- Heat Cometh
- Blaylock Resigns
- Songbird Hospitalized
- Skunk Railyard
- Voting Question
- 1050 Cases
- Found Mail
- Albion Mill
- Phase 3
- Sophomore Piver
- Alliance Responds
- Coast Logging
- Ed Notes
- Barrett's Statement
- Police Reports
- Yesterday's Catch
- Joe Morgan
- Poll Accuracy
- Mendo Grocery
- Enough Trump
- Crime Billers
- VP Debate
- Stand Here
- Actual Criminal
- Poll Watcher
- Birch Party
- Election Cheer
- Freedom Protest
- Trucker Arson
- Promises Made
- Parade Float
- Supreme Hypocrisy
- Maude's House
- Assange Case
- Snowden Interview
AFTER A CHANCE of light rain across Del Norte county later today, warmer and drier conditions will return across the area. Building high pressure and offshore winds will bring near record high temperatures to the interior with warm temperatures all the way to the coast from Wednesday through Friday. (NWS)
FIERCE DIABLO WINDS are expected to kick up in Northern California this week, bringing an increased fire risk to the burn-scarred region and prompting Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to prepare for potential power shutoffs in parts of 43 counties, utility officials warned.
A swath of the Sierra Nevada reaching as far south as the Santa Cruz mountains could see power outages beginning Wednesday, according to PG&E.
Two dangerous wind events are expected this week — the first starting Wednesday afternoon or evening and stretching into Thursday morning and the second developing Thursday evening and running through Friday morning, forecasters said.
On Monday morning, the National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch for late Tuesday through Friday morning, predicting the strongest gusts from the first wind event would hit overnight Wednesday into Thursday. The greatest threat is in the mountains of northeastern Napa and Sonoma counties, where the destructive Glass fire is still raging, according to the weather service.
— LA Times
Ed note: In fact, the Glass fire is pretty much under control, and not "raging."
TROUBLE IN WILLITS. As if the gateway to the Redwood Empire doesn’t have enough trouble with a badly failed covid economy, so bad the town either supports a sales tax bump on November 3rd or disbands its police department, the Willits PD is disbanding itself, what with three chiefs in two years, the last two black police chiefs, a major breakthrough for predominately pale Mendocino County. Willits (and Mendo’s) first black police chief was a retired chief from, as we say, “down below,” i.e., any place south of the Mendocino County line. But the first black chief in Mendo’s iffy history apparently soon decided he’d rather fully retire than deal full time with the sub-crackers we locals know as tweekers. The black interim chief recommended to the starry-eyed libs on the Willits City Council that a black female cop from LA be his successor.
The libs damn near passed out from pure delight. A woman? A black woman? I wouldn’t presume to inhabit the mind of a black LA cop, especially a female cop, but her walking into the job in Willits must have been something like walking into that bar in Star Wars. (Or the Buckhorn in Covelo.) “Where the hell am I, and how fast can I get the hell outta here?” Pretty fast as it’s turned out because something went terribly wrong from the first. The black lady cop was soon put on administrative leave, and now she’s been fired. Can a lawsuit be far off?
I wish to inform the Willits community that I have resigned my position as the Chief of Police effective Saturday, October 10, 2020. Below is a letter to the community which I respectfully request that you print. It is important that they know I did not abandon them. I was simply placed in an impossible situation.
Letter to the Willits Community
For a brief six weeks, I was your chief of police. The community of Willits welcomed me warmly. I had planned to stay long term and work to bring the Willits Police Department up to date in training, technology, and staffing in order to provide better service and make the community safer. Unfortunately, roadblocks to accomplishing these goals began to appear almost immediately.
I wish I could provide you the details of the past six weeks. However, my professional ethics and standards of confidentiality prevent me from doing so. Just know that I explored every angle before arriving to the conclusion that I would not be granted the ability to provide you, the people of Willits, the service you all deserve.
To the Willits community and all others who gave me their genuine support, I sincerely thank you.
— Alexis Blaylock
SONGBIRD RECOVERY FUND
Dear friends and family,
Our dear Sarah Songbird has been in a serious car accident with her beloved partner, Jon. On the way to sing at a memorial service for another family, she was struck at high speed by a swerving car that left her life-flighted for emergency surgery and extensive skeletal repair. She is having a second surgery today for very severe injuries and her recovery is assured, but will be a long one.
Anyone who knows Sarah knows that her physical beauty and beautiful voice mirror a very generous soul. Sarah has always been there when so many of us needed her, the first one to appear in an emergency, with a cool head and warm heart. She is the one who needs us now.
We are not yet sure what the scope of needed resources will be, but we wanted to begin the process of gathering aid. Sarah lost her vehicle and is facing a significant recovery period that will require special equipment and mobility accommodations. We’d like to begin building a network of support to hold Sarah and Jon as they navigate what’s next and lift their burdens wherever we can. Anything you wish/are able to give is so much appreciated!
