- Budget Fuss
- Noyo Headlands
- Gjerde Files
- Disney Ice
- Mendo Supervisors
- Hugh Duggins
- PSPS Season
- Coach Young
- Fun Couple
- House Vanished
- Comptche Art
- KZYX 30
- Offensive Things
- Previous Catch
- Biden Evasions
- Israeli Peace
- SB 1
- Environment Fight
- Flow-Kana Video
- Economy Headline
- Ballot Box
WIDESPREAD SHOWERS will continue across much of the area today, accompanied by isolated to scattered thunderstorms north of Cape Mendocino. Drier and warmer weather is expected from Thursday into the weekend. (National Weather Service)
MENDO JUST CAN’T DO MONTHLY BUDGET REPORTING. (Or can they?)
by Mark Scaramella
Supervisor Ted Williams’s proposal for Mendocino County to adopt bottom-up budgeting (“zero-based budgeting”) was reasonably well received on Tuesday with a muddled decision to have staff discuss it further in November or January or something. Supervisor John McCowen suggested it be tried on the cannabis program first but after a few giggles, nobody followed up.
After that novel idea was successfully postponed and workshopped into almost never, Supervisor McCowen reminded his colleagues and staff that departmental metrics and budget tracking is a bit overdue:
McCowen: “There are a few things that the Board has been asking for for some time. In the case of department metrics the board has been asking for that for several years for each department. We would like to have certain tasks and the timeframe they get accomplished with the numbers of things that get accomplished. Whenever we have this discussion the CEO says, You can't manage what you can't measure. We have an inconsistent process of measuring departmental tasks. We get some information for some things from some departments but it could be more comprehensive and obviously it will be different items that are of greater importance to different departments. But supposedly the leadership group was working on that. So if we can actually get that activated and operating I think that would help us. The other thing the board has been asking for is budget tracking. I think it should be on a monthly basis. Here's the budgeted amount, here's the expenditure to date. Both the total budget for departments and net county cost. Whatever the appropriate breakdown is. We should get relatively real-time information on how the are departments performing against the budget. I think that would be beneficial as well. We have given these directions in the past. I know everyone's busy doing everything they're doing. These are the types of things that I think would put the county in a position to better evaluate everything that we are doing appropriate or could it be done better.
CEO Angelo: “I agree with you Supervisor McCowen that the Board has been asking for metrics on the departments and budget tracking. And I believe we have it down to every other month.”
Supervisor McCowen was probably going to say that they don’t have it down to anything like that. But the CEO didn’t want to hear that.
Angelo: “Please let me finish Supervisor McCowen. I know that you in particular have asked for monthly. I can tell you that we are working on metrics and Deputy CEO Darcie Antle has been working on the departments. One of the first actions was educating the departments with more budget training within the department than we've had in the past…”
That “training” has been going on for more than a year now. It hasn’t produced anything remotely related to monthly budget reporting. Apparently, the department staff is resistant to such training.
Angelo continued: “I believe we will have metrics for this board. I realize it's taken some time to get there. But this is a large bureaucracy that moves very slow. As far as budget tracking, we do that quarterly…”
No, Mendo does not do budget tracking monthly. What the CEO is referring to is the quarterly budget review which has nothing to do with departmental tracking.
Angelo continued: “I know you want that monthly. We are working on trying to get it to you every two months. We can try every month, we can give you figures, they will be approximate, they will not be exact.”
This is pure dithering. Nobody’s asking for “exact” information. And obviously they’re not “working on” anything because they’ve been saying that for the years that McCowen was referring to and hasn’t produced a single tracking result.
Angelo continued: “At this point in time the IT [computer/info technology] ad hoc knows we are trying to develop efficiencies within our IT systems so we basically have helped our employees do their jobs. So we have a better product for the public and for the board. It's quite possible we will need to upgrade our software again as far as trying to track the budget.”
Now the problem is software? Just a few minutes earlier it was training. Then it was, we are doing it quarterly, then we can do two months, but not one month.
Angelo continued: “Just as an example, for year-end closeout, year-end closeout is not till the end of August where June 30 is the last day of the year of the fiscal year. So when you look at two years to do close out, that means every department, has to get their claims in and everything done.”
Williams: “Not two years.”
Angelo: “Yes. Two months.”
Now it’s the time it takes to do close out? How many lame excuses is the CEO going to trot out? Close out has nothing to do with budget tracking.
Angelo continued: “But to bring in a $300 million budget and manage it every month which is in essence what we do, not to the penny, but when we give information to this Board we want it to be accurate. So we are working on this. I have an inherent belief that we can get this information to this Board as well. We will continue with this. So thank you.”
