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MCT: Thursday, July 25, 2019

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A POWER OUTAGE in Anderson Valley shut down the valley for nearly three hours Wednesday afternoon, blinking off a little after 2pm before powering back up at 4:45pm. Relatively brief as the outage was, valley businesses took a big hit, many calling it a day with the first wave of outages a little after 2pm.

PG&E's HOT LINE said power would be restored "between 6 and 7pm," an old PG&E manipulation that elicits groans from affected customers, then cheers when power returns much earlier.

A VISITOR said he thought the outage was in retaliation for Supervisor Williams' tough interrogation of the PG&E flack who appeared last week at a Supervisor's meeting to give us the bad news — the PUC will leave it up to PG&E this fire season to decide which area gets turned off, which doesn't. Williams had argued for local jurisdictions to decide the level of fire danger. I laughed. "Really? You think they'd off us for that?" The visitor replied, "They sure as hell would, and we're low priority up here anyway. LA turns on all their AC at once and they give them our power. You watch!" The guy's also into the con trails, Building 7 and Grassy Knoll world view, but he's not one of these paranoids who gets right in your face, and fairly shouts a spittle-flecked, "You don't believe me? Well read…"

MY WORLD VIEW, not that you asked, is more along the lines that things are so complicated and the demands on things so huge that they're going wrong and will likely go wronger from here on until a dozen generals appear one night on national televisions to say, "My fellow Americans, the party's over. Shut up. Go into your houses and await instructions."

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BOONVILLE QUIZ TONIGHT: After pulling some strings, greasing some palms, and a few nods and winks, I have been guaranteed by the powers-that-be at PG&E that there will not be a power outage in Boonville tomorrow evening, definitely not at Lauren’s anyway. That’s good news because it’s the 4th Thursday and that means it's Quiz Night. As usual the first question will be pitched at 7pm. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master

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On 07-19-2019 Operation Clean Sweep concluded in Mendocino County and a debrief was conducted which developed the following information about the operation:

Search Warrants served: 28

Locations of Search Warrants: Covelo (Round Valley), Dos Rios, Woodman Creek (Laytonville), Iron Peak Road/Simmerly Road (Laytonville)

Marijuana/Cannabis plants removed: 42,638

Independent acts of Environment based Crime(s) observed: 603

Independent acts impacting Water Quality: 142

Independent acts impacting Water Rights: 197

California Department of Fish & Wildlife violations observed: 264

Observed acts of Environmental Degradation: Water/Stream Diversion, Water Pollution from trash, pesticides and generator fuel, Illegal Grading of land to include the unnatural damming of watersheds (streams/rivers/springs).

Significant Wildlife Impact(s): Foothill Yellow Legged Frog was observed in a stream that was impacted by an act of Illegal damming and water diversion. In June 2017 the California Fish and Game Commission voted to make the Foothill Yellow Legged Frog a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act.

Arrest(s): None at this time as cases will be submitted to the Mendocino District Attorney’s Office at a later date.

Participating Agencies:

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Mendocino County Marijuana Enforcement Team (COMMET), Mendocino County Search & Rescue, Mendocino County Probation Department, Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force (MMCTF), Glenn County Narcotics Task Force, CAMP (California Campaign Against Marijuana Planting), California Department of Food and Agriculture (CalCannabis Licensing), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Water Resource Board, California State Water Board, CalFire and the California Army/Air Force National Guard.

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MSP ASKS, "Why do we get the distinct impression the 5th District Supervisor is doing the work of TWO Districts (the 5th PLUS the 4th District)." Because he is, and I'm sure frustrated citizens from other jurisdictions are calling on Williams for help with this and that. If not for Williams' effort, the preposterous assumption that Coast Hospital would have to somehow raise $30 mil to earthquake proof the premises would have remained the reigning assumption.

