- Light Rain
- Lizarraga Resigns
- Disaster Fund
- Grange Dinner
- Cove Explorers
- Howe Update
- Meth Hub
- AV Brewing
- Gary Webb
- Willits Furniture
- For-Profit Medicine
- Heli-Saw Brooktrails
- Vicchione Case
- Tre Cool
- Yesterday's Catch
- Our Times
- Plant Warning
- Official Dishonesty
- Wealth Dominance
- Bar Jokes
- Impeachable You
- Second Saturday
- Found Object
A WEAK FRONT will bring light rain to Northwest California this afternoon and this evening, followed by another brief period of drier weather for part of Wednesday. An extended period of wet weather will follow, with on and off light to moderate rain from Wednesday night through Friday or Saturday. (National Weather Service)
CHIEF FABIAN LIZARRAGA WILL STEP DOWN MAY 1ST 2020
The surprise announcement came during the staff comments section of the Fort Bragg City Council meeting.
The Chief was hired in March of 2015 from southern CA besting a field of over 30 applicants for the position.
FIRE IN BOONVILLE
Last Thursday in the early afternoon a devastating fire broke out in the middle of Boonville. At first it seemed like just an apartment fire that would be handled quickly, but instead it spread to the other nearby buildings. In all, it took down three or four homes, a restaurant and bar (the former Boonville Lodge) and the Pic N Pay market and laundromat. No one was hurt, thankfully, but many were displaced from their homes and livelihoods. There’s a lot of fundraising going on to help the victims, from donation buckets at the many tasting rooms to a GoFundMe page here: gofundme.com/f/relief-for-boonville-fire-victims
Facebook is full of anecdotes about the fire, the businesses, old and new, and lots and lots of memories. I just wanted to share the photos I took on the day and the following morning: mendocountry.com/annes-blog/2019/12/6/imzkh501kxamktfg4do83f49i36tp4
BETWEEN THE RAINSTORMS this past week a devastating fire struck downtown Boonville. The fire began on Thursday, December 5th in a residence next door to the Anderson Valley Market. Even with a fast response from the Anderson Valley Fire Department, it quickly grew to consume three homes as well as Lizzby’s Mexican Restaurant and the Pic ‘N Pay Market. The result is three local families lost everything, along with two family businesses. A large impact on a small community.
A group of caring representatives from local businesses reached out to The Community Foundation of Mendocino County to establish a way for people to give to those that lost their homes and business in the Boonville Fire. The Disaster Fund, with “Boonville Fire Fund” included in the notes section at checkout, is now accepting donations on behalf of the survivors of the fire.
The Disaster Fund, established by the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors to provide disaster relief and recovery services in the aftermath of a natural disaster, was created by a lead gift from the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors in response to the drought conditions in the Spring/Summer of 2014. The funds are primarily awarded to provide disaster relief and recovery services to households impacted by a natural disaster, which can include meals, temporary housing assistance, essential household items, medical care or counseling, and long-term housing grants. Currently, the funds are being distributed through Mendocino-ROC, the long-term recovery committees, for relief, recovery, and rebuilding following the 2017 Redwood Complex Fire and 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire.
The Boonville Fire Fund will be established within the Disaster Fund with the express purpose of supporting the families who lost homes and businesses during the fire.
To give to the Disaster Fund Boonville Fire Fund please visit: www.communityfound.org
During checkout include “Boonville Fire Fund” in the notes section.
Donations can also be mailed to: The Community Foundation, 204 S. Oak Street, Ukiah, CA 95482 with “Boonville Fire Fund” in the memo line.
If you have questions, or would like to learn more about the Disaster Fund, contact Rose Bell at (707) 468-9882 ext.101.
CAPTAIN RAINBOW WRITES:
I'll bet there will be stuff about the folks who lost homes and business's and ways to help out in this weeks paper. I hear that the people behind the Lodge are also out of a living space because there's no water or electricity even though their houses didn't burn. I hope that someone details what can help. You guys might want to comment on the request that people with air BnB's step up and offer a place to stay! Seems like the right thing to do, and I think that some of the donations will cover a reasonable rent. Sueno Latino appears to be taking a lead in this.
ALSO: The Grange/Foodshed Holiday dinner was big fun! The hall was full of community good cheer and bellies full of some of the finest potluck chow around. Tons of volunteers decorated, set up, ran the kitchen, organized the buffet service, served everyone. There was a kids zone and piano music too. A whole bunch of folk hung around to help clean up, doing dishes and putting all the gear away. WHEW! And folks who came brought their own fixings to add to it all. Lordy that feels good. Many thanks to all who participated. We all made it happen. This year, so soon after that fire in downtown Boonville, different organizations collecting money, clothing, and hopefully a place to live joined up to ask for donations and we just about stuffed that jar full of cash. A few first timers at the dinner were amazed at the generosity of this place, not only for the donations but the way we all pitch in to make things happen. Let’s do it again next year and meantime help out those people who lost so much in that fire!
