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What’s The Matter With Harvard?


Dorothy Reik

Special To Topanga Journal

When people think of Harvard they think of John F. Kennedy, not Henry Kissinger – but war criminal Kissinger, the architect of US regime change and genocide worldwide, is still on the faculty of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  And the Koch Brothers are major funders of the School of Government named after JFK.   Is it any wonder that Sean Spicer, Corey Lewandowski and Betsy DeVos were offered visiting fellowships while the fellowship offer to Chelsea Manning – who might actually teach the students something – was withdrawn! 

Dorothy Reik, President of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains

By Dorothy Reik

There is, of course, a cabal of conservative professors encouraging these people along their paths to this radical right wing mindset – especially the sexist 85 year old Harvey Mansfield and economist Marty Feldman who is currently predicting a recession – about that he is probably right!  The others cited are Greg Makiw, Ruth Wisse and Peter Berkowitz.  How can five professors create so much chaos?  

“With these professors it’s no wonder Harvard graduates plenty of radically conservative wingnuts who “serve” in the Senate, the House and on the Supreme Court where they wreak havoc on the lives of women, children, the poor, the sick and anyone who is in need of help the government might provide.” Dorothy Reik

With these professors it’s no wonder Harvard graduates plenty of radically conservative wingnuts who “serve” in the Senate, the House and on the Supreme Court where they wreak havoc on the lives of women, children, the poor, the sick and anyone who is in need of help the government might provide. They think abortion is murder, ketchup is a vegetable and if you are sick and can’t afford care that is your personal problem. 

The most visible of the Senators is Ted Cruz who filibustered the Senate by reading Green Eggs and Ham in an effort to shut down the government to stop the Affordable Care Act. Everybody hates him except the voters of Texas!  Running a close second is Tom Cotton who is single handedly is trying to stop the criminal justice reform act that could finally come up for a vote in the Senate. They are joined by Senator Ben Sasse,  who said he would not support Trump – but then he did,  Pat Toomey who won the seat once held by Arlen Specter after failing to defeat him previously when he charged that Specter was not conservative enough and Mike Crapo whose name tells the whole story.

And then there is the Congress where we find David Vitter – the evangelical who consorted with prostitutes but was re-elected anyway in a precursor to the election of adulterer Donald Trump with evangelical support. He is joined by fellow Harvard alums and back benchers Dan Sullivan and Elise Stefanik.  

Finally we have to look at the Supreme Court where Harvard radicals follow the lead of the late Antonin Scalia, another proud Harvard alum. Right now we have Neil Gorsuch who ruled that a truck driver should die rather than abandon his rig to seek help, and John Roberts who oversaw the dismantling of Voting Rights Act. Nice going guys! 

But I would be remiss if I ended this article without mentioning Harvard’s latest investment – California water! Harvard is busy buying up low lying vineyards with lots of underground water – a good investment for their 39 billion dollar endowment!  Maybe that’s what’s wrong with Harvard – too much money! Stay tuned and pray for rain! 

ON THE WEB:

https://medium.com/@dorothyreik


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Democratic Superstars Mingle With Activists In Topanga


Special To Topanga Journal

It was a star-studded Democratic Saturday afternoon in Topanga as a green lawn was rolled out for the progressive elected officials and activists. Before the program began activists and legislators mingled on the deck enjoying vegan Thai food and drink, marveling at the view and enjoying the company of fellow progressives.

Kriss Perras, Publisher & Editor Malibu Arts Journal

By Kriss Perras

When the program began progressives were elated to hear Alan Minsky has taken the helm as Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). US Representative Ted Lieu gave the first award as the program got underway. He had arrived early and was swarmed by activists and constituents. US Senate Candidate Kevin De León, who was receiving an award,  comfortably mingled with activists and constituents. The annual event garnered about 200. California State Senator Ben Allen, awardees Jackie Goldberg, Ani Zonneveld, comedian and Zonneveld’s friend, Mona Shay, Alan Minsky, Lila Garrett, Harvey Wasserman, Mimi Kennedy, Susie Shannon, Russell Greene, RL Miller, Michelle Sutter, Larry Gross and even CODEPINK was in the house! 

