- Hot Inland
- Missing Lineman
- Victor Delgado
- Not Guilty
- Grewal Gone
- Time Changes
- Wilma Mows
- Healthcare Woes
- Old Timers
- Missouri-Mendo Connection
- Giving Up
- Tommy's Joynt
- Cannabis Concerns
- Yesterday's Catch
- Lew Welch
- Flashing Lights
- Third-World Solutions
- Ten Suggestions
- Today's Standards
- New Ideas
- Biggest Threat
- Slovic's Body
- Quiet Please
- Gabbard v Google
- 2020 Olympics
- Found Object
HOT! It got up to 103 in the shade in Boonville on Thursday. Even higher farther inland. But it struggled to get into the 70s most places on the Coast. Even higher inland temps are expected over the weekend.
MISSING LINEMAN IN NORCAL. HELP — through the power of facebook family, friends, or friends of friends living in the Sonoma/Mendocino County, California area please share and/or help us search for our cousin/nephew/brother/son. This now includes some updated information. Please, please, please help us find him. Derek Weidner, is 25 years old and was last seen on Friday evening, 7/19/19, around 1000 pm at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV Park, 1500 Ashton Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA. He was in the Sonoma area doing electrical line work for a private company as a lineman. He is a member of IBEW.
On Saturday morning, 7/20/19, Derik’s truck, a 2015 grey GMC Denali pickup, Illinois license plate #1242790B, was located at milepost marker 6.70, South Highway 101 in Hopland, CA.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting a search and rescue operation north of Pieta Creek in southern Mendocino County. The search made it from the Green Bridge on Highway 101 south of Hopland to just below Frog Woman Rock. The search will be widened Thursday. Anyone with information about his whereabouts please, please, please contact the phone number below. Please share/tag on FB/IG to help us bring Derek home!
Derek is 6’3″ 290 lbs with brown eyes, black hair, heavy build with a beard. We ask anyone with any information that could help find the location of Derek Weidner to contact the Santa Rosa Police Department at (707) 543-3600 IMMEDIATELY! He is deeply loved, larger than life and we just want him home
DEAD MAN AT MILL CREEK DAM
The Mendocino County sheriff’s office said that the body of Victor Delgado, a 43-year-old man from Talmage, was found in the water of the upper Mill Creek Dam on Wednesday afternoon. Mill Creek Dam is east of the city of Talmage and is near the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
He was found floating face down in the water after someone fishing noticed his body and contacted law enforcement. The sheriff’s office said that he was fully clothed and did not appear to have been swimming at the time of his death. A vehicle was found in the area, and there were no apparent signs of foul play, the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities will conduct an autopsy over the next few days to determine the cause of death that will include a Blood-Alcohol/Toxicology analysis.
NOT GUILTY (SORRY, DAD)
UKIAH, Wed., July 24. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday to find the trial defendant not guilty of the single felony charge.
Joseph Bjorklund Gates, age 33, of Eureka, was found not guilty of an assault with a deadly weapon (knife) on his father in late June 2017. It was alleged that the interaction at issue occurred in the Laytonville area of Mendocino County.
The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence at trial was Deputy District Attorney Juan Jose "Joe" Guzman.
The investigating law enforcement agency was the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke presided over the three-day trial.
SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS informs us that “Mr. Grewal is no longer employed by the County.” Mr. Grewal being Agricultural Commissioner Harinder Grewal who was in one of those in-between senior County positions that are not elected and not hired/fired by the CEO, but appointed and overseen by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Grewal was hired/appointed back in March of 2018 in the wake of the abrupt firing of Interim Ag Commissioner Diane Curry who departed a few days after she told the Board that the pot program problems were not her office’s fault, but the overall design of the program at both the County and state levels. That was followed by the one-week tenure of Mr. Joe Moreo who abruptly quit after only a week on the job after his hiring was announced with great fanfare. Mr. Grewal came over from Stanislaus County where he had also run for state Assembly a couple of times as a Democrat. At first he had oversight of the stalled pot program for awhile before it was abruptly transferred to the Planning and Building Department, the third office to have oversight of the failed program since its inception. Mr. Grewal had been on paid administrative leave since late June when all the County would say was “It’s a personnel matter.” Supervisor Williams’s cryptic notice does not mention whether the Assistant Ag Commissioner (whose name is not available at the moment, but there is one) is now “Interim Ag Commissioner.” But if we were him, we’d keep our bags packed.
I saw the “farmhouse gone” photograph in Wednesday’s Mendocino County Today. Here are comparison photographs shot in Yosemite 100 or more years apart. Even places that aren’t supposed to change, change.