Supervisor Williams changed the subject: “Supervisor Gjerde and I met with RQMC and I still have a lot of questions about how we track success there. It [mental health services] may be successful. We may be doing better than other counties within the state. But I have a hard time conveying that to my constituents because I don't have the transparency, I don't have the data to back it. I don't have a five-year chart showing where we were and where we are headed. I think that's what we want for all the financial concerns. We want to be able to look at a profit and loss, balance sheet. I know there's a gap in technology. It takes staff to produce the documents. It should be real-time. So maybe we should refer this to the IT ad hoc to look at shifting the priority and looking at what it would take to get us there so we can make better decisions in the budgeting process.”
Oh no. Now even Supervisor Williams is getting on board the delay train.
Supervisor Williams then asked CEO Angelo what her ideal organizational chart would look like. After mentioning a few organizational ideas and options and asking the CEO’s opinion, Supervisor Williams asked the CEO what her ideal organizational chart would look like and whether it would be different than the current organizational chart.
Angelo: “It would be different. I don't know how different.”
Williams: “Would you be contracting out any services? For example, I would consider…”
Angelo, interrupting: “I feel like I'm at an inquisition. But yes I would absolutely come to this Board for the authority to contract out some services.”
Angelo chortled mirthlessly, playing the victim, as if it’s almost amusing that the poor thing has to suffer a few ordinary questions from the upstart Supervisor who she obviously resents.
Williams continued anyway: “I would like to see what that plan would look like.”
After more silly discussion about how to punt the budget discussion as far out into the future as possible, the Board then voted unanimously to: “Create an agenda item for November 5 regarding zero-based budgeting, putting public priorities on the county budget; host a workshop at the second meeting in January regarding zero-based budgeting; have the IT ad hoc work with the executive office on budget tracking and department metrics; have each supervisor work in conjunction with the executive office for district meetings on budget priorities, including priorities for the county budget.”
But then, a few minutes later the board discussed what Supervisor Dan Gjerde described as the County’s "flexible hiring freeze."
CEO Angelo described how she decides which vacancies are approved for hiring and what factors go into her decision.
Angelo: "Some of the departments believe that if they have budgeted a position then I will automatically give them the approval to fill it. That is not the case. One of the goals of a hiring freeze is not only to look at your departments and look at what you have and how those departments could work more efficiently without one or two positions but also their salary savings. So because a position is budgeted doesn't mean that I'm going to approve filling it. Because that's your savings from a hiring freeze. The numbers are fluid. One of the most difficult areas was touched on earlier today was the actual tracking every month of how much money comes in and how much money we are spending and where we are and what the percentages are for that month for that department. The numbers are fluid. But we believe those numbers are fairly close today as to where we will be at the end of the year…”
CEO Angelo had successfully contradicted herself. On the one hand, she claims she’s doing quarterly budget tracking (partial). Then she says doing budgeting tracking every two months. (Not at all.) Then she says she’s working on monthly budget reporting (not likely). Then monthly reporting is too hard because of the close-out complication. Then it’s because the budget is just too darn big. Then it’s the software, so let’s fob it off on Williams and his software committee. The CEO probably has at least ten more excuses where those came from.
But on the other hand, to make hiring decisions the CEO says she looks at “the actual tracking every month of how much money comes in and how much money we are spending and where we are and what the percentages are for that month for that department.” That’s exactly what the Board wants and which she has gone to such great lengths to avoid!
How long is the Board going to let this kind of incompetence go on? (Don’t answer that.)
NOYO HEADLANDS, SOUTH
GJERDE FILES FOR RE-ELECTION
Serving you as Fourth District Supervisor is a genuine honor. This morning I pulled papers so I can continue the work of representing you.
I hope this election is clean, focused on the issues, and is decided on who is most effective in making government responsive to our communities. This is what I do every day, working with your neighbors in every community. Our wins include: new County funding for all of our fire departments; substantially more paving of County roads; and improved County services, such as re-opening the County animal shelter on the Coast.
I never forget whose money the County is spending: yours. Or who the County is here to serve: you. If responsive, efficient government is what you want, I hope to have your support.
Thank you, Dan
and from yesterday...
LINDY PETERS TO TAKE ON GJERDE
Today I pulled papers to run for 4th District Supervisor. Many of you have encouraged me to take on this challenge, and after much thought and discussion, I have decided to do so. I will be seeking your signatures (621) and pledge to fight hard to make sure the 4th District is getting our fair share of County services and County distribution of tax dollars. I also pledge to run a clean, issue-oriented campaign. It is time for a fresh set of eyes and a fresh pair of ears to represent you.
