- Dry Day
- House Fire
- Sandbar Up
- MCDH Challenges
- PG&E Shirking
- Union Busting
- McGourty Info
- Crab Feed
- New Gun Laws
- Clean Windshield
- Krassner Retrospective
- Yesterday's Catch
- Day After
- John Wesley Hardin
- Political Reckoning
- Baby Sitting
- Big Food
- Bad Guy
- Rescind SMART
- Israeli Occupation
- Art Exhibition
- Found Object
NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA WILL SEE ANOTHER DRY DAY today with at least partial sunshine for most areas. Clouds will increase tonight ahead of a cold front, which will bring a quick shot of rain and some high elevation snow on Sunday. High pressure will return Monday and Tuesday with dry but seasonably cool weather. (NWS)
ANOTHER BOONVILLE HOME DESTROYED BY FIRE
FROM THE AV FIRE DEPARTMENT: At 6:05 this morning AVFD was dispatched to an "unknown type fire" outside of Boonville. As engines were responding, we got the information from ECC that it was reported to be a residence, fully involved. The first-in engine confirmed, and incoming units were assigned to protect nearby structures and cool propane tanks. The cause of the fire is unknown. About an hour and a half into the incident, several AVFD resources were reassigned to a medical aid in Boonville. Our condolences to the family that lost their home today, and to all the families who have been displaced over the last several weeks.
THE HOME was occupied by Stephanie Barton and Mike Marcum, who were not at home. Stephanie is the friendly clerk at Anderson Valley Market. Mike is a heavy equipment operator associated with David Wallace, on whose property south of Boonville near the CalFire station Stephanie and Mike's home was located. This was the seventh house fire in the Anderson Valley since Thanksgiving.
Marcum Family - House Fire Relief: gofundme.com/f/ymd9af/share
THE NAVARRO SANDBAR channel closed up yesterday between morning and afternoon. When I was there around 4 PM the estuary level had already risen several feet and was flooding the grassy mudflats on the south side. I wondered if the diminishing river flow would cause it to breach again, and apparently it did sometime last night or early this morning. I think it will close up again tonight when the high tide stops the outflow and the big surf keeps on pushing up the sand. The photo is my drone shot at 4:17 PM Thursday 12/27/2019. (Nicholas Wilson)
ANOTHER MONTH OLDER AND…
by Malcolm Macdonald
The case of Hardin v. Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) et al never seems to end. The lawsuit filed in federal court almost two and a half years ago by the Coast Hospital's former chief human resources officer against defendants MCDH, its then Chief Executive Officer (CEO), its then Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and then President of the Board of Directors appeared to be settled by a mediation session on September 22. The following day the mediator issued a proposal, which stated in part, “Defendant shall pay to Plaintiff the sum of $2,750,000.”
The payment was made for “personal injury damages.” The mediator's proposal also stated, “Plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney reserves the option to structure all or a portion of the settlement proceeds and defendant [MCDH et al] shall coordinate with [a] structured annuity planner with respect to ensuring proper IRS language is included in the release and assignment not to void using a structured settlement.”
Now comes the reason why some lawyers are better than others. On September 27, MCDH, the other defendants, and their counsel signed and offered up a revised memorandum of understanding (MOU). Its key parts included, “MCDH and/or its insurer, BETA Healthcare Group, a California joint powers agreement (hereinafter “BETA”) shall pay to Plaintiff the sum of $2,750,000.00 (“Settlement Sum”).”
The MOU goes on, “The Settlement Sum will be paid by check made payable to 'Ellen Hardin and the Trust Account of the Law Office of Twila S. White.' Appropriate IRS Forms 1099 shall be issued[.] Plaintiff reserves the option to structure all or a portion of the settlement proceeds into an annuity.”
Ms. Hardin and her attorney, Ms. White, signed the MOU on October 11. Presumably Ms. White, as legal counsel, had already noted that the revised MOU did not include any written obligation by the defendants to take a role in the structuring of the settlement, omitting the “defendant shall coordinate with [a] structured annuity planner.”
