- Rain North
- Linda Newton
- 20 Rollover
- Rez Hoophouses
- Zen Awards
- Yorkville Market
- Ped Fatality
- Flow Kana
- Royal Life
- Train Talk
- Parade Bus
- Trans Concern
- Questionable Quote
- Youngstown Vindicator
- Fox Wilshire
- Equal Pay
- Fog Layer
- Housing Sought
- Yesterday's Catch
- Train Wreck
- What Me Worry
- Kamala Rising
- American Jobs
- Soccer Plus
- Gender Pressure
- Business Startups
- 18 Shots
- NORML Director
- No Photography
- Sea Carnival
- All Wrong
- Trump Metaphor
- Spider Kiss
- Found Object
AREAS OF LIGHT RAIN will reach northern Humboldt and Del Norte counties later this morning and linger into this afternoon as a warm front clips northwest California. After a period of slightly below average July temperatures, a warming trend is expected inland over the second half of the week. Coastal areas will stay seasonably cool with cloudy skies for most of the overnights and mornings. (National Weather Service)
Longtime Boonville resident Linda Newton passed away on June 28th 2019 after a short illness.
Linda arrived in Anderson Valley in 1978 when there was still a Horn of Zeese and locals "Harped Boont." The Valley's hillsides grew apple orchards and sheep wandered. Times were different but the Valley's unique magic was here. Linda made her life in this community for the next 41 years. Over this time she worked as a nurse, volunteered with Hospice, and also with Plowshares in Ukiah. She took up singing and became a jazz vocalist in her 40s.
Linda radiated a vitality and exuberance for life. She enjoyed an afternoon wandering the Mendocino beaches in search of bits of abalone or collecting Headlands wildflowers or cooling off along the Navarro River on a hot summer day. Linda was a woman who loved to dance and had an unending spirit of youthful energy. She would never miss a Sunday Dancing in the Park. And if there was a bargain to be had she would find it!
Linda spent many sunny days creating in her garden a whimsical splash of colorful beauty. Her highlight of each year was when her family would come to visit. She was proud of her children, grandchildren and her great-grand children. Linda was an avid traveler, she travelled widely in her later years with her partner.
When she discovered the venue of Facebook she began sharing her unique impressions of her travel experiences with the cyber world. Linda was a lively storyteller and writer. Her creativity and imagination made her perceptions vivid.
Linda was a friend to many in the valley. She was generous and kind, she was strong in her faith which comforted her throughout her rapid decline in illness. Linda was a dedicated mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and partner. But most of all Linda showed many of us how to live life so fully. She experienced her life with enthesiastic zest, in vibrant color and radiating glamor. She never missed an opportunity. She will be missed by many.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday July 13th at Evergreen Cemetery, Boonville. Celebration of Life to follow.
HIGHWAY 20 ROLLOVER
On July 7th, 2019, at approximately 1318 hours, Robert Edwards, 73, of Calpella was driving his 2007 Kenworth truck, towing a flat bed trailer, loaded with approx. 47,000 pounds of redwood boards. Edwards was traveling eastbound on Highway 20, east of Hillside Lane at approximately 35 MPH when his vehicle veered onto the south shoulder of Highway 20. The vehicle overturned and landed on the roof, causing the load and approximately 50 gallons of diesel fuel to spill onto the shoulder and into Clear Lake. No injuries were reported from this incident. Drugs or alcohol were not determined to be a factor in this incident. Caltrans, Lake County Health Department, Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Highway Patrol responded to the incident. The trucking company contracted a cleanup company to remove the debris.
(CHP Press Release)
On 06-25-2019 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received an illegal trespass marijuana cultivation complaint from officials of the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians (SVBPI). The SVBPI officials reported there were two trespass and non-sanctioned marijuana cultivation sites on SVBPI Tribal lands. The information was provided to the County of Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team (COMMET) for investigation. A search warrant was obtained for the investigation of the two marijuana cultivation sites. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Detectives from COMMET responded to the two marijuana cultivation sites and served the search warrant on 07-02-2019. One site consisted of 3 large plastic green houses and the other site had one large plastic green house and 2 outdoor marijuana gardens. In total COMMET eradicated 983 marijuana plants from both cultivation sites. No suspect(s) were located at either cultivation site during the service of the search warrant. If anyone has information that can assist in the identification of the outstanding suspect(s) then COMMET urges you to call the Sheriff's Office Tip-line at 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.
YORKVILLE MARKET: July 2019
Friday July 12th – Pizza and Game night! Happy Hour @5:30, Dinner @6:00pm
Friday July 19th – Fiesta Night! Join us for delicious homemade Mexican dinner. Happy Hour@5:30, Dinner @ 6:00pm-
Saturday July 20th – Join us for our 4th annual BBQ Competition. See who will take home the trophy this year for the best BBQ Ribs. We will be serving all the fixins’ on the side. Food Served at 5:00pm
For more details on these events please contact the Market at (707) 894-9456.
FATAL HIGHWAY 1 CRASH
Male Victim, age 46, Male Driver, age 49
On Sunday, July 7, at approximately 12:40 am, CHP responded to a vehicle vs. pedestrian traffic collision on SR-1, south of Ocean Drive. During the initial investigation, it was determined that the pedestrian was crossing SR-1 traveling from the east to the west, and proceeded into the path of a 2005 Toyota Tacoma which was traveling southbound at an undetermined speed on SR-1. The vehicle collided with the pedestrian head-on, causing fatal injuries to the pedestrian and no injuries to the driver of the Toyota. Involvement of alcohol as a factor in this collision is still under investigation. (CHP Press Release)
INSIDE SOHUM’S FLOW KANA FACILITY: WE TAKE A LOOK AROUND
by Emily Hobelmann
Note: With Flow Kana opening a large cannabis processing facility in Southern Humboldt, free lance writer Emily Hobelmann figured she wasn’t the only one interested in learning what they do there. Here’s what she found.
