“Local legend ‘Diamond’ Dave mentored Bob Dylan” by Jason Violette

January 25, 2017 (theguardsman.com)

Bob Dylan is an American icon and folk paragon who is now the first singer, songwriter to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for literature.

City College student, poet, philosopher, rambler and Mutiny Radio host “Diamond” Dave Whitaker not only knew Bob Dylan back in the day, but served as a mentor to Dylan.

“Diamond” Dave Whitaker has evolved in conjunction with San Francisco throughout its history for the last half century. He is a local legend, a cultural curator, and advocate of freethinking whose personality radiates with originality.

Whitaker first set out for San Francisco in 1957 to be apart of the “Beat” movement, an American social and literary movement centered in the artist communities of San Francisco. Gallivanting through San Francisco’s Little Italy, Whitaker met poets and philosophers such as, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and other social misfits and anarchist.

Having left the country to go to Israel in 1958, Whitaker returned stateside landing back in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1961. In Minneapolis, Whitaker continued to expand on concepts introduced to him by Kerouac and Ginsberg, nurturing the spirit of the “Beat” generation by encouraging people to play their uniquely styled music.

Whitaker first met Bob Dylan in 1961 at the University of Minnesota, when mutual friend, Bonnie Beacher, bumped into a “bummed out” Dylan who was wrestling with his life’s journey.

After Beacher listened to a young Bob Dylan, he said, “I know where you need to be,” and took Dylan to Whitaker’s house. It was in Whitaker’s living room “where music was going on, where talks of radical politics are going on,” said Whitaker, that the two met for the first time.

Whitaker recalls that it was through his friendship to Dylan that he was first introduced to musician and folk patriarch Woody Guthrie.

“It was when I gave Dylan, Woody Guthrie’s autobiography ‘Bound For Glory’ a book about riding freight trains, playing picket lines, hobo camps and other dives, that Dylan learned of Guthrie,” Whitaker said. “It changed [Dylan’s] life.”

After closing his eyes,Whitaker recollected a story of himself and Dylan attempting to locate and speak with Woody Guthrie. He said Dylan located Guthrie at Greystone Park Mental Hospital in New York City.

“We tried to call [Guthrie] but could not talk to him due to his disease,” Whitaker said Guthrie suffered from Huntington’s disease.

Whitaker said Dylan hitchhiked from Minnesota to Madison, Wisconsin where he stayed with other folk singers who were brought together by their shared radical ideas. According to Whitaker, Dylan continued to travel to Chicago, Illinois and finally New York City.

“In those days there was no modern interstate system, and this is back when there was only three main highways, so it took Dylan a few weeks to make it to New York,” Whitaker said.

A few weeks later Dylan sent Whitaker a postcard, with Guthrie pictured playing a guitar stickered with “this machine kills fascist” on the front, and smoking a cigarette.

“Do you want to know what the card said,’ Whitaker asked.

It read: “Dear Dave, I met Woody, He like’s my stuff.  –Bob.”

I asked Whitaker when was the last time he and Bob Dylan had spoken and if he had any clue as to if and when Dylan would accept the coveted Nobel Peace Prize?

“It had been years since we’ve spoke, Bob will take his time as he always does and do what he thinks is best,” he said.

 Diamond Dave at his second home, SFCC. Photo by Gabriela Remi
Diamond Dave at his second home, CCSF. Photo by Gabriela Remi


OccupyForum presents . . . “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream” – a documentary Skype discussion with director Donald Goldmacher

Monday, January 30 from 6 – 9 pm at The Black and Brown Social Club

474 Valencia between 15th and 16th Streets near the 16th Street BART station

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

OccupyForum presents…

“Heist: Who Stole the American Dream” – a Documentary,

and skype discussion with director Donald Goldmacher

“Heist traces the worldwide economic collapse to a 1971 secret memo entitled “Attack on American Free Enterprise System.” Written over 40 years ago by the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell at the behest of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the 6-page memo, a free-market utopian treatise, called for a money-fueled big business makeover of government through corporate control of the media, academia, the pulpit, arts and sciences and destruction of organized labor and consumer protection groups.

