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John Lewallen of Philo peacefully left his body Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in the early morning. In John's words from his book Land of Frozen Laughter, “I hope my consciousness keeps evolving toward full appreciation of each human being as part of the great 'Human Being,' the whole human race realizing itself as a single living creature in harmony with all life. My heartfelt thanks to family and friends who have sustained me in a full and fulfilled life. Love John.”
His family and friends will have a celebration of his life and will be announcing the date and place in the near future.
Barbara Lewallen, Philo
MOSTLY CLEAR SKIES will prevail across the interior heading into the next work week, while marine stratus is forecast to develop near the coast. Otherwise, dry weather will continue through Friday, followed by increasing rain chances next weekend. (National Weather Service)
by Bruce McEwen
Attempted murder charges stemming from an incident in Boonville have been filed on two Hopland men, Marshall Stillday and Asher Knight, for firing a shot at Jesus Alvarez-Ceja around 10 pm on August 7th. Ceja was in his vehicle at the Boonville Fairgrounds parking lot when a bullet fired from a passing car containing the two men narrowly missed Ceja’s head.
When they were arrested, both Stillday and Knight admitted that they didn’t know their intended victim.
Such is the nature of gang warfare. Stillday and Knight are both allegedly — and this is one of the charges they are facing — associated with the Norteños (Northerners) prison and street gang.
The un-associated Alvarez-Ceja was coming home to Boonville from a friend’s house near Philo when he passed a silver Mustang driven by Stillday. Knight told Stillday, “That’s that Boonville blue-ragger [a derogatory name for Sueño, or Southerner].”
Stillday made a u-turn and followed Alvarez-Ceja to the Boonville Pic-N-Pay convenience store. Alvarez-Ceja said he stopped at the Pic-N-Pay because he didn’t want the silver Mustang to follow him to his residence. He spoke with a young man at the Pic-N-Pay, a relative named Oscar Bienveniedos-Rangel, a suspected gang member of the blue handkerchief (i.e., the blue rag) persuasion. Bienvenidos-Rangel wanted Alvarez-Ceja to buy him booze. Alvarez-Ceja declined to buy it and left the Pic-N-Pay only to find the Mustang on his tail again.
Still uncertain what to do, but unwilling to have the Mustang follow him home, Alvarez-Ceja pulled into the well-lit Fairgrounds parking lot, where he pulled up under the street light in about the center of the lot, and waited.
The Mustang entered the parking lot, stopped for a moment, then began to creep toward Alvarez-Ceja’s vehicle, a white Acura Integra. Suddenly the Mustang sped up and as it got near — about five feet from Alvarez-Ceja’s driver’s side door, Knight fired a single shot that flew inches past Alvarez-Ceja’s face and exited through the passenger-side rear window of his Integra.
The shell casing for a .45 ACP pistol was later found in the parking lot; a bullet hole was found in the bleachers west of the lot, as well, but the spent round was not recovered.
The shooter’s Mustang sped away southbound on Highway 128.
Jesus Alvarez-Ceja, we may well imagine, crossed himself more piously than usual, also thanked his lucky stars and called 911. The first to respond to talk with the shaken young man was Officer Jay McCrae of the California Highway Patrol, who took the above statement from Alvarez-Ceja, and shortly thereafter, passed it on to County Deputy Sergeant Luis Espinoza who arrived on the scene around midnight.
Sgt. Espinoza, with his extensive gang-suppression experience, along with his familiarity with Boonville where he’s a native son, took over the investigation. One of Sgt. Espinoza’s first moves was to bring in Deputy Ryan Murdaugh, a gang expert who knew both Stillday and Knight well enough to recognize them from the video surveillance cameras at Pic-N-Pay.
On August 17th Deputy Murdaugh made a traffic stop on a Ford Fiesta in Ukiah for failure to dim its lights. The driver of the Fiesta was Nekko Garcia, whom Murdaugh had arrested before on gang-related charges, the front seat passenger was also a known gang member, Trevan Vallencia. Asher Knight along with Marshall Stillday were in the back seat. A search of the Fiesta produced a duffle bag, belonging to Asher Knight. Inside the bag was a Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol in a nylon holster. The serial number — which someone had tried to file away — came back to Leland Murphy in Hopland. Asher Knight had been staying at Murphy’s residence — having been asked to leave the Stillday residence where he’d lived before because of posting pictures of himself posing with guns on Snapchat.
Leland Murphy turned out to be Nekko Garcia’s grandfather, and when Mr. Murphy was asked if he owned a Smith & Wesson 9 mm, he said he did, but hadn’t seen it in a long time. The gun Asher Knight posed with was a .45 caliber Glock 21 pistol, the same one believed to have been used in the Boonville incident. There was a lot of testimony about the gang associations of the two defendants, Stillday and Knight, and by the end of the day the prelim was still unfinished, and it was continued to November 4th at 8:30 am. So far, it looks like Knight was the shooter, and that the gun was stowed under the passenger seat of Stillday’s Mustang.
The beginning of the prelim cleared up some of the ambiguities about the incident, but many still remain, and we hope to find out more on November 4th. So far it looks like just about anybody could be mistaken for a rival gang member and shot down in cold blood for no other reason. Stillday and Knight allegedly belong to a subset of the Norteños called UNLV; and no, it doesn’t stand for University of Nevada Las Vegas, but rather, “Us Northerners Love Violence.”
Katherine Ann Delaquadra appeared in Ukiah Superior Court October 31st, Halloween Day, for a report (a “1368 hearing”) on her competency to participate in her own defense at trial. She had been evaluated by Ukiah psychologist Dr. Kevin Kelley and found competent, but she wanted another doctor to evaluate her, and this motion was denied by Judge Keith Faulder. She also wanted to get rid of her lawyer, a variation of a “Marsden motion,” but since her lawyer was hired by Delaquadra herself, rather than appointed, it was procedurally a little different. The nature of Ms. Delaquadra’s complaint regarding her lawyer was not made public, the judge having cleared the courtroom to hear it. But this motion was also denied. The lawyer, an out-of-towner I don’t know, seemed as disappointed as Delaquadra that he wasn’t relieved of the case.
Readers may remember the preliminary hearing more than a year ago in which a Ms. Delaquadra, an equine version of a cat lady, was bound over for trial on charges of animal cruelty and neglect in the care of her starving heard of horses, wherein three foals died, one killed by a stallion, another euthanized by a gunshot after breaking a foreleg, and the third from starvation. It was obvious that Ms. Delaquadra did not have the means to properly care for the animals.
Since then Delaquadra has campaigned to get her horses back; back, that is from the County of Mendocino, which has been taking care of the animals at considerable trouble and expense.