We will update you as this journey progresses and we appreciate all of the offerings of help and support, Sarah is receiving them and her spirits are greatly lifted.
AFTERNOON IN THE RAILYARD
Re: Mendo Coast Park & Rec District
Does the AVA have any information about, or endorsements of, the five candidates running for this board? I just discovered I get to vote for them, and I hate to waste the opportunity for lack of information. Only two bothered to put statements in the voter guide.
My main concern with the District is the golf course on Hwy 20. Would like to vote for folks who can handle that in an environmentally responsible way.
Any info appreciated,
ED REPLY: No recommendations on this race, except vote NO on Bushansky if his seat is up. The golf course scheme has been in the Coast air for years, driven by Coastlib's prominent Democrat, Jim Hurst, a golfer. I don't believe there's such a thing as an environmentally sound golf course, and I don't believe this project has much in the way of popular support, at least it never has. Anyway, Mendo-Fort Bragg golfers, given their skill levels, should stick to the pitch and putt course at Little River Inn where they've always seemed happy.
MALCOLM MACDONALD COMMENT: About Mendocino Coast Recreation & Park District election: Cynthia Coupe has dropped out of the race. Before considering John Huff, readers would be advised to look at three AVA articles from August. Bob Bushansky is not up for re/election this year, but is one of three (John Huff is another) board members State Parks has requested leave the MCRPD board before they lift their ban on giving any more grants to the district.
FIVE MORE COVID CASES in Mendocino on Monday, bringing total to 1050.
Just received confirmation from Sgt. Lima of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office that a quantity of mail, including some ballots, was found in the vicinity of Pearl Drive and Highway 1. This mail appeared to have been stolen from mailboxes in another area. Everything found was returned to the Post Office to be redelivered. If you are expecting important mail -- like your ballot -- keep an eye on your mailbox. In general, lets keep eyes out for people doing dumb shit like stealing mail.
COUNTY PLANNERS ASSESS POT PERMIT SITUATION
Board of Supervisors
FROM: Planning Director Brent Schultz
Subject: Direction on Phase Three of the Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance - New Cannabis Cultivation Sites
On May 14, 2019, the Board of Supervisors reviewed the recommendations of the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee and provided direction to staff to make certain changes to Chapters 10A.17 and 20.242 of Mendocino County Code. Those changes included transferability of permits, reduction of the minimum parcel size for nurseries, removal of the prohibition on plant visibility from a public right of way or publicly traveled private road, extension of the generator phase-out, a limited extension of the Phase One Sunset Provision for Residential Districts in proximity to the Coastal Zone, modification to the types of permits that may be applied for during Phase Two, and postponement of the start of Phase Three until July 1, 2020. Modifications to the existing ordinance were addressed at that time under Ordinance Amendment OA_2019-0002, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors on October 1, 2019.
Additionally on May 14, 2019, the Board of Supervisors provided direction to staff to review the allowance for new cannabis cultivation activities within the Range Land (RL) zoning district as part of Phase Three and to also consider expansion above 10,000 square-feet of cultivation area.
On December 10, 2019, Staff presented to the Board of Supervisors a memorandum detailing the reason that the RL district was removed from Table 2 for New Cannabis Cultivation Sites (MCC Section 20.242.060). The concern expressed in the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) (SCH No. 2016112028) for the Mendocino Cannabis Cultivation Regulations was regarding the conversion of agricultural or rangeland to non-agricultural uses through inadvertently incentivizing the development of dwelling units and subdivision of such lands (Page 34 of MND). A Mitigation Measure was adopted in response to this concern. On December 10, 2019, the Board received information on the potential for allowance of new cultivation sites in the Range Land (RL) zoning district and potential expansion above 10,000 square-feet of cultivation area. Staff presented a Draft Revised Table 2 at the December 2019 meeting for consideration of the Board of Supervisors that included allowances for cultivation in excess of 10,000 square-feet with the obtainment of a Major Use Permit. At the December 10, 2019 meeting the Board directed Staff to work with the Cannabis Cultivation Ad Hoc Committee on the proposed Draft Revised Table 2.
On May 19, 2020, the Board of Supervisors postponed the start of Phase Three to April 1, 2021 with the adoption of Ordinance No. 4463.
The Board of Supervisors has given direction to staff on consideration of a discretionary permit process for new cannabis cultivation activities (Phase Three) on May 14, 2019, December 10, 2019, February 25, 2020 and June 16, 2020. In addition, on August 4, 2020, the Board of Supervisors discussed a potential discretionary permit model for all Phases of the cultivation ordinance. Direction was provided to continue working through the challenges identified by Staff with the current permitting model for Phase One and Two applicants but to also explore and develop an example of what a discretionary permit model could look like. This memorandum and the item today will not address discretionary permits for Phase One and Two, direction is solely requested today in relation to Phase Three of the program.