The MOU Hardin and her attorney signed referenced a more complete settlement agreement, but also included this clause, “[U]ntil such time that a long-form settlement agreement is executed by the parties, this executed and accepted short-form settlement agreement shall be treated as an enforceable, binding settlement agreement pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 664.6 and shall be admissible as evidence for the purpose of enforcing this binding agreement.”
Hardin and her attorney eventually caught on, filing a motion to revert to the original language of the mediator, which would force the defendants to pay out in a structured settlement. Three letters come to mind: IRS. A structured settlement, with MCDH participating in multiple payments over multiple years, could reduce the plaintiff's tax liabilities. MCDH, presumably, wants to be done with the case once and for all. BETA, the hospital's insurer, is contracted to pay approximately four million dollars worth of legal costs and legal liability. A prudent guess would place the hospital's legal costs in the case at somewhere in the vicinity of $1.25 million, thus the $2.75 million settlement offer to Hardin.
On December 20, federal judge Jon Tigar ruled in the hospital's favor, upholding the MOU, setting a January 31, 2020 deadline for further filings in the case and a case management conference for February 11 if the matter is not settled completely prior to that date. How great the effect on MCDH's legal bills remains to be seen as time and the case stumble on.
In financial matters closer to home, the Coast Hospital District continues to bleed money. The institution lost nearly $700,000 in October. The November numbers, though not released yet, will not be good either. For the first four months of the fiscal year the Coast Hospital has a net income that is $1,161,000 in the hole. The budget that the district's leadership came up with a few months ago projected a net positive income of $26,000 for October. Whoops! Only missed that by about $668,000. Similarly, the year to date budgeted numbers were off by over a million dollars in arrears.
At the hospital district's monthly Board of Directors meeting on December 11, only board vice-president Jessica Grinberg had the the good sense to display some fiduciary responsibility and vote, “No,” on a motion to accept the financial numbers. She has been the only director to do so for several months on end while the other board members serenely pass the growing financial mess like it's a plate of stuffing around the holiday table, gobbling it up with scarcely a question asked. The end result is approaching a scenario in which an inability to pay creditors might close the doors before the Adventist Health team ever gets here to affiliate. The Board of Directors was forced to borrow a million dollars from their Local Agency Investment Fund (akin to a savings account) in part because MCDH's accounts payable days have shot up from forty-seven at the end of June to seventy, four months later. The facility had scarcely a week's worth of short term cash on hand to pay even local vendors before the million dollar borrow.
Tougher realities await in January. MCDH's interim CEO, Wayne Allen, will be forced to let go a goodly number of employees in order to keep the operation financially viable until the if/when point that voters approve affiliation with Adventist Health. Job cuts to the tune of about two dozen employees gone before the ides of January is a clear reality. Cutting twenty to twenty-five employees most likely will include some high priced registry (temporary) employees in OB (obstetrics/labor and delivery) as well as some managers and mid-management employees who are not protected by the union contract. This could mean a three to four million dollar savings in payroll annually when salaries and the costs of benefits are added together. Divided into months, that payroll savings can be figured in the vicinity of $300,000. Scan back a few paragraphs and you will notice that dollar figure covers less than half the Coast Hospital's net losses for October.
As alluded to the cuts include several positions in the labor and delivery department. Those registry cuts are the precursor to another decision that must be made. Allen and the board of directors are going to have to make the unenviable political choice to close the labor and delivery department, where million dollar per year losses from earlier in the decade have now doubled. Adventist Health will not want that political stain to be the first thing the public thinks of when they take over in the spring.
Ms. Hardin may have to deal with the consequences of a lump sum settlement payment. If she were still in her position of human resources officer at Mendocino Coast District Hospital, she would be dealing with a bevy of exit interviews in the new year. One employee texted recently with holiday wishes and this summation about the Coast Hospital, “Things are very tough right now.”
PG&E: SAFETY V. PROFITS
To the Editor:
In my opinion, as long as PG&E needs to make a profit and turn it over to shareholders we are going to get short changed on efforts to increase safety. The result will be the unnecessary loss of lives and property as well as damage to our economy through blackouts and fires.
I am under no illusion that a publicly owned power company will be a cure-all. Maybe we will be trading one set of problems for another. But at this point major investment in improving the power grid infrastructure is desperately needed. I don’t see that happening as long as a privately held PG&E needing to send a steady stream of profits to shareholders is calling the shots.
