- Dan Boutilier
- Warming Trend
- Hotdog Down
- Decoration Day
- Little Dog
- Missing Margit
- Cactus Flowers
- Drinking Water
- Ag Exhibition
- Ed Notes
- Firefighters Stiffed
- Highway 20
- Black Market
- Bush Huffer
- Garden Contest
- Kirkland TP
- Cousin Explainer
- Yesterday's Catch
- Garter Sex
- Drug War
- Al Can
- Dope Shit
- Colorado Co-Pay
- Emperor Orange
- Vet Tweets
- Geneva Conventions
- True Believers
- Public Services
- Restoring Confidence
- Business Party
- Found Object
DAN MORGAN BOUTILIER, age 64, passed away May 2, 2019. He was born August 27, 1954 in Santa Monica, California to Gene and Wanda Boutilier. He married his longtime friend and love, Cindy Daniels, in April of 1974. Known to family and many friends as "Boon", a nickname given to him by his grandmother, Dan was named after a family friend from Michigan who was a steam shovel operator. Co-workers nicknamed him Boots, which was short for Boutilier. Dan spent his early years in Southern California. In 1970, Dan moved from Hermosa Beach, CA to Anderson Valley, where he finished his schooling. He graduated in 1972 and was awarded the Bank of America Achievement Award for Industrial Arts. He raised his family in Anderson Valley and has spent the last twenty years in Reno, NV. Dan's interests in motorcycles, fabrication & mechanics led him down many career paths. Dan was employed in logging as cat skinner, as a millwright, a machinist, a miner and was a skilled mechanic. He worked the past 10 years driving a Komatsu 930 (mining truck) and did not miss a single day of work. Dan will be remembered as a loving husband, dedicated father and loyal friend. He will especially be missed by his granddaughter, Shiloh. Dan is survived by Cindy Boutilier, his wife of 45 years, son Daniel Boutilier, daughter and husband Naomi Boutilier & Peter Moyer, granddaughter Shiloh Moyer, and brother Emory Boutilier. He was predeceased by his parents and grandson Nathan Moyer
(courtesy Ukiah Daily Journal)
AFTER AN UNSEASONABLY cold and wet Sunday, Memorial Day should be cloudy and cool followed by mostly sunny weather for the rest of the week, warming into the low 80s by the weekend. Lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s in most Mendo areas.
Originally called Decoration Day, it was first observed by the states that fought on the Union side in the Civil War. On that day of remembrance, the graves of those who perished were 'decorated' with fresh flowers. Some historians think Lincoln's Gettysburg Address embodies the true meaning and spirit of Memorial Day.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
For the Union Dead
by Robert Lowell
The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.
Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.
My hand draws back. I often sigh still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized
fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gouge their underworld garage.
Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,
shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.
Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.
Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.
He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.
He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die—
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.
On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year—
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns . . .
Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."
The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling
over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages"
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.
is riding on his bubble,
for the blessèd break.
The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.
LITTLE DOG SAYS: “I'm ok folks. Thanks for asking, not that anybody around here ever asks. The slightest whine from me gets, ‘Suck it up, LD.’ They might throw me an extra biscuit and that's it. Talk about a dog's life!”
A YEAR LATER, FAMILY STILL HOPES FOR CLUES IN ELDERLY WOMAN’S DISAPPEARANCE
“For me, Margit was the sister I never had,” said Tracey Priestley whose sister-in-law, Margit Prichard, was reported missing May 18, 2018 near Piercy in northern Mendocino.
Margit, who at age 76 was suffering some symptoms of Alzheimer’s, was reported to have last been seen in the garden by her husband around 4:30 p.m. He told authorities he eventually noticed that she was gone and looked around their property in the 1300 block of Pepperwood Springs Road. He then reported she was missing to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department who did a preliminary search that evening.
By the next day the Sheriff’s Department was in the area doing a more intensive search. “And then over the weekend there was this outpouring of humanity,” said Priestley. “The wonderful search and rescue people looked so hard…They went up and down 10 miles of the river twice…They had so many computers. It was just amazing….They checked their cameras along the highways. They could not have been more thorough. We thought with all this they are going to find her.”
But, said Priestley, Margit was “in incredible physical shape” and may have walked farther than anyone realized.
For several days, the search went on. “After that, it became a waiting game with no answers,” Priestly said.