Request for Direction:
At this time, direction from the Board of Supervisors is needed on implementation of Use Permits/Administrative Permits for all cultivation activities in Phase Three, and guidance is needed on past board directive to align permit categories with those of the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA).
Direction will also be needed regarding the potential allowance of new cultivation sites in the Range Land (RL) zoning district and potential expansion above 10,000 square-feet of cultivation area. To ensure Phase Three is available on or close to April 1, 2021 Staff recommends any action to incorporate these two items be deferred, even if just temporarily. This is due to the fact that even with direction received at today’s [Tuesday, October 13] meeting, it will be difficult for Staff to complete an ordinance amendment to move to discretionary review by the Phase Three start date of April 1, 2021; which now is less than 6 months away. Incorporating RL and/or expansion above 10,000 square-feet will require additional analysis pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and may create delays to the start of the Phase Three program. To be clear, a deferral from the Board of Supervisors on these items now for the sake of expediency will not preclude their potential addition to the cannabis cultivation program in the future.
Staff is requesting direction from the Board on the following:
Type of discretionary permit required (Use Permits or Administrative Permits) for each permit category and zoning district on the Draft Revised Table 2 (refer to Attachment B of this Memorandum).
Confirmation of the Board’s willingness to defer to a later date the potential inclusion of RL as part of Phase Three and expansion above 10,000 square-feet.
Allowance for scaling up to a larger cultivation size permit type given the acreage averages of surrounding parcels, similar to that allowed for existing cultivation sites. See *2 and *3 on the Draft Revised Table 2 (Attachment B to this Memorandum). [Note: This was not a Board of Supervisors directive, but Staff presents this for consideration as Staff has found it to be beneficial with implementation of Phases One and Two.]
Aligning permit categories with the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA). This should be reviewed in conjunction with items 5 and 6 below.
If the Board of Supervisors directs Staff to allow Specialty Indoor permit type, which would allow 501-5,000 square-feet of Cultivation area, then Staff recommends the Board of Supervisors also direct staff to make additional changes to either the Specialty Cottage Indoor permit type or the square footage allowance for a Specialty Indoor permit type. The two options are provided below:
Option 1: Delete the Specialty Cottage Indoor permit type that would allow 501-2,500 square-feet of Cultivation area as it would be duplicative and solely keep Specialty Cottage Indoor as 500 square-feet or less of Cultivation area.
Option 2: Change the square footage allowance on the Specialty Indoor permit type to 2,501-5,000 square-feet.
MENDOCINO CANNABIS ALLIANCE comments on Tuesday’s Pot Permit Program Supes Agenda item:
In advance of the BoS meeting on October 13, 2020 focused on the County cannabis program, MCA has put together the following assessment of the current situation. Below the assessment we have included 10 recommendations for moving the program forward.
Enforcement without opportunity is a broken paradigm. As long as our local permits (and annual state licenses) are inaccessible to existing unlicensed farmers, our friends and neighbors have no opportunity to participate in the regulated cannabis market.
Sheriff Kendall has reiterated that none of the recent violent crimes have been associated with licensed farms. He agrees that there should be a path forward to bring more people into the regulated system. He also believes that current local and state regulations are far too onerous and complicated.
Cannabis is an agricultural crop, cultivation is an agricultural activity, and Mendocino cannabis cultivators are farmers. Until the local and state regulations reflect this reality accurately, our cannabis farmers will continue to struggle to participate in the regulated system.
Despite the challenges our licensed farmers continue to face, it looks like cannabis taxes will bring in $5.8 million this year, and have consistently been the only revenue source to outperform expectations. It is estimated that many of Mendocino’s existing cultivators are not yet licensed. When more of them can join the regulated industry, cannabis will become a truly thriving economic driver for our county. Cannabis has been deemed an essential business and if allowed to flourish, may be more insulated than other local industries that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.
The Board of Supervisors has voiced support for the priority of legacy cultivation from the beginning of this regulatory process, and have recently reaffirmed their commitment to Phase One applicants. Resolving the issues facing existing licensed operators must remain the first priority in all changes to the County’s cannabis program.
Licensed Cannabis Farms must adhere to strict environmental regulations. There are no environmental controls on unlicensed farms. The more existing farms that get licensed, the better the outcomes for our environment.
Mendocino Cannabis Alliance
A TRACE OF RAIN SATURDAY sent some local growers to their tarps and snips. But by the time they engaged it was over and things were warming up and drying out.
AND….”We are very sorry for any confusion, but we were so hoping for rain this past weekend that we cancelled the movie GREASE at the AV Grange until this coming Sat. the 17th (it's a drag to watch a movie through raindrops and windshield wipers). So come on down THIS Sat. the 17th at dark to catch a classic Drive-in feature film. GREASE.” — Captain Rainbow
MARSHALL NEWMAN: “According to USGS, The current Navarro River flow at the gauge is 0.16 cubic feet per second, well below the minimum of 0.22 for this date set in 2015. For perspective, median flow for this date over 69 years is 9.6 cubic feet per second.” (I’ve never seen it looking worse. Mother Nature has her restoration work cut out for her.)