RE GJERDE, he seems to have been cryonically frozen in 1998 when he took on some truly dangerous forces, one of whom, the thuggish Dominic Affinito, slugged Gjerde in the lobby of the Fort Bragg City Hall. Always suspiciously tight with local authority, such as it was at the time, Affinito got off with probation and community service, which he never did. Even that wrist slap wouldn't have happened but for the election of DA Norm Vroman who brought charges against Affinito. Vroman's predecessor, Susan Massini, had filed simple misdemeanor charges against Affinito and didn’t intend to prosecute Affinito, just as she had permitted the statute of limitations to run on the people responsible for the Fort Bragg Fires of 1987. And, as we've often pointed out, the famous "twenty boxes" of evidence Massini accumulated for the prosecution of the Fires case she never got around to prosecuting seem to have vanished when she left office. (It's Mendo, Jake.)

‘Use My Name and You’re Dead Meat’

by Bruce Anderson (March 7, 1999)

A grim-faced Dominic Affinito, flanked by a pair of attorneys from the Ukiah law offices of Jared Carter, appeared in Fort Bragg’s Ten Mile Court Tuesday morning to answer charges that he’d assaulted Fort Bragg councilman-elect Dan Gjerde the afternoon of November 12th, 1998. The preliminary hearing before Judge Joe Orr lasted until mid-afternoon.

District Attorney Vroman is prosecuting Affinito himself to emphasize that the DA’s office no longer downplays crimes committed by well-placed Mendocino County citizens. Former District Attorney Susan Massini had charged the wealthy Fort Bragg developer with one count of misdemeanor battery for his attack on the slightly-built and mild-mannered Gjerde. Upon his upset election victory in November’s election, Vroman immediately charged Affinito with three felonies, all of them related to assault on an elected official.

Affinito’s attorney, John Behnke of Jared Carter’s Ukiah law firm, presented no witnesses for the defendant. Vroman introduced five, including Gjerde, whose testimony unanimously supported Gjerde’s account of the startling events which occurred in the middle of Fort Bragg’s city hall on a work day.

Gjerde said he entered City Hall shortly after 1pm. “I saw Robert Affinito,” Dominic Affinito’s oldest son, “and I paused. I also saw a man standing next to Robert who had white hair. I saw it was Dominic Affinito. I walked past them on my way upstairs and I was hit from behind and pushed into a wall. My head hit the door of the Planning Department.”

Gjerde went on to testify that Affinito, as the developer pummeled him, shouted, “You motherfucker, you caused this. It’s your fault.”

Affinito was apparently upset that the Fort Bragg City Council, on the advice of their attorney, had decided not to allow Affinito to open his controversial North Cliff Motel, a structure erected in blatant disregard of state and local height limitations imposed on buildings along California’s coastline. The City Council deciding against Affinito, three of whose members no longer sit on it, two of whom were reflexively friendly to Affinito’s many Fort Bragg projects, had been advised that were Fort Bragg to grant Affinito an operating permit, the City of Fort Bragg would quickly find itself sued by the State of California. Affinito, unaccustomed to not getting his way from a grotesquely unethical city council majority, somehow blamed Gjerde for his own miscalculations.

A series of City Hall staffers verified that Affinito had shouted at Gjerde, as Gjerde reeled his way into an office to call the police, “Dan, you better not use my name! If you use my name, you’re going to get it!” And, “If you use my name, you’re going to be dead meat.”

Photos of Gjerde’s bruised back were introduced into evidence by prosecutor Vroman.

Affinito’s sedate lawyer, John Behnke, seemingly resigned to the obvious fact that his volatile client will be fortunate to avoid a stay behind bars, calmly cross-examined Gjerde with questions whose answers confirmed Gjerde’s account of the attack on him.

Gjerde, along with three other reform-minded candidates for the Fort Bragg City Council, had been critical of City Hall’s obvious bending of the rules for a few Fort Bragg developers and contractors. He hadn’t been any more critical of Affinito’s flagrantly illegal North Cliff than any number of Fort Bragg residents. The election results, which overwhelmingly returned the vote for reform of City Hall, in large measure represented a repudiation of Affinito and the favoritism clearly extended certain Fort Bragg business interests by councilmen Melo, Olbrantz, Peters, and Huber. Huber and Olbrantz were replaced by Gjerde and Michelle White, whose majority was the largest in Fort Bragg’s history. Reform candidate Vince Benedetti was also elected, replacing Darrell Galli who had chosen not to run for re-election. Galli had been an independent voice on the council.

