- Warming Week
- Willits Protest
- BBQ Cancelled
- Widespread Protests
- Like Magic
- Doohan On
- Pet Sprite
- Lizard Girl
- Local Decisions
- Hotel Ainslie
- Police Protocols
- FB Squatter
- Abusive Deputy
- Navarro Mill
- B Slothfulness
- Ed Notes
- CNN Siege
- Log Raft
- On Falling
- Yesterday's Catch
- Historical Violence
- Russian Gulch
- Wrong Way
- Navarro Mill
- Grudge Match
- Tax Dodgers
- Wendling Town
- Newsom Cuts
- Lesser-Evil Voting
- Still Life
- VP Choice
- Found Object
ISOLATED SHOWERS will be possible over the interior mountains today through Monday. Otherwise, dry weather is expected through much of next week. Interior temperatures will steadily warm through mid week. Coastal areas will generally remain in the lower to mid 60s as northerly breezes return. (NWS)
ALBION-LITTLE RIVER PROTECTION AND AUXILLIARY announces: Due to the corona virus outbreak and associated warnings, our annual barbecue in July has been cancelled.
PROTESTS ROCK CITIES ACROSS US SATURDAY NIGHT AS ANGER OVER GEORGE FLOYD'S KILLING SPREADS
Thousands of people ignored a curfew in Minneapolis to protest for a fourth night in a row, as anger around police brutality and the death of George Floyd erupted into violence across the US, from New York to California.
Although multiple demonstrations started peacefully many turned volatile overnight, with crowds in Minneapolis overwhelming law enforcement, taking over a police station and smashing and burning shops. In Atlanta, people set a police car ablaze and broke windows at CNN’s headquarters, an attack that prompted Georgia’s governor to declare a state of emergency.
An unidentified assailant in Detroit fired shots from an SUV into a crowd of demonstrators, killing a 19-year-old man.
The shooting came hours after Donald Trump was criticised for inciting violence against protesters when he threatened people he called “thugs” on Twitter: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer captured on video kneeling on Floyd for nine minutes, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. But three other officers involved in the arrest had not yet been charged, and the announcement did little to end what has descended into regular nightly clashes.
In the capital, the White House was put under lockdown as demonstrators tussled with the Secret Service into the early hours. Protesters threw bricks and bottles but failed to get over the barricades. Police dispersed the crowds with pepper spray.
PRESIDENT TRUMP continues to fan the flames, writing in a tweet Friday night:
Great job last night at the White House by the U.S. @SecretService. They were not only totally professional, but very cool. I was inside, watched every move, and couldn’t have felt more safe. They let the “protesters” scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard - didn’t know what hit them. The front line was replaced with fresh agents, like magic. Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action. ‘We put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and....good practice.’ As you saw last night, they were very cool & very professional. Never let it get out of hand. Thank you! On the bad side, the D.C. Mayor, @MurielBowser, who is always looking for money & help, wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved. “Not their job.” Nice!
LOOKS LIKE MENDO HEALTH OFFICER Dr. Noemi Doohan will be staying on for a while. At their Friday press event, CEO Carmel Angelo and Dr. Doohan confirmed that she was still the health officer, but no firm departure date was mentioned, only that Dr. Doohan would transition to a consultant role “later this year.” Doohan said that the ”goal” was to have a new health officer by June 4, coyly avoiding any specific dates. But now that the Board declined to hire Dr. Iser, “as soon as we have a new health officer, that [her final day as health officer] will happen, but I’m still remaining as your health officer.”
CEO ANGELO said that the County had received expressions of “interest” from two unnamed medicos, but they have not submitted applications and no interviews have been conducted yet. So the tea leaves seem to indicate that a new health officer is still weeks off while Dr. Doohan continues in her role as long-distance health officer via San Diego for the nonce.
DR. DOOHAN made one odd-sounding remark in explaining why she didn’t want to say where in the “north county” someone recently tested positive “because of the stigma” that the town where they live might suffer. Funny, because nobody hesitated to say that the out-of-county field hand who tested positive in Anderson Valley recently was in Anderson Valley and so far we don’t detect any stigma.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK: SPRITE
Sprite is full of happy energy; he's happy to be out and about and happy to meet new people. Sprite needs a little fine tuning in the basictraining department, and some leash work. But overall, this dog is a joy to be with. We think Sprite will be a fine companion in a home with children, and we know he would love a home with a nice outdoor area or daily walks...or both! Sprite is about a year old, maybe a wee bit younger, and weighs a compact 39 pounds.
To see our canine and feline guests, and for information about our services, programs, events, and updates about the county covid-19 closure and the shelter, visit: mendoanimalshelter.com.
For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:
Regional Public Health Order Enforcement Dynamic
My eyes have been on public health order enforcement in neighboring counties, Sonoma County in particular because of the repeated flip-flopping in recent days. As the pandemic response continues and political polarization pulls us away from unity, I find truth in many perspectives. One size does not fit all. As we move beyond the economic pause intended for response preparation, we need to find ways to live with COVID-19. Many businesses will not survive the wait for a vaccine. Many “open” businesses are struggling without tourism, finding insufficient customers to sustain. Businesses forced closed under vague state phasing schedules face insolvency. Imagine being in their shoes — the state’s policy, no matter how necessary, is destroying their livelihood, perhaps permanently. The topic is divisive because of the gravity of ramifications. At a local level, we’re choosing from an array of imperfect options, a small subset of possibilities allowed under state preemption.