In attendance at the 1368 competency hearing were three local women who Delaquadra has named “The Cult.” One of these women was Theresa Moore, the Redwood Valley ranch owner where Delaquadra last boarded her horse herd, and it was Theresa Moore who testified against Delaquadra at her 2018 prelim. Roni McFadden was also present as part of the Cult arrayed against Delaquadra. Ms. McFadden, an author of two books and owner of Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, worked for the veterinarian Dr. Michael Witt of Redwood Valley Equine and has a long history of witnessing the abuse and neglect Delaquadra has subjected her herd to over the years. Angie Herman, the third Cult member, is a long-time volunteer at SAFER Horse Rescue, and has followed Delaquadra’s roaming herd from remote Spyrock Road, where her abuse was not so conspicuous, to Laytonville, and on to Willits where it became an obvious concern for any passerby, and things finally came to a head, as they say.
The Cult, these three women I named, are very familiar with all of Delaquadra’s self-inflicted travails going back years, having read and tried to understand Delaquadra’s manifesto on horse breeding and management (the defendant is homeless, herself, and, judging solely by appearances, her mode of livelihood is to go to landowners and beg for pasture-land to board her multiple horses on — and here it gets kinda nutty to explain because of Delaquadra’s concepts of how horses should be kept, cared for, and how the foals should be reared for the realization of her Ideal Stud Farm and new breed of horses to outshine in beauty and intelligence even the famed Lipizzaners of Spain…
Anyway, for AVA readers who have read her (to me) impenetrable diatribes on the AVA’s comment page or heard her statements to the Supervisors during public expression, it will perhaps seem an unusually patient person who could take such silly horse-hockey as her manifesto seriously.
But the ladies of The Cult go back even further and deeper into the (again, to me) ravings of Ms. Delaquadra, remembering Delaquadra’s campaign from years ago in “Saving Holy Cahto” another manifesto written by Delaquadra and a “fund raiser” (ostensibly for her dream of a stud farm). Saving Holy Cahto from what, you ask? Well, from ancient evil spirits, Native American demons. The Cahto Tribe of Laytonville Rancheria, I suspect, does not endorse the horse lady’s co-opting their traditions for her own ends, vague as those ends are.
Her utopian stud farm, where the mares and stallions run free over the open land — wait a minute, isn't the land all parceled up, privately owned, and ubiquitously fenced-in? These idiotic shenanigans would seem largely harmless except that Delaquadra has become so fanatic about it that she has accosted (apparently after stalking) both Theresa Moore — who was obliged to get a restraining order against Delaquadra — and Deputy DA Beth Norman at grocery stores, delivering her streams of vilification and such profuse profanity as would stir admiration of a drunk sailor.
Delaquadra has also made attempts to dissuade witnesses in this same manner by subjecting the veterinarian Dr. Witt to nasty threats and verbal abuse. She scalded the ears of your trusty courthouse correspondent with a tirade of vilification, which I’m long accustomed to but still….
During the hearing on Halloween, Judge Faulder — on the few occasions when Delaquadra let him get a word in — ordered her to stand trial on the charges she was arraigned on after the 2018 prelim. Still, she managed to put it off until February of 2020, saying as she left that she wanted it in March, at the earliest.
STEPPING UP ON SIGNAL RIDGE
Dear Valley Folks:
Once again you’ve stepped up in our time of need. The fundraiser for an engine on Signal Ridge was magnificent. We reached and exceeded our goal of $15,000. A big “Thank you” to all who contributed. There are a few special thanks to the following: Anne Fashauer for the venue, Firefighters Association, Julie Hunter-Howell, and Van Williams for the tasty food, a lot of local wineries for delicious wines, the Brewery for fine beer, Julie Winchester for her majestic cakes, and W. Dan Houck for his live auction skills, just to name a few. The helpers: Fal Allan, Jen Peters, Angela DeWitt, Tony Pardini, Robin and Anne Marie Bird, Greenwood Aggregates, Jeff and Sally Anne Gindra, Patty Liddy, Shawn Mullens, Fred and Autumn Ehnow, Deanna Apfel, and the Grange. If we’ve missed your name know that it was an oversight on our part and we apologize.
We couldn’t have accomplished this without you, again a big THANK YOU.
Olie Erickson, Indefatigable Firefighter
Kyle Clarke, President, AVVFFA
MENDO PERSEVERED POLITELY
The destructive Kincade fire has raged 50 miles away, and Burris fire swept quickly much closer to home, around Potter Valley. And the electricity was off everywhere.
We’ve seen large and long-term power outages and uncertainty about when electricity will be restored, smoky air, cancellation of school, long lines at the few gas stations that were open for business.
Across the county, these challenges have been faced with empathy, patience and courtesy.
It has been an impressive example of communities coming together to share and help one another. Even when those traffic lights have gone out, drivers have mostly been courteous and patient on the road.
People were taking turns charging their laptops and cellphones at the few places that had backup power. PG&E opened a charging station in Ukiah. There were free cups of coffee and food for those whose electric stoves were idled by the power outage. For many, getting a hot shower has been a rarity, depending on PG&E’s controversial fire-safety protocol.
These are times that we will likely relive, not only as PG&E continues to shut down power during fire season, but also in case of an earthquake or another fire.
Local residents’ response has been sort of a silver lining to this crisis. In the aftermath of the fire and power outages, we should look for lessons that can help make weathering the next crisis even better. But empathy, patience and courtesy go a long way in making life during the trials and tumult of an emergency a lot easier for all of us.
(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal)
LAZ OF WILLITS REPORTS:
November 3, 2019 at 9:47 am
After the “Darkness,” there’s time to reminisce of who did what for Willits.
Willits seemed to fare well during the PSPS event. This is likely just a partial list, just my limited knowledge, of those who stepped up.
First Responders, CalFire, WFD, WPD, and MCSD, well done.
The City of Willits kept the water flowing and the sewers working.
Supervisor Ted Williams 5th District had the info and many of the answers.
KZYX informed and entertained.
Mike Garrity owner of Willits Power supplied a generator for Brown’s Corner to pump gas, no other gas station elected to open during the PSPS…?
Grocery Outlet gave away nearly 2000 hotdogs.
The County Library remained open, lantern-lit, they had fun and games for kids too.
The Hot Dog Shop remained open using backup energy to feed the locals.
The Book Juggler was open for reading materials.
Phil Roland served coffee to the Browns Corner gas line folks.
Several convenience stores stayed open.
The Taco Truck was serving.
Mendo Mill was open, as was Coast Hardware.
We had operating traffic lights via CalTrans I guess.
Adventist Health was open and serving food at their “Roots” Restaurant.
Mariposa Market was open.
Willits Online and Pacific Internet were operating.
Safeway was open.
City Hall was open for charging devices, info, etc.
O’Reilly’s Auto Parts was open.
The Brooktrails Store was open.
Sparetime Supply did whatever to help, I heard they had propane too.
The Senior Center was open.
Shanachie’s Pub was pouring
Buster’s Burgers and Brew’s was pouring.