The Flow Kana processing facility in Southern Humboldt is up and running again after a three month lapse in licensing forced the company to temporarily cease operations at its Whitethorn location.
The cannabis brand initially began operating at this newly constructed facility under a temporary license back in November 2018. When the temporary license expired the following February, state regulations did not allow for an extension, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) was not prepared to issue an annual license at that time.
Flow Kana was able to recommence operations at this leased facility in May when it received a provisional license, which is valid for a full year.
The approximately 10,000 square foot warehouse is located at the Whitethorn Construction complex, right behind Caffé Dolce. It is a spacious and spotless area, with a large portion of its square footage devoted to climate-controlled storage.
Flow Kana Director of Processing Drew Phillips welcomed me (Emily Hobelmann) for a tour of the facility on a Friday in mid-June, when there were about 13 or 14 full-time employees working on the processing room floor. Phillips says Flow Kana will employ about 32 people full-time at this facility when operating at max capacity. “We’re working on staffing up right now.”
My tour started in the well-appointed break room, where Phillips gave me background on the company and its operations over cold sparkling water and a lazy Susan packed with snacks. The break room is equipped with a full kitchen, complete with a stainless steel refrigerator and an ADA-compliant gas stove.
Flow Kana did not construct this facility; Phillips credits the McKee family for the design, build out and thoughtful details. Flow Kana wound up here, he says, because of fortuitous circumstances, basically, a “right place, right time” situation that arose when another company backed out of leasing the space.
Flow Kana holds both distribution and processing licenses, and the company is well funded. This press release from mid-February describes how “Flow Kana has raised a total of $175 million to date to build and scale the California cannabis supply chain centered around small, decentralized, sustainably operated cannabis farms.”
Flow Kana’s current operational model is to aggregate and process sun-grown cannabis from local farms at its Laytonville and Whitethorn hubs. From these two locations, materials are moved downstream to the Flow Cannabis Institute (FCI) in Mendocino, Flow Kana’s sophisticated sorting and packaging facility at the old Fetzer Winery in Redwood Valley.
Flow Kana moves retail ready 1/8ths and full flower pre-rolls from FCI to dispensaries all over the state. Since the company sources from a variety of small farms, Phillips says the product line is “ever changing,” and their customer base likes the variety.
Local cannabis farms that work with Flow Kana include Rebel Grown, Ridgeline, Sun Roots, Happy Day Farms, Full Sun Farms, Moon Made Farms and Emerald Spirit Botanicals. The Willie’s Reserve and Brother David’s brands are also affiliated with Flow Kana. (Brother David’s is the new cannabis company founded by Dr. Bronner’s CEO David Bronner).
Licensed cannabis cultivators are not necessarily required to send their crops out for processing at facilities like this warehouse in Whitethorn. The state does allow for cultivators to process onsite, but only as long the local jurisdiction has approved post-harvest production activities for that particular license, activities which can include, trimming, packaging and making pre-rolls.
In general, onsite processing at cultivation sites may not be practical or permitted because of the need to develop infrastructure for processing employees or because of complications around hiring extra hands. But it can be done, again, only with explicit approval from the local jurisdiction.*
The Flow Kana facility in Whitethorn is not affiliated with any single cultivation operation. It is essentially a service station where product from many farms is processed, then moved into the legal market under the Flow Kana brand. Carter and Phillips both believe demand for processing facilities like this will build in the coming years, accommodating cultivators that either do not want to or cannot process their crops on-site.
Phillips points to another draw to the Whitethorn facility for licensed cultivators – its storage capacity. Proper storage is an important factor in the legal market, and Flow Kana can legally transport cannabis off the hill into its secure, insured and climate-controlled facility until the product is processed and ready to move elsewhere.
These services come at a cost, of course, and Flow Kana’s spectrum of processing options and fees are intended to minimize cost to the farms. Fees can depend on whether the material comes bucked or un-bucked (“We do take on branched flower”) and on how the material is graded and processed (single-A, double-A or triple-A; hand trimmed and/or machine trimmed).
Drying and curing is all done on farm, Phillips says, and Flow Kana does not currently “R&D” test materials before transport to their processing facilities. The company does, however, plan to implement this type of preliminary testing for the first light deprivation crops of this season. COA [Certificate of Analysis] testing happens in the final form of the flower, once the product has an established retail route.
Phillips says that when Flow Kana does take possession of materials for processing, the goal is to “make the flower shine.”
If the flower is dense and round with structural integrity, it may be machine trimmed then polished by hand. In fact, Phillips says, “We get a more consistent trim across the board if we machine trim first and then give it to trimmers.” But if the flower has “a lot of dips and valleys or foxtails sticking out of it – we’re going to full hand trim that. It’s not going to go into a machine.”
Trimming machines will play a significant role in the future of cannabis, minimizing processing time and cost, but Phillips believes there will always be a need for the human touch. “Cannabis is a very delicate flower,” he says. “A lot of it needs to be hand trimmed, and I don’t think you can replace that.”
A big part of his job is to ensure cultivators that Flow Kana is going to treat their product with respect, and Phillips spends a great deal of time showing clients around Flow Kana’s facilities so they can see the processing operations first-hand.
