Tuesday, April 27, 2021

IN MEMORY OF RALPH WALDO EMERSON...

 



"The Man who has seen the Rising Moon break out of the clouds at midnight has been present like an Archangel at the creation of light and the world."



...who's spirit departed this world 139 years ago today.


Emerson championed a system of ideas—individuality, inner growth, self-reliance, rejection of authority—that established him as one of America’s most influential philosophers.




\

"Every sunset brings the promise of a new day."





Sunday, April 25, 2021

SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS: THE INVESTIGATOR





 



Editor’s note: The Investigator is a new column by longtime Montecito author Robert Eringer. Every other Sunday in the News-Press, Mr. Eringer, who has vast experience in investigative journalism, will address various news issues.


Once upon a time I directed an intelligence service for a European prince and his principality. 

In that capacity, I traveled to San Marino, a tiny microstate surrounded by Italy and one of the world’s oldest republics. Luca, the chief of San Marino’s central bank, told me how “democracy” worked in his country: Six families take turns running it.

Don’t laugh. This is what the Clintons, Bushes and Kennedys evidently had in mind for our republic (and maybe still do).

Which brings us to California and the curious familial relationships of Gov. Gavin Newsom, 53, and the concept of “autocrazy” (autocracy with a twist), involving four families bound by blood, marriage, extramarital dalliances, money and politics.

Gov. Newsom, who faces recall and a new election after 2,117,730 Californians (600,000 more than needed) signed a petition demanding his disqualification and removal from office, is related to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi through his uncle-by-marriage, Ron Pelosi.

But it was the divorce of Gavin’s parents when he was only 2 years old that left him largely under the wing of another illustrious California family: The oil-rich Gettys. 

Gordon and Ann Getty “informally adopted” Gavin, gave him a room in their Marina District home, took him on safari to Africa as a teen and generally treated him as a son.

Gordon Getty’s own father was family patriarch J. Paul, founder of Getty Oil and once the world’s richest man.

But before we get into the Gettys, let’s explore the relationship between the elder Newsoms and Edmund “Pat” Brown, a Democrat whose run for governor they sponsored in 1959 after first bankrolling his election as district attorney in San Francisco.

In return, Gov. Brown awarded the Newsoms and John Pelosi (father of Ron and his brother Paul, Nancy’s husband) lucrative contracts to operate Squaw Valley Resort (site of the 1960 Winter Olympics) near Tahoe City in the Sierra Nevada range — all costs covered by the state in exchange for nothing in return, screwing the taxpayer. (This issue partly led to Gov. Brown’s defeat when he sought a third term in 1966 against Hollywood star Ronald Reagan.)

Following in the footsteps of his father, Gov. Jerry Brown favored the Newsoms, giving William Newsom III, Gavin’s father, a Superior Court judgeship in Placer County and, three years later, a seat on the state Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

In a column two years ago, Ken Herron wrote: “The four families of Pat Brown, William Newsom, John Pelosi and J. Paul Getty have dominated California politics for over 60 years.”

Now back to the Gettys.  

Before becoming a judge, William Newsom III had been J. Paul Getty’s attorney. While a judge he ruled on legal issues favoring the financial situation of J. Paul’s heir, Gordon Getty. Then after retiring from the bench, Mr. Newsom became administrator of the Gordon P. Getty Family Trust, which had benefited from his judgments.  (It was Gavin’s dad, when John Paul Getty III, J. Paul’s grandson, was kidnapped, in 1973, who couriered to Italy the ransom of $2.7 million in cash to buy his freedom.)

William, who passed away in 2018, made no bones about it, famously saying, “I make my money working for Gordon Getty.” (By 1983 Gordon was declared — by Forbes magazine — the world’s richest man with a fortune of $2 billion.)

When young Gavin, now the guv, started his PlumpJack Group wine and hospitality businesses in June 1991 with one of Gordon’s sons, Billy Getty, it was Gordon (who’d attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory with Gavin’s father, William) who supplied the big bucks and even gave the business its name after an opera he had written.