WILMA BRINK, 96, MOWS HER BOONVILLE LAWN.
TOUGH OUT THERE
I can't hardly afford any health coverage. I am living out of my Social Security retirement, and that is not enough to pay for my basic needs.
When the Politicians talked about taking off the coverage for pre-existing conditions, they were talking about a mass asasination of people like me.
What a shame, that the ones who have a great deal of money have forgotten about the ones that don’t, even when we are citizens of this beloved COUNTRY OF OURS. They pretend that we don't exist, and if we do, we don't deserve to be alive!
YOU’RE A MENDO OLD TIMER IF YOU:
Ate a mammoth breakfast at Garibaldo’s in Willits.
Spent a least an hour in the Mendocino County jail.
Ate at the old Wharf in Point Arena.
Had at least one drink at Dick’s Place, Mendocino.
Have walked through Hendy and Montgomery Woods.
Have made at least one appearance at a Board of Supervisors meeting to complain about something.
Have Served on your local school board.
Remember old lady Zanoni and the drunk tree at the Navarro Store.
Remember Ted Galleti.
Remember Charles Peterson.
Listened to Ellie's radio show out of Fort Bragg.
Remember Ed Kowas.
Remember Lou Delsol.
Remember Randy Foster.
Remember Richard Kossow.
Remember Diane Zucker.
Remember the drunk tree (and the drunks) at the Navarro Store.
Remember when Woody was Navarro postmaster.
Bought land from Fernhoff at Rancho Navarro.
Got a loan from the First National Bank, Boonville.
Played softball at the Boonville Fairgrounds.
Played basketball against one of Brad Shear's teams.
Know who Turbo is.
Bought pastry at the City Bakery, Ukiah.
Appeared before either O'Brien or Broaddus in Superior Court.
Remember Petaluma as Egg Capitol of the World.
Listened to one of Leo Marcott’s jokes at the old Yorkville Cafe.
Visited Gualala before Sea Ranch was built.
Had a drink at the Last Resort in Philo.
THE MISSOURI-MENDO CONNECTION: Possible Missouri immigrants -- for a short time anyway -- were the James boys, Frank and Jesse. Susan Wallace, who had been studying family genealogy in the northern California hamlet of Boonville, came across a transcript of recently deceased old-timer Everett Sharkey Rawles in which Rawles says that as a boy he heard that Frank James once hid out on a farm in Boonville. "I heard my dad say several times that when Wells-Fargo and Pinkerton men were looking for Frank James in the mid-1870s, he spent 15 months in Boonville," Rawles said. He lived with Jeff Clement. My father told me he met Frank James. Jeff Clement was a pious old guy. I remember him well. He was always in church. I read later that the railroad company pensioned him and Cole Younger off so they would stop robbing their trains." Rawles said his understanding was that Jeff Clement was once part of the James gang back in Missouri. Jeff Clement was also the brother of Arch Clement, known as "Little Arch," one of the bloodiest members of Quantrill's band. Arch is best known for murdering unarmed federal soldiers at Centralia in Missouri on September 27, 1864. Although I haven't seen it, there is rumored to be Frank James' signature in the Boonville Hotel register. My maternal great grandfather, surname Major, grew up with the James boys, fought on the Confederate side of the Civil War, became well-known post-war in the St. Louis area as a horseman and trick shot performer. He used to visit Frank James in Texas where Frank settled after his adventurous youth. Family lore says that Jesse James was crazy and would shoot a man just for the fun of it, at least that's what Frank James told great grandpa.
A NEW POT PERMIT CATEGORY!
by Mark Scaramella
ON TUESDAY, Supervisor Ted Williams asked Planning and Building Director Brent Schultz, again (sigh), about the status of pot permit processing, commenting that “it looks like noise, three or four in the course of a month. Do we have any better sense of where the logjam is? Is it truly the state, or is it applicants not following through?”
LAST MAY when the subject came up, Mr. Schultz explained the delay by saying, “Mr. Connell [the pot permit program’s “new” point person] doesn't have a program administrator. He doesn't have administrative staff. And he lost three inspectors. We are down 70%. There is a turnover issue. Human Resources has stepped in and we are starting to fill those positions back up."
SCHULTZ also insisted in May that he was “trying to pare down the whole application process." Of course, nothing like that has happened. He went on to say that the hold up was mainly at the state Fish and Wildlife department.
THE SUPES then decided not to listen to any more pot permit status updates because so few applications were being processed and it wasn’t worth reporting.
