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Tag: Los Angeles Free Press (page 1 of 16)

Phil Drucker Rants for 3-31-20: “Did You Know He Bred Deerhounds Too?”

Sydney Thompson Dobell was a poet who in his day was perhaps of some minor notoriety and merit, but not much. Born on April 5, 1824, Syd was the son of a wine merchant on his father’s side and on his mother’s, the daughter of Samuel Thompson, a London political reformer. He grew up as all good products of Victorian Era middle-class England, a “dandy” of sorts but in his case, with a fierce desire to change the world through political reform, and his poetry.

 As a sentient, somewhat worldly Englishman during the last half of the 19th Century, STD was undoubtedly aware of political and/or artistic events and movements as the Crimean War, Franco-Prussian War, Age of Romanticism and the Belle Époque Era (Golden Era) of French and Western history. During this time, the modernization and attendant carnage of war led to the call for a new type of art, of painting, sculpture and writing to address the pain, suffering and horrors of war previously hidden from public view but now exposed via telegraphed reports from the front and wide access to, at least, for the times, modern photography.

 One of the movements produced by the blending of art, intelligence, pathos and political commentary involved a group of poets often called the Spasmodic school. Reportedly dubbed by no less than Lord Byron, the Spasmodic movement created a kind of realistic, worried about our very existence and heavy (probably too much so) on metaphor style and method to describe the state of enlightened 19th Century thought. I guess you could say it was at the time romantic to live one’s life in vain trying to obtain the unobtainable. Existentialism on steroids I tell you.

 Religion at the time was, for the most part, an internal struggle between the individual and the present-life. Little thought was given to the afterlife. As Plato, most likely quoting Socrates at his trial before he was forced to drink hemlock, said many centuries before,

 “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

 These words, meant to show the banality of living one’s life in a routine dictated by the rules of others, without question, became the rallying cry of enlightened thinkers who, in many ways, wanted nothing more than the ability to make decisions for oneself and to let the chips fall as they may, or may not.

 Writing under the nom de plume Sydney Yendes, Dobell began writing and publishing a series of spasmodic minor poems about life, death, more death, tragedy and political reform including his generally acknowledged masterwork, “The Roman”, to be followed shortly thereafter by “Balder” another dramatic poem of mid-level accomplishment and notoriety.

 T. Dobell was an early and outspoken advocate of Women’s rights and openly championed the cause of the oppressed. He died on August 22, 1874.

 So, why am I writing about this guy? It’s because via his unique blend of metaphor, extravagance, drama, politics, spirituality, unrequited life and death and struggle, he furnished one of my all-time favorite quotes.

 “It is a zealot’s faith that blasts the shrines of the false god, but builds no temple to the true.” – Sydney Thompson Dobell

 True then, perhaps even truer today. Reminds me of Bernie, to be honest. Big Business/Banks suck, yeah, yeah, but what is the alternative? The Solution? Ain’t nothing free. And then there’s Trumpus Unelecticus the fattest of the fatted golden shower manna calves hissself. You are remembered, and admired my friend. Yes, you still are.


More Phil:



Instagram: Philip_Drucker







Phil Drucker’s Rant for 1-28-20: “Astrosmurf (it may Look Blue on the Outside…”

As followers of my column know, I rarely directly discuss politics, much less local politics but something has just crossed my desk that is worth a second (and third) look. On March 3, 2020 there will be a special primary election for the California State Senate, 28th District seat vacated (none too soon I might add) by a scallywag if there ever was one, Jeff Stone.  He left the position of trust placed in him by the good constituents of the 28th mid-term for a job in the Trump administration. I told you this was good. And that is just the start.


One of the reasons I feel the necessity to comment upon all things in the 28th, a district that is roughly the size of and, in fact, looks like Tennessee is that I was the Democratic candidate for the position in 2014. In the traditionally ruby red district I ran against three very well-funded and well-known Republican opponents. Everyone told me I would be lucky if I got 5% of the vote. It was a fool’s errand if there ever was one. So, of course I was perfect for the job and for the record, although I did not win, I was the Democratic candidate who received the most total votes, garnering 17,635 votes for a 18.56% of the total votes cast. I missed getting into the general election by 1,500 votes in an election that, in the end, took a little over 40,000 to win.  So, I believe I did my time and earned my right to a say in this year’s election.