I hope to be elected by 50% + 1 in the March primary, thereby sparing a dogfight until next November. I promise to give my full attention to City matters as my term on the Council will not be affected. Should I prevail in March, then a Council election to fill my seat will take place in November 2020 in conjunction with the General Election. I’m in it to win it
JOHN SAKOWICZ COMMENTS ON Supervisor Gjerde’s announcement to run for re-election:
“Interesting, I liked Dan, once upon a time, but he didn't re-nominate me to the Retirement Board. After five years on the Retirement Board, my re-appointment should have been automatic. I never missed a meeting in those five years, and I'm the only member of the Retirement Board who has ever held Series 3 and Series 7 NASD/FINRA licenses, and the only member who has ever worked on Wall Street. The book on Dan is that he kowtows to CEO Angelo along with McCowen and Brown. Why? One can only guess. Meanwhile, Williams is very independent, and very bright. And, Haschak is very cautious. Haschak acts like a newly elected politician. Hopefully, Haschak will come along with Williams, me, and Mo Mulheren in a new Board of Supervisors in 2020. Brown? I'm glad she is retiring…for her own sake. She seems tired, depressed, beaten down. Has the job driven her to drink?”
WHO KILLED HUGH DUGGINS?
Hugh was strangled up Alderpoint Road three years ago last January and we're still waiting for some clues.
Hugh was a good guy, helpful to many.
If you have any information about who killed Hugh a reward is offered:
$10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever murdered Hugh.
Call Humboldt County detectives: 707.445.7301
(Cash will also be paid for for any leads.)
(Hugh Duggins, 71, of Alderpoint was found dead in the 7000 block of Alderpoint Road on Jan. 21, 2016. According to the county coroner’s report, he died from asphyxia due to neck compression. — Redwood Times.)
NO PG&E 'POWER SHUT OFF' IN THE NEAR FUTURE
MSP will run this feature daily during fire season of the PG&E "projection" of possible/potential "Public Safety Power Shutdowns" (PSPS). PG&E, however, may announce a PSPS with only a 24 or 48-hour notice.
None are on the horizon looking six days into the future…
PG&E said they have 2,334 miles of power lines in Mendocino County.
Here’s the forecast published Tuesday by an operational meteorologist from PG&E’s Meteorology and Analytics team: “Fair and dry weather is expected today for most of the PG&E territory except for northern Humboldt where the next weather system will spread another round of rain late this afternoon and evening. Those rain showers, mostly light, should then spread south and eastward overnight and during the day tomorrow into the Bay Area and northern San Joaquin Valley with the precipitation spreading a bit farther southward into early Thursday across the Sierra where a light dusting of snow is possible over the highest peaks.
Continued dry weather is forecast for the southern part of the territory. Fair and warmer weather is then expected to return by the end of the week and into next weekend with light offshore winds across the central and northern part of the state.
Another weather system may then produce shower activity across the northern part of the state and Sierra Sunday and into next Monday with dry weather expected elsewhere.
Breezy to gusty offshore winds may then develop early next week and these winds will be watched closely for an increase in strength. Overall, fine grass fuels are cured below 5500 – 6000’ and live fuel moistures remain near or below critical levels, but precipitation this week will increase dead fuel moisture levels across the northern areas. ”
“NOTE: This forecast is based on weather conditions and fuel moisture content only and does not include other criteria used to determine whether a PSPS may be necessary.”
JIM YOUNG CALLS IT QUITS
After 17 years of coaching in the MUSD, I have decided to call it quits. I give thanks for all the support I have had from the administration and my family. Lot's of parents, lots of players--- thank you all.
msp notes: Wow - talk about blockbusting news! We'll have more on this later - and this should be a BIG talk on the KZYX "Sports Phone" Wednesday that Young co-hosts.
VANG ARRESTED FOR KIDNAPPING
On Saturday, September 14, at about 11:35 pm, Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies noticed a vehicle driving in the 1300 block of North State Street in Ukiah.
The Deputies noticed numerous vehicle code violations on the vehicle. The vehicle pulled into a parking space and the deputies contacted the occupants.
The driver and registered owner of the vehicle was identified as Thao Vang (age 33) from Sacramento.
Vang was found to have an active felony warrant for his arrest from Butte County and was arrested without incident.
The front passenger was identified as Christine Maxwell (age 33) from Marysville (California) and the rear passenger was identified as a 34-year-old adult female from Sacramento.
The 34-year-old female was very upset, shaking, crying and had visible bruising on her body.
She told deputies she had been kidnapped in Sacramento four days ago by Vang. Vang reportedly transported her to a residence in Sacramento where she was held her against her will.
Deputies learned she had been continually physically abused and forced to engage in sexual intercourse with Vang numerous times.
On Saturday, the 34-year-old female was forced to travel with Vang and Maxwell to Ukiah.