Rural counties are capable of architecting less economically impactful orders under local control, local control the state has not afforded counties. Our effort to make a pitch for greater local control is not assisted by the growing consensus of regional Sheriffs who have signaled intentions to not enforce public health orders. Many of their arguments about personal freedom do resonate with me, but this creates a predicament. For example, I’d like to see camping open for residents. Camping would arguably reduce exposure and transmission, replacing indoor activities with outdoor recreation. Without enforcement of the state’s stance against leisure travel, I anticipate this idea stalling without serious considered. If we cannot enforce the existing elements, how will we enforce a locals-only policy in the context of camping? I suggest seeking an opinion from the California Attorney General to resolve any questions about the appropriateness of enforcement. Given the merits of various perspectives, an AG opinion would bring officials back into alignment, resolving contention, no matter the outcome.
Some have suggested local government could look the other way. I believe this is shortsighted. No matter the county’s intent to ignore violations of the state order, the liability for businesses is enormous. With 30 cases county-wide to date (and about two-thirds active), the risk might appear tolerable, but we’re only at the beginning stage of spread. Inviting bay area guests would likely cause an explosion of cases. Imagine your business being responsible for a fatal case while you were supposed to be closed. The very element we need to address our failing economy is also the ingredient that will shut us down.
Strict voluntary adherence to facial coverings and other best practices combined with a demonstrated case count significantly below state average could fuel a discussion about leading a reopening pilot. With a sizable subset of our population and visitors refusing to even wear facial coverings, I suspect we’ll live with the broad state order. Local government cannot solve this dilemma. Personal responsibility by our people is the tool to ensure our best chance of allowing our neighborhood businesses to survive.
“If you don’t like the way a business operates, take your money elsewhere.” raises a valid point. Customers can influence business compliance through spending habits. That said, a logical extension might be, “If you don’t like that a restaurant chooses to disregard hand-washing procedures, eat elsewhere” or “If you’re unhappy about the lack of accessibility ramp, shop at a different store”. The government regulates activities of business in areas of advertising, labor, environmental impact, privacy and health and safety. Business regulation to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 is consistent with existing regulatory schemes.
Conspiracy theories run wild and we have reason to distrust the competency of government. Data probably is inaccurate. The power elite will be opportunistic. Big box stores did benefit while our small family owned shops unjustifiably suffered. Is COVID-19 just another flu? World data seems to suggest otherwise and I’m doubtful nations could coordinate efforts to misclassify cause of death. More than a conspiracy, we have a pandemic. Trump’s Dr. Fauci says he wears a mask to be a symbol of what "you should be doing." He says it’s not "100% effective” but shows "respect for another person.” Let’s show respect for each other.
HOTEL AINSLIE (WENDLING/NAVARRO)
USE OF FORCE, MENDO PROTOCOLS
Message from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office
Following the recent issues which have occurred in our nation, we have received several calls regarding the stance of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office regarding use of force. We first would like to thank all of the people who have reached out to us during these times. We truly appreciate these calls and conversations.
Currently the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is working hard on training in various fields including use of force. Sheriff Allman was able to procure a use of force simulator prior to his retirement. This tool will be employed for in depth training of our personnel as well as deputy sheriffs and police officers from other agencies. We are working to partner with other law enforcement chiefs to ensure all peace officers within the county receive the training which is needed to deliver the best work product we possibly can.
Senate Bill 978 requires law enforcement agencies to post on their website “all current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and education and training materials that would otherwise be available to the public” if a request was made pursuant to the California Public Records Act, located in Government Code §§ 6250 et seq.
To comply with this law, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has made available the documents at the below provided link, unless the material falls within an applicable exemption under the Public Records Act.
Mendocino County Sheriff's Office SB 978 materials: mendocinosheriff.com/publications/sb-978-materials/
Sheriff Matthew C. Kendall
POOP & PEE PROBLEM IN FORT BRAGG...
JIM WAGONER will be a familiar name to Coast radio listeners. He writes:
I'm an old radio news guy who lived in Fort Bragg in the 1980s and 1990s and worked at all the stations there, including KDAC, KMFB & KOZT before the evil ones took it over. I was an eyewitness to the Fort Bragg fires. (Your paper's coverage of that was Pulitzer-worthy. Truly excellent.) I've interviewed Judy Bari, Susan Massini, Jerry Mello, etc, etc. I did the talk show on KDAC after Charlie Stone got busted for taxes and left town and I flipped the format.
Anyway, I was visiting Fort Bragg last February, around the 24th or so, and I had a horrible experience with a Mendocino Sheriff's deputy who I assume is the same one who overdosed on narcotics two weeks later in early March.