Concerning the 28th, as in all matters politics, I am not the type who votes a straight party or anything else) line. I certainly do not adhere to the policy of voting for the “best” candidate. I vote for the best person. How do I judge who is the best person? I start with a simple proposition. Are they who they “appear” to be? Or, are you asking me to vote for a façade hiding a different, often ugly reality? If you claim to be a Democrat, are you for the people you wish to represent? Or, are you for the special interests, big (often dark) money and government besieged at all levels by lobbyists? Are you for responsible social programs for those in need? Do you believe in clean water and clean air? Do you believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Or do you believe in government by consent? Or, do you believe in rule by a monarch. Speaking of which, do you believe in the rule of law?

It is unfortunate we are in an era of smoke and mirrors, infighting and gas lighting, mob rule and the rule of fools. But it is what it is. And whether it was John Philpot Curran, Wendell Phillips or Thomas Jefferson (nobody knows) who once said;

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Its timeless words are of no less value today regardless of when or in what context they were originally spoken.


as·​tro·​turf·​ing | \ ˈa-strə-ˌtər-fiŋ , -ˌstrō- \
: organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation). Source www.merriam-webster.com

So, who’s surfing or, in this case, smurfing (it may look blue on the outside…) the turf?

As a spectator and amateur historian to the Nixon Presidency, including the Watergate scandal and subsequent resignation-in-shame of the crook-in-chief, I can tell you of no better way of ascertaining the truth than:

“Follow the money” –Deep Throat, played by Hal Holbrook

Ever since it’s appearance in the 1976 film All the President’s Men these sage words have guided the investigative process of many a reporter into the halls of truth. A quick check of the Internet is all that is needed to get your “follow the money” on.


Elizabeth Romero, “Democratic” candidate for the 28th has a problem. An astroturf problem.

Just so we are clear, I do not begrudge any person, group or thing the right to support the candidate of their choice. The Chandi, and his, let’s call it “Collective” (in addition to the person, it has quite a few moving parts- see the now defunct Integrity PAC) builds things. This is good. “They” also support Trump. That is bad. It’s only my opinion, but I smell astroturfing.



Of course, there will be more. There is always more. And when it comes to money and last minute negative television ads, well, let’s call it business as usual.

In conclusion, let me give you another few words of possible wisdom to live by. Big money = little justice. I will not vote for the candidate of little justice. I will not vote for a “Democratic” candidate that takes an endorsement from a Chandi. Oh, and by the way, Astroturfing sucks.

In the interest of disclosure, I have already publicly (where such a thing should be done) chosen to endorse Joy Silver (D) as our next State Senator from the 28th.  Check out her Facebook page. It’s kinda cool.



Did you get your fill of Phil?

Instagram: Philip_Drucker


This is the second Part of last week’s 50-Year Throwback Thursday. In that post, we called your attention to a new weekly feature – Military Affairs.  It reports on the growing resistance to the war within the military itself!  We also mentioned that Military Affairs should have included another article – a very small one in the very center of another one of our pages.  It included a statement from the Wall Street Journal that “an average of 500 GIs desert the  army each week.”

The LA Free Press had already reported on this growing trend  – up 300% from just two years before.  However, when the mainstream press finally published this ‘new revelation’ it was proof-positive that the war was, indeed, coming to an end; it could no longer be hidden, the military itself was imploding.

Yes, the Hippies’ had protested the government’s war, but it was their anti-war mantra that had pushed the better-self of the soldiers to put an end to the carnage.  Please consider how important this lesson is – for, once again, right now – right now – we are again asking our government to put an end to endless war and to start no more.  We are on the brink of an election wherein candidates are asked, on a daily basis, if they will make that promise and, with fingers crossed, our vote for them rests on their affirmative answer.   Instead, wouldn’t we be more certain of peace if we were to revive the chant of “Hell no, we won’t go!”?