The 34-year-old female feared for her life and believed Vang and Maxwell were going to kill her. Deputies located evidence supporting the reported kidnapping to include drug paraphernalia.
Investigators from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detective Unit were notified of the incident and will be taking over the investigation.
Vang was arrested for Kidnapping, Rape, False Imprisonment, Conspiracy, and the Butte County Warrant Possession of a controlled substance while armed without incident. Vang was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $175,000 bail.
Maxwell was arrested for Kidnapping and Conspiracy without incident. Maxwell was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $100,000 bail.”
SHANNON HOUSE VANISHES; HIS BROTHER AWAKENS TO FIND HIM GONE
Comptche Celebrates the Arts!
Coming to you on Saturday, September 28, 2-6, at the Community Hall on the Comptche/Ukiah Rd, 1/4 ml East of Flynn Creek Rd. Local Art Show & Sale & Wine Tasting to be enjoyed in great company of Artists & Visitors! Join the fun!
— Lynne Zickerman, Sponsor
KZYX 30th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT PARTY
Radio Station KZYX, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, is getting ready to observe our 30th anniversary with a gala concert and party at the Little Lake Grange in Willits on Saturday, October 19th. This will be an all-day/all-night affair, with a great lineup of live music and dancing, highlighted by Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings and the Keystone Revisited featuring Tony Saunders. Come help us celebrate!
Doors open at noon with the music and festivities beginning at 1:00 pm and running to 11:00 pm! Tickets are $30.00 in advance and $35.00 at the door, but for folks wanting only the afternoon fun, there is a $15.00 half-day ticket that gets access from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Here’s the schedule:
The Back Porch Project on “Dusty Roads and Dirty Strings”
KZYX’s Clay Hawkins will be broadcasting his regular Americana and Roots program, “Dusty Roads and Dirty Strings” live from the Grange. He will be joined on stage for a live performance by the Back Porch Project. The Back Porch Project combines their diverse musical backgrounds of folk, blues, classic rock, jam band and country to create a unique, high energy brand of indie folk.
Alma Latina Dance
In another live broadcast, DJ Aline co-host of “Alma Latina,” one of KZYX’s most popular programs, will lead a two-hour festive dance session from the stage at the Grange and out to the KZYX listening audience. It will be two joyful hours of dancing to exciting, adventurous Latin and World music.
The Real Sarahs
Rising stars in the west coast Americana scene, the Real Sarahs have earned their status of one of our area’s most popular performing acts, and their fame is now spreading. They’ve built their reputation on their lovely, uplifting voices, enchanting harmonies and intriguing song writing. Sarah “Songbird” Larkin, Sarah Ryan and Jen Rund create magic with voices in harmony, acoustic instruments, and the energetic connection between artists and audience. Their songs weave their way through folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and country. Drawn from their own journeys and life experiences, the Real Sarah’s music is honest, captivating and heartfelt.
Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings
Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings have brought their own style of powerhouse blues to audiences around the world for years. Rogers is the reigning king of slide guitar with a dexterous and instantly recognizable style. Or as Rolling Stone puts it, “Rogers is an exceptionally articulate slide guitarist, whether he’s scorching Robert Johnson’s ‘Ramblin’ Blues,’ taking a lovely, lyrical journey, … or rockin’ it out. One of the rare guitar heroes who values feeling over flash.”
Keystone Revisited featuring Tony Saunders
Keystone Revisited came together in response to a huge demand from fans of the Merl Saunders/Jerry Garcia Band, originators of the so-called “Jam Band.” When Saunders and Garcia got together it was pure magic. What better way to pay homage to these legendary players than with a band led by Merl’s son, Tony Saunders, who started playing with his father and Garcia when he was 18, Bill Vitt, who played with Merl and Jerry, as well, and Jeff Pevar, who has played with Phil Lesh and Friends and Jazz is Dead. At the Grange show, Keystone Revisited will play songs from their recent album and music from the Grateful Dead, Legion of Mary and other Garcia solo projects.
In addition to the music, there will be food by the Zocala Collective inside and the wonderful Pilán Kitchen food truck outside. Wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks will be available, as well. We’ve even arranged child care, provided by the gracious folks of Nuestra Alianza on a donation basis.
Join us as we commemorate KZYX’s first 30 years on the air with a friendly and festive all day/all night party and concert! Again, that’s Saturday, October 19, with doors opening at noon and music and dancing from 1:00 to 11:00 pm!
Tickets are available online at firstname.lastname@example.org, and also in Willits at JD Redhouse & Company and Main Street Music in Willits, Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah, and Moon Lady in Laytonville.
We’d like to thank our generous wine, beer, food and services providers, Parducci Winery, Frey Vineyards, Barra of Mendocino, Lagunitas Brewery, Grocery Outlet and the Old West Inn. Lights will be provided by After Dark and sound by Ancestor Radio Productions.