But Powell’s real “end game” was business control of law and politics. Heist’s step by step detail exposes the systemic implementation of Powell’s memo by both U.S. political parties culminating in the deregulation of industry, outsourcing of jobs, and regressive taxation –  all of which led us to the global financial crisis of 2008, the continued dismantling of the American middle class, and the “election” of Donald Trump.

Today, politics is the playground of the rich and powerful with no thought given to the hopes and dreams of ordinary Americans. HEIST goes deep in explaining the greatest wealth transfer of our time. Moving beyond the white noise of today’s polarizing media, HEIST provides us with an explanation of the crisis in which we find ourselves, and the steps we must take to restore representative democracy.”

Donald Goldmacher will lead discussion by Skype on the system as it is intentionally pushed into oligarchy.

Time will be allotted for announcements.

Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

This week’s calendar of events for political activists (from Patricia Gray)

Wednesday  January 25

9:00 am  – 10:00 am      Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant St. Dept 9
                                   SUPPORT SEAN MOORE
                                   There was a call to the SFPD about noise in
                                   an adjoining apartment.  The police came and
                                   assaluted Sean Moore and then shot him
                                   twice.  The body cam did not show Sean
                                   attacking the police as he is charged.
5:00 pm        Across the street from Safeway in Berkeley
                   1444 Shattuck Ave.
                    IS ENOUGH!
                    A homeless man died on the street in a gourmet ghetto.
                    We will have an overnight vigil to protest this and to
                    demand city council members to allow for legal
                    encampments.   Please bring tents and warm clothes
                    and food to share.
                    sponsored by Mike Lee, Homeless Commission
5:30 – 6:30     1 Post St  in front of Senator Feinstien’s office.
                     PEACE VIGIL
                     Sponsored by Code Pink, World Can’t Wait and the
                     S.F. Occupy Action Council
Thursday January 26
5:00 pm       Twitter Headquarters    1355 Market St. S.F.
                   By a 2 to 1 margin people want Trump to give up his
                   twitter account when he becomes our President.  We
                   want a Twitter ban but the company refuses despite the
                   fact of his violations on anti hate policies.
7:00 pm     UU Center  1187 Franklin St. Fireside room
                 DEMOCRATIC PARTY?
                 Speaker  Beck Bond (adviser to Bernie Saunders)
                 The Democrats have lost focus and footing.  How can we
                 take over the Democratic party and start to build a
                 united coalition to effect long term change?
                 sponsor  Progressive Democrats
Friday January 27
7:00 pm     2969 Mission St. S.F.
                 PSL Forum
                 It is time to stand together against Trump’s bigotry.  The
                 Democrats did not call for mass resistance to stop his
                 extreme agenda.  Join us for talkd on hnow to be in a real
                 struggle to stop the Trump agenda.  Plus, videos and
                 photos of the D.C; counter Inaugural protests
                 $3.00 – $5.00 donation  no one turned away
                 refreshments served   more info 415-821-6171
                 It may be time for  us to stop supporting either of the two
                 corporate political parties.  Come and listen to the ideas of
                 the party of Socialism and Liberation.
Saturday January 28
10:00 am   St. Benedict Catholic church 2245 82nd st. Oakland
                Community forum
                Join us to discuss community solutions to the housing
                crisis.  We need to get our elected officials and statewide
                legislators to step up NOW to put proactive solutions to
                the housing crisis.  We need action and we need it now.
12:00 noon     War Memorial Veterans Bldg.
                     401 VAn Ness Ave. S.F.
                     STOP THE KILLER DRONES!
                     Meet and greet at noon, speaker at 12:20
                     info  ratherbenyckeling@comcast.net
7:00 pm     Berkeley Fellowship of UUs
                 Cedar and Bonita in Berkeley
                 Brian Terrell veteran drone protester speaks
Sunday January 29
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm     New Valencia Hall  747 Polk St. near Civic
                                center in S.F.
                               FIGHTING BACK AGAINST TRUMP AND
                               THE RIGHT WING
                               Three Bay Area women report back on the
                               inauguration protests.  Come and hear their
                               experiences and share your thoughts on what
                               is needed to build a movement against the
                               corporate onslaught.
                               info  415-864-1278
                               Sponsor  Freedom Socialist Party
                               There are more than just two political parties
                               in our nation.  We do not have to limit ourselves
                               to choose which of the major two are the
                               worst. We need more choices.
3:00 pm   518 Valencia St. S.F.
               LESSONS FROM HAITI
               *Mobilizing against repression
               *Building people’s movements
               *Resisting stolen elections
               sponsor  Haiti Solidarity

