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MCT: Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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COOLER AND MORE HUMID CONDITIONS will occur across the region through the weekend. Otherwise, there is a small chance of light rain with a weak frontal system on Thursday mainly over Del Norte County, with a better chance of widespread rain expected during the weekend. (NWS)

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Bernie Sanders narrowly won New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, solidifying his front-runner status in the race to take on Donald Trump and dealing a setback to moderate rival Joe Biden, who finished a disappointing fifth.

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Hwy. 128 was reopened this morning after the sandbar breached again about 2 AM and let the backed up estuary drain out.

The brief flooding was only of a very short stretch of 128 immediately east of the Hwy. 1 bridge. It was very shallow and did not carry mud or debris onto the roadway.  The flood zone is only a couple of hundred feet long.

CHP closes the highway for safety during hours of darkness even though vehicles could easily drive through the shallow flood.

The problem is there are a few people who always try to go through at full highway speed, and they could hydroplane and lose control with possible injuries to self and others. During daylight there were CalTrans workers conducting controlled one-lane traffic through the flood. But rather than keep the crew there all night, they closed the highway.

Until we get some significant rain there will not be enough river flow to keep the sandbar channel open, so we can expect this kind of minor flooding to happen again.  I haven't had any measurable rain here in east Little River for the past two weeks.

(Nick Wilson, via MSP)

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Redwood Quality Management Company shared some reports today, which I appreciate. (Thank you Sarah Walsh and team.) ~50 hospitalizations per month doesn't strike me as adequate volume to justify operating our own facility. Adventist Health should be able to partner here, leaving more Measure B funds for Crisis Residential. The data I'm really after is outcomes.


Services July to December 2019 Outpatient:

Data Dashboard- Dec 2019 and 19/20 YTD:

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Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School is currently seeking a high school baseball coach for the 2020 season. This is a great opportunity to reach out to the local youth that want to play this sport. If you are interested or if you know someone that is interested in coaching, please stop by the Anderson Valley Unified School District Office for more information.

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Letter to the editor

On behalf of the Mendocino County Fire Chief's Association i am writing to ask our voters to vote yes on Measure D and E in the March election.

Measure d is a 10% temporary occupancy tax on all private campgrounds.

Currently public campgrounds and all other lodging businesses have a tax.

Lodging facilities in Humboldt and Sonoma County currently charge a similar Tax.

The County estimates this tax will collect $1 million per year which would be divided equally between the community based fire departments 75% will go directly to your local fire departments, 25% will be collected by the Mendocino County Fire Chief's Association who will make funds available to the fire districts for one time special projects.

The 75% share is estimated to b ring in $35,000 per fire department

Measure E directs the Board of Supervisors to allocate these funds to the local fire departments.

We're there when you need us, now we hope you'll be there for us on election day by voting yes on Measure D and E.

Thank you for your support.

Sue Carberry, President

Mendocino County Fire Chief's Association.

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An article in the March 31 edition of Wine Spectator is entitled “Cannabis and Wine Struggle to Co-exist.” It focuses mainly on Santa Barbara County, which has become one of the largest legal cannabis growing counties in the state with 80 growers holding 1,151 licenses for much larger grows than are allowed in Mendocino County. Santa Barbara's Vintners say Santa Barbara’s pot rules are too lax creating a proliferation of pot farms which negatively affects their vineyards and grapes. But since cannabis growers are strictly prohibited from using pesticides, there’s some speculation that the heavy use of pesticides by grape growers could make the grape growers liable if pesticides drift onto the organic pot plants. Conversely, some pot residue (“terpenes”) can get on grapes and give them an off-taste. Some tasting rooms have reported that pot odors from neighboring grows have caused wine tasters to flee their premises. According to a Laytonville reader who brought the article to our attention, “The most interesting takeaway for me is that if there is a trace of pesticides on legal commercial cannabis it becomes illegal to sell, but winegrapes can be covered with pesticides and there seems to be absolutely no problem with that.”

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JANE FUTCHER IS THE POPULAR WRITER AND FORMER KZYX TALK SHOW HOST presently adrift in the South China Sea, uniquely stranded by the coronavirus. Jane writes:

My wife Erin and I are passengers on the Holland America ship Westerdam, which has been chugging around the South China Sea for ten days now looking for a place to land. The first two weeks of our cruise, which started in Singapore, January 15, were fantastic, with tours and stops in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. We landed in Hong Kong Feb. 1 to let off passengers and take on new ones for the second leg of the trip to Manila, Taiwan and Japan. Since then the trip has been something of a disaster but great fun. We have no known cases of coronavirus aboard, but fear is so great in Asia that no port has been willing to let us land save for one small city, Kaohsiung, which kicked us out after one night. Since then all of our host countries and ports have cancelled on us and we have been cruising the South China Sea looking for a port where 1500 or so passengers can disembark and make our ways home. After days of uncertainty cruising through vast blue stretches of the South China Sea thinking ports were accepting us and then being told we’d been turned away, Captain Smit finally announced two days ago that the port of Bangkok would let us disembark. But he said on the P.A. system yesterday that Thailand’s minister of health had said on Facebook that he refused us entry. Meanwhile, the ship is still traveling in the direction of Bangkok with hopes of landing tomorrow morning. It has been very interesting. Still lots of food and shipboard activities but clouds of uncertainty hovering over us. Guests are desperately trying to access the ship’s overwhelmed phones and Wi-Fi system to change tickets, get news, and keep family, friends and dog sitters posted. We are still very well fed and have lots of shipboard activities. Holland America has kept the food flowing but does not give us very regular news about what’s really happening. We have read more in the news media about our fate than we have heard from our captain. The most critical shortages I have noticed are absence of soy sauce in the dining room, Nutella for crepes and bananas. The cruise line is refunding our money for this trip and offering 50% off on a future trip. The staff of the ship is incredibly nice and very international, many from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Many popular songs come to Our minds such as “Magical Mystery Tour,“ “Long Strange Trip,” “Row, Row Row Your Boat,” and a Sweet Honey and the Rock song with the lines, “We are going, Heaven knows how we are going. We will get there, Heaven knows how we will get there.”

Funny photo of the ship’s course taken a few days ago since leaving Hong Kong a few days ago. We are much closer to Thailand now.

Jane and Erin Carney in Danang celebrating Lunar New Year (L) before the cruise went south (R).

NO PLACE TO GO UPDATE: Our ship, the Westerdam, is now being escorted by a Thai Navy ship to a sea anchorage south of Bangkok, near a naval base. There we will anchor, refuel and await decisions by Thai (and WHO?) officials on when, where and if we can disembark. Feeling doubtful about our making our flights tomorrow.

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This isn’t Arlington–cemetery of slain soldiers

But row after row of crosses are staked here,

whole battalions of white polyethylene tubes

stand at attention, surrounding each stem of grape

under twisted horizontal arms of wire,

ready for incursions up these undulating hills,

marching over the graves of apple orchard and oak

for the industrial victory of wine.

Near the road a large collection pond

drains the river’s throat, its 2,4-d plus strychnine water

swallowed from its shallow channel,

the salmon-spawning gravel silted over long ago

in the reign of the corporations of timber.

The regiments of the large have triumphed over the small.

So it is right, as the symbols suggest, to mourn after all,

Here lie many deaths, many deaths.

