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Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Near-Future Past

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on April 30, 2016

Black Bloc
California, 2007.

The storm black Hooligans took Van Ness, but never made the jog off to the park, Instead, they massed, some one hundred thousand strong, up to the hastily formed police blockade on Van Ness and Grove, then east back around on Market. They stopped in fact. March peace monitors, realizing what was happening, evaporated from around the autonomous columns to beat hasty retreats up Grove, Fell, Oak and Page with the march’s stragglers. People pulled on masks, bandanas, ski masks and balaklavas. Sunglasses hid eyes. Adrenaline once more raced through Greg, somewhere in the middle of that black mass, as he pulled up his own ‘kerchief. He watched a gauntly beautiful girl, a rare, anti-war Null, put her large black scarf over her gold electroplated cheek plates, before putting on shades in synch with hers…

Noble Eagle
It’s not just sex, drugs and rock’n’roll!

A wing of fighter jets, low over Nimitz Field, shrieked toward Oakland. Toward Jack London Square and the dual battle laser positions on Oakland’s inner harbor. People were running around the tower then, running away from the Harbor as fast as was humanly possible. A second roar, and surface-to-air missile batteries leapt into action to lay up a defensive curtain of heat seeking rockets. The jets broke into evasive action. Battle laser auroras danced up ultraviolet into the descending sun as the weapons primed. Two jets looped back tightly and managed to let loose their own rockets before having to dodge again. The harbor erupted under the jet strike, counterpointed quickly by one jet taking a direct hit and another spinning off, minus one wing. The battle laser fired. The precise x-ray beam could not be seen. But it produced a sharp fold in the air as it pierced across the bay and stripped the top off San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid…

Armageddon’s been in effect!

For a brief moment Marcus witnessed a phantasm, bathed in the smoky light of its own making. The creature was humanoid, dressed in a form fitting, single-piece, eel-gray body suit. The hands were gloved, with thick seams running up the arms and shoulders. And the head was entirely, strangely helmeted. It was a type of skull-tight ski mask, fitted with shear goggles and headphones, and crested with a soft, gun-metal colored apparatus. The goggles pulsed with that on-edge-of-sight light Marcus had observed seconds before, from under the door.

“Freeze,” Joe yelled, crouched and aimed.

An invisible light, apprehendable by a sense more visceral than sight and tailored minutely to Joe’s shape,streaked with precision from the refractive goggles, cookie cutting Joe perfectly. Joe exploded backwards…

End Time: Notes on the Apocalypse can be purchased for download starting May 1, 2016 from Smashwords.

Posted in black bloc, California, class war, direct action, life, Oakland, police, punk, San Francisco, US military | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The land that the 60s forgot

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 12, 2014

My wife and I have been taking day trips to enjoy the Bay Area we live in, starting with a brief jaunt through western Marin County on March 16. Playing tourist was enhanced by the definite 60s vibe of the tiny towns we visited.


We ate lunch at Osteria Stellina, a modest Italian restaurant with decent although not outstanding food. Then we walked about the town, and I took the following photos.

Flower Power Home and Garden
This was from the garden patio in back.

Totemic Art
These totems of abalone shells topped with various bird decoys caught our eye.

Nearby Shrine
This looked like a shrine to the Virgin Mary involving ships. Perhaps a Catholic shrine to sailors?


Sight of a famous 60s commune comprised of Diggers fleeing San Francisco, or more properly going back to the land, we didn’t stop very long here, except to snap this photo of a cabin decaying into the underbrush. Note the abalone shells.


The hippie influence seemed strongest here, with the business loop to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard lined with lots of little shops, stores and eateries. Overall fun, although by the time we got here it was overwhelmingly hot and we had decided to head on back to the big city (San Francisco). Here are photos of a:

Sidewalk Mosaic Bench/Wall

I’ve been remiss here. During these day trips, I’ve been preoccupied with taking photos of my surroundings (mostly the sights) without paying attention to the people. I will rectify that with the next day trip, the one after the one we took to Santa Cruz in April.

Posted in California, life, Marin, San Francisco Bay Area, The Diggers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When one becomes many (e unum pluribus)

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 5, 2013


There are plenty of folks who would like to replicate the Confederate States of America, only with success. Here are some of the secessionist sentiment I’ve run across recently, and not just the much publicized White House petitions. Let’s start with the attempt to divide California into North and South. Shades of Ecotopia with regard to North California, or more historically interesting, the State of Jefferson.

Then there are some Leftist fantasies that still circulate, for a Republic of New Afrika in the southern black belt, Aztlan in the American southwest, and a native American Republic of Lakota.

Finally, there’s this baker’s dozen (and more) of secessionist movements, some serious and some not so serious, in no particular order. Here’s the list: Alaska, Long Island, Republic of Texas, Nation of Cascadia or Ganjastan, League of the South or a revived Confederate States of America, Northwest Angle, Third Palmetto Republic, Second Vermont Republic, Christian, Exodus, People’s Republic of North Star, Sovereign Citizens, Kingdom of Beaver Island, Conch Republic, Essex Junto, the Great Republic of Rough and Ready, and the State of North Colorado. Instead of ferreting out specific websites, I’m just going to provide several aggregate sites for you to search.

Clearly, one response to the American Empire, and one solution to American imperialism, is to break apart that empire in order to blunt or end that imperialism.