Political Labels & How to Use Them Correctly: Left, Right, Liberal, & Fascist (by John Laurits)

Political Labels: Liberal, Conservative, Left, & Right
Many say that Donald Trump is a fascist, Fox News has repeatedly referred to Barack Obama as a socialist, and, if you read the comments below my articles on Facebook, it won’t take long to find some dingbat claiming that I’m a liberal hack (usually with all-caps, too). All of these political labels, however, are wrong. On most days of the week, Trump preaches nationalism & laissez-faire capitalism (not fascism), Obama promoted neoliberal policies (not socialist  ones), & I am an anarcho-syndicalist hack, not a liberal one. It’s clear what people mean to say, of course — most who say Trump is a “fascist” are really trying to express their concern that he may abuse his presidential powers and, by “socialist,” Fox News was saying they were upset that a Black man was regulating business, which was always Bill O’Reilly’s greatest fear…

Political Labels

In these examples, political labels are used in ways that distort their meaning. This is important because, if you & I have different meanings for words like left, right, conservative, liberal, & socialist, it’s hard to communicate our ideas to each other. No one ought to feel bad or be made fun of for mixing up terms or labels and it’s fine to not know the meaning of a word — it happens to all of us and it’s an opportunity to learn! Now, let’s look at the most commonly misunderstood, misapplied, & mixed up political labels….

Left vs. Right

National Assembly, Left-Right Political Labels

The interior of the French National Assembly building at the time of the French Revolution. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

Left versus right — the great political divide! This pair of political labels first reared their ugly heads during the French Revolution — in the national assembly, supporters of the king sat on the right side & supporters of the revolution, many of them revolutionary socialists, sat on the left side. Newspapers began to describe the assembly in the terms left & right and it all sort of snowballed from there. By the beginning of the 20th century, those who wanted social reform or greater equality, like socialists & communists, were described as being to the left, while reactionaries & defenders of the current establishments & constitutions were described as being to the right.

Generally speaking, leftists want to reform how power & wealth is distributed by a society through social, democratic, economic, or revolutionary means and the right defends society’s institutions from idealistic reforms or tries to get rid of previous reforms.

Liberal & Conservative

Political Labels, Liberals and Conservatives

Political Dialogue in the US

The words, “liberal” (from Latin liber, “free”) & “conservative” (con “together” + servare “to save” = “to keep together” ), can be used to describe the ideas of keeping things as they are & being free to change them. In that sense, they can work similarly to left & right — the word “liberal,” however, is only applied to leftists in the United States. Outside of the US, a liberal is someone who promotes the ideas of liberalism, a political philosophy that emerged during the Enlightenment, influencing the uprisings against the European monarchies.

As the name suggests, liberalism promoted free speech, freedom of (& from) religion, freedom of the press, & free markets. To achieve this, liberals opposed the absolute power of monarchies, which allowed rulers & noble classes to take away the people’s freedom & property. The liberal solution was that everybody should have rightsequality before the law— meaning that kings & beggars ought to be equally accountable to written laws (like a constitution), instead of the pope or a jerk wearing a crown. When the word is used this way, republicans & democrats are both liberals because both want more-or-less free markets & a constitutional government to protect certain rights.