Case in point: We believe that the branch line on our property poses a higher than average risk of starting a fire yet they expect us to pay 100% of the cost to cut their risk by undergounding it. They would want us to pay a contractor to do all the trenching and to install the pipe and the locations for the two transformers. And then pay them an additional $350 dollars a foot and that may not include the hardware. Customers may be willing and able to chip in on a project like this. But $400,000 to $500,000 for a 1000 foot line to serve one main meter and a separate one at our well? No.
Here is how I got into this: a few weeks ago PG&E’s tree trimming evaluator (a subcontractor) was doing his thing along the 12,000 volt line that follows our drive for 1000 feet, two bare wires 30 feet overhead. Yes, if you didn’t know it, they are all bare, except the stretch from the pole to your house. I don’t know about you but I never knew that until recently.
As usual I did a walk along with the evaluator. Unprompted, he asked me if we had given any thought to seeing if they could be put underground. He said there might be new programs in place to deal with the situation here. As I drive around the county I have compared this power-line to elsewhere and concluded that the risk of trouble on our property is much higher than average. I don’t want to see a fire break out here both for our and our neighbor’s sake.
The situation: on one side of the line there is a steep upslope covered with very tall spindly trees, mostly live and black oak. On the other an all year steelhead stream where doing significant cutting will require an environmental analysis according to the evaluator. I doubt cutting the trees will help the stream, already in trouble from other sources. There is also one very large valley oak tree over the line situated such that the evaluator said that doing significant cutting will require the power-lines to be de-energized and taken down so the bucket truck can access it. Just to do the annual tree work PG&E is spending thousands a year.
So I stop by the PG&E office on North State Street. They give me a number to call and I do. I try to explain the situation to the agent. I just want to talk to someone about our particular situation and that we are not building a new house and are not wanting to get rid of the lines because they are ugly. They asked me if we want to dig the trench or do we want them to do it. What? I say again that we think the lines on our property are more dangerous than many and that we just want to know if there are any programs in the works and to have someone look at them besides the tree guy. They take my contact info and say someone will be in touch.
I’m called back and I have a brief conversation with another PG&E employee a few days later, and then get a follow up email from another: just to get someone out here to look into what is going on we will have to send them a check for $1500. And before we get any more explanation we receive a bill for $1500 in the mail. We just wanted to get some info and get someone to look at the situation! I sent another email trying again to explain the situation as we see it.
The reply: they have no intention of investing anything into undergrounding here. Below is the significant portion of that email. The bottom line is that we would be expected to pay it all: first, to have a contractor to do all the following work: trenches, pipes and the structures to hold the new transformers. That would leave removing the old poles, lines and transformers and installing the new cable and new transformers. Yet for their portion of the project PG&E gives a ballpark figure of what they would charge as $350 dollars a foot. They did not mention a charge for the wire and equipment, so I assume that would be on top of it.
“The Engineering Advance is a standard deposit that is required of all customers when they are requesting work from PG&E, whether that is installing a new service, relocating a service or under-grounding lines.
“What I can give you in the meantime is rough ball park costs for an all in project from PG&E (Engineering, Land Department, Permitting, Construction etc.) these jobs typically average out to around the price of $350 per foot. Granted this is just a rough ball park amount and these figures could swing one way or the other, this is just merely for estimating on your part.
“These prices do not include the costs of you hiring a contractor to perform the trenching and substructure installation (conduits, vaults etc.), as well as the price to convert your electric panel from overhead to underground. These costs would be separate and additional on your side on top of the PG&E costs.”
So there you have it, and I am sure that there are many other places with the same situation. Do all of PG&E’s lines need to be put underground? The main danger to them is from trees and in many places there either aren’t trees or else the trees can be cleared safely away without great difficulty. But in others they can’t and under-grounding is the best solution. Under the current ownership scheme there seems to be no interest in that.
INSTEAD OF PAYING WORKERS a living wage and good benefits, U.S. companies spend hundreds of millions of dollar each year to stop their workers from organizing into a union. A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute also found that employers are charged with violating federal law in 41.5 percent of all union election campaigns and illegally firing workers in nearly 20 percent of elections.
Companies should not be allowed to run roughshod over their workers. It's another reason why we need elected leaders who are willing to prove they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with workers.
GLENN MCGOURTY WRITES:
Hello Bruce and the rest of the team at The AVA,
I was disappointed by the copy your editorial team selected to represent my candidacy in your “1st district candidate statements” in MCT 12/26.
In the future, if your sense is that you lack any information on why I’m running or what I stand for, please don’t hesitate to ask!
NEW GUN RESTRICTIONS COMING TO CALIFORNIA IN 2020. HERE’S WHAT LAWMAKERS PASSED THIS YEAR
Most of this this year’s gun laws expand existing regulations, but the changes they enact could have sweeping repercussions for gun owners. They increase fees, expand the state’s “red flag” and gun-storage laws, raise the legal purchase age and set caps on the number of guns Californians can buy.
GET ZAPPED: PAUL KRASSNER ELECTROCUTES AMERICA
by Jonah Raskin
“Krassner loves ironies, especially stinging ironies that nettle public figures. He would rather savor a piquant irony about a public figure than eat a bowl of fresh strawberries and ice cream.”
– Ken Kesey
How well does Paul Krassner’s brand of humor hold up? Is there still bite in his barbs and do his words still generate laughter? Fans of The Realist, which he founded in 1958 and edited for many years—and readers of his provocative books, including Who’s to Say What’s Obscene?—can begin to answer those questions thanks to a new, handsomely produced book, Zapped by the God of Absurdity: The Best of Paul Krassner ($26.99) from Fantagraphics. Whether this collection of essays is the “best” of Krassner isn’t clear. He wrote and published so much. Still, it’s pretty fucking good.
If we think of Krassner, who was born during the Depression of the 1930s and who died in July 2019, primarily as a comic and a comedian we will likely be disappointed by Zapped. Sometimes Krassner is funny and sometimes he’s not at all funny, as he himself realized. In his essay “Swimming in the Dead Pool,” he tells a story about visiting Ken Kesey in Oregon soon after Kesey’s son Jed was killed in an accident. When a group of friends were sitting around in a circle and one of them mentioned that the Dead Kennedys, the punk rock band, was on tour, Krassner quipped “I wonder if Ted Kennedy is gonna see ‘em.” Kesey replied, “That’s not funny.” Krassner came back with “You’re right. I apologize.”
That was a rare occasion. Krassner usually didn’t say he was sorry about anything he said, and certainly not when he conjured Jackie Kennedy’s explanation, soon after JFK’s assassination, that she saw Lyndon Johnson “literally fucking my husband in the throat. He reached a climax and dismounted.”
That passage appeared in The Realist in a story titled, “The Parts that Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book.” To some, that description of the vice president fucking the president in the neck was sacrilegious, unpatriotic and obscene. To others, it captured perfectly much of the madness and the unreality of what took place in Dallas, Texas in November 1963. Krassner often pushed the limits of free speech and almost begged to be censored and banned, which is what happened to his hero, Lenny Bruce. In fact, The Montreal police confiscated and destroyed copies of The Realist in 1967.
In the pages of his magazine, Krassner defintely pushed the limits of free speech as evident in three essays in the next-to-the-last section of Zapped: “The Taste of Semen,” “Eating Shit for Fun and Profit” and “I Fuck Dead People.” Talk about bad taste! For Krassner, coprophiliacs and necrophiliacs were both fair game for satirization. So were God, the FBI and Communism. In the late 1950s, and the early 1960s and then again in the wake of Watergate, Krassner recognized the places where American society was most vulnerable and went after them with a vengeance.
In the “The Sex Lives of Presidents,” which is included in Zapped, he impersonates Richard Nixon and describes H. R. Halderman giving “Tricky Dick” a blowjob. In a way, that image is merely a teaser. Krassner is after bigger game than cocksucking. He means to bring down the Nixon White House and everyone around the president, including General Alexander Haig, G. Gordon Liddy and John Ehrlichman, all of them criminals, and also all of them, in Krassner’s casting, figures in a comic opera played out against the tragedy of Vietnam. Comedy and tragedy collided in his mad, mad, mad, world.
