- Grewal Leave
- Cooler Temps
- Burn Ban
- Where's Josiah
- Caltrans Work
- Guardian Giants
- Bridge Toll
- Porn Plead
- Coastal Haiku
- Crass Predator
- Rodent Control
- Quiz Week
- Library Benefit
- Two Parties
- Outage Prep
- Pointless Expenditure
- Flyover Country
- Prison Extortion
- Fishermen Returning
- Food Stamps
- Yesterday's Catch
- Dem Debates
- Lucky Guy
- Donnie Worship
- Hate Elsewhere
- Boris Guy
- Mythical Friends
- Vichy Joe
- Teed Up
- Wealth Tax
- Found Object
WE’RE TRYING TO CONFIRM that the new AG Commissioner, Mr. Harinder Grewal, has been placed on Administrative Leave. We don't know yet if he got the standard Perp Walk, or if he’s on leave of his own volition.
A SEASONABLY COLD upper-level storm system is forecast to move east across the region during the week. Cooler temperatures will be likely across the interior by mid week, and a few showers will be possible over Del Norte County. (National Weather Service)
CAL FIRE SUSPENDS BURN PERMITS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
Mendocino County, CA – After another wet winter, warming temperatures and winds are quickly drying out the abundant annual grass crop. The increasing fire danger posed by the high volume of dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region is prompting CAL FIRE to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of Mendocino County. This suspension takes effect at 12:01 am on Monday, July 1, 2019 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.
Since January 1, 2019 CAL FIRE and firefighters across the state have already responded to over 1,570 wildfires. While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, CAL FIRE is asking residents to take that extra time to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of Defensible Space around every home and building on their property and being prepared to evacuate if the time comes.
Here are some tips to help prepare homes and property:
- Clear all dead and or dying vegetation 100 feet from around all structures.
- Landscape with fire resistant plants and non-flammable ground cover.
- Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy or green waste facility
The department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety. Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a CAL FIRE official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.
The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at PreventWildfireCA.org.
MISSING UNDER SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES:
A Mendocino Mother Searches For Her Only Son Who Was Raised Here In The Emerald Triangle
by Kym Kemp
Liz Hilderbrand who runs a pet sitting service in Piercy, a tiny hamlet in the northern tip of Mendocino County, California, is hoping someone somewhere has information about her son. Josiah Hilderbrand, age 25, was last known to be headed to the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington State with another man, Jon Cleary on June 7 to see Dead & Company (a band consisting of several members of the Grateful Dead).
Both of the two men are missing under suspicious circumstances, according to Yakima County Public Information Officer Casey Schilperoort. Their route to Washington State is unclear.
Liz says she doesn’t even know if Jon Cleary and her son got together in Southern California or in the Bay area to travel north. She hopes that people might recognize their vehicle or them and pass information on to law enforcement so that their route can be pieced together.
“I just want to know where my son is,” Liz Hilderbrand told us this weekend.
She paused trying to breathe through the pain and asked, “Am I even a mom anymore? Then she added in a ragged succession, “All I ever wanted to be was a mom… I’m afraid I’m never going to hear him laugh again. I can hear in my head how he said, ‘Mom.’…Do you ever forget what their voice sounds like…?”
She explained that she doesn’t want to think of him “discarded like he’s a piece of garbage.” Though through most of interview, Liz Hilderbrand was calm and factual, determined to do her best to fight for her son and provide the information she knew that might help, but, here she choked up, “I can’t handle that….That’s my boy. I want him home… .”
She added, “I’m hoping that by offering money that someone is going to be willing to say something.” She explained that with the help of one of her pet sitting clients, the reward for information is now $15,000.
The vehicle Josiah and Jon were last seen in, a light blue 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid, was found abandoned in the county of Yakima also in Washington state.
Liz said she didn’t know right away that her son had gone missing. For a few days, she thought he had lost his phone because no one could get in touch with him. She learned that something was wrong through a message from a friend that the car he was believed to be in was found abandoned.
A deputy with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office who was trying to track down why a blue Honda Civic had been abandoned under odd circumstances in his area had contacted the listed owner, she explained.