At the end of Affinito’s preliminary hearing, judge Orr bound Affinito over for arraignment June 1st on one charge of making terrorist threats, one misdemeanor charge of dissuading a witness (Gjerde), and one charge of misdemeanor battery on a public official. The judge said the injuries sustained by Gjerde during Affinito’s prolonged attack on him were not serious enough to warrant felony assault charges. The judge’s peculiar logic suggested that a victim must suffer much more severe injury to warrant felony prosecution.

DA Vroman seemed pleased that he’d been able to make at least one felony stick but conceded it was unlikely that Affinito would do any jail time. Vroman predicted that the 63-year-old Affinito, who has never been convicted of a crime although he has been involved in litigation of various kinds much of his adult life, would “plead out” on the charges resulting, Vroman hopes, in his being placed on felony probation.

If Affinito decides to take his non-existent case to a jury, he faces two-to-three years in state prison on the felony threat charge, and up to a year in the County Jail on each of the two misdemeanor charges. In addition to the charges he faces in the Gjerde episode, Affinito is suing Fort Bragg for the City’s refusal to allow him to open the North Cliff, and he is being sued by the State of California for deliberately building his ocean view motel overlooking the mouth of the Noyo River one story taller than is permitted by the Coastal Act.

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MSNBC "analyst" Mimi Rocah, a former assistant U.S attorney for the Southern District of New York and, I would say an obvious nut case, launched a personal critique of Sanders during a segment with host David Gura, saying that Bernie makes her “skin crawl” and that he’s not a “pro-woman candidate. Bernie Sanders makes my skin crawl,” Rocah began when the Bern's name came up, “I can’t even identify for you what exactly it is. But I see him as sort of a not pro-woman candidate. So, having the two of them there (the debate with Warren) — like, I don’t understand young women who support him. And I’m hoping having him next to her will help highlight that.”

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THE TRUMP administration is proposing new rules that would cut food-assistance benefits from about 3 million people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the cost-cutting move would limit access to food stamps for households with savings and other assets. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the new rules for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) would end automatic eligibility for people who were already receiving federal and state assistance. “This proposal will save money and preserve the integrity of the program,” Perdue said. “SNAP should be a temporary safety net.” Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps claimed the proposal would result in annual savings of $2.5 billion and stop less needy individuals from qualifying for benefits.

THAT'S RIGHT. Why confine cruelty to the children incarcerated at the border? Why not starve thousands of the native born kids, too? How many times does it have to be pointed out that the food stamp program benefits farmers by buying surplus crops and feeds people who need food?

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THE CEO’S freshly released response to June’s Grand Jury report which was entitled “Who Runs Mendocino County” is out. The CEO's response is predictably non-responsive, simply a run down of how the Grand Jury is eithier mistaken or somehow didn’t realize how much wonderful reporting she’s already doing.

However, one item which we've often brought up had to do with monthly reports from the various department.

The Grand Jury found that: “The CEO Report does not include substantive department updates, e.g. new jail addition, Sheriff overtime, BOS directive status, departmental statistics and major road project status.”

Notice particularly: “departmental statistics.”

CEO Carmel Angelo replied:

"Disagree. The CEO Report does include substantive department updates. The CEO report is released on a monthly basis and includes updates from various departments, including the Cultural Services Agency, Animal Shelter, Human Resources, Health and Human Services Agency and others on an as needed basis. Reports include information on facility projects, the budget, cannabis, important community meetings, Measure B, roads, upcoming meetings, and vacant Board and Commission seats."