AT THAT MAY board meeting, Williams was very frustrated with the stalled permit process: “This has gone on too long. The public has no confidence at this point in our cannabis program. People look at it and think, It's not going anywhere. I don't think we can plead for anything anymore. I think we need to take action. We just need to decide what that action is. To expect that we will push this back until August or later — I think we are going to see these 1339 applications not processed in any meaningful way. We will come back in three months and hear that nine more have made it through the process and the rest are blocked somewhere at the state and we are not sure, maybe Fish and Wildlife… I can't support that. I think we have to take some action. Maybe the five of us have to get in a car and go to the Capitol and protest.”
SCHULTZ had previously assured the Board that he was going to “do a deep dive” into the problem, followed by “drilling down” into the problem. He has yet to come up for air.
BUT LAST TUESDAY, after describing a productive meeting (in his opinion) with yet another state agency in the pot permit loop, Cal-Cannabis, Schultz described a new reason for stalled permits. We’ll call it the “I GIVE UP” category which actually breaks down into two sub-categories. “There are about 70 applicants who can get permits today but they aren’t paying,” said Schultz. “But other ones just… stopped. We are sending out letters saying if you don’t get it [the remaining required paperwork] in in 45 days we’re going to drop your application. Some people are not even calling us. I think we’ll find that there’s a lot of them who have just dropped out of the program.”
SCHULTZ went on to say, “I’m hopeful that you’re going to see a jump in these [permit] numbers.” (Schultz, A Micawber-quality optimist is always “hopeful” for reasons invisible to everyone else. He also “hopes” to get most of his department’s permit applications upgraded with on-line options by some time next year, no deadlines, of course.) Schultz added that he’s now finally getting around to entering the permit applications into the County's fancy new “track-it” software system. “So I think you’re going to see our numbers pop up a little bit more. Is it a high number? I don’t know yet.”
IN OTHER WORDS, lots of applicants have completed permits but simply don’t think it’s worth it to pay any more now that it’s getting kinda late in the growing season, and several hundred more — the actual number will require more time and “deep diving” by Schultz — have said, “I quit. Not worth it. They’ll never be satisfied. I’ll take my chances on the black market.”
BY THE TIME Schultz comes up for air after his latest deep dive, the permit program — which continues to be weighed down by a large staff of costly planners and inspectors and compliance officers — will probably have drowned.
WILLIAMS seems to have given up too. The process is beyond fixing. He had no follow-up questions for Schultz, no more calls for protests in Sacramento.
TOMMY'S JOYNT RESTAURANT - Van Ness Avenue - With the original upper floors still intact. 1953.
TWO RECENT CANNABIS ALLIANCE PRESS RELEASES
Recent Reports Of Pending Enforcement Actions Have Caused Significant Concern In The Mendocino Cannabis Community And The Emerald Triangle At Large.
[Mendocino County, CA Wednesday July 10, 2019] Reports from multiple sources throughout Northern California have indicated that low flying helicopters under the auspices of multiple state and local agencies have been photographing cannabis cultivation sites from the air as part of anticipated enforcement actions.
Sheriff Tom Allman of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department informed Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA) Board member, attorney Hannah Nelson, that next week, the National Guard helicopters and pilots will be used to identify and locate illegal cannabis operations that are on public lands and/or have environmental and/or water violations in Mendocino County. No National Guard will be involved in cannabis eradication, though other members of the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) will be conducting eradication and members of resource agencies will be present to document environmental and water violations.
Nelson informed Sheriff Allman that there are concerns regarding low overflights and there have been numerous times recently that helicopters have flown so low as to damage greenhouse plastic and scare animals. She requested that Sheriff Allman ensure that pilots observe the 500' minimum altitude restrictions and be sensitive to the negative impact on innocent citizens. Sheriff Allman said that he expects all personnel to follow court rulings that establish a 500’ minimum altitude except in rare and narrowly tailored circumstances where 300’ is permissible to photograph violations and that he would personally instruct all team members of the legal restrictions during a pre-mission briefing on Monday morning. He asked that citizens submit video documentation of any violations directly to Nelson at MCA via email at email@example.com who will pass them onto him. MCA suggests detailing location, reference points to establish altitudes and to provide documentation of land, animal or property disturbance.
After Nelson raised the concern that cannabis farmers who are seeking to enter the regulated system might get caught up in the missions, Sheriff Allman noted that all activities are pursuant to search warrants and are not wide-ranging ‘fishing’ expeditions. Sheriff Allman added that the Sheriff's department has been using its best efforts to ensure that those search warrants were not sought for those who have applied with the Mendocino County Cannabis Permitting Program. However, Sheriff Allman did caution that any cultivator that exceeds their local and state authorization are subject to complete eradication (not just the difference of the overage). Generally, complete eradication will occur if an otherwise authorized cultivator exceeds the amount authorized by more than 10% according to Sheriff Allman.