That person, a previous owner, said that a man named Jon Cleary had been driving the vehicle recently. Later, it was learned that Jon had last texted a friend showing a photo of him and another man in the Honda.
As concern about Cleary arose over the next few days, the photo was shared among friends and another person recognized the other man in the Honda as Josiah Hilderbrand, a former resident of both Humboldt and Mendocino County. Then the friend notified Liz.
Liz said she was immediately worried. She knew that her son had been out of contact for a week. And none of the close-knit Deadhead community had seen him at the June 7 concert.
“My son is not a loner,” she explained. “He’s always connected with somebody…and no one has heard from him.”
She then contacted the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office on June 14 with the information that her son had been with Jon Cleary in the Honda Civic and no one had had contact with him since.
The case has now moved from an abandoned vehicle case to detectives, according to the Yakima County Sheriff Public Information Officer Casey Schilperoort.
Liz said a post that she put up about her missing son has been shared on Facebook about 5000 times. “It’s getting shared in all these fan groups,” she explained. “There are people all over the country trying to find him.”
She added that people she doesn’t even know are creating a banner to display at the Dead events this summer in hopes of gathering information about Jon Cleary and Josiah’s disappearance.
“What better way to honor him–to show that he is worth something,” she choked out. “People have been very good, very supportive.”
Liz is hoping that people will share Josiah’s story and help bring him home. She says she is determined to find out where he is. “I have to stay strong for him,” she said. “Right now he still needs me. When we get through this, I can curl up in a ball… .”
She added, “I always want to be the person I am capable of being for my child. If I fell apart I would not be honoring him. I want to always be the mom he would be proud of.”
Liz posted this description on her Facebook page, “Josiah is 25 years old, 5’8”, 165 lbs. He has a cartoonish (Irwin) wolf head on the left side of his neck and a Egyptian looking cat on the right (cats under the stars motif).”
If anyone has any information about Josiah or Jon’s whereabouts or saw them en route to Yakima, please contact the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at (509) 574-2500 and reference Case #19C09726 with Deputy Klise.
To follow Josiah’s case and assist if possible, click like on the Help Bring Josiah HomeFacebook page.
(Courtesy, Redheaded Blackbelt / KymKemp.com)
CALTRANS is doing emergency work on Highway 128 from Hwy 1 to Flynn Creek Road. One-way traffic control from 6am to 7pm. Five-minute delays. Also guardrail work from Mill Creek to the east limits of Philo. One-way traffic control from 6am to 7pm. Ten-minute delays. (Through Friday, 6/28.)
Emergency work on the Boonville end of Hwy 253 from the Hwy 128 junction to Singley cattlepass will continues this week. One-way traffic control from 7am to 7pm. Up to ten-minute delays.
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: Guardian Giants on the Avenue
by David Wilson
The full moon rose over the redwood forests of the Eel River valley, bathing the hillsides in its stark light. It flashed through the redwood tree branches beside me as I drove along the Avenue of the Giants, snaking along the river in and out of great stands of the giant trees.
It was after 11:00 pm and I had been looking for a moonlit vista, but the two spots I had visited already were more overgrown than I’d remembered and wouldn’t work for my idea. My fallback plan was another place that I’d photographed before where the Avenue passed between two huge redwood trees that stood in silent sentinel to either side.
Standing beneath them in the night, silent but for the stirring of branches in the breeze, I felt my own tininess next to their immensity, their enduring longevity beside my own brief lifetime. These living things were old. What stories could they tell? What events even stand out to an entity with a lifetime that can span up to two thousand years?
Sequoia sempervirens, our California coast redwoods, are the tallest trees in the world. Their native range is constrained to little stretches of the west coast of North America, but their fame spans the globe. The Redwood forest (capitalization mine) is a unique forest type, and is one of our greatest treasures here on the North Coast, and indeed the world. For people coming from every part of the planet to see them, visiting our national and state parks is the easiest and best way to share in the amazing beauty of these forests.