CONTINUING, “The CEO's report to the Supervisors is only one means of communicating information to the Board and general public. The Board Agenda contains standing items from departments such as Transportation and Planning and Building Services that include monthly reports on department activities. Certain county offices operating under elected department heads will also periodically report on activities directly to the Board or in coordination with the CEO. Board agendas also include updates and/or action items on substantive issues such as the new jail addition, mental health or homelessness. The Board agendas also include a standing item titled Supervisors’ Reports Regarding Board Special Assignments, Standing and Ad Hoc Committee Meetings, and Other Items of General Interest. Finally, reports and updates on substantive issues are included in the annual Budget Hearings and in quarterly budget reports to the Board of Supervisors.”

THE CEO’S RESPONSE completely misses the point, especially the “departmental statistics” point. The key word in the Grand Jury finding was “substantive” which the CEO intentionally misinterprets as “what we’re doing already.”

The CEO claims that her monthly report does “include substantive department updates.” Hardly. It’s laughably deficient in ordinary departmental management reports and the CEO’s response demonstrates that she does not know what management reports are. A substantive department update would include budget status (budget vs. actual), staffing status (vacancies, lost time, recruiting, backlog), current project status, and any unresolved issues from prior Supervisor directives. and if they were REALLY interested in “substantive” reports, they’d include the primary Cost Drivers for each department tracked monthly and tailored to each department.

AS IT IS, the CEO report is more a collection of press releases and random info bits which do not permit the Board or the public — not to mention the CEO herself — to track or stay on top of departmental activities. Two departments — Planning and Building and Transporttion — do submit monthly reports but they only address a meaningless snapshot of that month’s activities with no trend info, and do not include staffing or budget status.

IF MENDO can’t even bring itself to generate useful budget and staff reports for each department then the Board, the CEO and the Public — and the Grand Jury — will stay in the dark on whether services are effectively delivered and on budget, and problems will continue to be addressed only on an ad hoc or emergency basis when they become critical.

TAKE THE GLARING EXAMPLE of vacancies in Social Services which periodically only merit one cryptic line in a long list of departmental vacancies:

According to that one line there are 404 (!) FUNDED positions in HHSA’s Social Services department, by far the largest single department listed but the 404 are not broken down by category of position or vacancy. These positions are mostly funded by state and federal grants, not the general fund. Of the 404 funded positions, there are 97 funded vacancies (about 20% vacancy) and 77 “in recruitment.” But if you look at this department’s staffing over time you see that the vacancy rate never goes down much even though there are 77 in recruitment, and 41 “new hires” (over what time? we aren’t told). There are also 47 unexplained “separations” (resignations? transfers to other departments?) Which means that there’s very high turnover and not all recruits make it onto the job. There’s also no mention of backlogs per employee or wait times for applicants. Nor of how much “funded” funding is going unspent.

IF HHSA did ordinary departmental reporting this large problem would get some attention and a monthly tracking chart would show what progress (if any) was being made in closing the gap: Why is there so much turnover? Could extra help be brought in? What overtime options are available? What categories of applicants/clients are being delayed or denied services or assistance? Etc.

THERE ARE DOZENS of things that the CEO and Board could do to actually manage their departments if they simply did “substantive” monthly reports – which is obviously what the Grand Jury was talking about.

BUT EVEN THOUGH the CEO has herself promised to provide monthly departmental budget reports in the past, she continues to insist that business as usual is all anybody needs.

INSTEAD we get monthly reports on such things as the Animal Shelter, what out of county meetings are upcoming, when the next board meeting is, what the latest display at the County Museum is, how great the employees are, how much “leadership training” they attend, and when the next meeting to tinker with the Cannabis rules will be held. The CEO’s grab bag of a “report” is not what the Grand Jury meant by "substantive."

(Mark Scaramella)

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THE LOST PARAKEET: "I was just trimming horse feet at Mountain View Stables, at Helluvavineyard, and a little yellow parakeet with the red band on one leg flew in from the direction of Estates Drive. It appears to be a male (blue nose ceres) who hung around for about an hour on one of the wires holding up the grapevines. I went over as I was leaving at noon, to see if he would get on my finger. He let me get fairly close, before flying away further into the vineyard. Doubt it would do any good to look for him, cuz his wings were unclipped and he was enjoying flight. One gone bird.