North Spur Brewing Co. was pouring.
Then, friends and neighbors checked in on each other.
All these are just the ones I saw and heard about. If you were omitted, thank you, all of you, who helped the community get through this event.
MENDO DA EYSTER ON WHAT HE DID AFTER OUTAGE — GENERATOR TIPS 'POST-BLACK OUT'
It seems our talented District Attorney David Eyster knows more than legalese. We saw this posted to social media Saturday:
"I have never claimed to be an engine guy or somebody with any real mechanical skills. But I can read and I can occasionally follow instructions.
Was tipped off by somebody in the know that I should now do an oil change on our Firman generator following its extended usage this past week. According to its digital read-out, the generator's overall runtime was 26 hours from Sunday morning into Wednesday.
So an oil change was designated my #1 priority for today's list of things to do. Attempting to even show a little savvy after I had completely emptied and resealed the crankcase, I added in two ounces of "MotorKote Hyper Lubricant." Why? First, because the MotorKote container says its "America's #1 Friction Fighter." I think joining the fight against engine friction must be a good thing, right? Second, it wasn't cheap so it must be good, right? And third, an instructive YouTube video influenced me that I would be a fool not to use it if I really wanted my generator to have a long and healthy life. The Internet is always a reliable place for information, right?
After finishing up the oil change with Valvoline 10W-30, I was on the home stretch. I connected a patio propane tank, started up the engine, and I am now in the midst of running the generator for a 1/2 hour to spread the MotorKote all over the engine's moving parts per the instructions.
Normally I couldn't get such a complicated series of tasks done without the adult supervision and assistance of L but she had to work today. I was on my own. As I am sure you can tell, it was a sink or swim moment.
I'm now doggone close to being ready for a congratulatory adult beverage."
FIRES AND GAS
by Bob Dempel
I generally go from my newly acquired home in Windsor to Hopland at least once a week. By Thursday morning, October 24, I heard that there was a fire at Geyserville. Certain areas were evacuated and certain roads were closed. I listened, watched, and tried to adsorb as much as I could. First, could I get to and back from my ranch in Hopland on Thursday and if we were prepared this year for a fire at Hopland as well as a possible power shut down mid-morning at our Windsor home on Saturday?
Thursday night back in Windsor I was feeling confident. Friday, we monitored KSRO for the latest fire news. The inevitable happened Saturday and we did receive evacuating orders from our Windsor home. This time we headed to the in-house office and filled the boxes with business and personal documents. Next were our meds (we are 83) followed by a limited amount of clothes. Sometime around 10 am we were given an official notice to evacuate the area where we lived in Windsor.
We packed both my Jeep and Shirley’s Volvo. We had the foresight to leave early. I led and Shirley followed closely. Getting out of Windsor was a challenge. The crossroad ramps at Windsor River Road and 101 were already filled with cars going south as directed by the officials. We headed north to Hopland, the land of clean air (hopefully).
The next challenge was getting by 101 above Geyserville due to so much smoke. That concern never materialized and we drove right straight to Hopland. The air was clear and the day was beautiful. We unloaded and enjoyed a beautiful fall day in southern Mendocino County.
We stayed in an upper portion of my grandfather’s big hay barn where I built a nice apartment style room complete with bed, bath and kitchen. Because of the location at the west end of the valley we have no TV reception. Everything was fine until around 6 pm when the electric power went off. We scurried around for some flashlights and I had a thought to bring a Honda generator, thank god. I put together several extension cords and connected the refrigerator and one light above the table. It was a little like camping.
On Sunday we took the ATV up the mountain and looked at the water left in the two ponds we use to irrigate the grapevines. We had a very good crop this year. My nephew Dan Thornton is doing a great job of farming the ranch. He is in his third year of running the property. We spent most of the day listening to KSRO to get the latest of information on the fire and power outage.
Monday morning was crisp and clear. With no power for a heater the apartment temperature was falling to an uncomfortable level. Shirley was cold and trying to warm up in the sun. I checked the traffic information and it seemed that Highway 101 was open all the way south. The next call was to our daughter in Petaluma to see if we could stay there, as we had done in 2017 when we lost our home of 48 years to the terrific fire storm that destroyed 5300 homes of our neighbors in Santa Rosa. So, we again packed up and headed for Petaluma. Our bedroom was waiting and we were well cared for.
All day Tuesday we again listened to KSRO. We did squeeze in the movie “Judy” which I recommend for all of us Seniors. Late in the day we learned that the evacuations in Windsor were lifted and we could return to our house. The bad news was that the power and gas were still off. We took the low road and decided to stay with our gracious daughter with the extra bedroom one more night. We actually stayed two more days. We arrived home to find the electric power on. I had purchased a small portable heater that was just the right size. The neighbors were glad to see us and it was another beautiful day. The gas was restored on Saturday afternoon. That day was even more beautiful.
AT 3PM WEDNESDAY, October 23, the usual afternoon breezes off the Pacific began to ruffle leaves in central Boonville, but not so much as a hint of the firestorms the media had breathlessly prepped us for. So, like everyone else on the Northcoast, we were waiting for Hell's ovens to burst their doors, igniting the hills in great gusts of wind-driven flame.
BUT, in what is becoming something of a regular occurrence of mass false alarms by PG&E as they shut down power to thousands of homes and businesses to reduce risk to their shareholders' profits, the power monopoly also promotes mass confusion via contradictory messages and the on again off again functioning of their website. One would think after their web fiascos of two weeks ago PG&E would at least have reliable communications.
WE FOUND that our Supervisor, the indefatigable Ted Williams, has been the best source of up-to-date shutdown information. We learned from the Supervisor at 9:20 Saturday morning that "All of Laytonville and parts of Covelo have reported outages already. PGE outage map shows 1000+ customers out in County of Mendocino. PG&E tells us these outages were not planned and are unrelated to the PSPS."
ONE PROBLEM with these fire alerts is their multiple sources, which adds both to the confusion and misinformation in circulation. We think CalFire should be in absolute charge of deciding when conditions warrant a power shutdown, not the shareholder-driven management at PG&E. For now, we're sticking with Williams.
JIM ARMSTRONG put it best: "2:45 power off on Potter Valley, or about half of it anyway. It did blow a little bit earlier, but this is just domestic terrorism. During storms and accidents and such, one can write it off as country living. PG&E’s making up for decades of taking profit instead of maintaining its, read Our, infrastructure is simply criminal. I am halfway between stressed and pissed.”
THE KINCAID FIRE was up to 16,000 acres late Thursday with an estimated 5% containment. Wind speeds were lower late Thursday but the fire was still “spotting” over fire lines. Calfire brought in more resources adding 12 helicopters and 17 air tankers to the 1300 firefighters on the ground. The fire apparently started in an area where PG&E had already shut off power. But it’s still under investigation.