—Virginia Sharkey

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FIREFIGHTERS AND OTHER FIRST RESPONDERS need to be able to find you in an emergency—even under smoky conditions. California code requires addresses to be marked by Reflective Signs, clearly visible from both directions on the roadway.

The MCFSC has a “Reflect to Protect” program to make our county safer. For just $20 you can obtain a custom two-sided green and white address sign for your home.

To learn more about the program and to order your sign here, visit our site at

(Mendocino Fire Safe Council)

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A READER WRITES: "We finished watching the Malcolm X series on Netflix last night and I was struck by the similarities to our local story of Who Killed Judi Bari — the loudest echo being the widespread disinterest for actually solving the crime and uncovering the real perpetrators. The primary reason for this judicial inertia seems to be the deep involvement of law enforcement, such as FBI Cointelpro operatives, embedded throughout each movements' organization (in the Malcolm case, there were nine FBI infiltrators present at his assassination, and the head of his security team was a police informant). That complicity wants to stay hidden, of course, but the surprising thing is how much the general populace ends up adopting the same disinterest in justice, for various reasons of their own. I found the Malcolm Series to be endlessly fascinating, for the history, for the story, and for revealing the myriad quirky and surprising facets found in human nature. For example, two of the subjects in this Malcolm story who displayed the most depth, integrity and decency were a couple of the men who did time for Malcolm's murder. One was a self-confessed shooter, and the other was falsely imprisoned for twenty years."

WHICH is pretty much what happened in the Bari case. Law enforcement, including the FBI, showed no serious interest in solving the case. Why? In my careful, informed and unapologetically obsessive-relentless opinion, the FBI couldn't afford to find the bomber without revealing their Redwood Summer snitch apparatus headquartered at the Mendocino Environment Center, 106 West Standley, Ukiah, in premises owned by Supervisor McCowen. Without going off at length here, the entire case from the ava perspective can be found on our website at: Judi Bari, like Malcolm before her, was murdered, albeit in slow motion, by the same malign nexus that murdered Malcolm.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL William Barr announced he was piling on new sanctions against sanctuary cities, in what he called a “significant escalation” of measures being taken against local and state governments that obstruct US immigration laws. Barr who declared that law enforcement officers were being “put in harm's way” by “ideologically-driven policies” filed suit against New Jersey and King County, Washington, over policies that have offered protections to immigrants who have found safe haven in communities in defiance of federal laws. Barr said the policies are designed to allow “criminal aliens to escape,” and that the policies were helping to shelter immigrants who have broken laws.

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ON-LINE ADVICE on what to expect in Humboldt County: Be prepared for a bunch of pedantic, self-important, psuedo-intellectual scarf wearing douche bags in their late 30s to 50s. A lot of homeless people, not as much as L.A. but probably way more per capita. The culture, I would describe as Appalachia meets Berkeley. Oh yeah, make sure to wear rubber gloves and a tyvek suit if you choose to visit our beaches.

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On Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 at approximately 8:41 a.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a radio call for service about a disturbance at a residence in the 31000 block of Albion Ridge Road in Albion. It was reported that Manuel Camargo, 31, of Albion, was having an emotionally related crisis and vandalizing property belonging to the 73 year-old property owner.

(Booking Photo unavailable.)

A Deputy arrived at the location contacting the 73 year-old male and Camargo. The Deputy learned Camargo was living on the property with the 73 year-old male's permission. Camargo became more agitated upon observing the Deputy's presence and his behavior demonstrated a clear and immediate propensity to be violent towards the Deputy. Due to the circumstances, the Deputy radioed for further law enforcement assistance while engaging Camargo verbally in an attempt to deescalate his aggressive behavior. During this time, Camargo armed himself with a hatchet and metal pole and began to vandalize the 73 year-old male's shop building and motor-home. The Deputy continued verbal deescalation tactics to resolve the situation peacefully with no success. The Deputy's deescalation tactics continued until a California Highway Patrol Officer arrived at the residence. Camargo then climbed onto the Deputy's patrol vehicle and kicked the windshield, resulting in damage estimated at $500 for repairs. The damage resulted in the patrol vehicle having to be taken out of service until repairs can be made which could take several weeks. Immediately after the act of vandalism, the Deputy and CHP Officer had to physically grab Camargo to arrest him and prevent further acts of vandalism. During the process, Camargo kicked the CHP Officer in resistance to the lawful arrest. The CHP Officer did not sustain any injuries. After the arrest, the Deputy observed the shop building and motor-home belonging to the 73 year-old male had been severely vandalized by Camargo. The damage to that property was estimated at $6,400 in total. Camargo was ultimately transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked and to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.



MSP has been hearing scanner traffic all [Saturday] morning indicating a male "off his meds" is creating a scene. Multiple Mendocino County Sheriff units, and the CHP, have been dispatched to a residence off Albion Ridge Road "near a gray gate with a large post.

The subject was on the roof of a trailer smashing it with an ax - and has stated he "will fight law enforcement."

Earlier, it was stated a reporting party was trying to get to subject to "self-commit" to mental health workers.

The scanner said, "One in custody" @ 10:11 am. The situation was "Code 4" (Situation under control).

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(sketch by inmate Jeff Harnden)

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POPULAR AMERICAN HISTORIAN Harlow Giles Unger (known as “America’s most readable historian,” a moniker we agree with after having read several of his fascinating IS history books) was an educator and the author of the three volume “Encyclopedia of American Education” before becoming an historian. Unger was speaking at a recent book tour event promoting his latest bio of Tom Paine recently. During the Q&A, someone in the audience asked why Paine and his amazing life and writing got so little coverage in American history textbooks. Unger replied that one big reason is that American school students spend less than half of their already abbreviated school day in an academic classroom setting than their European counterparts do, so everything is reduced to minimal soundbites. Unger added that America is the only country in the world where athletics are considered part of the school day. The number (half the European school day) seemed very low to us so we asked County School Superintendant Michelle Hutchins what she thought. Hutchins replied that if you deduct athletics and other non-academic activities on top of the usual classroom admin, testing and attendance rigmarole from the approximately six-hour school day, Unger is probably right. “We have a lot of work to do,” said Hutchins, acknowledging, however, that there’s no mention of an increase in the school day or classroom hours on any state or national edu-reform agenda.

(Mark Scaramella)

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I don’t disagree with the idealism [avoiding Big Tech], but I’m essentially going where the people are. If I post on Facebook, I reach:

2,702 friends.

1,511 members of the 5th district group,

thousands more based on friends sharing my posts (greater reach than newspapers when MSP and MendoVoice reshare)

This many people on an email list would be unwieldy with the lack of threading.

I tried using Ello (which claims several notable distinguishing intentions as a social network such as never selling user data to advertisers or third parties, never showing advertisements), but ultimately to mingle with constituents, I need to go where they participate. I considered my own email list, but much of the value in Facebook has been the discussions, often with people who didn’t explicitly decide to engage with me.

I try to monitor the MCN list, but the signal-to-noise ratio can be low. I wouldn’t get anything done if I tracked it meticulously.

Cheers, ted

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SMART has failed to deliver what it promised. Watching seven or eight people sitting on a train anytime outside of commute time upsets me, especially when the taxpayers are supplementing the fare.

SMART “leadership” asks us to continue this farce. The print media supports SMART. Why? I don’t know. Of course, we see letters praising the train going to Larkspur and then the leisurely ride on the ferry to San Francisco to spend the day or a few days in a swanky hotel. Well, maybe they are the seven or eight people riding it in the midday.