Sheriff Allman is pleased to work with MCA to educate the public and the law enforcement team members so as to minimize any negative impact on innocent citizens and lawful cultivators. He will be instructing all personnel conducting missions to provide their names and/or business cards when asked to aid in transparency and accountability.
Additionally, PG&E announced this morning that they will also be flying helicopters and fixed wing planes over areas of Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake counties for fire-spotting and electric line surveying.
It is well documented that the populations within legacy cannabis producing regions have been disproportionately impacted by the US War On Drugs, including having suffered through militarized enforcement actions which at times left lasting trauma, including PTSD. Many of the same victims have now bravely stepped forward to enter the highly regulated industry.
Under MAUCRSA, (Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation Act) many of the activities once subject to felony prosecution are now infractions or misdemeanors or simply handled through civil fines and regulatory enforcement actions. If the illicit operation involves environmental crimes, it categorizes the offense as a criminal matter subject to felony charges and significant fines. We call on State agencies to recognize that enforcement for illicit operations on private land is more efficiently and humanely implemented through code enforcement.
Humboldt County has seen a 700% increase in successful enforcement and eradication of illicit operations through the issuance of an Abatement Notice and notice of large fines. The widespread use of National Guard helicopters and personnel, along with other military style enforcement tactics should be reserved for only the most egregious situations.
Have your local authorization and state licenses properly posted, your environmental permits, and all other documents that establish the legality of the cultivation. You may also want to have your lawyer’s contact available and, whenever possible, document with video any encounters with law enforcement. Try to include which local and state agencies are present and the names of associated staff and officers. While not required, cultivators may also want to place 4’ banners with their local and/or state permit and license numbers on them in visible positions on the ground so law enforcement can see them clearly from helicopters.
We will continue to provide fact-based information as it comes in and are committed to creating a safe space for you to share your concerns.
For future updates please follow us on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/MendoCGA/ ) Instagram ( https://www.instagram.com/mendocga/ ) and join our mailing list at http://mendocannabis.com/ .
The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance serves and promotes Mendocino County’s world-renowned cannabis cultivators and businesses through sustainable economic development, education and public policy initiatives.
New Information Has Been Provided To MCA By The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office On The Enforcement Actions Currently Taking Place Within Mendocino County.
[Mendocino County, CA Tuesday July 16, 2019] MCA President, Patrick Sellers, spoke with Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Public Information Officer, Captain Gregory Van Patten, to get clarification regarding the involvement and use of National Guard and CalCannabis resources in Operation Clean Sweep and other smaller operations throughout the summer given that the press release issued Monday by MCSO might have indicated more involvement by National Guard personnel than what MCA understood from Sheriff Allman’s statements to MCA last week. Specifically, Sheriff Allman stated to MCA that no National Guard personnel would be assisting in cannabis eradication, while the MCSO press release on 7/15/19 indicated that National Guard personnel would be used both for helicopter resources and would assist in execution of warrants.
Capt. Van Patten provided the following clarifying information:
“In regards to information previously provided by Sheriff Allman to MCA that there would be no National Guard involved in the cannabis eradication, this is true in the sense that there is no National Guard team assisting in the eradication efforts. However, there are members of the National Guard who are assisting the state's Campaign Against Marijuana Program (CAMP) team as part of Operation Clean Sweep. They are not allowed to participate directly in cutting down, chipping, or otherwise eradicating cannabis plant material. They are acting in a support role and operating at the direction of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.
This operation, limited to the Eel River Watershed, is focused on those types of locations that are obviously engaged in acts of environmental degradation to the natural resources of this county we all love, and that make Mendocino County precious.
Operation Clean Sweep is designed to take place on a large scale for a very short time, not all summer long. There are approximately 30 pre-determined sites. The warrants that have been served so far this week have halted several acts of significant environmental degradation, and have kept in line with the mission of this operation, to protect our natural resources.
There was a lot of work done on the front-end to work with CalCannabis, the cannabis licensing division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). We want to protect the interests of those who are growing cannabis legally. We understand that there are operators who may have formerly held a Temporary License from CalCannabis which has expired and have not yet been issued their Annual or Provisional License. If there are applicants working through the permitting process who are committing significant environmental crimes, then yes, they may be targeted. However, if they are not causing environmental damage they will not be the focus of this operation.