COME PICK CHESTNUTS!
The Zeni Ranch announces:
The 37th annual Chestnut U-Pick will be held on Saturday, October 31st (yes it is Halloween!) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Zeni Ranch at 30995 Fish Rock Road outside of Yorkville. All Covid masking, hygiene, and social distancing rules will be in effect. If you have a temperature or do not feel well, please do not come. You can bring your own picnic lunch and a pumpkin to carve. Adult and children’s distanced costume contest. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are OK, but you are responsible for your dog. Chestnuts are $3.50 a pound u-pick and $4.50 a pound picked. Fresh, raw honey, T-shirts, and our popular nut sacks will also be available. For more information call or text Jane Zeni at 707.684.6892.
GOT MY BALLOT on Monday, entrusted it with Collette and Anne at the Boonville Post Office that very afternoon, secure in the knowledge that it will eventually, after a roundabout trip to Oakland, find its way to Ukiah where Katrina Bartolomie herself, like her American peers everywhere in the land, will guarantee that it’s counted. We have our difficulties in this country, but rigged elections aren’t presently among them.
WE FOREWENT candidate endorsements this election, but we give local guy Stacey Rose the winning slogan trophy for this election. Mr. Rose, retired Army, is a candidate for the AV Community Services District Board of Directors. His placards are embossed, “Stace the Ace knows this Place the Best.”
STACE THE ACE is one of four candidates for three seats, the three seats occupied by incumbents. What are Stace the Ace’s chances? Hard to say with any precision because the Anderson Valley’s population is so fluidly transient we’re fortunate anymore to even know who are neighbors are (Quick! Name all five members of the AV School Board. Can’t? Name One. Can’t? Hmmm. Nobody passes, although some of you recognized that school board rock of ages, ol’ what’s his name, c’mon Mr. Alzheimer’s — me, not him — the Cheesecake guy, kinda looks like a less hirsute Colonel Sanders, uh, uh, uh….Browning! Dick Browning! I flunked, too. Browning’s the only one I could come up with.)
STACE the Ace’s supporters will bullet vote for him, meaning they’ll vote only for him and no other candidate, and he just may garner more votes than one or another of those three incumbents, none of whom are particularly well known in our demographically opaque valley. Because he’s a native son, Stace the Ace will get a hunk of the old timer vote plus the second, third, and fourth generation redneck vote, not to put too fine a point on our fascinatingly diverse citizen-body.
THIS IS THE FIRST contested CSD election in many years. Off the top I can recall only one prior, and that one was a hot one about benefits assessments and the upgrade of the AV Fire Department. (Norm Clow? White courtesy telephone, please. You, as a member of that august committee back when Homer Mannix ran everything, back when the Anderson Valley was still a community, you will know.)
GET YER FLU SHOT: Flu Shot clinic at Boonville High School, Wednesday, October 21st, 4-6.
BARN SALE OPENING, Oct. 17, 10 am to 3 pm and Oct. 18, noon to 3 pm. Halloween costumes, furniture, clothing, household goods, DVDs, CDs, linens, art, and more. Social distancing and masks. 12761 Anderson Valley Way, Boonville.
IN OTHER PERSONNEL NEWS, and this one awaits confirmation, but we understand that Will Lee of the Fort Bragg City Council and Coast Hospital is leaving the area for a new job outtahere. Which is too bad, in our opinion, because he’s a smart, fair-minded guy in an elected position often short of the fair-minded.
NEGIE FALLIS, 40, generally of Covelo, was arrested by Mendocino County Sheriff deputies after the defendant’s morning court appearance and transported by federal agents to the Bay Area for his arrangement on federal gun charges in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Fallis, who kidnapped and undoubtedly murdered Khadijah Britton, also of Covelo. Last seen, Khadijah, half Fallis’s age, and as shocked friends looked on, was forced by Fallis into his car at gun point. We’re informed that if Fallis wasn’t arrested by the feds and kept in their custody he would be “taken care of” by outraged and fed-up residents of that criminal-infested community.
JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT'S opening statement
prewritten text (assuming she did not change anything): cnn.com/2020/10/11/politics/read-amy-coney-barrett-opening-statement/index.html
DEPUTIES WERE FAMILIAR WITH… THE SAME OLD COVELO SONG BEGINS
On Saturday, October 10, 2020 at about 4:05 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the area the 24000 block of Foothill Boulevard in Covelo.
The Deputies were advised an adult male subject had brandished a firearm at two separate individuals in the area.
While responding to the location they were advised the suspect was possibly Tiny Whipple, 23, of Covelo, who left the scene in a silver 4 door sedan traveling towards downtown Covelo.