Choking up slightly, Priestley said that Margit was someone she admired tremendously and still misses. “She was a computer analyst in the early days,” Priestley explained. “She lived in Spain and got her Master’s Degree….She owned a sailboat and learned to sail it…She was brilliant and intimidated a lot of men.”
But, Priestley explained, “[Margit] was happiest when she was walking the mountains…She had this kind heart. She was the kind of person that would carefully and gently pick up a bug out of the house and take it out to the garden…She was a great auntie to our children.”
Priestley added, “It is just so weird when people disappear. It’s a loss you can never get to the other side of. You have to learn to live with it. You just never get over it.”
If you have any information on Margit to help her family find closure, please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Communication Office at (707) 463-4086 refer to case number 2018-14088.
(Courtesy, Redheaded Black Belt / Kymkemp.com)
THE AVA'S BARREL CACTUS BLOOMS! Editor attributes surprise to "the great vibes we put out here."
WATER TAX DEAD, BUT CONTAMINATION PROBLEM IS MOVING TO SOLUTION
by Jim Shields
If his damn state water tax that Governor Gavin Newsom is so bent on shoving down or throats were a cat, it would only have five lives left.
The cat died for the fourth time this Wednesday, May 21, when a Senate budget subcommittee rejected Newsom’s water tax plan. The committee recommended backing an effort to find $150 million elsewhere to finance a safe and affordable drinking water fund.
Most likely the state legislature will turn to setting up a permanent fund using a small portion of the estimated $22 billion budget surplus. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if legislators throw their support to two other sources of non-tax source funding.
Because more than 1 million Californians don’t have safe drinking water — most of them reside in the Central Valley where water contamination has been caused by Big Ag — Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, introduced Assembly Bill 217 to finance water quality and infrastructure projects through agricultural fees on water, fertilizer, dairy and confined animal facilities.
“Our state’s safe drinking water crisis is a matter of public health urgency impacting our families, students, and most vulnerable communities,” Garcia said. “As the Legislature reviews potential policy avenues, I have been working diligently with my colleagues to ensure that AB 217 is equitable, sustainable, and reflects the unique needs of regions throughout our state.”
Likewise, state Sen. Bill Monning’s Senate Bill 200, establishes a continuous appropriation from the general fund of $150 million for financing clean water projects. The money would drawn from the state’s general fund, after being “liberated” from the $22 billion surplus. Think of it as seed money.
“We have a $22 billion surplus and dealing with this onetime infrastructure problem by all accounts is going to be about $150 million,” said David Wolfe, legislative director for Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “Once these projects are done, this isn’t something we have to revisit. We’re way more in favor of that than a precedent-setting tax.”
Previous efforts stalled when the proposed tax went through several revisions as the Brown administration and legislative backers sought creative ways to make the first-in-state-history tax on public drinking water somehow palatable to a majority of hesitant lawmakers who were up for re-election this past November. None of the legislators wanted to be tagged supporting what has been from its inception a volatile and widely unpopular tax.
That’s the same problem Newsom ran into with his resurrected water tax.
As I’ve pointed out here before, there’s always been money available from other sources — such as the state’s general fund and various water bonds already issued— that could be used for contaminated groundwater remediation. One of the answer to this problem is that the people who caused the contamination — Big Ag — are the ones who should be at the head of the line to pay for its remediation.
We now have a number of legislative proposals that apparently will successfully move through the state legislature and end up on Gov. Newsom’s desk. All he has to do when they hit his inbox is swallow his pride, take out his pen, affix his signature, and let the problem be solved.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
ADD to the gray whales washing up dead and dying on Bay Area beaches, the hundreds of Common Murres washing up dead or dying on beaches from Noyo Bay to Seaside Beach, about a ten-mile stretch of the Mendocino Coast. Experts speculate, tentatively, that the animals are starving, that the ocean isn't producing enough nutrients to keep them from starving. I feel like Mr. Jones in that old Dylan song about Jones not knowing what's happening except that, added up, it's apocalyptic.
THE LEMMINGS, however, are thriving. They jammed north through Boonville all day Friday at unsafe speeds, then bombed back south Sunday afternoon, pausing in the Anderson Valley to enjoy our many delights.