BARBARA HOWE JUMPS TO LAKE COUNTY
Former Mendocino County Public Health Director Barbara Howe is now working as a health services program coordinator next door to Mendo in Lake County in one of the five subgroups that now make up the federal food-stamp program, now “rebranded” as CalFresh here in California. Howe and one other Lake County staffer manage the CalFresh Healthy Living part of the program, which entails educating low-income residents about healthy eating and nutrition for communities and schools that are eligible for the program. Howe told me she’s “right down the hall” from Dr. Gary Pace, who resigned as Mendo’s public health officer in solidarity with Howe when she was unceremoniously and without warning given the proverbial ax on a thinly veiled, trumped-up insubordination charge by Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency Director Tammy Moss-Chandler, almost certainly at the direction of County CEO Carmel Angelo. The sorry tale of Howe’s firing ended improbably with Moss-Chandler filing a temporary restraining order (later dismissed) against Howe.
Howe said she is extremely grateful to have the Lake County job, which is a permanent staff position, though the fact that it pays just 40 percent of what she earned in Mendocino County has had a major impact on her life. “Imagine if the major wage earner in your house was suddenly fired and now makes 40 percent of his or her former salary,” she said. Howe said that she and her partner now have two renters in their three-bedroom Ukiah house to make their mortgage payment, and that she lives in her van Monday through Friday because apartments are so expensive in Lake County that she would have had to get a roommate to defray the cost. “I make my food on the weekends and store it in an ice chest in my van,” she said, adding that living in her van during the week also saves gas money.
Howe was her usual outspoken and candid self during our conversation but said she didn’t want to bad-mouth Mendo since Lake and Mendocino counties work closely together. “It doesn’t feel like I’m completely starting over,” she said, but added that her new position “…has nothing to do with what I hoped for and dreamed of.” She said she applied for three equivalent positions to her director’s position in Mendo but “I’m zero for three. I think she [Moss-Chandler] destroyed my career. What gives somebody the right to do that?” She was also fighting the calendar, which gave her 180 days following her termination to find another county job before losing her accrued pension time. “I got hired here on Day 168,” she said. “By the grace of Lake County I made the deadline.”
Howe is also philosophical, and said she’s in a positive work environment and has great respect for Lake County’s Public Health Director, to whom she gave her word that she would stay in her new position for a minimum of one to three years. “I’m pretty lucky,” she told me. “Nobody hurt me, nobody’s raped me, I wasn’t in a car accident, I’m not homeless.”
But she says her treatment in Mendo still rankles. With the holidays just around the corner she said she has a gift in mind. “I might buy a lot of bumper stickers that say, “Mean People Suck.”
CLOVERDALE AS METH HUB
A federal and state operation based in Sonoma and Contra Costa counties has resulted in the arrests of 11 people the FBI says are connected to a major drug smuggling ring that brought multi-pound shipments of methamphetamine into California from Mexico.
ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING COMPANY is a staple favorite amongst craft beer aficionados in the Bay Area and beyond. This week, the venerated brewing company will officially have a change in ownership, though (thankfully) it will retain its status as a craft booze bottler.
BRIGHT FUTURE FOR WILLITS FURNITURE CENTER
Customers and friends, for sometime now we have heard questions and rumors regarding the future of Willits Furniture Center. There have been questions about whether or not the business will continue (or that it has gone out of business), and whether or not we are switching locations since the building is for sale.
We have no plans to end the company or vacate the building at this time, but you are correct in thinking that we do have the building and the business on the market to be sold.
Currently, we’re looking for interested parties. Margie and I would like to retire sometime in the next few years, and selling the location and business are big parts of making that plan work. Until we find the right buyer, we are doing business as usual.
In fact, we’re doing better than usual. Willits Furniture Center recently celebrated its 51st year and showed an increase in sales. We hope that any new buyer is able to expand this upward trend, while ensuring that the customer service and community focus that has made Willits Furniture Center a success continues to deliver.
If you are interested in finding out more about purchasing the business, call the store at (707) 459-4224 and ask for Mike or Margie Smith. To find out about the building, call Ruth and Randy Weston at Summit Realty: (707) 459-4961.
Please share what you’ve read with your friends and neighbors. We still offer the best deals in the area on quality furniture, lamps, and other accessories. We still deliver your furniture to your home, help to organize your existing furniture, and take old items away so that you don’t have to deal with them. Thank you for sharing our message of concern and welcome.