Deputies were familiar with Whipple and later located him sitting in the driver's seat of a silver Nissan Altima in the 76000 block of Main Street.
As the Deputies walked up to the vehicle, they noticed an AK type firearm with a large capacity magazine between Whipple's body and the center console.
Whipple appeared to be sleeping but had his hand in his waistband.
Deputies attempted to get Whipple away from the firearm while giving him verbal commands. Whipple began resisting and physically fighting with the Deputies.
Deputies got Whipple into handcuffs and began to walk him to the patrol vehicle, when he again began resisting causing himself and the Deputies to fall to the ground.
Deputies were again able to gain control of Whipple and he was placed into a patrol vehicle. During the incident two Deputies sustained scrapes and bruising, causing one of them to seek minor medical attention.
Deputies were advised Whipple had two felony warrants and one misdemeanor warrant for his arrest. Deputies knew Whipple to be on formal probation with numerous terms to include submit to search, no firearms or ammunition, and obey all laws.
A search of the vehicle revealed the AK type firearm which was found to fire in both semi automatic and full automatic modes. The large capacity magazine was found to be empty and an empty box of 7.62 ammunition was found under the seat.
In a passenger area compartment they found, a small zip-lock bag with a white crystalline substance, suspected to be methamphetamine.
Whipple was transported to the hospital for a medical clearance prior to being taken to the Mendocino County Jail.
Whipple was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Felon possessing a firearm, Possess/Transport a machine gun, Resist Law Enforcement with violence, Violation of probation, two felony warrants and one misdemeanor warrant.
Whipple was to be held on the above mentioned charges in lieu of $250,000 bail.
The charges Brandishing a firearm, and possession of a controlled substance were forwarded to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office for review of potential filing of charges.
THIS GUY BEATS UP A PREGNANT WOMAN
On Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 11:45 P.M. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley in regards to an assault victim being treated at the hospital.
Deputies responded to the hospital and began their investigation. Deputies interviewed a 42 year-old female and learned she had allegedly been physically assaulted by Leonel Valenzuela, 42, of Ukiah. The couple were reportedly involved in a romantic relationship.
During the physical assault, the adult female received visible injuries and was pregnant at the time of the assault. The Deputies also learned that Valenzuela held the adult female against her will during the assault.
The Deputies later located Valenzuela at his residence and arrested him without incident.
The Deputies learned Valenzuela was on formal probation out of Mendocino County. A probation search of Valenzuela's residence revealed a short barreled assault weapon.
The Deputies continued their investigation and learned that Valenzuela was prohibited from possessing/owning a firearm.
The Deputies developed probable cause to believe Valenzuela had committed the crimes of Domestic Violence Battery, Possession of Short Barrel Rifle, Possession of Assault Rifle, Felon/Addict Possession Firearm, Violation of Probation and False Imprisonment.
Valenzuela was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
On October 10, 2020 at approximately 1:31 AM, UPD Officers observed a silver BMW driving southbound on the 1300 block of N. State St. The vehicle was displaying fraudulent registration tabs. Officers attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle in which the vehicle then sped away from the Officer’s patrol vehicle at unsafe speeds southbound on N. State St. The driver of the vehicle continued driving southbound at speeds in excess of 80 MPH and crossed into the lane of oncoming traffic on several occasions.
The vehicle then sped through residential neighborhoods in various areas of Ukiah. The vehicle failed to yield to the Officer’s Patrol vehicle’s emergency lights, failed to stop at several controlled intersections and then drove southbound on Waugh Ln. The driver then slammed the vehicle into park and fled on foot. The driver was apprehended shortly after. The passenger in the vehicle was detained without further incident.
The driver was identified as, Victor Jose Lopez, 34, from Willits.
A loaded semi-auto pistol caliber carbine was located in the vehicle. The carbine met numerous requirements that qualified it as an assault weapon to include a large capacity drum magazine and a threaded barrel. Lopez was also found to be in possession of a 47.5 grams of methamphetamine that was packaged to be sold, 3 lbs of marijuana and various drug paraphernalia. Lopez was found to be on Post Release Community Service and had an outstanding warrant.
Both subjects were placed under arrest and transported to UPD. Wilson was booked and released at UPD. Lopez was booked and lodged at the MCSO Jail for the above listed charges. UPD officers believed Lopez displayed a blatant disregard for the safety of our community members by driving so recklessly on the streets of Ukiah, and requested a bail enhancement on Lopez. A bail enhancement was granted and Lopez is currently being held at the Mendocino County Jail on a $150,000 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 12, 2020
KYLE ASHER, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery.
ALEJANDRA GARCIA-SILVA, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
MICHAEL GRAY, Morgan Hill/Ukiah. Controlled substance, speed contest, evasion.