The SMART board needs to go back to the drawing board to look at salaries, expenses, anticipated future costs and overruns. Until then, I will be voting no on SMART. I’m tired of seeing the debacle being rewarded for shoddiness.

Art Hackworth


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CATCH OF THE DAY, February 11, 2020

Allen, Gorman, Kavanaugh, Pimentel

ZACHARY ALLEN, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

MANUEL CAMARGO, Albion. Vandalism, resisting. (Booking Photo unavailable.)

GAGE GORMAN, Laytonville. Controlled substance, switchblalde in vehicle, paraphernalia, evidence tampering.

PETE KAVANAUGH, Hopland. Controlled substance, community supervision violation.

WILLIAM PIMENTEL, Nice/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Pinola, Rantala, Woldt

IVORY PINOLA, Mendocino. Felon-addict with firearm, suspended license (for DUI).

JONATHAN RANTALA, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

DANIEL WOLDT, Fort Bragg. Concealed dirk-dagger, paraphernalia.

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It's never too soon to panic. It embarrasses me, how easily scared we big, tough, world-leading Americans are. If ISIS is not lurking under the bushes, it's the coronavirus. Ellie tells me it's not proved to be any deadlier than other wintertime flu viruses. She didn't research this exhaustively—or claim to—but her quick take on things usually proves to be solid. I trust her more than the Henny Pennys. She and her brother, Tim, who talk often, are experienced observers in matters of health and mortality.

Corona is aggravated because it's not some little African thingy, it's CHINA! and China has so bloody many people, anything that happens there is immediately on mega-screens.

So if you want to be EXTRA SAFE, don't get some little cotton face mask. Viruses pass through regular cloth like wind through sieves. Get yourself some grownup biohazard togs. I'll watch for you and toot the horn.

(Mitch Clogg)

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In 1968, because we disapproved of Hubert Humphrey's stand on the war, many hip young Democrats and Progressives stayed home and allowed Richard Nixon to win the Presidency. In 1980 much the same happened with Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan was elected. The Lesson: Every Democratic candidate opposing Donald Trump is worthy. Every single one.

As David Leonhardt points out in this morning's New York Times, "if elected, every single Democratic presidential candidate would act to slow climate change, raise taxes on the rich, reduce gun deaths, expand voting rights lower health care and education costs, protect abortion access, enforce civil rights laws, appoint progressive judges, rebuild overseas alliances and stop treating the Justice Department as a personal enforcer. The moderates are running to the left of Obama and the progressives will be constrained by Congress."

I consider myself a progressive or a Socialist Democrat, but if I refuse to budge on my programmatic desires and do not make common cause with fellow Democrats who may be more socially conservative or just exhausted by the last four years—-President Trump WILL be re-elected.

We should fight like hell for our candidate and his or her platform, but once chosen, WHOEVER IT IS, we need all hands on deck, no sulking. It's grown-up time and desperately important to take our country back. Even if old Lazy Joe were elected and brought someone young along as VP or any of the able people in the debates into his Cabinet, we would be light years ahead. Let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

(Peter Coyote)

ED NOTE: Hillary, Obama, Kerry, the party's billionaire funders, have already said they wouldn't support Bernie, and so much for the solidarity preached here from, of course, a millionaire.

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“TIMES CHANGE, however. At present, Carville represents much that’s wrong with the Democratic Party — its refusal to learn from its mistakes; its obsession with appealing to wealthy suburbanites while telling its traditional base of the working class and people of color to suck it up because the Republicans are worse; its preference for the performative over the substantive (Pelosi ripped the speech!); and, above all else, the belief that “operatives” and “consultants” know the pulse of the nation and can soothsay the will of the common man.”

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"YOU WOULDN'T THINK you'd go to jail over medical bills": County in rural Kansas is jailing people over unpaid medical debt

There is at least one issue a divided electorate can come together on this election year: A recent poll finds 90% of those surveyed agreed on the importance of making health care more affordable.

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by Darren Delmore

By the age of 20 I wanted to be a novelist of dark bitter books with criminal characters trudging their sins, diseases and poisoned dreams around California’s golden landscape. The writers I idolized, and which I imitated in what would now be embarrassing rip off work that thankfully went unpublished, included Bret Easton Ellis, Charles Bukowski, Henry Rollins, and mostly Hubert Selby Jr. My father, a restaurant owner, Rotary Clubber, and Republican, was a closet supporter of the independent and alternative arts, and an insomniac, often reading till dawn books by Raymond Carver, Jerzy Kosinski, Elmore Leonard, Woody Allen and more. It was in that small shelf by his bed that I discovered “Last Exit to Brooklyn”. I read it over a perspired evening when I was seventeen years old and he had moved out for the last time.

When I graduated from high school, two friends and I went on a surf trip to the remote southern jungle of Costa Rica and got ridiculously shorted on waves and mis-marketed on the all-inclusive surf camp. We surfed on day one then the ocean went flat as a quesadilla and the air turned oppressively hot. Without a vehicle, we bought a carton of cigarettes, drank Imperial beers as if that was something we normally did, and I read. I was bored by “The Virgin Suicides”, felt too low tech for “Shampoo Planet” by Douglas Coupland, got through “Where I’m Calling From” by Carver but felt the distance of my age all the while, then Selby’s “Song of the Silent Snow” with his free form lower case usage and occasional allegiance to proper punctuation cut through me with the speed of Black Flag storytelling, and I reread it in our mosquito infested hut, in between cigarettes on the beach and eating the three meals a day that the camp provided. I wanted to be a short story writer then and there. I attempted to write a few in my journal, the only one worth mentioning starring an older restaurant owner who was a gambler with a suicidal wife and a mistress in Vegas, and who gets locked up at closing by an enemy in his walk in freezer, presumably left for dead. We left Costa Rica early – the youngest of us broke down mentally and we’d discovered we’d been fed horsemeat three meals a day. Plus, I awoke with a black tongue the final two mornings, and fearing a fatal insect bite was causing my rapid deterioration, we arranged our complicated transport home. Turned out it was overdosing on Pepto Bismol.

After Costa Rica I experienced a radical breakout of acne that absolutely floored my selfesteem. I started to feel like one of Selby’s blistered Brooklyn-based creations. My mother got me on Accutane which cured your layers of skin like a leg of prosciutto, requiring monthly blood analysis for the power of the pills. It was an eight month remedy in which I shed skin, partially attended college classes, worked at the pizzeria, and found safety in a bohemian café called Linnea’s in San Luis Obispo, reading special ordered copies of “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Demon”. I filled notebooks with story ideas, journal entries about what my home was like now that my father had left my mom for his own mistress which led into the beginning of a loosely fictional take on my teens, often getting refills of coffee till midnight. I believed that I was a writer. Most of my friends were all about surfing and drinking at parties while I was moonlighting as an awkward, pimpled, literary nightowl.

All those hours and notebooks didn’t completely go to recycling. In 1998 I landed an editor’s position at The Surfing Group, publishers of Surfing Magazine. With the office based in San Clemente and my then bride-to-be and I finishing up a yearlong lease in Morro Bay before moving south, I was crashing at her travelling grandparents’ home in Santa Monica on Sundays through Thursdays, and frequenting institutions like Beyond Baroque and Laemmle movie theaters. I was reworking my first novel in café’s and the kitchen of that old wood-floored house. On one warm August Sunday, I made it to their place with the Sunday edition of the L.A. Times. I brewed coffee and read through the Books section, when I checked the calendar for the week’s events and nearly spat out my sip when I read that Hubert Selby Jr. was reading that afternoon on the 3rd Street Promenade and signing copies of his new book “The Willow Tree”. Started at 2 pm. I was on it.

