- Offshore Ridge
- Navarro Quake
- Fisherman Lost
- Never Again
- Soccer Championship
- You're Growing
- Mendo Supes
- Night Light
- Ed Notes
- Dangerous Experiment
- Sikh Spokesman
- Help Rays
- Ma Convicted
- PG&E Should
- Big Brokers
- SOD Spreading
- Yesterday's Catch
- Chron Stop
- Billionaire Tizzy
- Mercury Transit
- Political Spectrum
- Death Throes
- Camp Fire
- People Rising
- Mass Murder
- Please Correct
- Improv Events
- Controlled Demolition
- Dylan Interview
DRY WEATHER will prevail through most of the week as a strong ridge offshore blocks storms from reaching Northwest California. A weak front will approach the North Coast early Friday and may generate light rain for mainly Del Norte and northern Humboldt counties. High pressure will quickly return Friday night and provide dry weather through the weekend. (National Weather Service)
EARTHQUAKE, a reader writes: "Just happened in Navarro. Knocked some things off the nightstand; scared us and the dogs..."
USGS reports a 3.2 quake at 2:44 this morning near the intersection of Highway 128 and Flynn Creek Road. This is the third quake of this size in this spot over the past couple months.
FORT BRAGG FISHING COMMUNITY MOURNING LOSS OF MISSING FISHERMAN PRESUMED DEAD
The Fort Bragg fishing community grieved Monday that one of their own remained lost at sea after a fishing boat overturned Saturday in rough waters off the Sonoma Coast, sending the man still missing and three others into the ocean.
Hopefully this last time change will be our last. A year ago Californians passed Prop 7 to cease the biannual messing with our clocks. The only problem with Prop 7 was the cockamamie codicil that we remain on Daylight Saving forever. I prefer honest time, where noon is noon and midnight midnight. Hopefully clearer heads will prevail and California will now remain on Standard Time forever. If you don't like when the sun rises and sets, get up earlier or later. Adjust your schedule, not the clock.
All this talk about burying electric lines being too expensive reminds me of the argument against instituting National Healthcare in this country. Never mind the rest of the civilized world adopted their various versions of National Healthcare long ago and, as a result, now spend much less than Americans. Also never mind that almost all other utilities managed to bury their lines — heck, even PG&E's gas lines are underground. It wasn't so long ago that crews whipped around Mendocino County burying fiber optic lines hither and yon. This was accomplished quickly and with minimal fuss. Those lines connect to fiber optic lines which span the great oceans. This is what makes the web world-wide, hundreds of such cables crossing Earth's oceans. As with healthcare, these things can be done, there are simply monied interests standing in the way.
Why did the coastal areas need to have their power shut off last week? I understand the conditions inland were much different, but ten miles from the coast we saw almost no wind during our four-plus days of blackout. The air along the coast was equally placid over that stretch. I have not heard an explanation of why the coast had to be without power for so long. Perhaps the big transmission lines that power the coast pass through the dry, windy zones. I imagine food sales have been brisk since then.
I'd like to draw attention to something Mendocino Supervisor Ted Williams recently said about the effort to get fuel (gas) delivered to the coast during the outage for vehicles and generators: “I will also say that it's ironic that in preparing for an adverse event like this resulting from climate change that we are talking about stockpiling the very fuel that causes climate change. Maybe we need to take this discussion in the direction of solar panels and batteries at key facilities so that we have the ability to recharge our devices and get by without using an absurd amount of fossil fuel.”
This is exactly the kind of forward thinking that has been sorely lacking from leadership in this country for many years, and we need a lot more of this right now. It reminds me of a recent trend I've been hearing about, which is installing propane-fuelled generators. Lots of people and businesses are now getting these installed to weather future outages. I understand the short-term benefits of this decision, but we should not ignore the longer term downsides. You're still burning fossil fuel to generate your electricity, and it is a fuel largely derived from fracking. That's a double downer: highly toxic in origin and climatically destructive in exhaust.
Someday soon, if humanity comes to its senses, the price of such dirty fuels will become greatly inflated. It would be wiser to adopt cleaner sources for your power now.
For much of my life I considered the Republican Party my natural enemy, as they represented everything antithetical to my way of thinking. They still do, but I've also come to realize that the Democratic Party, in fact, represents the greater threat and impediment to progress, as they are the party that is responsible for stifling and killing any progressive impulse in his country. We are now deep into the second election cycle where the DNC has done everything it can to defeat the candidate of the people, Bernie Sanders. They were successful last time, and lost the general election — rightfully and deservedly so. I hope Bernie has the wherewithal this time around to choose Tulsi Gabbard, a real fighter, as his running mate. Together they would have no trouble defeating Donnie next November, the real problem is the DNC before that.
LISTEN UP, SPORTS FANS! Wednesday afternoon (today for readers of the paper-paper), the Anderson Valley boys soccer team, perennial small school powerhouse, will be playing for the small school championship against Mendocino right here at home in the North Coast Section Division Championships. Last Saturday, Anderson Valley boys soccer won the semifinal CMC division match against Tomales 4-2. Goals were scored by Cristobal Gonzalez, Lucas Kehl, Alex Tovar, and Irlen Perez. AV vs. Mendocino kicks off at 2pm this afternoon, Wednesday)
LATE LAST WEEK, AROUND 470 HUMBOLDT LANDOWNERS GOT "WE SEE YOU’RE GROWING" LETTERS
“You are receiving this letter as a courtesy to inform you of what appears to have been an unpermitted commercial cannabis cultivation operation on your parcel."