I decided to camp one night in my minivan north of town near 10 mile river & the sand dunes with a nice view of the ocean and the sound of the tide. I was just drifting off when the deputy rolled up and aimed his spotlight at my face. It was not illegal to camp there and there were no signs prohibiting it. I told him I had attended church that morning with a friend in Fort Bragg and he literally rolled his eyes. I then in a very friendly polite way told him that we, my two small pooches and myself, decided to camp instead of getting a room because of the bad experiences I had with extremely drunk and loud people in the middle of the night when staying at the Motel 6 in town that allows small dogs. He was just plain nasty in response and repeatedly to told me to show him my hands as he took my license and I guess ran a warrant check on me. Now keep in mind I had just gone shopping and had taken a friend out to eat in Fort Bragg and spent approximately $100 in town before going to camp out in the minivan well off the highway in a very non-intrusive spot for just a few hours.
After running my driver's license and determining I had no criminal record or warrants he handed it back to me and pointedly asked me when I was leaving town, like I was some scumbag criminal. This, after I had just spent a Benjamin in the city limits! His whole demeanor was unnecessarily nasty from the get go, in spite of my extreme courtesy, and then he acts like he wants to run me out of town for literally no reason? He was so jumpy that the situation could have turned very ugly and dangerous for me quickly had I not been so cautious. He drove away and then returned again at 4:30 that morning to purposely wake me up. I believe this deputy's arrests during the months leading up to his narcotics overdose should really be scrutinized by the Sheriff's Department, the DA, and public defense's office.
I have a long history on the coast and I am not anti-law enforcement. This deputy struck me as abusive and dangerous, and a ticking-time bomb. I even thought the night this occurred that he acted like he was on methamphetamine.
NAVARRO BY THE SEA, 1880s
MEASURE B: SLOTH & CONFUSION
by Mark Scaramella
In June of 2019 the Mendocino County Grand Jury quoted from Measure B which was overwhelmingly passed into law in November of 2017:
Measure B, in part, states:
“Provide for assistance in the diagnosis, treatment and recovery from mental illness and addiction by developing:
1) A psychiatric facility and other behavioral health facilities; and a regional behavioral health training facility to be used by behavioral health professionals, public safety and other first responders.
2) Provide for the necessary infrastructure to support and stabilize individuals with behavioral health conditions, including addiction and neurological disorders.
3) Create a Mental Health Treatment Fund entirely dedicated to fund improved services, treatment and facilities for persons with mental health conditions into which 100% of the revenue from this measure shall be deposited.
4) Create a politically independent “Mental Health Treatment Act” Citizen’s Oversight Committee which shall review the independent annual audit of expenditures and the performance management plan for compliance with the Specific Purpose of this ordinance.”
Measure B also required Mendo to “Conduct an independent annual audit and develop a performance management strategy which measures the effectiveness of the improved services, treatment and facilities and assesses the impact of the ‘Mental Health Treatment Act’.”
The Grand Jury noted that “In 2018, Mendocino County contracted with the Kemper Consulting Group to provide a recommended plan of action for allocation of Measure B revenues. The Kemper Report recommended a continuum of care including: A Crisis Stabilization Unit, A Crisis Residential Treatment Center, A Psychiatric Health Facility.”
The Grand Jury further quoted then-Sheriff and committee chair Tom Allman:
“The CSU would be a locked facility and provide a location in which sheriff’s deputies, hospital emergency personnel, and mental health workers could transport people in need of a safe, secure place for up to 24 hours.
“The CRT would provide a place for people to remain voluntarily for up to a month while receiving mental health and/or addiction treatment.
“The PHF would be a long-term psychiatric facility for people with more intense mental health issues where they could receive the treatment they need over the course of several weeks.”
In a blast of understatement, the Grand Jury then concluded: “The Grand Jury is concerned about the length of time it has taken the Committee to make just three recommendations. After eighteen months of meetings, the public has no clear view of the progress of Measure B facilities and programs.”
In responding to the Grand Jury’s recommendation that the Board of Supervisors “prepare and publicize a plan with goals and timelines fore the completion of the CSU, CRT and PHF,” the Board said that “this recommendation will be implemented on an ongoing basis although timelines are somewhat contingent on the pace of recommendations from the Committee.”
The Supes added that according to the text of Measure B: “This [oversight] committee shall also provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the implementation of this ordinance.”
It’s nearly another year since that Grand Jury report and the Measure B Committee has still not made any of the three primary recommendations, nor have any been proposed, considered or discussed.
To date, now almost two and a half years later, the Measure B committee has provided only minimal recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, and those few were of the no-brainer variety: The conduct of a Needs Assessment (which has since been ignored, despite being specifically re-referred to the Committee in the Supervisors response to the Grand Jury), the purchase of an old church building in Redwood Valley, supplemental funding for the Mobile Outreach program (which has not been spent, not a nickel), and the hiring of more admin staff and out-of-county consultants.
The Committee has not made a single recommendation relating to the core requirements of Measure B, the PHF, CRT or CSU. Nor has any member of that committee or its staff proposed any recommendations relating to those core requirements. Nor has anyone mentioned the requirement that an annual audit be performed much less that a performance management strategy be developed, not that anyone on the Measure B committee would know performance management if it fell on them from the sky.
Nevertheless, the committee and its staff have repeatedly described themselves and their paid functionaries as “hard working.”