“Even the toughest farms that hang on super tight, I’ve gotten them to start trusting. And the trust is there because the proof is in the pudding,” he noted.
Phillips says in addition to all of the considerations around trimming methodologies, Flow Kana has kept their inventory tracking mechanisms tight from the jump because they are dealing with so many different entities. The onus is on Flow Kana, he says, to make sure products are kept clean and separated at all times.
This is a huge departure from Humboldt’s arguably infamous trim scene and black market sales culture, I observe to him, even more so because the facility will be operating year round and will therefore be a place for stable employment.
Phillips laughs in response to my comment and offers a pertinent anecdote, telling me how it’s often quite hard for new processing employees to take required breaks, as many seasoned trimmers are used to working non-stop for hours on end.
Entry level processing positions at Flow Kana start above minimum wage and receive full benefits, including dental, vision and life insurance policies, paid holidays, paid sick leave and paid time off, the company says. Flow Kana also runs its own in-house version of a Community Supported Agriculture program. Phillips says most of the current Whitethorn staff live in Shelter Cove, Ettersburg and Petrolia.
And while Flow Kana does not necessarily have straight up trim work available all of the time, “we do have things to fill those gaps,” he says. For example, on the day of my visit, the bulk of the processing employees were clustered around a station of stainless steel worktables making Willie’s Reserve brand pre-rolls.
Lara Martin is one of the full-time processing employees at the Whitethorn facility that was ready to talk on record during my visit.
She says her time with Flow Kana has been “really wonderful” so far. She is enthusiastic about the benefits package and the fact that the facility is within 15 miles of her home in Shelter Cove.
Martin worked in a corporate environment for decades before moving to Humboldt County, then she did trim work and housekeeping for about five years before getting this job. “This is the way companies should be doing business,” she says of Flow Kana and its “blend” of corporate and laid back Northern California cultures. “The people are amazing. They take care of us.”
I ask if any locals have given her a hard time for working here, and Martin says she got some flak initially. Her response was to tell people to check the company out, to research how Flow Kana is fighting for the farmers. Now she says people ask her, “How do I apply for a job?”
In the same vein, I ask Phillips what it’s like to field resumes for full-time, above-board trimming jobs. He says some people will reach out to Flow Kana for employment and will say, “’I don’t feel comfortable sending you a resume about what I’ve done in the traditional market.’ And that’s fine.”
It all comes down to the interview, making sure the applicant understands cannabis, that they actually know how to trim and that they are decent people. “[Trimming] is difficult,” he says. “It’s skilled labor… You can give flower to lots of different people and get lots of different trim jobs,” including totally destroyed flower.
For me, it’s a novel experience to talk about trim work in the context of resumes and 40-hour per week jobs with eight-hour days. The tour conjures up endless contrasts in my memory, the variety of black and gray market trim scenes I’ve witnessed over the years, in person, in story and in the media. This facility is not unique in the grand scheme of cannabis, but it’s definitely a new and different vibe in Southern Humboldt.
As the tour wraps, Phillips tells me he believes this facility will become Flow Kana’s “major touch point in Southern Humboldt,” a sort of “water cooler” for farmers. He is enthusiastic about the Whitethorn location, saying “We could be in a warehouse anywhere, but to be somewhere that has life already, that has a story, is so much more important.”
“This is where it started,” he adds. “The community is so vibrant.” To him, the cannabis farming history and culture on the west side of SoHum makes the half hour drive to reach Highway 101 worthwhile. His crew is stoked on Caffé Dolce, and they have a farmer who brings in cookies or donuts for the staff on a weekly basis.
The facility is secure, however, and you can’t just show up there willy-nilly expecting a warm welcome, even if you have a box of pastries. This is a licensed cannabis processing facility — I had to schedule my visit in advance, sign in as a guest upon arrival and wear a lab coat on the processing floor.
Formalities aside, I found the crew to be professional and friendly and the well lit, air-conditioned, modern and legal trim scene environment to be agreeable. Perhaps Flow Kana will have me back when the facility is in full swing with this fall’s outdoor harvest.
(Thank you to Holly Carter from Oxalis Integrative Services for clarifying the nuances around CDFA cultivation and processing licenses. Carter is an expert on cannabis licensing and Co-Founder and Owner of Oxalis, a company that offers compliance and licensing services to sun-grown and traditional farmers in the Southern Humboldt area.)
THE ANDERSON VALLEY Historical Society invites one and all to our annual Membership Meeting in the Rose Room on the grounds of the AV History Museum at the Little Red School House. This free event will take place on Sunday, July 21, starting at 1:00 pm.
The event will feature a lively talk, with photos, about the history of the Albion Branch of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, presented by AVHS Board Vice President Marvin Schenck, with additional oral history from Schoolhouse Museum docent Bill Seekins.
The rail line once ran northwest from Anderson Valley to Albion on the coast, and there were grander plans to build the route southeast to Healdsburg, to be part of a railway line stretching from San Francisco to Oregon. Though the Albion Branch was never connected to the mainline of the Northwestern Pacific, it was vital economic driver and transportation link for the early prosperity of Anderson Valley.
Marvin will narrate the history of the railroad and its cargoes, complete with images of Wendling, the large sawmill and lumber town that once stood where Highway 128 bends by the Navarro Store. Bill will contribute tales of the Deep End logging spurs, including the story of the runaway train wreck in the hills up Nash Mill Road.
Marvin, the retired curator of the Grace Hudson Museum, has been researching the Albion Branch and the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, and collecting photos, for twenty years. Bill is a longtime AV History Museum supporter and is extremely knowledgeable about the history of our valley.