Happy Holidays, Mike Smith Owner and Manager of Willits Furniture Center
This week, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will fly a helicopter saw along an electric distribution line in the Brooktrails community, northwest of Willits, as part of safety and reliability work.
A helicopter saw, or heli-saw, is a series of circular saws suspended from a high-performance helicopter used to trim the tops and sides of trees near high voltage transmission and distribution lines. PG&E uses the heli-saw in remote areas to maintain safe and reliable service to its customers.
PG&E will prune the limbs to prevent future power outages and to increase public safety. A helicopter saw is a safe, efficient way to prune trees in remote areas where snow and muddy roads make safe vehicular access to the power lines a challenge.
The work will take place along lines that run in the following areas of Brooktrails:
Sunday, Dec. 8: Goose Road
Monday, Dec. 9: Buckeye Road
Tuesday, Dec 10: Ridge Road
The heli-saw will fly from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This targeted project is one part of PG&E’s enhanced vegetation management program in which the company prunes or removes approximately 1.4 million trees annually. PG&E’s 70,000 square-mile service area includes more than 120 million trees with potential to grow or fall into overhead power lines.
PG&E inspects and monitors every overhead electric transmission and distribution line each year, with some lines patrolled multiple times (18,000 transmission miles plus 81,000 distribution miles is about 100,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines).
AMERICANS FAVOR FIFTEEN DOLLARS AN HOUR FOR CONGRESS
THE VICCHIONE CASE: Following the District Attorney’s review of the investigation reports submitted by the Fort Bragg Police Department relating to the reccent theater robbery in Fort Bragg, the case was returned to police for follow up.
Thus, according to the DA’s office, “Michael Vicchione has not been cleared of the robbery; rather, he remains a person of interest in an on-going Fort Bragg police investigation… During the course of the original robbery investigation it was uncovered that Mr. Vicchione, a parolee working as a maintenance employee at the Heritage House, had been involved in an ongoing stealing of personal property belonging to the Heritage House and converting it for his own use and/or selling same at his Fort Bragg residence.”
LAR LIVERMORE, formerly of Spy Rock, presently a retired music entrepreneur who, among other famous bands, breathed life into Green Day, sends along this photo and message:
A young Tre Cool shares some of his musical genius with an even younger friend. Did we realize then that he would grow up to be the world's greatest drummer? Well, not necessarily, but we knew he would grow up to be … something. Happy birthday, Tre! @trecool #lookouts@greenday
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 9, 2019
JESSI BANTA, Willits. Domestic battery.
KONRAD CALVANESE, Lakeport/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
LUIS CHAN-FONSECA, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
TERRY ELLISON SR., Harboring or aiding a wanted felon, probation revocation.
MIGUEL GONZALEZ-ABURTO, San Jose/Ukiah. DUI, no license.
COLETON GUY, Chico/Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
JEFFREY KOSTICK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
STEVEN LOPEZ, Covelo. Assault with firearm, probation revocation.
JESSICA OSBORN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JUAN REYES-SANCHEZ, Willow Creek/Piercy. DUI.
ANTIONE WEBB, Ukiah. Under influence.
OUR TIMES 12/9/19
by Fred Gardner
Sympathy for Mrs. Sackler
"Tufts Removes Sackler Name Over Opioids: 'Our Students Find it Objectionable'" was the NY Times headline December 6. (The university will not be returning the $15 million the family has donated to Tufts.) The story by Eileen Barry was accompanied by a photo of a groundskeeper removing the lettering from the front of a building formerly known as the Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education. Barry reports, accurately:
"The Sacklers’ company, Purdue Pharma, the producer of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, has been cast by prosecutors and plaintiffs as responsible for an addiction epidemic that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans over the past two decades."
But the implication that the Sacklers' Purdue Pharma has been solely "responsible for an addiction epidemic" is not accurate. Media focus on the Sacklers has obscured he fact that Johnson & Johnson profited —and continues to profit— much more than Purdue because its Janssen subsidiary grew the thebaine-dominant poppies from which the opioids that drove the epidemic were manufactured. Barry notes that
"A series of major cultural institutions, including the Tate, Britain’s National Portrait Gallery and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, announced this year that they would no longer take donations from the Sacklers."
But no institution, as far as I know, has badmouthed Johnson & Johnson or refused the largesse of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the non-profit through which J&J funds ventures and institutions it deems worthy (and in its corporate interests). Although it has been sued and will have to make restitution to plaintiffs (a very small fraction of their profits), J&J has been spared the PR disaster suffered by Purdue.