TINY WHIPPLE, Covelo. Felon with firearm, machine gun, controlled substance, brandishing, resisting with violence, probation revocation.
BASEBALL HALL OF FAMER JOE MORGAN DIES AT 77
Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, a key member of the Cincinnati Reds' famed Big Red Machine, died Sunday. He was 77.
Morgan died at his home Sunday in Danville, California, family spokesman James Davis said in statement Monday.
He had struggled with various health issues in recent years, including a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy.
Morgan was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, a 10-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove Award winner. He is widely regarded as one of the best second basemen in baseball history and also gained renown for his 25-plus years as a broadcaster after his playing career.
"Major League Baseball is deeply saddened by the death of Joe Morgan, one of the best five-tool players our game has ever known and a symbol of all-around excellence," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "Joe often reminded baseball fans that the player smallest in stature on the field could be the most impactful."
Morgan spent the majority of his 22-year career with the Reds and the Houston Astros franchise. Along with Pete Rose and fellow Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Tony Perez, Morgan helped the Reds win back-to-back World Series championships in 1975 and 1976. Cincinnati also reached the World Series in 1972, Morgan's first year with the Reds.
"Joe Morgan was quite simply the best baseball player I played against or saw,'' Bench texted to The Associated Press.
Morgan was the NL MVP in 1975 and 1976 and also was named an All-Star in each of his eight seasons with the Reds. He was a .271 career hitter with 268 home runs, 1,133 RBIs, 1,650 runs scored and 689 stolen bases, 11th most in baseball history.
There were moments of silence held at Petco Park in San Diego before the Tampa Bay Rays and Astros played Monday in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series and at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, before the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves met in the NL Championship Series opener.
"He meant a lot to us, a lot to me, a lot to baseball, a lot to African Americans around the country. A lot to players that were considered undersized,'' said Astros manager Dusty Baker, a longtime friend and National League rival. "He was the one of the first examples of speed and power for a guy they said was too small to play.''
Morgan first played in the majors in 1963, when the Astros were the Houston Colt .45s. He was traded to Cincinnati in November 1971 as part of an eight-player deal and played the next eight years with the Reds.
"The Reds family is heartbroken. Joe was a giant in the game and was adored by the fans in this city," CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. "He had a lifelong loyalty and dedication to this organization that extended to our current team and front office staff. As a cornerstone on one of the greatest teams in baseball history, his contributions to this franchise will live forever. Our hearts ache for his Big Red Machine teammates."
Morgan spent the 1980 season with Houston, helping the Astros to a NL West title. He played two years with San Francisco -- hitting a home run on the final day of the 1982 season against the rival Dodgers to knock the defending champions out of the playoffs -- and later was reunited with Rose and Perez in Philadelphia.
Morgan hit two home runs in the 1983 World Series as the Phillies lost in five games to Baltimore, and he tripled in his final at-bat.
Morgan finished as a career .182 hitter in 50 postseason games. He played in 11 different series and batted over .273 in just one of them, a stat that surprises many considering his big-game reputation.
Raised in Oakland, California, Morgan returned to the Bay Area and played the 1984 season for the Athletics before retiring at the age of 41.
Morgan set the NL record for games played at second base and ranked among the career leaders in walks.
He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. The Reds also inducted him into their hall of fame and retired his number (8).
"He did it all, and he did it all the time,'' said Bench, the first member of the Big Red Machine to enter the Hall. "Great father and outstanding businessman. He was a friend to so many and respected by all."
Morgan started his broadcasting career in 1985 and worked at ESPN from 1990 to 2010, serving as a member of the network's lead baseball broadcast team. Morgan parted ways with ESPN after the 2010 season when he returned to the Reds in the role of special adviser to baseball operations.
He also was board vice chairman of baseball's Hall of Fame and on the board of the Baseball Assistance Team.
"Joe was a close friend and an advisor to me, and I welcomed his perspective on numerous issues in recent years," Manfred said. "He was a true gentleman who cared about our game and the values for which it stands."
Morgan is survived by his wife of 30 years, Theresa; their twin daughters, Kelly and Ashley; and daughters Lisa and Angela from his first marriage, to Gloria Morgan. Funeral details were not yet set.
Morgan is among several Hall of Famers who have died this year, a list that includes Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver and Al Kaline.
"All champions. This hurts the most,'' Bench said.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Biden is up in polls. That’s correct.
Are polls necessarily a good indicator of who is gonna win? Not really.
If you wanna see a more accurate view, look at polling with the largest samples in the specific battleground states where the candidates need to win to gain the right number of electoral votes.
National polling may give a better indicator of popular support for one person or the other, but it doesn’t equate to how the system actually establishes a winner in a presidential election. We have the electoral college. So, if I were to conduct a poll of 3K adults in New York, California, and Illinois (as an example) it would show clearly that Biden would win. However, Biden would most likely win those states, anyway. They are all historically democrat controlled/leaning.