30+ years ago I had a little yellow parakeet who did a perfect wolf whistle, talked a blue streak, and stole sips of wine from folks' drinks until he was too impaired to fly right. He got loose one day when the door bounced off the door jam instead of locking shut, and he flew to the neighbor lady's house to perch on her upstairs railing before finally flying away. Soon after, he was doing the wolf whistle to her as she swept her driveway. Her name was Flo Fleener. She said she was taught that a lady never looks when whistled at, so she ignored him, until she realized it was coming from her bannister above, and her hubby didn't know how to whistle. Then she looked up to see this little parakeet whistling at her."

(Debra Keipp)

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"Warren Buffett notes that unemployment remains its lowest since 1969, yet interest rates and inflation are not rising … The U.S. government also continues to spend more money than it takes in taxes … Buffett doesn't believe such conditions are sustainable for the long term."

ONLY A PERSON wealthy enough not to do his own shopping could say that inflation is not rising.

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OLD GUY SOLIDARITY keeps me from being too hard on Robert Mueller's appearance before the House Committee On Get Trump, and leave it to the Democrats to make Trump look like a victim. Mueller is clearly past it. He barely remembered his own report, and when he could he said he couldn't possibly comment. He's the oldest 74-year-old I've seen lately.

WATCHING the hearings in between other duties, at one point I heard a voice that actually seemed smart and on-task. It belonged to a Republican! And he made the obvious point that the Hillary Campaign and the DNC had initiated all this Russian nuttiness in the first place. Trump didn't expect to be president, and gawd knows we didn't either. So he was doing deals with the Rooskies right up until he found himself sputtering incoherently in the White House. But after he was elected, other than a few kind words for his soul bro, Putin, there were no more deals with "the Kremlin," a nice Cold War touch resurrected for the hearing. The long and short of it is the Democrats still can't believe Ms. My Turn was defeated by… pick a pejorative. And having nothing else to do beyond satisfying their paymasters, the Democrats endlessly beat the Trump drum.

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Benavidez, Bruder, Dodd, Frey

STEVEN BENAVIDEZ, Willits. Domestic battery.

KEVIN BRUDER, Mountain View/Laytonville. DUI.

JAMES DODD JR., Willits. First degree robbery, witness intimidation, domestic abuse, false imprisonment, vandalism.

THOMAS FREY, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Heath, Littleton, Lopez

JACOB HEATH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

GARRY LITTLETON, Willits. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment, criminal threats.

CHRISTOPHER LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.

Lopez, McCoy, Peterson

CITLALLI LOPEZ, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

JOHN MCCOY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.

CHAD PETERSON, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Starrett, Ward, Webb

SHANNON STARRETT, Willits. Domestic battery.

JACOB WARD, Little River. (Repost with photo). Stolen vehicle, interfering with police communications, DUI-drugs, failure to obey lawful police order.

TERRY WEBB, Fort Bragg. County parole violation.

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By Jonah Raskin

“Save the Whales!” Who hasn’t heard the cry that’s now timelier than ever before? It’s not only the commercial hunting of whales that’s to blame for the decline of the species, though there’s still much of that. Despite a 1986 ban that made whaling illegal worldwide, hunters from Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to kill whales and sell their meat on the black market.

Now, humans are also killing the whales softly, by polluting the oceans with toxic chemicals, using the seas as dumping grounds for garbage and fouling waters with fishing nets. Also, fewer wee crustaceans, a primary food source for the gray whales—who are bottom feeders—has meant that they’re slowly starving to death. Locally and globally humans are responding to the crisis.

With stones, rocks, flowers, chants, songs and their own bodies, about 200 mourners gathered on a recent Saturday morning at Dillon Beach—near the border that separates Marin from Sonoma Counties—to commemorate the death this year of at least 70 Gray Whales, all stranded on the shore and visible at low tide.