DISTRACTED the other day by the bustle of Ukiah's fascinating CostCo, I walked the mammoth store's seemingly endless aisles in search of granola. I thought back to my very first shopping experience, circa 1948. Schenone's Grocery. Proprietor Mario Schenone was bilingual, Italian and English. Everyone else in the place was monolingual Italian. Butcher to the rear of the store, plank floors they swept out every evening with sawdust, the portly Mario at the register. I remember him greeting a Russian customer with a merry, "Mr. Molotov, how ya doin' today." The Russian replied, "Goot, Mr. Mussolini, goot." Anyway, many years later at CostCo Ukiah, when I finally discovered three or four tons of alleged granola piled half way to the ceiling, I tossed a couple of bags in my cart and plodded on to hot dogs. The next morning I poured out some of the alleged granola on top of fruit and Chobani natch yogurt. "Hmmm. This stuff is awfully sweet." Taking a belated look at the package, I read, "Love Crunch. Premium Organic Granola." In smaller print, "dark chocolate and red berries." I'd been organically ripped off! I might as well have dumped a box of See's Candy on my fruit and yogurt. I'd negated my entire healthy food regimen in one bogus meal! Fortunately for me, I'd grabbed only one package of what appeared to be a life time supply, the usual portion of stuff sold in the surreal store. But really, even by the shifty standards of American wholesale, selling granola with big hunks of chocolate in it is pretty low, and me a Senior Citizen!
I'VE ENJOYED Kate Magruder's and Sarah Reith's interviews on KZYX with Back to the Landers, the BTL's being pretty much the NPR demographic, you might say, given the transition of many hippies from their adventurous youths to the social-political assumptions and securities of mainstream "appropriateness." I haven't heard all of them, but the interviews I have heard are uniform in their chaste accounts of transitions from gross debauchery done over as Little House on the Prairie, with no mention of the debauchery. I know some of the people interviewed and, to put it gently, they aren't nice people, but are certainly these days Nice People. Only occasionally does a more harsh reality of the back to the land experience slip in as it did last week when two young women recalled their pioneer lives on the Greenfield Ranch north and west of Ukiah, and even their mention of the reality was almost subliminal. They agreed that Greenfield was not a safe place for young girls raised or stuck living there. And far too many of the hippie young got into premature dope whose casualties walk on all around us today.
THE TWO SISTERS interviewed deployed mass murderer Leonard Lake as one example — hopefully the least representative — as the kind of guy tolerated in their neighborhood. But Lake, as I recall, was even too much of a perv for the aberrant population of Greenfield and was "shunned out of our community." (Criminals feasted on hippie tolerance.) And wouldn't you know Lake popped up in Anderson Valley as the dishwasher at the Boonville Hotel and a volunteer fireman! Whether or not he was abducting and murdering people during his Mendo sojourn isn't known, but he had his eye on local kids for a fact. One day my daughter came home from her junior high class with the news that her teacher's aide, Lake's wife Cricket, was recruiting girls to pose for her husband in the couple's Philo hot tub. Cricket was immediately fired, and the next any of us heard, an FBI swat team had closed 128 at Philo to raid Lake's house on Ray's Road, where he and his lunatic associate, Mr. Ng, had stockpiled a large cache of weapons Ng had stolen from a Marine Corps armory in Honolulu. Then-deputy Squires said if Lake and Ng had chosen to shoot it out "it would have been a bloodbath."
HOW SCREWED ARE WE? A diagram….
US FOREST SERVICE REFUSES TO PAY for volunteer firefighters who respond to National Forest Fires — unless…
(PS. Several dedicated AV Volunteer firefighters who worked on last year’s Shasta Fire are among the workers being stiffed by this very dangerous, stupid and chintzy new policy.)
Anderson Valley Fire Chief Andres Avila sent out the following note and attachment to his Board of Directors and other interested parties: “See the attached letter from California Fire Chiefs, Fire Districts, Metro Chiefs, and League of City Chiefs regarding the US Forest Service’s position on the California Fire Assistance Agreement. Needless to say, we will not be going to any US Forest Service fires this year!”
May 22, 2019
To Our Local Government First Responders:
The State of California has faced and will continue to face unprecedented, catastrophic wildfires and other climate driven events. Each and every time our collective communities have experienced an emergent need, you have risen to the occasion and responded to help your neighbors. The California mutual aid system is unlike any other in the world and we will continue in our efforts to ensure that it remains this way. We are writing to share our concerns about the current status of the California Fire Assistance Agreement (CFAA or Agreement) and what we know related to outstanding invoices and future responses to requests for assistance.
