- Full Moon
- Lucy Set
- Lockdown Penalties
- Chain Gang
- Abreu Agreement
- New MCDH Administrator
- Gulag Labor
- Ed Notes
- Railroad Workers
- Iser Baggage
- Ukiah Drive-in
- Big Bust
- Yesterday's Catch
- Frozen Mississippi
- Prison Gang
- Pediatric Syndrome
- Brazilian Inmates
- Sniffy Joe
- America the Pitiful
- MJ Hagiography
- Planetary Emergency
- Congo Man
- Heroes & Patriots
- Payroll Tax
WELL ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES can be expected Thursday through Sunday for interior areas. Inland valley areas are likely to reach the upper 80s to as high as the mid 90s in some locations. A cooler, wetter pattern will arrive Monday and continue through at least the middle of the week, bringing widespread precipitation to much of the area. (NWS)
MONDAY NIGHT SKY
SUPER 'FLOWER' MOON RISES TONIGHT (Thursday): Final supermoon of 2020 will be six per cent bigger than normal and coincides with the Eta Aquariids meteor shower
Its name comes from the period of increased fertility and blooming plants during early May
It is the third and final supermoon of 2020 and it is also set to be less visually striking than the other two.
The moon will be at its most impressive before it sets on Thursday morning at around 5.42 BST and also after moonrise around 8.45pm BST tomorrow evening
THE "I LOVE LUCY" SET
FORT BRAGG TO MULL HEALTH ORDER VIOLATION PENALTIES
Item Description: Receive Report and Consider Adoption of Urgency Ordinance No. 961-2020 Establishing Administrative Penalties for Violations of the Mendocino County Public Health Officer’s Orders Pertaining to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
The Mendocino County Health Officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan, declared a local health emergency on March 4, 2020. The County Health Officer issued a Recommended Shelter- in-Place Order on March 16, 2020, a Mandatory Shelter-in-Place Order on March 18, 2020, a Revised Mandatory Shelter-in-Place Order on March 24, 2020, a Revised Mandatory Shelter-in-Place Order on April 24, 2020, and a Revised Mandatory Shelter-in-Place Order dated May 8, 2020 (collectively referred to as “Orders”). The Orders require all persons in the County to shelter in place, except to perform Essential Activities and operate Essential Businesses, as defined in the Orders. Reports of violations of the Orders continue to be received throughout the County, including the City of Fort Bragg.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors approved an Administrative Penalty Ordinance at its March 31, 2020 meeting and the City of Ukiah followed suit and approved an Ordinance on April 1, 2020. The ordinances provide that any violation of the COVID-19 related Health Officer’s Orders is also a violation of a local Ordinance and therefore allows Code Enforcement to impose administrative penalties to any person or business failing to comply with the Orders after receiving notice of non-compliance.
On April 6, 2020 staff presented the City Council with a proposed ordinance with the same provisions as the City of Ukiah and Mendocino County. The City Council did not adopt the Ordinance and directed staff to revise the ordinance to provide for a progressively increasing fine structure and an ordinance that would only apply to commercial establishments. A revised ordinance is presented for City Council’s consideration.
Most businesses and individuals within the City of Fort Bragg have and it is expected will continue to comply with the Shelter-in-Place Orders. Efforts between the County Health Department, the County Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Bragg Police Department have been coordinated and cooperative. An Ordinance establishing administrative penalties for violating the Shelter-in-Place Orders merely provides the City another tool, if it becomes necessary, and allows the City’s actions to be consistent with the County’s policies and practices.
At City Council direction, the revised proposed Ordinance only provides for administrative penalties to be levied for violations of the County’s COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Orders by
AGENDA ITEM NO. 8B
those engaged in Commercial Activity, as defined by the Ordinance. The revised proposed Ordinance requires that a business receive a warning that they are violating the Orders twenty-four hours prior to a citation being issued which would include an administrative penalty, so there is ample opportunity to cure the violation prior to incurring any penalty. The first offense penalty amount is set at $100.00. The second offense penalty amount is set at $150.00 and third or subsequent penalty amounts are set at $500.00. Any business receiving a citation has the right and opportunity for review and determination of the citation by the County Health Officer, City Manager or designee. The revised Ordinance allows a party who wishes further review of the citation, after review and final determination, to appeal to the City Council who will conduct a hearing and make a decision issued as a written order.
The revised Ordinance limits the definition of Enforcement Officer to the City Manager, any peace officer with jurisdiction in the City of Fort Bragg and anyone identified by resolution of the City Council.
Police Chief Naulty supports establishing the Administrative Penalties as an additional means of enforcement, if necessary, and as an alternative to using sworn officers who may be needed for higher priorities such as controlling the peace and responding to emergencies.
Urgency Ordinances that are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, must contain a declaration of the facts constituting the urgency, and must be passed by a four-fifths vote of the City Council per Government Code Section 36937. Urgency Ordinances go into effect immediately upon adoption per California Government Code Section 36934. The proposed Ordinance contains the required findings.
City Council upon review may waive the reading of the Ordinance and adopt by title only an Urgency Ordinance of the City of Fort Bragg establishing administrative penalties for violations of the Mendocino County Public Health Officer’s Orders pertaining to the COVID- 19 Pandemic.
Although there is no expectation that it will be necessary to levy penalties, any fees collected would partially help offset the costs of enforcing the Shelter-in-Place Orders. Costs to enforce the Shelter-in-Place Orders are expected to exceed any penalties collected and such efforts will be funded from the City’s General Fund.
If adopted by a four-fifths vote of the entire membership of the City Council, the proposed Urgency Ordinance will become effective immediately.
PRISONERS ON RAIL WORKSITE (North Carolina)
THE ABREU CASE. Some rare good news has emerged from the local justice system. Tai Abreu, DA Eyster, and Public Defender Hoagland have reached an agreement that will see Abreu paroled in a little more than two years from Thursday, May 21st. He had previously been sentenced to life w/o the possibility of parole for his part in the murder of Donald Perez in September of 2001 while the two other persons involved received 20-to-life and have been freed from prison.
The full five part series on the murder of Donald Perez and the Abreu case can be found/read at the bottom of the AVA’s special series webpage: old-theavacom.dream.press/special-projects
CONVICTED MURDERER REMAINS CONVICTED BUT WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR FUTURE PAROLE CONSIDERATION
UKIAH – Convicted murderer Tai Edmund Fred Abreu, 38, was officially back in the Mendocino County Superior Court Wednesday but he appeared by video from High Desert State Prison in Susanville. As anticipated, Abreu entered guilty pleas to murder in the second degree and carjacking during an afternoon hearing, violent crimes committed in Fort Bragg in 2001.
