The Tree-Killing Poet of Santa Cruz - Glendale City and Santa Cruz Rob Locals of Their Green

This is a case of Xtreme Green PC fusing in a most horrific way with petty government bureaucracy to form a hybrid and ruthless monster that continues even now to oppress and frighten the California natives. Is this poetic justice? ... I have permission from THE POTOMAC to reprint this priceless piece written by the poet victim himself, Robert Sward.

THE KILLER OF KILLER TREES OUT ON A LIMB IN SANTA CRUZ -- so the headline read, but "Robert Sward, 68, of Santa Cruz, doesn't look, sound or act like a tree murderer."

The Sacramento Bee, after a few kind words about my poetry (“his verse, more lovely than any weed tree...”) went on, “One might suppose Robert would obey the city ordinance that protects heritage trees. Instead, he flings it down and dances upon it.”

The blue gum eucalyptus—or “gasoline tree,” as firefighters call it—is an invasive exotic from Australia that evolved with fire. Fire doesn’t kill blue gums. Instead, it clears out the competition and opens their seed pods.

After ten years of appealing to The City, I took the law into my own hands and murdered a tree. A few weeks later, I stood before Santa Cruz City Council, our lawyer present, facing a $9,000 fine. The tree resided in what PC officials choose to call a “grove.” The grove in question, four or five shallow-rooted, fire-prone monsters endangering our home, is situated on our property, on which we pay taxes.

Our property, our trees, our taxes.

Yes, I was once politically correct, a stoned, well-intended, holier-than-thou innocent. That was in the days before political correctness became a force that would determine the outcome of elections. That was back before I became “an enemy of the people.” That is, an enemy of the blue gum euc.

You don’t run for office, certainly not in this area, unless you’re PC and pro-euc. Hence the power of those who would fine us $9,000.

True, City Council later reduced the fine to $1,500, which our lawyer suggested we pay.
“All of which has Santa Cruz’s tree-killing poet [and his neighbors] bewildered,” said the Los Angeles Times in a Column One, front page feature. Yes, it’s true. I am bewildered.
“Sward doesn’t see the sense of it: These are his trees. This is his danger. “ There are some in Santa Cruz who believe the blue gum is more important than human life.” And that’s not an exaggeration. An esteemed arborist who himself works for the city told me, “There are people on Santa Cruz City Council who wouldn’t move a eucalyptus if it were lying across the body of a small child.”

And my problems are small compared to those of Ann Collard.

Back last November I picked up a copy of the Los Angeles Times. The headline: OUT ON A LIMB OVER A TRIMMING FIASCO. And the lead: “Everybody's got a horror story about a bureaucratic nightmare, but if you can top this one, call me collect at your earliest convenience.”

According to the Times: “. . . Ann Collard was seven months pregnant with her third child in June when an abatement notice came from the Glendale Fire Department. She and her husband, Mike, were ordered to clear some foliage and maintain 5 feet of 'vertical clearance between roof surfaces and overhanging portions of trees.' ”

The Collards knew their oaks and sycamores needed a trim. And so they talked to neighbors, did a little research and called a recommended tree trimmer based in Orange County. For $3,000, the guy said, he'd remove about 15% of the foliage and they'd be in the clear. The Collards asked if a permit was necessary. Not at all, said the licensed trimmer, who told the Collards he'd done lots of work in Glendale.

On the third day of the three-day job, the city's urban forester happened to be in the neighborhood, and noticed the tree trimmer doing his thing. “She saw what was happening and said, ‘Stop! Cease and desist!’” says Mike, a work-at-home software and computer guy.

Finally, a letter arrived. It was from Glendale's Neighborhood Services administrator. “Dear Owner,” it began. “The city of Glendale is committed to maintaining a community with quality streetscapes that include the care and well-being of protected indigenous trees.”

The letter informed them they had improperly pruned 13 trees, some of them on city property because they were near the street, and some on their own property. The fine was listed on Page 2, where the Collards were informed they would be charged “two times the value of the damaged tree(s).”

“Total: $347,600.”

The Collards hired an attorney who got hold of the arborist's report, which alleged they'd had up to 60% of the foliage whacked on some trees. The trimmer used spiked shoes, too. A no-no. But they dispute the 60% allegation and have before-and-after pictures to argue their point. The Collards then called City Hall repeatedly to see if someone might offer them an option other than robbing a bank. When they got no satisfaction, they started a website to lay out their case and call for revision of the tree-cutting ordinance.

The Collards soon found out they weren't the only victims of excessive fines.

One can't help but wonder if the city of Glendale wasn't waxing judgmental in order to conveniently pad the budget?


Profile of a Fox News Slogger and Sociopath, Michelle Malkin, Doing Her Part to Keep The War Money Flowing

One of the favorite darlings of the oil and debt Republicans, slogger (sleazy + blogger) Malkin, is at it again. Taking the Fox News-Corporate-Right-Murdoch party line because she is utterly incapable of doing anything that actually smacks of free will, Malkin has pronounced on her slog (sleazy + blog) that anyone who dares prefer Obama over Bush Redux is automatically supporting terrorists and wants America to "fail" ... As if we succeeded with Bush and now we just want to undo his grand accomplishments?