Then there is the margin of error in polling data. That factor makes many polls inaccurate.
So, yes, polling isn’t always a good prognosticator for election victories.
DEEP WATER AHEAD
To the Editor
I've been hearing a lot of bleating and bellowing lately about “saving our democracy from Trump.” Let's begin with disposing of that delusional nonsense. The United States of America might possibly be described accurately as an attempted, intended, or potential democracy for a short period after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and until the June 1788 ratification of a decidedly anti-democratic U.S. Constitution. Despite offering a smattering of the language of democracy in a Preamble as unbinding, insincere, and empty as the contemporary Democrat Party convention and campaign rhetoric of egalitarian inclusion, the text body of the Constitution itself was carefully and deliberately designed to protect the properties and privileges of a small, elite land-owning aristocratic class and to provide a bulwark against the ambitious machinations of an organized people outside that club to try to redistribute those properties and privileges in any way. You may have been taught in high school civics class that this constitutional document provides a system of checks and balances. This hallowed myth is observably false. The legislative chamber we call the House, which happens to be the most democratically representative branch of our government, is also the least powerful. The Senate chamber is roughly eight times less representative of the people than the House and, by virtue of the Constitution, more powerful by about the same factor. The Senate chamber, as prescribed by the document, could certainly be equal in power to the executive branch had it not some time ago, in flagrant dereliction of its sworn responsibilities, ceded a good deal of that power to the even less representative office of the Presidency. More powerful yet than the executive branch is a Supreme Court comprised solely of unelected justices serving for life and threatened by no practical process of removal. In light of this constitutionally effected imbalance, we can clearly conclude that the only real check provided by this founding document is that on the will and voice of the people in order to prevent any zealous democratic overreach on the part of the rabble. So sorry, but no democracy here to save from Trump. Never has been. If you think you'd like to see what it's like living under a democracy, you must endeavor to scrap the existing U.S. Constitution and then rewrite it to allow for that possibility. Spoiler alert... The designers anticipated this effort and built in rules that will make this kind of project very, very difficult, if not actually impossible. However, this isn't to suggest that there haven't been periods in American history during which those citizens unfortunate enough to exist outside the aristocracy have fared substantially better than in other periods. The ruling class seems to swing on a pendulum between being content with protecting and preserving the vast wealth and power that they already command and, at the other end, being obsessed with expanding that wealth and privilege by systematically diminishing that small portion desperately clung to by those less powerful than them, which obviously would be all the rest of us. As in the 1920's, we seem to currently be at the viciously greedy end of one of those swings. A soft swing back towards a kinder, gentler plutocracy was the FDR led response to the ravages of the Great Depression. That could happen again, but we probably shouldn't count on it. One of the tragic flaws of classical Marxist thinking lies in its misplaced faith in historical determinism. As much as we might like it to, history will decline to write itself. Any action we can possibly take at this time towards influencing the pendulum to swing back is an action we should vigorously pursue. As much as I've always admired Karl Popper's tireless advocacy of the pursuit of what he termed an “open society”, I've also always been equally leery of his contentment with the strategies of accepting incremental progress toward that goal, especially when applied within the context of the United States. It just seemed that given the already existing concentration of wealth and power combined with high level of the institutionalized corruption, our incremental progress was consistently reduced to one step forward and two steps back. But when circumstances change enough, we sometimes have to adapt our positions to meet them. I may be ready now to embrace some incremental progress. The System, served in turn by both parties, has long stopped and frisked us whenever the mood struck, has held us down and spit in our faces while stealing our milk money. But for the last four years, under Trump, the System has had its knee on our throats and now we can't breathe. In 1972, I was barely of voting age and cast my first ballot for George McGovern. I attribute that decision to inexperience and youthful idealism. McGovern would probably still have lost that election even if his own party hadn't failed to support his candidacy. Still, I found myself dismayed and appalled at that deliberate abandonment. Since that time as I came to better understand how our two party system works and whose interests both parties actually serve, I've voted third party in every election. The fact is I loathe the Democrat Party and hold its leadership responsible for moving our nation so far to the right during my lifetime that we're now expected to revere such figures as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the Clintons as our “liberal” heroes. Strip away the seductively appealing rhetoric and focus only on their actual policy achievements and you find Obama just a bit to the political right of Richard Nixon and Joe Biden on about a par with Reagan. As for the Clintons, well, the name Barry Goldwater comes to mind. Having said all that, I'm now going to confess my intention to cast a straight Democrat ballot in November, from Biden-Harris right on down to our local dogcatcher. We need a pause right now, a chance to breathe again so that we can regroup in order to begin to work again for real change. We can start fighting Biden the moment he's sworn into office. There can be no pause or new breath, though, until Trump is driven from the playing field. I cannot be critical of anyone who chooses to support a third party bid this year, or even those who choose to not vote at all shunning the process altogether. I still believe those to be arguably valid decisions. I can only act in accordance with what my own powers of reason demand at this time. I apologize for taking up so much space with the excessive length of this Letter to the Editor, but the political waters that surround us and impact all of our lives just aren't as simple and easily approached as Philbrick would have us believe. Thanks for listening,
Coal Creek Canyon, CO
P.S. One more comment, and this is addressed to white supremacists. Not the ten to fifteen percent driven by hatred and stupidity. Theirs is a pathology that will stand unresponsive to argument, facts, or reason. I speak to the remaining eighty five percent of Trump's base; the ones who have become so comfortable and accustomed to the benefits of white privilege and their resulting position in society that they live in constant fear and have succumbed to the lies they're fed that this special standing is in danger of being taken away from them and that only Donald Trump is fighting to preserve that needed advantage for them. I want to tell them that they have nothing to fear from Joe Biden. Joe and company stand for business as usual. There will be nothing in their program that remotely begins to erode your privileged position. Trump, on the other hand, has been pushing towards the chaos of an inevitable civil war. In war, and especially a civil war that will trigger the collapse of an already fragile economy, everyone will lose. If you own a business, it will suffer and you may lose it. If you don't, you probably work for someone who does, so your livelihood will also be placed in jeopardy. Your precious white privilege won't protect you as we will all be punished for allowing Trump to continue. You don't need to cast a ballot for Biden if that is a bridge too far. It is enough that you do not cast one for Trump.