There are no additional operations of this type which are pre-planned at this time. However, it is likely that other watersheds will be focused on in the future. There will also be continued 1-2 day operations taking place around the county throughout the summer. We are always conducting aerial over-flys in order to confirm complaints or identify potential trespass grows. CalCannabis is being consulted as part of these operations as well to determine which cultivation sites are in the permitting program. Operators who are awaiting the issuance of their CalCannabis Annual or Provisional License, who are not engaged in environmental crimes such as unpermitted grading, tree clearing, illegal spring/stream diversion, etc., are not the focus of these smaller operations which will be taking place throughout the summer.
These operations are about protecting the natural resources of our county for future generations.“
MCA reminds everyone that Sheriff Allman encouraged providing MCA with photographic and video documentation of any violations that are observed. Please send photos and videos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
● Have your local authorization and state licenses properly posted, including your environmental permits, and all other documents that establish the legality of the cultivation or permitting in process.
● If applicable, have your lawyer’s contact information available.
● Whenever possible, document with video any encounters with law enforcement.
● Try to include which local and state agencies are present and the names of associated staff and officers.
● While not required, cultivators may also want to place 4’ banners with their local and/or state permit and license numbers on them in visible positions on the ground so law enforcement can see them clearly from helicopters.
We will continue to provide information as it becomes available.
For future updates please follow us on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/MendoCGA/ ) Instagram ( https://www.instagram.com/mendocga/ ) and join our mailing list at http://mendocannabis.com/ .
The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance serves and promotes Mendocino County’s world-renowned cannabis cultivators and businesses through sustainable economic development, education and public policy initiatives.
CATCH OF THE DAY, JULY 25, 2019
MATTHEW CORDES, Ukiah. DUI.
KENNETH ELLER, Ukiah. Leaded cane or equiv., county parole violation.
REID GARRISON, Martinez/Hopland. Probation revocation.
RAFAEL MALDONADO-MATA, Ukiah. Attempted murder, controlled substance, probation revocation.
DELANEY PINGMEDVIGY, Hopland. Probation revocation.
LACEE ROSS, Lake/Willits. Parole violation.
DEVIN SMITH, Willits. Protective order violation, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
A LOST POET’S VOICE REVIVED
by Jonah Raskin
If he's still alive, Lew Welch would have celebrated his 93rd birthday Aug. 16, 2019. A Reed College graduate and one of the half dozen or so poets, including Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Michael McClure, who emerged from the San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s, Welch was a misfit even among the Beats. For years, he held a 9-to-5 job writing and editing advertising copy for Montgomery Ward, the mail-order company. He also taught the University of California Extension Poetry Workshop, while crafting his own poems and short stories.
On May 23, 1971, he wrote a suicide note that read, "I never could make anything work out right and now I'm betraying my friends." Then, with a gun in hand, he walked into the Sierra Nevada.
He has never been seen or heard from since, and his body has never been found, though fans have turned him into a cult figure, a fate he'd find ironic. A pop poet, Welch wrote for the hipsters, Beats and beatniks who gathered nightly, from about 1954 to 1967, in San Francisco to listen to jazz, drink cappuccinos and sip red wine.
Now, with the publication of "Ring of Bone," a recent collection of his poems, songs and drawings with a foreword by Gary Snyder, he's on the cusp of recognition as a distinguished American author and the real stuff of American myth and legend. As Snyder writes, "This bright-eyed bardic spirit, Lew Welch still wandering and singing on the back roads - I imagine - at the far edge of the West - will be with us a long time."
"Ring of Bone" offers something for nearly every Bay Area poetry lover, including iconic geographical places from Mount Tamalpais to Market Street, plus beloved Bay Area redwoods, eucalyptus and pine. But "Ring of Bone" offers much more than landscapes for locals. Welch maps monstrous American cities and alienated American spaces.
He explores his own alien self in the signature poem, "Song of a Self," with its refrain, "left out and afraid." You can hear the self-pity in his voice and his sly sense of '60s humor, too, as when he writes, "For centuries girls have been seduced by poetry." In the halcyon days of the Haight-Ashbury, he wrote "The Hippy Chick's Lament" and caught the counterculture's lingo in the refrain, "Oh baby come on let's go!"
A postmodern Walt Whitman, Welch focused on the wasteland in his own head. In a 1970 preface to his poems, he noted that his work was a "wasted field in which, like blocks of cement, the wreckage of my mind is scattered." Alcohol and drugs took a toll on his soul. "I've destroyed my brain," he wrote candidly in "Orange Take." Still, he persevered. Always pushing poetic parameters, he abandoned standard grammar and punctuation and added visual effects, such as a hand-drawn heart with an arrow through it and the words "Lew + World." In fact, many of his best poems have the look and feel of well-designed ads.
In the 1960s, Welch lost his way, though he salvaged a great deal. In "Theology," one of his best poems, he wrote, "Guard the Mysteries!/ Constantly reveal Them!" Moreover, in his notes for the Poetry Workshop included at the back of "Ring of Bone," Welch revealed the Zen wisdom he acquired as a copywriter.
