Anger Grows re Huge Santa Cruz County Salary Increases

Monterey Bay Forum, Aptos, CA reprints from OPINION page of Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 9, 2009

Concerning the recent excessive increases in County govt. pay:

Tom Tehmklhl of LaSelva Beach: “County pay raises on par with AIG debacle. What happened to the concept of pay for performance?”

Bengie Canepa, Santa Cruz: “It is insane when workers are being laid off and these top-tier government employees are being compensated like this when the county projects a $25 million deficit for 2009-2010. The collapse of the real extate market and associated taxes are listed as main reasons for deficit. …salaries should decrease or freeze when taxes used to fund these positions decrease…”

Bob Willig, Felton: “The only force available is to vote the people out only to have the next batch as bad.”

Did President Obama BOW to Saudi Arabia Leader? Video shows yes.

Monterey Bay Forum in Aptos, CA 831 688-6002 reprints from American Thinker

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WlqW6UCeaY&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]April 09, 2009
Obama doubles down on the bow to the Saudi King
By Thomas Lifson
The White House is denying that President Obama bowed before the Saudi King, committing a major mistake. Ben Smith of Politico reports:

“It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,” said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Michael Goldfarb summed up the problem for Obama succinctly in the Weekly Standard:

So who you going to believe — Barack Obama or your lying eyes?

The story is officially “in play” now that the White House has spoken, albeit from an anonymous source. American citizens are implicitly asked to view the demi-prostration and decide for themselves. The evidence simply does not support the official position of the Obama administration.

Here is a 13 second clip of the bow:

Please note the following two freeze frames, which expose the White House spokesman as a liar:

(source)

Another freeze frame, also showing that the President was not performing a two-handed handshake

(source)

So why would the White House lie, instead of just admitting that the President made a gaffe? Well, for one thing, history teaches us that bows between official representatives of nations are a rather serious matter.

We live in an age of a Clash of Civilizations (in Samuel Huntington’s words), with many in the Islamic world convinced that Western Civilization, ascendant for the last few centuries, is about to be humbled by Islam, the once and future dominant force in the world. No Caliph exists today as head of the entire Islamic world, but the number two slot is amply occupied by King Abdullah, as guardian of Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two holiest cities.

Over three hundred years ago, another world civilization accustomed to being the largest and richest on earth, faced a challenge which turned into a clash, which turned into a fall. China, the Middle Kingdom, unquestioned as the dominant nation of East Asia, came into regular contact with the Western nations. At the time, the only pattern of diplomatic relations recognized by the Son of Heaven (China’s emperor) and his court was that of tributary emissaries to the Middle Kingdom. Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and the other nations of East Asia understood and accepted that China was dominant, and when their representatives came to Beijing, they performed the required prostration acknowledging their (and their rulers’) subordinate place in the pecking order. They also brought “gifts” to the Son of Heaven, and were sent home with “gifts” from the Imperial Court, amounting to trade, disguised as nothing so crass as commerce, but rather as a sign of supplication from them and benevolence from the Emperor.

In plain English, if you wanted to be received and recognized as legitimate at the Imperial Court, you had better bow down before the Emperor in a kow tow (叩頭), prostrating oneself before the glorious ruler, and touching the head to the floor.

This was not an idle matter of protocol, and everyone knew it, especially the emissaries of European rulers who made their way to Beijing, in search of trade relations: tea, silk, porcelain, and other products of China that were of finer quality than anything available elsewhere.

One of the most famous incidents in China’s history of contact with the West occurred in 1793, when the Earl of Macartney came to Beijing as an emissary of the King of England, carried to Tientsin (the port city for Beijing) on a warship. The Chinese officials deemed the presents he brought to the Emperor from King George III as “tribute”, putting the Macartney mission in the context of traditional tribute relatons.

But when it came to the kow tow, Macartney refused. In the words of the acknowledged dean of American China historians, the late John K. Fairbank of Harvard,

[Court officials] urged Macartney to practice the performance of the kowtow. This he stoutly refused to do, and he only went down on one knee before the Chien-lung [the Emperor], as he would have done to his own sovereign. The emperor issued an edict commending King George III for his “respectful spirit of submission” but pointing out that “our celestial empire possesses all things in prolific abundance”…

Ben Smith noted a somewhat analogous response from Saudi Arabia, following the fateful bow:

Interestingly, a columnist in the Saudi-backed Arabic paper Asharq Alawsat also took the gesture as a bow and appreciated the move.

“Obama wished to demonstrate his respect and appreciation of the personality of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, who has made one of the most important calls in the modern era, namely the call for inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue to defuse the hatred, conflict and wars,” wrote the columnist, Muhammah Diyab.

