, pre-decided, pre-destined, but I refuse to list more than a few, because if you haven’t been paying attention, it’s your own damn fault. The most glaring example, to me, was the June 7, 2016, Associated Press story and photo, written and photographed by, you guessed it, the Hillary Clinton campaign several days beforehand and then submitted to… the AP editorial team!… for publication.

Team Hillary, created the image and words that the AP dutifully reported / sold to the public on their behalf.

Team Hillary, created the image and wrote the story that the AP dutifully regurgitated / sold to the public on their behalf, 3 days prior to publication… and when did publication happen? One day before the California Primary.

Or how about this one, from the Hillary email vault:

“I just received confirmation from 60 Minutes that a piece on Julian Assange will air Sunday night,” Philip Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs, wrote to Clinton in 2011. “He will be the only person featured. We had made a number of suggestions for outside experts and former diplomats to interview to ‘balance’ the piece. 60 Minutes assures me that they raised a number of questions and concerns we planted with them during the course of the interview. We will be prepared to respond to the narrative Assange presents during the program.” 

Her reply: “Too bad they’re showcasing him. See you tomorrow when we try making lemonade out of some pretty sour lemons!”

I’m left with three questions:

Do interviews even matter, other than being vessels for public relations?

Does the media matter AT ALL?

Is all the world but a stage?

Every time I unplug, I realize, more and more, that the entire world’s perception of what’s truly important and meaningful is getting more and more skewed by what all this media are selling.

I thank God for my nieces and nephew, for reminding me that the future is worth fighting for, as I don’t want them to inhabit a poisoned world with a shallow artifice.

I’ll never give up on that.

My niece is at Camp Hammer in Big Basin Redwoods State Park right now, experiencing things that I hope are truly meaningful.

My niece is at Camp Hammer in Big Basin Redwoods State Park right now, experiencing things that I hope are truly meaningful.

Every time I unplug, I realize, more and more, that I’m a storyteller, and if I’m going to keep telling good stories, I have to be authentic. In order to be authentic, I have to detach, more and more, from the real truth (that people are the victims of deception and exploitation on a massive scale) AND the artificial reality construct of the media, used to control and enslave people.

I have to be free.

And how will I be that which I am?

I think I’ve got to leave the big city, walk amongst the free creatures and plants of this Earth, and remember to self-program, to decide for myself what sort of things I want, and what sort of person I will become.



Farewell, President Obama… Thank You… We Really Won’t Know How Good We Had It… Until We Do…

I was a believer in Barack Obama. I don’t make any bones about it.

And, if President Obama had been treated fairly by the opposition party, we’d have accomplished so much more than we did as a country over the last 8 years.

But the obstructionists won – whether it was on gun control after Sandy Hook, or a single payer provision to the ACA – the spin was, Obama wanted your guns, he wanted socialism, and this was all – ALL – a hot steaming pile of horseshit.

It is important to realize that the obstructionists didn’t hate Obama just because he was black. They hated him because he was black and popular and smart and measured and considerate and genuine and embodied all the best qualities of America’s promise rolled up into a leader who’d represent us as best as he could.

These obstructionists weren’t just racist; they were anti-intellectual, they were anti-progress, and they were willing to lie their asses off in order to demonize a person who was so much more like the people he represented than ANY OTHER PRESIDENT we’ve had – President Obama wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and he wasn’t a billionaire private school elitist. Barack Obama actually cared about the prosperity of the plurality of Americans.

So, as the fakers and the haters and the liars take the reins of our country to “make America great again,” I’m going to remember the hope and optimism that not only myself, but SO MANY PEOPLE in our country had, when Barack Obama was running and then won the Presidency.

What follows is my digital scrapbook of sorts — after reading all the communications that I did during the 08 run, literally thousands of emails, I dug out my favorite emails and photos that were circulated through the 2008 campaign but weren’t made public, starting with my letter to Barack in January 2007 urging him to run, and the response from him that I received in June 2007.