At his desk, he wrote ads by going into a "trance" and bringing "words to Mind." To the practice of poetry he brought much the same intense mindfulness. No wonder that his luminous poems feel as vibrant today as when they first burst from the wellsprings of creativity in his own head.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of "American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' and the Birth of the Beat Generation.")
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Just off the phone with my sister who lives in Amador County, California…in the foothills above Stockton. She told me she received a letter from Pacific Gas and Electric, notifying her, and all residents of her area, that they are now subject to black outs… regional power cuts that will occur at PG&E’s discretion, and that can last up to two weeks, and might come unannounced. The black outs will be triggered by some metric involving of high winds and hot temperatures, to be determined by, I suppose company engineers. The purpose, of course, is to protect the company from liability when their transmission lines fail and start brush fires.
They further suggest that there could be as many as…15 black out incidents, each lasting from days to weeks, during California’s wildfire season…from May through December.
Entire regions…no lights, no water, no traffic control, no hospitals on land line, no gas pumps working. The company suggests that essential services, as well as private citizens, invest in generators or other alternative forms of energy.
PG&E is, of course, bankrupt…this is, apparently, the solution to their deteriorating infrastructure. Oh yeah…and there are going to be significant rate hikes….
Third World solutions for First World issues….
THE TEN SUGGESTIONS
by Paul Krassner
1) Stay well-informed and be on the alert for disinformation; besides mainstream media, check out alternative papers and the Internet, especially the international press.
2) Maintain empathy for the motivation of terrorists and sympathizers, bearing in mind that they are victims of their own conditioning.
3) Start saving the world by acting in every aspect of your daily life as though you were a role model for all humankind.
4) Understand and forgive your foibles instead of guilt-tripping yourself.
5) Resist police-state legislation passed in the guise of security.
6) Pro-choice or not, don’t abort your inner child.
7) With the stench and sadness of death so much in the air, practice loving those you cherish while they’re still alive.
8) Keep feeling hopeful by finding your balance between total despair and the 100th Monkey fable. As Harry Chapin said, “If we don’t act like there’s hope, there is no hope.” And remember, placebos work.
9) Pay attention to Godspin, such as, “I never said Promised Land, I said I’d see what I could do.”
10) When eating a sandwich at the delicatessen, be sure to remove the toothpick before taking your first bite.
THE FACT IS that warming a few degrees Celsius by the end of the century — the most likely version of the trajectory we are currently on, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — will overturn many aspects of the current order. In a world facing floods, droughts, storms, heat waves, unprecedented winters, and mass migration on a never before seen scale, will people be content with the current winner takes all version of capitalism? Will we be fine with the rich taking a bigger and bigger share of total income until the end of time as the world drowns and burns and starves? Will we succumb to what's now being called "climate apartheid," with the rich world cutting itself off from the poor and entrenching itself behind barriers and walls and letting the poor world die? On current form, you would have to say that is not an unlikely version of future events. If we are to avoid going down that route, we will need to have some different, better ideas; we will need to have some ideas about shared responsibility, shared security and shared prosperity. The left will need a new toolkit. It will need to have done its intellectual prep. That, more than anything, is what this new wave of work on Universal Basic Income represents. Milton Friedman wasn't right about everything, but he knew more than anyone in modern political economics what it takes to change an intellectual climate. He worked out how to make a new idea that take shape first as something thinkable, and then as a specific policy. He said that the crucial step was to be ready: "Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable."
The list of progressive alternatives which currently fit that description is one item long: Universal Basic Income.
— John Lanchester
Orwell says somewhere that no one ever writes the real story of their life.
The real story of a life is the story of its humiliations.
If I wrote that story now --
radioactive to the end of time --
people, I swear, your eyes would fall out, you couldn't peel the gloves fast enough
from your hands scorched by the firestorms of that shame.
Your poor hands. Your poor eyes to see me weeping in my room or boring the tall blonde to death.
Once I accused the innocent.
Once I bowed and prayed to the guilty.
I still wince at what I once said to the devastated window.
And one October afternoon, under a locust tree whose blackened pods were falling and making illuminating patterns on the pathway, I was seized by joy,
and someone saw me there,
and that was the worst of all,
lacerating and unforgettable.