The dean of Tufts med school made a noble effort to distance himself from the insult to the erstwhile major donors:
"Dr. Harris A. Berman, the dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine, called the decision “a wrenching one” for the university, but said that students had sent a clear message.
“'Our students find it objectionable to walk into a building that says Sackler on it when they come in here to get their medical education,' he said."
The widow of Arthur M. Sackler issued a poignant statement from which we infer that there is some discord within the family:
“The man has been dead for 32 years. He did not profit from it, and none of his philanthropic gifts were in any way connected to opioids or to deceptive medical marketing —which he likewise had nothing to do with. It deeply saddens me to witness Arthur being blamed for actions taken by his brothers and other OxySacklers.”
The tag of the Times story provides the basis for a novel, describing the three Sackler brothers as "sons of a Brooklyn greengrocer, all of whom became psychiatrists."
Bad Moon Rising
Four Times reporters worked on "Trump’s Intervention in SEALs Case Tests Pentagon’s Tolerance," a review of Chief Petty Officer Richard Gallagher's pardoning and its political consequences (which included the Secretary of the Navy getting fired). If you followed the case casually you might know that Gallagher was charged in a military court with the murder of an enemy combatant in Iraq but only found guilty of posing for a photo with a corpse. The Times piece describes a dedicated sadist whose fellow SEALS busted him. Excerpts follow:
Chief Gallagher, 40, a seasoned operator with a deeply weathered face from eight combat deployments, sometimes went by the nickname Blade. He sought out the toughest assignments, where gunfire and blood were almost guaranteed. Months before deploying, he sent a text to the SEAL master chief making assignments, saying he was “down to go” to any spot, no matter how awful, so long as “there is for sure action and work to be done.”
"We don’t care about living conditions,” he added. “We just want to kill as many people as possible.”
Before deployment, he commissioned a friend and former SEAL to make him a custom hunting knife and a hatchet, vowing in a text, “I’ll try and dig that knife or hatchet on someone’s skull!”
And he did. On May 6, 2017. Gallagher, leading a platoon near Mosul, heard that Iraqi soldiers in the vicinity captured an Islamic State soldier. "No one touch him," he radioed, "He's mine." His platoon raced to the scene, Gallagher stabbed the captive to death, then posed for photos with the corpse, holding his head up by the hair. "The officer in charge, Lt. Jacob Portier, who was in his first command, gathered everyone for trophy photos, then held a re-enlistment ceremony for Chief Gallagher over the corpse," the Times reported.
… The lieutenant outranked Chief Gallagher but was younger and less experienced. SEALs said in interviews that the chief often yelled at his commanding officer or disregarded him altogether. After the deployment, Lieutenant Portier was charged with not reporting the chief for war crimes but charges were dropped. So SEALs said they started firing warning shots to keep pedestrians out of range. One SEAL told investigators he tried to damage the chief’s rifle to make it less accurate.
By the end of the deployment, SEALs said, Chief Gallagher was largely isolated from the rest of the platoon, with some privately calling him 'el diablo,' or the devil.
Chief Gallagher was reported by six fellow SEALs and arrested in September 2018, charged with nearly a dozen counts including murder and locked in the brig in San Diego to await his trial. He denied the charges and called those reporting him liars who could not meet his high standards, referring to them repeatedly in public as “the mean girls” and saying they sought to get rid of him.
David Shaw, a former SEAL who deployed with the platoon, said he saw no evidence of that. “All six were some of the best performers in the platoon,” he said, speaking publicly for the first time. “These were guys were hand-selected by the chief based on their skills and abilities, and they are guys of the highest character.”
The President shocked the admirals by objecting to Gallagher's having to serve for months in the brig. His consigliere on the situation was Fox News anchor Pete Hegseth who, the Times informs us, is an Army veteran who "served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading two conservative veterans organizations 'committed to victory on the battlefield." Also defending Gallagher ardently on Fox News has been a national security expert identified by the Times as "Bernard B. Kerik, a New York City police commissioner under Giuliani." You might remember him as Bernie Kerik, the corrupt cop who in the days after 911 used as his personal love nest an apartment near ground zero that had been donated for use by the exhausted rescue workers.
They're giving rightwingers the green light to act out. In the same vein…
Support Your Local Police, Says Barr
From Katie Benner's December 4 piece in the Times, "Barr Says Communities That Protest the Police Risk Losing Protection:"
“They have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” Mr. Barr said on Tuesday afternoon in comments at an awards ceremony for policing. “And if communities don’t give that support and respect, they may find themselves without the police protection they need.”