This country missed a huge opportunity to do great things, because there were men and women who’d rather have put our country in peril than see Barack Obama be the kind of President we all know he could’ve and should’ve been.


From: J Rich <j******>
Date: Sun, Jan 28, 2007 at 8:27 PM
Subject: A New Kind of Leader
To: Barack Obama Exploratory Committee <>
Dear Future President Obama,
I feel that you represent everything that was, is, and can be great about America in the future. If you search your feelings, I believe you must sense that this nation needs you, your ideas, and your energy, and we need it right now. For most pundits and casual laypeople, your path to the Presidency may seem a most unlikely one, perhaps even as unlikely as Abraham Lincoln’s…
Too often Americans get the “opposing” message from politicians and the media… even our citizens themselves spend time saying they “oppose” gay marriage, or are “anti-war”, or “against a woman’s right to choose”…you sir, are the first candidate that I’ve seen in my
lifetime (33 years) that I feel is legitimately and genuinely
“pro-human rights”, “pro-peace”, and “pro-active” about doing things with the idea in mind that you want each individual American, and actually each individual citizen of this Earth, to strive to become the best person that each and every one of us is capable of becoming.


Your Senate campaign message of “Yes, we can” needs to be out there
again…it will resonate and fuel your candidacy sir, because it is a
universal truth. And no American will be able to deny the positivity
they will feel, for when they hear it, or when they say it with us,
and when they know that this man, this new leader who is getting us
all to say “Yes, we can!” ALSO wholeheartedly believes just that –
that we, as people living under God, CAN shape our future however we want, however we choose, and that our intentions now need to

Sir, the way I see it, there is absolutely no way you can
lose this election.
Mr. Obama, you are an inspiration to us all, and you can help lead America back to being a beacon of prosperity and liberty. It is out of my love for this country that I ask you to do one thing: please run for President.
I, along with countless other Americans, will feel a tremendous sense of pride and purpose in dedicating time and energy to your election as the next President of this amazing nation of ours.
In closing, as you encounter those “times that try men’s souls” on the campaign trail, and in your life in general, I will hope that you would reflect on Abraham Lincoln’s political career (he had so much adversity…and was forced to act with true courage, much as you will have to continue to act), and I hope this quote, from President Calvin Coolidge, will resonate with you:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing in more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Yes, we can heal our nation.
Yes, we can mend the diplomatic relationships that have been fractured in this world.
Yes, we can usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity, peace, and liberty.
We can, Mr. ObamaAnd with your leadership, we will.





Best Regards,

J. Rich

from: Obama for America <>
reply-to: Obama for America <>
to: j*******
date: Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 9:06 AM
subject: Response to Your Message to Senator Obama

Dear Jeff,

Thank you for your kind message and thoughts. Please pardon the late reply. My family and I have been touched by the outpouring of support we have received since announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.

As I traveled the country last year campaigning for Senate and House candidates, I spoke to people of diverse backgrounds from Rhode Island to Missouri to Washington state. I heard the same message in Omaha, Nebraska, that I heard in Orlando, Florida. The American people want a new kind of politics that replaces partisan name calling with honest conversation that seeks constructive change.

The cards, messages and calls I have received since the election from supporters like you reaffirm my belief that America is ready to put the era of bitter partisanship and the politics of division behind us, and that 2008 can be a watershed election for a new politics of principled, passionate, and civil debate about the future course of our country.

As we build this movement for change, please bookmark  and visit often.  Want to get involved right now?  We’ve built a set of easy-to-use web tools that empower you.  At you can:

– build your own profile and connect with supporters near you
– find or create your own local or national group
– create your own personal fundraising page and track your progress
– find events near you or plan your own
– chronicle your campaign experience on your own blog

And there will be much more to come in the weeks and months ahead.

Thank you again for contacting me.