Posted in American Empire, Aztlan, California, Ecotopia, life, North California, Republic of Lakota, Republic of New Afrika, secession, South California, State of Idiocy, State of Jefferson | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The American Experience

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 1, 2013

The joke goes that California is like a bowl of granola. What’s not fruits or nuts is flakes. Well, these United States of America was once described as a melting pot. Not only are immigrants nowadays shunning assimilation, but the idea of the American melting pot was always something of a myth. Various commentators are fond of now calling the American experience a salad bowl. Here are some maps to convey the notion that this country is a vast patchwork of races and ethnicities that are a long way from blending together into some homogeneous whole, if that was a possibility at all.



Posted in American Experience, assimilation, California, melting pot, racial & ethnic diversity, United States of America | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The monopoly within a monopoly

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 31, 2013


Actually, the title should read “the monopoly within a monopoly within a larger monopoly.” The larger monopoly in question is the State of California, which is politically and culturally liberal, for the most part. The state’s demographic trends, if anything, will increase California’s leftist tilt for the near future. Then there’s the City of San Francisco, a more progressive enclave within the liberal State of California. Even with a moderate Board of Supervisors lead by moderate mayor Ed Lee (who succeeded the moderate Gavin Newsom, who instituted gay marriage), there is a substantial, occasionally obstreperous progressive faction within the Board of Supervisors (Allan Peskin, former Supes Chris Daley and Ross Mirkarimi). Finally, within this progressive enclave of the City of San Francisco is the still more progressive alternative media monopoly of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Bay Area Reporter.


Put together by Todd Vogt, owner of the San Francisco Newspaper Company, which is part of the much larger 75-title newspaper, Canadian-based Horizon Publications, of which Vogt is the CEO, this local media monopoly is unabashedly progressive. Monopolies frequently are problematic however, even when they are seemingly benign and public serving. Public utility monopolies (like the long ago broken up Bell Telephone System/AT&T, or the current northern Californian PG&E monopolies) are the most egregious examples of entities that are good in concept, not so good in practice. And let’s not get started on private capitalist monopolies. In the current socio-political environment, I prefer government regulation to break up monopolies in order to limit excessive profit taking and foster much needed competition or, barring that, to keep the monopolies honest.*


The Bay Area is no stranger to progressive bickering and in-fighting, if not sectarian conflict and internecine warfare. Witness the never-ending battle surrounding Pacifica’s Berkeley based radio station KPFA. Vogt’s three alt-newspaper monopoly is already showing signs of intra-progressive turmoil. Long time Bay Guardian editor Tim Redmond was ousted, fired, or allowed to resign, depending on who is telling the story. The reasons can be found here, here, here, here and here. Disputes over editorial policy and political endorsements, Redmond’s refusal to cut half of the Guardian’s news staff, and failure to agree on how to increase advertising revenues were some of the key issues. The Guardian attempted to practice a half-hearted transparency by reporting Tim Redmond’s departure in its own pages. Tim provided an extremely brief response on his blog, denying that had resigned, and leaving the reporting to other media. The Bay Guardian had its issues and problems, to be sure, but subsuming this alternative newspaper into Vogt’s alt-monopoly is not the solution. It’s not good news for progressive journalism in the Bay Area.


*In his “Introduction to the American Edition” of The Star Fraction (2001), Ken MacLeod wrote:  “Unfortunately, there’s no reason why the Economic Calculation Argument [of von Mises] and the [Marxist] Materialist Conception of History couldn’t both be true. What if capitalism is unstable, and socialism is impossible?” Well, I tend to side with Marx’s argument that capitalism inevitably develops toward crisis driven monopoly, and that the libertarian theory of self-regulating laissez-faire market capitalism is utter bullshit. If the State disappeared today, leaving an unregulated capitalism to fend for itself, capitalism would promptly buy and install its own State tomorrow to protect capitalism’s interests and keep the “free market” reasonably well functioning. Oh, that’s right, that’s what American capitalism has already done. As for State Socialism, the old-style Communism of the Soviet bloc and Red China, that was pretty much a bloody disaster. That leaves decentralized, community owned, worker run libertarian socialism of one or another stripe as the only real, viable alternative…

Posted in California, capitalist monopolies, libertarian socialism, life, Marx, media monopolies, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, state socialism, Tim Redmond | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What are they thinking?

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 28, 2007

It has taken thousands of lives, and ruined many thousands more. It has cost billions of dollars and squandered the country’s resources. It has been a failure, with no end in sight.

No, I’m not talking about the Iraq War. What I’m referring to is the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs has been an unmitigated disaster that has lasted for decades. No, generations. Given such a dismal track record, what do the Feds propose to do? Why, make even more substances illegal.

Fucking idiots!

The SF Chronicle reported yesterday that a legal hallucinogen, Salvia divinorum is under scrutiny by the Federal government, with a strong possibility that it will be made illegal. Given the government’s success with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, et al, it can be expected that salvia’s popularity and availability will skyrocket once it’s made illegal, and that a lucrative black market will spring up, leading to greater crime, misery and corruption, not to mention a bigger, more invasive government.

The stupidity here is just breathtaking.


Posted in California, cocaine, drugs, heroin, Iraq War, life, marijuana, Salvia, Salvia divinorum, San Francisco, War on Drugs | 1 Comment »