In a letter to State Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Marshall dated April 17, 2019, from Regional Forester Randy Moore, the United States Forest Service (USFS) has taken the position that all outstanding invoices, as well as future invoices, will not be paid in accordance with the terms of the CFAA, the agreement that governs payment to local agencies for responding to State and Federal emergencies. We believe the unilateral actions by the USFS to change this agreement, which has been negotiated, bargained for, and reviewed and signed by all signatories’ leadership, counsel and contracting officer, is outside the provisions of CFAA Recital 15.3 which requires the Agreement Committee to negotiate procedural changes, and is an action in bad faith that undermines the trust that Federal agencies had built with local government over many years.
To be absolutely clear, it will not be business as usual following a response to a USFS incident. The historic, simple use of a submitted F-42 will no longer be sufficient to support reimbursement. The USFS has stated all invoices submitted for reimbursement must include supporting documentation, such as cancelled checks and/or the payroll summary for each employee that reimbursement is being requested for. The long-standing practice of using “average actual salary” rates is being disallowed by the USFS, who now will require an actual salary expense accounting prior to reimbursement
CALFIRE, who is also signatory to the agreement, has not expressed any concerns regarding the CFAA in its current form, and intends to continue processing outstanding invoices. They intend to continue to order and pay resources for future emergencies under the provisions of the agreement as written and intended.
Currently, the only issue is reimbursement to local agencies from the USFS. To date, the remaining Federal Fire Agencies signatory to the Agreement have not officially indicated how they will process reimbursements under the CFAA, however, it is reasonable to expect they will take a similar approach as the USFS.
For those that have outstanding invoices, you are in a predicament. It appears the USFS is unwilling to pay you as required under the CFAA. They have offered to pay you under their own, self-imposed terms. It is possible that, under their terms, you may be reimbursed for either more or less than the invoice you originally submitted. Your decision to submit to the Forest Service’s new rules and substantiation requirements is up to your organization. Most agencies cannot afford to stand on principle and ask the USFS to adhere to the Agreement, which they signed, and to which we responded to their fires in good faith. Local governments have little leverage to force the USFS to pay in accordance with the Agreement under which they responded.
If you so choose to comply with the USFS’s request for documentation, we would highly recommend that you track all additional time and expense and submit a supplemental bill charging them for your actual costs in preparing any documentation that is not required by the CFAA. Additionally, you should document any shortfall between what you originally billed under the CFAA and what the USFS is now willing to reimburse. There is a possibility that you may be able to recoup the difference at some point in time in the future.
One of our biggest concerns is the USFS’s new requirement that, in order to qualify for reimbursement, the requesting agency must have already expended the requested funds. The CFAA, as written, expressly allows agencies to bill and seek reimbursement prior to actually paying their employees. A significant part of our mutual aid system is supported by volunteer fire departments that do not have cash reserves to pay their employees in advance of invoicing the USFS. Instead, they have historically paid their employees after being reimbursed under the CFAA. The CFAA allows any signatory to audit a payee to ensure that the expense is supported and can be substantiated. This is an after the fact audit provision, not a provision that can be required pre-payment. The parties to the CFFA contemplated, negotiated, and drafted to allow for this exact scenario. It appears that the USFS is now unwilling to comply with this provision in the CFAA, thus causing an unresolvable stalemate in the payment system and, possibly, leaving certain expenses unreimbursed.
Please also be aware that, moving forward, if you respond to a USFS incident, and potentially any Federal incident, you will be reimbursed under the rules that the USFS has unilaterally imposed and be required to submit the required documentation for reimbursement. The USFS intends to require you to track individual specific costs for each employee as opposed to the average actual rates that are simply applied and allowed under the CFAA. On your behalf, we have previously and will continue to inform the USFS that we believe these new requirements are cumbersome, onerous, and inconsistent with the negotiated Agreement.
Successful response to Federal and State fires is dependent on a robust and seamless response from local government. The CFAA was designed to support that response. There are adequate provisions within the Agreement to renegotiate changes to the appendices annually. We encourage the USFS to reconsider the unilateral imposition of reimbursement requirements and process outstanding invoices and future response under the agreement in accordance with the CFAA, until such time that the decades old practice of negotiating changes has been agreed to by all signatory agencies as well as local government.