At Dillon Beach, the sky was overcast, the air chilly and the mood somber. The mourners, in sweaters and shawls, gathered in a series of circles, some wider and some smaller, sang African songs and spoke their shared sorrows. Some wept. Others sobbed.

They were old and young, male and female and mostly white. They came from Inverness, Point Reyes Station, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo, the town of Sonoma, and elsewhere, and they created a kind of sacred space between the land the sea. Many were barefoot and pushed their toes into the sand. Others took photos with their cameras; still others kept their dogs from running wild.

At the end of the 90-minute-long ceremony, the mourners walked together toward the ocean, waded into the water and offered a chant to the whales: “May you swim in safety. Maybe you find your kindred.” None of the organizers for the Dillon Beach event stated the exact number of whales that have died so far this year, though Elizabeth Herron, a poet and environmentalist who lives in Graton, estimated that the total was more than 70.

Nor did anyone explain precisely why so many had perished, though many assumed that somehow or other the human species was to blame, either because of global warming and rising ocean temperatures or the use of sonar by the military which can cause whales to hemorrhage and die. Still, the fact remains that more whales have died this year on the California coast than at anytime in the past 20 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Marine biologists say that most dead whales sink to the ocean floor and don’t wash up on shore. They estimate that beached whales represent only about 10% of the total number of whale deaths, which have been reported in unprecedented numbers this year in Europe, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

I was present for an obvious reason. With a first name like Jonah I had to be there. I have read about whales and whaling ever since I was about four or five and I have watched whales migrate up and down the California coast, from the shore and from an airplane above the ocean. The whale is my totem. One woman who gave me a bracelet from Japan made of wool told me, “May your own prophetic voice emerge in our time of darkness!”

At the beginning of the Dillon Beach event, Larry Robinson spoke for the crowd and addressed the whales: "We owe an apology and beg for forgiveness.” He added, “May we turn the tide away from destruction to restoration.” Herron invited the mourners—who grew joyous as they sang and chanted—to face north, then South and West and finally East, “for new energy and hope,” she said. Like Robinson, she spoke to the invisible whales at sea, “our guest of honor,” she called them, and praised them as “great swimmers, older and wiser than we.” More literary and sacred than scientific, speakers quoted Oscar Wilde, Freeman House, the author of Totem Salmon, and D. H. Lawrence.

Michael Stocker, a long time Marin resident and the Director at Ocean Conservation Research, attended the event and felt uplifted, though he was saddened to learn that seven North Atlantic Right whales have died in the last couple of weeks because were caught in lobster gear and struck by boats. He also pointed out that many beached whales are emaciated, “There doesn’t seem to be enough food in the ocean for them,” he said.

Stocker has plans to put underwater microphones near the Farallon Islands, off the coast of San Francisco, and listen to the sounds of both whales and boats. He wants ships to be equipped with the technology, which is already available—“a whale view,” he calls it—that can scan the ocean, reveal the location of whales and hopefully prevent or at least mitigate fatal collisions.

Near the end of the ceremony, a young surfer in a wet suit and with a long board, joined the newly inspired crowd, knelt down in the sand and offered a prayer for the whales. Then he was back in the water, waiting for a perfect wave.

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MOMENTUM behind the Negative Income Tax grew to such an extent that an experimental form of it was put into practice by President Nixon whose economics were closer to those of Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez than those of today's Republican party. "Let us place a floor under the income of every family with children in America," Nixon said, "and without those demeaning, soul stifling affronts to human dignity that so blight the lives of welfare children today." The scheme was called the family assistance plan and the idea was to pay every qualifying family $1600 a year, about $11,000 in today's money. To qualify, a family with children had to be headed by a breadwinner of either sex in low-paid employment. The scheme was popular with the public and passed the House of Representatives, but in 1972 it was killed by mainly Democratic opposition in the Senate — people were worried that the amounts involved were too low and that the requirement to work was invidious. The plan had a legacy, though. The Earned Income Tax Credit of 1975 which continues to this day and distributes $70 billion in cash to 26 million working families, was in a sense the successor of the Negative Income Tax; you could also argue that the compulsory work component was the seed for Clinton's punitive "workfare" policy, "the end of welfare as we know it," in 1996.