— Vijay Seshadri
ALL THE WAY ALONG, I've been trying to express myself honestly. But I had been picking topics that perhaps someone might interpret as whining or complaining. A lot of my projects prior to this record were really kind of rich people's problems. They wanted to throw starving beggars in my face. Well, I've been a starving beggar! There was no sympathy for these problems: therefore they had no universality. People are fascinated with celebrity: the press is more interested in the artist than the art. They always want to know whether something you’re writing is autobiographical. It may be at first, but once you've written that song for yourself, you've got to interpret it so that others will appreciate it and hopefully identify. It's like holding up a mirror for them to look at.
JULY 11, 1987: The body of Private Eddie Slovic, the only US soldier executed for desertion in World War II, was found at San Francisco International Airport yesterday after it got lost — just like a piece of baggage. A box containing Slovic's remains arrived in New York from France, Thursday, en route to his hometown of Detroit, where he is scheduled to be buried with his wife, 42 years after his execution. But Slovic's remains did not make it to Detroit without a side trip to San Francisco. A TWA spokesman likened the disappearance of the coffin to "a matter of lost luggage -- we misplaced it." Slovic's body was exhumed Wednesday from a grave marked by only a number in an American military cemetery in France. Slovic became the first American soldier shot for desertion since the Civil War when a US firing squad executed him on January 31, 1945. Slovic was 24. 49 US soldiers were sentenced to death for desertion during World War II, but Slovic was the only one executed, apparently because he had a criminal record. The full story of his execution was not told until 1954 when William Bradford Huie wrote the book, "The Execution of Private Slovic," based on the incident.
San Francisco Chronicle
TULSI GABBARD TAKES GOOGLE TO COURT OVER ELECTION INTERFERENCE
On June 28th, 2019 in the immediate hours following the first Democratic Presidential debate, millions of Americans were searching online for information about Tulsi Gabbard. In fact, according to multiple news reports, Tulsi was the most searched candidate on Google. Then, without any explanation, Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account.
THE 2020 OLYMPICS ARE LIKELY TO BE A DISASTER
After spending a day with Tokyo’s anti-Olympics organizers, it was clear why they are angry about the 2020 Olympics—and that they are ready to fight.
by Dave Zirin & Jules Boykoff
At first glance, this must appear to be the politest anti-Olympics movement imaginable. The group fighting against the games is known as Okotowari Olympics 2020, or No Thanks Olympics 2020. However, after spending a day among them, it is clear that the honchos in the Japanese Olympic Committee should be worried. These organizers are feisty, whip-smart, and their goal is nothing short of preventing next year’s Olympics from landing in Tokyo. Their concerns are based on the recent history of what happens to a city after the Olympics descend: debt, displacement, and hyper-militarization. For them, it is also a question of priorities.
In the words of one organizer, Tomiko, “People are still suffering from [the earthquake and Fukushima nuclear meltdown of] 2011. The government needs to spend money to help those still suffering, not on the Olympics.”
This group of activists and agitators spent the day taking a disparate group of three dozen people—many from past or future Olympic cities—on a tour of Olympic building projects already underway. By the time they were finished, it was very clear why they were protesting.
Akio Yoshida, who, like several of the Okotowari organizers, cut her teeth doing work in solidarity with Tokyo’s large homeless population, said, “The displacement already happening will just move more people from their homes. All Olympics discriminate. Some people are prioritized. Others are disregarded.” After touring future Olympic sites, we could all see who the winners will be: well-connected developers, construction magnates, and security barons. Meanwhile, the working poor and houseless will be left out.
We saw a body of water slated for open-water swimming, with bacteria levels dangerous to the human touch. We saw a baseball stadium, the home of the famed Yakult Swallows, that will be demolished, only to be rebuilt a block away to meet the specifications of the Olympics. We saw public spaces such as a youth aquatic center that will be shut down to make way for Olympic sports, while young people will have to spend next summer with their noses pressed against the glass. We saw a beautifully designed, massive public stadium that was built only for volleyball and will be handed over after the Olympics to a private business concern. The stadium cost $300,000,000.
Around Tokyo, we saw public spaces clogged with construction that fenced out everyday people. One public area that was typically buzzing with baseball was off-limits, while bulldozers constructed an Olympic track venue. It’s deeply ironic that a traditional location for amateur athletes to train will be demolished for Olympic facilities. As one organizer said, “What is the point of the Olympics if they will actually serve to stifle amateur sports?”
Atsumi Masazumi, who lives in the neighborhood around the new National Stadium, told us, “The area I was proud of is being changed for the worse by the Olympics. It’s sneaky to use the Games to change the building codes. It’s horrible.” He stressed that he loves sports but doesn’t love what the Olympics are doing to his city.
We also traveled to the Odaiba Marine Park, the future location of Olympic swimming and the triathlon. But the beach was fenced off from the public. Signs pegged to posts around the perimeter of the area informed passersby that the beach would be closed from July 1 through September 6 in order to hold an Olympics-related event. Again, spaces meant for the public were being cordoned off because of the Olympics.