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: A HANDFUL OF NIGHT LIGHT
by David Wilson
I was in a situation not long ago with a handful of nights with which I knew not what to do. How many nights are there in a handful? You might wonder, though I never had, but it turns out that it depends on how big they are. The nights, not the hands… well, and the hands. In this case it worked out such that when my wife held out her hands I poured about a week’s worth of nights into them: seven magical evenings of North Coast Night Light to share with you here. Let’s pop among them for a little tour.
Were I to pour these evenings into your hand just so, inside the globe at the tip of your fingers you would find yourself high up in a quiet rocky grotto in the forest. The air is still in your protected eyrie, but its rush soughs softly through the forest all around you. An opening in the foliage before you reveals the Eel River far below gliding between redwood-covered hillsides. A dazzling night sky dominated by the Milky Way reaches across from horizon to horizon like a great tear in the sky.
A step clockwise and you find yourself pushing through from one scene to the next in your handful of evenings. You’re above US 101 now, standing beside the Avenue of the Giants where it passes over the Redwood Highway. It’s near midnight, and the only cars out this late zip by on the freeway below, each zooming past in its individual bubble of light. If you could watch with the patient eye of the camera rather than your own, you would see the cars as meteors trailing streaks of light that each become part of the scene. Several of them might pass by before you blinked once, each dragging their light tails behind them and adding their brushwork of light to the trees on either hand.
One night slips quietly into the next. So peaceful is this one, sitting beside the banks of the South Fork Eel River on a warm summer’s night. You steep there for a while with the redwood forest around you and the soft sounds of water playing along the shore beside you. Surrounded by a skyline of giant redwood silhouettes reaching into higher into the heavens than any other living organism, you consider small you are among living things.
Like a dream the scene changes. You’re still on the bank of the Eel River, but now the sights and sounds of industry assail your senses again as cars zip past on Fernbridge, their taillight reflections racing along beside them in the water under the bridge. Ground lights in the distance cast their glows into the surroundings, brightening the clouds from below and competing with the stars.
You leave that world, pushing through the wall and into the next evening. You’re camping in a meadow on Elk Ridge high above the Lost Coast beside your tent’s cheery glow. The starry sky of a moonless night transitions slowly through a distant marine layer until it merges with the Pacific at the horizon. Inside the tent your friend is engrossed in a book.
Pushing through into the next night you find yourself on the coast again, this time enjoying the view from behind stone ramparts atop a perfect Pacific overlook in Patrick’s Point State Park. The warmth of your light plays softly on the stony space around you. Far below, the waves crash at the base of the cliffs, but you find comfort in the solidity of the rock fortress.
Now you find yourself inside the final night in your handful. You’re on the Avenue of the Giants again, close to the spot where you were in the second evening of the handful. It’s the same overpass, with cars on Highway 101 slipping past beneath it and leaving their marks of light among the branches as they pass. Late night again, the traffic on the Avenue is non-existent. But wait! A very slowly approaching car is producing a faint glow at the end of the bridge. For over a minute as it approaches, and the camera’s eye gathers in the light.
After a long look, the shutter closes on the night.
A handful of nights under the North Coast’s Night Light.
To read previous entries of “Night Light of the North Coast,” click on my name above the article. To keep abreast of my most current photography or peer into its past, visit and contact me at my website mindscapefx.com or follow me on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx .
THE WRECKAGE writing this is in its 8th decade. Despite the odds against another more or less coherent few years, I refuse to waste one more minute of whatever time I have left in a doctor's office. Nothing against the contemporary medical profession — may their investment portfolios grow! — but I much prefer, say, the healers of yesteryear like the ones who did sports physicals, those old drunks with cigarettes burning in your face who tapped your knee with their rubber hammers and declared, "Go get 'em, Tiger." The contemporary medicos are pretty good at insincerity, good enough to fool most of their patients, but the third time I was in front of "my" doctor he said, "Sorry, but what was your name again?" Then he had me count backwards from ten. I aced that one as he said, "Well, you're not senile." And the bubbly young woman who assured me she could install a couple of new knees for me? I saw her a few times for steroid shots until it occurred to me that living with low-level pain was better than the super glue every few months. And wandering lost down long hallways for "a blood check" and every other unneeded test referral to bilk the MediCare system. Haven't seen a medical pro for two years, and don't intend to see one unless my ass falls off or some other true disaster puts me at the mercy of the emergency room ghouls. The doctors I had been seeing semi-regularly don't seem to miss me. They haven't called to ask if I'm still among the unburied. I get the feeling they're indifferent to my welfare, not that it ever occurred to me to worry about theirs.
BRUCE McEWEN has lately written fine accounts involving a trio of nut cases whose hijinks have occupied a lot of court time. One guy claims he was traumatized during the Vietnam era by the knowledge that the Navy ship he was assigned to carried Agent Orange. RTS? Remote Trauma Syndrome? This terrible burden has so bedeviled the poor man he runs up to Ukiah pedestrians and screams in their faces and sets buildings on fire. At the County Jail, memories of laying off Vietnam twenty miles from shore was not terribly distressing until our sailor boy learned Agent Orange was below decks, igniting years of felonious behavior. The other guy got so drunk he trashed the Talmage house he thought he lived in and, exhausted from the effort, fell asleep on the homeowner's couch. The home owner, after getting hit over the head by the intruder with a 7-pound book, shot his assailant. He's left with the memory and big bill. And there's the lady whose horses were confiscated because (1) she's nuts and (2) doesn't have, and probably never did have, the means to care for the animals. She says she's being conspired against. The horses have cost the County more than a hundred thou to board and repair. Every day, all day, versions of these people are processed by the court system. There are literal armies of them, and tell me again why nobody's talking about a national system of mental health hospitals because, as Bill Gates and Jamie Dimon tell us, "We can't afford 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 and, now, their arbitrary power shut-offs PG&E is practically begging to be de-privatized. If Newsom’s just woofing he’s through as a viable officeholder.