Some may not realize it, but the two-part name Sequoia sempervirens uses the name of the genus first as Sequoia followed by the species name sempervirens. While some tree genera or groups will contain many species, the only species of Sequoia is Sequoia sempervirens, our beloved redwood. I think this points to a misnomer in the National Parks, for there are no actual trees of the genus Sequoia in Sequoia National Park; the giant sequoia, as they are popularly called, are really of the genus Sequoiadendron. I suppose “Sequoiadendron Nat’l Park” didn’t have a ring to it and they didn’t like anything else they came up with, but it seems to me that the park having the name “Sequoia” should at least contain some native trees of that genus in it.
Whenever you visit the redwood forests, try to leave no traces of your presence. Walk lightly; move a fern aside rather than step on it. Always pack out anything that you packed in. When you’re in the forest, be the forest. Explore, yes, but also take time to stand in the heart of a grove and be still. Breathe… Listen… Feel the massiveness of these living things, let the age of the place soak in. It’s a special place on the planet, and it will do you good.
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx.)
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE TOLLS SET TO RISE NEXT WEEK
Driving over the iconic span is set to get a little pricier.
GUALALA MAN PLEADS 'NO CONTEST' TO CHILD PORN
UKIAH, Mon., June 24. -- As potential jurors were checking in Monday morning at the jury assembly room of the Ukiah courthouse, a defendant -- dressed down in street clothes appearing ready for his day in court -- was upstairs pleading no contest to possession of child pornography.
When called for trial, defendant Russell Dean Haber, age 60, of Gualala, withdrew his prior not guilty plea and, in its place, entered a no contest plea to a single felony count of unlawful possession of child pornography having suffered a prior conviction for child pornography.
A no contest plea to a felony charge is the same for all purposes as a guilty plea.
At the time of the current March 2017 crime, the defendant was on supervised probation for his prior November 2013 child pornography conviction. His change of plea Monday morning constitutes an admission of his having willfully violated the terms of his probation.
After the defendant's change of plea and admission were entered on the record, the defendant's two cases were referred to the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. The defendant was ordered to return to court for sentencing on July 19th at 9 o'clock in the morning. Anybody interested in these cases or this defendant are welcome to attend the sentencing hearing on the 19th.
The defendant's state prison "exposure" is up to 80 months in state prison. The defendant has remained in the custody of the Sheriff since March 2017 and he will remain in custody pending judgment and sentencing.
The prosecutor who was to present the People's evidence to a jury was Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.
The law enforcement agencies that cooperated in gathering the necessary evidence for the prosecution were the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force, and the District Attorney's own Bureau of Investigation.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder accepted the defendant's change of plea and admission this morning. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke will be the sentencing judge on the 19th.
SIX COASTAL HAIKU by Erik S. McMahon
Earth, water, fire air
Strong quartet of elements
You have to be there
Pterodactyl’s headlong dive
Fresh sushi dinner
Ordered bird parade
High, then ebb of ocean tides
Here is the river
Where are its tributaries?
Stream of consciousness
Remembering the future
From departed days
R. CRUMB 30 years ago, introducing a cartoon story he drew about Donald J. Trump. Ha ha.
The plastic traps are definitely easier to use, but be aware that they tend to malfunction after use. Good advice to attach something to anchor the trap. Also to set three traps at once. Rats are a lot easier to trap than gophers. You can trap rats yourself, but ask a garden or exterminator to take care of gophers (unless you have an all day cat). I've seen dogs who have learned how to catch gophers. The absolute best gopher catcher is the great blue heron, but they are not easy to attract or keep.
(G. York, Coast Listserve)
BOONVILLE QUIZ IS BACK THIS THURSDAY, June 27.
At Lauren’s Restaurant in downtown Boonville at 7pm. (Steve Sparks, Quizmaster)
FLYNN CREEK CIRCUS IS BACK with amazing feats and unparalleled artistry in their new show: Out of Hat! On Wednesday, July 3rd, the evening performance benefits Friends of the Fort Bragg Library. The Friends invite you to support the Library Expansion Project in Fort Bragg. We are building a larger library to serve patrons from Elk to Westport and beyond! Join us in Mendocino's Friendship Park at 7 pm on Wednesday, July 3rd for the time of your life.