The speech immediately sparked criticisms that Mr. Barr was conflating protests of police misconduct with a disrespect for the police and that he was advocating lawlessness as a potential reprisal.
“The idea that the attorney general of the United States, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, is recommending abandoning communities as retribution for pushing for police reform or criticizing policing practices, is profoundly dangerous and irresponsible,” said Vanita Gupta, the president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the former head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
Gupta's is doing his job, but residents of neighborhoods from which police presence would be withdrawn would be safer as a result. Carrying out the AG's threat would be like throwing Beer Rabbit into the patch. Benneer notes,
"Mr. Barr likened criticisms of the police to the abuse that Vietnam War veterans — many of whom were drafted and had to fight — endured when they returned home. Those troops sometimes 'bore the brunt of people who were opposed to the war,' Mr. Barr said.
Self-pity is the emotional basis of fascism.
Jane Fonda's Right-on Op-ed
"The Climate Crisis is a Political Crisis" —a truism— was the print-edition headline over a NY Times op-ed by Jane Fonda December 6. The actress/activist considers electoral politics our best hope for averting disaster and "climate" a winning issue for politicians. Electoral politics is her definition of politics in the op-ed. She writes: "We can join protests, engage in civil disobedience and risk arrest, but we must also see this as the uniquely critical political moment it is… We must overcome the power of the fossil fuel industry and elect an environmental champion for president and a congressional leadership ready to move forward aggressively with a Green New Deal to save us and the planet, starting the day they take office… Winning at the ballot box is how we will succeed in building a more just and equitable economy, one thriving from good clean energy jobs… We must not vote for any candidate who accepts money from the fossil fuel industry."
The editor of the Times' online edition replaced the print headline with a righteous imperative from Jane's essay: "We must start to live our lives as if this is an emergency, because it is." Back when I had my fastball I would have pointed out how few of us can change how we live our lives, but now, in my dotage, I say right on, right on.
Jane writes that she has moved from LA to DC for four months "to start what I call Fire Drill Fridays, joining the millions of young people around the world who turned out in the fall for protests to demand that our leaders act to save their futures."
The FDF site has an arty, off-putting layout and simple, meaningful content. Each Friday since October 17 Jane has led a demonstration in Washington emphasizing an aspect of the climate crisis. "To ensure the topic and its connection to the climate crisis is thoroughly explained," Jane explained on the site at the outset, "I will host a live-streamed 'Teach-In' with a panel of experts each Thursday evening before the demonstration, for the public to attend virtually." The topic will be "Health" December 19, followed by "Forests" December 26.
I had fleetingly imagined that Jane and her allies organized a series of real teach-ins at a local campus and streamed the contents. The teach-in format —informal lectures on a political subject, with ample time for questions and discussion— was developed by Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Michigan c. 1965 to educate themselves —and whoever else on campus might be interested— about every aspect of the war in Vietnam. Speakers included anyone who had some expertise to share. The innovative tactic spread like wildfire to other universities. All these years later Jane is applying the teach-in "brand" to her streamed panel discussions.
The "Demands" page on the Fire Drill Fridays website lists five righteous goals (seven actually) and includes a sentence that sounds contemptuous, or badly translated from Swedish: "Our demands center and uplift those of youth climate strikers across the country, who on September 20, 2019 sounded the alarm on the climate emergency and answered Greta Thunberg’s call to action."
Why doesn't Jane define the FDF demonstrations and teach-ins as political in her op-ed? It's almost as if the actions were organized and the op-ed written by different people. Evidently Jane and her allies regard the demos and streamed video presentations as prelude and preparation for the truly political event coming up in November 2020.
I just uplifted a song written when Jane was married to Ted Turner. I had previously uplifted it in the spring of 2016 when she was supporting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary.
They call it the city of angels lady
that don’t mean that everybody who lives there is
Lots of money changing hands at the corner
of Politics and Show Biz
Jane, stalkin my mind
from time to time
can't escape nohow
great fame can mean this is then and that was now
Once you slandered me well I understand
it was for the candidate
Playing Miss Hellman as Muriel
Gardner I tried to relate
Jane stalkin' my mind
from time to time
Seemed to suit you fine
never for a minute following my line
Down Jane Street
Old Jane St.
Walkin' down Jane Street
Live on a screen
Married to a billionaire and shilling
for videos on fitness
A-hooing with Chief Nakahoma
So embarrassing to witness
Jane stalkin’ my mind
From time to time
Out West, Back East
Of all of your directors I directed you the least
Seen you in the supermarket
you and Lily Tomlin got a big hit
And leaning in for Hillary
I ain't surprised one little bit
Jane, stalkin my mind
from time to time
Saving the planet there you are again
Great fame can mean that was now and this is then
Judge Bybee Does His Thing
Federal Judge Jay Bybee wrote the majority opinion as a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel okayed the Trump Administration's plan to deny legal status and work permits to immigrants who receive "non-cash public assistance" such as food stamps, Medicaid, or housing vouchers. The plan, which changes longstanding policy and will impact public health, had been deemed illegal by federal judges in New York and Maryland. Expect the Gorsuch-Kavanaugh Supreme Court to echo Bybee's reasoning.