MEANWHILE, PG&E is forecasting another power outage for the North Bay on Saturday into Monday as winds are expected to reach sustained blasts of 40 or 50mph and gusts up to 70 or even 80mph at the higher elevations. This one may well impact larger portions of southeast Mendocino County including a significant segment of Anderson Valley.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: PG&E anticipates another large planned power outage this Saturday due to a projected significant wind event. The estimate for Mendocino county is 8,343. Plans change with the wind.
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT reported Thursday that the Kincaid (Geyserville) fire started at or near a PG&E transmission line inside the Geysers geothermal power generating facility outside of Geyserville. Calfire discovered broken equipment on a transmission tower that was not deactivated in the Wednesday shutdown. PG&E had shut down power in the area but not on the faulty (sic) tower because, PG&E announced, it could withstand higher winds than distribution lines at lower elevations. The separate company that operates the Geysers power facility (CalPine) had shut down power on their own before the fire started. Calfire is still investigating.
SMOKE from the Kincade Fire began drifting into Mendocino County this morning about 11. To the south, between Cloverdale and Geyserville the smoke was thick as fog. Tonight, (Thursday), much of inland Mendocino County is under a red flag warning.
GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM came down hard on PG&E on Tuesday, telling Bay Area reporters, “For decades PG&E has neglected investing in undergrounding and hardening. We’re here because of their greed. We’re here because of their mismanagement going back decades. But we are, unfortunately where we are. It’s a bankrupt investor owned utility which means that they need to invest millions and millions of dollars to get its system up to date. These blackouts have not been necessary for the scope of them for the last few weeks.”
LAWRENCE BULLOCK reported it was "85 degrees four miles up the hill from Mendocino. That's pretty warm for this time of year. So naturally I'm down for the count with a blasted head cold. Still, grateful for the NA Summer."
Oct. 26 (Saturday)
AS ANOTHER power shut down looms for Saturday, the Anderson Valley receives contradictory information. Are we off or are we spared? Depending on the source, we're both.
ACCORDING TO PG&E'S PRESSER of late Friday afternoon, the Mendo communities going dark "between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. tomorrow and lasting until mid-day Monday," include Albion, Annapolis, Boonville, Branscomb, Calpella, Covelo, Cloverdale, Cummings, Dos Rios, Elk, Fort Bragg, Gualala, Harris, Hopland, Laytonville, Leggett, Littler River, Manchester, Philo, Piercy, Point Arena, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Rockport, Talmage, Ukiah, Westport, Willits and Yorkville.
PG&E says it is expecting a wind event of "historic" proportions starting Saturday, with wind speeds in some areas of 45-60 mph and gusts up to 70 mph.
PG&E's stock is on its way to becoming worthless as it plummeted again Friday to $5 a share. Already in bankruptcy for causing the disastrous NorCal of two years ago, it appears as if it was a PG&E failure at the Geysers that ignited the Kincade catastrophe.
THE GEYSERS, history of: For ten thousand years prior to the arrival of the noble pioneers, the original people enjoyed the Geyser's soothing mineral waters without attempting to monetize them. In the late 19th century into the early 20th, the site was a hot springs retreat for the city's well-to-do. Circa late 1960's into the early 70s, as a friend puts it, "hippie swarms had infested it and it had devolved into filth and decay." Then came PG&E and minor earthquakes and major fires.
GOVERNOR NEWSOM'S fulminations about PG&E's sins are impressively thunderous, but we'll see if he and the state legislature follow up with their threats to make the giant for-profit monopoly a truly public-public utility.
THE INEVITABLE “Senior Fellow from the Blah-Blah Institute,” declared on NPR that he thought PG&E should be sold to Warren Buffet, apparently not realizing that Buffet, kindly and avuncular-seeming as he is, is a hedge fund bandit, not a philanthropist. In the interests of private profit, which is the prob with PG&E at the present, Buffet would strip the company of its marketable assets and we’d be left with candles and matches.
PG&E’s Boonville Notice the afternoon of October 24, 2019: “Due to gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, PG&E may need to turn off power for public safety at this address in the next 36 to 48 hours. As we continue to monitor conditions, please prepare for outages that could last longer than 48 hours.”
PG&E might at least spare us the line "for public safety" when even third graders know the shutdown is to protect their shareholders. The shutdowns are costing everyday citizens many more millions than large scale fires. The only good thing coming out of all this is that the company's shareholders are taking a perhaps fatal beating.
BAY AREA news outlets are reporting that Big Tech is so angry with PG&E for their “unreliable distribution system” that Big Tech is talking about developing their own power sources or moving out of state. Hopefully, the latter.
Oct. 27 (Sunday)
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS 9AM SATURDAY: I anticipate most of Mendocino County being subject to loss of electricity between Saturday evening and late Monday as part of a planned shut down and wind storm damage. Add a couple of days for PG&E to restore in phases and we’re probably looking at back to normal on Wednesday. Plan for the worst — stock up on supplies and be alert. (Incidentally, I responded to a report of flames on a 60kv line in Little River last night. Report any sighting via 911 even if intermittent. Treat all down wires as energized and keep a safe distance.)
AS the power shut off looms, we could not say what our website situation will be for the next few days. We planned to continue posting daily to the extent possible depending on whatever arrangements can be made at whatever alternate access points we can find. Stay tuned.
ANDERSON VALLEY'S LEGENDARY AND FORMER DEPUTY, Keith Squires, lives in Windsor where evacuation orders were issued on October 24. We can imagine Squires saying, "I'm not going anywhere," and meaning it.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS 9AM SATURDAY: I anticipate most of Mendocino County being subject to loss of electricity between Saturday evening and late Monday as part of a planned shut down and wind storm damage. Add a couple of days for PG&E to restore in phases and we’re probably looking at back to normal on Wednesday. Plan for the worst — stock up on supplies and be alert. (Incidentally, I responded to a report of flames on a 60kv line in Little River last night. Report any sighting via 911 even if intermittent. Treat all down wires as energized and keep a safe distance.)
CONFUSION IN PHILO: Several Philo residents have told us they can't tell if they're going to be powered-down or remain powered-up. Some addresses are said to be off the shutdown list, some are on it. The PG&E outage map seems to encircle Philo, but not all of it…
EARLY THIS MORNING, San Anselmo's 76 station was out of fuel. The adjacent Safeway was down to its last battery pack and out of ice and many other products presumed to be useful in an emergency. The rest of Saturday, for Marin residents, was spent waiting for power to go out.
MSP RECEIVED A MESSAGE from a viewer at 12:12 pm saying, “Traveling southbound 101 in Windsor right now. Traffic at about 10 miles per hour. Heavier than normal traffic heading towards Mendo County but moving at the limit.” She then added, “Made it to Windsor. Traffic is crawling southbound 101. Can see the roads from town leading to 101 and they are packed. Northbound 101 is still moving freely. That would be my choice of evacuation route at this point.”