— John Lanchester

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I AM READING the Mueller report. It is not (so far) obfuscatory, just long as hell with more detail than I need (“I” being neither the juror nor the jurist who will likely be consulting it some fine day). As to its principal author, he comported himself today like a hostile witness. Since he was sitting before the people the report is intended for, his manner shouts (typical FBI!) a dislike of openness, of the transparency a free republic has to have in its governance. He uses wordy phrases instead of “yes” and “no.” He did everything he could to make his appearance anti-climactic. When I think of how long he took, how long we waited and what I take to be his real intent (exposing Trump while concealing him in verbiage, dragging the whole affair out as long as possible until Trump soils beyond recognition the last shred of sanity in public affairs, eliminates the last regulation against fiscal wrongdoing), I weep for our abused populace.

I try not to demonstrate how easily I get mad. I get mad at the adulation we pour on people and things that don’t deserve it—Robert Mueller, the F.B.I., the national security “community,” the VIPs and celebrities of the ruling classes, glamorous hypocrites and frauds, wealth.

I’ve already said enough about Mueller. Anyone who lived through what northern California calls the Timber Wars or the Whale Wars or the fight with CalTrans over Agent Orange (no, not Trump; a different class of poison altogether) knows what a mixed bag federal investigative agencies are.

The CIA and FBI were in (yes!) COLLUSION to let terrorists—the real, true, unmistakenly genuine thing—into the country and onto several passenger planes in 2001. I don’t put it past the sinister, VERY sinister crowd we see each year at Bohemian Grove to have planned and carried this out. I don’t claim this as a likely truth, just a possible and plausible one. Whether 9/11 was a domestic plot, a false-flag operation with brave, deluded, passionate Arabs as stooges or just criminal incompetence I don’t know.

The FBI celebrates age 111 the day after tomorrow. Its birthday present from us is around $10 billion for its annual allowance. The CIA is a post-WW2 thing. We don’t get to know what they spend. That’s secret. More than its sister agency.

Both agencies have extremely checkered records. Try to halt resource-extraction anywhere and see who shows up. We enshrine both agencies in our imaginations, our action TV and movies, and our paycheck withholdings. Would we be better off without them? I can’t say. They have protected us to some extent, oppressed us some, occasionally been heroic and occasionally been fiendish (can you say “Abu Ghraib,” “Guantanamo,” “Dirty War”?). In an angry and complex world with limited goods, you need to protect yourself, always. Could that be done better than our watchmen and -ladies to it? Damn right!

I bring these complaints to my audience with “Three Sticks” (Rob’t Mueller III) today. If his report becomes key to the removal and punishment of the Trump crowd, I’ll send Bob-o flowers and praise him here.

(Mitch Clogg)

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I grew up in the Sonoran desert. The insect count is devastatingly down here. Used to have to wash your windshield every 50 miles this time of year. Clouds of grasshoppers with every step. I hiked this morning and saw a grasshopper. One. TWO butterflies where there were once multitudes.

The bird count is weird. Still plenty of some natives. The Gambel’s quail, various doves, and roadrunners seem fine with golf courses, strip malls and tickytacky. My neighborhood, on the bleeding edge of NW Phoenix, has robust populations of Great Horned owls. Mostly though it is exotics: English sparrows, grackles, starlings, pigeons. I have not seen a kingbird or a loggerhead shrike in years.

Locals see it all in terms of habitat destruction, which has been profound. The idea that our beloved cell phones are killing the world has not gotten around much, yet. I think you are correct.

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(Photo by Harvey Reading)

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A traditional pancake breakfast will be served at the Whitesboro Grange on Sunday, July 28th. Breakfast includes orange juice, pancakes with maple and homemade berry syrups, ham, eggs your way, and coffee, tea or hot cocoa. The public and visitors are invited to join neighbors and community for a hearty pancake breakfast. Adults $8, ages 6-12 half price, children under 6 eat FREE. Breakfast is served from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Whitesboro Grange is located 1.5 miles east on Navarro Ridge Road. Watch for signs south of the Albion Bridge.