Bob Egelko, the top-notch reporter who covers the federal courts for the SF Chronicle, explained Dec. 7:
"The administration’s rule, announced in August, reinterprets a federal law first enacted in 1882 that denies legal residency to immigrants who are a 'public charge' or are likely to become one… The appeals court said Thursday that Congress has left the definition of 'public charge' up to the Department of Homeland Security, and that a reasonable definition should not be subject to judicial 'second-guessing'
"A noncitizen’s acceptance of non-cash public assistance 'is surely relevant to self-sufficiency and whether immigrants are depending on public resources to meet their needs,' the criteria established by law, Judge Jay Bybee said in the majority opinion…
"Federal officials could also use migrants’ acceptance of benefits for shorter periods, as well as their income, old age, large family or inability to speak English, as factors to classify them as public charges. In addition, officials could prevent noncitizens from entering the United States on visas issued to students, employees or tourists if they decided the newcomers were likely to use public benefits…"
"Bybee said such a response would be 'the free choice of aliens who wish to avoid any negative repercussions for their immigration status,' and that Homeland Security officials had reasonably concluded that the overall benefits to the nation would outweigh any harms…
"His opinion was joined by Judge Sandra Ikuta, like Bybee an appointee of President George W. Bush, and drew a brief dissent from Judge John Owens, appointed by President Barack Obama."
Bybee's name might ring a bell if you've been following the medical marijuana saga. He ruled against Bryan Epis, as reported here.
Bybee signed the infamous "torture memo" when he was under John Yoo at the Justice Department in 2002. The Bush-Cheney Administraton rewarded him with a federal judgeship.
Bybee's memo authorized government interrogators to:
• Slam a detainee’s head against a wall: “any pain experienced is not of the intensity associated with serious physical injury.”
• Slap a detainee’s face: “The facial slap does not produce pain that is difficult to endure.”
• Place a detainee into stress positions: “They simply involve forcing the subject to remain in uncomfortable positions.”
• Waterboard a detainee: “The waterboard… inflicts no pain or actual harm whatsoever.”
O'Shaughnessy's quoted a veteran appeals specialist who requested anonymity because he appears before the Ninth Circuit: “Bybee was appointed without the public or Congress knowing about his advocacy of illegal conduct by government agents. Had those facts been revealed, he would never have been confirmed. Bybee is not fit to sit in judgment of others. If he would tolerate torture by federal agents as a means of obtaining confessions, all prosecutorial misconduct would be tolerable.”
THE WAR OF THE NARRATIVES
by James Kunstler
Fighting for its very life, the Resistance rolls out a last-ditch flanking maneuver today in its three-year war against reality as Rep. Adam Schiff’s House Intel Committee presents findings to Rep. Nadler’s Judiciary Committee for crimes as yet unspecified against Mr. Trump, possibly as grave as treason. Buyer beware. The Resistance always accuses its enemy of the very acts it commits — for instance, colluding with Russia, the primal deed that the guiding spirit of the Resistance, Mrs. Clinton, perpetrated in hiring Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS outfit and its star front-man, Christopher Steele, to consort with Russian disinformation agents injecting some helpful fantasy into the 2016 election.
Therefore, you can be serenely confident that any charges of actual treason will eventually stick to members of Resistance in government service who did indeed plot a coup to overthrow the occupant of the White House. That process of discovery begins today in another part of the battlefield, when the DOJ Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz, rolls out his report on FISA court shenanigans. His inquiry, of course, was limited to current members of the DOJ and FBI, which leaves out many of the principal actors in that scheme: Jim Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Stzrok, Lisa Page, Michael Atkinson — all either discharged or moved onto other thickets in the reeking wetland of Washington DC. Anyway, the coup ranged far beyond the bounds of Mr. Horowitz’s scope on FISA abuse.
Among those many others, the IG was not authorized to interrogate former CIA chief John Brennan, the Lone Ranger of RussiaGate, or James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Brennan’s faithful Tonto in the scam. Mr. Horowitz’s report will be necessarily incomplete. At most, it might provide a preview of the comprehensive legal review being carried out by the attorney general, Mr. Barr, and his deputy, the Connecticut federal prosecutor, John Durham. I suspect that Mr. Barr has instructed Mr. Horowitz to be careful with his conclusions, since any further attempts to obfuscate the facts and excuse official misconduct on squishy grounds such as intent will tend to worsen the already gross institutional damage done to federal law enforcement.