I dressed as least beachy as I could, drove down Lincoln and parked in a garage near the promenade, with its street performers, high end shoppers and tourists buzzing about. I expected a line coming out of the bookstore, but I was fifteen minutes early and walked right in. A middle aged guy in black framed glasses greeted me from behind the register and said if I had any questions to let him know. Near the new releases was a table filled with dozens of the small format red hardcovers of “The Willow Tree”. I grabbed one immediately and kept browsing my way to the back. The very rear of the bookstore had a separate room that was being set up by two women, with enough folding chairs for fifty or more people. There was a podium and a microphone in the front and a table full of the new books there too. Leading to the entry of the room was a purple roped line for guests to wait in. More minutes went by. I kept looking around the bookstore to see when he was going to appear. Was he already in back? Would he crawl out of the dumpster-filled back alley like one of his inventions? One of the major writers of our time would be appearing in the flesh at any moment. My finger prints had melted into the jacket.

Then it was 2 pm and the store was empty but for me and the three employees. I eyed the front door and finally saw him. Two men, the author himself and what appeared to be his handler who was much taller and dressed in a beige trench coat, walked in. Selby was dressed to present in a button up collared shirt with a sweater over it, and there was something very New York about these guys in appearance and their movements compared to the rest of the promenade. Selby looked around the store and started waving his palm up in question. I was next to the travel section, where they’d pass me right by, but I was staring for sure. I’d never met a famous musician or actor or anything. This was strangely my Beatles moment, somehow. One of the women from the back room came out and shook his hand eagerly. “Mr. Selby, we are so excited you are here. Really. This is going to be great.”

“This?” Selby said. “Where is everybody?”

“Well it’s just two so we expect readers and fans to fill in over the hour so…”

“Yeah but nobody’s here,” he said again.

The guy behind the register rushed over to shake his hand and paint a positive light.

“Hi Mr. Selby. We’ve had a lot of calls today about this so yeah, I think people will fill in.

In the meantime, can we get you anything? Or you sir? Anything? Water, coffee?”

It truly hit me that I was the only one here for this and I’d possibly be getting one on one time with Hubert Selby Jr. and that freaked me out. What did I have to say to him or tell him about? Acne and horsemeat was all I got! And how did I deserve this? This National Book Award Winner, survivor of life, worldwide celebrated author who at the peak of his career was at his book launch event in a major US city with nobody in attendance but me.

“No no. It’s done,” Selby said to them. “We’re outta here.” Then he said to his handler “Joe let’s go. We’re going.”

“Mr. Selby please don’t,” the guy pleaded. “Please stay. We have it all set up and…”

The duo was heading my way now to take off out of the store. I had the copy of The Willow Tree in hand. I could’ve dodged them and said nothing. “Um Mr. Selby?”

Through his large thick square lenses he gave me a startled look. He was upset I could tell.

“Could I get you to sign my copy?”

“No, I’m not signing anything. I’m leaving.”

His friend nudged him then, making him soften a little.

“Okay, but fast.” He pulled out a pen.

“Thank you.”

“What’s your name?”

“Darren. With an e.”

He was signing so fast that if I was to say anything it’d better be now.

“Your book ‘Song of The Silent Snow’ has influenced my own writing so much. Thank you for writing it.”

He paused then, blinked, then looked at me and said “’Song of the Silent Snow’ did? Really?”

“It did.”

“Thanks kid. Keep writing.” Then they were gone, leaving the three employees in a quiet circle, fully flustered.

I paid for my signed copy at the register, and the guy apologized to me about the event.

I walked out on the promenade toward a coffeeshop, past hundreds of people seemingly happy and spending. My mind was swirling with what had just happened. If my dream was to write books like Hubert Selby Jr., to be like him and devote my entire life to characters and stories, and a no show book event was the culmination of a career, why do it at all? For the craft?

“Keep writing,” he’d said to me.

With a cup of black coffee at a two top table in back, I smiled and dove straight into Selby’s world like it was my own cool band discovery, my own punk rock secret, while Santa Monica was missing out on it all.

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THE AREA AGENCY ON AGING (AAA) of Lake and Mendocino Counties is conducting a written needs assessment to learn about the needs of seniors. AAA plans and develops services for seniors and their caregivers. This needs assessment survey is intended to gather information about individuals age 60 and older, living in Lake and Mendocino Counties. The information gathered from this survey will assist AAA in planning services to meet the needs of the community. This survey must be completed and returned no later than March 2, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

A copy of this survey is available on our website or by calling (707) 995-4652

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I’VE BEEN GETTING A LOT INFO ON THIS BEING BOGUS — mention from California Taxpayers Assn. etc. saying it is couched in terms of helping schools etc., but that eventually taxpayers will have higher property taxes. I am involved in a lot of work now that precludes my having time to research this more fully so I’m asking you if you have any thoughts/info on this.

See rebuttal argument bottom of pg 16 of the voter information guide.

Maria Goodwin, Comptche

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To the Editor:

In my long battle to secure new ownership for the Palace Hotel and years on the Ukiah Design Review Board, I’ve always relied on the support of Mari Rodin to better our community. The policy steps toward well planned in-fill housing she will pursue as Supervisor are right for the Ukiah Valley. It’s a way to make our downtown more vibrant, secure, and economically successful. In discussing these ideas and many more, I’ve always found Mari to be thoughtful, smart, and determined to improve our community. Her vision is our vision. I certainly understand why John McCowen supports Mari Rodin to replace him as 2nd District Supervisor. I know she will work hard for all of us. We need the many years of experience that Mari will bring to the Board of Supervisors.

Tom Liden, Tom Liden Photography


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MENDOPARKS is matching all donations up to $15,000 to repair the section of the Haul Road between Pudding Creek and Ward Avenue. If you've been on it lately, you know how pot-holed, alligatored, generally rough and treacherous it is, especially if you ride a bike there, but even for walking. Donations must be received by April. To donate, go to this link:

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And in Spain, they have sturdy shutters on the outside of windows, which they wisely use to shield themselves from hot summer suns.

Air conditioning — as ever, fueled by poison-producing fossil fuels — is a luxury we should adapt to living with less of.

But instead, we get new high-rise buildings plated in dark glass, or even more awfully, clad in black. At the moment we desperately need our buildings to reduce their draw of energy, and lessen their contribution to urban heat islands, we get a doubling down on bad forms: an architecture that directly degrades our environment, for years to come.

Kind of like the current truck & SUV craze that’s made our roads deadlier, our carbon emissions higher, and the money pots of petrostates fuller.

All for the sake of men’s egos, which we’ll never overcome, and which is the death of us all.

* * *


Bong Joon Ho’s film Parasite has been hailed for highlighting the class divides that split South Korean society. But its portrayal of working-class life also demonstrates a deeper ill of capitalism — the way in which the constant hunt for a job undermines our basic human dignity.