PG&E'S ANNOUNCEMENT that its customers in high risk fire areas should be prepared for outages that could last for as long as five days at a time seems fairly specific as to which areas it considers high risk. The Anderson Valley certainly has areas that qualify, but central Boonville? Evidently. PG&E will throw the switch on the trunk line for the whole area, Boonville included. We're debating whether or not to invest in a generator in case the power monopoly shuts us down for more than a few hours, days seeming inconceivable. We're solarized but still routed through PG&E's grid. If it goes, we go, and given the spectacle I saw at Ukiah CostCo the other day as three separate parties walked out the door with several generators each, I thought, well, gee, what are the odds we'd ever use the thing? Odds say, Yes, we mos def would use it.
ON-LINE ADVICE FOR POWER OUTAGES: “Get a Honda 2k and a bunch of power cords with splitters.
Also a bunch of candles. Those tall Catholic jobs are very good.
But as long as the tv and internet is powered up screw it.
Once in the nineties there was a snowstorm and a freeze and the power was down for two weeks.
A backup generator is a basic necessity.
Unless you live in a city.
But even then,….”
WE GOT A BIG LAUGH when the Supes discussed wasting $85k on a consultant to do a “needs assessment” of the County six or seven semi-abandoned parks. Supervisor Williams said he was for it based on staff’s assurance that the money would come back later via grants based on the assessment. To drive home the point Board Chair Carre Brown added: “We will hold their feet to the fire.”
WHICH would be the first time in County history that anybody’s tootsies came anywhere near the flames of accountability. In fact, nobody will follow up on this pointless expenditure, much less hold anybody’s “feet to the fire.”
The board duly voted 3-2 with Gjerde and Haschak dissenting to have the supposedly broke County spend the $85k.
"FLYOVER COUNTRY SKY"
ROBERT DOYLE is Marin's sheriff-coroner. Responding to a letter in the San Rafael Independent Journal, Doyle wrote: "Recently Alex Easton-Brown wrote a letter to the editor claiming that profits from inmate telephones and commissary were being used to purchase drones and surveillance equipment for the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. It is true that profit is derived from inmate telephones and commissary. However, those profits are deposited in an inmate welfare account and by law can only be used to benefit Marin County Jail inmates. So I say to you Alex Easton-Brown: Next time, get the facts straight.”
NOT EXACTLY, Sheriff Doyle. Families of inmates are charged exorbitant rates for the necessarily collect calls placed by prisoners. The private company providing the "service" takes a big whack of the big profits generated by the telephone "service," while a small portion is indeed placed in beneficial inmate services. Additionally, the last time I put a small amount of money on an inmate's books, the privatized service charge for the automated process was five bucks for twenty bucks, which is an extortionate amount charged, I'd say.
FISHERMEN RETURNING to Terminal Island with a full catch, December 21, 1932. Photo Anton Wagner.
THE GOLDEN YEARS
My mother is 92 and lives in Windsor. She is totally disabled and is on Medicare and Medicaid, with Medicaid-supplied assistance three times a week. She is allowed to have a very limited amount of money in the bank and has very little income coming to her.
She applied for food stamps to assist her and expand her food purchases beyond her income. After a lengthy wait, she received her allotment of food stamps. The amount — $25 a month — is a slap in the face to a senior citizen.
I went to our local market (big chain) and tried to see if it was possible to buy food for the month: a half-gallon of milk, $1.99; one pound of hamburger, $2.99; plain white bread, $1.99; a head of lettuce, $1.99; a tomato, $1.80; a potato, $0.69; four bananas, $1.40; an orange, $1.80; processed American cheese, $3.49; two cube steaks, $4.50; a dozen medium eggs, $1.99; a pound of butter, $3.99; and a small cottage cheese, $2.79.
That adds up to $31.41, and I doubt it would last 30 days. I’m sure the Sonoma County Human Services Department could do better for its elderly. Shame on you.