Jeff Meston, President, California Fire Chiefs Association
Steve M. Kovacs, President, Fire Districts Association of California
David Rocha, Chairperson, California Metropolitan Fire Chiefs
Dan Stefano President, League of California Cities Fire Chiefs Department
DAVID HILLER posted this photo to the Mendocino County History page - the caption reads "Working on the road from Ft Bragg to Willits, circa 1910."
CALIFORNIA'S POT INDUSTRY IS A DISASTER IN THE EARLY GOING, by Sean Williams (5/18/2019)
Last week, the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) released state budget documents showing that his administration has cut cannabis tax revenue projections by a whopping $223 million through 2020. Mind you, California has already reduced expectations for cannabis tax revenue on numerous occasions.
The latest budget documents, according to USA Today, call for $288 million in excise tax revenue from cannabis in fiscal 2019, and $359 million in fiscal 2020.
Just for some context, estimates in 2016 following the passage of Prop 64 were calling for more than $1 billion in annual excise tax revenue not long after the full ramp-up of the industry. Thus, California's marijuana industry isn't even living up to a third of its long-term potential, according to these new state projections.
How could such a blatant miscalculation by state regulators be possible? Three reasons.
First, regulatory red tape is making life in the Golden State difficult if you're a cannabis business. The state has been slow to review and approve retail and distribution licenses. There's been little issue getting supply in place, but growers have struggled to get what they have grown into dispensaries in California.
The second problem is that California is absolutely taxing the daylights out of its consumers. Aside from having the highest base sales tax of any state in the country, California imposes a 15% excise tax on recreational weed, as well as a cultivation levy of $9.25 per ounce on cannabis flowers, or $2.75 per ounce on cannabis leaves. All told, consumers could be on the hook for an aggregate tax of up to 45%, depending on the city. These added costs make it really difficult for legal channels to compete with the black market.
And thirdly, blame the black market. Illicit growers don't have to wait for sales permits or cultivation licenses, won't pay an excise tax, and won't have to cover state income taxes on their under-the-table profits. The cannabis black market has been around for a long time, and it's going to take aggressively low tax rates to reduce its stranglehold on California's cannabis market.
BUSH HUFFER, FORT BRAGG
GARDENS TO BRAGG ABOUT
Fort Bragg Garden Club is accepting nominations for Sidewalk Gardens To Bragg About. Nominate any attractive residential garden that is located within the Fort Bragg city limits and can be viewed from the sidewalk. Text the address to (707) 397-5842 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use Gardens to Bragg About as the subject. We do need the address in order to send out our judging team. Deadline: May 27th. Judging will be on May 30. Recognition Program will be held the evening of June 10, 6:30-7:30 at the Diederich Education Center.
Fort Bragg Garden Club
COME ON, COSTCO, DO THE RIGHT THING
Canada’s boreal forests are being flushed down the toilet and Costco’s Kirkland brand is one of the worst offenders.
It’s time for Costco to clean up its act and switch to post-consumer recycled materials. Ask Costco to switch products!
In solidarity with Mother Earth and all her creatures-
CATCH OF THE DAY, MAY 26, 2019
DUSTIN CANTRELL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MIRANDA ELLINGWOOD, Fort Bragg. Grand theft (money & access card), burglary, resisting.
JOSHUA FREEMAN, Potter Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
JEREMY GULICK, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
JOSEFINA LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
SEBASTIAN RABANO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.
SEAN SHANNON, Redwood Valley. Battery with serious injury, parole violation.
THE COMPLICATED SEX LIFE OF GARTER SNAKES
Garter snakes have complex systems of pheromonal communication. They can find other snakes by following their pheromone-scented trails. Male and female skin pheromones are so different as to be immediately distinguishable. However, male garter snakes sometimes produce both male and female pheromones. During the mating season, this ability fools other males into attempting to mate with them. This causes the transfer of heat to them in kleptothermy, which is an advantage immediately after hibernation, allowing them to become more active. Male snakes giving off both male and female pheromones have been shown to garner more copulations than normal males in the mating balls that form at the den when females enter the mating melee.
THE BORDER CRISIS, CAUSE OF…
It’s been said a thousand times before: the drug war, created out of nowhere by Richard Nixon at a time when he needed a bogeyman, has rained down fire and blood on the poor of Latin America, West Africa, Eastern Europe, northern Spain, southern France, and the United States, to name just a few places. Drugs have brought violence for three reasons: because they feel good (if they didn’t feel so good they wouldn’t be so popular); because many are to a significant degree addictive (you have to keep taking them to get diminishing returns on that initial hit of pure pleasure); and because they are illegal. If marijuana were priced at what it costs to grow it, it would be cheaper than corn, and the same goes for coca leaves. It is the fact that marijuana and cocaine are illegal that generates those absurd, obscene profits.