“My disappointment has turned to outrage. Complicity and capitulation will not shield essential human rights from Donald Trump and the Republican enablers marauding on Capitol Hill.” Kevin De León

Congressman Lieu was there to present the Tim Carpenter Courage Award to activist and honoree Zonneveld from Muslims for Progressive Values. Shay treated the activists to a mini roast of Zonneveld, who then spoke of her work for women’s rights to free Muslims imprisoned in their home countries. She ended her talk with an inspirational song as the audience cheered her on. Goldberg received the Lifetime Achievement award for her long-standing career as a leader and activist both inside and outside the party. Her award was presented by activist Gross from Coalition For Economic Survival and Director of Region 12 off the Democratic Party. Goldberg got the crowd going with her fiery speech encouraging them all to increase their activism. 

DNC member Shannon and environmental activist Miller, early supporters of de Leon’s Senate race against Feinstein, presented his award. De León spoke on progressive values and the hard fought passage of his bill SB100 all the way to Governor Brown’s signature and enumerated many of the other bills he had passed as a California legislator and leader of the California Senate. Toward the end of his speech he donned a dark blue cap with the gold embroidered numbers 100% to symbolize the bill’s renewable energy goal by the year 2045. This was historic because no other economy as large as California’s has committed to 100% clean energy. Feinstein had refused to debate de León and after his speech the reasons were obvious. Most recently he laments the leaderless Democratic Senate on the Kavanaugh hearing. 

“My disappointment has turned to outrage,” said De León in a statement. “Complicity and capitulation will not shield essential human rights from Donald Trump and the Republican enablers marauding on Capitol Hill. I would sooner walk out into the streets and protest with people we represent than remain in that Senate chamber where diplomatic bluster is worth less than the paper the members’ talking points are printed on. We deserve better because too much is at stake.”

The event was held at the Topanga home of Dorothy Reik, President of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM). Attendees were treated to a clear view of the city lights of Los Angeles below and the stars above as the sun set.   

ON THE WEB:

https://www.kevindeleon.com

https://lieu.house.gov

http://www.mpvusa.org

http://climatehawksvote.com

 


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Kevin de León Wins Democratic Endorsement 65% In Crushing Blow To Feinstein

editor@topanga-journal.com

In a hard fought battle against an entrenched Senator from 25 years in office, Progressive challenger Kevin de León, the former California Senate Pro Tem, just won the Democratic Party endorsement, voted on by the party’s Executive Board in Oakland on Saturday evening. De León won at 65 percent siding with him, or 217 out of the 333 delegates, according to stats from the Party. The devastating part for Feinstein was only 7 percent endorsed her, or 22 votes, and 94 gave no endorsement whatsoever, or 28 percent. It was a crushing blow for the Feinstein campaign.

De León has had grassroots support that couldn’t be shut down no matter how hard the establishment tried. The movement he started when he began his campaign couldn’t be shut down. He nearly won the endorsement the first time at 54%. This time he went over the top.

“First, to the members of the California Democratic Party, this is your victory, said de León. “Earning the endorsement of so many leaders and activists of the California Democratic Party isn’t just an honor and a privilege; today’s vote is a clear-eyed rejection of politics as usual in Washington, D.C. Through years of hard-won progress, we have proven to the world that California can forge a path for the rest of the nation.”

Party activists and early supporters of de León have been hitting it hard at phone banks, fundraisers and on Act Blue to give the candidate what he needed to keep his campaign going. Feinstein has on many occasions let the Party faithful down. She declared support for the death penalty at state conventions in the 1990’s, but now that she faces a Progressive candidate, she says she opposes the death penalty.

For his part de León now having won the Democratic Party endorsement has renewed his call for debates. Feinstein said after the primary she would debate her challenger.

“The nation’s most accomplished Democratic Party is leading the call for a new generation of leadership who will fight to advance a bold agenda. I have never been more committed to giving every Californian a real opportunity to succeed,” said de León. “We have presented Californians with the first real alternative to the worn-out Washington playbook in a quarter-century. As the California Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate, I renew my call for a debate.”

Dorothy Reik, Executive Board delegate, early supporter of de León and President of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM) organized phone banks, handed out KDL buttons, even the ones off her shirt, to everyone she met. She organized fundraisers for de León and voting guides for the party.

“Kevin will bring California’s values and economic growth to the rest of America,” said Reik. “A brand new country was born tonight. Feinstein should concede.”