As always, we’ll welcome memories, comments and questions from the audience. Our Annual Membership Meetings always turn into fun, interactive round-table get-togethers. We’ll have finger food and drinks on hand. All ages welcome. And, as we said above, it’s a free event. See you there! For more information, please call 895-9020.
(Point Arena Fourth of July, Photos by Gary Levenson-Palmer, via MSP)
A WOMAN WHO'D been plowing through the ava’s website was concerned: "I am considering moving up there for a job opportunity and am a bit concerned I might wind up in a backwards, Deliverance kinda place. The way I figured I'd learn more was to read local opinions about divisive issues. I saw this blurb and wondered whether the writer understood that some girls are born with penises and some boys with vaginas, or whether the writer mistakenly believed transgender kids need conversion therapy. I figured it out, though. I read through too fast earlier. Is there a complete lack of understanding up there when it comes to transgender kids or is that just one writer's opinion?"
IT WAS this writer’s opinion that neurotic adults shouldn’t talk their 7-year-olds into gender confusion, but as this community’s welcome wagon I took pains to allay the apprehensive dear's worst fears that she might be moving to an incorrect kinda place. We’ve got it all, I said, including one winery and two restaurants per capita, NPR, CostCo and jelly donuts just over the hill, and whatever gender you identify with. Think of it as Frisco in the redwoods.
ANOTHER NEWSPAPER gone, this one the venerable Youngstown Vindicator, the newspaper that brought down any number of crooked elected officials including the biggest crook of all, Trafficant, who's still whining that the paper maligned him. Established in 1869, the paper limped along in the counter-deluge of FaceTubeTwit but simply ran out of people who still read newspapers. The AVA? Not quite dead, but we peaked back around 1990 before the internet kicked in and the national attention span was further distracted. Widely despised in its primary circulation area by all the right people, it’s exactly that bracing hostility that daily reminds us it’s still worth doing.
OPENING NIGHT, Fox Wilshire Theatre, September 19, 1930
SPORTS NOTE from Stephen Rosenthal: “For me it’s a bit bittersweet that the Women’s World Cup Football Tournament has ended, albeit successfully for the US Women. I’m so happy the US National Women’s Team won, but somewhat sad that it will be another 4 years until the next opportunity to see these remarkable athletes play in a significant setting. Sure the Olympics are next year, but that event has become such a commercial and political miasma that it no longer captures the spirit of sports. Soccer is a beautiful game when played by women, not so much by men. It’s time to recognize the women’s game not merely with cheering, platitudes, congratulatory tweets and victory parades, but with equal pay as well.”
DESPERATE FOR SHELTER
Housing urgently sought -
Hello my name is louann my husbands name is robert we have an 18 month old named trent. We are looking to rent a pet friendly 2 bdrm with garage and fenced in yard. We are looking to be somewhere in lake county, mendocino county, or sonoma county. Our price range is $1000 - $1300. We have an emergency situation and need to move in asap. Please contact us at 707/489-5057 or by email at email@example.com.
Thank you have a great day!
CATCH OF THE DAY, JULY 7, 2019
DERRICK AYALA, Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
SARA BRUMLEY, Fairfield/Hopland. Controlled substance, failure to appear.
JAMES BUCK, Terrebonne, Oregon/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SALVARDO GOMEZ, Redwood Valley. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run, resisting.
RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, trespassing. (Frequent flyer.)
EZRA WILDMAN, Gualala. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment, probation revocation.
I HEAR THAT TRAIN A’COMIN’
by James Kunstler
Think of the American two-party political system as two ramshackle freight trains running towards each other over old, neglected tracks, on a one-year collision course. Will there even be two parties left for the 2020 election?
The Republican Party is a train of booby-trapped freight cars that can blow at any time. The engine is running on the fumes of the financialized economy. The engineer, Mr. Trump, only has his eye on the gauge that represents the stock market, which produces the gaseous emanations running his train. But the tank cars are leaking. The vapors are highly flammable. Any little spark can set it off, and surely will.
The Democratic Party is carrying 17 gondola cars of the worst political scandal in US history: RussiaGate, the attempted coup d’état by national gaslighting, which will expose dozens of party officers and foot-soldiers in an actual criminal conspiracy, and subject them to ignominious prosecution in the heart of the election year. The damage could run as high as former President Obama when all is said and done, with Mrs. Clinton dragged under the wheels in the ensuing train wreck. It will be ugly and embarrassing to the max.
The Dem’s train also includes the circus cars of its identity politics hustlers, Reps AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley plus the sideshow of so-far-suppressed Joe Biden scandals concerning massive cash payoffs from Ukraine and China to his entrepreneurial son, Hunter — conveniently arranged during his Dad’s official trips to those places as Vice-President.
There is reason to believe that a majority of voters are good and goddam sick of identity hustling and the tiresome racket of political correctness that spawned it. They see its bottomless appetite for grievance and complaint — against a reality in which life is difficult for everybody, not just self-proclaimed victims of oppression. They smell the odor of bad faith in the party’s campaign for an open border with Mexico and its abject refusal to legislate immigration law reform — while grandstanding about the alleged mistreatment of people who cross the border illegally. Most of all, they are sick of the endless moral instruction and coercion, especially over “gender” issues and sexual boundary-stretching, the parades of freaks in dog masks, ball gags, and S&M get-ups, not to mention the utter insanity of the drag queen story hour, in which men perform as monstrous caricatures of women for impressionable six-year-olds. That is what it’s come to for the party of Franklin Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy.