Barack Obama

from: J Rich <j*******>
to: Los Angeles for Obama ’08! <>
date: Tue, Jan 8, 2008 at 9:05 PM
subject: It’s On…

Dear Obama Supporters/Volunteers,

Like all of you, I am disappointed with the outcome of the New
Hampshire Primary. I admit, I had to laugh and subsequently turn off
my TV as I watched Brian Williams and Tim Russert proclaim it a
“colossal” victory (of approximately 4,000 votes) for Hillary Clinton.

Punditry and declarations of victory or doom aside, let us all
remember that this is a marathon (18 miles of which will be decided on
Feb 5) and we must not take any stride for granted. We must make each stride count.

We all know what’s at stake. We all know which candidate will be a
representative of the people, for the people of the United States. We
all know which candidate inspired the record voter turnouts in the
first Democratic caucus and primary.

Now it’s up to us to convince California’s (and in the turn, the
nation’s) voters that Barack Obama is the better choice as the
Democratic nominee for President. It’s that simple.

Iowa was great result for us, but I submit that New Hampshire, January 8, 2008, is the day for us to truly remember…let us use the
disappointment of this day to our advantage, let it remind us all just
how much we want to see Barack become the nominee, and let that
motivate us all, that much more.

As disappointed as each of us must be today, can you imagine the
magnitude of disappointment we’d each feel if Barack does not win the
nomination? In that vein, can you imagine the utter phoniness that
would go along with a Hillary Clinton acceptance speech?

That is something none of us wants to see, hear, or feel. It  makes me
nauseous to even consider it a possibility.

We can do something about it now. It’s sooo early. Do not be
disheartened. We can win this thing…but let us not forget that we
can lose this thing too…this is, indeed, the urgency of now.

I close with the quote from profile…

Our campaign’s decided advantages in enthusiasm, talent, genius, and
education notwithstanding, we’ll need more to defeat Hillary’s

We have to outwork them in every way, every day, until the Democratic Convention.

It’s on… so let’s get to it. Let’s get our man the votes and
delegates he needs!

Wednesday, January 9th
What: “California Counts” Press Event
Location: Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street (on 1st Street steps)
Time: Noon

Best Regards To All of You,
J. Rich

—–Original Message—–
From: David Plouffe
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 12:16 PM
To: #Staff-All
Subject: One more thing
We WON this fucking thing.  Apologies for language.  But seemed appropriate.

The campaign volutneer shirt…

My precinct captain’s t-shirt…

Yes, we did. And, yes, we can, again.

My Letter To The Electoral College

Dear Elector,

My name is Jeff, I’m 43 years old and I live in Los Angeles, CA.

I would like to ask you to fulfill your role as an Elector, and dutifully not elect Donald J. Trump for the Presidency, for the reasons outlined below.

First and foremost, Mr. Trump, personally, has billions of dollars in debt to foreign interests, such as state-run Russian and Chinese banks.

Additionally, Mr. Trump has repeatedly stated that he does not intend to divest from his international businesses.

So, if chosen by the Electors, Mr. Trump’s Presidency will be under immediate constitutional challenge due to the Emolument Clause of the Constitution.

This will cause great stress, expense and undue harm to the American people, as lawsuits (due to the precedent of Clinton vs. Jones) will undoubtedly be filed against Mr. Trump.

I reiterate that you please keep in mind that Mr. Trump’s substantial indebtedness to foreign powers makes it reasonable to expect that Mr. Trump’s decisions will be effected due to these foreign debt overhangs. It is reasonable to suspect that his judgment could be effected due to these debts, and this would be detrimental to the interests of the United States of America.

As Electors, you are within your rights to call for Mr. Trump to clear his foreign debts and for him to divest from his international businesses.

And, if Mr. Trump complies with those caveats, then absolutely, as Electors, you should elect Mr. Trump as the 45th President of the United States as he has been awarded the most Electors within the Electoral College.

However, if Mr. Trump chooses to stay indebted to foreign powers and he chooses to keep his international business holdings, then I contend it is clear that he is more concerned with his personal interests than serving those of the American people in the Executive Branch. He would then be, henceforward, unelectable, due to provisions set forth in the Constitution of the United States.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.