* * *



by David Talbot

Speech to Praxis Peace Institute

Sonoma, CA, February 9, 2020

Why is Donald Trump still in office – and still alive — despite waging a long, bitter war with the deep state? Why does he still wield brutal, bombastic power after breaking with the national security establishment over its neo-Cold War with Russia and its positions on NATO, North Korea, Iran, Turkey and other global hot spots? Why is this supremely and uniquely authoritarian president still commander-in-chief when President John Kennedy was shot in the head after only one thousand days in office for trying to prematurely deescalate the Cold War? And when President Richard Nixon was forced out of the White House by a Washington coup initiated by high officials in the CIA and FBI for trying to amass too much executive power and threatening the national security establishment?

Of course, this is not the official story about the end of the Kennedy and Nixon presidencies — because the American people are still denied the truth about our past. As a result, new leaders who challenge the ruling order are also at risk of the same fates. We are doomed to keep repeating our dark history until we learn from it. When you suppress the truth for decades, you also inevitably create the conditions for a florid conspiracy culture, like the rapidly spreading QAnon alternate universe.

Speaking of Watergate, you might recall that Woodward and Bernstein’s Deep Throat — among other key Watergate sources — was the second highest FBI official, W. Mark Felt. So much for the triumphal Fourth Estate version of Nixon’s downfall. The truth is that the Washington Post was only a useful instrument of higher Washington powers during the Watergate drama.

Now back to the puzzle about Donald Trump’s uncanny survival — and those burning questions I’ve been asking myself since 2016 as an independent scholar of deep power in America. And by that, I mean the matrix of largely unelected and unaccountable power that directs national policy no matter who happens to sit in the Oval Office. Wall Street executives, corporate media owners, national security officials, energy industry titans, Republican and Democratic Party kingmakers and funders. In other words, the surprisingly close circle of men – nearly all men – who regularly meet and work out their policy differences at conferences in Davos and Bilderberg and Aspen and at exclusive clubs like the Council on Foreign Relations and the constellation of other national security forums in Washington DC.

As I wrote in my book “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” this “power elite” – as sociologist C. Wright Mills defined it back in the 1950s – was once small and cohesive enough to take decisive action against sitting presidents who broke from their hegemony. When President Kennedy defied nearly all of his top national security advisers and negotiated a back-channel settlement with Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow instead of going to nuclear war over Cuba in October 1962, he violated the unspoken presidential pact with the deep state. In fact, JFK did this repeatedly during his brief presidency. By refusing to send in the U.S. Marines and Air Force to rescue the doomed CIA-led Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. By opening secret peace talks with Khrushchev in Moscow and Fidel Castro in Havana. By quietly making plans to withdraw the still small number of U.S. troops from Vietnam after safely winning reelection in 1964. By signaling his intention to end the Cold War in his now famous Peace Speech at American University in Washington DC in June 1963.

By the way, as JFK’s defense secretary Robert McNamara later told me, the empathy that President Kennedy expressed in that remarkable speech for our so-called Cold War enemies is still astonishing. “For, in the final analysis,” Kennedy declared, “our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.” Imagine any national leader in today’s United States saying something similar about Islamic extremists or other mortal enemies of the U.S. You can see how far ahead of his time that Kennedy was in envisioning a peaceful world that didn’t depend on U.S. military force.

While JFK frequently broke with the national security elite during his presidency, he did so discreetly — avoiding messy public confrontations with generals and spymasters. Even ones like General Curtis LeMay, chief of the Air Force, whom he privately despised and called a “madman” because of LeMay’s gung-ho eagerness to launch a nuclear war.

After the Bay of Pigs debacle just three months into his administration, Kennedy realized he had made a mistake by keeping Allen Dulles on as CIA director –- a Cold War zealot who announced openly on the Washington cocktail circuit that he intended to keep following the hardline policies of his late brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, rather than the New Frontier policies of the young president. But even after being misled by the CIA about the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy still took personal responsibility for the disaster and he allowed Dulles to keep face for several more months as CIA chief before bestowing honors on him and ushering him out the door.

Let me add here a couple of other flagrant examples of CIA insubordination during the Kennedy presidency — acts of treason that have been almost completely overlooked, but which I spotlight in “The Devil’s Chessboard.” In fact, days before Kennedy was even sworn in as president in January 1961, the CIA arranged the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the deposed president of Congo, whose courageous leadership represented the hope of post-colonial Africa and who had won the admiration of JFK. But Lumumba had antagonized powerful European and American mining companies — including clients of the Dulles brothers’ Wall Street law firm — by threatening to nationalize Congo’s resources. So CIA chief Dulles cynically authorized Lumumba’s brutal murder before Kennedy could take over in the White House and intervene on behalf of the deposed Congolese president. And then the CIA hid Lumumba’s violent death from JFK for weeks, until the new president was finally informed of the grim facts by his UN ambassador, Adlai Stevenson.

A second example of Dulles’s astonishing and traitorous arrogance… Even as he was trying to topple Castro with his 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, the CIA director was also trying to overthrow a longtime American ally — President Charles de Gaulle of France — backing a coup by right-wing French military officers who opposed de Gaulle’s peaceful settlement of the colonial war in Algeria. In the middle of the crisis, a furious de Gaulle demanded that President Kennedy explain the CIA’s involvement in the attempted coup. But JFK was forced to admit his spy agency was out of his control. De Gaulle’s dramatic effort to save French democracy in spring 1961 — which included Kennedy’s offer to order U.S. troops stationed in Europe to fire on mutinous French soldiers — reads like a heart-pounding political thriller.

In private, Kennedy vowed to clean house at the CIA — and even considered plans to rename the agency, break it up, and establish firmer control over its rogue operations. But JFK didn’t move strongly enough to rid his presidency of deep state infiltrators and enemies. Kennedy’s own national security advisor — McGeorge Bundy — was just one of the Dulles loyalists who surrounded the besieged president. Even Dulles himself continued to effectively run the CIA from his home in Georgetown after being fired.

Kennedy wasn’t ruthless enough about wielding power and in the end, as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. — the historian and Kennedy White House aide — later told me, “We didn’t control the CIA or the Pentagon.” Nor did President Kennedy control his State Department — or more ominously his Secret Service when he flew to Dallas in November 1963. By then the Kennedy presidency had shrunk to a handful of trusted advisors — his brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, speechwriter Theodore Sorensen and a few other New Frontier loyalists and trusted so-called “Irish Mafia” types, none of whom ran major federal departments.

Today, Donald Trump seems just as isolated in the White House as JFK. And making it worse for Trump, in contrast with Kennedy’s smooth, charming and patrician way of wielding presidential power, Trump immediately established himself as bull in a china shop with the Washington establishment. Trump has displayed all the grace of a New York City nightclub bouncer, alienating much of the capital’s permanent government.

On his very first full day as commander-in-chief, Trump stood on hallowed CIA ground — in front of the marble wall at Langley headquarters where 117 stars are carved to commemorate spies who died in action — and beat his chest and roared. His narcissistic performance shocked and embarrassed many CIA officials, including outgoing CIA director John Brennan — a deep-state fixture — who began his long-running open war with Trump that day.

But Donald Trump is facing a very different deep state today than JFK did. First of all, there is no monolithic deep state today. Even in Kennedy’s day, the deep state had factions. The FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover, for instance, zealously guarded his own institutional turf. And yet at extremely critical moments in those years — like November 1963 — it was possible for the deep state to act in relative concert. Nowadays, however, the deep state is a much more disparate ecosystem. Especially after 9/11, the security-industrial complex has metastasized, becoming an enormous cluster of agencies and officials and private contractors and power centers. As a result, there is no equivalent today of an Allen Dulles — one central power player who can build a consensus of opinion within the national security community, let alone act decisively to unseat a president.