SOME AV RESIDENTS were assembling at the County Fairgrounds in Boonville in apparent anticipation of the upcoming outage.
AT THE BOONVILLE FIREHOUSE, Ambulance Manager Clay Eubanks was conducting EMT update training.
A MATTER OF FACT, “whatever”/“guess we’re going to sleep early tonight” attitude in anticipation of the Saturday outage along with the possible Halloween outage has replaced the low-grade dread that some Boonville residents were experiencing. “Time to get a generator, I suppose,” added one, “this is really the new normal.”
Oct. 29 (Tuesday)
WE LOST POWER at 5:45pm Saturday, October 26, and as of 3pm Monday, like everyone else, we’re still mostly incommunicado.
DECLARING THE POWER SHUTOFF A “BIG FAILURE,” Supervisor Ted Williams said Tuesday morning on KZYX that the County planned to do a “post mortem” with a list of problems caused by or related to PG&E. Williams asked the public to keep notes on problems they’ve experienced and send them in when things settle down. He offered his county number, 972-3993, and home phone, 937-3500, for people who may want to call in with reports or problems — medical, phone, internet, water, generators, gas, recharging stations, showers, water storage, oxygen. Williams email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re pretty sure all the Super would be happy to accept such reports.
WILLIAMS bluntly added, “NO FIRES!” The high fire risk continues and people should be watchful. Williams said anyone with a generator should never leave it unattended while on, and if anyone sees smoke or fire, don’t hesitate to call it in to 911.
CEO CARMEL ANGELO complained about PG&E Tuesday morning as well, saying that the County has been unable to get accurate info out of them. Especially, regarding “re-energization.”
EMERGENCY SERVICES COORDINATOR, Sheriff’s Lieutenant Shannon Barney, was so frustrated with PG&E’s silence, inaccuracies and changing info that on Tuesday he was heard to exclaim, “We’re getting better info off of Facebook than we are from PG&E.”
NEVERTHELESS, PG&E announces, finally, that they expect the current “wind event” to be over Wednesday morning. But nobody knows how soon power will be turned back on. Apparently, two of the three major trunk lines into Mendo need work in the aftermath of the winds, so power restoration may be as late as Friday, or Saturday. In fact, power returned 3:15am Thursday, October 31st.
MANY LAND LINE PHONES have been off because ATT’s backup batteries ran down as the power outage lengthened. Apparently, ATT is bringing in generators to re-power the phone lines; some improvements were noticed by Tuesday.
SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED around the County, leaving working parents to make hasty childcare arrangements.
EVACUATION WARNINGS were still in place for the “Compost” or “Burris” fire in Potter Valley. As of Tuesday noon it was 65% contained at under 1,000 acres. A fire reported in Willits on Monday was a “small vegetation fire” efficiently suppressed by fast-responding local resources. Unfortunately, there was an immediate “evacuation order” given out and some Willits residents rushed north from their workplaces in Ukiah only to discover that within about half-an hour the “order” was downgraded to an evacuation “warning.”
ROSSI HARDWARE in Boonville was open for supplies like flashlights and batteries. The Redwood Drive-in/Gas Station got another load of fuel Tuesday morning and a line was again forming for fuel by early Tuesday afternoon.
THE SOUTH COAST OF Mendo has reported receiving a contingent of Sonoma County evacuees from the Sonoma Coast. They seem to be accommodating them.
A COUPLE OF PEOPLE at the AV Community Services District were not shy about pointing out that this power outage is yet another reason to develop the water and sewer systems for Boonville. Plans include a heavy duty back-up generator to keep water and sewer running when PG&E goes out again — as they most assuredly will.
NOT TO BE DETERRED, the Halloween “Dark Carnival” at the Philo Grange.
ABOUT 3pm Tuesday afternoon, a column of smoke was reported off Peachland Road northeast of Boonville. Responding local units were underway in hope that it wasn’t anything more than smoke check (which there have been several of already just in Anderson Valley.) Local responders couldn't find either fire or smoke in the Peachland area and returned to the firehouse around 3:35pm.
KORLA PANDIT. PG&E’s Sikh spokesman — Sikhs wear turbans — reminded old, old timers of a cornball tv show from the 1950’s featuring a black guy named Redd who called himself Korla Pandit and pretended to be an East Indian prince.
He’d look enigmatic as all hell as he played the organ. Pandit, who lived in Petaluma, was considered exotic in ’55, almost as exotic as Liberace, and no one was aware he was a black guy from St. Louis until after his death.
Oct. 30 (Wednesday)
MOST MENDOLANDERS were still without power Wednesday at noon. Overly optimistic hopes that power would be restored on Wednesday were undermined by what one Mendo official said about PG&E: “You can’t count on anything they say.”
CURRENT EXPECTATIONS of power restoration range from Wednesday to Friday or perhaps even later. Odds for later rather than earlier went up Wednesday morning when Supervisor Ted Williams said that PG&E was having “voltage stabilization issues.”
BUT UKIAH was back on Wednesday afternoon as was Redwood Valley, but Potter Valley, Fort Bragg and Willits, Anderson Valley, and Point Arena were still off as of 3pm. And County officials were still saying that “most of the rest of the County” should have power before the end of the day Wednesday.
AN EMS/AMBULANCE SURGE in 911 calls in the Highway 101 corridor was handled without much trouble, reportedly, although inland ambulance services are famously fragile and have limited capacity.
ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOLS announced Wednesday afternoon that they’d given up for the entire week and will resume instruction next Monday.
THE WILLITS SENIOR CENTER had to cook up over $6,000 worth of refrigerated food that was nearing its end of life without power. They made a LOT of stew then put a sign out front saying “FREE FOOD.”
HARSH WORDS FROM CEO ANGELO: “I don’t believe anything PGE reports right now. Everything they told us was inaccurate. They have good staff (Alison Talbot) as liaisons but they don’t empower or inform their liaisons. PGE is creating a public health emergency for the people in Northern California. Something MUST be done before someone dies due to PSPS.”
FOR THE SHORT TERM, something needs to be done about the power monopoly’s credibility problem.
THE STATE needs to set up an independent authority to oversee PG&E’s day to day operations and to be a credible conduit to local authorities and the public. A group of elite retired military disaster relief officers with electrical power experience should be assigned to PG&E’s operational hq to make all decisions when public safety power shut offs are anticipated. They should also be charged with keeping local officials and the state reliably and frequently updated like Calfire does on a daily or even hourly basis.
SURPRISINGLY, we have not heard any reports of generators causing fires — so far. This was one of the big worries as the shut-offs approached as drunks and incompetents fumbled in the dark with their stored gasoline containers.
NO RAIN in sight. Dry conditions for the foreseeable future.