AS ONE MORE EXAMPLE of how the mainstream media either hides of ignores truths inconvenient to the conservative wing of the Democratic Party, take Eric Ciaramella, 33, the “whistleblower” upon whose secret testimony in the pursuit of the Great White Whale depends. Ciaramella is a CIA employee. Small wonder that Schiff and Co. are keeping him hidden with, of course, a big assist from MSM. The guy’s name has been all over the credible sectors of the internet for weeks.
NOT A GOOD IDEA
A hypothetical: Suppose a very cynical corporation and a government agency decided to construct a population control experiment. The corporation, a power company, would shut off power to thousands of citizens. The government agency would issue a mandate for the same thousands of people to leave their homes and keep businesses from opening even if they had their own power supply. These thousands of people would then all wind up in clogged freeways in the middle of the night.
I think that would be a very dangerous and unnecessary experiment.
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 from St. Louis named Redd who called himself Korla Pandit and pretended to be an East Indian prince. Nobody, not even his children knew his true identity until he passed away at his home in Petaluma sometime in the 1970s.
A LITTLE HELP FOR THE RAYS…
For those concerned and wishing to help Bill and Judith Ray after their home and possessions were destroyed by fire during the PG&E outage, when there was no electricity and therefore no accessible well water on their property, the Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Ukiah and Willits branches, have offered a means to assist. Going in person into either bank, simply ask to deposit a donation in the William Ray account — not Bill Ray account, please. Their computer does not comprehend nicknames. Mailings are also accepted. This arrangement will be temporary. The tellers have been notified about the circumstances. The Rays wish to extend their gratitude for the community concern about their loss and future.
HIT MAN GUILTY AT LAST! Chinese organized crime comes to Mendo…
It Took Four Years But… As soon as you get off the pavement in Mendocino County you can find yourself in another country, a kind of United Nations of dope growers that includes Bulgarians, Chinese, Mexicans, Russians, Italian and Spanish nationals, to name a few of the representatives of foreign countries arrested recently in Mendocino County, the one we’re talking about a Chinese hitman deployed by Chinese gangsters, few of whom ever get caught. The hitman has finally been convicted. Here’s the story:
A TOYOTA mini-van was only a few hidden feet from the pavement off Highway 20 near Fort Bragg, not far from the area locals call the "bark dump” on the mild fall afternoon of October 17th, 2013. The van hadn't moved in a couple of days, a fact noted by residents of the nearby trailer park. Inside the otherwise spotless vehicle, Sheriff's deputies found two dead Chinese. Cindy Bao Feng Chen, 38, of San Francisco was dead in the driver's seat, Jim Tat Kong, 51, of San Pablo, was dead in the passenger's seat. They each had been professionally dispatched with bullets to the backs of their heads, one shot per victim.
MS. CHEN was a wealthy San Francisco property owner, Kong a gang affiliated gambler. Why the respectable Ms. Chen was with Kong is not yet known. Murders are common enough in Mendocino County, but murders of Chinese aren't. What could this have been about? It was about a lot of things, but specifically about Mendocino County marijuana gardens owned and operated by Chinese gangsters based in San Francisco.
FOUR YEARS after the executions of Ms. Chen and Mr. Kong near Fort Bragg, and many hours of inquiries by gang task forces, federal investigators, and Mendocino County officers, Mendocino County police and FBI agents arrested Wing Wo Ma, 50, at his Oakland home a month ago. Ma has been charged with the murders of Chen and Kong, plus drug trafficking charges. Ma has finally been convicted in federal court for a variety of crimes, including murder.
MENDO DA Eyster says the case is “all very simple. Rivalries and suspicions in the tong [gang] spilled over to include their marijuana business here in Mendocino County."
"Kong,” Eyster says, “had been running several marijuana growing operations in the county, including an outdoor garden in Redwood Valley, as well a 150-plant garden raided by a narcotics team earlier that year  also in the Redwood Valley.”
DA Eyster himself had prosecuted the Redwood Valley dope case — twice — but the prosecutions failed because the local court ruled that the original law enforcement entry onto the property — in follow-up to the fire department's entry to put out an illegal garbage fire — through the unlocked, but closed driveway gate was a search and seizure 4th Amendment violation.
“KONG,” Eyster says, "had been spending more time in Mendocino County because he was in bad standing with some very powerful Chinese gangsters in the Bay Area.”
Federal investigators said the apparent hitman, Ma, was acting as a double agent — getting paid to build greenhouses and other infrastructure for illegal cultivators as he tipped off detectives about who he was working for, in which case he’s lucky he didn’t get a bullet in the back of his head himself.”
MA had told a detective he was heading to Mendocino County with Kong to look at properties to acquire for additional marijuana operations.
The investigator didn’t outline a precise motive in the killing. But Ma, in a statement to investigators, admitted he’d "followed Kong and Chen in his truck the morning of October 17 because he was concerned Kong was visiting a marijuana farm without him."