This can be confusing for some in the US because a right-wing republican is a liberal, while a leftist advocate of socialism (like me) is not a liberal.

Fascist vs. Authoritarian

Fasces, a Fascist Symbol from Ancient Rome

Fasces, a symbol out of ancient Rome

I’ve heard many people on both the left & right hurl “fascist” at each other — in fact, the word has been mostly used negatively from the time of World War II. The word itself came from the Italian Fascismo,” derived from the verb “to bundle or bind,” from the Latin “fasces.” A fasces was a bundle of wooden rods, often with an ax included, and a symbol of rulership & collective power in Rome — a single rod can easily be broken but many rods bundled together are impossible to snap. Benito Mussolini & his fascist party used the symbol for their ideology, which promised a return to the glory of the Rome by binding the industrial & social forces together into a militarized, central government, led by a strong leader.

Scholars are still arguing about the best definition but virtually all of them agree that the fascists were both anti-liberal & anti-socialist — which means that Donald Trump, in particular, is not a fascist. Anti-liberal means anti-capitalist and the fascists had a mostly planned economy, which would horrify the capitalist Trump! The word most people are looking for is “authoritarian.” An authoritarian leader or government demands & enforces the obedience of those below and pretty much any system of government can be authoritarian, including socialist & capitalist ones. The opposite of authoritarian is “libertarian.”

Words are Important
& Knowledge is Power

Words are important — using the right ones can empower us to clearly present our thoughts & ideas for others and, unfortunately, choosing the wrong ones can be the cause of endless arguments over nothing. For example, advocating for “democratic control of the means of production” almost never starts a heated debate, in my experience — talking about “socialism,” however, is pretty much guaranteed to start a heated debate! The amazing part is that these two things are the same! It’s not that people are unwilling to discuss different ideas — it’s just that we sometimes don’t have the same understanding of a word or concept.

With that in mind, I hope this article can help at least a few of you transform some arguments into good discussions — thanks for reading.

In solidarity,
John Laurits


Call your Senator on Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson

After watching the hearing, I am even more convinced that Tillerson has no place in government, let alone as Secty. of State. Also, it is down to one more Republican turning their vote away from Tillerson in addition to Rubio, who has declared his opposition. This will ensure his defeat, provided all democrats vote against confirming him. We are very close to defeating his nomination! Please Make the Call.
–Ruthie Sakheim

Explore. Enjoy. Protect.
Senate hearings on Rex Tillerson start today. Call to tell your senator to oppose putting an oil CEO in charge of our foreign policy.
Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon
Call 1-888-430-7789 or
TILLERSON to 69866

to call your senator now. Tell them to say no to Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.


Only Donald Trump would put an oil CEO in charge of his foreign policy.
But we’re fighting back– with over 67,000 emails into your senators since December and 2,000 phone calls just this week, we’re making it harder and harder for Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to get confirmed as Secretary of State.
Now it’s time for you to add your voice. Call your senator now by dialing 1-888-430-7789 or text TILLERSON to 69866 to be connected to their office. You’ll hear a short recorded message, then be connected to one of your senators’ offices. If you’d like to contact your other senator, just dial in again.
When you reach their office, tell them the following:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Please vote against Rex Tillerson’s nomination for Secretary of State.
  • As CEO of Exxon, it will be impossible for him to act without major conflicts of interest.
  • Given his close ties to Russia and Exxon’s history of doing business with state sponsors of terrorism despite US sanctions, Tillerson is uniquely unqualified to be the face of US foreign policy.
Your call could not come at a better time. With breaking news about Tillerson and Exxon doing business with Syria, Iran, and other state sponsors of terrorism, you can help bolster wavering senators who might want to just confirm Trump’s nominees and move on, or push senators of conscience to do the right thing and not let an oil CEO be the face of America to the world.
Call 1-888-430-7789 or text TILLERSON to 69866 now and make your voice heard!
Thanks for everything you do to protect our environment,
Lena Moffit
Sierra Club

Actions this week re Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security (from Adrienne Fong)

Thank you Michael Lyon!