Drug traffickers are portrayed on television as golden antiheroes. Think of them more as entry-level mafia types with big bellies who run trucking companies. They take goods from point A and deliver them to point Z. And as the revelations in the recent New York trial of Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán remind us, because the goods they ship are illegal, traffickers spread corruption and undermine society; they bribe poorly paid and trained cops, soldiers, customs officials, judges, prison guards, army generals, and politicians. At each one of these corruption points, A through Z, the danger to the trucker and the company increases, and so the operator of that route requires an additional margin of profit. That cost is passed on to the consumer. Because operating a drug run, despite the risks, is insanely profitable, people kill one another for control of each particular route. And because running an illegal transportation company is phenomenally dangerous, the only people who do it are those with nothing to lose and no investment in the future. So you have one of the biggest transnational businesses in the world being operated by nihilists.
People sometimes ask me why I like doing stories that are often violent and cruel, and the answer is that of course I don’t. This is not what I expected to do with my life. When I started out in journalism, reporting from Nicaragua, it was expected that Nicaragua would soon rid itself of a dreadful dictator. My colleagues and I who reported on the triumph of the Sandinista revolution never expected that forty years later we would be writing about how Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista leader who was president from 1985 to 1990 and has been president again since 2007, has become increasingly like Anastasio Somoza, the dictator he helped overthrow. Or about how his companion, Rosario Murillo, has acquired all the eccentricities of a dictator’s wife—the crappy poetry readings, the spiritual séances, the crazy makeup, the offering of her own daughter for her husband’s bed. And now the grotesque couple has officially sponsored the killing of more than 300 students and other demonstrators by the Sandinista police and brand-new paramilitary forces since protests began in April 2018.
We couldn’t have foreseen that the peace treaty that ended El Salvador’s long internal war in 1992 would not end the violence but would lead to criminal gangs springing up two generations later, in large part made up of the 10,000 young men born in El Salvador but reared in the United States and then deported by the Obama administration to a country they barely remembered, if at all. Or that the US-financed contra war in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas would bring US military bases to peaceful backwater Honduras and leave behind prostitution, AIDS, drugs, and the seeds of uncontrollable violence.
But I couldn’t stop writing just because the stories that turned up weren’t the stories that I wanted to write. You can’t really jump ship like that. I’d picked up the thread of this story in Segovia, started to understand something about it, and no, it definitely wasn’t my intention to spend the past 25 years of my life watching expanding pools of adolescents murder one another—Adam Isacson at the Washington Office on Latin America puts the figure as at least one million killed by drug-related violence since 1974—and seeing how the drug trade is causing not only that disaster but the erosion of civic structures throughout the American hemisphere. But what else was there to do? I had ended up with a career in journalism, and I was trying to understand.
(Alma Guillermoprieto, ‘A Reporting Life in Latin America,’ New York Review of Books)
AL CAN DO IT, COASTIES
Anyone out there that can use a carpenter like myself , well here I am at $25 an hour and i have my own tools and truck. I can build or repair most anything in and around the house. I also have other skills to tackle whatever else needs to be done.
AL Nunez, email@example.com
THAT SHIT WAS DOOOPE (37 seconds of bro time: 33:33 - 34:10)
COLORADO CAPS INSULIN CO-PAYS At $100 For Insured Residents
As nearly 7.5 million Americans contend with covering the skyrocketing costs of insulin to manage the disease, diabetics in Colorado will soon have some relief.
A new law, signed by Gov. Jared Polis earlier this week, caps co-payments of the lifesaving medication at $100 a month for insured patients, regardless of the supply they require. Insurance companies will have to absorb the balance.
HOW HAS SERVING IMPACTED YOU?