SFGATE reported in 2003: “Getty owns 49 percent of the concern that manages all the PlumpJack businesses; 96 percent of the winery; 96 percent of the partnership that runs the Squaw Valley Inn; and more than 80 percent of Newsom’s real estate development firm.”

An aside here: PlumpJack received $2.9 million in federal funding through the Paycheck Protection Program stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown while hundreds of other small business owners struggled in vain for such assistance. Almost three million dollars for only 14 employees. 

And while the governor has placed his ownership in a blind trust, he continues to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross income each year from the company. Dare I say, whenever there’s a government giveaway, it’s all about knowing the ins and outs of how best to game the system — and being able to afford the right lawyers to do so.

Another PlumpJack partner is Isolep Enterprises, Paul and Nancy Pelosi’s personal investment company (Isolep is Pelosi spelled backwards), incorporated in late 1991 to invest in arenas that may warrant further attention from The Investigator.

Getty family members contributed $500,000 to Gavin’s successful run for governor, having already been Mr. Newsom’s top financial benefactor from the very start of his political career, including elections for two stints as San Francisco mayor and two terms as lieutenant governor, ensuring Gavin’s fast-track to the top — in addition to paying him for “investment advice,” helping him purchase a Pacific Heights house and paying the bills for lavish receptions, including his Great Gatsby-themed thirtieth birthday party.  

Gordon Getty, now 87, also funded the rise to power of Vice President Kamala Harris.

So where do we go from here?

If Gavin is garroted (and this is political mafia, with mainstream media omertacomplicit), where do Nancy Pelosi’s political interests and Getty wealth interests land?

Stymied.

That is because, by Nancy Pelosi’s own decree, no one in the Democratic Party is allowed to challenge Gov. Newsom in a special recall election — or risk becoming persona non-grata within the party if they do.

“I think it’s an unnecessary notion,” Speaker Pelosi said at a press conference in March, disparaging a perfectly legitimate legal process.“I don’t think it even rises to the level of an idea.”

Which means that Nancy’s daughter, Christine, who dabbles in law and Democratic politics but has never quite made a political name for herself beyond ill-tempered Twitter tweets, is not ready to assume the position.

Meantime, the Getty family continues to lose its heirs as members off themselves through drug abuse. John Gilbert Getty died earlier this year from a fentanyl overdose while his brother, Andrew, succumbed to methamphetamine intoxication six years before.

As for Gavin: The Los Angeles Times and Politico are believed to be investigating reports that the governor — married with four children — is having a sexual affair with his Deputy Chief of Staff Lindsey Cobia, which could lead to charges of sexual harassment due to the strict legal standards that exist in California to protect employees from employers that exert control over them in the workplace. (This is not a lifestyle change for Gov. Newsom. When he was mayor of San Francisco in 2007, Gavin was exposed for having an affair with his appointments secretary, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, the wife of his close friend and campaign manager Alex Tourk. At the time, Mayor Newsom blamed his poor judgment on excessive use of alcohol and said he would seek help, but never did.)

According to the San Joaquin Valley Sun, “Gov. Gavin Newsom was engaged in multiple alleged extramarital affairs over the course of 2020, a time where many of his orders shuttered nearly all personal and economic activity across the nation’s largest state.”

(The governor’s mask-less appearance at the ultra-expensive French Laundry restaurant after ordering everyone else in California to remain cloistered at home may be the scantiest garment of his own dirty laundry.)

Thus far, mainstream media has been shielding the governor from these salacious reports.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON?

It is well known that Gordon, a reputed philanderer, kept a second family in Los Angeles with three daughters. It is less known, if believed in certain quarters, that Gordon is actually Gavin’s biological father. Despite questions posed to all parties concerned, there has never been a denial to the contrary.

All of this sounds awfully like the general disarray in which the union’s most populous state finds itself amid the highest COVID casualty rate in the country, lack of adequate vaccine supply, chronic homelessness, a troublesome electrical grid, drought, the highest state tax rate in the nation (13.3%) and government spending like there’s no tomorrow (which there won’t be for your grandkids when they’re enslaved with massive debt and higher taxes).