For more information, please contact David Hulse-Stevens of the KZYX Board of Directors, at 707-972-6436 or via email at email@example.com.
CATCH OF THE DAY, SEPTEMBER 16-17, 2019
SHANNON ARNOLD, Ukiah. Shoplifting, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
TINA BURROWS, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
JOSEPH CARSON, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.
MEGAN CHAMPION, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DUNCAN CHARLES, Fort Bragg. Reckless driving (sentencing), probation revocation.
JENNIFER DEGROOT, Ukiah. Failure to appear. (Frequent Flyer)
HEATHER DEWOLF, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JACOB HEATH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)
ADAM LAFLIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
CHRISTINE MAXWELL, Highland/Ukiah. Kidnapping-forcibly or instilling fear, steals, takes, holds, detains, arrests any person, conspiracy.
DEBBIE MCCOSKER, Ukiah. Trespassing, probation revocation.
MONICA PLUM, Healdsburg/Ukiah. DUI.
BRIAN POTTER, Mertle Creek, Oregon/Fort Bragg. Criminal threats.
SHALA PUGH, Ukiah. Battery on emergency responder, probation revocation.
MARK RANDOLPH, Ukiah. DUI, hit&run with property damage, suspended license (for DUI).
ANTONIO REYES-RAMOS, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger. paraphernalia, suspended license (for DUI), resisting.
BOBBY ROSTON, Ukiah. Parole violation.
AGUSTIN RUIZ, Lakeport/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ELIJAH SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Stolen vehicle.
THAO VANG, Sacramento/Ukiah. Rapy by force, violence, duress, menace, fear of bodily injury. Kidnapping for robbery/rape, false imprisonment, controlled substance while armed with firearm, conspiracy.
LYDELL WILLIAMS, Covelo. Community supervision violation.
THE 'OFFICIAL SECRETS' MOVIE VS. JOE BIDEN'S LIES ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR
The current Democratic frontrunner did everything he could to enable the Iraq war, and—still—takes no responsibility for doing so.
by Norman Solomon
Joe Biden’s recent efforts to deny his record of support for invading Iraq are marvels of evasion, with falsehoods that have been refuted by one well-documented appraisal after another after another. This month, Biden claimed that his vote for war on the Senate floor was somehow not a vote for war. Ironically, while he was spinning anew to deny the undeniable, theaters nationwide began screening a movie that exposes the deceptive approach to the Iraq war that Biden exemplifies.
Historically factual, “Official Secrets” is concerned with truth—and the human consequences of evading or telling it. Katharine Gun, portrayed by actress Keira Knightley, was a worker at the British intelligence agency GCHQ. Risking years in prison, she did everything she could to prevent the Iraq war, and took responsibility for doing so.
Biden did everything he could to enable the Iraq war, and—still—takes no responsibility for doing so.
More than 16 years ago, Biden and Gun were at cross purposes as the Iraq invasion neared. Subterfuge vs. candor. Misinformation vs. information. War vs. peace. Today, their public voices contrast just as sharply.
Gun recalls that both President George W. Bush and especially British Prime Minister Tony Blair were “desperate to get U.N. cover” for the impending invasion of Iraq in early 2003. On the last day of January of that year, Gun saw a memo from the U.S. National Security Agency that showed the two governments were working together to wiretap and otherwise surveil diplomats from countries on the U.N. Security Council—for purposes such as blackmail—to win a vote to authorize an invasion.
Gun became a whistleblower by providing the memo to the Observer newspaper in London. As she said in a recent interview with Salon, “My intention was to prevent the war. . . . I felt there was this information that was absolutely crucial, it had the potential to derail the rush to war, and I felt people had the right to know.”
Biden—who played a pivotal role in the rush to war as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—proceeded as though people had no right to know. He excluded critical voices and key information from the committee’s high-profile hearings in mid-summer 2002, deceptively serving as the most important lawmaker ushering the war resolution to the Senate floor, where he voted for it in mid-October. The war began five months later. It has never ended.
But now, on the campaign trail, Biden is eager to scramble and rewrite history. He’s displaying the kind of disregard for facts that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq in the first place.
A basic flaw in Biden’s latest Iraq doubletalk has to do with his inversion of actual timing. Either he can’t remember when the Iraqi government agreed to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into Iraq—or he’s so desperate to keep lying about his actual record on the Iraq war that he can’t bring himself to be truthful.
Biden is claiming that he voted for the war resolution so it would be possible to get U.N. weapons inspectors into Iraq. During the ABC debate last week, Biden said that he voted for the Iraq invasion authorization “to allow inspectors to go in to determine whether or not anything was being done with chemical weapons or nuclear weapons.” But his claim has the timing backwards.