John Brennan clearly spoke for many CIA officials, past and present, by denouncing Trump’s shamelessly dishonest performance at Langley that afternoon in January 2017. For instance, at one point during Trump’s anti-media rant that day, he bragged about the “one and a half million people” who attended his inauguration when it was really about 200,000 people. Trump brazenly lied while standing in front of a marble wall where Dulles had ordered this famous Biblical inscription carved in marble: “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Of course, the fact that a consummate liar like Allen Dulles chose this passage from the Bible shows the CIA’s ironic relationship with the truth.

In any case, while spymasters like Brennan were immediately targeting Trump, he was moving forcefully to sideline these enemies — he would later strip Brennan of his prized national security clearance — while also aggressively courting favor with the spy agency’s hardline elements. That first day at Langley, he attacked the media for trying to drive a wedge between him and the intelligence community. Instead, he vowed that he would unleash the CIA’s darkest forces — and many of the 400 agency employees gathered to hear him loudly cheered. Playing to the espionage crowd, Trump broadly hinted that he would loosen the rules on torture put in place under President Barack Obama, promising to wipe “radical Islamic terrorism … off the face of the earth” and pledging his full backing to the CIA.

“I am so behind you,” Trump crowed, adding, “You’re gonna get so much backing. Maybe you’re gonna say, please, don't give us so much backing, Mr. President, please, we don’t need that much backing.”

Trump’s vow to let the CIA run wild was especially unnerving because many critics felt that the spy agency was already lawless during John Brennan’s tenure, when drone assassinations were sharply escalated. Brennan was also implicated in the CIA’s post 9/11 reign of torture and as CIA director had tried to suppress the Senate report on these crimes.

True to his word at Langley that day, Trump would later appoint the even more infamous Gina Haspel as CIA director, despite her own close association with the agency’s barbaric anti-terror program. Haspel had overseen a notorious “black site” in Thailand — where terror suspects were subjected to frequent waterboarding and other torture techniques — and then had attempted to cover up her crimes. But Trump saw Haspel as the kind of bold leader that his unleashed CIA required.

Trump and his weaponized Attorney General William Barr have also browbeat the FBI so successfully that the bureau shivers at his every tweet. So cowed is the FBI that it only subjected Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the most cursory investigation after he was credibly charged with sex crimes. Meanwhile Trump has pumped up the budgets of domestic police organizations like ICE and empowered their agents to conduct raids on communities far from the Mexican border.

This is the Trump method. He positions himself as a diehard enemy of the deep state, attacking its top generals and security officials — while at the same time lavishly increasing their budgets and encouraging rogue, bloodthirsty warriors in the middle ranks. Pentagon spending is now so high that even Trump calls it “crazy” – but he keeps pushing the military and intelligence budgets to historic levels each year. Call it shrewd or hugely wasteful. But this presidential two-step has kept the deep state divided and conquered.

Trump has repeatedly clashed with top military brass, starting with his former Defense Secretary, General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, whom — Trump was soon disappointed to discover — did not live up to his ruthless nickname and was inclined to value diplomacy over butchery. When Mattis convened Trump’s military high command in a Pentagon secure room – a desperate effort to school the president about the importance of alliances and negotiations — Trump launched into a tirade, denouncing his top generals as a “bunch of dopes and babies” who were incapable of winning wars. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — the former chief of Exxon and another high-ranking member of the deep state — famously declared Trump “a fucking moron” after the president’s tantrum that day. But both Mattis and Tillerson — two of the so-called “grownups” whom the Washington establishment was counting on to supervise the reckless Trump — are now long gone, along with most of Trump’s other deep-state minders.

And this is the second difference between Trump and Kennedy. Trump has moved much more forcefully — with the lethal swiftness of a tyrant — to rid his administration of enemies and threats. He has the instincts of a mob boss, instead of JFK’s princely sensibility.

We saw Trump’s dual strategy toward his armed forces with the controversial case of Navy SEAL platoon leader Edward Gallagher. A little over a year ago, Gallagher was standing trial for committing war crimes in Iraq — including brutally stabbing to death an unarmed captive and shooting two civilians with his sniper rifle — an old man and a young girl — seemingly for sport. Gallagher, who stood accused of these crimes by his own appalled men, went from a brig in San Diego to become a Fox News hero and Mar-a-Lago special guest, because Trump championed him as “the ultimate American fighter.” When the Navy tried to demote Gallagher after he escaped punishment for his murderous actions, Trump again intervened to rescue Gallagher, blocking the top admiral of the U.S. Navy.

Trump’s blatant disruption of military protocol has created a fraught relationship with his top brass. But he has become a wildly popular hero with the most gung-ho elements of the military, including middle-rank officers like Gallagher and other real-life “mad dogs.”

While President Kennedy tried to pacify the most bellicose elements of the U.S. military, Trump has unchained them. And this is perhaps the main difference between the two presidents. JFK tried to restrain the deep state. Trump, while making a show of standing up to the deep state, has vastly empowered it, expanding its budget and lethality. He campaigned in 2016 to end America’s endless wars in the Middle East, but has only deepened our military involvement there, tying the U.S. even closer to the militaristic governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and sending 5,000 more troops to the region in December in addition to the 50,000 already there.

Trump has also unleashed the worst authoritarian instincts of the deep state, promoting the spread of Orwellian surveillance technology across America. And he has thrown into prison those few courageous dissidents who have struck blows against the U.S. empire – including Chelsea Manning, who was re-incarcerated by Trump after being freed by President Obama, and Julian Assange, an Australian activist-journalist who is being treated with the punitive force of a top American traitor.

And so, in the end, the top security officials in Washington have decided they can put up with their commander-in-chief’s periodic temper tantrums. Because he has made their war-and-surveillance juggernaut more powerful – and less subject to civilian oversight – than any other U.S. president.

Finally, of course, we have witnessed Trump’s impeachment in the House, his predictable acquittal in the Senate – thanks to a Republican Party that’s now entirely in his thrall – and the emboldening of his despotic rule as we head into a very fraught election year.

The anti-Trump faction within the deep state tried – but failed – to constitutionally bring him down. Again demonstrating that the deep state is not monolithic, it was anonymous CIA operatives within the Trump White House – working closely with CIA-friendly Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the one-time ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee – who initiated the impeachment process by blowing a loud whistle over Trump’s shady Ukraine machinations.

By the way, House impeachment leader Schiff is associated with the CIA’s analytical wing, the intellectual staff which has traditionally been more attuned to the local dynamics of the countries where the spy agency operates – as opposed to the CIA’s action wing, whose officials are prone to strike first and think later, which is Trump’s style.

The reaction of the intelligent division of the intelligence community to Trump’s Senate acquittal was one of great alarm. MSNBC analyst Jeremy Bash, who was chief of staff of the Defense Department and the CIA under President Obama, responded to Trump’s triumph on Capitol Hill by warning that it would invite more foreign interference in our election process by rival countries like Russia ad China. As I say, this is the more sophisticated wing of the national security establishment, but contrarily it’s a faction more wedded than Trump to belligerent confrontation with former Cold War enemies.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out whom to root for these days in the “Bizarro World” of Washington power.