Pursuant to a “plea deal” negotiated by the District Attorney’s Office, Abreu will be sentenced to 24 years to life in state prison when he returns to court on May 21, 2020 – an indeterminate sentence of 15 years to life for the second degree murder, with a consecutive determinate sentence of 9 years for the carjacking.
In 2001 Abreu was convicted by jury of participating with two other men in the knifing death of Donald Perez, a visitor to the Fort Bragg area who had a romantic interest in an Abreu co-defendant. The jury also convicted Abreu of a special circumstance - that the murder occurred during a robbery.
The prosecution’s success at the 2001 trial relied on a long-standing theory of criminal liability known as the “felony murder rule. “Applying the felony murder rule as instructed by the court to the evidence presented during the trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of first-degree murder. Abreu’s bid for a new trial was denied, and he ultimately was sentenced as required by law to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The felony murder rule central to the Abreu case was handed down from the English common law and codified in California jurisprudence in 1872. Under provisions, an accomplice involved in committing dangerous felonies could be found not only guilty of those felonies but could be found criminally liable for any killing committed *during* the commission of the crimes.
While intended to deter people from joining together as a group to commit violent crimes, the felony murder rule was criticized by some because an accomplice to a violent crime could be convicted of first-degree murder even if the individual was not the actual killer, or even if that person had not personally intended that anybody get hurt.
Abreu eventually appealed his murder conviction and sentence to the California Court of Appeal for the First District. It was denied. The defendant also filed writs seeking to overturn all or parts of his conviction and/or sentence. Those were also denied.
But then a dramatic change in the California legal landscape occurred in late 2018. To the horror of families of the victims of brutal murders and with the disapproval of most law enforcement officials, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law Senate Bill 1437 relating to “Accomplice Liability for Felony Murder.”
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the legislation gutted the felony murder from the effective date going forward.
More importantly, it applied retroactively. Any person previously convicted of first-degree murder as a result of prosecution’s use or reliance on the felony murder rule was authorized by SB 1437 to file a petition seeking a court order requiring the prosecution reopen the petitioner’s murder case. Once reopened, the prosecution was required to (1) prove presently that the petitioner should still be held liable for murder, but do so applying a new and different set of laws, or, if that is not possible with the evidence still available with the passage of time, (2) allow the petitioner’s prior murder conviction to be thrown out.
Abreu filed his SB 1437 petition on February 5, 2019. Significant litigation has occurred locally since that filing, including the District Attorney’s unsuccessful argument to have SB 1437 found unconstitutional by the Mendocino County Superior Court.
While Abreu has regularly and publicly in at least one local newspaper denied any culpability for or involvement in the 2001 murder, his guilty plea to murder on Wednesday included the defendant’s written admission that: “Knowing there was plan/intent to kill, the defendant [Abreu] was a major participant who acted in reckless indifference to human life in aiding and abetting the murder of the victim.”
Abreu will be back in court on May 21 at 1:30 p.m. for imposition of the stipulated new life sentence.
Abreu will now go before the parole board. Whether he will be released and allowed to return to Mendocino County on parole will be determined by the California Board of Prison Hearings.
District Attorney David Eyster has been personally handling all SB 1437 proceedings since the defendant’s petition was received in early 2019. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman has also been presiding over the SB 1437 proceedings in this case, as well as most, if not all the other SB 1437 petitions.
Since Jan. 1, 2019, there have been 23 petitions filed with the Mendocino County Superior Court seeking relief under SB 1437. The District Attorney has been successful in having 18) of the petitions denied. In the remaining five cases, evidence in two of them has been received and argued and are under submission. With Abreu’s new guilty pleas on Wednesday, only two SB 1437 petitions are pending.
(District Attorney Presser)
MENDO COAST HOSPITAL HAS NEW ADMINISTRATOR
MSP received this press release from Adventist Health Wednesday @ 12:05 pm:
"Adventist Health has named Judy Leach as the new hospital administrator for Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH), soon to be known as Adventist Health Mendocino Coast.
Leach will focus on merging the organization’s operations into a greater network of care within Mendocino County and Adventist Health to provide sustainable growth and a thriving culture of excellence.
Leach has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare, including nearly 15 years with Adventist Health. She most recently served as the communications executive for the organization’s 22 hospitals and hundreds of clinics.
Prior to that role, Leach led strategy execution for Adventist Health’s urban and rural hospitals and clinics in Oregon, Washington and Hawaii while serving as vice president for strategic planning and communications.
'We are excited about the future in Mendocino County and we know that Judy’s leadership on the Mendocino Coast will propel sustainability for this critical healthcare community resource,' said Andrew Jahn, President of Adventist Health Care Division. 'We look forward to the community partnership with the district to provide exceptional primary, specialty and hospital care for residents along 75 miles of the California coast.'
'Judy has invaluable experience working at the community and system-level and is the perfect fit to lead the hospital’s transition into the Adventist Health family,' said Jason Wells, president for Adventist Health in Mendocino County. 'Her leadership will ensure that the community experiences the benefits of this vibrant partnership while creating pathways for collaboration, innovation and transformation. Judy’s passion for authentically connecting with patients, caregivers and community stakeholders, paired with her strong strategic leadership, will greatly benefit the health of our coastal communities as well as all of our hospitals and clinics in Mendocino County.'
'I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead this transition and thrilled to welcome Mendocino Coast District Hospital as part of our Adventist Health family,' said Judy Leach, newly named hospital executive. 'It will be an honor to work collaboratively with astute physicians, dedicated associates, visionary board members and an engaged community to inspire health, wholeness and hope throughout our coastal communities.'
The Adventist Health affiliation with MCDH was overwhelmingly approved during the March 2020 county election and begins on May 1 with a management services agreement that will soon transition into a long-term lease in operating the hospital.
Leach is excited to be part of a region that offers a deep sense of community, a culture that fosters vibrant living and a welcoming sense of hospitality. Her love of the abundant serenity of the redwoods and rugged coastline landscapes has certainly added to her delight. 'There’s something about the ocean that puts things into perspective and gives you a sense of limitless possibilities,” she explained.
'I was immediately captivated by the spirit of what I sensed in the community during multiple visits. Everyone I met was so passionate about MCDH and the incredible resource it provides to the community. There is a desire to have access to quality care close to home, which explains the resounding results of the recent elections. Hearing their tenacity for excellence ignited my passion to being part of something so important to them. And to be able to do it in such a beautiful setting just makes it even more special. I look forward to partnering with the community so together we can create the vision for a thriving hospital that will serve this community for generations to come,' she added.
Leach, an avid lifelong learner, holds a master’s degree in Management and Organizational Leadership from Warner Pacific University. She and her young adult children look forward to calling the Mendocino coast home very soon."
THE ADVENTIST HEALTH FAMILY'S day of celebration at assuming control of Coast Hospital, leaving Mendo with no option to the Adventist's for-profit Mendo monopoly, to me is a sad occasion marking the end of community-owned medical care in the county. Prices will go up as care will go to people who can afford it, meaning a minority of people covered by health insurance most people can't afford or are too young to get like the MediCare us geezers are awarded at age 62. The celebration shoulda been at least half lamentations. (Geezers tend to vote, hence all the free stuff they get. The young tend not to vote, children can't vote, hence…)
SO I WALK into the Boonville Post Office to drop off a dwindling bundle of papers for our Boonville subscribers, not a one under the age of 75, when Postmistress Collette yells, "Get back!" What the heck? Rattlesnake? Bomb? Leprosy? No, me. "Six feet back!" Collette shouts again. I'm used to hostile receptions, but this one bordered on elder abuse. Startled hell outta me. "Six feet from what?" I ask. "Her!" Collette shouts in reply. I hadn't noticed a masked woman shrinking against a table in the lobby, maybe three feet from me, Corona Man, disease-bearing senior citizen, as I dropped the papers on the counter and pivoted to depart. Then it occurred to me that although I was wearing my mask… I wasn't keeping my distance! I was probably in violation of Postal Regulation four million point five, not to mention Dr. Fauci's national guidelines. What's wrong with me? So thoughtless. I had been a mere three feet from another patron, four feet from Postmistress Collette! Corona-19 could have lept from me, arguably the cleanest man in Boonville (freshly showered and clothed every morning), onto two innocent, rule-abiding, distance-keeping Americans! I almost feel like apologizing.
RE FROST FANS, a reader reminds us, "Fan noise — Perhaps you might recall the little guerilla action in Westport in the early eighties or late seventies over the installation of two mercury vapor lamps in front of the old Cobweb Palace? Simple, direct, and cheap.”
ODD POSTING by DA Eyster on his facebook page the other day — a ticket stub from a Brittney Spears concert he apparently attended as an adult thus, perhaps, making him a very unusual DA indeed. I asked the DA for an explanation. "I took my 7-year-old to that one; all I remember is all the moms were also dressed like Brittney." Whew! Case closed.
RE MENDO'S new public health director, a reader notes: "Doctor Dolittle, San Diego, is being replaced by Doctor Wereglad Yourouttahere, San Francisco. I suggest that the next Chief Health Officer, Doctor Letmeadd Anotherpension should live in Santa Rosa or even closer. I’m willing to do the job for half the salary, I’ll just copy the neighboring county’s mandates and promise to live here! That will save the county money and increase the tax base, I’ll support local businesses and will not travel for a while."
ED NOTE: And during his first month at his preposterous salary, we'll be paying both Doc Vegas No Show and Doc San Diego Zoom. What a deal! Two for the price of thirty! On the other hand, Doc No Show may actually appear occasionally given our proximity to his home in San Francisco, not that these medical hustlers do anything other than relay Newsom's decisions. Anyhow, this is damn near a phony position. Anybody with an MD can do it, and probably would do it for half the money. The hard fact of official life in Mendo is that the managerial class is wildly overpaid and a living refutation of the old caution, "Public servants should spend public money as prudently as their own." Har de har to that one. Long gone. Ditto for the proliferating array of non-profits doing nothing but walking around with lips constantly puckered while sucking up public money keeping the walking wounded on the streets, and we won't even get into the Schraeders' annual twenty mil for virtually non-existent psych services. (Attend any non-profit or supe's meeting and you get the same depressing demographic — cringing, de-balled men and a bunch of jabbering donut ladies swapping proactives and in-services.) A second hard fact is that our supervisors are only hitting on one cylinder — Williams. The rest simply pick up their checks and try to look plausible on Youtube once a week. (We'll give McCowen a few atta boys for cleaning up after the bums, drug addicts, drunks, and untreated mental cases — funding units for the non-profits — but the guy makes $84 thou a year for doing it.) And CEO Angelo has got to go, and probably is going soon anyway, and then we'll get that Mendo Special — the "national search for excellence" — well, well what do you know, her excellency was right there in Carmel's office all the time hiding in a jar of hard candy! While I'm going Old Testament here I'll add that you can multiply Mendo government by the rest of the country's governments, factoring in show biz, dope, cheetos, gluttony and sloth generally, to which add a lethal virus, and this sucker is going down. We're a fat, lazy, stupid, whining, porn-drenched, decadent people who deserve everything coming our way. Trump is our natural, even inevitable, work product. Check that: Americans under the age of 12 should be exempted, but Trump-Biden would raffle all of them off at WalMart if it was to the advantage of them and their funders. (Please let me know if you think I'm being too judgmental.)
FRANK HARTZELL WONDERS, "I would like to thank the Anderson Valley volunteer who saved us when my tire blew out near Boonville last week but I didn’t get her name. Our car was right on the white line on one side with a steep incline on the other. She blocked traffic while I took the tire off, then stuffed me into her crowded backseat, then put the tire on my lap, then we went to the gas station and back. She and Linda directed traffic while I put the tire back on quicker than possible for me!. Tow truck was hours away. If anybody knows her name, say another big thanks from us!"
RAILROAD WORKERS, 1911
SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS:
I appreciate the concerns raised about Public Health Officer candidate Dr. Joe Iser’s professional baggage. (Link below for those who haven’t followed, along with a link covering authority of health officers in the California model.) Dr Doohan will no longer be our Public Health Officer come June 1. She has moved to San Diego where she will begin a new job. She has agreed to continue consulting for us at 10 hours per week to smooth the transition. We have an imperfect situation to say the least. In three weeks the lack of health officer would compound our crisis. You and I choose to live here. Whether it’s the natural beauty, community or other reasons, it’s where we want to be. Fact is, it’s incredibly difficult to recruit certain key professionals to Mendocino County. Our recruitment comes at a time in history when experienced and formally trained Health Officers are greatly needed and in short supply. As we move through the COVID-19 response, the county needs a health officer who has experience in public health emergencies, is willing to be present (living in County) and is eager to collaborate with local officials. As I understand, the health officers of Lake and Sonoma counties do not live close to those counties and commute significant distances from areas where Covid is widespread (Sonoma and Bay Area). Dr. James Flaherty, Mendocino County's deputy health officer, stepped up in a time of need to assist our response. I think highly of him, but he’ll be the first to tell you, his power zone is not in public health. Dr Iser will be interim, at will, at the board’s pleasure, living in county, with an expectation of tight collaboration with the Board of Supervisors. Recruitment for a long term health officer will continue, but I’m not holding my breath. Join KZYX on Friday, May 8th for a live radio interview with Carmel and Dr Iser. Aware of red flags, I do not believe the baggage presented will pose a problem in the dynamic at hand. I expect his openness in discussing his departure from Southern Nevada Health District. If we find the situation to be unworkable, I’m ready to lead the charge to rectify, but from my interactions with Iser, I believe his engagement will be a net win. We’re not looking for a new department head to build a bureaucracy. The task at hand is technical, requiring authorship of rural-appropriate health orders, effective lobbying of state partners and transparent oversight to ensure our response preparation will be ready to meet the moment. We need someone ready to fight for increased testing capacity and ensure we’re not left behind as a 0.2% rounding error. Criticism is welcome, but please state an alternate approach. Ideas about disregarding state law and acting as a nation-county miss a key point: our ability to save what’s left of the local economy depends greatly on handouts from the state. We’re fighting for a mobile testing lab, recognization that our economy has been disproportionately impacted and financial assistance in every regard. Expressing contempt has potential to shove us to the end of the line at a time we desperately need help. Dismayed as anyone and outraged by the nature of government process, I remain convinced we must keep our eyes on recovery. Choosing battles is key.
Not having an appointed health officer would invite the state to act on our behalf, further eroding local control. Additionally, we wouldn't be able to self-certify as necessary to maximize phase 2 reopening.
UKIAH’S LAST DRIVE-IN THEATER
MEXICANS BELIEVED INVOLVED...
A large bust of an illegal marijuana grow occurred in Covelo this morning as part of the search for a missing San Jose man, according to a video posted on the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office Facebook page this morning. (See Presser below.)
Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall and Detective Commander Shannon Barney appeared in the video talking first about “an invasion” of the community by outside people coming into the area to grow marijuana and intimidating local residents.
Barney says they ‘served a search warrant [on tribal lands] this morning on a large illegal grow in the Mill Creek area which is one of the salmon and steelhead spawning grounds for the Eel River. However, the video appears to have been filmed perhaps a day earlier.
About minute 3 in the video, Barney explains that members of the San Jose Detective Unit joined the raid as part of a missing person’s case. “That person has not been seen by their family for several weeks now,” Barney explained. Although, Barney doesn’t say so the most likely person he is referring to is Victor Medina who we did a story on April 30. Medina was working on a marijuana grow in the Covelo area and was last known to be in that area though his truck was found smoldering on a rural road outside Hollister, California.
“Between Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity County, we have hundreds of missing person cases,” Kendall states. “A lot of these missing person cases are tied directly to illegal marijuana grows.” Kendall says that these problems that are occurring in the area are tied to the illegal industry and says he doesn’t have a problem with those who work hard to become legal but, he says, “We can’t have people intimidated…we can’t put up with people going missing in Mendocino County without being able to give their families an answer.
He later wrote on the Facebook page, “I plan on continuing to put all the resources I can to stop large illegal marijuana grows in our County. I hope you stand with me.”
- Perrin Hoaglen (69 year-old male from Covelo, CA)
- Adrian Silva Farias (24 year-old male from Monroe, WA)
- Amanda Garica (36 year-old female from Covelo, CA)
- Juan Flores (19 year-old male from Clearlake, CA)
- Nayeli Salas (33 year-old female from Madera, CA)
- Primitivo Farias (18 year-old male from San Jose, CA)
- Victorio Doval (26 year-old male from San Jose, CA)
- Juan Cuevas Rubio (21 year-old male from San Jose, CA)
- Armondo Ramirez Reyes (21 year-old male from San Jose, CA)
- Luis Picazo (23 year-old male from San Jose, CA)
Synopsis: The Mendocino County Sheriff and staff have met numerous times with the Round Valley Indian Reservation Tribal Council about a growing concern on the reservation in northeastern Mendocino County. That concern being a rapid increase in non-native persons entering onto properties held in trust status by the US Government for the Tribe and or Tribal members, and establishing large marijuana growing operations. Some of these growers are reported to have permission some reportedly do not. Community members, including many of the Tribal Elders, have voiced their fear about this activity as there has been a marked increase in gunfire and acts of intimidation associated with the large marijuana gardens.
In April the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office initiated an investigation of one particularly large growing operations in the 23000 Block of Refuse Road in Covelo. Sheriff's Deputies also learned of an active missing persons investigation being conducted by the City of San Jose Detectives Division. That investigation was in relation to missing person, 39 year old Victor "Gallo" Medina of San Jose CA. The family reported him missing to San Jose PD in mid-April. The information obtained in that investigation indicated Victor had been at this particular grow before he went missing and had been involved in the marijuana growing operation in that area.
On 5/5/2020 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office initiated the service of a search warrant at this grow site. This warrant was served by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives and Patrol Divisions, aided by the Lake County Sheriff's Office, The United States Drug Enforcement Agency, Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force, the City of San Jose Police Detective Unit and an Environmental Scientist from the California Fish and Wildlife Department Watershed Enforcement Team.
At the site, law enforcement found 55 large "Hoop Houses" (green houses) covered in plastic, numerous swimming pools set up to water the marijuana plants, and a great deal of house hold refuse and growing supply waste strewn about. Deputies eradicated 22,148 plants ranging from 1 foot to 4 feet in height. There was a small drainage running through the site and directly into Mill Creek, a spawning tributary for endangered salmon and steel head trout in the Eel River watershed. An environmental report is pending but there were numerous violations noted. These violations involved burned household debris, burned vehicles and vehicle tires, as well as chemicals used in the marijuana cultivation.
10 persons were detained while the investigation was conducted with two being arrested and booked into the County Jail. 69 year old Perrin Hoaglen was arrested and booked on charges of conspiracy and being a felon in possession of ammunition. Under the new emergency bail schedule, set by the State of California during the COVID 19 event, he was released on zero bail. 24 year old Adrian Silva Farias was arrested for conspiracy, being armed during the commission of a felony, and cultivation of marijuana. He too was released on zero bail under the new emergency bail schedule. The other 8 persons were identified and released. Cases against them will be forwarded to the DA's Office for review of various charges at the completion of this investigation.
- 182(a)(1) PC (Conspiracy to commit a crime)
- 30305(a)(1) PC (Felon in possession of ammunition)
- 12022(a)(1) PC (Possess firearm during the commission of a felony)
- 11358d H&S (Persons 18 years of age cultivate Marijuana)
There were 3 search dogs deployed, in an effort to locate the missing person and or any evidence as to why he might be missing. The missing person was not located and that case is currently under investigation.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 6, 2020
KYRELL DAVIS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
BRICE DOWD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSHUA FREEMAN, Potter Valley. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, controlled substance.
PERRIN HOAGLEN, Covelo. Ammo possession by prohibited person, conspiracy.
JASON LASOF, Fort Bragg. Resisting.
LISA LUPER, Ukiah. DUI.
JARED PERRY, Chico/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ADRIAN SILVA-FARIAS, Monroe, Washington/Covelo. Cultivation of more than six pot plants, Armed with firearm during felony, conspiracy.
DAVID TORRES, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, probation revocation.
FROZEN MISSISSIPPI, 1905
Freddy Gardner’s retelling of the story behind the Presidio Mutiny (Apr. 29) should be read in every American classroom but as it is, what students learn today about the Vietnam War and the protests against it falls more into the category of propaganda which, in essence, is what the teaching of history in US schools long ago came to be.
I can’t give high marks, however, to Larry Bensky whose “Journal of the Plague Year #6 (Apr. 29) for that week contained two extraordinary distortions of history, first of the history of the polio vaccine, early in the article, and then, at the end, a positive appraisal of one of modern history’s great war criminals, Pres. Harry Truman, displaying bewildering ignorance as to how he replaced then vice-president, Henry Wallace, as Pres. Roosevelt’s vice-presidential candidate in 1944.
With regard to the polio vaccine, he wrote that the Salk vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, “was eventually combined with another vaccine, created in the Soviet Union by an American exile, Dr. Albert Sabin.” I am not sure where Bensky came up with that reading of history because it simply wasn’t true. Nor was there any evidence that when Sabin was working with Soviet doctors that he considered himself in exile.
Salk’s vaccine was based on “killed” virus whereas Sabin’s was based on using a live virus to counter the three strains of the polio virus all of which appeared to be physically identical when the virus struck but had to be countered individually.
When the Salk vaccine first appeared, requiring three injections over several weeks in a doctor’s office, the good doctor was hailed and is still considered to be a hero, a title which, it turned out, was never warranted. Some years afterward, people who had taken numerous Salk vaccine injections were bewildered and angered when they started coming down with polio while the Sabin oral vaccine administered nationally and later in the early Sixties wiped out polio to the point where there has not been a new case in the US since 1979.
The history of polio I learned when I was employed as the Executive Secretary of the Marin Medical Society in the early Sixties was that it arrived and departed in cycles. The Salk vaccine came on the market during a down cycle which meant that even had there been no vaccine, the number of polio cases, then a frightening virus that produced infantile paralysis, would have declined anyway.
What doctors couldn't explain was why when there was an uptake in the number of polio cases, people who had multiple Salk shots started coming down with polio. There was an easy explanation that the public never learned. It was that the Type 3 vaccine produced by Berkeley’s Cutter Labs, was too “hot” and after someone who had received it came down soon after with the disease, Cutter replaced their vaccine with what amounted to a placebo for Type 3 which seemed to work when polio was in the down cycle. That deception, never reported in the media, should have been a national scandal but the March of Dimes was in on the con, as well.
Albert Sabin's oral vaccine, that came along in the Sixties to resolve the problem, required taking three sugar cubes topped with 2 cc. of the solution over several weeks, one for each strain, and did not require a doctor to administer it. When campaigns to distribute the Sabin vaccine began across the country, they were met with an avalanche of warnings by the March of Dimes. Like most such charities, for the heart, cancer, etc., it had been scamming Americans for decades in what it claimed was its determination to wipe out polio. Its vastly overpaid president, Basil O'Connor, whose annual salary was $750,000, (the equivalent of more than $6 million in today’s dollars!) began issuing warnings to the public that the live virus in the Sabin vaccine would cause those who took it to come down with polio but the public wasn’t buying it. (We can imagine what would have happened if the internet or social media had been around at the time to reinforce his message.) When the national campaigns turned out to be successful, O'Connor then had the audacity to demand that the money collected (usually a quarter per person) be turned over to the March of Dimes. He didn't get it and then began hunting for new diseases to pimp since polio had been wiped out.
Bensky’s whitewashing of Truman was far more serious. Let’s begin with his telling us that “Truman had become so popular" after conducting Senate hearings on the collaboration of US corporate America and Nazi Germany “that Roosevelt chose him as his running mate in 1944. Already ill, FDR barely was able to campaign” and died three months after the inauguration putting Truman in the White House. A nice scenario but not a word is true except for the fact that Roosevelt was indeed deathly ill but it was the fear of the Democrat Party hierarchy and corporate America was if that were to happen and they didn’t act, his vice-president, Henry Wallace, who was viewed as a socialist and soft on the Soviet Union would become president. They were determined to prevent it.
Here is how Wikipedia described what happened, providing the references to back up its conclusion:
The fundamental issue was that Roosevelt's health was seriously declining, and everyone who saw Roosevelt, including the leaders of the Democratic Party, realized it. If he died during his next term, the Vice President would become President, making the vice presidential nomination very important. Truman's predecessor as Vice President, the incumbent Henry A. Wallace, was unpopular with some of the leaders of the Democratic Party, who disliked his liberal politics and considered him unreliable and eccentric in general. Wallace was, however, the popular candidate, and favored by the Convention delegates. As the Convention began, Wallace had more than half the votes necessary to secure his re-nomination. By contrast, the Gallup poll said that 2% of those surveyed wanted then-Senator Truman to become the Vice President. To overcome this initial deficit, the leaders of the Democratic Party worked to influence the Convention delegates, such that Truman received the nomination.
What is even more extraordinary than Bensky’s misinterpretation of the choice of Truman as FDR’s veep is the total absence of ANY reference that I could find to Truman’s Committee having exposed what Bensky claimed was “Collaboration between corporate America and Nazi Germany” and I was examining the same Senate entry online that he did. That there was pre-war collaboration between certain US corporations and the Nazis, most notably by Standard Oil, is a fact, but Truman’s committee was not looking into that. Rather, the committee’s focus was on wasteful spending by US corporations in pursuing war profits, a worthy goal but it was nothing like what Bensky described.
Bensky’s concluding line, “Will there be a Harry Truman in the room?,” presumably in a gathering of political “notables” to plan America’s post-Covid 19 future, makes me wonder if he is really that ignorant of Truman’s history? Truman’s criminal record is, arguably, without parallel in US history: his ordering the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his unquestioned approval of the firebombing of Tokyo, five months earlier, killing over 100,000 people a month before FDR’s death, his launching a war against No. Korea, five years later, almost obliterating that country, his initiation of the loyalty oaths that plagued American society for more than two decades and led to the Congressional witch hunts of that period, and finally, his pronouncing of what became known as the Truman Doctrine which established the principle that the US should give military support to countries or peoples “threatened by Soviet forces or Communist insurrection.” This was expressed in 1947 by Truman in a speech to Congress seeking aid for Greece and Turkey which were facing insurrections. It has been viewed by historians as Washington’s open declaration of the Cold War against the USSR and we don’t need to recount what that led to.
CHILDREN MAYBE NOT SO IMMUNE
Children Are Falling Ill With a Baffling Ailment Related to Covid-19
No children are known to have died so far, but several have ended up in intensive care with mysterious symptoms that include enlarged coronary arteries.
By Joseph Goldstein and Pam Belluck, New York Times
One child, 8 years old, arrived at a Long Island hospital near death last week. His brother, a boy scout, had begun performing chest compressions before the ambulance crew reached their home.
In the past two days alone, the hospital, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, has admitted five critically ill patients — ages 4 to 12 — with an unusual sickness that appears to be somehow linked to Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. In total, about 25 similarly ill children have been admitted there in recent weeks with symptoms ranging from reddened tongues to enlarged coronary arteries.
The number of children in the United States showing signs of this new syndrome — which first was detected in Europe last month — is still small. None is known to have died, and many have responded well to treatment.
No solid data yet exists about how many children in the United States have fallen ill with what doctors are calling “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.”
“This is really only a disease that has been clear for two weeks now, so there is so much we’re trying to learn about this,” the chief of pediatric critical care at Cohen Children’s, Dr. James Schneider, said in an interview on Tuesday.
Doctors say this condition does not seem to be driven by the virus attacking the lungs, a hallmark of coronavirus infection in adults.
While some of the children with this condition do end up with respiratory problems and a few have needed to be on ventilators, “it seems to be less a lung-specific disease,” said Dr. Steven Kernie, chief of pediatric critical care medicine at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, which has treated between 10 and 20 children with the condition, ranging from infants to older teenagers.
He said many of their symptoms — from rashes to redness of eyes to blood circulation problems — appear to be rooted in an “overall inflammatory response.”
In some patients the syndrome seems similar to a rare childhood illness called Kawasaki disease, which can lead to inflammation of the blood vessels, especially the coronary arteries.
The symptoms of Kawasaki disease often start with a fever and a rash, but when undiagnosed and untreated, the illness can lead to serious heart conditions, such as coronary aneurysms. The disease, which generally afflicts patients 6 months to about 6 years old, is considered rare in the United States.
But Dr. Kernie said it was important to distinguish between this coronavirus-related condition and Kawasaki disease.
While some of the symptoms are similar, Dr. Kernie said, including fever, abdominal pain and sometimes a raised rash, there appear to be differences in how the coronavirus-related condition affects the heart.
While shock is a rare complication of Kawasaki disease, in the recent wave of coronavirus-related cases, he said, many of the children are in toxic shock with very low blood pressure and an inability of the blood to effectively circulate oxygen and nutrients to the body’s organs.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #1
It’s time to do a google search for recipes for rice & beans because you’re going to need it. I’m talking dry rice and dry beans here, not canned or in packages you drop in boiling water. As the shelves in stores slowly empty and the truckers go on strike, I’d stock up on those two items. Speaking of truckers, there was a demonstration in DC yesterday of hundreds lining the street demanding better wages. So I guess the fools at the top of the pyramid still think it’s a good idea to squash the ones on the bottom? Who do they think delivers their Chardonnay?
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
I don’t eat out much, the only pro sport that I give a rats patootie about is “The Sweet Science,” haven’t been to a theater in years, don’t need a gym as I can bike and work out at home and I cut my own grass with a push mower, kids are grown and gone, I’m a damn good cook, read a lot, do my own dishes, try to learn something new everyday, when you stop learning you die faster, I create my own homegrown music with several instruments and friends. I’ve worked blue collar grunt jobs all my life and don’t need or want any goddamned servants.
THE WORLD HAS LOVED, HATED AND ENVIED THE U.S. NOW, FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE PITY IT
By Fintan O’Toole
Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.
However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful.
Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode? The US went into the coronavirus crisis with immense advantages: precious weeks of warning about what was coming, the world’s best concentration of medical and scientific expertise, effectively limitless financial resources, a military complex with stunning logistical capacity and most of the world’s leading technology corporations. Yet it managed to make itself the global epicentre of the pandemic.
As the American writer George Packer puts it in the current edition of the Atlantic, “The United States reacted ... like Pakistan or Belarus – like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.”
It is one thing to be powerless in the face of a natural disaster, quite another to watch vast power being squandered in real time – wilfully, malevolently, vindictively. It is one thing for governments to fail (as, in one degree or another, most governments did), quite another to watch a ruler and his supporters actively spread a deadly virus. Trump, his party, and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News became vectors of the pestilence.
The grotesque spectacle of the president openly inciting people (some of them armed) to take to the streets to oppose the restrictions that save lives is the manifestation of a political death wish. What are supposed to be daily briefings on the crisis, demonstrative of national unity in the face of a shared challenge, have been used by Trump merely to sow confusion and division. They provide a recurring horror show in which all the neuroses that haunt the American subconscious dance naked on live TV.
If the plague is a test, its ruling political nexus ensured that the US would fail it at a terrible cost in human lives. In the process, the idea of the US as the world’s leading nation – an idea that has shaped the past century – has all but evaporated.
Other than the Trump impersonator Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, who is now looking to the US as the exemplar of anything other than what not to do? How many people in Düsseldorf or Dublin are wishing they lived in Detroit or Dallas?
It is hard to remember now but, even in 2017, when Trump took office, the conventional wisdom in the US was that the Republican Party and the broader framework of US political institutions would prevent him from doing too much damage. This was always a delusion, but the pandemic has exposed it in the most savage ways.
What used to be called mainstream conservatism has not absorbed Trump – he has absorbed it. Almost the entire right-wing half of American politics has surrendered abjectly to him. It has sacrificed on the altar of wanton stupidity the most basic ideas of responsibility, care and even safety.
Thus, even at the very end of March, 15 Republican governors had failed to order people to stay at home or to close non-essential businesses. In Alabama, for example, it was not until April 3 that governor Kay Ivey finally issued a stay-at-home order.
In Florida, the state with the highest concentration of elderly people with underlying conditions, governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump mini-me, kept the beach resorts open to students travelling from all over the US for spring break parties. Even on April 1, when he issued restrictions, DeSantis exempted religious services and “recreational activities.”
Georgia governor Brian Kemp, when he finally issued a stay-at-home order on April 1, explained: “We didn’t know that [the virus can be spread by people without symptoms] until the last 24 hours.”
This is not mere ignorance – it is deliberate and homicidal stupidity. There is, as the demonstrations this week in US cities have shown, plenty of political mileage in denying the reality of the pandemic. It is fuelled by Fox News and far-right internet sites, and it reaps for these politicians millions of dollars in donations, mostly (in an ugly irony) from older people who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
It draws on a concoction of conspiracy theories, hatred of science, paranoia about the “deep state” and religious providentialism (God will protect the good folks) that is now very deeply infused in the mindset of the American right.
Trump embodies and enacts this mindset, but he did not invent it. The US response to the coronavirus crisis has been paralysed by a contradiction that the Republicans have inserted into the heart of US democracy. On the one hand, they want to control all the levers of governmental power. On the other they have created a popular base by playing on the notion that government is innately evil and must not be trusted.
The contradiction was made manifest in two of Trump’s statements on the pandemic: on the one hand that he has “total authority”, and on the other that “I don’t take responsibility at all”. Caught between authoritarian and anarchic impulses, he is incapable of coherence.
But this is not just Donald Trump. The crisis has shown definitively that Trump’s presidency is not an aberration. It has grown on soil long prepared to receive it. The monstrous blossoming of misrule has structure and purpose and strategy behind it.
There are very powerful interests who demand “freedom” in order to do as they like with the environment, society and the economy. They have infused a very large part of American culture with the belief that “freedom” is literally more important than life. My freedom to own assault weapons trumps your right not to get shot at school. Now, my freedom to go to the barber (“I Need a Haircut” read one banner this week in St. Paul, Minnesota) trumps your need to avoid infection.
Usually when this kind of outlandish idiocy is displaying itself, there is the comforting thought that, if things were really serious, it would all stop. People would sober up. Instead, a large part of the US has hit the bottle even harder.
And the president, his party and their media allies keep supplying the drinks. There has been no moment of truth, no shock of realisation that the antics have to end. No one of any substance on the US right has stepped in to say: get a grip, people are dying here.
That is the mark of how deep the trouble is for the US – it is not just that Trump has treated the crisis merely as a way to feed tribal hatreds but that this behaviour has become normalised. When the freak show is live on TV every evening, and the star is boasting about his ratings, it is not really a freak show any more. For a very large and solid bloc of Americans, it is reality.
And this will get worse before it gets better. Trump has at least eight more months in power. In his inaugural address in 2017, he evoked “American carnage” and promised to make it stop. But now that the real carnage has arrived, he is revelling in it. He is in his element.
As things get worse, he will pump more hatred and falsehood, more death-wish defiance of reason and decency, into the groundwater. If a new administration succeeds him in 2021, it will have to clean up the toxic dump he leaves behind. If he is re-elected, toxicity will have become the lifeblood of American politics.
Either way, it will be a long time before the rest of the world can imagine America being great again.
(Irish Times Editorial)
MICHAEL JORDAN: ANTI-HERO
by Dave Zirin
Six episodes down, four to go. Over halfway through ESPN’s ten-part documentary, The Last Dance, it is safe to say that we know what we are getting. Entertaining as it is, it’s less a documentary about the 1990s Chicago Bulls than it is an exercise in brand management for current NBA franchise owner Michael Jordan.
This was manifestly the case in episodes one and two, which were pure Jordan hagiographies. Episodes three and four were more interesting as they branched out to speak about Jordan’s teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. With five and six, we were back to the billion-dollar project of Jordan brand extension that still aims to conquer, and reconquer, the world.
Episode five is particularly illuminating and, in many respects, it gives the game away. We finally get to grapple with Jordan’s lack of political involvement—in particular, his infamous statement in 1990 that he wouldn’t stick his neck out politically because “Republicans buy sneakers too.” Those words were an off the cuff response to when he was asked why he wouldn’t endorse Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Harvey Gantt in his senatorial challenge against segregationist bigot Jesse Helms.
This throwaway quote has been used as a cudgel against Jordan ever since. His critics have compared him unfavorably to everyone from Muhammad Ali to LeBron James. They’ve said that when push came to shove, Jordan chose his bank account over any kind of political solidarity; Nike over anti-racist political action. It’s done enough damage to the Jordan brand that in recent years his handlers have begun to deny that he ever said it, claiming that it’s in effect an urban myth. After all, it’s not on video or audio tape. Who’s to say he said it at all?
But in episode 5, we see the ruthless competitor side of 2020 Michael Jordan as he’s confronted with this quote. He didn’t hide behind the idea that he never said it. He didn’t express regret about the decision to pass on taking a stand. Instead he justified his words by saying, “The way I go out of my life, I set examples. If it inspires you, great. If it doesn’t then maybe I’m not the person you should be following.” It was a big middle finger to everyone who wanted Jordan to use his global platform and be something more than what he was.
Some are praising the documentary for showing this side of Jordan, but that’s nonsense. This is a Michael Jordan production. This is the Jordan that Michael Jordan want us to see: a ruthless competitor, always with a score to settle. He lives to win, whether at hoops, cards, or throwing quarters against the wall. Whether the stakes are thousands of dollars or one buck a hand, he is about the win and “putting your money into [his] pocket.”
Jordan was also, as the documentary shows, single-mindedly competitive about making Nike the number one basketball sneaker in the world. Episode 5 shows Jordan covering up the Reebok logo on his team USA uniform at the 1992 Olympics with an American Flag so as not to give the competitor company any shine on the medal stand. TheLast Dance does not show Jordan saying that he would look into allegations of sweat shop abuses at Nike when confronted by activists, and then doing nothing. The Jordan who stayed silent when kids were being killed for their sneakers, well, that hasn’t been seen either.
Instead, we get a Jordan who tells the critics to piss off. Republicans buy sneakers too: it’s more than an offhand comment said within earshot of reporters. It’s a mantra. Jordan is in effect using this documentary to tell a new generation that you don’t have to care about anything if it gets in the way of the ultimate goal: to be number one. The hell with the person to your right or left.
At a moment when we desperately need a more compassionate and collectively-minded approach to each other’s lives, that’s an ethos that needs to be challenged. Yet it lives on, represented starkly by the don’t tread on me, armed protestors gathering in front of governor’s mansions, calling for death over discomfort. That’s what you do when some lives are deemed more expendable, and less essential, than others. That’s what you do when winning matters more than the people you bring with you along the way.
Michael Jordan’s documentary is his Don’t Tread On Me: he did it his way and it was the right thing to do, and the proof is that he’s Michael Jordan and you’re not. We need to understand that and, as much as he, his brand managers, and ESPN want to lionize that approach to life, we are also allowed to reject it. We should thank Michael Jordan for showing us who he is—exactly who we thought he was.
WE ARE IN A PLANETARY EMERGENCY
by Michael Moore
We are in a planetary emergency. And I’m not talking about the coronavirus. Viruses are part of nature. This is their planet, too. They are a form of life. And like another species I know well, they are killers. The current pandemic is simply acting as a gentle warning from Mother Nature. Gentle?? Over 3 million infected worldwide, and a quarter million dead? Gentle?
Yes, it is truly awful. But take it as the Earth’s slap on our collective face: nature telling our species to back off, slow down and change your ways.
For many years, we have been in the middle of what scientists call the world’s Sixth Extinction Event. This planet can remove us all in a snap of its fingers. Thank god it doesn’t have fingers. Nonetheless, if you think Covid-19 has been a bummer, well, trust me, you literally can’t imagine just how awful Earth’s revenge is going to be against us for trying to choke it to fucking death.
Yes, we are in a serious, multi-level planetary emergency - and it involves climate, water, food, topsoil, overconsumption, missing species, ocean life and humans. Mostly humans, and our various nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems.