WE CAN ONLY HOPE that either PG&E or an oversight board of some kind — not the PUC, PLEASE! — can at least restore some confidence in the communications area. As it is, we don’t even know what we don’t know. If Mendo Sheriff’s Lieutenant Shannon Barney is reduced to Facebook posts for power shutoff info, we’re in a sorry, sorry state.
EVER OPTIMISTIC, Mendocino County has established a “complaint line” for people to report problems associated with the shut off: 234-6300. We’re supposed to believe that if we tell them that the outage caused this or that problem, something will be done about it for the next outage. But if it’s PG&E that needs to do something, as they said before, “Don’t count on it.”
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS also wants people to inform him of any local price gouging they come across. County number: 972-3993, home phone, 937-3500.
WE READ one report out of Fort Bragg that a couple was charged $100 for a motel room the first night, double that the next two nights.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS has consistently provided timely, accurate and useful outage information.
MENDO EMERGENGY COORDINATOR Shannon Barney told his colleagues Wednesday afternoon that the County will prepare “one of the longest after-action reports in history to address the obvious problems with PG&E.”
AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN BEGUN to talk about the economic impact of all of this, both direct and indirect.
MENDOCINO COUNTY got the implicit message over nearly five power-free days that we're a low priority population, there being relatively few of us at about 90,000 souls. A longer power outage, with us restored like whenever, would convert the low intensity panic we've seen over the last week in the scramble for fuel, batteries, booze (booze running a strong third in the larger population concentrations), water, and canned foods. The lesson we've drawn at the ava bunker from "the new normal" is that we should be prepared to go it alone for a month. At least. We'd debated investing in a generator, but the NO's won on the assumption that our captors, the PG&E monopoly, would free us after a day or two. Well into Day 5, and an entire week's work put on hold, generator here we come. I think most of us have drawn the only conclusion available — next time we'll be ready, if not completely ready at least prepared for a week removed from Western Civ.
WE'RE IMMENSELY GRATEFUL to the Anderson Valley Fire Station and personnel who graciously made room for us to rejoin cyber-communications long enough to post a few items of, hopefully, general interest. Chief Avila and Assistant Chief Angela Dewitt, apart from keeping an eye open for local emergencies, also found time to answer emergency related questions.
THE NEW NORMAL, intelligent opinion agrees, is longer, hotter summers, shorter, wetter winters. We're getting a generator, a camp stove, a month's worth of MRE's (much improved over the C-Rations of my youth), batteries, and maybe a couple extra boxes of shotgun shells.
IN BETWEEN power notices, all of which said nothing specific and recommended the PG&E website and call-in phone numbers that were unavailable, we relied on Facebook messages — avail only when we powered up at the Boonville Fire Station, and they mostly derived from our tireless Supervisor, Mr. Williams and, when we could reach it, MendocinoSportsPlus. KZYX's hourly updates were comprehensive but repetitive and invariably behind MSP and our hyper-vigilant Supervisor.
IT DOESN'T SEEM to have gotten the attention it deserves, but Sheriff Allman's praise for the firefighters who kept Burris/Cold Creek Compost Fire from jumping Highway 20 to burn south was well-deserved. From all accounts the blaze came close to blowing up into a much larger conflagration but for the valiant efforts of a relative handful of firefighters.
KUDOS also are due Congressman Huffman for persuading ICE to lighten up on Mexicans who had taken refuge at Sonoma County shelters.
HAVING RETREATED to Marin on the safe assumption the influential suburb would likely see power restored prior to orphaned Mendo, which turned out to be the case, the first news I heard was Trump bellowing about the death of “Al Big Daddy.” For a second there I thought Trump had personally dispatched Al out on the White House lawn.
ARRIVING IN MARIN Tuesday about noon, I drove past three closed service stations. At the San Anselmo Safeway people were lined up all the way to the rear of the store from the Starbucks kiosk. Southbound traffic was heavy from Novato all the way to the GG Bridge as Marin people headed to Frisco to gas up and re-supply, meaning many thousands of suburbanites were totally unprepared for emergencies. If SF had been grid-less, then what?
Nov. 1 (Friday)
POWER returned to the Anderson Valley at the convenient hour of 3:15am, the time of night even the tweakers tend to take a break.
IN FAIRFAX Tuesday, the Good Earth grocery store gave away all their perishables. An orderly line two blocks long formed minutes after the market's "Free Food" sign was posted. Contrary to myth, Marin's demographic is much like Mendo's — some wealthy people, lots of well-to-do people, more strugglers and poor than comfortable.
ABOUT a dozen looters were arrested during the week much of Sonoma County was evacuated, some of them wearing fireman's garb.
A FEW LOCALS wondered why Boonville High School was closed during the outage given the large array of solar panels ordinarily powering its buildings. Answer: Sun power is routed through lines owned by PG&E. When they're de-juiced, solar or not you're cursing the dark. (The ava's stark compound is solar powered but we, too, fumble for our Rice Krispies in the Stygian gloom until the hostage-takers allow us to again turn to merry King Sol for energy.)
THE LEMONS family kept the Philo Market open during the power shut down, as did, in Boonville, Pic&Pay, AV Market, Lizzby's, Boontberry for a while initially, and the Redwood Drive-In. All these businesses kept Boonville re-supplied. Not sure about the redoubtable Dave Evans at the Navarro Store but he was surely also on duty. All-in-all, the Anderson Valley looked after our own, checking on elders and universally doing the right thing throughout the emergency.
ON-LINE COMMENT: "Do you honestly think that PG&E shut down all their power generation plants statewide? They didn’t. They cranked up the turbines and sold that electricity out of state. For profit. While we sat and shivered in the dark."
OVERALL, we were pretty much incommunicado for five days. We posted what we could of our usual array of essential information and piercing insights, but we could not print our paper-paper last week, the first print edition we’ve missed publishing in forty years. It’s been a perfect storm of impossibilities for the paper-paper. First the blackout, then Healdsburg Printing’s entire crew was evacuated and locked out of their print shop and, perhaps worst of all, the lady who puts the paper together, the remarkable Renee Wyant, was stuck in Portland. Those of you who get the paper-paper, look for it on November 6th and, like, whenever outside the Anderson Valley.
EMBLEMATIC of this unprecedented event — first evacuation of this size since the 1906 Earthquake, and ’06 didn’t displace anywhere near the million people of this fire storm — at exactly 1:45pm Monday afternoon a fuel tanker truck appeared at the Redwood Drive-In. Almost simultaneously, traffic backed up in front of ava headquarters as motorists magically appeared to fill up their tanks.
DRIVING north a week ago Sunday morning, between Santa Rosa and Windsor the wind buffeted my car and a thick, dark, debris-hurling smoke enveloped me. Surprised that the highway was still open, I wasn’t surprised it was closed in both directions soon after. Then, approaching Cloverdale, all was serene, and it was late Fall again on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, all sunshine and golden poplars and kaleidoscopic reds in the maples. Ordinarily not a praying man, I hoped the people at the front of this roaring monster would survive battling it.