One character who has not been heard from lo these many months is former deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr, who was not fired, but transferred to some harmless backwater of the Justice Department to answer agency parking violations, or something equally harmless. I suspect Mr. Ohr may have played a decisive role in the IG inquiry, and possibly flipped on his colleagues, since Mr. Ohr was in the uniquely uncomfortable position of having a wife, Nellie Ohr, in the direct employ of Fusion GPS, Hillary Clinton’s oppo research contractor. Mr. Ohr additionally consorted with Fusion’s front man, Mr. Steele, after Steele was officially fired as a paid FBI source. Mr. Ohr will surely play a role on the Durham side of things.
Rep Adam Schiff will be conspicuously absent in today’s hearings, a tactic that enables him to avoid being questioned about his methods, actions, and associations around the UkraineGate chapter of the coup — for instance, his pre-whistle trysts with CIA agent and alleged “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella. Some minority member of the Nadler committee might ask Mr. Schiff, for instance, if he can cite any federal statute that provides Ciaramella with eternal anonymity (hint: there is none). Instead, Mr. Schiff’s findings will be presented by Lawfare attorneys Daniel Sachs Goldman (yes, his actual name), and Barry Berke, renowned for getting Wall Street grifters off the hook for selling janky securities.
The New York Times is the Resistance’s obverse measuring device for divining reality — whatever they report is likely to be the opposite of the facts. So, naturally, the Monday morning edition is playing-up the supposedly nefarious doings of Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine. In fact, Mr. Giuliani has managed to depose (and record on video) two Ukrainian chief prosecutors, Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko who are deeply familiar with the machinations around the inquiries into Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company that put coke-head Hunter Biden on its board of directors while dad Joe Biden was directing on-the-ground US policy there — and bribed the Ukraine government to back off its investigations. (Shokin video here and Lutsenko video here).
The essence of this colossal radioactive hairball of an historic scandal pulsates in the malicious prosecution of General Michael Flynn. Weeks ago, his new attorney, Sidney Powell, filed requests for DOJ documents containing exculpatory information in the case. The prosecutors, put in by Robert Mueller, stalled on the request, so Ms. Powell asked for an official pause until the Horowitz report is issued, possibly containing information pertinent to the general’s case. Be alert to developments on that front.
So, you see, we have two narratives at war in America: the Resistance story aimed at shoving Mr. Trump out of the White House by any means necessary, including a siege engine of untruth based on bad faith; and Mr. Trump’s story that he has been unfairly and unjustly subject to seditious mutiny by several federal agencies, dedicated to crippling his executive function at least and levering him out of office at most. The two stories can be reconciled in courts of law and the court of public opinion. There’s polling evidence that the Resistance is losing in the latter, as it over-estimated the public’s appetite for official dishonesty. The courts of law await further down the road. Additional comment here to come later today when the IG report is released….
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
THE MASSIVE TRIUMPH OF THE RICH, ILLUSTRATED BY STUNNING NEW DATA
WHY NOT ALSO GO WITH “THE KITCHEN TABLE” IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES FOR REMOVAL?
by Ralph Nader
Will the Democrats move to impeach Trump for a narrow brace of violations and accept that the Senate Republicans will keep this outlaw in the White House? Or will they present the Senate with the President’s many proven impeachable offenses, thereby requiring the Senate Republicans, before live national television, in a public trial to defend Trump’s indefensible behavior?
Let’s start with the signal statement by Trump: “Then I have Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President.” For almost three years, he has proceeded to engage in monarchical unconstitutional behavior in far more repeated, brazen ways than any preceding president. It is not even close.
The “abuse of the public trust” was stated by Alexander Hamilton as one definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” or an impeachable offense. Trump’s abuses provide deep evidence that he is (1) a serial, chronic, daily liar on matters of state, (2) a serial sexual predator, (3) a racist bigot, as demonstrated by his programs and policies, and (4) one who incites violence at rallies and in his tweets. Taken together, these abuses as an article of impeachment should be put before the Senate for them to defend. Millions of citizens will understand from their own core values that our country should shed this arrogant disgrace from our White House – through removal from office in the impeachment trial.