FAST FORWARD to November 7, 2019 — A federal jury in San Francisco convicted Wing Wo Ma, a/k/a Mark Ma, a/k/a Fat Mark, of murder, drug distribution conspiracy, weapons, and bribery charges. According to the evidence submitted at trial, Ma, 53, of Oakland, shot and killed Jim Tat Kong and Cindy Bao Feng Chen on October 17, 2013, in Fort Bragg while the couple was seated in their minivan. Beginning in January of 2013, Ma had borrowed money from Kong for several business ventures including a marijuana grow and a real estate scheme in Mendocino County. Fearing retribution from Kong upon finding himself unable to repay the money, Ma met with Kong and Chen on Chen’s birthday. While seated in the car, Ma shot each of the victims with a single gunshot to the head and then left their bodies in the minivan parked in a secluded, wooded area in Mendocino County….
FURTHER, Ma was convicted of bribery. The evidence demonstrated that Ma bribed Harry Hu, an inspector employed by the Alameda County District Attorney and a former Lieutenant in the Oakland Police Department. Ma bribed the inspector with airfare for multiple trips to Las Vegas, free accommodation at high-end suites and hotel rooms at Las Vegas casinos, meals and entertainment in Las Vegas and San Francisco, female hostesses at private room bars in Las Vegas and San Francisco, music concert tickets, use of a new Mercedes Benz, and labor for the remodel of the DA investigator’s personal residence. Ma bribed Hu in an effort to protect himself from prosecution and investigation by Hu and other law enforcement agencies. Ma also collected money from criminal associates for the purpose of bribing Hu and represented to criminal associates that Hu was an investor in Ma’s fraudulent investment projects. As part of the bribery scheme, Ma used Hu’s name and reputation to attract investors to Ma’s fraudulent schemes.
WHAT TO DO with PG&E, a reader comments:
The Public Utilities Commission has 1000 employees supervising everything PGE does down to tooth pick size, yet it cannot after two years coin a simple remedy.
Namely, PGE should be required to insulate all its lines by the end of 2020 or be broken into pieces. PGE should cut all trees near their lines from the ground to the sky. If property owners object, they should be fined 1000 bucks.
The Governor should tell PGE to implement these solutions immediately.
Meanwhile there should be back up generators for all of the coast. There was no danger to PGE’s lines on the coast. The only reason the coast was without power is the generated power came from Santa Rosa though areas at risk where lines were closed. We need a closed loop for the coast which generates its own power, perhaps using the hot air of politicians who are all talk and no action.
"SCARIEST TREE PATHOGEN IN THE WORLD" SPREADING RAPIDLY IN CALIFORNIA
Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a deadly disease for oak trees, is on the rise in California. According to a survey conducted by UC Berkeley scientists, the number of infected trees has almost doubled since 2018.
INTERESTING BEEF from the essential MendocinoSportsPlus:
"Just had the absolute best experience at the Starbucks!
Ordered a Venti & a Tall Citrus Defense tea (even specified at the order screen which defense tea bags I was looking for, incase there was any confusion). Anyways, super excited for my Hot Water, Steamed Lemonade, Warmed Honey, and Citrus 'Defense' Tea bags. Get to the window, and it has Peach Tranquility & Mint Julip tea bags, I gave it back and said it's the wrong tea bags. Lady politely took it from me and they remade it. I even asked them "why do I always get the wrong Tea EVEN AFTER specifying at the order screen?" Apparently I say Citrus Defense and they hear 'Honey Citrus Mint Tea' Super Fun.
Anyways, they hand me the 2nd attempt, and they thank me for my patience. I'm almost sure it's right this time but I check anyways . . sure as shit, they did Defense & Mint tea bags I had to give my teas back and ask for a 3rd attempt. I believe the thanks given to me moments before was taken back rather quickly because . .
So this is the best part, like I really felt like this next part is what made my day the best!!
I hear the staff inside saying "Are you serious?! She wants it remade AGAIN? The guy at the order screen has been there for over 10 minutes because of her".
Oh yes. It's absolutely my fault because the tea is wrong. My bad you don't know the menu.
So they are now hastily remaking these teas.
The 3rd attempt is handed out the window with significantly less patience, less kindness, and less 'customer service'. I obviously checked to just make sure they gave me the right bags and so we got the right tea bags and I left.
I get home, and they broke open EVERY SINGLE tea bag given to us. I had 2 of these drinks, total tea bags is 3, and BOTH DRINKS were littered with the teabag contents and I had to filter the drinks in order to consume them.
Literally the best day ever."
ED NOTE: Cosmologically considered, here we all are on a tiny planet tucked away in an obscure corner of one remote universe among infinite others, our births and subsequent consciousnesses either a cosmic miracle or the work of an unfathomable intelligence or infinitely random accident, and the concern expressed here is the wrong drink from a coffee shop?
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 11, 2019
KRISTIE BRIGHT, Santa Rosa/Hopland. DUI-alcohol&drugs, suspended license (for DUI), controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.
JAMES CADLE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
TERRY ELLISON, Covelo. Domestic battery, assault with firearm, felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, large capacity magazine, offenses while on bail.
AUGUSTE JACKSON, Newport, Oregon/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MARCUS MELOY, Willits. Under influence.
PEDRO MEZATERAN, Ukiah. Pot cultivation over 6 plants, armed with firearm in commission of felony.