US Senate Candidate de León ran on a straight Progressive platform: single payer healthcare, a woman’s right to choose, abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, clean energy — which is a continuation of his time as Senate Pro Tem where he ushered through environmental bills like SB350 where 50 percent of California’s energy must come from renewable sources by 2030 — gun control, free public education, immigration reform and legalized cannabis on the federal level.

Recently de León came to the Santa Monica Progressive Democratic Club in the City of Santa Monica. He spoke of the McConnell Rule and the Supreme Court in the US Senate and a number of other topics.

“Obviously the McConnell Rule that was in force on Democrats during the Obama Administration during the last few years was unbecoming, obviously. But I will say this, Republicans play hard. And they don’t capitulate. Whether you concur or not concur, and I know you don’t concur. One thing is unambiguous, they play hard ball. Things that we would be shocked by, they don’t care. They move forward. The GOP tax plan vote in December quite frankly was unpopular among even Republican voters around the country. The leadership made a decision. They said full steam ahead. They have the courage of their convictions, whether we agree with their convictions or not, and I know we don’t. But they move forward. There is no room for ambiguity or vagueness. We capitulate too much in Washington. As a result this is what happens. That’s why folks are getting tired of the same-o same-o from the establishment in Washington.”

There was a rousing applause from the room full of supporters that came to hear him speak. De León flew in to LAX from Sacramento at 5:30pm and made it to the Club’s meeting room by 7:00pm to talk to supporters. He came to Santa Monica specifically to speak just to that group for that hour or so visit. When he was finished he got right back on a plane and headed back to Sacramento.

“I know when I became leader of the California State Senate by definition one could say well you are the establishment,” said de León. “I made the decision to say as leader, I’m going to move policies and use my political capital while I occupy a position of great power to effectuate positive change with raising the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour, equal pay for women doing equal work, the most far reaching climate change policies in the entire nation, cap in trade in terms of making sure that at least a quarter of the billions of dollars go into poor communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change as well as other smog pollutants.”

Feinstein’s campaign issued a statement to the press that appeared to de León’s supporters as an attempt to temper the loss.

“While 217 delegates expressed their view today, Senator Feinstein won by 2.1 million votes and earned 70 percent of the Democratic vote in the California primary election, carrying every county by double digits over her opponent,” Millman said. “We are confident that a large majority of California Democrats will vote to reelect Sen. Feinstein in November.”

From the June 6, primary, Feinstein only got 44.2 percent of the vote. Feinstein also only got 37 percent of the last Democratic endorsement earlier this year to de León’s 56 percent, neither receiving the necessary 60% at that time out of 2,800 delegates.

To de León supporters, this endorsement vote is the strongest rebuke of the Feinstein campaign yet. What this means for the Progressive candidate now is de León will be on the California Democratic Party slate mailers, door hangers and email blasts with an outreach that tops 2 million. This also will lead to a huge boost to de León’s campaign coffers. At last filing on May 16, de León had $693,689 in the bank. The endorsement means he can now raise money in conjunction with the Party.

Letter To The Editor: Dorothy Reik

It started and ended with children – side by side with creatures the west calls fearsome but Koreans call friends – white tigers especially! Doves were everywhere. Drones where happy points of light turning a dove into the Olympic rings. Nowhere were the militant drums that announced the start of the Chinese games – Korean drums are soft, are all about Ying and Yang. This ceremony was years in the planning – before the North Koreans announced their Olympic peace plan. The whole world was watching joyfully as the two Koreas marched in together but in his box, sitting just below the sister of Kim Jun Un, Mike Pence was fuming at the thought of peace and love and hoping for war and hate – but his lust was not satisfied – not even for one second. Love won. Hate lost. The children led us from ancient times to the present in a straight line from superstition to science, from animism to robotics. And then there was John Lennon’s Imagine – sung by all the different styles of Korean singers – filling the peninsula with love and peace. Over and over they sang out – “Imagine all the people, living life in peace..” Two Korean hockey players – one from each side of the soon to be a historical curiosity DMZ – carried the torch on its last leg and handed it off to Yuna Kim who lit the Olympic flame. Let the games begin. Let the wars end. The Olympic games gave the ancient world a temporary truce. Let’s hope these games give the Koreans at least a permanent peace.