Another impeachment article should deal with Trump’s corruption in appointing henchmen to head health, safety and economic protection agencies with the objective of dismantling and disabling the laws enacted by Congress. Trump is bad for you when you breathe the air, drink the water, eat chicken, beef, pork, vegetables and fruit or work in hazardous places. Children are being exposed to dangerous pesticides, borrowers are being ripped off by financial companies and students are snagged by student loan traps and for-profit colleges. Trump sides with corporate criminals and fraudsters, and he expands crony capitalism with corporate welfare with your tax dollars. This is no mere de-regulation here and there. This is wholesale removal of the federal cops from the corporate crime beat and leaving you defenseless. Openly rejecting his constitutional duty to “faithfully” execute the laws is a major impeachable offense.
Then there is the loud desire to enrich himself by using the magnetic power of his office to attract patrons to his hotels and other properties in search of favors. Unlike past presidents, Trump defiantly retains direct profit seeking ownership of his businesses, leading to violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
These are continual impeachable violations that the House of Representatives can make graphic and persuasive to millions of Americans who believe in the rule of law.
Important as the crooked attempt to bribe Ukraine to enhance his re-election campaign is – something Trump will continue to pursue given his past requests that Russia and China help him against his electoral opponents, this gross behavior has not moved the needle of public opinion. It is viewed as remote from the “kitchen table” concerns of voters. This is not the case with other documented impeachable offenses.
Here are two examples: Appointing “acting” henchmen to head agencies who have not been confirmed by the Senate and spending money prohibited by Congress by shifting funds approved by Congress thereby violating two federal statutes, in addition to the Constitution.
He has also threatened unilateral wars, which can only be declared by Congress, not by him, under our Constitution. He illegally sends armed forces anywhere he wants to destroy anyone he wants – prosecutor, judge, jury and executor all in one. More and more Americans are turning against the bankrupting military policies that only create more enemies and quagmires. Even conservatives are upset by Trump’s imperialistic acts.
Of course the contempt of Congress is Trump’s marquee unconstitutional outrage. Our founding fathers would have had him impeached after a few defiances of Congressional subpoenas, not to mention dozens of such rejections for witnesses and documents starting soon after his inauguration in January 2017 and intensifying during this impeachment period. Trump thinks he can strip-mine the basic oversight and investigative authority of Congress with impunity.
Bruce Fein, a constitutional scholar and litigator, asserts that the impeachment power given to Congress must operate under a greater urgency in 2019 than in 1781 when the federal government’s main employees were postmen. Now the Executive Branch is immensely larger and more dangerous. Without regard for the Constitution and the separation of powers between Congress and the judicial branch, this White House has weaponry and might that can destroy the Earth, install dictators and retard the world’s response to deadly climate disruption. Domestically, the President can accelerate the emergence of a fascistic, corporate state.
Fein says the founder’s view of impeachment as a proactive deterrent heading off worse situations, is given more urgency by the towering size and power of the executive branch today.
Going with a full, strong impeachment case in the House will galvanize the affected constituencies to support this effort. It will put the Senate Republicans in a very tight spot of choosing between their political futures and Constitutional duties or the political fate of Donald Trump.
Failure by Congress to prevent devastating precedents from being invoked and followed by future presidents will create a legacy of disgrace for Congress. Above all, for Speaker Pelosi, a broad and compelling indictment of Trump will move the citizens otherwise described by Abraham Lincoln as the “public sentiment,” to sustain an impeachment verdict by the Senate.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 It’s so true that the holidays tend to make a lot of people feel blue. It seems as if they are less about the special moments and times of thankfulness, appreciation, and generosity, and much heavier on gross spectacles of gluttony and envy. A lot of people are still paying off last years’ gifts and now there are commercials out the wazoo for every last little thing that one has to have to achieve happiness (lol) for this special season. Until new stuff comes out next year of course. Our society is wasteful and gluttonous and our government is wasteful and gluttonous as well. Wasting our precious time and resources carrying on illegitimate efforts to disenfranchise us, the losers of their hunger games no less, so we never have a vote again. Hopefully the ominous turn this season takes will spell in end for these parasitic influences in society and culture and Uni-Party DC.
WALMART APOLOGIZES FOR SWEATER featuring Santa With Cocaine.
 It is too late for Sanders. He sold his soul and the souls of his supporters to the DNC and to the totally corrupted Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.
In order to run as a Democrat he has already made his dirty deal to support the nominee regardless of who it might be, including Hillary Clinton.
Sanders, in the end, has no guts to stand by the courage of his convictions. He is just another politician like all the others who “go along to get along.”
 I appreciate your concern for quality writing; I am often disgusted by the illiteracy that pervades our society — especially among professionals who ought to know better. The increasing dependence on spell-check and auto-correct software only makes it worse. This brings to mind the following statement which I suspect you will appreciate:
“Dew knot trussed yore spell chequer two fined awl yore mistakes.”