BERNABE MORENO, Covelo. DUI, under influence.
WILLIAM OWENS, Ukiah. Battery, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
TINDARO PIZZO, Ukiah. DUI.
SALVADOR YANEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SF Chronicle ends delivery.
If you've been a subscriber to the SF Chronicle you've probably already gotten the bad news: there will be no more delivery of the Chron to Mendocino County after Nov. 18. That's right- none; not to your house, not to a store, not to a newspaper box. Nada. Zilch. Zero.
This is indeed sad, bad news.
You can get it digitally for $1 a week or have it sent by mail but that is ridiculously expensive — for instance, for 8 weeks of just Sunday edition, $80. And it would get here after several days…
So, I'm wondering if anyone has any good ideas about how to get the Chron up here? Any commuter to Santa Rosa want to make gas money by bringing Chronicles back up here with you?
Personally, I cannot see snuggling up for hours of reading enjoyment with the digital online Chronicle. Nope, no way!
Just one week left…
BIDEN & BLOOMBERG WANT UNCLE SAM TO DEFER TO UNCLE SCROOGE
The biggest fear among the billionaire class is not that a progressive Democratic nominee will lose against Trump. The biggest fear is that such a nominee will win.
by Norman Solomon
The extremely rich Americans who are now frantically trying to figure out how to intervene in the Democratic presidential campaign make me wonder how different they are from the animated character who loved frolicking in money and kissing dollar bills while counting them. If Uncle Scrooge existed as a billionaire in human form today, it’s easy to picture him aligned with fellow plutocrats against the “threat” of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
The exceedingly wealthy are usually content to stay in the shadows while their combined financial leverage and media power keep top government officials more or less in line. But the grassroots strengths of the Warren and Sanders campaigns have jolted some key oligarchs into overt action.
“At least 16 billionaires have in recent months spoken out against what they regard as the danger posed by the populist Democrats, particularly over their proposals to enact a ‘wealth tax’ on vast fortunes,” the Washington Post reported over the weekend. Many of those billionaires are “expressing concern” that the populist Democrats “will blow the election to Trump by veering too far left.”
But are those billionaires more worried about a wealth tax that will curtail vast fortunes, or about Trump winning re-election? Are we supposed to believe the far-fetched notion that voters will opt for Trump over the Democratic nominee because they don’t want billionaires to pay higher taxes?
The biggest fear among the billionaire class is not that a progressive Democratic nominee will lose against Trump. The biggest fear is that such a nominee will win -- thus gaining presidential muscle to implement measures like a wealth tax that would adversely affect the outsized fortunes of the 0.1 percent.
Such fears are causing a step-up of attacks on Sanders and Warren, and even some early indications of trauma. “Piling on against the wealth tax have been corporate celebrities from Silicon Valley and Wall Street,” the Post reported on Saturday. Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg “suggested Sanders’s call to abolish billionaires could hurt philanthropies and scientific research by giving the government too much decision-making power. . . . Appearing on CNBC, billionaire investor Leon Cooperman choked up while discussing the impact a wealth tax could have on his family.”
Sanders often points to the fact that just three individuals -- Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett -- own as much wealth as the entire bottom half of the U.S. population. Gates has publicly denounced Warren’s proposal for a wealth tax. It shouldn’t surprise us now to learn that earlier this year Bezos urged Bloomberg to run for president. We might call it ruling-class unity -- which is a point that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quickly made while campaigning alongside Sanders in Iowa when the news broke.
“Of course!” AOC told a Des Moines Register reporter. “They’ve got class solidarity. The billionaires are looking out for each other. They’re willing to transcend difference and background and even politics. The fact that Bill Gates seems more willing to vote for Donald Trump than anyone else tells you everything you need to know about how far they’re willing to go to protect their excess, at the cost to everyday Americans.”
Moments later, Sanders joked: “Jeff Bezos, worth $150 billion, supporting Mike Bloomberg, who’s worth only $50 billion -- that’s real class solidarity.” And Sanders tied in the climate emergency: “When you talk about class warfare within the context of climate change, like Alexandria was just saying, the fossil fuels industry makes billions [and] billions of dollars in profits every single year, and the people who suffer the most are often lowest-income people. But it’s not just low-income people. Family farmers in Iowa and agriculture in Iowa is going to be suffering.”
News of Bloomberg’s looming entry into the Democratic presidential race elicited mass-media awe because of his wealth. A Republican until 2007, Bloomberg didn’t become a registered Democrat until October 2018. His record as New York City’s mayor included hostility toward labor unions in the public sector, support for police use of stop-and-frisk targeting racial minorities, and vocal antipathy toward the Obama administration’s minimal Dodd-Frank regulation of the financial industry. Bloomberg is a mismatch with most Democrats.
For most of this year, Biden seemed the best bet for moguls like Bloomberg. But confidence receded as the Biden for President campaign lost ground -- not only because of his continuing “gaffes” and stumbling syntax but also because more information kept surfacing about his actual record while in the Senate from 1973 through 2008.
Further erosion of support for Biden can be expected due to a pair of powerful articles in the current issue of The Nation magazine. An “anti-endorsement” editorialsummarizes his career as a servant of establishment power, concluding: “On issue after issue, Biden’s candidacy offers Trump a unique opportunity to muddy what should be a devastatingly clear choice. The Nation therefore calls on Biden to put service to country above personal ambition and withdraw from the race.” And an investigative piece breaks new ground in documenting how Biden and his immediate family have been enmeshed in scarcely legal conflicts of interest and pay-to-play corruption for several decades.