Alas for the Son of Heaven and his nation, the Opium War followed a few years after the demi-prostration of the British envoy, and it was established that China was subordinate to the cannons, guns, and warships of the Western powers, who proceeded to help themselves to China’s wealth, sending opium [over China’s feeble objections] in return for what they desired.

President Obama voluntarily bent his knee and bowed his head before the most important ruler in the Islamic world. Let us hope that it does not require a war to right this insult to American sovereignty.

Thomas Lifson is editor and publisher of American Thinker. He has taught courses on East Asia at Harvard and Columbia Universities. To see more articles go to American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com

A Tangled Web at Berkeley – forwarded to you from Aptos, CA

Aptos, CA 831 688-6002
send comments to Cameron Jackson THIS IS FROM
:

A Tangled Web At Berkeley
By John Ellis
Minding the Campus | Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In his Prologue to the Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer distills the betrayal of trust by corrupt public servants into a memorable expression: “If gold rust, what shall iron do?” This is the metaphor that his honest parson lives by, and it reflects on the venal churchmen among the pilgrims who betray the ideals of the church and set a terrible example when they should be a guiding light.

This theme—one of high expectations for integrity cruelly disappointed—is timeless: it is exemplified yet again by the sorry tale of malfeasance in the Chancellor’s office at UC Berkeley that follows. Yet Chaucer’s miscreants are not cardinals and bishops, but only a lowly monk, friar and pardoner, while Chancellor Robert Birgeneau of UC Berkeley is the leader of the flagship campus of the greatest public system of higher education in the world.

And while Chaucer’s folk cloak their transgressions in the mantle of devotion, Birgeneau wraps his in the mantle of diversity. Already in late 2007 California’s deteriorating budget led to reductions in UC’s state support, and President Robert Dynes announced that his system-wide staff would be reduced. A severance pay incentive was offered to those who retired voluntarily, but when the Regents were asked by recently appointed President Mark Yudof in November 2008 to approve severance pay of $100,202 for Linda Williams, alarm bells went off: Williams had transferred from her job as Associate President in system headquarters to the position of Associate Chancellor at nearby UC Berkeley without missing a day’s employment. She sought severance pay though she had never been severed. Astonishingly, President Yudof recommended it and the Regents approved the recommendation.

It said much about the entitlement mindset at UC that top administrators were surprised by the outcry that followed. The public easily grasped that it was offensive for Williams to ask for $100K of public money as a “severance package,” but that simple point seemed lost on UC’s leadership. President Yudof hid behind the notion that the rules for UC’s buyout program were not his responsibility, having been written before he took office. That left an obvious question unanswered: why didn’t he tell Williams that what she was asking was unseemly, and that it would be an embarrassment to the university if he sought regent approval of this payment when a deepening financial crisis was forcing an increase in student fees? The culture of administrative self-serving in the President’s office that had brought down the presidency of Bob Dynes was apparently still in place—a great disappointment for those who hoped that Yudof would be a new broom.

Evidently feeling exposed in an indefensible position, Williams released a statement saying that the Berkeley job opportunity came up after she had applied for the buyout from her UCOP job and had “therefore played no role whatsoever in my decision making.” In other words, she had not arranged a transfer from one office to another within UC, but instead resigned one job and later found another. This was not true.

Williams applied for the severance payment on January 22, 2008, a day after the Daily Californian, the campus newspaper, reported the announcement of her new job.

A request by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Jim Doyle under the Freedom of Information Act produced additional damning evidence. Already on January 18, a UC Berkeley organizational chart had shown Linda Williams as Associate Chancellor. Chancellor Birgeneau had discussed the position with Williams as early as November 7 of the previous year. The FOIA material included a January 18 memo from Williams saying “The news is all over the place… getting the announcement out will be helpful.” Doyle’s material also confirmed that the Berkeley post was filled without competition—it was indeed a transfer without an application process.

Much more serious for the campus was how the FOIA material implicated Chancellor Birgeneau in the deception. Birgeneau had backed Williams’ false account by telling the SF Chronicle in December of 2008 that Williams “applied for the severance program before the Associate Chancellor position became available and before I offered her the position.” This was not true. The material in the stories in the Daily Californian and the SF Chronicle made it clear that the Berkeley job was essentially a done deal well before Williams’ application for severance.

Worse yet, more disinformation came from Birgeneau’s spokesman Dan Mogulof. In December 2008, rejecting the suggestion that Williams’ new position had been created specially for her—one acutely embarrassing for the official version—Mogulof told Jim Doyle that she took the job of retiring chief of staff John Cummins. That also was not true. Cummins’ position as Associate Chancellor and chief of staff was assumed by someone else, and Williams’ job was created by making a new position out of some of the less central functions of Cummins’ job. That’s right: during a budget crisis Birgeneau beefed up his administration with an extra Associate Chancellor position at a $200K salary.