The Iraqi government announced on September 16, 2002—with a letter hand-delivered to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan—that it would allow the U.N. weapons inspectors back in “without conditions.” The New York Times reported the big news under the headline "U.N. Inspectors Can Return Unconditionally, Iraq Says." That was a full 25 days before Biden voted with virtually every Republican and most Democratic senators to approve the Iraq war resolution.
How could that resolution he voted for on October 11 be viewed as a tool for leverage so the Iraqi government would (in Biden’s words) "allow inspectors to go in”—when the Iraqi government had already agreed to allow inspectors several weeks earlier?
I have a vivid memory of when the news of that agreement broke. I was in Baghdad near the end of a trip with an independent delegation organized and sponsored by the Institute for Public Accuracy (where I’m executive director) that included then-Congressman Nick Rahall and former Senator James Abourezk. We had just met with Iraq’s number two official, Tariq Aziz. In its coverage, the Washington Post reported on September 16: “Iraq maintains that all its weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed. The deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, insisted . . . that even if his government readmitted the weapons inspectors, the United States and Britain would proceed with military action. ‘It's doomed if you do, doomed if you don't,’ he said.”
Hours later, when the news came that Iraq would allow U.N. weapons inspectors without restrictions, it removed the get-the-inspectors-into-Iraq excuse for the war resolution that was then making its way through Congress. But it’s an excuse that Biden has now dusted off and pressed into service, twisting the timeline of actual events.
The congressional resolution that Biden spoke for and voted for on the Senate floor was clear, stating: “The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.”
Four months later, in February 2003, at a time when Katharine Gun was anxiously waiting to see whether the NSA document that she had leaked to a British news outlet would actually be revealed to the public, Biden was proclaiming his support for the imminent invasion. He told a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Delaware: “I supported the resolution to go to war. I am not opposed to war to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq.”
After the invasion, Biden continued to support the war. At the end of July 2003, four months after the war began, he said in a speech at the Brookings Institution: “Nine months ago, I voted with my colleagues to give the president of the United States of America the authority to use force, and I would vote that way again today. It was the right vote then and it would be a correct vote today.”
After another year had gone by, Biden wrote a magazine article that tactically criticized how the war was being waged while still defending his role in helping to launch it: “A year and a half ago, I voted to give President Bush the authority to use force in Iraq. I still believe my vote was just—but the president’s use of that authority was unwise in ways I never imagined.”
As the Washington Post recently noted, “Not until November 2005 did Biden acknowledge that his vote was a mistake.” Even then, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Biden tried to shift the blame onto President Bush for turning out to be unworthy of his trust. “In hindsight,” the interviewer asked, “knowing everything you know now about the absence of weapons of mass destruction, was your vote a mistake?” Biden replied: “It was a mistake. It was a mistake to assume the president would use the authority we gave him properly.”
Only one of Biden’s opponents for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination was in Congress at the time of the Iraq war resolution. Bernie Sanders (who I’m actively supporting) voted no.
This summer, Biden has spun out with new mendacity about the Iraq invasion. On the debate stage at the end of July, he upped the dishonest ante by claiming: “From the moment ‘shock and awe’ started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress.” The historical record shows that claim to be preposterous.
And backwards timing is not the only major flaw in Biden’s claim that he voted for the war resolution to increase the prospects for U.N. weapons inspectors to get into Iraq. An underlying problem with his current narrative is the reality that going to the United Nations Security Council for authorization to launch a war on Iraq was always a quest for a fig leaf to cover U.S. plans for naked aggression.
New York Times pundit Thomas Friedman was unusually candid when, on November 13, 2002—one month after Biden had voted to approve the war resolution—he wrote in a column: “The Bush team discovered that the best way to legitimize its overwhelming might—in a war of choice—was not by simply imposing it, but by channeling it through the U.N.”
It was this bogus push to supposedly legitimize the pending invasion that Katharine Gun took such a huge personal risk to expose, informing the world about the intense surveillance underway to gain illicit leverage over U.N. Security Council delegations.
“Gun’s revelation showed that the U.S. and British governments were not only lying to get to invade Iraq, they were engaging in outright violations of international law to blackmail whole countries to get in line,” Institute for Public Accuracy senior analyst Sam Husseini wrote. He told me: “The insidiousness of Biden is that he’s effectively saying that Bush should have manipulated the U.N. better.”