Grants Pass, Oregon
CATCH OF THE DAY, JUNE 24, 2019
WILLIAM AADLAND-BREEN, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
GEORGE BEARD, Ukiah. Misdemeanor hit&run, witness intimidation.
NATHANIEL CHIM, Fort Bragg. Parole violation.
WESLEY DICKSON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ALICIA ELLIOTT, Covelo. Protective order violation.
SANDRA ESPINOZA, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
PAUL GONDUSKY, Albion. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
PATRICK HANOVER, Covelo. Protective order violation. (Frequent Flyer)
JESSE HARNETT, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
FRANCISCO PEREZ-RAMIREZ, Hopland. DUI, no license.
KELSEY PIERCE, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
by James Kunstler
As the first of 12 presidential debates blows in at mid-week like an evil patch of bad summer weather, twenty candidates vie for the position of Ole Massa on the Democratic Party plantation, and the air is gravid with bad vibes.
One highly-favored entry, Mayor Pete (Buttigieg) of charming South Bend, Indiana, stepped into (and tripped over) a big fresh patty of mule poop over the weekend at a “town hall” meeting that was called to address the June 16 shooting of one Eric Logan, 54, by a police officer dispatched to check out “a suspicious individual going through cars” at 2:30 a.m. The officer said the suspect came at him with a knife. The officer failed to switch on his body-cam, or so the police department said. Conclusions were jumped to. Then, in the wee hours just before Mayor Pete’s June 24 town hall, another black man was killed and 10 other people wounded in the shoot-up of a watering hole called Kelly’s Pub.
God knows what that was about — no police were involved in the shoot-up — but Mayor Pete caught the blame for it, of course, and the Sunday town hall meeting turned into a shriek-in by outraged “community” members. He was hardly allowed to admit his failures, issue apologies, and promise to do better. After the ordeal, Mayor Pete struggled to hold in his tears talking to the media. No doubt he will be pressured to keep ‘splainin’ these matters until either his campaign folds up its tent or he is anointed at the national convention in Milwaukee.
Leader-of-the-Pack (in the polls, anyway) Joe Biden stepped into it perhaps even deeper than Mayor Pete last week when he bragged about how well he was able to work with the old southern segregationist fossils, Herman Talmadge (GA) and James O. Eastland (MS), who were still around in the senate when “Uncle Joe” first came on the scene decades ago. “We didn’t agree on much,” the former Veep said, “but we got things done.” What’s more, the candidate averred, going perhaps a bridge too far, Senator Eastland “never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son,’” as if Mr. Biden might have been mistaken for a waiter in the senators’ dining room, with its old fashioned-ways and renowned bean soup.
Senator Cory Booker (NJ), a.k.a. “Spartacus,” aiming to “speak truth to power,” as gladiators are wont to do, jumped on the remarks as “hurtful and harmful to African Americans.” Mr. Biden, something of a political fossil himself now, shot back that Senator Booker should apologize to him for imputing he had racist proclivities. The rest of the pack joined the feeding frenzy. Bernie Sanders backed up Mr. Booker’s call for a Biden apology. Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA), criticizing her leading rival said, “I’m not here to criticize other Democrats, but it’s never okay to celebrate segregationists. Never.” Senator Kamala Harris piled on, calling Mr. Biden “misinformed and wrong.”
The week’s doings left the impression that the Democratic Party has turned into one big race hustle, with reparations for slavery as the centerpiece on the banquet table and recriminations for “white privilege” as the main course. Senator Warren added a gender hustle amuse bouche to the menu over the weekend with demands for “reparations for gay and lesbian couples” who had to file income taxes as individuals in the pre gay marriage days.
African Americans comprise about 12.3 percent of the US population and about 4.5 percent “identify as” LGBTetc. The Hispanic demographic is 18.1 percent and the Democratic Party has already got them covered with its official opposition to the immigration laws — though there is evidence that Hispanic US citizen-voters are not uniformly on-board with that pander.