Michelle Malkin's view is so infantile and brown-nosing, I don't know where to start. Should I roll with pigs and get slop on me? Here is what she says:

If a bin Laden tape comes out tomorrow singing “I’m a vote Obama-way”, it would no longer be new information to me. Yeah, we get it. People who want to see America humbled and defeated reliably and continually advocate Obama. Something about his presidency, they think, will bring more success to their nefarious plans and fulfill their interests.

If she didn't get her paycheck from Fox News, I would believe her a paranoid schizophrenic in need of a thorazine dart. Late breaking news, Michelle: you stop terrorists by cutting off their funding and attacking the leadership. Do your homework! Spending billions funding your favorite corporate contractors with enough left over to make sure our people die useless deaths, does nothing to combat terrorism. It only helps Fox News execs who own shares in companies that are growing richer and richer in Iraq.

Stop being a sociopath for a few minutes, k?


Clinton-appointed Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly Rejects FOIA, Sides With The White House, and Thereby Gives Democracy A Strong Slap in The Face

Anxious to avoid future criminal trials brought by a Justice Department not puppet-mastered by George Bush Jr., White House staff have been burning, losing, and generally destroying records of its wrong-doing. Stepping forth to assist them in this horrendous and thankless task is Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly (a favorite of former Chief Justice Rehnquist). Prior to her involvement, the White House office in question, the Office of Administration, had routinely responded to FOIA requests, that is until a request from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) wanted paperwork that might prove incriminating. And why? Because they were hot on the trail of millions of "lost" White House emails.

CREW argued that the Bush White House may have been covering up links to a lobbying scandal, alleged political influence at the U.S. General Services Administration and other problems by deleting the e-mail. White House staffers sometimes used outside e-mail accounts to conduct official business, CREW said in an April 2007 report. Rather than producing the requested materials, the Office of Administration quite suddenly reversed its decades-long policy of complying with FOIA requests.


According to Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director: "The Bush administration is using the legal system to prevent the American people from discovering the truth about the millions of missing White House e-mails," she said in a statement. "The fact is, until CREW asked for documents pertaining to this problem, the Office of Administration routinely processed FOIA requests. Only because the administration has so much to hide here, has the White House taken the unprecedented position that OA is not subject to the FOIA."

By splitting hairs with FOIA, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was able to effectively dismiss the CREW lawsuit and thus deliver yet another blow to democracy in America.

How can we thank her enough?


Why Professor Jeremy Waldron is Wrong in His Desire to Censor Speech

Arguments for limiting freedom of speech are being heard in America, and some advocate adopting a more European model, the kind that recently resulted in that outspoken French xenophobe Bridgette Bardot being fined over $20,000.00 in France because she dared to criticize an Islamic sheep-killing ceremony.

An American "legal philosopher" quoted recently in the NY Times, Professor Jeremy Waldron, believes American laws and courts should be in the business of fining and punishing Americans for speech that doesn't show "respect." In the NY Review of Books last month, Professor Jeremy Waldron said, "It is not clear to me the Europeans are mistaken when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack."

The problem, of course, is how to define emotional flashpoint terms like "vicious" ... And whose opinion do you accept? If a judge comes under political or social pressure, he will strike the gavel and fine Bridgette Bardot tens of thousands for "recklessly offending" the Islamic culture with her "hate speech." But are we assured that punitive actions will always be fair and balanced? Of course not. Imagine the media in America being fined heavily or editors jailed for criticizing the Catholic Church for coddling guilty pedophiles.

Perhaps, if Jeremy had his way, I would already be in prison?

Therefore, we're back to the good old American model. Debate and disagreement in a public forum of ideas, in the open. Isn't that a much more effective way of diluting and defying hate speech than any attempt to impose government censorship? I ask you.

Censorship only creates smoldering resentment and martyrs for a cause. Bardot is one of them.

Are you listening, Professor?


Burmese Comedian, Zarganar, Once Again Jailed by Paranoid Generals

Zarganar, who has a history of helping the Burmese people and defying the brutal dictatorship in charge, was once again detained and abused according to formula. Burma is a thumb in the eye of any U.N. or U.S. hypocrite who calls for world peace and justice while doing an ostrich routine as the ruthless oppressors of Burma go about their sworn duty to bully and murder anyone who doesn't agree with their viewpoint.

Generally, I would not call for military intervention. But here it would be perfectly moral, like the NATO war in Bosnia to finally halt the "cleansing of bad blood" from holy Serbia.

I say, let there be blood.

And I don't give a damn if the Chinese don't like it.