In response to our recent criticism of last Wednesday’s pathetic excuse for a meeting, Supervisor Ted Williams commented:
“[Project Manager] Alyson [Bailey] has been diligent and realistic. She’s part of the solution to unblock Measure B. My frustration is about the board’s role. We’re three years in and we don’t have a business plan or financial model. We’re spending public dollars on planning facilities without documentation that we can actually operate the facilities once built. The B oversight committee is comprised of hard working [sic] volunteers. They need a professional resource to plan the financial model.”
There is zero evidence to substantiate these claims that newly hired Ms. Bailey is diligent or realistic, whatever that means. Supervisor Williams’ repeated calls for a business plan or financial model, would be nice, but there’s no such requirement in the text of Measure B. In fact, neither Supervisor Williams nor the oversight committee have even brought up the Measure B requirement to “Conduct an independent annual audit and develop a performance management strategy which measures the effectiveness of the improved services, treatment and facilities and assesses the impact of the ‘Mental Health Treatment Act’.”
There have been no independent ANNUAL audits and Supervisors Williams’ vague attempts to develop a performance management strategy (aka a business plan, aka financial model) which ‘measures the effectiveness of the improved services, treatment and facilities and assesses the impact of the 'Mental Health Treatment Act’ have been delayed and postponed time and again. At the moment Ms. Bailey and Dr. Jenine Miller are going off on separate tangents working on whatever they think Williams may want.
Predition: Both of them will end up concluding that a PHF is too costly to build and operate, choosing instead to build grossly overdesigned and costly CRT and/or CSU after which there will be no money left for a PHF.
Former Fort Bragg Hospitality Center manager Anna Shaw commented: “I support Alyson's efforts in this Sisyphean task. I've know Alyson professionally and personally for many years and we are all very fortunate that she took the position. Let's not attack Alyson. And I am as frustrated as anyone at the lack of Measure B progress over the years."
Here’s the only thing I wrote on Thursday relating to Ms. Bailey, the recently hired and very well-paid Measure B Project Manager: “Or as Measure B project manager Alyson Bailey said about her alleged ‘numbers’ for a Psychiatric Health Facility, Crisis Residential Treatment Center and Crisis Stabilization Unit, maybe in two weeks ‘if all goes well,’ but surely ‘less than a month’ — which is as close to a specific as anybody got all afternoon.”
Has the definition of “attack” been widened to the point that it even includes making light of Ms. Bailey’s vague time estimates?
Last Wednesday when a well-meaning member of the public named Emmy Good reminded the Oversight Committee about the recent Press Democrat article describing Sonoma County’s new PHF which reportedly won’t cost much more than what Mendo has already allocated for architectural services, Oversight Committee Chair Donna Moschetti simply replied, “Thank you, Emmy. Any other public comment?” (A typical Mendo brush-off)
There was none. And nobody on the committee thought that that significant development in Sonoma County merited the slightest attention.
Later in that meeting former Sheriff Tom Allman tried to remind his colleagues about Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt’s “detailed” presentation on Eugene, Oregon’s “CAHOOTS” crisis van program and its obvious desirability in Mendocino County. Allman said that “somebody” should pick up the ball and look into it as all “hard workers” had agreed that it should be explored. But Allman didn’t know who should do it.
Of course, nobody else on the inert committee even responded, preferring to revert to more of their aimless discussion about “disbursements” and so forth.
We had wondered why the Redwood Valley Jehovah’s Witnesses had sold their former church property with two buildings on it to the County as a training center/substation for the suspiciously low price of less than $250k which the commercial market had somehow failed to snap up.
Toward the end of Wednesday’s meeting, Oversight Committee member (and Fort Bragg electrical contractor) Mark Myrtle said that he was working with the newly designated “training center” ad hoc committee to see “what it would take to upgrade the existing electrical system.” Myrtle added that he was looking at “cost savings” ideas for fixing the electrical and septic systems “and other things that they have proposed.”
Which implies that Mendo picked up a white elephant of a building that nobody else wanted and now, in Mendo’s hyper-rule-bound style, they’re stuck with bringing it up to every conceivable gold plated building code at who knows how much cost to Measure B.
When trying to urge the County’s Public Health apparatus to move a little faster on preparations to re-open Mendo’s marginal economy recently, Supervisor John McCowen complained that he didn’t see much of a “sense of urgency” among staff. Oh, the howls of indignation from staff — how could he say such a terrible thing when they’re all working so hard?
Too bad McCowen and the rest of the Board don’t make any similar calls for Measure B.
The Measure B committee members have failed miserably at every turn by their own standards and by the explicit requirements of Measure B and not one person involved seems to care. As long as the Supes insist on describing the Committee’s near total inaction as “working hard” or “diligent” the situation is not going to change.
THE BRITS are paying 80% of the salaries of the 8.5 mil workers who stay on the job through August and 70 percent through October. The self-employed are getting 70 percent of their income. Here? No long-term plans other than for those who qualify for unemployment at six hundred a week, more than many of them make at their full-time jobs. Millions of the suddenly jobless are getting nothing but long waits in food lines.
I UNDERSTAND the science and the sentiment, but all these LOCALS ONLY signs still rub me as unnecessarily rude and terribly sanctimonious. The county is already closed to visitors, so, like lighten up some.
THE 3RD DEGREE murder charge against Officer Chauvin for killing the non-resisting George Floyd means the Minneapolis DA rightly thinks that the officer demonstrated "depraved indifference to human life," but Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck became first degree murder when Floyd's body went limp, and it was obvious he was dying, and Chauvin never let up, finally killing him.