Overall, as he pursues the presidency, Joe Biden is persisting with dismal innovations to falsify his record on the Iraq war. In the process, he’s operating completely at odds with what the “Official Secrets” film and Katharine Gun are all about.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State." He is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAYS HE’LL VETO BILL BLOCKING TRUMP ROLLBACK OF ENDANGERED FISH SPECIES PROTECTIONS
by Dan Bacher
The California Assembly passed Senate Bill 1, legislation blocking Trump administration rollbacks of environmental regulations, on Friday, September 13, on a 43-21 party-line vote.
But Governor Gavin Newsom announced the next day that he plans to veto the bill. Newsom said he backs the principles behind the legislation, but doesn’t support the bill as written.
“I fully support the principles behind Senate Bill 1: to defeat efforts by the President and Congress to undermine vital federal protections that protect clean air, clean water and endangered species,” Newsom said in a statement. “Senate Bill 1 does not, however, provide the state with any new authority to push back against the Trump Administration’s environmental policies and it limits the state’s ability to rely upon the best available science to protect our environment.”
Senate President Pro tem Toni Atkins said she was “strongly disappointed” with Newsom’s announcement that he intends to veto the legislation.
“SB 1 is the product of a full year’s worth of work, so clearly I am strongly disappointed on its impending fate,” said Atkins. “Governor Gavin Newsom has been a partner on working to ensure a bright future that includes an environment that is clean and healthy and working Californians who are safe and secure.”
“However, we respectfully disagree regarding SB 1. The bill provides the authority to backstop baseline standards when they are rolled back. SB 1 also clearly states that state agencies shall make determinations based on the best scientific information available,” she said.
“But it’s critical that the Governor and legislature continue working together to meet the challenges California faces – including dangerous rollbacks by the federal government. Not only must we push against the rollbacks that have already made, we must start preparing now to push back against the Trump assaults we know will be coming,” Atkins added.
SB 1, the California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019 ensures that “protections afforded to Californians under federal environmental and labor laws and regulations as of January 2017, remain in place in the event that President Trump weakens or repeals any of those federal laws or regulations.”
The legislation would lock in protections in effect as of January 2017 under the federal Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act and Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.
Kathryn Phillips, Director of Sierra Club California, also said Newsom’s statement that he plans to veto SB 1 is “disappointing.”
“Based on what I’ve read of the statement in the newspapers, the governor isn’t aware that some of the more controversial elements have been resolved in amendments,” she stated. “However, a key sentence remains in the bill that would essentially ensure that the Upper Sacramento River, that ultimately feeds into the Bay Delta and is part of the Central Valley Project, would be protected by the California Endangered Species Act. Certain water agencies and industrial agriculture interests are opposed to that sentence. They have tried for decades to weaken the federal Endangered Species Act so they can continue over drawing from the Delta system. They fear this sentence will prevent them from taking full advantage of the Trump rollbacks.”
“We’re hoping that, before he actually has the bill in front of him, Newsom will consult with public interest water and legal experts, including the attorney general. We think he will then understand how important to California’s environment and worker safety SB 1 is,” Phillips continued.
“It would be a shame for the governor to cap off his first legislative session by vetoing a bill as important to California and Californians as SB1. Trump will certainly frame a veto as a sign that he—Trump—is on the right track as he continues to roll back environmental protections,” she emphasized
She also said one thing that has been missed in much of the reporting is that
this bill is also about clean air, clean water and worker safety regulations. “This bill is needed to protect those areas as well,” Phillips concluded.
Fishing and environmental groups are strongly urging Governor Newsom to sign the bill.
“Signing SB 1 should be should be an easy call for Governor Newsom, siding with California instead of the Trump administration,” said John McManus, President of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, before Newsom announced his plans to veto the legislation. “Senate President tem Toni Atkins and the California legislature showed real political courage by passing this bill to block Trump administration efforts to gut environmental and salmon protections. The California salmon fishing industry is facing a wave of attacks from Washington DC. This could be the most important piece of environmental legislation passed in the country this year.”
“The California legislature may have just saved the state’s salmon fishing industry by passing SB1,” stated Noah Oppenheim, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, also before Newsom announced that he plans to veto the bill. “We’re having a wonderful season this year thanks to 2017’s rains, but if the federal administration’s proposed water grab framework were forced upon is, the next drought could wipe us off the map. Governor Newsom should feel proud of his opportunity to defend our fisheries, which provide local seafood to all Californians, and sign this bill.”
Before the bill was passed, corporate agribusiness and the water contractors in the San Joaquin Valley pressured California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressmen Jim Costa (CA-16, John Garamendi (CA-03), TJ Cox (CA-16) and Josh Harder (CA-10) to attack some of the most important provisions of SB 11.
On September 6, Feinstein and Costa, Garamendi, Gox and Harder sent a letter to Governor Newsom urging him to include two amendments to Senate Bill 1 (SB1), a piece of legislation that Costa claimed “would have profound impacts on the long term availability of water in the Valley.” This letter, along with others from agribusiness and water contractors, apparently had a huge impact on Newsom, resulting in his vetoing of SB 1.