Imagine
John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Heavy Weight Democrats Mingle In Topanga

Rep Ted Lieu Rep Barbara Lee PDSSM President Dorothy Reik | Photo by Kriss Perras

US Representative Ted Lieu (33rd Congressional District) presented US Representative Barbara Lee (13th Congressional District) with an award for her career efforts on September 9, 2017 in Topanga at a meeting of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM). There were over one-hundred-fifty Democrats in attendance, with nearly thirty high profile Democrats there to mingle and answer questions. Among some of the high profile individuals were California State Senator Henry Stern (27th District), California State Senator Ben Allen (26th District), Katie Hill, who is seeking election in the 25th District, well-known journalist Robert Scheer, Ed Pearl from the what was known as the Ash Grove, long time anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman and Jodie Evans from Code Pink, among others.

Representative Lee attended Mills College as a single mother of two sons. It was there as president of Mill’s College Black Student Union that she met and invited Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, to speak on campus. From this friendship Representative Lee ended up registering to vote for the first time and working on Chisholm’s historic presidential campaign.

Representative Lee was presented the 2017 Inside The Democratic Party Tim Carpenter Courage Award by Representative Lieu and PDSMM President Dorothy Reik.

“When I think about Barbara, one word comes to mind, and that is courage,” said Representative Lieu to the large gathering. “In 2001, she was the only one to vote against the authorization of military force. Her reason is she thought it would be a blank check for all future conflicts. And she was right.”

Lee spoke upon her receipt of the award about her continued battle against a blank check.

“Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump both have their hands on the nuclear codes. I’ve got to say thank you to Ted because he has introduced a bill, HR669, saying the President shall not conduct a nuclear first strike unless he or she comes to Congress,” said Representative Lee. “Ted has built support for that, and it is needed now more than ever. We received 500,00 petitions several months ago when he introduced it. I’m a proud co-sponsor of it. So Ted we’re going to get that bill passed.”

Wasserman was presented with the 2017 Outside The Democratic Party Tim Carpenter Courage Award by election protection activist Mimi Kennedy.

“I’m wearing a t-shirt that says no nukes,” said Kennedy. “ That was a phrase Harvey coined. To bring things full circle, it was the no nukes rock concerts Harvey produced that brought Tim Carpenter of age as an activist.”

In 1973, Wasserman helped pioneer the global grassroots movement against atomic reactors. Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, CSN, James Taylor and others were at those no nuke rock concerts Wasserman helped produce. With these celebrities, Wasserman also helped found NukeFree.org.

“There’s a woman I met in Northern California,” said Wasserman to the group. “who has printed a bumper sticker that says ‘We Still Have Each Other.’ I think one of the things that’s so hard about living with Donald Trump in the White House, I won’t call him the President. He’s the resident of the White House. The illegitimate resident of the White House. One of the things that is so hard about him is that he exists at all. I’ve never met a human being like this. And we can talk about the politics. We can talk about the manipulations and the theft, but this guy is a shonda. But the idea to everyday see someone that mean and that cruel and cynical and that crazy is difficult for all of us. I want to invite you all as I do at gatherings to hug each other.”

Members of the group did indeed hug one another.

Ed Pearl was the recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award presented to him by journalist Robert Scheer. Pearl was one of the founders of the Ash Grove, which opened its doors Friday July 11th, 1958. The Ash Grove was a place of various genres of music and was a political and cultural center in its day. It was something of a salon in its time.

“I happened to be at the Democratic Convention in 1956 in Chicago,” said Scheer as he was introducing Pearl. “I ran for the seat of Barbara Lee’s. I have bought into the lesser evil most of my life. I don’t have some sort of hard line ideological position. I am thrilled to be here to introduce a man who brought us music and not only brought us music but brought us courage when most political people didn’t show courage.”

Pearl spoke about the Ash Grove and its beginnings, and the impact of music on people’s lives.

“The great Jazz composer Charlie Mingus once said, ‘music is a continuum, a bottomless source of renewal. You can’t move into the future without a thorough knowledge of the past.’ That statement gets close to the spirit of the Ash Grove,” said Pearlas he accepted his award. “The Ash Grove was a Southern California political and cultural center of the sixties and seventies. It attracted people of all ages, ethnicities, causes and politics.”

The evening concluded with performance poetry from the award winning youth poetry troupe, The Get Lit Players. A special performance was also held by the famous jazz and blues musician Barbara Morrison. The crowd especially seemed to enjoy both of these performances. Toes were tapping to music and fingers snapping to the poetry.

 

 

 

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