NOT RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich," the Netflicks documentary featuring that infamous chomo as he's aided and abetted by an array of world class pervs, including Bill Clinton, Woody Allen. Trump (natch), Allan Dershowitz, and so on, all names synonymous with the decadence characteristic of late capitalism. Epstein seduces underclass teenagers via an array of female pimps, one of them his high flying Brit girlfriend, daughter of a Murdochian-evil media magnate named Maxwell who some mysterious benefactor murdered in the middle of the night by shoving him overboard. Epstein's predations were well documented by the small but dogged Palm Beach Police Department whose findings were simply tossed by utterly corrupt attorneys at the state and federal levels. The Florida AG was of course hired by Trump before Epstein-related scumbaggery became a big daily story so Trump had to fire him to avoid being constantly asked about his relationship with Epstein. The prob with the film, in my view, is that it's too long and too repetitious, with one victim after another telling basically the same story — they were young, poor, vulnerable.
AN OPINION you're unlikely to hear anywhere but here, speaking as a veteran of many mob actions in my turbulent youth, I can say that riots are exciting and generally fun except, of course, at least in those days, if you got caught and got the crappola beat outta you. The diff between now and the sixties is vandalism. There wasn't much then. It was mostly a few cops chasing a thousand of us up and down the street.
A LARGE, hand-painted sign off 101 at Petaluma reads, ALL IS WELL. I'm sure it's meant to be reassuring, but all isn't well and we're not all in it together. The best analogy I've heard lately compared our present state to a crime scene freshly sprayed with luminol, the revelatory blood splatter chemical. From a distance everything looks more or less intact, but the luminol reveals the bloody social class reality. Ordinarily ignored until the damned burn a few buildings down; this time around the insurrection is occurring on top of a killer virus and an imploding economy.
LAST NIGHT, INSURRECTIONISTS smashed up the front of CNN's Atlanta headquarters, as I silently vowed, "If they lay so much as a violent hand on my Wolfie…" But this morning,Wolf Blitzer was safe in the Situation Room, expressing his frowing concern that “the rioters aren't socially distancing." That's my guy. Always on point.
THE SIEGE OF CNN!
TOWING LOG RAFT, NOYO HARBOR
GARY DURHEIM, long time subscriber from Seaside, Oregon, wrote recently: “You ran a filler quote recently that said, ‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall! — Confucius.’ And the corollary, which I learned as a brush ape setting chokers for Crown Zellerback Corp in 1965 is, ‘Always fall towards your work.’ I have been practicing that maxim my whole life. Be well!”
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 30, 2020
JAMES ANDERSON, Fort Bragg. Cruelty to animals, probation revocation.
TRAVIS ‘THE HUMP’ HUMPHREY, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, false ID (!), probation revocation.
ALDEN LARVIE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
JAMARHL LATIMER, Ukiah. DUI, no licensse, probation revocation.
DANIEL PEREZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CASEY SCHULTHEIS, Felton/Ukiah. DUI.
JOSEPH SILVER, Laytonville. Domestic battery, damaging communications device.
JALAHN TRAVIS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
AARON VARGAS, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, county parole violation.
IF GEORGE WASHINGTON didn’t get independence for this country nonviolently, and if Patrick Henry didn’t come up with a nonviolent statement, and you taught me to look at them as patriots and heroes, then it’s time for you to realize that I have studied your books well.
— Malcolm X
RUSSIAN GULCH BRIDGE
The $60 million Highway 101 Geyserville to Cloverdale “Big Pave” project should include a crossover barrier to help prevent the inevitable accidents in which a driver loses control and crosses over the center median, often with horrific consequences. Just look at all the damage along freeways to see how often a vehicle goes off the road and hits the guardrail.
Another observation: Having lived all my life in Sonoma County, I remember freeway exits used to have signage saying “Go back, you are going the wrong way.” These signs no doubt helped prevent wrong-way drivers, who also can cause horrible accidents, which we unfortunately read about in the paper with some regularity. Over the years, for some reason, these signs have been eliminated. Prevention of even one of these types of accidents would, in my opinion, justify their cost.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I have a new theory to explain the curious behavior of officer Derek Chauvin.
But before I get to it I have an observation to ask about. In all the video of the event I have viewed, George Floyd is either standing up, or face down on the ground; where is the video of him being taken down to the ground, because I have not seen it?
Does it exist?
Was it cut from the original video in order to give the appearance he did not resist arrest?
Did he resist arrest?
Or did he collapse/fall to the ground?
Anyway my theory on Chauvin’s behavior is, he got caught up in a grudge match of sorts with the “civilians” witnessing the arrest, and the more they asked Chauvin to ease up on Floyd, the more Chauvin resisted doing so; to the extent that Floyd became a type of prop of sorts in a grudge match between two groups of people, the arresting officers VS the witnessing civilians.
The more the civilians ask/told Chauvin to get off him, the more entrenched Chauvin became in his “you don’t tell me how to do my fucking job, I’ll show you…!”
Chauvin got so caught up in this grudge match that he killed a man without really intending to?