The best answer must be informed by the outcome of previous decisions and an honest recounting of history. We welcome your request for our pages from the past.

In the meantime,  let’s just tie up some loose ends from last week.  On the aforementioned page – the one with the article on the rate of desertion – there was both the end of an article  on a fight just begun, and one that begins with a plea for peace.  The pending battle with the UC Board of Regents was, in retrospect, a beginning event to today’s tuition situation, while the interview with John Lennon speaks of a festival that never happened… but now may be an idea that’s time has come.

This is the article concerning the Regents or, more precisely, their intended demise! The very first paragraph sets forth the governing principle, and the balance of the page names names and gets to the crux of the matter – their corporate associations.
In a subsequent article, several Issues from ‘today’, you’ll see exactly how insidious these connections were, converting the institution’s higher-self into a mundane money-magnet, transforming the philosophy of education into the preparation of the corporate worker of the people, by the people, and for the people… who own those corporations.

This second page tells you how that scenario was going to be put to rest. And several Issues from ‘now’ you’ll see how we went from no or low tuition, to the albatross it is today! Perhaps here you will find the real rational to reforming the cost of educating our present generations.

And here’s the wrap up to John Carpenter’s interview of John and… Yoko. In essence, once upon a time there was a plan for a Peace Bag Festival. Not done then, should we do it now?


Per Art Kunkin… “On this page the Free Press publishes the official Santa Monica High School policy on speakers, printed material & demonstrations, as revised in September 1969. It is obvious that this is a document which the educational authorities would (wrongly) like to keep from the eyes of the public because, through the pretense of dealing with disruptive elements, a policy is declared which deprives high school students of any constitutional or moral right to have a say in their own lives. .
The adults responsible for this document cleverly give lip service to-the concept of education. However, no one who reads their own words can fail to understand that these ‘adults: are basically concerned about preventing the high school student from having that meaningful student self-govern­ment and vigorous campus discussion which is central to education today. And these authorities smugly and foolishly try to maintain this totalita­rianism over a student population which has absorbed many lessons about dictatorship and democracy, evolution and counter-revolution, war and peace through the compelling school of mass communications. ·
Several weeks ago the Free Press bannered, ‘The Liberals are Next’ in connection with the current repression of black people. This week we are bannering, ‘High Schools are Next.’ There is no contradiction. The first headline dealt with the developing counter-revolution, the current headline with the developing freedom revolution – and in our time revolution and counter-revolution are·closely intertwined. It is precisely because of the anti-democratic policy revealed on this page that the high school student is bound to revolt in the name of freedom even while the counter-revolution strives to stifle freedom elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the limitations of space have demanded that we edit this document. The editing has consisted of deleting quotations cited from the Santa Monica and State Educational Codes which gives the school authorities the right to use ‘physical control’ over students, to have a parent arrested who ‘insults’ a teacher in the presence of a student, etc. Even with these deletions, the official policy is monstrous.”
This last page of the article on the compromising of Student Rights carries two reports of which you should take note. One is a soldier’s frank admission that his mission is not to further the mission of the armed services, the other is on the Honeywell Project, an effort to put the brakes on one of the prime producers of munitions in that continuing war that that soldier does not want any part of.
Because of the regularity of these types of reports, they are now part of our regular feature, ‘Military Affairs’. In essence, it’s a validation of what we have shown was bubbling up from the underground; that while much of the public is focused on the peace and love mantra of the Hippies – love them as we do – it is the “Hell, we won’t go.” mantra of those who must kill or be killed that will surely bring the military command to their knees.
I’ll finish today’s summation of this week’s Issue by adding yet one more page to this display. It’s Page 9 where, dead center, you can see hard numbers of just how true it is that the armed forces, notwithstanding the Hippie Mantra, is, most definitely, imploding. Yes, it should have been in Military Affairs, we’ll get better at that even as we hope that the war will end before we fully master that skill.
p.s. I suggest that you try to catch LOVE, and on Monday, I’ll post both the beginning of the story on the UC Reagents (the ending is up there in the top left of Page 9), and the balance of Lennon’s thoughts (begun up there in the top right). See you then.

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