WILL GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S tough talk about “the greed and incompetence” of PG&E result in the monopoly for-profit becoming, at last, a public utility run in the primary interest of the public it “serves’? Add to PG&E’s list of wildly overpaid executives, the millions of our dollars they’ve doled out to shareholders, and the many millions they’ve distributed to our professional officeholders over the years. Take their money and vote against them? We’ll see.
WE’LL be telling stories about this catastrophe until the next one which, people who study these things say, will occur regularly from here on. The “new normal,” they call it.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: Supervisor Gjerde and I have been brainstorming about a public disaster preparation event in collaboration with the community teams from the Oct 20 meeting (see below). We share the belief that neighbors helping neighbors is critical in times of need. The hope would be to cross pollinate ideas and build enthusiasm for participation across our communities. If your town isn't represented in the post below, help us find eager volunteers. No date or venue yet -- this is in the early formation stage, but let's start networking?
EDISON WAS RIGHT
To use the title of a new film out about the battle between low-voltage Thomas Edison and high-voltage Westinghouse and Tesla, “The Current War,” is very elucidating for what has just happened with our power infrastructure in the fires and what still can be done to make our power systems more resilient and nondependent on faraway utilities and power sources in the future.
Sadly, in that 19th century battle, Edison lost, and instead of his local power sources, we have developed a dispersed intranational high-voltage electrical grid that can completely fail all of us at any moment from a squirrel in a transformer to a branch on a wire.
Without a sea change into locally supplied power and away from that treacherous, aging non-smart infrastructure, we will continue to be endangered and lose a chance at true power sustainability.
A READER WRITES: ATTENTION UKIAH! There's been a lot of talk about Ukiah's pending project to narrow four-lane State Street through the core area. An important meeting is coming up this week at Ukiah City Hall. I found the agenda summary on the project informative, especially the section that sorts facts from fiction. This link should allow you to view the report in PDF form.
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE - WEEKLY UPDATE
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CITY OF UKIAH
My name is Mike Ireton and I am the owner of several local internet service companies you may be familiar with, including Pacific Internet and Willits Online. Collectively, my businesses provide internet service to several thousand Mendocino county residents as well as to many businesses and other organizations. We provide our services in areas where other larger and more well known companies do not, reaching a constituency that otherwise in many cases would simply have no other choice than to go without this very important and modern convenience.
My business is critical to daily life and business in Mendocino county, for entertainment, for education, for business, for employment, and many other purposes. And, and during public emergencies such as the recent fires and power shutoffs, we become an indispensable utility for distributing and receiving emergency communications to area residents, informing them of up to the minute news they need as it's made available.
My services are not magic and do not just appear out of nowhere. We have invested heavily in building and installing facilities scattered around Mendocino county including wireless and fiber optic transmission facilities, providing the routing and switching functions that connect our end user locations and their devices, across our network, to the internet. These facilities all require power to operate, and that power needs to be uninterrupted.
Therefore, we install and maintain standby battery systems, and provide for backup power generation in the event of prolong outages such as the recent PSPS event.
I have within the last year, expanded my business by opening an office in Ukiah off of School Street, and have constructed some new facilities including a dedicated fiber optic transmission facility. This development represents a very substantial investment and is a significant part of our long term plan to further expand the reach, speed, and capacity of the service regionally in Mendocino county. It also requires that we have uninterrupted power, and that we have backup power generation and enough fuel on site to last for weeks, if necessary. We have had the battery and generator equipment for a year now, and while we have been able to complete the optical transmission facilities and have transitioned to using these for our county wide services, we have yet to be able to install and utilize our backup generator system due to seeming obstruction on the part of the city.
In short, it's nobody's job to process permit applications for our generator, and nobody has a clue as to the actual code sections and requirements for same. It has been presented to us as simply a 'permissive, discretionary' process where an individual will dictate to us what we will or will not be allowed to do, and if it doesn't fit our justified business needs, oh well.
We have the right to install and operate backup generator equipment, and further, to have a sufficient amount of onsite fuel storage for our business needs. These rights are not subject to any persons personal ideas or opinions, and I feel strongly that the repeated delays and various phony requirements - which seem to change on a whim - along with an utter lack of transparency and a process that goes around and around and around in circles, is nothing more than obstruction on the part of the city.
We have had the equipment and have been effectively screwing around with the city for months now. And now having to have endured this latest power event where my business office was without power for days, and having to manually run gasoline generators and for the repeated inconvenience of having to refuel in the middle of the night and to constantly be watching and monitoring the situation there, when all the while we have had the correct equipment for the job just sitting there waiting for a permit, we are now at the end of our rope. Even after the power has been restored, we have been back to the city yet again and are still receiving negative, obstructive attitudes that do nothing to advance this agenda.
For your information, all we are proposing to install, is propane powered generator of the type installed at home locations everywhere. First your city department wants 'drawings', which are completely and totally unnecessary and unwarranted given the small size application under discussion. And then we can't be told whether our plans are acceptable until after yet more delays, and then we get told we can't have the size tanks we need, and then we have to resubmit with a completely different set of information. We have a well known local contractor who has been heading up this effort for us since august and they are unable to make any progress because YOU, THE CITY, are an obstruction to progress. This should have been able to have been done in a week. And here we are months and months later, and having to have endured exactly the event that we planned in advance and have spent significant money to avoid, and we still can't make any progress.
There needs to be a solution here. My customers are now very interested in things like backup power for their internet and telecommunications and want to know that we have working backup power available where needed. The lack of cooperation on the part of the city is holding us back from completing our business necessary expansion project and puts us at risk of going dark in the event of future power outage events. We would like to request all due review and assistance in securing the cooperation of the city in the matter, to expedite the process and ensure we are able to continue providing critical services.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 3, 2019
OSCAR BERNAL, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, paraphernalia.
DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment.
SHANNON CORONA, Antioch, Illinois/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
NICHOLE HEGGIE, Comptche. Burglary, stolen property.
MICHAEL OZUNA, Covelo. DUI.
DANIEL ROTTNER, Mendocino. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
GERRELL SCRIBNER, Covelo. Burglary.
SARAH STASI, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocaiton.
DALE TUCKER, Antioch, Illinois/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Safe to say, the dude laying down $70,000 for a 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500, 6 speeds, 800 bhp, isn’t overly concerned with climate change, or his carbon footprint.
I haven’t seen the Mustang yet, but somebody around here is hauling ass around town in a 760 horse Dodge Challenger. It has a sweet paint job, orange and black. Thing purrs like a kitten rolling up main street. You can feel the power, phew! Jane Fonda was in DC today staging her weekly ‘Fire Friday’ climate extinction protest, not sure if she got herself arrested again. Picture this: dropping the hammer on one of these beasts, laying down rubber and doing donuts around Jane as she holds up her little sign ‘We have 12 more years’, blue smoke pouring out from underneath the car, tires squealing, the sound and fury of it, 760 bhp sucking high test fuel at the rate of an Abrams tank (which I think is 8 gallons per mile) Carbon footprint indeed.