His intent was to demonstrate his power and authority, not to Floyd, but to the black people watching the arrest, as a warning to them: “See, look what our blue gang can do. We run these streets and don’t you fucking forget it…
Unfortunately, in the process, he forgot that the man he pinned to the ground with a knee on his neck, who was formerly gasping for air and crying out for his mama, had gone strangely silent and limp.
So, according to my theory, if this arrest had taken place away from witnesses, George Floyd might be alive today? Because the death of George Floyd may have had nothing to do with George Floyd, and EVERYTHING to do with “sending messages” to the people witnessing it?
Finally, regarding the charge of attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill?
Well, unless it was really obvious, its not really a crime to be in possession of a counterfeit $20 bill. I don’t study every federal reserve note I get, and even if I did, Im not sure I could tell the difference VISUALLY, since they make changes all the time?
Especially with the $100 dollar bills. I would probably be tipped off more by feel than by sight?
Regardless, I get all my currency from some other person/machine; just like everyone else; so the fact George Floyd may have been in possession of a fake $20 bill is no PROOF he was engaged in criminal activity; but that he may have been punked by the person who passed it to him?
Either he produced it, or he was PAID with it by someone else?
I tend towards the latter; if its true at all that he tried to pass a fake $20?
I will end with this question: If you found yourself alone, in an elevator with officer Derek Chauvin, and you could only ask him one question; what one question would you ask him?
U.S. TAXPAYERS' VIRUS RELIEF WENT TO FIRMS THAT AVOIDED U.S. TAXES
The company’s situation is one of several that reveal a previously unreported aspect of the government relief program: The fund is giving millions of dollars in American taxpayer money to a number of firms that have avoided paying U.S. tax, a Reuters examination found.
WENDLING (now Navarro)
ASSEMBLY TO NEWSOM: DON’T COUNT ON FEDS TO RESCUE CALIFORNIA FROM DEEP BUDGET CUTS
At an historic Assembly meeting, lawmakers on both sides criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom for proposing billions in cuts to schools, health care and safety net programs.
WHY THE LESSER-EVIL ARGUMENT FOR BIDEN SOUNDS HOLLOW
by Jonathan Cook
It is evident that neither candidate is actually going to do anything substantive to save us from ecological catastrophe
We are entering the final stages of the election to decide who will head the most powerful nation on Earth. That inevitably means the progressive and dissident left in the U.S. are again being deluged with arguments to vote for the lesser-evil candidate.
It has become such a standard left argument at election time that lesser evil voting even has its own acronym: LEV. Anyone who opposes Donald Trump’s re-election come November must set aside their concerns about – and if necessary their principles against – voting for the other main candidate on offer for U.S. president.
According to LEV, it is profoundly irresponsible and unethical for anyone on the left either to refuse to vote in November or to vote for a third, no-hope candidate because it risks aiding a Trump victory. Instead the left must cast a ballot – however uncomfortably – for the lesser evil candidate, which means Joe Biden, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic challenger.
This column is not going to make an argument for or against lesser evil voting, either in general or in the coming election. Everyone on the left must dig deep into their conscience and make a decision based on their assessment of how relatively evil Biden and Trump are, and whether that evil will be minimized by voting for Biden.
What I want to do instead is address why lesser evil arguments are sounding increasingly shrill and hollow to many on the left who fought so hard to earn Senator Bernie Sanders the Democratic nomination rather than Biden, but were once again stymied by the fervent opposition of the Democratic party leadership. These are the people chiefly targeted in the current round of lesser evil arguments.
If the proponents of LEV are going to succeed in persuading the Bernie left to turn out for Biden, in order to stop Trump, they are going to need to address the concerns of the Sanders’ camp much more clearly and articulately than they have done so far.
Don’t Wrestle with Pigs
One thing that is clear already is that the appeal of lesser-evil voting is becoming increasingly generational. Older leftists think it is self-evident that within an evil system you vote for the lesser evil candidate because small political differences can have big impacts, whether on domestic issues like social security, or on wars abroad, or on the future of the planet.
Their approach towards younger voters on the left who are not immediately impressed by this logic has often been to shame and insult them, labelling them as selfish, ideological purists or exemplars of white privilege. They have also indulged in what looks to many younger voters suspiciously like emotional blackmail, comparing Trump to Mussolini or Hitler.
To the younger left, things look a little more complex and paradoxical. They tend to see lesser-evil voting as an example of the chicken-and-egg problem. After all, given that the older left has been trotting out the lesser evil argument for decades, it looks suspiciously like LEV may have actually contributed to the entrenchment of an evil political system that made Trump’s election possible. Are the proponents of lesser-evil voting not creating the very conditions for political alienation that they then tout as a way to address the product – Trump – of that very political alienation?
If the U.S. has a cynical political system, deeply corrupted by money, younger voters wonder whether adding to that cynicism – with the left always voting for one of two evil candidates – can actually ever change the system or simply reinforces it. The older left has failed politically. But might one of the reasons be that for decades it has acted so cynically? Younger voters want to break with cynical politics. If the left is ever going to start looking more attractive, they argue, it needs to stop engaging cynically with a cynical system.
George Bernard Shaw’s maxim comes to mind: “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”
Walmart or Costco?