Now the party will be hard put to come up with some goodies for the rest of the US population. But it appears that it has only punishments and persecutions in mind for them. This may be the way the world ends for the party first consolidated by Andy Jackson, the old white slavemaster rascal, whose sins were later redressed with the election of Barack Obama. Hustling their way to an election disaster in 2020, they play right into the small-ish hands of Mr. Trump, the Golden Golem of Greatness.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
A COUPLE OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS were asking if that was Bill Clinton and Monica on the cover of HUP. Nope. But here IS Crumb's take on Bill and Monica.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE DAY
 Biden’s biggest campaign slogan so far is that Nothing Would Fundamentally Change. That gives working people nothing to hope for when it comes to healthcare, wages or anything else. The working classes will continue to gravitate to Trump because something (MAGA) is better than nothing. It’s a real freak show, but Trump will win again. America will continue its rapid decline unfettered by Democratic platitudes. Only after collapse will we see any fundamental changes, and then we’re probably looking at some kind of techno-futuristic fascism, until that falls apart, too. Get ready people.
 Mayor Pete is simply repulsive. Anybody who puts “Gay” first on their CV is dubious to begin with. I’m not morally opposed to a little discreet buggery in the privacy of one’s own home, between consenting adults, but sexual matters are private, and to make it the platform you are running on is a serious and frankly scandalous miscalculation. Nothing he says can even be taken seriously after that. People have asked me to listen to what his has to say, but I simply can’t. Women would be fools to vote for him. My mother, a staunch and lifelong Democrat won’t consider him. I can’t get past the vision of the inaugural ball. There are men dressed in black leather shorts with suspenders, SS officer’s hats on their heads, spiked collars on their necks, and Nazi regalia tattooed on their persons, men dressed as Queen Elizabeth I complete with ruff, men in pink spandex, men dressed like Lucille Ball or Cher, men in feathers and makeup. It makes me giggle, and being found ridiculous is death to political ambition.
 Your homophobic fever-dreams aside, I do tend to think that the USA isn’t really ready for an openly-gay president. I regard Mayor Pete’s bid as a novelty-candidacy who is being taken seriously because the fellow knows how to charm the media-elites.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 I spent the day with a poli sci major from UC Davis who was clueless about anything including how our government really functions. I was really sad to see she knew nothing while claiming to know everything. The only thing that popped out of her mouth obsessively was orange man bad, Hillary wonderful, toxic male masculinity and man spreading all said to her father on Father’s day. Not my kid thank god I would be pissed about spending that much to get so little in return. Honor roll student straight a’s and clueless.
 A vignette of American life: The neighbor’s boy went to his high school prom the other evening.
We say “the prom” where I live, other places call it “prom”.
It seems to be an American tradition.
What was slightly different about this couple, at least from prom couples in my day, was that the girl is bi-racial. Interracial couples at the prom are nothing new, but it used to be almost exclusively the male half being black and the female being white.
I looked at the prom photos in the paper, and the boy next door and his date, while different from my era, did not stand out at the dance, because there were quite a few couples with a white boy and a black girl, even dark-skinned black girls now date white boys.
Everybody looked happy, vibrant, and full of hope for the future, just the way youth should look.
If they and their parents are careful about where the kids go on to higher education at, most of these kids will enter adulthood just as free from hateful notions as they are right now.
God forbid they attend a cesspit like Oberlin.
When “they” in the MSM, and our politicians tell us where we are on race, they are holding a mirror up to their biased and obsessed selves.
The real world has moved on.
THE BELIEF THAT TRUMP IS A MESSIAH Is Rampant and Dangerous
"As a cognitive psychology researcher who has been writing about the science underlying Trump’s unshakable support since he began his presidential campaign, I have learned—through comments, emails, and discussion forums—that a significant portion of his supporters literally believe the president was an answer to their prayers. He is regarded as something of a messiah, sent by God to protect a Christian nation."
HOW EASILY MINDFULNESS IS TWISTED into mindlessness. If it means personal serenity at the expense of collective action, if it means amnesia instead of historical consciousness, it's not mindfulness. The past is present in the Now.