Krassner reuses the Nixon & Halderman cocksucking gag in “The Autobiography of Monica Lewinsky,” in which he mimics the White House intern who gives Clinton a blowjob and then explains, “The reason I visited the White House 37 times was not for Bill—it was to be with Hillary—she was the one who desired me physically. The rumor about me being a lesbian was true.”
Halderman giving Nixon a blowjob still seems funny after all these years. Monica and Hillary as two lesbian lovers doesn’t strike me as comical, though it might seem hysterically funny to others. As William Zinsser insightfully noted in his book, On Writing Well, “humor is elusive and subjective. No two people think the same things are funny.”
Rather than think of Krassner as a stand-up comic who made wisecracks and offered one-liners, it might be more helpful to think of him as a political writer who uses satire to attack and undermine the hypocrisies of American society. In the essays contained in the pages of Zapped, he offers serious comments about “the absurd age we live in,” and about American ironies and contradictions.
In “The Paradox of Our Nation,” Krassner has Nixon say, “We turn our vices into virtues.” Krassner’s Nixon adds, “Only in America does there exist the freedom to reveal how insidious we have been, and then continue in our insidious way with an even more determined spirit.” Krassner impersonating Nixon and then having Nixon express his (Krassner’s) ideas is pretty funny.
The longer Krassner lived and the more insidious American society became, the more difficult it was for him to continue to do the work he had been doing for decades. In “Operation Chaos Lives,” he observes that John Hinckley’s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan demonstrated that “once again, satire would be outdistanced by reality.” The society he saw as schizophrenic made him increasingly angry and indignant.
Still, it’s important to remember that he didn’t satirize everyone and that he admired Groucho Marx, Robin Williams, Dick Gregory and Lenny Bruce. Krassner’s essays about them are all in Zapped. Contrary to his assertion, he did have some sacred cows, or at least near-sacred. Mother Theresa wasn’t one of them. In “Alternative Facts” he pours out all his venomous feelings for Donald Trump, whom he calls “a crooked businessman, liar extraordinaire, bragging pussy-grabber, make-America-white-again, anti-choice, anti-Semite, false Christian” and an “insanely narcissistic dictator.”
Were he alive today, Krassner would add the word “impeached” to his long list of words that we might remember as we leave the 2010s behind and move into the 2020s. If you loved The Realist, Zapped is for you. If you’re a millennial and have never heard of Krassner you’d better get Zapped fast.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 27, 2019
EDUARDO ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Parole violation.
GEORGE HODGSON, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
FERNANDO JOAQUIN, Covelo. Parole violation.
GREGORY KILLGORE, Terrytown, Louisiana/Ukiah. Controlled substance without prescription, camping in Ukiah.
DANIEL KOWALSKY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance, getting credit with someone else’s ID, disobeying court order.
KEN LOCKHART, Trinidad/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
KERRY MADIGAN, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.
DIEGO PARRARO-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation, probation revocation.
PABLO REYES-SANCHES, Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
DARBI RICCI, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, unlawful possession of tear gas, probation revocation.
TWAS THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS and all through the house not a creature was stirring, except for my spouse. My stockings were flung over there on the floor I was hoping a clean pair was left in the drawer. The children were long gone to live their own lives, one found a husband, the other some wives. I woke to a clatter and heard her yell “OUCH!” Seemed that she slipped and fell onto the couch. The empty beer bottles I left on the floor were no doubt too much for her feet to ignore. When she finally cornered me in the back room, I gave her a present in exchange for the broom. Putting my finger inside of my nose I pulled out a booger and called it a rose. Yes, Christmas is finally over at last, it came on so slowly and ended so fast!
— Jim Gibbons
EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE
by James Kunstler
What is most perilous for our country now, would be to journey through a second epic crisis of authority in recent times without anybody facing the consequences of crimes they might have committed. The result will be a people turned utterly cynical, with no faith in their institutions or the rule of law, and no way to imagine a restoration of their lost faith within the bounds of law. It will be a deadly divorce between truth and reality. It will be an invitation to civil violence, a broken social contract, and the end of the framework for American life that was set up in 1788.