Now for the bad news. Many of the people and organizations who are working hard to save us, aren’t. It’s not that they haven’t tried. They have. And we are proud of them and ourselves and all the the work we’ve done in the environmental movement. We are very grateful to our environmental leaders. Brilliant research, writings, protests, successes.
Except it hasn’t worked. The climate battle has been lost or it’s being lost. We all know that we are WORSE off since the first Earth Day 50 years ago. Here’s what’s been achieved since 1970:
* 90% of the large fish (cod, halibut, salmon, etc) in the oceans are gone. We ate them.
* 60% of all the mammals are gone - and 95% of the mammals that are left are either humans, our pets, or our dinner.
* Somewhere between 2,000 and 10,000 species are going extinct every year;
* We have lost HALF of all our topsoil. Some predict it will all be gone in 60 years. It takes 1,000 years to regenerate just three centimeters of new topsoil;
* Of the Earth’s 37 main aquifer systems (our underground fresh water), 21 of them are at near-collapse.
* We lost 1.2 billion acres of rainforest in 2018. In just one year.
* We were not supposed to go above 350 parts per million of the carbon we spew into our atmosphere. We are now at 415. Which means we are beyond the point of no return. We will have no chance of even coming close to halting the coming collapse if we cannot first admit we have failed. We can no longer solar panel and windmill our way out of this disaster.
I’m so sorry I have to say this, but friends, we are no longer on the right road. And if we don’t change course immediately, if we’re too proud to ask for directions, new directions, to start a bold new discussion of what must be done - and do so without “green” hedge fund managers at the table - then we might as well keep driving this electric Buick off the cliff.
I cannot remain silent about this any longer. I’ve devoted myself to the environmental movement since I was a teenager. I was part of the first Earth Day. I was 15 and had just made my first documentary with the exciting title, “Pollution in My Hometown.” It was my Eagle Scout project where I showed all the businesses that were poisoning our air and water. It deeply upset the local Chamber of Commerce and they tried to stop me from showing it around town at the churches and schools and Kiwanis clubs. Six years later I started my own alternative newspaper, “The Flint Voice.” One of our first cover stories was entitled, “Here Comes the Sun,” my full-fledged effort to get Michigan ‹ a state in which only one in four days each year is considered “sunny” ‹ to go solar. The next year I founded the Huron Alliance, a Flint-based anti-nuclear group. We organized massive demonstrations to block the building of the Dow Nuclear plant in Midland, Michigan. Remarkably we were successful in its cancellation.
All of that took place before I was 23-years old. I’ve spent the rest of my adult life trying to figure out how to stop those who are hell-bent on destroying our home, the Earth. I also came to sadly see that some of the Earth’s worst enemies were the people who claimed to be on our side but couldn’t resist taking corporate money, thinking this would help the cause. It hurt the cause. I began to believe little of what we were being fed. I subscribed to the motto of investigative journalist I. F. Stone: “All governments (and corporations) are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.” But soon after I started my newspaper, I had to confront some awful truths that I truly didn’t want to acknowledge: that some activist groups I supported, and some liberals who were my good friends and allies, were not always doing good for the people. Often they were well-intentioned, or occasionally misguided, or just simply wrong. And a few were up to no good. I saw unions hop into bed with management. I covered Democrats who were really Republicans. In my last film I called out Barack Obama for going to Flint and pretending to drink Flint water and telling people that their tainted water was safe when it wasn’t. I love Obama. But there’s the rub of my quasi-lonely life as a citizen and filmmaker: I will never, ever cover for anyone who’s not doing right by the people, who is harming the least among us, who, even with good intentions, has contributed to the eventual death of this planet.
And now, 50 years after that first Earth Day, I have to stand here and tell you, with my support of Jeff Gibbs’ film, that we must ask the difficult questions of the people we love on our side of the political divide: Is “green” capitalism really our savior? Are we being manipulated with fear and forced anxiety so that we will buy more, more, more? To what ends? When the pandemic is over, do you want to go back to the old way of being wage-slaves, no real power over your own lives, accepting that the democracy is probably over, that you’re no longer citizens, you’re simply consumers, and that your contribution to the Earth’s decline is to continually feed the beast.
It is amazing that we have all put up with this for so long, and that we have been afraid to admit our losing record on our precious environment. Something has to change. And it has to change now.
Planet of the Humans has no personal bone to pick with anyone. We’ve all messed up and we’ve all been on the wrong road. What’s our way out? Besides planting a billion trees (yes!), ending capitalism/greed/the 1%, nationalizing the energy companies as a matter of national security, bring back teaching civics in our schools, instituting a guaranteed annual income, universal health care, and free child care — and how about we apologize to our children, our students, our young adults under 40 for the Destroyed Earth we’ve handed them and then let them lead us out of this madness. The youth have already risen up to create the new movements we desperately need. We, the adults, the lifelong environmentalists, have failed to stop climate change. The Western world uses too much crap, too much energy and eats too many cows and chickens. As Greta rightfully, angrily said to us adults: “You have stolen our future! You have stolen our youth!” Indeed we have. I’ve admitted it. I want the rest of the movement to admit it, too.
I am most heartened and encouraged by the bull’s-eye focus of youth-led movements on the real target. I totally agree with Greta’s condemnation, "People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosytems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
I think that she was not just directing that at the oil, gas and coal industry. I believe she’s aiming it, rightly so, at all of us. Many on our side have told us that capitalism is the solution to the problem it created. That strategy has failed. While decimating the planet is “good business,” it is bad for the people and all the living creatures on it.
I urge you to join me in committing to support and fight alongside the Student Strike for Climate, Sunrise Movement, Black Lives Matter, March for Our Lives, Women’s March, Extinction Rebellion, etc. to change this world immediately. We need new blood! Fresh ideas! People who won’t be co-opted! We must commit to following their lead. Some of our beloved environmental leaders may have to step aside and help in other ways. We need these young people to do what we haven't had the guts to do: Slam the door shut on the “green capitalism” that funds and poisons the movement. The youth will refuse to participate in the eco-industrial complex. Let them lead!
That’s not a lot to ask for if it means that Mother Nature gives us one last chance to get it right. I’m hoping she sees, as I do, that the kids are all right.
Heroes and Patriots examines the origins of COVID-19, Thursday, May 7, 2020, KMUD Community Radio
Heroes and Patriots returns Thursday, May 7, 9-10 a.m. PST on KMUD Community Radio. With much controversy around the origins of the COVID-19 virus, the program will examine the possibility of biowarfare and other theories with Dr. Jonathan R. Latham and Dr. Meryl Nass.
You can listen online: Listeners can call in, or email questions during the program. firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Sakowicz and Mary Massey Co-Host
PAYROLL TAX = SOCIAL SECURITY