Truthfully, I don’t know why they’re still building these cars. I’d say Muscle Cars but Ford or Dodge never made anything like this back in the halcyon days of the late 60s or early 70s. This is a new program entirely. But there must be a marker for them.
SUPER-RICH PREPARE TO LEAVE UK 'WITHIN MINUTES' IF LABOUR WINS ELECTION
Wealthy see potential taxes imposed by Jeremy Corbyn as bigger threat than Brexit
REPUBLICAN'S MOCKERY OF SANDERS AND SOCIALISM BACKFIRES
In misused irony, Scott Walker pokes fun of a photo of Sanders and Tlaib at a food pantry in Detroit with empty shelves
THE RULING CLASS, ITS “DEEP STATE” SERVANTS, AND US
by Frank Scott
The present mind management program obsessingly distracting us with impeachment bulletins by the micro second is part of the consciousness controlling dictatorship which has kept the majority of Americans focused on our feet while our heads are filled with propaganda, what some ruling class servants called “tittytainment,” and anything but the most serious problems of a system decomposing faster than ever and threatening to come down on all our heads while we scrupulously study our feet.
The election of Trump was never supposed to happen and is another sign of the ruling powers slowly losing control but desperately trying to maintain it as, at present, depicting the rich and outspoken pinhead as an enemy of all America holds sacred — war, poverty, racism etc — by blaming him for all America holds sacrilegious — war, poverty, racism etc. The confusion, over issues like incredible economic inequality and the destruction of the environment given the brand name “climate change,” is greatest at a time when information sources should be most clear but are creating a fog of misinformation, propaganda, disinformation and near idiocy. A people rallied in the recent past to support the slaughter of millions of human beings all over the world in defense of alleged threats to our right to market guns, pets, fossil fuel and children have every right to be confused.
While the inequalities of a system with less and less rich people holding more and more scandalous amounts of wealth while great numbers in the former affluent world sink to middle class status, former middles descend to working class and the overwhelming majority of workers the world over sink faster and faster into poverty, debt and despair become more obvious even to those kept obsessed with celebrity trivia and mindless news reporting. The damage wreaked upon humanity and the nature on which we survive and evolve becomes more deadly and dangerous as the rich, arrogant and seemingly uncontrollable outspoken twit tweeting from Washington DC reaches more people than any other president has and in the process of sharing his dullard’s view of the world also speaks blatant truths never before uttered by anyone that high in the staff of our ruler’s highly paid servant class. And we must understand that the tiny group of people whose wealth is beyond that of all past tyrants, royals, dictators and upper class hooligans put together are still grasping to maintain their control of global capitalism by destroying adversaries whether foreign or local, and doing so by any means necessary. Trump is lucky to only face a ridiculous impeachment circus, while so much of the world including America faces bloody wars and threats to survival beyond anything previously experienced or imagined.
While 20th century Americans were conditioned by brain dead conservative reactionaries to look under the bed every night lest evil degenerate Russian communists hid there waiting to steal the family savings and send us all to slave labor camps, the present generation has advanced to being mind molested by brain dead liberal-progressives into fearing sneaky Russian degenerate capitalists hiding under our sacred voting booths and meddling in our most holy democracy in which every single president and most of congress has been bought and paid for by the minority rich, and never voted for by more than a minority of workers, both mental and manual. Never in our history has any president been elected by a majority of our electorate, and that is part of the ruling power’s control of this fake democracy which relies on a class of relative “house Negros” as in slavery, to keep order and block out reality. Class society was introduced to the slaves when the house negroes, who lived much better lives than the field negroes, were used by the masters, time and again, to quell uprisings and basically calm down the cries at injustice by performing as the upper class of workers does now. Though some in the house occasionally led rebellions against the master, most, overwhelmingly, did what most Americans do, whatever their skin tone, religion, sexual preference or taste in breakfast cereals; They went along to get along and maintained slavery like republicrats and demublicans now maintain capitalism, often supporting lesser evils in sincere hopes of making life better for all but without threatening their own membership in the more comfortable upper-servant class in the process.
Our rulers employ what has come to be called a “deep state” apparatus, commonly labeled an intelligence community though that involves a rape of our language. They were once seen, by the people warned about Russian commies under the bed, as being evil practitioners of all that was un-American, but in the transition from right wing brain death to what passes for left wing malignant tumors between the ears, this community is treated heroically as it performs its duty in turning against a president and creating a case for a kangaroo court to find him guilty of something, anything, to get him out of the CEO position before he bankrupts the company. The problem for America is the company, not the CEO, but our mind managers and un-intelligence community are working overtime to misguide, mislead, confuse and scapegoat one or another individual villain, while also dividing and conquering us by placing us into minority identity groups that guarantee no majority democracy possible. Despite great odds against us, we are slowly learning and showing signs of rejecting not only the lies of individual class servants to the rich rulers, but the system that places them into anti-democratic power itself.
Good people are manipulated into believing a small mob of bikers with swastika tattoos, most of them more alienated than hordes able to afford therapy, are somehow a greater menace than a tiny mob in limousines and private jets moving around the world from Wall street to Berlin to London, buying and selling nations, governments and in the process destroying people, cultures and humanity. But many among the people are learning that the alienation experienced by increasing numbers of suffering people is not due to one or another identity group reducible to a skin tone, religion or ethnicity but rather to the confiscation of wealth created by humanity into the banks and financial institutions somehow owned by special inheritors and not the working masses who created that wealth.
We may not all come to our senses at the same moment, but that time is drawing near when we must. A good beginning is to look through and past this idiotic vendetta against a rich fool who represents much that is rotten about America, but also quite a bit that is good. That’s why they want him out. It has nothing to do with any constitution, especially the corrupt debased document that they want to use to further a deranged system that makes it legal and constitutional to reduce more than half a million Americans to living in the street, more than 13 million American children to living in poverty, while it recklessly squanders our wealth on war, misery and depravity. Our system and the constitution that rationalizes its social degeneracy are what must be changed, not simply one or another hack sitting in the CEO chair. And if we don’t elect a social democrat like Bernie in 2020 there may be little chance of ending the power of our ruling class, its deep state hirelings and their house servants, and less chance for all of us. At a time when our leadership is making religious fanatics, 911 truthers and area 51 believers seem like cutting edge intellectuals, we need to look beyond what they tell us and trust our own senses before having corporate media completely cloud our capabilities to think, let alone act. The problem is not the capitalist Trump. The problem is capitalism.
(Frank Scott writes political commentary and satire which appears online at the blog Legalienate. email: email@example.com.)
GAZA DOCUMENTARY (Abby appears at the 20-minute mark)