The first crisis of the era was the Great Financial Crash of 2008 based on widespread malfeasance in the banking world, an unprecedented suspension of rules, norms, and laws. GFC poster-boy Angelo Mozilo, CEO and chairman of Countrywide Financial, a sub-prime mortgage racketeering outfit, sucked at least half a billion dollars out of his operation before it blew up, and finally was nicked for $67 million in fines by the SEC — partly paid by Countrywide’s indemnity insurer — with criminal charges of securities fraud eventually dropped in the janky “settlement.” In other words, the cost of doing business. Scores of other fraudsters and swindlers in that orgy of banking malfeasance were never marched into a courtroom, never had to answer for their depredations, and remained at their desks in the C-suites collecting extravagant bonuses. The problems they caused were papered over with trillions of dollars that all of us are still on-the-hook for. And, contrary to appearances, the banking system never actually recovered. It is permanently demoralized.
How it was that Barack Obama came on-duty in January of 2009 and got away with doing absolutely nothing about all that for eight years remains one of the abiding mysteries of life on earth. Perhaps getting the first black president into the White House was such an intoxicating triumph of righteousness that nothing else seemed to matter anymore. Perhaps Mr. Obama was just a cat’s paw for banksterdom. (Sure kinda seems like it, when your first two hires are Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.) The failure to assign penalties for massive bad behavior has set up the nation for another financial fiasco, surely of greater magnitude than the blow-up of 2008, considering the current debt landscape. Not a few astute observers say they feel the hot breath of that monster on the back of their necks lately, with all the strange action in the RePo market — $500 billion “liquidity” injections in six weeks.
But now we are a year into Attorney General Bill Barr coming on the scene — the crime scene of RussiaGate and all its deceitful spin-offs. The Mueller investigation revealed itself as not just a thumping failure, but part of a broader exercise in bad faith and sedition to first prevent Mr. Trump from winning the 2016 election and then to harass, obstruct, disable, and eject him from office. And six months after Mr. Mueller’s face-plant, out comes the Horowitz Report tracing in spectacular detail further and deeper criminal irregularities in the US Justice agencies. What’s more, tremendous amounts of evidence for all this already sits on-the-record in public documents. The timelines are well understood.
And so, an anxious nausea creeps over the land that Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham are dawdling toward a goal of deflecting justice from the sick institutions behind the three-year coup — that our polity is so saturated in corruption nothing will be allowed to clean it up. Personally, I don’t subscribe to that hopelessness, and I will say why. But I must also say that if Barr & Durham fail to deliver a bale of indictments, they will be putting a bullet in the head of this republic. There will be no hope of restoring trust in the system and the hopelessness will inspire serious civil violence.
It ought to be obvious that we are well into Strauss & Howe’s Fourth Turning, the generational climax of a grand political cycle tending towards darkness and ruin (and eventually the birth of a new cycle). But the God of History-in-the-Making is a prankster. For instance, in the Fourth Turning there is the archetypal figure they call “the Gray Champion,” specifically a Baby Boomer who emerges as the national leader to turn back the gathering darkness. Well, you order up a Gray Champion and cosmic room service sends up a New York real estate grifter with a twenty-three-word vocabulary, an impulse control problem, and a mystifying hair-doo. It becomes extremely difficult to defend this ludicrous character — except that the conduct of his antagonists has been much much worse, and probably more destructive to the long-running American experiment in liberty.
Exactly because the misconduct against Mr. Trump was so deep and broad, bringing actual cases to court will require extreme care, especially if these cases are folded into a RICO rap. Mr. Barr has been surprisingly transparent in his procedures and his motives. He made it quite clear in speeches last fall at Notre Dame and the Federalist Society that he deplores the lawless anarchy of “Resistance” efforts to engage “in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.” He stated recently that he expects Mr. Durham to act by late spring. Many are discouraged that he did not bring a case against James Comey on an earlier referral by IG Horowitz in the Hillary email server matter. Mr. Barr averred that it was not the strongest case against the former FBI chief. I took that to mean that graver charges await and there was no point going through the motions with a weaker Mickey Mouse count — and possibly losing in court. Point taken. We’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, there is the impeachment ceremony, connoting a trial in the senate to resolve the charges. Just days after it was voted out in the house — and in the limbo between Christmas and the New Year — nobody seems to know what will come out of all that. The president seems eager for a senate trial. His counselors could call witnesses until the cows come home, and probably do a great job of humiliating and disarming the rabid forces of the Resistance. But hauling in the likes of Brennan, Comey, Strzok, McCabe, et. al., might only queer any cases to be brought against them by Mr. Durham. Limiting the witnesses to the Ukraine “whistleblower” scam that provoked the impeachment — Eric Ciaramella, Michael Atkinson, Adam Schiff — would be a capital entertainment, but it might also queer federal cases against them, a necessary corrective in the big picture.