So, let us consider the deepening dilemma that Trump faced in the last few months:

• The CIA – or at least the analytical faction within the CIA – in open rebellion against a clearly power-abusing president with suspicious foreign ties.

• A Congressional investigation fueled by the testimony of honorable foreign service and military veterans, who detailed how he had violated his oath of office by pursuing his political interests ahead of national interests.

• A Washington press corps in frenzied attack mode.

• And then, as the Senate was hearing the case against Trump, former national security adviser John Bolton – a prominent member of the deep state’s belligerent wing — threw his own Ukraine grenade into the proceedings.

In the Watergate era, all this would have amounted to a perfect storm for Trump and his White House days would’ve been numbered. But like Houdini, Trump has burst all these chains and wriggled out of the steel chest in which he was locked by his political enemies. His miraculous political escape – and the humiliating debacle of the Democratic nomination process in Iowa last week – has actually pumped up Trump’s popularity in new polls and cast an ominous cloud over Election 2020.

So this might be the final lesson about today’s deep state. It is no longer capable of a perfect storm – an ominous cloud burst and thunder barrage that can drive the most powerful man in the country from office. Instead, today’s deep state has become what scholar Peter Dale Scott – who first coined the term in this country – calls a “weather system.” Vast and all-encompassing, the deep state is capable of numerous weather events and climate changes. And it can’t be controlled by any single weatherman or weather bureau.

With his gangster-like instincts for survival, Trump has stayed one step ahead of a deep state cataclysm. He has not only bought and seduced the support of the most extreme elements within the national security complex, he has built a strong base among the most equally extreme sectors of capitalism. Gambling moguls, real estate sharks, Wall Street buccaneers, coal, oil and gas polluters. U.S. robber barons with shady connections to Russian oligarchs and Middle East despots.

President Kennedy often antagonized Big Business – as during the 1962 steel crisis, when he forced steel manufacturers to abide by their price controls pact with the government by playing Kennedy-style hardball with the steel magnates. After U.S. Steel violated its deal with the government, JFK threatened to terminate the company’s lucrative Defense Department contracts. And his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, raided the company’s executive offices, sending FBI agents to paw through the businessmen’s files and desks.

By contrast, President Trump’s administration is pursuing a policy of radical corporatism, slashing corporate taxes and regulations, including many fundamental consumer and environmental protections. Last week, for instance, the New York Times reported that drugstore chains are now operating with such wild abandon that many responsible pharmacists are appealing for more regulation, warning health officials that they are dispensing too many wrong prescriptions and putting their customers at risk under the relentless pressures of the pharmaceutical marketplace.

We live in the darkest of times. Many progressives – including me – found ourselves cheering for the deep state’s attempted regime change in Washington and mourning its defeat. That’s how grim the situation has become — when a longtime critic of the deep state like me finds myself glued to MSNBC each night, with its never-ending parade of former national security talking heads, all targeting Trump.

Donald Trump is what Bobby Kennedy feared long ago in his aggressive battle against organized crime: a gangster in the highest office. The rampant corruption of his presidency reflects the growing arrogance and depravity of the deep state itself. Emboldened by the national security assassinations of President Kennedy, his brother Bobby, Martin Luther King Jr. and other 1960s visionary leaders who could’ve led America in a more enlightened direction, the deep state ultimately created its own Frankenstein and installed him in the White House.

From John Kennedy to Donald Trump. From the New Frontier to the New Dark Ages. That, in the end, is the story of the Deep State — Then and Now.

* * *

IF YOUR AMERICAN CHIEF be a man of ambition and abilities, how easy is it would be for him to render himself absolute! The president can prescribe the terms on which he shall reign master, and what have you to oppose this force? My great objection to this government is that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights or of waging war against tyrants.

— Patrick Henry, arguing against ratification of the US Constitution as written

* * *



  1. Harvey Reading February 12, 2020

    ED NOTE:

    Thanks for adding the note. Saved me several keystrokes.

    • Stephen Rosenthal February 12, 2020


  2. chuck dunbar February 12, 2020

    Re: Ed Notes, Monday 2-10-20 (Better late than never)

    Bruce asserted:

    “CHILDREN’S PROTECTIVE SERVICES units are America’s clearest example of class warfare. In Mendocino County, as everywhere else, decisions to break up under-class families occur behind closed doors “for the protection of the child,” authorities claim. Typically, though, the children do in fact need protecting, but in practice bouncing them from foster home to foster home until they’re 18 then booting them out the door as funding for them ceases is nearly as psychologically damaging to state-raised children as the hellish homes they’re extracted from. The Mendo helping pros inspire zero confidence generally, and the CPS apparatuses’ ability to make intelligent, humane decisions inspire (in me) even less confidence. But our judges simply sign off on whatever this dubious apparat puts in front of them and on and on it goes. I’d like to see custody hearings opened up to the public and have juries make the final decision.”

    Bruce, from time to time you issue similar “proclamations,” about Mendocino County CPS interventions, generally offering slim to zero factual evidence based on any kind of diligent journalistic investigation. I’ve responded critically in the past to your one-sided assertions, speaking as a former CPS supervisor in our county, and I’ll do so again here. Bluntly put, it’s damned aggravating to see you spread half-truths and take semi-ignorant pot-shots at CPS staff and others in the system.

    While there are kernels of truth in some of your assertions, they are never the entire picture, which is much more complex (and actually results in many successful CPS interventions), than you ever convey. And you are just plain wrong about some issues. An example: It is not true that dependent foster children are “boot(ed)…out the door” at 18. For years now (since 2012 to 2014 in stages according to age), non-minor dependent children (18 to 21) have been eligible for transitional living services and financial aid from CPS. Such young adults must meet certain worthy criteria to engage in this program, like employment and educational endeavors. It’s an important and needed system improvement, for sure. (See Cal W & I Code section 11403). I’ll add here that in my last several years with CPS on the coast, we had a wonderful social worker who loved working with teens and young adults (she’d worked with this age group her entire career). She was very successful in guiding and shepherding our older CPS foster children into adulthood; it was remarkable and heartening to see.
    As to dependent children “bouncing” from foster home to foster home, that surely happens in some cases, but it’s certainly a good minority of cases. And there’s not a social worker who doesn’t know the damaging results of multiple placements for a child; we all worked hard to avoid that for our children. The law points CPS toward priority placements with relatives or others closely connected to children. Such placements often, but not always, lead to a good, lasting placement. And, of course, some parents succeed in services within reasonable time limits and reunify with their children, so they’re not stuck in the system.

    As to dependency judges “simply sign(ing) off on whatever this dubious apparat puts in front of them,” how can you seriously assert that, never having been allowed as a journalist, per state law, in a dependency court? (BTW, an inartful phrase—that “dubious apparat.”) The answer, of course, is you’ve heard-tell, by hearsay, rumor and such. That’s not good enough, though, to state it as fact in your role as a professional journalist. I was in many, many such hearings over 18 years, and the judges I witnessed making tough calls in cases—Lehan, Brown, Mayfield, LaCasse, Nelson, and others were not pushovers who easily or obediently accepted any social worker’s judgment. Many times in hearings I was sharply questioned, and I witnessed many other social workers and supervisors questioned, by judges, as well as counsel for parents and children. Hard, agonizing decisions are made in dependency court—there are most often no perfect answers to be had. My experience was that all parties, especially the judges making the final call, took these matters to heart, struggled diligently with complex circumstances and did their utmost to do well by families and children.