Tomorrow, Monday, January 23, National Call-In Day to White House
No Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security

Call 866-828-4162

Tuesday, January 24, Resistance Begins on Federal Cuts to Health Care

10 AM: Action on Medicaid at Sen Kamala Harris Office, 50 United Nations Plaza  (Market/7th St.) San Francisco
10:30 AM – 2 PM: Short talk on ACA Repeal and Medicaid Cuts,

Health Care Action Center in SF (at LightHouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired at 1155 Market Street, 10th Floor)

   -Oakland from 12pm to 3pm at MSC (436 14th Street, Suite 500)

More at http://tinyurl.com/z34la8n

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/1807534402840301/

Friday, January 27, State-wide Action at Bakersfield Office of US House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy is the House Leader in charge of destroying Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Join hundreds of his angry constituents, half of whom are on Medicare and/or Medicaid.

Bus leaves Fulton St at SF Main Library, 7 AM;  or Adeline St at Ashby BART, 7:30

877-223-6107 RSVP deadline past, but call for possible cancellations.

NY Times, January 22, 2017

Trump’s Health Plan Would Convert Medicaid to Block Grants, Aide Says

By Robert Pear

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will propose giving each state a fixed amount of federal money in the form of a block grant to provide health care to low-income people on Medicaid, a top adviser to Mr. Trump said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

The adviser, Kellyanne Conway, who is Mr. Trump’s White House counselor, said that converting Medicaid to a block grant would ensure that “those who are closest to the people in need will be administering” the program.

A block grant would be a radical change. Since its creation in 1965, Medicaid has been an open-ended entitlement. If more people become eligible because of a recession, or if costs go up because of the use of expensive new medicines, states receive more federal money.

If Congress decides to create block grants for Medicaid, lawmakers will face thorny questions with huge political and financial implications: How much money will each state receive? How will the initial allotments be adjusted — for population changes, for general inflation, for increases in medical prices, for the discovery of new drugs and treatments? Will the federal government require states to cover certain populations and services? Will states receive extra money if they have not expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, but decide to do so in the future?

Ms. Conway, speaking on the NBC program “Sunday Today,” said that with a block grant, “you really cut out the fraud, waste and abuse, and you get the help directly” to intended beneficiaries.

Medicaid covers more than 70 million people at a combined cost of more than $500 billion a year to the federal government and the states. More than 20 million people have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, more than half of them through Medicaid.

The new Congress has approved a budget that clears the way for speedy action to repeal the health care law, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. And Mr. Trump has said Congress should take action to repeal and replace the law at the same time, putting pressure on lawmakers to agree on an alternative.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump said he wanted to “maximize flexibility for states” so they could “design innovative Medicaid programs that will better serve their low-income citizens.” On Friday, in his first executive order, he directed federal officials to use all their authority to “provide greater flexibility to states” on the health law.

As part of their “Better Way” agenda, House Republicans said in June that they would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and give each state a set amount of money for each beneficiary or a lump sum of federal money for all of a state’s Medicaid program — “a choice of either a per capita allotment or a block grant.”

Governors like the idea of having more control over Medicaid, but fear that block grants may be used as a vehicle for federal budget cuts.

“We are very concerned that a shift to block grants or per capita caps for Medicaid would remove flexibility from states as the result of reduced federal funding,” Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, a Republican, said this month in a letter to congressional leaders. “States would most likely make decisions based mainly on fiscal reasons rather than the health care needs of vulnerable populations.”

Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama, a Republican, said that if a block grant reduced federal funds for the program, “states should be given the ability to reduce Medicaid benefits or enrollment, to impose premiums” or other cost-sharing requirements on beneficiaries, and to reduce Medicaid spending in other ways.

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said he was troubled by the prospect of a block grant with deep cuts in federal funds. “Under such a scenario,” he said, “flexibility would really mean flexibility to cut critical services for our most vulnerable populations, including poor children, people with disabilities and seniors in need of nursing home and home-based care.”

Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado, a Democrat, said that block grant proposals could shift costs to states and “force us to make impossible choices in our Medicaid program.”

“We should not be forced to choose between providing hard-working older Coloradans with blood pressure medication or children with their insulin,” Mr. Hickenlooper said.

Also see “Medicaid Block Grant Would Slash Federal Funding, Shift Costs to States, and Leave Millions More Uninsured” by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Man found dead outside in Berkeley” by Emilie Raguso (berkeleyside.com)

A man’s body was found at Hearst and Shattuck avenues Sunday morning. Photo: Heidi Sachs

January 22, 2017

A man who has not been identified was found dead outside in North Berkeley’s popular Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood Sunday morning, authorities report.

Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver said a man was found dead, but that no further details about him could be released pending the ongoing coroner’s case.

Rateaver said authorities were called at 9 a.m. to offer medical aid to someone at 2044 Hearst Ave. Police and firefighters responded. But when they got there, they found that the person who reportedly needed help had already died.

The investigation is going, Rateaver said.

The coroner’s office said Sunday afternoon that the man has not been identified so no further information was available.

It may, however, be the latest in a series of troubling deaths outside of people sleeping on Berkeley streets.

Last weekend, the body of a 55-year-old woman was found in the yard of a home on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Homeless activist Mike Zint said Tuesday at a vigil for her that the woman was the ninth homeless person who had died outside in the East Bay in the past few months. He said four were in Oakland, and several others were from Berkeley. Zint said their long years in the elements had contributed to their deaths.

One of those individuals was Roberto Benitas, who died in September in the doorway of the old U-Haul business on San Pablo Avenue and Addison Street.

In mid-December, a man may have died after having a medical issue outside the McDonald’s at 1998 Shattuck Ave. (The coroner’s office had no information on the man identified by the community as the victim when Berkeleyside called to check in December. The Berkeley Fire Department said a person was transported by ambulance from that location but could provide no further information due to privacy laws.)

That same week, according to reports from the First They Came For The Homeless activist group, other Berkeley fatalities included a man known as “Caveman” who died after being in the hospital for several weeks, and “a homeless woman new to housing.”

In the last month or so, Berkeley has doubled the number of shelter beds it offers by opening three emergency warming centers in addition to its regular shelters. The newest one, at 1231 Second St., can accommodate dogs and large amounts of gear. Berkeley even opened two places that people can stay during the day, but they are not being well-used and are being phased out, according to a staff report.

Note from Mike Zint:

The fatalities are occurring frequently. Two in one week in Berkeley. Have enough died, or do you want more?

T O D A Y !!! Join the Women’s March in San Francisco at 3 PM (from Ruthie Sakheim)



“Come out to the Women’s March in San Francisco on January 21st. Let’s show our neighbors that we won’t tolerate hate and that we will stand up for our rights.”
Valeria Avila, E4FC Community Educator
January 21, 2017 

My name is Valeria Avila. I was born in Mexico and came to the United States when she was 16 years old. I am studying Mechanical Engineering at Santa Clara University. I am also part of E4FC’s Community Education team.

My fellow E4FC Community Educator, Angelica Vargas, will speak at the Women’s March in San Francisco on Saturday January 21st. Please join us in advocating for undocumented immigrants nationwide!

The Women’s March is open to everyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties, tolerance of diversity, and compassion for our shared humanity.

Time of Rally: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Time of March: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Starting Location: San Francisco’s Civic Center
Ending Location: Justin Herman Plaza

Find out more information about the Women’s March here

Why join me at the Women’s March? Marching with thousands of people brings me hope that, although our circumstances may differ, we’re all united in our pursuit of social justice. We are not alone.

My fellow E4FC Community Educator, Mitzia Martinez, and I will be at the rally and march to organize our E4FC group. We’ll be gathering at SFAC Galleries Window Installation Site at 2:30 pm. If you have questions, call me at (510) 943-8671.