Very much related to this is the concern that decades of voting for evil Democratic candidates mean the progressive left has not just failed to hold the line politically, election by election, but has actively lost ground, especially relative to the biggest problem facing humanity – the imminent end of most life on the planet. The clock is ticking fast, and it is evident that neither candidate is actually going to do anything substantive to save us from ecological catastrophe. The system is entirely owned and controlled by a plutocratic class, addicted to the expansion of its own wealth, even at the cost of our species’ survival.
Lesser evilism focuses on the candidates’ relative merits and depravities. But younger voters increasingly see that as misdirection. The two evil candidates reflect the depravities of the same evil plutocratic system. On this view, the candidates’ marginal differences are nothing more than exercises in marketing. Debating their merits in relation to the fundamental, existential questions facing us at the moment makes as much sense to younger voters as arguing whether Walmart or Costco offer a more ethical model of consumption.
Meanwhile, the two candidates on offer in this election are probably the most deficient and incompetent in U.S. history: one is a fire-breathing, posturing, delusional narcissist; the other the dried-out husk of a once smooth-talking, delusional narcissist. Each is proof that the evil system they are there to obscure has grown so sclerotic, so debased, that it can no longer produce credible salesmen.
Echoing the Establishment
The candidates’ qualities aside, the system sinks into ever greater depravity for reasons that seem obvious to the younger left: because the power-establishment knows that, however evil the two candidates on offer are, as long as one is ever so slightly less evil than the other it will be able to adduce mock-ethical arguments to strong-arm the left into legitimizing its evil system. To younger voters, when the left’s veterans make the lesser evil argument, they repeat precisely the arguments the evil system wants echoing. It is not a great look.
The power-establishment knows that it can drag the system towards greater evil – towards more corporate greed, towards more horrifying global wars, towards more planetary destruction – and still the left will be expected to consent to the system as long as one candidate is slightly less evil. All the system has to do is offer a candidate who can market him or herself as less evil than the other candidate.
What the lesser-evil argument has achieved over the past 40 years – entirely predictably – is the gradual shift in the center of political gravity ever further rightwards, towards unconcealed rule by the corporate class, towards Donald Trump.
The credibility of the older left’s lesser evil voting strategy is being severely tested right at this moment – and is being found disastrously wanting. With Biden the presumptive Democratic candidate, now is the time when the progressive left ought to be leveraging its electoral clout to get Sanders and his political allies positions inside a future Biden administration. This is the moment when the Sanders camp ought to be able to parlay their substantial voting bloc into influence over who is chosen as Biden’s vice-president and his senior cabinet ministers, as well as over the main planks of Biden’s platform.
But rather than seize this historic moment, the older left – including, tragically, Sanders himself – are using this period primarily to undermine the progressive left, by bullying them into submission to the Biden campaign whatever it decides to do.
This is a major reason the LEV strategy looks so discredited to the younger left. They know Biden has little chance of winning without their support. This should be the moment to play their hand with a poker-face, extracting as much as they can from Biden. But the older left is already throwing the left’s hand down, demanding at this critical juncture that the left get behind Biden, when Biden has offered nothing at all to the progressive left.
In these circumstances, lesser evil voting looks a lot like simple defeatism. It actually makes the older left, not the younger left, look like the selfish, privileged ones. They backed Sanders, and when he lost the nomination campaign they simply gave up mid-fight, as they have done decade after decade, putting the struggle off to another day. They behave as if there is all the time in the world (which may seem true to those who are in their twilight years). But the urgency of the deadline for radical change – maybe only a few years away – is hard for the younger left to ignore.
Trump the New Hitler?
Lesser-evil proponents have traditionally made their case based on an assumption of modest differences between the two candidates – typically, one is marginally better on inequality and welfare issues. But with Trump, the stakes, it is said, have been raised considerably. Some supporters of LEV argue that Trump is a new Hitler. As a result, everything – including abandoning one’s political principles – must be done to stop him.
There is, as already noted, the problem that, if Trump really is Hitler, then it looks very much like decades of lesser evil voting may have contributed to the entrenchment of an evil system that produced this new Hitler. But there is a further difficulty.
If everything must be done to stop Trump, the progressive left finds itself vulnerable to exactly the same kind of bogus “resistance” politics that so discredited the liberal-left and has actually strengthened Trump rather than undermined him. If progressives and dissidents need to join the effort to do anything and everything to stop Trump, then why not also get on board with the next entirely evidence-free scandal against him, the next “Russiagate?”
In fact, if Trump is Hitler and must be stopped at all costs, how is the progressive left supposed to distinguish itself from the ridiculous, political energy-sapping, self-sabotaging posturing of the liberal-left? The danger is the progressive left gets subsumed within the phony, Democratic-loyalist left rather than leading the left by example into a more effective politics of real resistance.
Refining the Struggle
There is a final, consciousness-raising issue for younger leftists to consider when deciding whether to reject entirely the evil U.S. system, even if it risks allowing Trump another four years. Many younger leftists wonder exactly what kind of evil system they live under and how they should best respond to it. Refusing to vote for one of the two evil candidates may be the only way they can decide for sure.
One possibility is that the U.S. is a deeply flawed democratic system, but still accountable to voters. If that is right, then withholding their consent from an evil Democratic candidate may finally serve as a corrective to the endless rightward shift of the political system towards greater evil.