These days, for billionaires trying to line up a new Democratic president, good help is hard to find. Biden is willing as ever but perhaps not able. In effect, seeing Biden falter, Bloomberg is on the verge of cutting out the middleman. At this point, why hope that activation of pro-Biden Super PACs will be sufficient, when Bloomberg can step in and hugely outspend everyone out of his own pocket?
But even if it turns out that Biden has outlived his usefulness to the billionaire class, no one should doubt his unwavering loyalty. Biden offered reassurance during a speech at the Brookings Institution last year. “I love Bernie, but I’m not Bernie Sanders,” he said. “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble. . . The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.”
The first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court would have agreed. John Jay liked to say: “Those who own the country ought to govern it.” Now, the rhetoric is quite different. But the reality is up for grabs in the realm we call politics.
(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.)
THE MERCURY TRANSIT
Mercury transits sun for last time until 2032
THE REGRESSIVE PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL SPECTRUM
Carol Mattessich: I’d say there are two categories: neoliberal (Republican and Democrat) and those calling themselves progressives who are trying to restore social democracy against great resistance from the neoliberals. Though progressives are vilified as leftwing extremists by neoliberals, they are actually liberal centrists. We have no left. I would add that Bernie Sanders is the best chance for a Left to emerge from the margins. He’s no Lenin or Second Coming, but anyone who cannot support him is revealing who and what s/he really is: a gatekeeper for the Oligarchs.
JUST FOUND OUT THIS PICTURE is from The Utah Lone Peak Hotshots fighting a fire in Idaho.
Thank you for risking your lives to save others. God bless all firefighters and keep them safe from harm.
— Jamshid Kazemi
DEATH THROES OF A PARTY
by James Kunstler
Is it possible that Rep. Adam Schiff was hung out to dry by the devious Ms. Pelosi, feeding his vanity to be a one-man impeachment wrecking crew, knowing that the congressman from Hollywood would utterly blow it? Hmmmmm. Begins to look that way as Mr. Schiff’s House Intel Committee goes public this Wednesday with its soviet-style format on full display.
Well, first, why? Why allow this nitwit to stage an ersatz impeachment only to see it fail? Perhaps to cancel the Jacobin menace metastasizing in the Democratic Party and get on with the business of winning the 2020 elections — with old-school candidates hand-picked to end-run the gang of fantasists currently on display. The House Speaker must sniff the odor of failure in the wind. Joe Biden, smiling cretinously, blunders through the primary venues with a big red “L” plastered on his forehead, often uncertain of what state he’s landed in, or what direction to face the camera. Everybody over twelve in this land knows that his kid Hunter was on the grift in Ukraine, plain and simple, and that Joe assisted in the operation. Color him toast.
Elizabeth Warren has been caught lying very publicly twice now, first as a phony Cherokee Indian (for career advancement in academia), and lately claiming falsely that she was canned from a teaching job years ago for being pregnant (with a 2007 tape of her out telling a contradictory story). Of course, that’s just the cherry-on-top of her dazzlingly unsound policy proposals to bankrupt the nation. Doesn’t look like she can reel it all back in and pretend to be a credible person in time for a full-on campaign.
Bernie Sanders has not completely lost his appeal for the collectivist demographic. The heart attack barely broke his stride. His line of bullshit remains consistent: 20th century nanny-state “solutions” for the problem of a sunsetting industrial economy. The perception out there remains that the unearned riches of the rentier class can be rationally harvested to support the floundering multitudes. There is scant recognition that a Bernie program would only hasten that setting sun and vaporize all those figmentatious rentier riches lodged in the janky financial markets, leaving everybody equally high, dry, and bankrupt. Note: Bernie raised his hand along with everybody else on the debate platform to give free medical care to border jumpers, and it’s all on tape, too, like the Liz Warren vapor trail. Guess how that will play in the reddish states. Finally, how many of us really want a president that looks and acts like your ninth-grade math teacher?
The rest of the field comprises just so many horses that ain’t gonna finish, not even the saintly Mayor Pete of South bend, IN. The other mayor, Michael Bloomberg stepped up to the plate last week and has already racked up an 0-and-2 count. (Only in France do mayors get to be president.) So, guess who that leaves? Self-style gutsy woman Hillary Rodham Clinton, ready and willing to saddle up and reclaim her lost entitlement to rule the land. What has she been actually doing up in her Chappaqua fortress-of-solitude lo these 36 months of defeat and exile besides pretending to write that gutsy woman book? Exactly how much influence does she still exert in the party, and throughout the multitudinous worm-holes of the Deep State? How much more — more than the three-year RussiaGate hoax — is she behind in the effort to drive the US population toward psychosis and submission?
My own sense of things is that she still influences quite a bit — though that might come to a screeching halt when indictments rain down against a large cast of characters associated with the previous governing regime, herself included. After all, she did pay for foreign interference in the 2016 election. For starters think: Christopher Steele, British national, former MI6 employee, before you even start sorting through the sundry Ukrainians recently revealed as “meddlers” via the awkward “whistleblower” affair.
Which brings us back to Rep. Adam Schiff and his monkeyshines in the star chamber of his personal devising. Now that the show goes public, will he haul many of the same characters back into the witness chair to spin out his engineered narrative, without any cross examination allowed, or other felicities of due process? Someone ought to advise him that playing the Robespierre role tends toward an unhappy ending for the player. Especially when Mr. Jordan of Ohio, newly-seated on the Intel Committee, starts barking out points-of-order. I’m even half-wondering if Mr. Durham, the federal attorney, has not already measured up bills of indictment for Mr. Schiff himself, for the phony CIA agent “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella, the pre-wired IC Inspector General Michael Atkinson, US chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor, and the spectacularly seditious Colonel Vindman, whose antics stand out in this latest coup attempt against the elected president. And then what kind of bag does that leave Ms. Pelosi holding?
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Most Americans have never heard of Bloomberg (will probably confuse his name with the department store Bloomingdale’s) and Trump had high name recognition before he came down the escalator & declared war on Mexico. What does this man even think he has to offer the country? The self-importance this announcement implies is staggering.
AMERICA’S STREETS & SQUARES ARE WAITING: MASSIVE RALLIES WORK!
by Ralph Nader
Around the world people are marching, rallying, and demonstrating in huge numbers. Some of these countries are ruled by dictators or plutocratic regimes, others are considered democracies. Despite the peril of protest, people are seeking justice, freedom, and decent livelihoods.
Many boast about the United States being the oldest democracy in the world. While there are some street protests in the US, they are sadly too few and far between. Rallies calling attention to climate disruption have received less public support and media attention than they deserve. Likewise, the Parkland rally in Washington, D.C. against gun violence could have received more follow up publicity. And we all remember the massive women’s march the day after Trump was inaugurated in Washington, D.C. The subsequent women’s marches have attracted smaller crowds and therefore less media coverage.
It is not as if our country doesn’t have a historic tradition of sustained demonstrations. Mass protests have carried the labor movement, the farmer movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movement to breakthroughs. These mass protests alone were not the sole drivers of political action – books, articles, editorials, pamphlets, posters, and litigation were essential. But visible displays of aggregated people power had a profound effect on those politicians’ actions. When politicians put their fingers to the wind, the repeated rumble from the masses is what fills the sails of change.
It is not as if mass injustices are absent in the “land of the free, home of the brave.” Sadly, the informed populace is just not showing up in an organized, big crowd fashion – the way they did to challenge the nuclear arms race and nuclear power in the nineteen seventies and eighties. In the era of the iPhone and Internet, activists have greater access to organizing tools than ever – no postage stamps or costly long-distance telephone calls are needed.
Consider these candidates for mass demonstrations proximate to where the decision makers are located. Millions of young people are being gouged by student loan creditors and for-profit colleges. Whether it is the U.S. Department of Education’s high interest rates or the exploitation by for-profit universities, the abuses are outrageous, cruel, and in the latter case, often criminal.
Total outstanding student loans amount to over $1.5 trillion. These burdened young Americans know how to contact each other for free; they also can raise money instantly using new crowdfunding technology. They know how to use the visual arts and the verbal arts. Congress can reverse the predatory practices in higher education. Where is the advocacy from millions of student loan debtors? They could have a huge impact if they surrounded the Capitol or held smaller rallies around Congressional offices back home, especially in the coming election year.
Millions of workers are making, inflation adjusted, less than workers made in 1968. The federal minimum wage, frozen at $7.25, is the culprit. The House of Representatives finally bestirred itself to pass a $15 minimum wage stretched over a number of years. But when the Walmart-indentured members of the Senate look out their windows, it would be nice to see masses of workers surrounding their Senate offices, prior to some insistent personal lobbying?
There are no labor mass rallies in front of Trump’s anti-labor White House either, even though, the headquarters of the AFL-CIO are just yards away on 16th Street NW. The face-off of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka v. Donald Trump is overdue.
Millions of minorities are suffering voter suppression. Civil rights leaders are angry. They anticipate Republicans at the state and federal level to again erect all kinds of insidious roadblocks that disproportionately affect people of color the most. Abuses in the Florida and Georgia races were rampant in 2018. Presidential races in swing states are also plagued by voter suppression tactics. All signs point to a more intrusive stripping of eligible voters in the 2020 election.
Where are the marches before the offices of the state secretary of state and culpable legislators and Governors headquarters?
A quarter of our country’s families are poor. A Poor People’s Campaign, led by the Reverend William Barber and local pastors, has been protesting in the streets in North Carolina and other states. Their protests deserve far greater attendance. The media has given them too little coverage. But if there were massive demonstrations in major cities and before state legislatures and the Congress, with coordinated demands and large photographs of key politicians fronting for the rich and powerful, will get mass media coverage.
Tens of millions of Americans have no health insurance or are severely underinsured. Thousands of lives are lost annually as a result. This is a problem in America but not other developed nations that have systems in place that prioritize their citizens’ health. Getting sick or injured without medical care is far too frequent in the U.S. Those who suffer from this deprivation can be motivated to take to the streets. The health care industry’s soaring profits and their mega-rich bosses should move additional Americans to rally for Medicare-for-All!
These rallies can be led by physicians and nurses, tired of the paperwork, the bureaucracy, and the health insurance companies denying access to health care for their patients and arbitrarily rejecting doctor-recommended treatments.
In the nineteen forties, President Harry Truman proposed to Congress universal health insurance. Americans still do not have Medicare-for-All and are paying the highest prices, premiums, and out of pocket bills in the world – not to mention the human suffering caused by an inadequate healthcare system.
What a great street story for television, radio, and print newspapers! Think of the tragic human interest stories, straight from the heart by mothers and fathers with children having limited or no access to health care.
Other marches can come from the homeless and the desperate tenants spending over half their income on rent in the many communities where there is a shortage of affordable housing.
All these mass turnouts can pass contribution buckets or tout websites and raise money from the crowds for the next round of even larger protests. At each event, a list of demands can be presented to decision-makers. At each event, protestors can go to the offices where the decision-makers are or insist that these lawmakers speak to the assembled protestors.
There are many innovations to make these action rallies more impactful, more motivating, and more mass-media-centric. There also have to be some enlightened billionaires, worried about their country and their descendants, who want to provide the modest amount of money necessary for event organizers and focused political action. Show up America!
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
DUNCAN JAMES TO SAKO
Re: Correspondance Received (for next UVSD Board meeting)
I guess the best fiction has a little bit of truth. To bad you didn’t come to the horse’s mouth to see the evidence. The board response to last year’s grand jury report is extremely detailed with supporting evidence. One of the problems with today’s political world is politicians who deal in half truths or exaggerations. I hope you have the sense to reconsider your inaccurate and exaggerated statements because as I read them now I could not support your candidacy and I would not hesitate to correct them if asked.
JOHN SAKOWICZ REPLIES:
Of course, Duncan. Please correct the inaccuracies. I want to be completely factual.
Incidentally, the complaint about the UVSD paying $50,000 a month in legal fees came from several rate payers with whom I spoke while campaigning. Voters can grasp a number like $50,000 a month. Also, having sewer bills jump 50 per cent is easy to grasp.
Concepts like "improper indirect cost allocations" and "improper charges for capital improvements" are harder to grasp.
"Treatment space" and "plant capacity" are other difficult concepts, to say nothing about "ESSU calculations and consumption".
Then there are the knotty issues of "detachment of overlap areas" and "redundant expenses".
There's nothing simple about any of this, Duncan.
Ratepayers want a simple story, not a story that requires teams of attorneys to decode.
And ratepayers just want some relief in rates.
That's what I'm hearing on the campaign trial, Duncan.
In short, how does the District get out from under the widely held misconception that runaway legal costs are driving rate increases?
In short, how does what seems like never-ending conflict between the City and the District, in fact, end?
John Sakowicz, Candidate 1st District Supervisor
HIT & RUN THEATER'S fabulous week of Improv Shows, Music Workshops and Beatles Music!
On the weekend of Friday and Saturday, November 15 & 16, Hit & Run Theater will present two nights of improvisational comedy and music at the Matheson Performing Arts Center at 45096 Cahto St., near Mendocino High School in Mendocino. Both shows are at 7:30pm, with the doors open at 7:00pm. The cast includes Ken Krauss, Jill Lemos, Doug Nunn, Kathy O’Grady, Dan Sullivan and Steve Weingarten, with special guests Janet Atherton and Mindy Ballentine. San Francisco keyboardist, Joshua Raoul Brody will supply improvised music and sound effects. General Admission is $20, with tickets for seniors at $15, and kids at $12. All ages are welcome! For reservations or further information, call Doug Nunn at 707-937-0360 or 415-613-4416, write him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com, or write Doug Nunn or Hit and Run Theater on Facebook. We look forward to having you with us!
Please note as part of this action-packed weekend, SF improv keyboardist Joshua Raoul Brody is also planning on giving his workshop—Song Improvisation for Beginners and the Terrified— on Saturday afternoon, November 16 from 1-4pm at the Matheson PAC at 45096 Cahto St., near Mendocino High School in Mendocino. This workshop is a favorite of all the Hit & Runners and has found success around the world with students young and old, professional, amateur, and brand-new. It's only $30 for three hours of fun-filled instruction. Long time Hit & Runner, Doug Nunn calls it “the most fun you can have with your vocal chords.” For reservations or further information, call Doug Nunn at 707-937-0360 or 415-613-4416, write him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write Doug Nunn or Hit and Run Theater on Facebook.
On Sunday afternoon November 17 from 4-5pm at the Fog Eater Cafe, 45104 Main St., Mendocino, Joshua Raoul Brody presents his “Beatles Thingy”, aka one hour of singing along to Beatles songs. Joshua plays a variety of Beatles hits and invites audience members to sing-a-long. Much like a live version of Beatles Karaoke, Brody’s Beatles Sing a long is fun for the whole Beatles’ loving family. And he is backed by Happy Hour drinks and snacks from the Fog Eater’s arsenal of delicious food and drink. For further info check in with the Fog Eater Cafe 707-397-1806.
Thanks, Doug Nunn and Hit & Run Theater
email@example.com, 707-937-0360, 415-613-4416
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
In my view the globalized system of investment and trade is not working and it cannot be made to work. In off-shoring US industries to places like China and Mexico, American industries saved massively in wage costs. In moving those industries however, the former industrial middle class in America was financially ruined.
This former middle class no longer has the income it formerly had because the jobs that replaced those breadwinner jobs generally pay a lot less. This former middle class is now severely indebted, the govts that formerly had a rich source of income tax revenues now has a lot less and it too is drowning in debt.
Controlled demolition in this sense: the only way I can see that the system is re-balanced to sustainability is for workers in places like China and Mexico to be paid to buy the products they make, and for American workers to be paid to make the products they buy.
That would mean a whole lot less money for people at the top of the income pyramid and a drastic restructuring of trade and investment flows. Controlled demolition because a great deal in the current dispensation would have to be dismantled. But then it would have to be rebuilt, but rebuilt so that it works and it lasts.