After posting a video of a young recruit talking to the camera about how service allows him to better himself “as a man and a warrior”, the US Army tweeted, “How has serving impacted you?” Tweet after tweet after tweet, people used the opportunity that the Army had inadvertently given them to describe how they or their loved one had been chewed up and spit out by a war machine that never cared about them. This article exists solely to document a few of the things that have been posted in that space, partly to help spread public awareness and partly in case the thread gets deleted in the interests of “national security”.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The obstruction gambit is itself predicated on a set of facts that don’t clear the bar. Maybe if Trump had fired those that refused to follow his orders to fire Mueller, maybe if Trump had followed up and asked what the fuck is Mueller doing still stinking up the joint, if Trump had asked why the fuck didn’t you fire that leaky mother-fucker, if Trump had bellowed what the fuck is the problem, I’m not askin’ you to whack him which is far beyond your limited capacities you greasy, slippery, miserable shit, I’m tellin’ you to say the simplest words in the English language: YOU’RE FIRED.
If, if, if. The problem here is one of facts. And facts are exceedingly difficult things, difficult to verify, easy to cast doubt on, but stubborn as can be once established. Aside from a face-to-face interview which Trump would not agree to, Mueller apparently got what he asked for from the White House. Trump ranted, he raved but he didn’t follow up on firing Mueller. Mueller completed his investigation and issued his report. That is a very difficult hurdle to get over. But now the issue is one of logic. There was no underlying crime ie the vaunted Russian collusion, so if you’re obstructing something, it’s not to subvert the course of justice in the investigation of malicious deeds that, as it turned out, never happened and, to anyone of sound mind, would sound like something conjured by the grubby looking chap in the library who spends his days talking to the computer screen. Russians colluding with Trump? Why? To what end? And what do the Russians have that Trump couldn’t easily get directly underfoot in the US of A? Common sense evidently has no standing to people who cannot believe they lost the most unlose-able election in US history, or of the world.
I watched PBS NewsHour observing Judy and company. Having consulted those who read the entrails of the Mueller Report, they shone with an incandescent glow while they told us that diviners had divined an unmistakable “road-map” to impeachment. I suppose that the true believer is undeterred by facts, or the lack of them, like people of a scriptural bent who see nothing highly head-scratchy about virgin births or resurrections especially after having received a javelin in the guts while hanging on a cross. Or, being the equal opportunity blasphemer, a being from on-high, an emissary of the Big Fella Himself, reciting the contents of a holy book. You sit back, you watch the show, and laugh.
On Thursday, the White House issued a statement regarding expanded powers for the attorney general saying, in part, that the action “will restore confidence in our public institutions.
If the goal is to “restore confidence in our public institutions,” a good start would include an administration no longer referencing our press as “fake,” members of our judiciary as “Obama judges” and the speaker of the House of Representatives as “crazy.”
WE ARE KNOWN BEST BY THE CHARACTERS OF THOSE WHO HATE US
It is hard to admit that there exist many -- perhaps a great many -- who hate us. They may hate us for the cars that we drive (or don't), or for the way we eat corn from the cob. Or the way we mow our lawn (or don't). How we chew our food or slurp our coffee. Or snore loudly enough to wake the dead guy in the next motel room.
Some are sophisticated enough to hate us for our politics. Or for our slavish attention to political meetings. Or for the fact that we care nothing for politics but everything for older Disney films. They hate us, or maybe just fear us. We should recycle, but it's such a pain in the tail.
I often feel misunderstood, misinterpreted, mishandled. Even abused. But then a sunset happens. A symphony we have never heard from a place we have never been. An outgoing tide on a new beach, our hands deep in our pockets against the wind. Those who hate us seldom even touch us. But the experience here is fine. I am moving into assisted care a week from today. I won't likely be thrown out for refusing to die. And I bow. Thank you. It is, as always, a good day to die.
As we fiddle off toward our separate fates, many things reduce themselves down to the non-essential. For me that is alcohol, vast networks of friends, career, close relations with at least one of my kids, owning a dog, owning a car. Lately, apparent good health has also fallen away.
But this does not seem like a loss at least from inside. As Oscar Wilde (I think) observed, one's pending execution at dawn focuses the attention wonderfully. In my case, I find that I am simply uninterested in much of what used to fill much of my time. I continue to read much but nothing like I used to. Interest in music seems to be fading but is still the sound-track of much of my time. Backgammon. Much interest in politics much beyond self-preservation. Fast cars. Airplanes.
Increasing interest in self-preservation in the face of rapidly shrinking odds. Interesting eccentricities. Someone is playing a flute out on the lawn. They are, ahem, some distance from mastery but the clouds are thinning. In 45 minutes, I’m ok to listen to the start of the Indianapolis 500, which I haven't heard in fifty years. So it goes…