Yet, Mr. Trump’s chances for reelection hang on the slender thread of his fictitious miracle economy, which is something like one of those fabulous parties at Jay Gatsby’s place depicted in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel about life before the 1929 crash — a splashy but localized event strictly for the denizen elite of the Gold Coasts. It’s the product of world-wide money-printing, computer algo fakery in the exchanges, statistical spirit-cooking, and the perversions provoked by artificial ultra-low interest rates that destroy the basic functions of capital formation.
The cover-story for all that is the completely insane doctrine called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) which states that a nation with the world’s reserve currency can never go bankrupt as long as it can keep “printing” more money — or punching computer keystrokes into the “systemically important” (Too Big to Fail) bank accounts.
When that train goes off the rails — as it must, because it’s at-odds with reality — it will be the biggest wreck in history, and it will bring all the operations of advanced societies to a stop, including raw materials supply lines, manufacturing, global trade, and industrial-scale Agri-Biz. The last of these will be especially punishing in a world where bad weather is hammering this year’s grain production.
The Democratic Party already has a big wagon of snake oil to “cure” all that: socialism. They’re completely up-front about it. Anyway, it’s just another name for the periodic forced redistribution of wealth from the fat and greedy over-class to the suffering underclass — an understandable impulse in societal extremis, but one with universally unappetizing side-effects, namely the destruction of consensual economic relations. The catch in this instance is that the “wealth” they seek to redistribute will be exactly what goes up in a vapor when the stock and bond markets implode, along with the world’s fiat currencies.
As the old axiom goes, debt is always repaid by somebody, even in a default. In the present case, it will be paid by the young and by other citizens of the future, since the mountain of debt racked up world-wide the past several decades was literally a massive borrowing from the future to keep running all the systems of today (and yesterday). The future itself was the collateral. That’s the sad and tricky part.
These are the dynamics going into the election of 2020. It’s actually not just a matter of whether these two old political parties survive, but whether the USA can even remain intact when these tensions give way.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
CORPORATE TEAM OF RIVALS: HARRIS NOW IN TOP TIER WITH BIDEN TO PREVENT A PROGRESSIVE NOMINEE
by Norman Solomon
The odds are now very strong that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic presidential nominee. New polling averages say they account for almost 70 percent of support nationwide, while no other candidate is anywhere near. For progressives who want to affect the news instead of just consume it, active engagement will be essential.
Biden is the most regressive Democrat with a real chance to head the ticket. After amassing a five-decade record littered with odious actions and statements, he now insists that the 2020 campaign “shouldn’t be about the past”—an evasive and ridiculous plea, coming from someone who proclaims himself to be “an Obama-Biden Democrat” and goes to absurd lengths to fasten himself onto Obama’s coattails, while also boasting of his past ability to get legislation through Congress.
As he campaigns, Biden persists with disingenuous denials. During the June 27 debate, he flatly—and falsely—declared: “I did not oppose busing in America.” On July 6, speaking to a mostly black audience in South Carolina, he said: “I didn’t support more money to build state prisons. I was against it.” But under the headline “Fact Check: Joe Biden Falsely Claims He Opposed Spending More Money to Build State Prisons,” CNN reported that “he was misrepresenting his own record.”
Biden used the Fourth of July weekend to dig himself deeper into a centrist, status quo trench for his war on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. During a repeatedly cringeworthy interview, Biden told CNN that what can’t be done includes Medicare for All, tuition-free public college and student debt cancelation. Bernie Sanders quickly responded with a tweet calling Medicare for All, debt-free college and a Green New Deal “the agenda American needs—and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump.”
No one has summed up Biden’s political stance better than Elizabeth Warren, who told the California Democratic Party convention five weeks ago: “Some Democrats in Washington believe the only changes we can get are tweaks and nudges. If they dream, they dream small. Some say if we all just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses.” She added: “When a candidate tells you about all the things that aren't possible, about how political calculations come first . . . they’re telling you something very important—they are telling you that they will not fight for you.”
Being preferable to Joe Biden is a low bar, and Kamala Harris clears it. But, like Biden, she stands to lose potential support from many self-described liberals and progressives to the extent they learn more about her actual record.
Overall, Harris’s work as San Francisco’s DA and the California attorney general was not progressive. Lara Bazelon, former director of the LA-based Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent, wrote in a New York Times column early this year: “Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state’s attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent. Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.”
Last week, Bazelon said: “Kamala Harris claims to be a champion of criminal justice reform. But as a prosecutor . . . she was anything but. She needs to make the case to the voters that her change of heart is genuine. Crucial to that case is reckoning with her past.”
That past needs scrutiny, especially since Harris has refused to acknowledge there was anything wrong with it.
“As the top law enforcement official” of San Francisco and then California, the New York Times reported in a February news article, “she developed a reputation for caution, protecting the status quo and shrinking from decisions on contentious issues.” Reporter Kate Zernike wrote:
** “Years before ending mass incarceration became a bipartisan cause, she started programs to steer low-level drug offenders away from prison and into school and jobs. At the same time, she touted her success in increasing conviction rates, and as attorney general remained largely on the sidelines as California scrambled to meet a federal court order to reduce its swollen prison populations. She also repeatedly sided with prosecutors accused of misconduct, challenging judges who ruled against them.”
** When Harris first ran statewide, for California attorney general in 2010, “she had campaigned to the right of her Republican opponent on the question of easing the state’s tough three-strikes law. Once in office, she declined to take positions on ultimately successful ballot initiatives intended to reduce prison populations—one expanding opportunities for parole, the other reducing many nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors.”
