No Turkey Here

Meaning, I won’t add to the groundswell of gratitude, the platterful of platitudes that fills up print, air and broadband this week like the tsunami of gravy that will overflow the well-crafted crater I form in my mashed potatoes tomorrow. (Lord, I think I gained two pounds just from writing that.)

But, like a certain orange tower of glower, I will now reverse myself on what I just promised you, and mention one thing.

I am thankful for all who stand up for their human rights, and the rights and dignity and very lives of others, who make the effort and even put their bodies on the line for what they believe in.

I’m remembering all those who have taken to the streets to protest the unthinkable killings of unarmed citizens, mostly of color, by a handful of out-of-control police officers. Black lives matter. How shameful we even have to utter those words, and shame on those who deny there is a crisis and insist that “all lives matter.” But white folks are not being senselessly killed by police, every week it seems.


I’m thinking in particular this Thanksgiving week of the Original Americans, driven

from their ancestral lands, cheated, lied to, robbed, massacred, infected with new diseases, herded and squeezed into the worst areas their conquerors could find (only to gain some revenge by building casinos there), treaties and spirits broken, ever since that first pale face came sailing into view.

No, wait a minute. That first face was likely a Viking, known for their ruthless rampages, but it wasn’t until the first British Invasion that the real ruthless began. Ah yes, Thanksgiving — celebrating the day Americans fed undocumented aliens from Europe. Big mistake.

So now, a very large gathering of Native Americans is acting as our collective conscience over a truly vital issue — water. Our bought and paid for federal government granted permission for a massive oil pipeline (DAPL) that passes over the northern Missouri River. The native locals think this is a bad idea, that eventually there will be a spill and their irreplaceable source of drinking water will be poisoned.

Here’s the newest wrinkle. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), who is building the 1,100 mile pipeline, just announced they will merge with Sunoco — a $20 billion deal. Billion. Sunoco will likely be the pipeline operator. Sunoco spills crude more often than any of its competitors. It has been responsible for at least 203 known leaks just since 2010. Trump owns stock in the company, and the CEO gave six figures to his campaign.

And so, it starts. Oh, and Trump recently met with the UK Brexit leaders to renew his request (which is now probably a demand) that offshore wind farms not be built within view of his golf courses in Scotland. He’s not wasting any time mining that

White House for all it’s worth. What did you expect?


But back to our brave pipeline protesters. They range in age from little kids to great grandmothers, and the local polizei, protecting the assets of the pipeline company, have come after them with pepper spray, tasers, clubs, dogs, rubber bullets, mace, beanbags, and Sunday night hit them with exploding tear gas canisters and firehoses full blast, in temperatures down to 23 degrees.

Police officials say they are reacting to armed, rioting mobs. I talked to a local young man, UCLA student Joe Ackerman, who went to Standing Rock to join the protest for three weeks. His first-hand account was of an absolute prohibition of guns, classes in civil disobedience, ecology, the philosophy of peace, survival skills and so on, and of an atmosphere of great camaraderie and intent. The police sent to oppose the water protectors are armed to the teeth, riding tanks in riot gear, looking like an invading army in full battle regalia.


But it’s quite possible, if you are an American, that you know little about the Standing Rock issues and protests, have seen no photos of swollen faces pummeled by rubber bullets (one young woman may lose her arm over the hits), didn’t know more than 400 people have been arrested since mid-August. Because mainstream media has not been covering this very important story. Barely a mention. Are you kidding me?

One last thank. I am thankful we had Bill Bauer shaking his literary fist at

wrongdoing in Santa Monica for 16 years, and thankful he and I became friends. He was a unique and amazing fellow, and his memorial service on his beloved Pier matched. It seemed from the stories that Bauer was a different person to everyone he knew. I counted more than 100 people, but who wasn’t there? See my Question of the Week.

One order of business to straighten out for ol’ Bill, so he can stop turning in his watery grave. One person offering remembrances spoke of his “unstable childhood and having been shuffled in and out of foster homes.” Nope. ‘Taint so. Not true. Better know what you’re talking about before you leave people with an impression the deceased can’t correct.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who was conspicuously missing from the large turnout at the memorial service last Saturday for the late great columnist Bill Bauer? Was there anyone from our City Council, anyone from our very large City staff (besides police, special friends because he rode homeless patrol with them every week), anyone from SMRR (save Ed Hunsaker, who’s such an odd recent choice for their Steering Committee that he doesn’t count either), any members of the clergy besides Bill’s dear friend Rev. Ron Hooks, who officiated, any fellow local journalists (save present and past Daily Press people)? Very sad and discouraging. Even if you hated everything he wrote, clearly he loved Santa Monica, devoting 16 years to writing about it (for love and dedication, not for the paltry pay) and 45 years volunteering in so many areas.

Former Council member Bob Holbrook had the right idea. He told me, with a

bemused smile, “I think the last thing Bill wrote about me was to blame me for the train running on the ground, not elevated,” to which he said, he couldn’t lay claim. But for a lot of people, if Bauer wrote it, you could bank on it.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Our job is improving the quality of life, not just

delaying death.” — Robin Williams (in “Patch Adams”)

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere

else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at