BRIT TRUMP: 'Who IS this Boris guy?' asked an American friend yesterday. To which there is no simple answer. Boris Johnson, the New York born man who is currently hot favorite to be Britain's new Prime Minister in four weeks, is a complex, mysterious, Machiavellian character. But to call him a divisive, polarizing character is like saying President Trump's angelic halo is a little chipped. The Boris positives are that he's charming, intelligent, passionate, emotional, eloquent and loquacious, with a great sense of humor and undeniable star quality. The Boris negatives are too numerous to fully detail here. His critics, as with Trump's, would argue he's a lying, shameless, hypocritical, racist, homophobic, sexist, unreliable and cheating buffoon. He's also a hard drinking former drug-abuser, and on-going sex maniac." — Piers Morgan
BIGFOOT, LOCH NESSIE, and my friends from afar…
JOE BIDEN SAYS He Can Work With the Senate. The Last Time He Tried, Mitch McConnell Picked His Pockets Badly.
A Reader Writes: The worst thing yet that I’ve learned about Biden.
A CALL TO ACTION: A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF A WEALTH TAX
JUNE 24, 2019
TO: 2020 Presidential Candidates
We are writing to call on all candidates for President, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, to support a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% of Americans—on us. The next dollar of new tax revenue should come from the most financially fortunate, not from middle-income and lower-income Americans.
America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more. A wealth tax could help address the climate crisis, improve the economy, improve health outcomes, fairly create opportunity, and strengthen our democratic freedoms. Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic.
Polls show that a moderate tax on the wealthiest Americans enjoys the support of a majority of Americans—Republicans, Independents, and Democrats. We hope that candidates for President will also recognize the force of the idea and join with most Americans in supporting it. Some ideas are too important for America to be part of only a few candidates’ platforms.
The concept of a wealth tax isn’t new: Millions of middle-income Americans already pay a wealth tax each year in the form of property taxes on their primary form of wealth—their home. The kind of moderate tax on the richest 1/10 of 1% that we support just asks us to pay a small wealth tax on the primary source of our wealth as well.
Several candidates for President, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Representative Beto O’Rourke, are already supportive of the idea. The first specific candidate proposal, introduced by Senator Warren, would provide millions of families with a better shot at the American dream by taxing only 75,000 of the wealthiest families in the country.” The proposal is straightforward: It puts in place a tax of 2 cents on the dollar on assets after a $50 million exemption and an additional tax of 1 cent on the dollar on assets over $1 billion. If you have $49.9 million or less you are not paying the tax. It is estimated to generate nearly $3 trillion in tax revenue over ten years.
This revenue could substantially fund the cost of smart investments in our future, like clean energy innovation to mitigate climate change, universal child care, student loan debt relief, infrastructure modernization, tax credits for low-income families, public health solutions, and other vital needs.
That a moderate tax on a minuscule number of Americans could raise so much revenue simply reflects historic levels of wealth among America’s richest. The top 1/10 of 1% of households now have almost as much wealth as all Americans in the bottom 90%. Those of us signing this letter enjoy uncommon fortunes, but each of us wants to live in an America that solves the biggest challenges of our common future.
We are in favor of a wealth tax for at least six key reasons:
A Wealth Tax Is a Powerful Tool for Solving Our Climate Crisis. In addition to better rules on carbon pollution, more American investment is needed now to tackle climate change. This could both accelerate innovation and speed implementation of solutions that create a clean energy economy and a low-carbon future. A wealth tax asks those of us who have benefitted most from our economic system to help fix one of its most devastating and fatal flaws.
A Wealth Tax Is an Economic Winner for America. It would be a powerful instrument for greater economic growth and success. Reinvested both across America and among those less wealthy than ourselves, a wealth tax would extend prosperity. Along with resources for climate crisis investments, America needs a revenue source for other public investments in addition to private investment and philanthropy. Greater public investment in America’s aging infrastructure, child care, and education will not only solve important problems but will also increase productivity in the long run and promote sustained and broad-based economic growth.”Easing student debt would boost entrepreneurship and homeownership rates, which have significantly declined as the costs of higher education have skyrocketed." A wealth tax could help with innovation and job creation—America’s entrepreneurial economy, despite its many successes, needs strengthening.” Put simply, a wealth tax would strengthen the American economy in ways that benefit all Americans.