** “After the Supreme Court upheld the judges’ overcrowding order, the state promised to ‘promptly’ release a significant number of nonviolent prisoners, giving credit for time served. A delay in meeting that promise drew a judicial scolding in 2014. The state’s response proved embarrassing, and unsuccessful: Reducing the prison population, Ms. Harris’s office maintained, would hurt California’s ability to fight wildfires by shrinking the pool of forced labor.”
** “Ms. Harris won praise for releasing statewide data in a way that informed rather than inflamed the brutality debate: It included numbers on the use of police force but also on use of force against officers. She instituted body cameras for police agents who worked in her office, and offered implicit-bias training for police statewide. But she declined to support statewide regulations for the use of body cameras, agreeing with local departments that they should set their own standards. And she did not support a bill that would have required the attorney general to investigate police shootings.”
** Early in this decade, responding to the house foreclosure crisis, “the banks agreed to $18 billion in debt reduction that Ms. Harris said would allow California homeowners to stay in their homes, and the national agreement included $2.5 billion for a fund to provide educational counseling and other services for those in danger of foreclosure. But critics, especially on the left, have long said that the settlement was no grand bargain. It did not require banks to pay much out of pocket; $4.7 billion of the $18 billion in relief came from forgiving second mortgages, many of which the banks would have written off anyway because they were so severely underwater, and $9 billion came from homeowners selling their homes for less than the value of their mortgages, meaning that homeowners did not stay in their homes.”
The New Republic recently summed up: “From her role in a California prison labor debate to her prosecutions of sex workers,” Kamala Harris “has a past of her own to defend.”
It's sometimes difficult to gauge what Harris really believes in, especially in light of her tactical backsliding and flip-flops. Longtime observers had no reason to be surprised last week when she walked back her forceful debate position that the federal government shouldn’t leave it to localities to assist school desegregation with busing. “Harris muddied the waters,” the Associated Press reported, when “she told reporters she too did not support federally mandated busing and supported it only as an option for local governments.”
On foreign policy, the little that Harris has to say is often hazy while conforming with mainstream Democratic Party militarism. In the Senate, she has voted for six of eight major military spending bills.
Harris—who cosponsored a bill to withhold U.S. dues to the United Nations because of a UN Security Council resolution that condemned illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank—pandered to AIPAC while delivering 2017 and 2018 speeches to the Israel-can-do-no-wrong organization. While acquiescing to requests from MoveOn and other groups that presidential candidates not speak to AIPAC’s 2019 conference in late March, she pulled off a smooth maneuver, as Mondoweiss pointed out: “Harris is a very pragmatic politician, and the conference came to her yesterday! She met leading AIPAC officials at her office and then tweeted her devoted support to Israel.”
Harris’s tweet shared the news: “Great to meet today in my office with California AIPAC leaders to discuss the need for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, the right of Israel to defend itself, and my commitment to combat anti-Semitism in our country and around the world.” But progressive journalist Ben Norton did not share in the upbeat mood as he tweeted: “Far-right Israeli PM Netanyahu just formed an alliance with a literal fascist party, and is bombing people trapped in the Gaza concentration camp right now, but fake ‘progressive’ Kamala Harris is meeting with AIPAC and praising the apartheid regime.”
Yet Harris does not adhere completely to AIPAC positions. She cosponsored the Yemen war powers bill introduced by Bernie Sanders. And she has expressed support for the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama that was canceled by President Trump.
The military-industrial complex might prefer Biden to Harris. But from all indications, that complex would be quite comfortable with a President Harris, and vice versa. The same goes for Wall Street and other big corporate sectors. No wonder they’re pouring many millions of dollars into the Biden and Harris campaign coffers.
However tense and testy the current relations between Biden and Harris might be, their falling out is likely to be temporary. “I adore Joe Biden,” she proclaimed in mid-spring when he was on the verge of announcing his campaign. Anyone who doubts the prospect of a rapprochement—and even a shared ticket is forgetting how easily campaign-trail conflicts can be jettisoned a little bit down the road. In 1980, George H.W. Bush fought Ronald Reagan for the GOP presidential nomination all the way to the convention, even after losing the vast majority of primaries, and tensions were raw; then came the Reagan-Bush ticket.
Among the Democratic presidential candidates, the viable alternatives to the Biden and Harris corporatist duo are the progressive candidate Elizabeth Warren and the more progressive candidate Bernie Sanders. While Warren is impressive in many ways, I continue to actively support Sanders. As an eloquent essay by Shaun King recently underscored, Sanders—like no other member of the Senate or candidate for—has boldly participated in progressive movements for his entire adult life. That orientation toward social movements is crucial in a time of profound needs for fundamental change, in an era of multiple and concentric crises—from record-breaking economic inequality to extreme corporate greed to racist xenophobia to the climate emergency to rampant militarism and so much more. No matter how distasteful or repugnant, the electoral process is an opening for progressive forces to be influential and potentially decisive.
MORE THAN A TEAM: A SOCIAL MOVEMENT THAT PLAYS SOCCER
by Dave Zirin
It was a victory that felt more like the encore following an already achieved standing ovation. After grueling World Cup quarter and semifinal matches against France and England, the United States women’s national soccer team defeated an overmatched Netherlands squad 2-0. A series of brilliant saves by Netherlands keeper Sari van Veenendaal kept the score from being even more lopsided.