“We applaud Senate President Pro Tempore Atkins for protecting California’s environment against President Trump’s rollbacks of overarching federal regulations through SB 1. However we urge you to insist on two amendments to the bill to preserve the viability of potential voluntary agreements over proposed outflow requirements for the San Joaquin and Sacramento River,” the lawmakers wrote.
The first provision of the bill that the legislators oppose is Section 3c, which would retain current biological opinions regarding permitting decisions. The legislators said it “would prevent the state from incorporating the latest science and other information in permitting decisions.”
”This provision would freeze in place the state and federal water project incidental take permits and biological opinions that were developed over 10 years ago, regardless of whether more recent science or other related policies such as outflow requirements suggest modifications to the permits (proposed new section 2076.7 of the Fish and Game Code.) Without additional flexibility, this provision would severely restrict voluntary agreements whereby water users would support additional flows and habitat improvements for salmon and other imperiled fish in return for salmon and other imperiled fish in return for salmon level of watersupply reliability,” they wrote.
The second provision they oppose is Section 2 of the bill that would require the Bureau of Reclamation to comply with the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).
“Given significant legal uncertainty over where the State can modify the application of federal law, this provision would generate years of litigation and uncertainty over which environmental standards apply to the Central Valley Project. In the midst of such fundamental uncertainty, it will be impossible to develop any voluntary settlements of Sacramento and San Joaquin River outflow standards,” they claimed.
In an interview with me, GGSA’s John McManus took issue with the contention of Senator Feinstein and Congressmen Costa, Garamendi, Harder and Cox that SB 1 “would prevent the state from incorporating the latest science and other information in permitting decisions.”
“That letter cites new science on species that won’t be used if SB 1 goes into effect,” said McManus. “This is completely false. SB 1 would allow the state to review and revise any of the species protections adopted. The state would be able to use any and all science to protect its wildlife.”
Second, McManus pointed out that “all of the new science that has emerged since the salmon biological opinion of 2009 points to the need for more protections, not less. There’s no new science that’s credible that suggests we need less protections for salmon and other wildlife in the Central Valley.”
Third, “when you look at signers of the letter, it can’t be any surprise that Feinstein is the first to sign. What’s shocking and disappointing is to see John Garamendi, whose district includes salmon habitat and rivers in the Sacramento Valley, take the position that the state shouldn’t have authority over the state water. Here’s Garamendi arguing with the others that the federal government should be immune to any form of state oversight. Many people would consider that as being disloyal to California and selling out our natural resources,” said McManus.
After Newsom’s announcement that he plans to veto SB 1, it is no surprise that the total contributions from agriculture in his 2018 campaign for Governor were $637,398. Newsom received $58,400 from Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoon Stewart Resnick, $58,400 from Lynda Resnick and $58,400 from E.J. Gallo. Agribusiness tycoons are strident supporters of the voluntary agreements and the Delta Tunnel — and are among the strongest proponents of attacks on the Endangered Species Act, a landmark federal environmental law that SB 1 would help protect. A vetoed bill is returned to the house of origin, where a vote may be taken to override the governor’s veto. A two-thirds vote of both houses is required to override a veto. However, there has been no override in the California Legislature since 1979.
(Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher firstname.lastname@example.org.)
FLOW KANA HIGHLIGHTS EMERALD TRIANGLE FARMERS IN NEW VIDEO
ONWARD TO THE BALLOT BOX, by Jonah Raskin
Hi, I’m good ole boy Joe Biden
under Obama the veep
call me a creep.
Yeah and I be Cory Booker
Garden State gov
and I’m no dove.
Over here Pete Buttigieg
Got a husband in South Bend
But that ain’t a trend.
Yo, Bill de Blasio my name
of New York I made a mess
I’ll turn USA livable less.
Si, senor, me llamo Julian Castro
only one in race a Latino
I win and we end up in Reno.
Check me out I be Kamal Harris
boy, gimme the keys,
I bring you down to your knees.
Howdy partner I be Beto O’Rourke,
Yeah, I've been a dork
ever since to my house came the stork.
Me, I’m democratic socialist,
Bernie Sanders my name
losin’ is my favorite game.
Professor Liz Warren call me
I made heaps of mistakes;
Don’t be sure I’ll nail Wall Street snakes.
Om, Om, om, guru
Marianne Williamson, follow me
I‘ll lead you up a bamboo tree.
Folks, let me confess I’m
the racist-ist, sexist-ist Pres ever
and the White House I’m leavin’ never.
BUTTE WITH ALFALFA FOREGROUND, Central Wyoming