Bush Appointed Judge Wendell P. Gardner, Jr. Does His Part to Censor Free Speech

Pardon my passion, but this pushes a big button in me. In an act that I can only define as despicable, Bush-appointed Judge Wendell P. Gardner, Jr., sentenced several protestors to jail time on May 30 for exercising their First Amendment rights at the Supreme Court. How dare they! According to one of the protestors, Michael Foley, a history professor at City University of New York (interviewed by Common Dreams):

When a few people attempted to unfold a banner, and others attempted to expose their Shut Down Guantanamo t-shirts, the police went wild. It was mayhem, as they literally pounced on a whole bunch of people who had not yet said a word. I saw several officers tear the banner out of someone’s hands, even though it never got unfolded so you could see what it said. After all of this started to happen, about a dozen people on either side of the Great Hall knelt down — maybe to avoid being knocked over, maybe to pray — while others read a statement. I know I saw Susan Crane and Bill Streit try to read statements after the arrests began, but the police just snatched the statements out of their hands. There was so much noise from the police and their radios, though; one could not hear anything being said. I saw Nancy Gowan who had knelt down get practically body-slammed by a police officer and dragged away.

And further:

We were not disruptive in any way. And who knew that free speech would be restricted just steps from the Supreme Court chamber? You know, I teach the U.S. Constitution to undergraduates, and if you told me that an American could be arrested or exercising the right to free speech just twenty feet from where the justices decide First Amendment Cases, I would have said you were crazy.

True to form, the D.C. police acted brutally and without regard to human rights, Constitutional provisions, or anything else that might redeem them and make them appear less than the gangsters they really are.

As for Judge Wendell P. Gardner, Jr., he was utterly predictable.

NYC or DC More Corrupt? NYC Council and Mayor Adrian Fenty - Same as The Old Boss

Not needing more than ten minutes of googling research, I was able to effectively capture the feel for the ongoing and pervasive corruption in two major American cities--getting worse by the year, and yet, perhaps more ignored than ever--reminding you of the manner in which so many Americans will just turn off to bad news as it gets worse and worse. It's too much for them, too disruptive to their day, too surreal for reality.

Let's start with NYC, from Judicial Watch:

City Council members in New York have legally steered millions of tax dollars to relatives, spouses and friends thanks to a city measure that grants lawmakers large slush funds to be spent however they please.

Each of New York’s 51 council members gets a chunk of cash that can be spent at the discretion of the council member. Ideally, the money is supposed to provide valuable community services but no one bothers to follow up, leaving the system rife with fraud, corruption and conflict of interest.

So far, at least seven of the city’s 51 lawmakers have been caught distributing millions of public dollars to relatives, spouses and friends. One lawmaker, Larry Seabrook of the Bronx, actually gave nearly $1 million to a suspicious group—Bronx African American Chamber of Commerce—with the same address as his office.

A pair of councilmen from Manhattan and Queens, each gave questionable nonprofits $400,000. One group was operated by the lawmaker’s top aides and the other featured the councilman’s sister on the board of directors. A Brooklyn Councilman gave $356,000 to a nonprofit operated by his chief of staff, who got caught embezzling $145,000 and another Brooklyn councilman gave a group that employs his wife nearly $200,000

Now onto D.C., and mayor Adrian Fenty. A small sample of what is available:

What D.C. Elves Do With Your Taxes (Colbert I. King)

BNET number crunching on DC school waste

The soccer stadium fiasco led by Marion Barry

Colbert I. King, a respected columnist for the Washington Post, recently and strongly bemoaned the fact that while D.C. school students still lack basic stuff like buildings with heat and leak-free plumbing, Mayor Adrian Fenty and his cronies continue, no different than past regimes, to push the agenda of the city's corporate power brokers--you know, the gals and guys that want D.C. taxpayer funds to go for more important things like soccer stadiums and centers for the arts.

It's all in the record, for anyone to see. I suggest the Black and White left conduct their studies on the role city corruption plays in depriving Black youth of opportunities. But I doubt this will ever happen? Why?

You know why. It has something to do with religion.

"Denver! Denver!" Hillary's Campaign Throws a Collective Tantrum and Promises Scorched Earth - Starring Harriet Christian of New York

Howard Dean was shouted down, booed, and heckled by Hillary's supporters, as were other members of the Democratic committee that met recently to hash out the contentious Michigan/Florida delegate issue. Once it became clear that Hillary would not get the Michigan votes she wanted (where Obama was not on the ballot) her supporters chanted "Denver! Denver!" as a collective threat ... meaning, they will earth-scorch the Democratic party if Hillary doesn't get the delegates she wants.

Such behavior by the Hillary/Bill mob is now soooo beyond the pale. Her followers apparently will bring more war to this country if their candidate doesn't win. They will hand the RNC the victory they need to continue the looting of the American treasury and the killing of Americans.

Oh, and Howard Dean must now be the biggest misogynist in the universe, no?

Regardless, here is a bit of tragicomic relief. Is there such a thing as a liberal redneck? Let's ask Harriet Christian, a Hillary supporter from New York City:

And in case Harriet should forget: