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MCT: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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MILD AND VIRTUALLY RAIN FREE weather is expected for the remainder of this week. (NWS)

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In last week’s issue of the AVA, Bob Abeles took issue with the flyer that the AVCSD sent AV residents about the health issue posed by contaminated wells in Boonville. Bob contends that the science is inadequate because we didn’t randomly choose the wells that were tested. Perhaps Bob would have us hire a sampling statistician at great expense to develop an area sampling plan to select wells for testing. Challenge the science!

This is the same pseudo-scientific arguments that the big tobacco companies used to fight regulations around smoking.

Bob accuses us of FUDing—instilling Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Perhaps Bob isn’t aware that the septic problems and contaminated wells have been an issue since 1974 when the County’s Department of Public Health “…conducted a sanitary survey in Boonville in order to determine the health problem that exists.” The health officer at the time — R. L. Holtzer, M.D. — concluded that, “Due to many of the buildings being constructed years ago on small lots (before the lot size ordinance) corrections can only be made by the installation of public sewers… The periodic outbreak of infectious hepatitis in the area is not surprising due to the above data.” (You can read the complete report on the AVCSD website.)

The Executive Director of the Anderson Valley Health Clinic also informed me that coliform can also cause skin infections and diarrhea. To my mind periodic outbreaks of infections hepatitis, skin infections, and diarrhea are serious problems.

It seems that Bob is now only becoming aware of the current Water/Wastewater initiative that has been moving slowly forward since 2014. How slowly would he have the Community move on this serious health issue? So, in my humble opinion the person really trying to sow doubt is Bob Abeles.

The AVCSD plans to hold a workshop in the near future to make the Community aware of the health issues posed by contaminated wells. Stay tuned and get the real facts.

Francois Christen, Board Member, AVCSD


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General registration for the 31st Annual Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference (MCWC) will open March 1st. Seats are filled on a first-come, first served basis; many workshops are expected to fill prior to June 30, when registration closes. Held in Mendocino from July 30-August 1st, this vibrant three-day conference offers workshops for emerging and established writers, craft seminars, panels, one-on-one consultations and networking events. MCWC provides an encouraging and inspiring literary community for writers of all ages and experience levels. Visiting literary faculty this summer will include: Anita Felicelli (Short Fiction), Gabe Habash (Novel), Rahawa Haile (Nonfiction), Christine Hyung-Oak Lee (Memoir), Kij Johnson (Speculative Fiction), Kerry Madden-Lunsford (MG/YA), Tomas Moniz (Emerging Writers), Michelle Peñaloza (Poetry), and Susan Stinson (Historical Fiction), with agents Ayesha Pande and Marya Spence, and editor Shirin Yim Leos. Applications are also open for the Master Class, taught this year by Julie Buntin, award winning author, editor-at-large at Catapult, and creative writing instructor at the University of Michigan. For further details about the MCWC please visit

Submitted by Karen Winn, Board Member, Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference. or (916) 835-7215

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VARIETY SHOW 2020: Since I relocated to the Anderson Valley, February has become an exciting time for me. The days are noticeably longer, daffodils are blooming, and the Anderson Valley Variety Show is approaching! An injection of creativity animates our community as people from all walks of life share a little bit of themselves with us. The annual Variety Show is something that is truly unique to the Valley. Sure, other places might try to host something similar, but nowhere in the world is there a group of people so irreverent and kind, and capable of such zany humor and general silliness. Our Variety Show audience may be the world's most forgiving, which makes it the perfect venue for aspiring talent. Our acceptance of each other allows for truly joyful exploration, and the result is a show that is not to be missed!

This year's 30th annual Variety Show will be at the grange the first weekend in March, on Friday and Saturday nights. There will be tickets available a week ahead of time at Lemon's and Anderson Valley Markets, and there will be tickets available at the door. Everyone holding a ticket will be admitted, although seating is limited, so come to the grange early if you'd like a seat. The party in the grange parking lot is part of the fun, there's locally made food for sale, all your friends will be there, and raffle tickets will be available to purchase. Proceeds go directly to our community.

The Variety Show is one of the best aspects of living here. It is for and by our Valley People. If you or someone you know has something to share onstage, please call Captain Rainbow at 895-3807 immediately. Rehearsals are the weekend before the show, which is soon!

(Robyn Spector McCallister)

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Dear Editor:

Regarding the reader who wrote of my KZYX interview, I’ll keep in short and sweet.

First, the interviewer, Sarah Reith, KZYX News Director, was far from objective. She is best buds with Alicia Bales, KZYX Program director.

I took Ms. Bales on in a $96,000 patronage job scandal. The job was being created for Bales by her landlord and friend, 2nd District Supervisor John McCowen. The item was buried in the Consent Calendar. The entire episode was one of the most shameful in County history. If anyone needs proof about the Bales-McCowen connection, I’ll post a video from that Board of Surpervisors (BOS) meeting where Bales and McCowen are swooning in each others arms during a break at the meeting. They look like lovers. Frames from the video remind me of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” — certainly not a Mendocino County BOS meeting.

Second, the interviewer, Sarah Reith, is the romantic partner of Stuart Campbell. Stuart Campbell is the former KZYX head honcho who was best buds with the KZYX head honcho who preceded him — John Coate.

I took on both Campbell and Coate in complaints to the FCC and Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The FCC substantiated my complaint about the station offices and studio being unattended during business hours. The CPB substantiated my complaint about incomplete and inaccurate IRS Form 990s.

In the acknowledgments of her trashy novel, “A Schedule of Drugs in the Valley of Death”, Reith calls Campbell, “the love of my life.” (Ugh.)

There’s more. In her bio of the book jacket, Reith also describes herself as the “child of a circus family” and a “former high-end call girl”. The novel is a thinly disguised autobiography. I’ll quote from it:

“Isobel Reinhardt is a hot mess. The daughter of a wire-walker turned federal fugitive and a high-end sex worker who likes to call herself a feminist, Isobel has failed decisively at everything she’s tried. So she comes to Mendocino County to grow pot for a woman who knows all her family secrets. When she narrowly escapes arrest while delivering pot, Isobel does a quick risk assessment and decides it’s time to get a legitimate job. Without a marketable skill set or a well-developed resume…[blah blah blah].”

Dear Lord!

Isobel Reinhardt is the KZYX News Director!

This is Mendocino County, folks! A lot of folks are simply nuts. Others are corrupt, lazy, mean. They organize themselves into tribes. Things are tribal here.

If polarizing people like Sarah Reith, Alicia Bales, John Coate, and John McCowen — and their tribes — is what I do, then so be it. If elected 1st District Supervisor, I’ll always call it like I see it based on facts, critical thinking, and good judgement — just like the AVA and Redheaded Blackbelt, and a few others, try to do.

Incidentally, given my history with all of the above, what current KZYX head honcho Marty Durlin should have done, is gone outside of the station and found someone who could have objectively interviewed me.

Finally, some fact-checking.

I don’t have a “girlfriend”. I have a campaign manager. She also co-host my radio show at KMUD. Her name is Mary.

And Mary is Shannon’s tenant in El Dorado. Shannon and I live with Mary since our two sons graduated college and went off to sea with the United States Sealift Command and Crowley Marine.

Shannon and I are happy Mary lives with us. She pays rent. She a good dog sitter to our three whippets. And she is a good caretaker of our home.

I love the people of Mendocino County, and I can’t wait to represent their best interests.

I know the people from Mendocino County from 20 years of living here, working at the Sheriff’s Office, serving on three grand juries, serving on the Retirement Board, serving on the County RDA Successor Agency Board, serving on the Sanitation District Board, hosting radio shows at KZYX, KMEC, and KMUD, and raising two sons here, one of whom is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves and the other who is a deck officer with the U.S. Military Sealift Command. Both got Congressional nominations.

John Sakowicz, Candidate, 1st District Supervisor


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From “hippies in the woods” to a pre-SolarCity IPO, Real Goods Solar was a pioneer in the U.S. industry. It quietly filed for bankruptcy in January.

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by David Wilson

Gradually, particle by particle, it grew in size. Through the eons its body filled out, increasing mass infinitesimally with each random mote and flake that settled onto its surface.

In its youth it had prowled the blackness of space on the shadowy fringes of a huge vortex. With others of its kind, it had drifted lazily at a safe distance from the swirling chaos of the maelstrom, observing aloofly the orbits and eddies of ices, metals, rocks and gases in their mad circuits about the new, bright little star at the center.

Masses moving by in the unceasing night caressed it with soft tendrils of gravity, tugging and pulling at it gently, continually altering its wanderings until at last it was coaxed into a lazy path downward toward the star at the center of the busy swirl. Eventually the sun’s own gravitational influence embraced it tenderly and drew it in.

Perhaps never again would it know the relative peace of its birthplace. It had begun a new orbit, a new cycle that would plunge it inward through the busy minefield of giant planets and debris, toward the sun, around it, and back outward again. Over and over again it would repeat this cyclical, 17,000-year long trek down to the star and back out. During this endless journey it would be subjected not only to the tortures of the sun’s searing radiation at its closest approach, but to the immense gravitational pulls of the moving planets and the star about which they orbited. Its path would be influenced by the gravity of every body it passed.

Now the comet plunged toward the sun again, the star’s radiation bombarding its crust and boiling away the softer areas across its revolving surface. Pockets of volatile gases burst forth continually under the bombardment, sending streamers and jets outward until the comet’s nucleus was immersed in a fuzzy cloud of its own sloughed materials. Its course was altered ever so slightly with each jet erupting from its surface, with each chunk blasted free. Its long tail took shape as it swung down closer to the sun, the solar wind pushing dust and gas particles away from it and outward from the sun in a long glowing trail.

It passed close to the third planet, closer than it ever had before. It was no stranger to this part of the neighborhood, for the comet had passed that big blue marble many times since it was first dislodged from its old home outside the solar system. The last time it had swung by Earth some 17,000 years before, humanity had comprised a scant few millions of souls. The peopling of the Americas had only recently begun with early migrations from Asia. People had set down their stone tools and gazed in wonder with their naked eyes, or perhaps hid in their caves in fear.

Now as Comet Hyakutake approached our planet again, Earth’s billions of inhabitants trained on it the latest technological instruments and lenses that the science of the late Twentieth Century had to offer. Yet advanced as we thought ourselves to be, this spectacular comet had come out of nowhere. We had failed to even notice it until it was fewer than three months from its peak visibility; it was discovered in January of 1996, and peaked by late March. And none of us will ever see that comet again.

I’m ready for another good comet.

Note: I’m not a scientist, and where informed scientific theory failed me — or rather where I failed science — I substituted with good old-fashioned creative license. We can call it science fiction. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

“Facing the Unknown”

Comet Hyakutake glowing with its distinctive greenish hue, as photographed from Fickle Hill Road above Arcata, California. Shot on Ektar 1000 color negative film, this is an in-camera double-exposure: first I photographed Comet Hyakutake. Then, on the same piece of film, I took another photo of my friend’s face in the dark, painting blue light only onto his profile with a tiny flashlight. Can you see his profile looking down toward the left? That is no “Horseshoe Nebula;” it’s his nostril! Above his nostril is the ridge of his eyebrow, and below the nostril are his lips, and at the bottom, his chin. Or maybe you had to be there. Anyway, it was all very cosmic. Humboldt County, California. March, 1996.


This Hyakutake fan art I made from my photo of the comet combined with other photographs of various places and objects I found on California’s North Coast. While I shot the original comet on 35mm film, I photographed the rest of the parts digitally some years later. Created September, 2008.

(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit or contact him at his website or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx.)

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MENDOCINO WINEGROWERS reports that the total value of the Mendocino crop for 2019 was about $113 million, down approximately 18% from 2018. Reasons cited: oversupply from a huge harvest in 2018, flat sales, resulting in “many growers without grape contracts had little choice but leave fruit hanging.”

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THERE have been eerily summer-like Februaries before, but packed onto the prevalent apocalyptic vibe out there, this weather seems merely like a natural part of The Great Awry.

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MILD EARTHQUAKE jolted many of us near the coast Sunday afternoon shortly after 3 pm. Epicenter was near the coast of Irish Beach. 2.9 mag. But felt on Signal Ridge and even Boonville.

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WINE ROAD? We were not particularly surprised to see that Visit Mendocino refers to Highway 128 as “Wine Road,” listing 31 commercial tasting rooms from Yorkville Cellars on one end to Lula Cellars near Navarro. “Stop in at any of the many friendly tasting rooms along the Highway 128 Wine Road to experience some of the finest wines of Mendocino County, along with exceptional hospitality.” … And that’s not all: “Of course, there are plenty of other wineries that you can visit by appointment only.” Followed by the alcohol industry’s standard disclaimer: “Enjoy the Wine Road and remember to drink responsibly.” (Mark Scaramella)

YEARS AGO, when there were only a dozen or so tasting rooms strung out along 128, my brother and I persuaded Pilar Duran to serve as our designated driver as we set out to sample the vino, beginning in Yorkville. We never got to Navarro, because by the time we got to Husch in Philo we were swigging straight from a bottle of Edmeades. The point of the experiment, besides getting blotto on free booze, was to make the point that the Wine Road makes for an even more dangerous stretch of highway, what with tipsy tourists added to the ordinary crazy driving characteristic of 128.

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CENSUS WORKERS NEEDED. Holly Ugulano is the U S Census recruiting person for the Mendocino Coast. While the number of people who have been hired has risen in the County, the areas of Comptche, Boonville, Philo are still VERY LOW. She was asking for us to get the word out again about these positions. The pay rate has increased to $18.00 per hour. If you know of anyone who would be interested or a way to get the word out, please do so! Please contact for further information

Apply at

TRANSLATION: You, too, can walk up lonely dirt roads by yourself to quiz remote clusters of hostile, furtive citizens, gingerly making your way through pit bulls and gun emplacements to knock on fortified doors. “Hi, I’m from the government and I’d like to ask you some questions.”

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IN THE RECENT, hard fought KZYX board election, Robert Bushansky was re-seated by acclamation, as were Bob Bushansky; R. Bob Bushansky; Bobby Bushansky; Bobbie Bushansky; Robert R. Bushansky; Robbie Bushansky; R. Bushansky; and Bobby R. B. Bushansky.


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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 US 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 Superintendent 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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FORMER SHERIFF TOM ALLMAN suffered a stalker when he was wearing the badge, and he seems to still be the object of Adam Aldrich's obsession, which has now morphed into lawyers and court appearances, with the former Sheriff taking out a temporary restraining order against Aldrich, and Aldrich postponing the restraining order hearing while he lawyers up.

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Contrails — Persistent contrails don't indicate anything nefarious, just high moisture aloft.

There were many contrails in the sky Monday. That's because the temperature and humidity conditions at flight altitude favor persistent condensation trails, or contrails. Contrails are formed when the hot exhaust gases from jet engines, rich in water vapor from burning hydrocarbon fuel, are chilled and visible water droplets form from condensation. When humidity is high at flight altitude, those droplets evaporate slowly or not at all, remaining visible. When humidity is low up there, those droplets soon evaporate into invisible water vapor and the contrails disappear.

Here is a link to a map from Flightaware showing commercial aircraft in flight off our coast. KLLR is the abbreviation for Little River Airport.

You may need to zoom out 2-3 times to get a wider picture.

You'll see aircraft icons following a common path leading northwest off our coast and heading past Cape Mendocino. If you hover your cursor over one of the icons it will pop up info about which airline it is. If you click on the icon it will go to a page that shows more information, including the airline, flight number, takeoff location and time, landing location and time, and the flight path on the map that it plans to follow.

Yes, there are dozens of flights between the U.S. and Asia, and most of them go right close to the coast as they follow the shortest route to their destinations.

Flights from the US to Asia typically leave in the morning, for the convenience of passengers. So there is a morning rush of many airliners, and fewer are outbound during the afternoon. However there is an evening rush too, of inbound airliners.

(Nick Wilson)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, February 17, 2020

Brendlen, Hildreth, Hillejames

MARCIE BRENDLEN, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

LAUREN HILDRETH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOSEPH HILLEJAMES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Lilly, Miller, Mize

MATASHIA LILLY, Willits. Contempt of court.

JEREMY MILLER, Cloverdale/Talmage. Grand theft, conspiracy, resisting, false ID, failure to appear.

JONNIE MIZE, Ukiah. Dumping commercial quanitites, trespassing, polluting state waters, paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Payne, Pineda, Roberts

GEORGE PAYNE, Browns Valley/Willits. Battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MIGUEL PINEDA, Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance, probation revocation.

CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

Sklenar, Stafford, Vega-Ayala

ELIZABETH SKLENAR, Little River. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

WADE STAFFORD, Ukiah. Driving without license.

MYCHELL VEGA-AYALA, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.

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by Norman Solomon

More than ever, Bernie Sanders is public enemy number one for power elites that thrive on economic injustice. The Bernie 2020 campaign is a direct threat to the undemocratic leverage that extremely wealthy individuals and huge corporations constantly exert on the political process. No wonder we’re now seeing so much anti-Bernie rage from leading corporate Democrats -- eagerly amplified by corporate media.

In American politics, hell hath no fury like corporate power scorned.

Flagrant media biases against Sanders are routine in a wide range of mainstream outlets. (The media watch group FAIR has long documented the problem, illuminated by one piece after another after another after another just this month.) In sharp contrast, positivity toward Sanders in mass media spheres is scarce.

The pattern is enmeshed with the corporatism that the Sanders campaign seeks to replace with genuine democracy — disempowering great wealth and corporate heft while empowering everyday people to participate in a truly democratic process.

Big media are continually amplifying the voices of well-paid reporters and pundits whose jobs involve acceptance of corporate power, including the prerogatives of corporate owners and sponsors. And, in news coverage of politics, there’s an inexhaustible supply of former Democratic officeholders and appointees who’ve been lucratively feeding from corporate troughs as lobbyists, consultants and PR operatives. Their corporate ties usually go unmentioned.

An important media headquarters for hostility toward the Sanders campaign is MSNBC, owned by Comcast — a notoriously anti-labor and anti-consumer corporation. “People need to remember,” I pointed out on Democracy Now! last week, “that if you, for instance, don’t trust Comcast, why would you trust a network that is owned by Comcast? These are class interests being worked out where the top strata of ownership and investors hires the CEO, hires the managing editors, hires the reporters. And so, what we’re seeing, and not to be rhetorical about it, but we really are seeing a class war underway.”

Routinely, the talking heads and go-to sources for mainline news outlets are far removed from the economic pressures besetting so many Americans. And so, media professionals with the most clout and largest megaphones are quite distant from the Sanders base.

Voting patterns in the New Hampshire primary reflected whose economic interests the Sanders campaign is promising to serve. With 10 active candidates on the Democratic ballot, Sanders “won 4 in 10 of voters with household incomes under $50,000 and nearly 3 in 10 with incomes between $50,00 and $99,000,” the Washington Post reported.

Meanwhile, a trio of researchers associated with the Institute for New Economic Thinking — Thomas Ferguson, Jie Chen and Paul Jorgensen — found that “the higher the town’s income, the fewer votes cast” for Sanders. “Lower income towns in New Hampshire voted heavily for Sanders; richer towns did the opposite.”

The researchers saw in the data “further dramatic evidence of a point we have made before: that the Democratic Party is now sharply divided by social class.”

It’s a reality with media implications that are hidden in plain sight. The often-vitriolic and sometimes preposterous attacks on Sanders via powerful national media outlets are almost always coming from affluent or outright wealthy people. Meanwhile, low-income Americans have virtually zero access to the TV studios (other than providing after-hours janitorial services).

With very few exceptions, the loudest voices to be heard from mass media are coming from individuals with wealth far above the financial vicinity of average Americans. Virtually none of the most widely read, seen and heard journalists are on the low end of the nation’s extreme income inequality. Viewed in that light — and keeping in mind that corporate ownership and advertising dominate mainstream media — it shouldn’t be surprising that few prominent journalists have much good to say about a presidential campaign fiercely aligned with the working class.

“If there is going to be class warfare in this country,” Bernie Sanders told the Iowa AFL-CIO convention last summer, “it’s time that the working class of this country won that war and not just the corporate elite.”

To the corporate elite, goals like that are unacceptable.

(Normon Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State." He is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

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Meanwhile here in China, the final solution to the virus problem will be to tell people to go back to work. This has already been communicated by the man in charge.

China can’t afford to shutter the country for much longer and the death rate is only 2%, mostly elderly and those in bad health. It is simply cheaper to sacrifice these and get on with the economy. China has plenty of people.

Today Shanghai is a ghost town. I took the car 15 minutes to the nearest McDonalds to get a real weekend meal and the streets were empty. A few electric bikes was all I saw. The local Carrefour was half empty and showing clear signs of empty shelves, a sign that people are hoarding.

The Western manufacturing company I work for is getting desperate to restart production and wants to send us to within a few miles of one of the most locked down cities in China. Problem is that if you test positive for fever they take you to the camp for testing. After a few days in this camp you will definitely have contracted something since anyone with a fever is removed by force to the camp. Corona, TB, cold, whatever, you are thrown into the camp with extremely limited facilities.

You must understand that the “makeshift hospitals” are not there to give you any medical care but to try to limit the contagion.

Temperature tests are carried out everywhere, when you enter a shop, a workplace or when you enter the gate to your residence.

Westerners do not have options, they will tell your consulate but that’s about it. You do not have the right to choose a private institution of your own, everyone must go to the state appointed “fever clinic”.

Another thing worth noting is that from today they have increased blocking of the VPN’s, making communication difficult.

Needless to say I have told my managers that I will not depart on such an adventure but will rather cancel my contract. There are still direct flight from here to my home country. Most other countries have blocked access to people from China.