It’s been a wild ride. Throughout the last month we have seen this become more than a team. Led by Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe, they are more of a social movement that happens to play soccer—a fact that did not escape the watchful eye of Nike in their post-World Cup commercial. Having to do more than “just play soccer” and win the World Cup seems like an unfair burden to ask of any individual or team but this rollicking group seemed to thrive on the pressure, on matching their words with deeds, on inspiring others to “talk and win.”
Throughout the tournament, team members were outspoken on and off the pitch—in goal celebrations and post-match press conferences alike. This was especially the case on the question of pay equity with the men’s team. In the immediate aftermath of the finals, a spokeswoman for the players issued the following statement: “These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women. It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all.”
This is undoubtedly true. Although given the fact that a recent study shows that the US women actually generate more revenue for the men, maybe they shouldn’t stop at mere equity.
This cause was so animated by their voices and play that after their finals victory, the crowd in the Stade de Lyon chanted, “Equal Pay! Equal Pay!”
After the final, Rapinoe said:
“Everyone is ready for this conversation to move to the next step I think we’re done with, ‘Are we worth it? Should we have equal pay? [Are] the [male and female] markets the same?’ Yada, yada. Everyone is done with that. Fans are done with that. The players are done with that . . .What’s next? How do we support women’s federations and women’s programs around the world?. . . It’s time to move that conversation forward to the next step.”
This is also a team that openly, unapologetically, and joyfully projected its LGBTQ inclusivity and identity. Five of the players are openly gay. Two—Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris—are engaged. When Rapinoe scored two goals in the victory over France, she said, “Go gays! You can’t win a championship without gays on your team—it’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there!”
This team also accomplished the impossible: they shut Donald Trump’s mouth. The Twitterer/predator in chief—a man who, in the words of defender Ali Krieger, doesn’t like any woman he cannot “control or grope”—was conspicuously silent about the USA’s supremacy on the global stage, summoning a single tweet hours after the conclusion of the match. He tried to challenge them early on for saying that they wouldn’t go to the White House and they—not to mention their partners—owned him time and again. He closed his mouth and sat in the corner.
If anything, this World Cup has demonstrated on the largest possible stage that we now have competing patriotisms existing in this country. There is the patriotism of the privileged Donald Trump; a patriotism that sits on the toilet at 3 AM nursing petty grievances; all the jailed children in the world unable to make him happy. Then you have Megan “I’m not going to the f*cking White House” Rapinoe who has lived a hard knock life and said,
“I’m particularly and uniquely and very deeply American. If we want to talk about the ideals we stand for, the song and the anthem and what we are founded on, I think I am extremely American. For the detractors, I would have them look hard into what I am actually saying, the actions I am doing. Maybe you don’t agree with every single way I do it, and that can be discussed. I know I am not perfect. This country was founded on a lot of good ideals, but it was also founded on slavery. We just need to be really honest about that and be really open about talking about that . . . so we can reconcile that and hopefully move forward and make this country better for everyone.”
One person thinks America was great in the old days, before there was such a thing as a US women’s national team; pining for a time when people like Megan Rapinoe had to live their lives in secret. The other is looking towards the future while being conscious of the sins of the past. One is surely miserable tonight in the wake of this remarkable victory. The other is smiling ear to ear, confident in the truth that she and her teammates not only talked the talk. They walked it, for all the world to see.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
My passion is and has been creating a Farmers Market & Flea Market. The one big draw back for small business and fledgling start ups is overhead. A nearby open 1 to 2 acre field near downtown with parking can be a Godsend for citizens and entrepreneurs. Many a boutique food business gets a start selling honey, maple syrup, vegetables, flour, grains, pastries, meats in a Farmers Market and the Flea Market could hold sellers from everything from A to Z. resellers could pick up items at garage sales and closeout buys. The town could bring in extra income from space rental and parking fees. I’ve seen business selling cheese and other food items get popular enough to have supermarkets and restaurants buy from them. The bigger the crowd gets the more various sellers join in. Maybe a furniture company could get a start. Maybe slate roofs will again become popular or marble flooring. Maybe a B&B or a great restaurant to draw outsiders money. Things snowball once things get started.
DYLAN THOMAS beat his own record for whiskey shots at this bar (18) and died 2 days later of unrelated causes.
NORML’S DEPUTY DIRECTOR PAUL ARMENTANO SPEAKS VOLUMES
by Jonah Raskin
The National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)— which was founded in 1970 by Keith Stroup and that now has 135 chapters nation-wide and 550 lawyers ready to serve — is still going strong as the bulwark of the marijuana cause. There’s much more to do, though a great deal has been accomplished this year. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation expanding the state medical cannabis access program, and in New Mexico, personal possession of small amounts of marijuana is no longer classified as a criminal offense. NORML hailed the new law and pointed out that for years “a disproportionate number of black and brown New Mexicans faced arbitrary discrimination and stigmatization.” In 2016, for example, New Mexico police made over 3,600 arrests for possession of marijuana.
Paul Armentano, 47, NORML’s Deputy Director lives in Vallejo, California where he keeps an eye on the local scene and on the big national picture, which varies state-by-state and often county-by-county. Every week, Armentano writes articles that are posted on the Website, norml.com, and keep readers up-to-date on the latest legal changes in the world of weed. His stories tell the truth and nothing but the truth, though they do not tell all the truths all at once.
His books, including Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?, which are packed with valuable facts and information, speak truth to power. Still, there’s nothing like a sit-down, leisurely face-to-face conversation with Armentano, especially when he means to clear the smoke from the room, and doesn’t aim to rally the faithful or let anyone off the cannabis hook.