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ON SATURDAY, August 17 at 7:30 p.m., at the Mendocino College Center Theatre, the board members of Ukiah Community Concerts Association (UCCA) present a benefit concert, "Unleashed." This eclectic evening will include seasoned musicians and board members with hidden talents joining together in new musical combinations, connecting within their own community to raise funds for UCCA's 2019-20 season and beyond. Tickets for "Unleashed" are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and may be purchased online or at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah or Mazahar in Willits. For more information please call (707) 463-2738.

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The Spiritual Report July 23, 2019 7:00P.M. Garberville

Good evening postmodern America, Today was spent walking back and forth from Garberville, CA to the Redway, CA post office to check for mail. I am continuing to be supportive of Earth First!er Andy Caffrey, who is fundraising for his upcoming climate justice themed road show to Washington, D.C. Please donate generously: Beginning upon waking up this morning, I have been continuously chanting the mahamantram for the purpose of purifying the atmosphere of the planet earth; this practice is being done to neutralize the negative energy on the earth plane! I want to return to Washington, D.C. and also be near the United Nations compound, to continue performing spiritual practices in response to the "rotting in the quagmire of samsara" that defines life in postmodernism. I am seeking others who easily understand that events at the White House and on Capitol Hill increasingly define everybody involved as being like worms wriggling in faecal pig matter. I am seeking others who are here on earth as realized spiritual entities, interested in replacing this civilization with a brand new civilization based on the Immortal Atman. Earth First!er Andy Caffrey is basically ready to depart for Washington, D.C. in a matter of weeks, and wishes to interview radical environmentalists along the way. Particularly Earth First!ers who were active in the 1980s and 1990s, he is interested in visiting with you. Please telephone him at (707)923-2114 and offer him a place to stay with you. His mailing address is: P.O. Box 324, Redway, CA 95560. I, Craig Louis Stehr wish to return to Washington, D.C. as soon as possible for the aforementioned spiritual reasons. I ask to be contacted immediately and offered your cooperation. If you are with me in these ridiculous times, then let us together do what we are on the earth plane to do. Thank you very much!

Craig Louis Stehr


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  1. glynnisj July 25, 2019

    A yellow parakeet visited our yard in Boonville early this spring. It landed on the trellis wires above our patio. I only noticed it as it began to chatter, made clicking sounds and, finally, a little song. It’s good to hear that he is still around – I thought his bright coloring and size might have quickly made him a target for a hawk.
    Glynnis Jones

  2. Harvey Reading July 25, 2019

    “THAT’S RIGHT. Why confine cruelty to the children incarcerated at the border? Why not starve thousands of the native born kids, too? How many times does it have to be pointed out that the food stamp program benefits farmers by buying surplus crops and feeds people who need food?”

    It’s been known since the food stamp program began, around 5 decades ago. Conservatives don’t care about anything but power over others…and profits. It’s in their genes.

  3. Harvey Reading July 25, 2019

    “He’s the oldest 74-year-old I’ve seen lately.”

    He just might be putting on a dancing act, caught as he is between the two lying wings of the wealth party.

    Whenever I get tailgaters, I turn on the 4-way flashers, hunch down in the seat, so my grey hair is very visible, and slow way down until the cs-er either passes or backs off. Haven’t had to shoot one yet.

  4. Dave Smith July 25, 2019

    Parakeet: We had a parakeet that I would whistle to and it would whistle back and fly to me, landing on my head. I moved out of our family home and was living nearby when I got a call that the parakeet had flown out an open door. I said I would come by the next day and try to find him. I arrived the following day and started driving around the neighborhood in my convertible whistling. Soon enough I heard the return whistle and there he was perched on a telephone wire. He flew down landing on my head and I took him back home. I wish I could say he lived a long and happy life but he was left home alone out of the cage and the dog ate him…

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