Whatever they say this will absolutely fuck the world economy up beyond recognition. Small enterprises like restaurants are going belly up and that means lower occupancy rates in commercial real estate. Large ticket items are being postponed. Anyone who can will stay home for as long as possible. Tourism will take big hit.

The Surgeon General has said that hopefully the spread will peak this month and then level off but this will go on for a long time. I think it will take until late spring or early summer before the general public begins to understand the hit the world is taking.

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Last fall, the third most powerful figure in the U.S. government, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, had a phone call with a man who is undoubtedly one of the most hated people among her base of Democratic Party supporters: the famed consumer advocate and former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

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Class domination has not always existed in human society, but once established, social hierarchy has deeply penetrated and permeated culture to create both implicit and explicit biases for social status, for hierarchy. Returning to an egalitarian society requires both systemic-institutional change and change in our conscious and unconscious minds.

As long as class society has existed, it has been a social dominance hierarchy. Hierarchy is a social construct, used to justify domination and exploitation. Myths have always been used to justify the rule of the few over the many. Kings and Lords maintained that God gave them the authority to rule over peasants. Slave-owners declared that non-Christians could be enslaved. Today capitalists say that they are smarter and worked harder and thus have the right to privately own production and pay workers wages. They made themselves rulers, and then they sought to divide those whom they ruled.

The brutal economic system of slavery in America required social control to prevent the unity of black and white labor. The slave-owners created the lies and laws of racism. Frederick Douglas, the famous abolitionist, wrote: “The hostility between the Whites and the Blacks of the South is easily explained. It has its root and sap in the relation of slavery, and was incited on both sides by the cunning of the slave masters. Those masters secured their ascendancy over both the poor White and the Blacks by putting enmity between them. They divided both to conquer each.”

The demonizing myths of racism created a culture of race hierarchy in the general population. When industrial capitalism began to expand it used the racist ideology to divide black and white to exploit and profit from the wage worker.

Today we live in a capitalist economy where the 1% owns controlling interest in corporations, industry, finance and land, while the 99% are exploited. A few thousand years of social hierarchy has created a cultural environment where it is largely accepted as “natural”. It is “in the air”, consciously and unconsciously embedded in our culture. We generally accept the oppressive system of social dominance. Children as young as six are implicitly (unconsciously) aware of status.

Social status is widely accepted implicitly even among those who hold egalitarian world views. Studies have shown that status is more important than money.

Significantly, social status is strongly linked to fear in our brain’s emotional center. The 1% use their power to deflect and divide the 99% by promoting stereotypes and mass propaganda to dehumanize certain groups “which impact the limbic system, the primitive brain, with the powerful emotions of fear and hate.”

When status is threatened the emotion of fear is generated leading to hatred and violence. History reveals that when the 99% begin to organize for progressive social change that could create more social equality, the ruling class feels threatened. “Confrontation is inevitable — since it is invariably initiated by the forces of reaction who see their power threatened.”

A famous economist once wrote: “… the most violent, mean and malignant passions of the human breast, the Furies of private interest.”

The top down dominance of corporate capitalism continue to divide and subdivide the 99% into those who are considered worthy and those who are less worthy -- race, nation, religion, sex, immigrant, tribe and more, ad infinitum. The power systems of dominance hierarchy are built into the major institutions and organizations of society - corporations, the state, the police and the military for example. It is not a few bad apples, but “the rotten barrel of the barrel makers.”

There are those who maintain that it is “in human nature” to dominate and exploit — they say it has always been so. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anthropologists have repeatedly demonstrated that humans have lived for thousands of years in egalitarian societies. In fact many have practiced “reverse hierarchy” — those who sought to dominate as despots were punished, banished or killed.

Social hierarchy is a created oppressive social construct as is racism. It can be abolished. Social dominance hierarchy and the fear of losing status are not inevitable. We have the potential to unite the world’s 99% and create a society of equals. It is crucial that those seeking to transform the political and economic system acknowledge not only must they build a movement for economic, social and political equality but also struggle to overcome their own implicit hierarchical biases. If not, social hierarchy will be carried into the future where leaders will become rulers who undermine and corrupt the egalitarian world view. History has clearly shown that only eternal vigilance of the rank and file mobilized against social hierarchy has the potential to win and maintain the solidarity of an egalitarian society. We must change ourselves while also seeking to change society.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon


Dr. Gordon has written many articles on politics and health. He may be reached at

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by Ralph Nader

Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations — a perfect portrait of crony capitalism.

Others are joining the socialist labeling bandwagon, including corporatist right wing radio talk show blowhards, themselves freeloaders, profitably using the public airwaves. This pack includes Lloyd Blankfein, former lawbreaking chairman of Goldman Sachs.

Bernie knows, of course, how to rebut this distorted interpretation of “democratic socialism.” But will his rebuttals be enough given that the Biden-Bloomberg-Klobuchar wing of the Democratic Party is determined to label Bernie “unelectable” against the boastful Don the Con?

Some suggestions for Bernie and others to use in this upcoming back and forth on “democratic socialism” vs. “corporate socialism” of the super-rich corporations:

Go after the corporate socialists who have invited Wall Street and Big Business to socialize the means of government against the peoples’ necessities and freedoms. It is a government of, by, and for the dominant corporations. Such private power dominating our government in so many reported ways was called “fascism” in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a formal message to Congress. This is a fertile field for taking the offensive. “Democratic socialism is a political force in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, sometimes Canada, and others. In these places, it means all the people in those countries get their taxes returned in the form of improved livelihoods, economic security, and peace of mind. Democratic socialism means better pay, universal healthcare, pensions, day care, family sick leave, vacations, tuition-free higher education, robust public transit and parks, and many other amenities backed by stronger unions, denied the American people in the “land of the free and home of the brave.” Since World War II, the European political movements were led by “social democratic” parties. Back to our country. Corporatists and right-wing Wall Street Democrats are inferring that “democratic socialism” is un-American, ruinous for our economy. These demonizers argue that a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” is a sure loser in the election against Donald Trump — a self-enriching crook, outlaw, boastful, savage sexual predator, bigot/racist in his policies, inciter of violence, and a serial, delusionary liar. Trump, the Electoral College-selected tool of the super-rich and corporate powers should be easy to defeat given his disgraceful presidency. The American people of all backgrounds like their public libraries, public local control water works, municipal fire departments, police precincts, and public schools. They seem okay with government highways, bridges, public transit, and want their taxes spent to repair and upgrade these vital pieces of our infrastructure. Taxpayer’s don’t want our commonwealth being owned by tax-escaping, gouging corporations.

There are over 1,000 municipal public utilities providing electricity. The “Red” states of Tennessee and Alabama would fight any corporatization of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which 87 years ago, brought electricity to a large poor region that the private electric companies didn’t think was profitable enough.

The unfairly maligned Veterans Administration brought free hospitals and health care to millions of veterans. Millions of Americans are favorably disposed to life-saving Medicare and Medicaid and are economically saved by Social Security and unemployment compensation. Hey! There must be a lot of “democratic socialists” out there in “blue” and “red” states. New Hampshirites are mostly okay with state-owned, revenue-producing, hard-liquor retail stores.

At a meeting long ago with top medical officials at the Walter Reed Army hospital, I was told that after learning the second leading cause of hospitalization for U.S. soldiers in Vietnam was malaria, the U.S. Army asked the drug companies to develop remedies. The negative response was that developing medicines to deal with malaria wasn’t profitable enough. In response, the Pentagon brought together skilled doctors and scientists and started its own “drug company” inside Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospitals. For less than 10 percent of what the big drug companies say it costs, our government developed three out of four of the leading anti-malarial drugs in the world and made them available everywhere without any patents producing big pharma-like profits.

If the political and corporate Trumpsters and the Clintonite Democrats snort at all this, tell them that they do agree on one thing. Those in both these camps have been eager to have collapsing capitalism, as during the 2008 Wall Street dive, always saved by reliable socialism — aka — trillions of taxpayer dollars via Washington, D.C. funding the bailout of the reckless bankers and speculators.

* * *

Installing a new Operating System

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DEMOCRATIC PARTY/DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE is a private corporation, not subject to court rulings or or its own rules.

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CONGRESS JUST PUBLISHED all the Russian Facebook ads used to try and influence the 2016 election

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[1] 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.

[2] What we’ve seen is sedition, but of the most hilariously incompetent sort, the might of American institutions bearing down on a duly elected official, going at it hammer-and-tongs, but regardless, not laying a glove on the rock-star himself, only his roadies for infractions not remotely connected to the originally alleged misdeeds.

Imagine, a lifetime spent in mobbed-up businesses like real estate and casinos and the Mueller crew couldn’t find a thing. Astounding. How can that be? Is Trump that smart? Is he that clean? Was the Mueller gang that useless?

No matter, because what all this represents is an unwillingness to abide by election results. Too bad for American democracy, this unwillingness, and also an unwillingness to ascribe legitimate interests to wide areas of the populace.

It’s not just what they’re doing to Trump, it’s what they’re doing to Bernie. This Iowa thing reeks of dirty deeds, i.e. another effort to hobble Bernie. If you’re looking for corruption, look to the Democrats. They are rotten with it.

(3) DOPE, an on-line comment: If everybody grew some cannabis for personal use, perhaps the government would give up trying to tape-measure everyone’s garden… I don’t personally care, as I need no weed, at all… And, attempting to regulate big, corporate grows, at this point, would be ridiculous. The Humboldt Brand has been sold, and, even the Hopland Hippies have cashed in and now Flow Cana even owns the Hippie Living Center… Vertically integrated cannabis providers are not gonna back up for “small farmers.” But if individual end users grew their own product, the point would be moot. Plant some public pot today! Marijuana should be free, and available everywhere, and then maybe everyone would get bored with it and move on to the next thing.

I am quite sure I could easily grow a year’s supply of flower, in a 10X10 area, and have done so in the past, prior to 2010 when I gave the shit up.

* * *


Novelist Charles Portis, a favorite among critics and writers for such shaggy dog stories as “Norwood” and “Gringos” and a bounty for Hollywood whose droll, bloody Western “True Grit” was a best-seller twice adapted into Oscar nominated films, died Monday at age 86.

Portis, a former newspaper reporter who apparently learned enough to swear off talking to the media, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s in recent years. His brother, Jonathan Portis, told The Associated Press that he died in a hospice in Little Rock, Arkansas, his longtime residence.

Charles Portis was among the most admired authors to nearly vanish from public consciousness in his own lifetime. His fans included Tom Wolfe, Roy Blount Jr. and Larry McMurtry, and he was often compared to Mark Twain for his plainspoken humor and wry perspective. Portis saw the world from the ground up, from bars and shacks and trailer homes, and few spun wilder and funnier stories. In a Portis novel, usually set in the South and south of the border, characters embarked on journeys that took the most unpredictable detours.

In “Norwood,” an ex-Marine from Texas heads East in a suspicious car to collect a suspicious debt, but winds up on a bus with a circus dwarf, a chicken and a girl he just met. “The Dog of the South” finds one Ray Midge driving from Arkansas to Honduras in search of his wife, his credit cards and his Ford Torino. In “Gringos,” an expatriate in Mexico with a taste for order finds himself amid hippies, end-of-the-world cultists and disappearing friends.

The public knew Portis best for “True Grit,” the quest of Arkansas teen Mattie Ross to avenge her father’s murder. The novel was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in 1968 and was soon adapted (and softened) as a film showcase for John Wayne, who starred as Rooster Cogburn, the drunken, one-eyed marshal Mattie enlists to find the killer. The role brought Wayne his first Academy Award and was revived by the actor, much less successfully, in the sequel “Rooster Cogburn.”

Rooster was so strong a character that a new generation of filmgoers and Oscar voters welcomed him back. In 2010, the Coen brothers worked up a less glossy, more faithful “True Grit,” featuring Jeff Bridges as Rooster and newcomer Hallie Steinfeld as Mattie. The film received 10 nominations, including best actor for Bridges, and brought new attention to Portis and his novel, which topped the trade paperback list of The New York Times.

“No living Southern writer captures the spoken idioms of the South as artfully as Portis does,” Mississippi native Donna Tartt wrote in an afterword for a 2005 reissue of the novel.

Portis was born in 1933 in El Dorado, Arkansas, one of four children of a school superintendent and a housewife whom Portis thought could have been a writer herself. As a kid, he loved comic books and movies and the stories he learned from his family. In a brief memoir written for The Atlantic Monthly, he recalled growing up in a community where the ratio was about “two Baptist churches or one Methodist church per gin. It usually took about three gins to support a Presbyterian church, and a community with, say, four before you found enough tepid idolators to form an Episcopal congregation.”

He was a natural raconteur who credited his stint in the Marines with giving him time to read. After leaving the service, he graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1958 with a degree in journalism and for the next few years was a newspaper man, starting as a night police reporter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal and finishing as London bureau chief for the New York Herald Tribune.

Fellow Tribune staffers included Wolfe, who regarded Portis as “the original laconic cutup” and a fellow rebel against the boundaries of journalism, and Nora Ephron, who would remember her colleague as a sociable man with a reluctance to use a telephone. His interview subjects included Malcolm X and J.D. Salinger, whom Portis encountered on an airplane. He was also a first-hand observer of the civil rights movement. In 1963, he covered a riot and the police beating of black people in Birmingham, Alabama. Around the same time, he reported on a Ku Klux Klan meeting, a dullish occasion after which “the grand dragon of Mississippi disappeared grandly into the Southern night, his car engine hitting on about three cylinders.”

Anxious to write novels, Portis left the paper in 1964 and from Arkansas completed “Norwood,” published two years later and adapted for a 1970 movie of the same name starring Glen Campbell and Joe Namath.

Portis placed his stories in familiar territory. He knew his way around Texas and Mexico and worked enough with women stringers from the Ozarks in Arkansas to draw upon them for Mattie’s narrative voice in “True Grit.” He eventually settled in Little Rock, where he reportedly spent years working on a novel that was never released. “Gringos,” his fifth and last novel, came out in 1991.

Portis published short fiction in The Atlantic during the 1990s, but was mostly forgotten before admiring essays in Esquire and the New York Observer by Ron Rosenbaum were noticed by publishing director Tracy Carns of the Overlook Press, which reissued all of Portis’ novels. Some of his journalism, short stories and travel writings were published in the 2012 anthology “Escape Velocity.”

In recent years, the author lived in open seclusion, a regular around Little Rock who drove a pickup truck, enjoyed an occasional beer and stepped away from reporters. He did turn up to collect The Oxford American’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Southern Literature and was known to answer the occasional letter from a reader. But otherwise Portis seemed to honor Mattie’s code in “True Grit” for how to deal with journalists.

“I do not fool around with newspapers,” Mattie says. “The paper editors are great ones for reaping where they have not sown. Another game they have is to send reporters out to talk to you and get your stories free. I know the young reporters are not paid well and I would not mind helping those boys out with their ‘scoops’ if they could ever get anything right.”


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* * *


by James Kunstler

A miasma of consternation lay heavy across the Potomac swamp late last week when former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe was let off the hook for lying to his own bureau while, elsewhere across DC, the distinguished Lt. General Flynn was still fighting for his life against exactly the same charge after three years of dilatory maneuvers by the DOJ to conceal their prosecutorial malfeasance in the case… and then the sketchy Roger Stone matter entered a twilight zone of jiggery-pokery that appeared to climax in a staged ruse by his four prosecutors to lure the Attorney General, Mr. Barr, into a trap.

You are forgiven for failing to follow all the twists and turns in this latest installment of what might now be called CoupGate, a summation of the seditious campaign to overthrow the president, which already has gone through so many gates — SpyGate, RussiaGate, MuellerGate, UkraineGate, WhistleblowerGate — that Mr. Trump looks like he’s spent three years training for the giant slalom in the next winter Olympics. A localized Civil War is underway in the Department of Justice now. Mr. Barr is in the middle, getting it from both sides.

The AG has apparently partitioned the DOJ into two separate realms: the now-identified corps of coupsters working desperately to keep their asses covered in an unraveling conspiracy, and Mr. Barr’s group attempting to account fairly for all that has happened, while salvaging what’s left of the outfit’s institutional legitimacy. Too much documented evidence of crime is out there in the public domain to dismiss these activities as a “conspiracy theory.” The trouble is, so many were involved from so many branches and agencies, that fully prosecuting every angle of it could bring down the permanent bureaucracy like the Jenga tower it has become.

The decision to let Mr. McCabe skate on the lying rap infuriated those demanding accountability for government lawyers-gone-wild, since even the DOJ Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz, cited serial instances of his “lacking candor” in more than one report, and “Andy” seems to have been a pivot-man for the FBI in the early-and-middle phases of the coup — along with his DOJ counterpart, former Deputy Attorney General Rod (“I’ll wear a wire”) Rosenstein.

I have a theory about the McCabe case: The Attorney General has taken the rinky-dink “lying to the FBI” charge off the table. It has become a liability, virtually the emblem for government misconduct, and Mr. Barr is getting rid of it in these matters. It has already caused too much mischief, insulted Americans’ sense of justice, and damaged the DOJ’s standing. Note, Andrew McCabe has been let off only on this charge, stemming from only one particular IG referral; he may well yet be liable for more serious charges-to-come. From here on, there will be no more rinky-dink lying charges against any of those implicated in the coup, only the most serious charges, and only those that add up to a solid case.

The coup has been so broad, deep, and thick that I predict cases will have to be brought under the RICO statutes in batches for different groups in separate agencies and branches of government. For instance, there is the Intel Mob, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intel (DNI) James Clapper, current Intel IG Michael Atkinson, so-called whistleblower (he that cannot be named, E____ C__________) and International Man of Mystery Joseph Mifsud. There is the gang from the State Department who helped engineer UkraineGate, including former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, former Sec’y of State John Kerry, and others. There is that big herd of rogue lawyers in the DOJ and its stepchild, the FBI, the names widely disseminated by now, Comey, Strzok, Baker, Boente, Carlin, Clinesmith, et al. There’s Robert Mueller and his henchpersons, Andrew Weissmann, Jeannie Rhee, et al. There’s another band of seditionists in Congress that includes Mark Warner of the Senate Intel Committee, the now notorious idiot Adam Schiff over in the House, and staffers who worked for both. There’s a bunch in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment that paid over a million dollars to Alternate International Man of Mystery (actually, CIA asset) Stefan Halper to run entrapment schemes against people working for Mr. Trump. There’s a swarm from Barack Obama’s White House, including Valarie Jarrett, Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, Alexandra Chalupa, former Vice-President Joe Biden and the former President himself. And finally, there is the 800-pound-gorilla over in the Democratic Party thicket, namely Hillary Clinton, and those connected to her and her charity fraud, the Clinton Foundation, which is the real and actual predicate for the whole sordid affair — a list that includes Viktor Vekselberg of Russia’s Skolkovo project, $25-million donor Russian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, and Dmitri Alperovich of CrowdStrike, (Russian collusion, anyone?) as well as rascally freelancers such as Christopher Steele, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the shadowy Nellie Ohr, lawyer/lobbyist Adam Waldman, and Hillary errand boys Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer. The stories behind those names are all over the web, in case you want to edify yourself.

Now, perhaps, you can see the scope of this big hot mess, and deduce the degree of difficulty that William Barr faces in attempting to set it all straight. He has to carefully select those who will be charged and probably not bother with some of the bit players. The charges are going to have to be serious, and the cases must be strong. It is a gigantic job of work, and rather delicate business considering the explosive potential to a government whose credibility is already pretty shredded. Failure to attend to it may turn a mere bureaucratic civil war into a genuine citizen rebellion featuring some of the 300-million-odd firearms at large in the republic. I believe Mr. Barr is aware of what’s at stake and will behave honorably.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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  1. Eric Sunswheat February 18, 2020

    6 April 2019
    The ‘womanspreading’ placard that caused fury in Pakistan…

    “A girl’s right to sit with her legs open is about her agency to do what she likes with her body without reprimand or harassment, it is about her right to move freely, it is about victim-blaming and whose fault it is when someone is assaulted — not the girl’s, no matter how she was sitting.”

  2. michael turner February 18, 2020

    Once again the Purple Prose Award goes to James Kunstler who begins his latest unreadable column thusly: “A miasma of consternation lay heavy across the Potomac swamp late last week”. ( Purple prose is prose text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself.)

  3. Harvey Reading February 18, 2020

    Genesis 38:1-11

    Amazing how people can read so much into a simple fairy tale about a primitive nomad who violated a tribal rule and refused to impregnate his brother’s widow.

  4. chuck dunbar February 18, 2020

    As well as being a king of Purple Prose, Kunstler excels at over-wrought, egomaniacal sweeps of conspiracy theories (disguised as fact): “The coup has been so broad, deep, and thick that I predict cases will have to be brought under the RICO statutes in batches for different groups in separate agencies and branches of government…” He names it “CoupGate,” and he alludes to scores at the least, more likely hundreds, of current and past government officials who are complicit in this truly vast conspiracy.

    And, God Bless him, he’s let all us peons in on the these seditious secrets: “Now, perhaps, you can see the scope of this big hot mess…” It’s a public service, done for us by James Kunstler himself.

  5. James Marmon February 18, 2020


    So, I was thinking about this the other day and low and behold look what may be in our near future. There’s a crop glut and wine prices are down so they’re thinking about going into the cannabis business, They’ll have no problems getting permits especially if the Farm Bureau and Wine Growers continue to have control of the Board of Supervisors. Sako is looking better and better by the minute. He would fight this. He would fight for the mom and pops. He would fight against the elites.

    Retiring Sonoma County ag leader: Cannabis can be lifeline for grape growers, dairy farmers

    “He thinks cannabis can help those small grape growers who are struggling to survive. Area dairy farmers, who have dealt with declining prices in the organic milk market, also will start growing or leasing their land for hemp and cannabis cultivation, he said?

    James Marmon
    The Prophet

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