On balance then, whatever happens in the senate, the briefer the better, and the most obvious tack would be a simple summary dismissal of the house’s charges as devoid of merit. And then a season of patience while events are allowed to play out. What’s at stake beyond the fog of concerted deception and bad faith is whether we’ll return to the principle that actions bring consequences, which is also the basic principle of reality. The departure from that since 2008 has just about wrecked the foundations of this country.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
If fast food is driving obesity, why aren’t McDonald’s customers fatter than average?
It was a performance artist who came up with that notion, and it is surprising to see it carried throughout the media as if it were hard scientific fact.
On second thought, no it is not. The purveyors of the diet that is fueling obesity would just as soon have a major corporation like McDonald’s take the heat, as their customers won’t do any different.
In my estimation, it is the low fat diet causing the problem, in large part.
Diabetics don’t just have to watch their sugar intake. They also have to watch their carbohydrate levels.
Eating fat does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
In the 1990s, I believe it was, the old “food pyramid” was redesigned, and suddenly a healthy diet included a whopping amount of what we used to call starch.
Is it a coincidence that Big Food had a say in the new guidelines?
The “healthy” diet that Michelle Obama (who used to work for Big Food) jumped in to rescue school kids from being overweight with, is in actuality a low fat diet.
SMART was a good experiment, and I’m glad we tried, but we should rescind Measure Q, not extend the tax. It is clear from the 2018 financial report that the tax and ticket revenue don’t even cover current operations, much less expansion.
Regarding General Manager Farhad Mansourian rejecting The Press Democrat’s request for ridership data, I contacted the U.S. Department of Transportation and received ridership information in four hours. Per SMART’s filing for September 2018 to October 2019, there was an average of 57,932 passenger trips per month, or roughly 1,931 trips per day. That’s about 0.12% of the population of Sonoma and Marin counties. Golden Gate bus transit had an average of 256,268 per month. Golden Gate provides better accessibility, which is far more effective for low-income riders, and flexible routes.
Given climate change, we shouldn’t have two systems covering the same route, with one serving the well-to-do (average income per SMART rider is $97,000). Diesel trains with fixed routes that stop traffic, making cars burn fuel waiting for trains to cross, are so yesterday.
Let’s invest in electric buses and autonomous transportation of the future. Let’s rescind Measure Q.
ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOUSING DEMOLITIONS (USA)
PO Box 8118
New York, New York 10116
Since 1967 and the beginning of the Occupation, the Israeli government has demolished over 28,000 houses belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. These demolitions are part of a web of policies designed to force Palestinians off their own land to make room for expanding Israeli settlements, construct a 26-foot high “separation barrier” that cuts deep into Palestinian territory, create a network of Israeli-only bypass roads, and generally “thin” Jerusalem of its Palestinian inhabitants. Largely obscured in U.S. politics and the media. ICAHD-USA works to educate the U.S. public about the realities of the Israeli Occupation.
THE CLOVERDALE ARTS ALLIANCE GALLERY, located at 204 North Cloverdale Blvd., offers its latest art exhibition, “EMOTION,” from January 18 - March 27, 2020. An Artists’ Reception will be held from 5:00 to 7:30pm on Saturday, January 18. Guest artists for this exhibit are Bob Cornelis, Printmaking, and Kenyon Lewis, Sculpture. Resident artists are Laura Paine Carr, Jane Gardner, Pamela Heck, Terry Holleman, Paul Maurer, Hanya Popova Parker, and Richard Sheppard. Terry Holleman, Drawing, is the featured resident artist for “EMOTION”.
For more information, visit cloverdaleartsalliance.org or call (707) 894-4410.