But the FOIA material had still another effect: it shredded President Yudof’s defense of his actions. Birgeneau and Williams were now in an acutely embarrassing position. Campus spokesman Dan Mogulof then told a story to tell which insulted the intelligence of his listeners. The impression created by Williams that she was unaware of future Berkeley employment was “unintentional,” said Mogulof. But what she had said was clear and categorical: the Berkeley position “played no role whatsoever (my italics) in my decision making” because it was not open at the time of the severance application. What could be unintentional about that? Mogulof went on to say “We had no reason to be intentionally misleading.” Another of Mogulof’s gems was this: “We sacrificed clarity and detail for the sake of brevity.” By telling that story, presumably at the behest of Birgeneau, the spokeman destroyed his own credibility.

Birgeneau’s next move was exceptionally sordid. He wrote an op-ed for the Daily Californian touting his dedication to equity and inclusion, then complained of lingering racism on campus: “Most recently, there have been scurrilous attacks with outright misrepresentation of facts by print media, bloggers and even some of our own faculty and staff against Associate Chancellor Linda Williams, the first African-American woman to serve on the Chancellor’s Cabinet in Berkeley’s 141-year history…. Many members of our African-American community are rightly outraged by the media harassment of a successful and accomplished black woman and see these actions as creating a chilling climate for all African-Americans on campus.” No details of the alleged “misrepresentations” were given and an email asking for examples was not answered.

Desperate to save himself from the consequences of his duplicity, Birgeneau was willing to whip up racial strife on campus to create a smokescreen. But throughout this story, administrative self-serving, bloat and deceit were always entwined with the issue of diversity.

In the Latin mottos of the nation’s great universities, one word appears again and again: Veritas, meaning truth. Yale’s motto is Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth), Harvard’s is Veritas. Northwestern elaborates: Quaecumque Sunt Vera (Whatever is True), as does Miami University: Magnus est Veritas (Great is the Truth).

Universities put the concept of Truth up front for a reason. General Motors should be truthful about its cars, but its business is cars. Truth is our business. That’s what we academics deal in. Whether in the classroom or in research, knowledge is only knowledge if it’s based in truth. One lesson of this story is that the concern with diversity must never trump the academy’s core value, Veritas.

A university that stops caring about truth will soon be of no use to anyone, minorities included. When a great university is led by someone who misleads seemingly without compunction, contrition, or consequences, it is sick at its core.

Each year, thousands of fresh-faced undergraduates come to UC to be initiated into a campus culture that is dominated by the idea of Veritas. It is painful to picture this innocent young flock being watched over by Chancellor Birgeneau. Once again, Chaucer captured the essence of the situation in another memorable line in his Prologue, one which, in the interest of delicacy, we’ll leave in Chaucer’s Middle English original:

For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
And shame it is, if a preest take keep,
A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.

Aptos starts coalition to pressure Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors to slash government salaries

Troubled by recent government spending?

Join other Aptos residents to pressure local Santa Cruz County government to cut recent HUGE increases in top county salaries. See recent letters to Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 8, 2009.

Of course administrators such as the CEO for County of Santa Cruz has her hand out for more money. You can’t blame people for asking. You can blame those who gave the huge increases. That’s the Board of Supervisors.

Contact Cameron Jackson at cameronjacks@gmail.com for information. Join Facebook and get your friends to add their two cents.

Look for APTOS SLASHER on Facebook. That is Cameron Jackson on Facebook. Together let’s SLASH those HUGE, wasteful increases! Let’s start our Aptos Tea Party opposed to huge increases in gevernment spending. Cameorn Jackson 831 688-6002

Santa Cruz County leadership at its worst says Aptos resident Mark Willaman

from Santa Cruz Sentinel, Opinion page, April 8, 2009 [bold added by Cameron Jackson]

“I am the CEO of a software and service firm headquartered in Santa Cruz County. Although profitable, we froze salaries for all employees in 2008 pending a better economy. I took a pay cut. These prudent cuts helped us avoid making a single layoff. So it was with absolute disgust I heard about the pay raises of Santa Cruz executives. Their actions represent everything wrong with our nation and showcase leadership at its worst. In the midst of an historic recession when the county is losing money and cutting budgets, jobs and teachers, these bureaucrats have the audacity to raise their pay. Their excuse? To retain top talent. Hogwash. If they had any talent, the country would not be in its current shape. Where is the accountability? Shame on all of you who took part in this grotesque display of leadership.”
Mark Williams, Aptos