By turns sad, funny, frustrated and impassioned, he says that after 25 years of political work on the national and the state level, he still “finds the issue fascinating,” though he can feel frustrated by the lack of accurate information about cannabis, and the inability of many citizens and politicians to carry on sophisticated conversations. “We make marijuana far more interesting than is warranted,” he says. “My goal is to make it boring.” If so, he has a long way to go.
Armentano cares intensely about consumers, many of whom, he says, are tricked into buying cannabis products that don’t have the beneficial ingredients they claim to have, and don’t deliver the healing that's promoted. He’s especially critical about many CBD products, especially those that are marketed online, and in stores like Safeway, though he admits that some CBDs can reduce anxiety levels and act as anti-inflammatory agents. “The advertising is brilliant,” he says. “Salesmen tell you, 'you won’t feel anything when you use CBD,’ and sure enough much of the time you don't feel a thing.” It’s the old snake oil in a new bottle.
While Armentano looks out for the consumer, he’s often frustrated by California cannabis farmers, who have wanted, he insists, to continue their “mom and pop operations,” as though laws haven’t changed, and who refuse to buy into state licensing and regulation. “I have never looked at cannabis other than a commodity,” he says. “Marijuana players are no more ethical than players in other industries.” Still, he frets about the growing power of large-scale cannabis corporations that are taking hold of the market, and setting prices and he worries that growers add labels to their products that have little if any correspondence to actual strains.
“NORML has always recommended home cultivation, “ he adds and urges citizens—this is the kicker—”to have faith that the people who are making the rules are not the enemy.” On the subject of cannabis and driving, he has a vast array of information that might make heads spin. Driving under the influence of THC can increase the likelihood of automobile accidents, he argues, though he also points out that statistics show that two or more people in a car also make driving riskier and that eating and driving at the same time can be a recipe for disaster.
Smoke weed and drink alcohol and the chances of an accident will jump 400% to 600%, depending on body weight, dosage and the degree to which individuals have grown accustomed to smoking and driving. “Habitual marijuana users are more careful when they drive stoned,” he says. “They adopt compensatory behaviors.”
Armentano is proud of the fact that Prop 64 brought with it automatic expungement of the legal records of cannabis arrests. But he’s especially vexed by the fact that many citizens ignore the vast body of information about cannabis and insist: “We don’t know.” He replies, “Maybe you don’t know, but at NORML and elsewhere we do know.”
Armentano and his colleagues also know that in California today the black market is as big as ever, that much of the cannabis cultivated here is exported to other states, that prices at dispensaries are too high for most consumers and that in many towns and cities there is a lack of access to pot. “Passing Prop 64 was just the beginning,” he says. “We will go on tinkering with the cannabis rules and regulations for a long time and we’ll also have to address life style issues. In many parts of the country, marijuana is still associated by and large with hippies. The culture wars will go on.”
(Jonah Raskin is the author of Dark Day, Dark Night: A Marijuana Murder Mystery.)
CARNIVAL BY THE SEA! JULY 25 THROUGH 28
Field On Hwy 1/Hwy 20
Save $10 And Get Your Advance All Day Unlimited Rides Tickets Today $25
Available at: Harvest Market/Boatyard online: Go to fortbragglionsclub.org/Events.html and click on the "get tickets link"
Tickets purchased online - will be at the Lions booth (at the Carnival every day) and listed under your name.
$35 AT THE DOOR
Proceeds benefit the Fort Bragg-Mendocino Lions Eye Care Assistance Program, Vocational Scholarships, the Senior Christmas Dinner and our youth.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
This is what collapse looks like: Bogus economics, delusions, spiraling debt, lack of leadership, rising inequality, anger, and focusing on the trivial and what no longer matters. Sexual exhibitionism, desperate political gambits, and additional nonsense that will never be implemented let alone paid for, will all be forgotten as USA continues its descent into hell, all the while proclaiming how great everything is, and how just and fair this rigged rule of law State really is. I always laugh at the MSM meme of USA Justice and human rights, while imprisoning more of its population by percentage than anywhere else on Earth. And NSA keeps trucking along while trump distracts and lines up the elite for an expanded trough. Trump is a metaphor for how the World sees the USA; fat, lazy, crooked, ignorant, loud, bombastic, smug, and stupid. Got preps?
LILLIAN ROSS went her own way with the detail, but the reader will trust it if the work is done and the sentences are good.
“The door of Huston's suite was opened by a conservatively attired young man with a round face and pink cheeks. He introduced himself as Arthur Fellows. 'John is in the next room getting dressed,' he said. 'Imagine getting a layout like this all to yourself! That's the way the big studios do things.' He nodded with approval at the Waldorf's trappings. 'Not that I care for the big studios,' he said. 'I believe in being independent. I work for David Selznick.' … He broke off as Huston strode into the room. Huston made his entrance in the manner of an actor who is determined to win the immediate attention of his audience. 'Hel-lo, kid,’ Huston said as we shook hands.”
I'm happy to accept that the young man had pink cheeks and that he said those things and that Huston strode in just so. Why not? But the thing we might also accept is that nobody — no matter what they agree to — is truly happy to become someone else's creation, to have their involuntary actions captured and their words noted. Lillian's avowal of friendship is like the black widow offering her mate a kiss as she eats him: anybody who speaks to a reporter is being devoured, whether they agreed or not. If the message goes their way they will applaud your accuracy and forgive your intrusion. If not, they will tell you they didn't know you were recording them or didn't agree to participate, not like that, not when the message wasn't to their taste, and they didn't understand that you would go ahead and describe their curtains and sum up their feelings and give them away to your readers.
— Andrew O'Hagan reviewing "Picture" by Lillian Ross.