A Wealth Tax Will Make Americans Healthier. America’s most experienced public health experts point out that more resources are needed for major public health challenges like cardiovascular disease, the nation’s top killer, and high levels of opioid addiction. High rates of inequality have been linked to lower life expectancies. The wealthiest Americans are now estimated to live up to 15 years longer than the poorest Americans, and individuals living in disadvantaged communities are more likely to die before the age of 75, regardless of their income level. With a modest tax on the most wealthy families to fund investments creating opportunities for lower-income and middle-income families, we can improve public health outcomes and extend life expectancies.
A Wealth Tax Is Fair. A wealth tax would help close the large gap in effective tax rates between very rich families and everyone else. Warren Buffett has pointed out that he is taxed at a lower rate than his secretary. The top 1/10 of 1% are projected to pay 3.2% of their wealth in taxes this year, while the bottom 99% of households are projected to pay 7.2%. This imbalance creates resentment and makes it harder for working-class Americans to achieve social mobility. Taxing extraordinary wealth should be a greater priority than taxing hard work. The most fortunate should contribute more.
A Wealth Tax Strengthens American Freedom and Democracy. It would slow the growing concentration of wealth that undermines the stability and integrity of our republic. Countries with high levels of economic inequality are more likely to concentrate political power and become plutocratic. The founders of America knew this, and feared that an economic elite might become ensconced as leaders and erode the effectiveness ofthe republic.“ Today, major policies seldom come to pass without the prior support of wealthy elites or other wealthy interests.
Division and dissatisfaction are exacerbated by inequality, leading to higher levels of distrust in democratic institutions—and worse.
That’s one reason we don’t view a wealth tax as a sacrifice on our part: We believe instituting a wealth tax would lead to political, social, and economic stability, strengthening and safeguarding America’s democratic freedoms.
A Wealth Tax Is Patriotic. In our republic, it is the patriotic duty of all Americans to contribute what they can to the success of the country, and the wealthiest are no exception. Others have put far more on the line for America. Those of us in the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% should be proud to pay a bit more of our fortune forward to America’s future. We’ll be fine—taking on this tax is the least we can do to strengthen the country we love.
What about the arguments against a wealth tax? They are mostly technical and often overstated.
Some raise important questions about implementation and enforcement. But as the Warren proposal shows, we can limit potential evasion and reduce tax cheating by building on lessons learned in the United States and other countries. Others question whether assets owned by many ultra-millionaires and billionaires, including private equity and art collections, can be accurately assessed for tax purposes. But such assets are frequently valued—upon resale, donation, bankruptcy, divorce, or death.
Some have argued that a federal wealth tax is unconstitutional. But here again, some of the country’s most prominent constitutional scholars—including two former heads of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice—have argued convincingly that a wealth tax is constitutional.
Far-reaching policy proposals nearly always require considerable effort to iron out complexities —and that effort has always been made when the cause is important enough. The process of instituting a wealth tax would in itself likely improve the measurement tools to facilitate implementation.
Those of us who have signed this letter believe it is our duty to step up and support a wealth tax that taxes us. It is a key to both addressing our climate crisis, and a more competitive, stronger economy that would better serve millions of Americans. It would make America healthier. It is a fair way of creating opportunity. And it strengthens American freedom and democracy. It is not in our interest to advocate for this tax, if our interests are quite narrowly understood. But the wealth tax is in our interest as Americans.
That’s why we’re joining the majority of Americans already supporting a moderate wealth tax. We ask that you recognize its strong merit and popular support, and advance the idea to tax us a little more.
Louise J. Bowditch, Robert S. Bowditch, Abigail Disney, Sean Eldridge, Stephen R. English, Agnes Gund, Catherine Gund, Nick Hanauer, Arnold Hiatt, Chris Hughes, Molly Munger, Regan Pritzker, Justin Rosenstein, Stephen M. Silberstein, Ian T. Simmons, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Alexander Soros, George Soros, and Anonymous.