The industry that thrives best in California these days is the cultivation and sales of cannabis, leaving one to wonder if a haze of idiocracy has settled upon the Golden State.

Because one thing is for sure: The “six families” who take turns running “democracy” in San Marino do a much finer job of governance than the inept political “leaders” of California.


If you have a story idea for The Investigator, contact Robert Eringer at reringer@gmail.com.



Friday, April 23, 2021

ARMENIAN GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE DAY

 





Tomorrow is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. 


To honor this day, it is expected that President Biden, on behalf of the United States, will officially recognize that the massacre of Armenians by the Turks (1915-17) was, in fact, genocide.


George W. Bush, Barrack Obama and Donald Trump all promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide as part of their presidential campaign platforms. 


None of them did.  All three reneged on their word upon reaching the White House after swampy DC advised them that such a declaration would anger the Turks. 


Only Joe Biden had the courage to do the right thing, Turks be damned.


Kudos to Joe.




A quarter-century before the start of World War II, my grandmother, Adrine Kalfayan, was a young teenager in Trebizond, a city in northeastern Turkey on the Black Sea.


In 1915 Turkey was part of the Ottoman Empire.


My grandmother was Armenian.



Through the 1800s and early 1900s, Armenians were treated as second-class citizens in their own historical homeland.


This was because Armenians were Christian and Moslem Turks outnumbered Armenians ten-to-one.


The Armenian nation was first to recognize Christianity as a religion, in the year 301.


Armenia’s homeland, Anatolia, had been absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, which was then a world power.


The Ottoman Empire’s rulers did not like progress.


Without progress, the Ottoman Empire’s army could not compete with armies in Europe, where progress was welcomed, especially to modernize armies.


And so, the Ottoman Empire fell apart in the late 1800s as Greek, Serb and Romanian armies fought against Turks to win independence from the oppressive empire.


Illustration: Van Stein
Armenians did not seek independence from Turks.  They sought equality.  For instance, Armenians were not allowed to vote in the Ottoman Empire.  And, as Christians, they were forced to pay more tax than Moslems.


In 1895, instead of allowing Armenians to vote in elections and making tax equal for all people, the Ottoman Empire’s leader, Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, created a special army to murder 100,000 Armenians.



Illustration: Van Stein
For sure, this special army reduced the Armenian minority if Armenians would ever win the right to vote.  

But perhaps Sultan Abdul-Hamid II forgot it would also result in fewer premium taxpayers.


For reasons that had nothing to do with Armenians, a group of Turks forced a constitutional government on the Sultan in 1908. This group was known as Young Turks.




A constitutional government meant that Young Turks would share power with the Sultan.


Young Turks believed in modernizing their country. They claimed to believe in equality and justice.


Although Armenians supported Young Turks and their progressive thinking, what Young Turks really meant was equality and justice for all Moslems, not Christian Armenians.


Then, in 1913, Young Turks overthrew Sultan Abdul-Hamid II as ruler.  


Three Young Turks—Mehmet Talaat, Ismail Enver, and Ahmed Djemal—became the empire’s new rulers.  Quickly, Mehmet, Ismail, and Ahmed became bossier than the Sultan they had overthrown for being too bossy.


This trio wanted to create a new Turkish empire with one religion.  Their religion.  And they wanted to take over countries to the east.


In between Turkey and countries to the east lay Armenia’s homeland. And two million Christian Armenians.


This did not matter to Young Turks.


And it did not bode well for Armenians.


The Young Turk trio whipped up religious hatred against Christians.  Perhaps they were jealous that Armenians had always been progressive and open to new ideas. And that Armenians were smart and enterprising, educated and skilled, and therefore wealthy compared to most Turks. This was because the Sultan had discouraged learning.  Instead, the Sultan encouraged his subjects to be ignorant, unskilled peasants so that they would be ignorant and loyal to him.


In 1914, the start of World War I created a cover for Young Turks to answer their “Armenian Question.”


This was not a real question.  It was a figure of speech for wanting Armenians to vanish.