Is Fukushima Safe for the Olympics?
A recent visit suggests that the repercussions of the 2011 nuclear disaster aren't over.
The 2020 Olympic torch relay will commence in Fukushima: a place more often associated with a 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster than international sports. That’s no accident: the location is meant to convey a narrative of recovery, and the idea that Fukushima is a safe place to visit, live–and of course, do business. Olympic baseball and softball games, also to be held in Fukushima just 55 miles from the meltdown, are meant to hammer the message of these “Recovery Olympics,” as Tokyo 2020 organizers have branded them, home
But after a visit to Fukushima, their claims seem questionable at best. In fact, the entire setup is a profoundly cynical act of “post-truth” politics. Fukushima is not yet safe, and no amount of sunny rhetoric from Olympic bigwigs as well as Japanese politicians, can make it so.
We traveled to Fukushima on a bus full of journalists, filmmakers, and activists from around the world. We were accompanied by professor Fujita Yasumoto who carried a dosimeter, a device that charts the levels of radiation. With two hours to drive before hitting Fukushima, his dosimeter read 0.04; anything above 0.23, he told us, was unsafe. The needle jumped further as we approached the nuclear plants and attendant cleanup operations. Outside the Decommissioning Archive Center, it moved into unsafe territory with a 0.46 reading before spiking to a truly alarming 3.77 as we approached Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor, one of three that melted down. The Olympic torch run is currently scheduled to pass through some of these high-contamination areas.
As we entered Fukushima, we started to see what looked like black Hefty garbage bags, filled with radioactive topsoil that had been scraped up by workers, most of whom, we are told, travel great distances to Fukushima to work. Thousands of these bags—which locals call “black pyramids”—are piled on top of one another, but the toiling workers aren’t wearing hazmat suits. Some of the piles of bags have vegetation popping out. The sight of the plants poking through the toxic muck could be taken as a sign of hope, but, for others, they’re a portent of danger, raising fears that the wind will blow the most contaminated parts of the topsoil into the less radiated parts of the city.
No one here we met is buying Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s line from 2013 when he tried to assuage the concerns of voters at the International Olympic Committee by telling them that things in Fukushima were “under control.” Hiroko Aihara, an independent journalist based in Fukushima, said to us, “The government has pushed propaganda over truth. This has people in Japan divided as to how serious it is. But for the people who live here, the crisis and the cleanup and contamination continue.”
The scientific studies about how safe Fukishima are at the moment are in great dispute. National travel guides put the area that is unsafe at only 3 percent of the prefecture. However, as Scientific American wrote, “In its haste to address the emergency, two months after the accident the Japanese government raised the allowable exposure from 1 mSv annually, an international benchmark, to 20 mSv. Evacuees now fear Abe’s determination to put the Daiichi accident behind the nation is jeopardizing public health, especially among children, who are more susceptible.”
We also spoke with Masumi Kowata. She is a remarkable individual, and the only woman on the 12-person Okuma Town municipal council in Fukushima. She is also the only person on the council who is speaking out on the dangers of nuclear power. Kawata was living in Fukushima when Abe made his grand pronouncement. She said, “Things were absolutely not ‘under control’ and nothing is over yet. The nuclear radiation is still very high. Only one small section is being cleaned. The wider region is still an evacuation zone. There is still radiation in the area. Meanwhile, we’re [hosting] the Olympics.”
The cynicism of branding this “the Recovery Olympics” can also be seen in the streets of Fukushima. Numerous people are still displaced and living outside the prefecture; they’re in the tens of thousands, although the exact total has not been determined. Whatever the number, there is no question that the part of the prefecture surrounding the nuclear meltdown feels empty. In a country with a remarkable lack of dilapidated buildings, they conspicuously blot the landscape in Fukushima. What was destroyed by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown hasn’t been rebuilt. Many businesses also have been “abandoned by owner,” an all-purpose explanation for the state of things. Both homes and businesses—with the crumbling signs for the titans of Japanese corporate culture—Sony, Mitsubishi and Honda—sit vacant.
Despite this bleak scene, Kowata somehow brims with fighting energy. “The local people have come to me and told me to tell the world what is actually happening,” she said. “That’s where I get my strength. There are people getting sick. There are people who are dying from stress. The world needs to know.”
(Dave Zirin is the sports editor of The Nation Magazine. Jules Boykoff is a professor of political science at Pacific University in Oregon and the author of three books on the Olympic Games, most recently Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics. He is a former professional soccer player who represented the US Olympic Team in international competition.)