If Sanders’ supporters reject voting for Biden, Biden is unlikely to win the election. The deeply corrupt Democratic party leadership will then be forced into crisis. If it really wishes to win, it will have to accommodate the left meaningfully to win back its support.
Had the left chosen this course 30 years ago, rather than listening to calls to vote for the lesser evil candidate, they wonder, might the Democratic Party have ever reached the nadir of foisting a cognitively challenged and morally compromised candidate like Biden on the party’s supporters?
If U.S. democracy still functions, might the Democratic leadership faced with a real rebellion by the left be forced gradually to concede ground to a leftist political agenda, creating a genuine ideological contest between the two parties?
Labour Threw an Election
The other possibility is that the U.S. system lost its democratic features in all but name some time ago, and is instead a straightforward plutocracy serving a wealth-elite. The two parties pretend to compete for votes only to make the electorate think it is still in charge.
If the U.S. is a plutocracy, the political system will be largely indifferent as to whether the left is prepared to vote for Biden or not. Because in a two-party plutocracy, both parties represent the same interests – the corporate elite’s. They are simply branded differently to delude voters into thinking the system is democratic.
Younger voters have increasing reasons to suspect that the latter assessment is right. They can, for instance, look across the Atlantic to the recent experience of the UK, which has a similar two-party system.
An internal report leaked last month revealed that Labour Party bosses — Britain’s version of the Democratic National Committee — intentionally threw the 2017 general election to stop the party’s then leader, Jeremy Corbyn, from winning power against an increasingly far-right Conservative Party. The party bureaucrats felt compelled to sabotage their own candidate after they had failed two years earlier to prevent Labour members from electing Corbyn — the U.K.’s version of Sanders – as leader.
In other words, the permanent bureaucracy of the supposedly leftwing Labour Party felt it had more in common with the ultra-rightwing Conservatives than with its own democratic socialist leader.
Is the Democratic Party machine, which has now twice done everything in its power to stop Sanders, a democratic socialist, becoming the party’s presidential candidate, really so different from the U.K. Labour Party machine?
Bogus Political Fights
If the U.S. is really a two-party plutocracy, the Democratic leadership will do everything it can to stop a candidate (Sanders) who might threaten plutocratic rule, even if that means installing a weak and incompetent candidate (Biden) who risks losing to an ostensible opponent (Trump). In this kind of system, voters’ attention must be channeled into bogus political fights over barely distinguishable candidates rather than a real struggle over ideology.
Does that not sum up rather precisely what we have watched unfold over the last six months in the U.S.?
So for young leftists, not voting for Biden may help to resolve their own uncertainty about whether the U.S. system is redeemable or not. It is the step they feel they need to take to educate themselves and their peers on whether their energies should be directed chiefly at fighting the Democratic Establishment or abandoning the system entirely and taking to the streets.
The problem with lesser-evil voting for them is that rather than clarify the next course of action it simply obfuscates. It leaves it unclear whether the political pendulum can be made to swing back towards the left or whether the system needs to be destroyed entirely.
The lesser evil argument rests on the false assumption that we are not already in a time of revolution – if not a political revolution, certainly an ecological one. The planet is about to throw up our house of cards, our civilization, and violently reorder it for us.
In these circumstances, the left faces a very difficult choice indeed: between risking a delayed response by putting a better face on humanity’s plight by installing the slightly less evil candidate, and facing the present and the future directly, in all its terrifying, enervating depravity, in an almost-certainly violent struggle to take back into our own hands our fate as a species.
Which is the better course? There are no easy answers. To argue otherwise, as too many proponents of lesser evil voting do, may ultimately prove to be the more foolish option.
(Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth. Consortiumnews.com.)
VICE PRESIDENT WHITMER
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer should be the Democratic Party’s nominee for vice president in 2020. Whitmer gives Democrats their best chance of winning nationally on November 3rd.
Personally, I’m partial to Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, but I would honestly prefer to have Senator Warren as Treasury Secretary and Senator Harris as U.S. Attorney General in an overwhelmingly victorious Biden/Whitmer Administration.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has already promised to choose a woman to be his vice president and specifically an African-American woman to be Biden’s judicial nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Biden will win in Pennsylvania big time. Considering Vice President Biden’s lifelong personal ties to the Keystone State (he’s from Scranton after all) Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes are a relatively easy pickup for the Democrats.
Securing Michigan’s 16 electoral votes is an urgent priority for the Biden campaign. Therefore, putting popular political rising star Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan on the Democratic ticket would clearly be of great benefit to the cause of reaching the 270 electoral vote total needed to win the presidency.
Another potential candidate being considered by Vice President Biden is Georgia’s legitimate Governor Stacey Abrams who is currently heading the Fair Fight organization working to end the Republican Party’s illegal and unconstitutional nationwide voter suppression schemes. Abrams would be a charismatic pick for V.P.; however, winning officially in gerrymandered, jury rigged Georgia at this particular point in time is probably not a realistic goal. And, therefore, choosing Abrams would likely be a wasted choice in terms of securing electoral votes.
None of the other potential vice presidential nominees are likely to actually add to the Democrats’ electoral college vote total, with the possible exception of Florida Congresswoman Val Demings who should be Biden’s backup choice for vice president.