The Turks sided with Germany and Austria-Hungary during World War I.


While Germany and Austria-Hungary fought France and Great Britain on European battlefields, Young Turks laid the groundwork for Armenians to vanish.


At that time, 40,000 Armenians served in the Turkish army.  These Armenian soldiers were relieved of their weapons, put to work as slave labor, and eventually shot dead.


Meanwhile, Young Turks ordered all other Armenians to surrender their weapons.


It is never a good sign when a government orders its citizens to surrender their weapons.  This is why the founders of the United States of America granted Americans the right to bear arms.  They did this so Americans would be able to defend themselves against a bossy government. And also rise up and overthrow government if its leaders ever became too bossy.


But back to Armenians, who did as they were told and surrendered their weapons.


Armenians began to vanish on April 24th, 1915.



On this date, about three hundred prominent Armenians were rounded up by Turks and imprisoned, tortured and shot or hanged.


Young Turks needed help to ensure that all Armenians in Turkey would vanish.  So they encouraged other ethnic tribes, such as Kurds, to kill Armenians and steal their possessions.





Young Turks also created a special organization to help Armenians vanish.


This organization was named “Special Organization.” It comprised of criminals who were released from prison in exchange for their willingness to kill Armenians. These criminals were also encouraged to rape Armenian women, including young girls and turn them into sex slaves. And they were allowed to keep everything they could steal from Armenians.


A favorite Turkish vanishing trick was to march, march, march thousands of Armenians up mountains and over cliffs into a river, which turned red from Armenian blood.  Another Turkish vanishing trick was to march, march, march thousands of Armenians into the hot desert, without water, so they would fry to death.


In all, Young Turks made about 1,500,000 Armenians vanish.


My grandmother Adrine and her family were among 500,000 Armenians who did not vanish.


The Kalfayan family left Trebizond by boat in June 1915.  They were on the last boat to leave Trebizond before Young Turks and Kurds massacred all of Trebizond’s 14,000 Armenians.


The Kalfayans sailed to Istanbul, Turkey’s capital, which was then called Constantinople, where they had lived before moving to Trebizond.


Adrine’s father, Azarik Kalfayan, designed rugs for Sultan Abdul-Hamid II.



In 1895 Abdul-Hamid II had rewarded Azarik with a Certificate of Personal Satisfaction, signed by the Sultan.  


Twenty years later, Azarik used his Certificate of Personal Satisfactionas a Get-out-of-genocide-alive card for himself and his family.


But the wide-scale brutal murder of Armenians scarred Azarik’s family psychologically.  Five decades later, when Adrine temporarily suffered mental illness, she believed Young Turks were tracking her movements and wanted to make her vanish.


Back to World War I.  It did not go well for the Ottoman Empire.  Along with Germany, the Ottoman Empire lost and the Allied powers occupied Constantinople.


Before troops of the Allied powers arrived, the Young Turk trio did their own vanishing act.


Aided by Germans, Mehmet escaped by submarine to Germany.


Ismail also fled to Germany.


Ahmed also bolted to Germany.


German turkeys.  Turkish germs.


Armenians hunted Mehmet and Ahmed—and assassinated them within four years.


Ismail was last to die, killed in battle by an Armenian.



Years later, Adolph of Germany should have paid attention to what happened to Mehmet, Djemal and Ismail.


Instead, Adolph tried to solve his “Jewish Question.”


Again, this was not a real question, but a figure of speech for wanting Jews to vanish.

 





Adolph tried to solve his “question” the same as Mehmet, Ismail and Ahmed tried to solve their “question.”


And Adolph also died as a consequence.  


Later, Germany accepted responsibility for their genocidal Holocaust of Jews.



Painting: Van Stein



But Turkey has never acknowledged their genocidal massacre of Armenians.


Instead, Turks deny that they wanted Armenians to vanish.  


In addition, Turks try to silence anyone that publishes information about their genocide against Armenians, as if it can be swept under a magic carpet.


Armenian Lives Matter.


All lives matter.




Tuesday, April 20, 2021

BOOK DRIVE: SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS





 

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