    Well, this is long, but I’ll end with a challenge for the Mighty AVA: Why not assign Marilyn Davin, a skilled journalist and experienced interviewer, to interview those who have worked in the system (former dependency court judges, county counsel for dependency court, CPS leadership staff and social workers, attorneys for parents and children), as well as some ex-CPS parents and children. It’d be a big, long project, but it would be a public service—Skilled and thorough journalism leading to clear facts highlighting real problems in the system, as well what parts of the system work well for families and children. What say you, Bruce?

    • Bruce Anderson February 12, 2020

      Marilyn, to your battle station! PS In fact, Chuck, as a long-time foster parent I read many case files and experienced first hand how the system worked. PPS As for the judges you named, two, Brown and Lehan, should never have had authority to judge anything more complicated than a Ukiah chili contest. If ever a system needed to be pried open to the public, it’s this one.

      • James Marmon February 12, 2020

        Mayfield, LaCasse, and Nelson, I served in the Court Unit while all three of them heard dependency cases. None of them have my respect. They let the Agency run all over families and became willing participants in aiding the expansion of the “Redwood Empire” into the monster it is today.

        James Marmon MSW
        Former Social Worker V
        Mendocino Family and Children’s Services (Court Unit)

        • James Marmon February 12, 2020

          Those judges all knew that federal money didn’t kick in and start flowing until kids were actually removed from the parents and they did there best to help out. That incentive didn’t change until Trump’s “Family First Prevention Services Act” was signed into law.

          “The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act on February 9, 2018. This act reforms the federal child welfare financing streams, Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, to provide services to families who are at risk of entering the child welfare system. The bill aims to prevent children from entering foster care by allowing federal reimbursement for mental health services, substance use treatment, and in-home parenting skill training. It also seeks to improve the well-being of children already in foster by incentivizing states to reduce placement of children in congregate care.”

          • chuck dunbar February 12, 2020

            James, I don’t think a single one of our dependency judges were corrupt. And that is what it would have taken for a judge to detain children in foster care for the sole purpose of funding CPS services. I just do not believe that.

            But, you are dead right in noting the positive change made by the Family First Prevention Services Act. CPS Intervention at an early stage to help families get their act together and prevent foster care placement makes great sense, how could we believe otherwise?

            • James Marmon February 12, 2020

              Former Senator Nancy Schaefer before she was murdered

              Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system. I have come to the conclusion:

              “…• that caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored;

              • that the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets;

              • that Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing. There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid! There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors,caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue that holds “the system” together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney…”


              James Marmon MSW
              Former Social Worker V
              Mendocino Family and Children’s Services
              (Court Unit)

              • James Marmon February 12, 2020

                Chuck, that’s the CPS I remember, working in Ukiah and Willits. Camille didn’t have very many foster care homes on the Coast, so they didn’t care if you detained, in fact, they preferred that you didn’t.

      • chuck dunbar February 12, 2020

        My sincere appreciation to you, Bruce, for your long years of service to children as a foster parent. It’s a challenging role, and an unsung one. We had a good many very fine foster parents on the coast over the years, though never enough, and it always felt good to place a child with these folks. Some others, unfortunately, were not as sound or reliable, but most of these fell by the wayside over time.

        I’ll say this as an overall perspective on the Child Welfare System: Though it’s clearly an imperfect one, coming up against constraints and difficulties imposed by society at large–poverty, drugs, broken culture and stressed family systems, on and on–still, year after year, changes for the better are made. The system became a better one–by far–over my years there. Our county struggles still with social worker shortages and high turnover, as I and others have noted here. I’ve written long pieces here about my own criticisms of CPS, but I try to base my views on facts, personal knowledge and reliable information, and try to minimally keep up on the positive system changes (like the 18-21 services for non-minor dependents noted in my above piece).

        If you really do put Marilyn on the job “to pry open” the system to some extent, consider beginning with current Deputy County Counsel Jeremy Meltzer, a thoughtful, caring attorney who served valiantly for years as a counsel to parents in dependency court. His general thoughts and analysis, not extending, of course, to any discussion of actual cases, would be enlightening. He’s now been on both sides of the system, a valuable perspective.

      • Marilyn Davin February 12, 2020

        I’m flattered by the observation and request, but unfortunately I have been relegated to the media blacklist that HHS maintains these days. The last couple of requests I have made for comment – both concerning policy matters that all county agencies should be required to respond to for fear of official sanction, at least in my humble opinion – have been answered by a department secretary to the effect that “No one in leadership wishes to speak with you.” There is evidently no commitment whatsoever to informing the public of HHS’s inner workings, which so directly affect the most vulnerable and impoverished among us. Having said that, if any of the individuals alluded to above are willing to step out of the shadows to speak with me, they can reach me confidentially through the AVA (though I do not promise blanket anonymity to sources, depending upon the circumstance). I am still in awe of the fired career social worker who took on HHS’s shoddy practices a while back. He spent hours with me, patiently going over backlogs and other failings, and was the architect of an early Grand Jury report on them. He was the primary breadwinner for his wife and disabled son and showed tremendous courage in seeking me out. I never ignore the price a source may have to pay by talking with me.

        • chuck dunbar February 12, 2020

          Thanks, Marilyn, for your comments on HHS and their utter failure to cooperate with media representatives. It doesn’t surprise me, as they seem to believe they’re beyond reach and reproach, a nasty, disrespectful, really indefensible position for a public agency. The BOS should address and change this, but that would be surprising, probably won’t happen. Good for that brave social worker who worked with you. The County does often maltreat staff and loses many good, caring employees who finally say no to that.

  3. James Marmon February 12, 2020


    Ted’s got the “Redwood Empire” scurrying around trying to come up with some meaningful numbers but they’re not doing a very good job of it. However, one number, 50 hospitalizations a month is not enough to justify building a 16 bed PHF Unit. Especially when most of those folks are discharged within 72 hours, many the very next day once they clear. More beds don’t necessarily mean more hospitalizations because of the LPS laws that limit who can be involuntary committed, don’t be fooled. Besides, Allman’s mental health jail will be completed next year which will mitigate the concern he had when he first proposed a tax for a PHF unit to the voters. At the time he pushed Measure B tax he didn’t know he was getting the 45 million dollar grant to build his new mental health wing at the jail. News of the grant came just a month before the election, but no one told voters until after they voted and measure b passed.

    What people are getting tired of is that they’re not seeing things are getting any better. Instead numbers and the “Redwood Empire” keep growing and growing with no end in sight. The question now isn’t how many people are being served, it’s about how well they’re being served? It’s time for meaningful results or find some new providers who focus on positive outcomes and not just the distribution of funds among bottom feeders (non-profits).

    James Marmon MSW

  4. Harvey Reading February 12, 2020


    Brain-dead, vicious old man tottering up a ladder.

  5. Cotdbigun February 12, 2020

    Re: It’s grownup time ! You’re talking about the Democrats Peter and you’re absolutely right, but it’ll take years if not forever. Learning how to count and basic social skills ( temper tantrums) should be on top of the list. Not sure how to start second grade.

  6. Bill Pilgrim February 12, 2020

    RE: Jane Futcher & the wandering cruise ship.
    A report this morning says the ship has been allowed to dock at a port in Cambodia.

  7. Lazarus February 12, 2020


    Power and money are no guarantee of style or good taste.

    As always,

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