PENCE V. HARRIS
by Christian Lorentzen
It’s easy to forget about Mike Pence. Trump seems to have hired him in part because he wouldn’t have to think about him, and has kept him busy ‘reaching out’ to potentially disaffected evangelicals with repeated assurances that they are the ones who constitute ‘the American people’. His persona – that of a reanimated fossil from a 1950s that never actually happened – is innocuous enough that a fly could sit unperturbed on his skull for two minutes while he insisted the government has done well by African Americans. Much of last night’s vice presidential debate amounted to counterfactual historical fiction or speculative fiction. How would a Biden administration have handled the pandemic? Had the debaters discussed with their elderly running mates the possibility that they might turn into corpses while on the job? In Pence’s narrative, the president is a dignified philosopher-king, the righteous guardian of the American way. (As he spoke his boss was tweeting with paranoid gusto: ‘Obama, Biden, Crooked Hillary and many others got caught in a Treasonous Act of Spying and Government Overthrow, a Criminal Act. How is Biden now allowed to run for President?’) Once the proceedings settled into realism, Kamala Harris had the advantage: calling a catastrophe a catastrophe supports the logic of voting out the incumbent.
‘Almost half of American renters are worried about whether they’re going to be able to pay rent by the end of the month,’ she said. ‘This is where the economy is in America right now. And it is because of the catastrophe and the failure of leadership of this administration.’ If Trump, Pence and the Republican Party were serious about winning on 3 November, they would have passed another pandemic relief package last week. Instead, they left a Democratic offer of $2.2 trillion on the table because it’s too generous. The pandemic, mass unemployment, and one in five American businesses tanking? It’s China’s fault, according to Pence, and an opportunity for the American people to make heroic sacrifices.
The Republicans offer right-wing recklessness and the Democrats moderate amelioration: tax hikes for incomes above $400,000; regulations on natural gas extraction; no more chokeholds; continued coverage of pre-existing medical conditions. Ho hum. Polls indicate that these less than inspiring policies will give the Democrats a path to victory smoother than Pence’s forehead. Meanwhile, the spectacle of an infected commander-in-chief has turned the national farce into an orgy of shaming and casual sadism, on the one hand, as fantasies of the president and his courtiers gasping for breath go viral, and an occasion for defiant propaganda, on the other: helicopters, steroids, ‘Don’t let it dominate you.’ A good slogan for a nation in lockdown, on fire and coughing itself to death.
The Dems are making all the same mistakes as last time, except that they're going even farther down the road in the wrong direction. They are still talking down to working people, or past their concerns. No one would admit in a poll that they were going to vote for Trump. It can affect your job, your ability to rent a place to live, etc.
The one exception to this seems to be working-class Black men. They aren't afraid to openly be Trump fans and will talk about why they like him in public. I see this on the bus some mornings.
Other than that, a lot of people have quietly voiced concerns to me about how frail Biden looks. (I work in healthcare. People quietly broach the subject by saying something like, “You know frail. Doesn't he look frail to you?”) Or some people are, again quietly, concerned about the changes Democrats want to make to the Constitution. For example: DC statehood. DC was created from parts of three states. The idea was to keep one state from having too much centralized power. A lot of people will be unwilling to vote for Biden-Harris because they see the Democrats as the party that wants to tear up the Constitution as a long-term solution to a short-term problem.
It's funny that you're putting 'working class' in quotes when I work with a lot of CNAs & orderlies and I kept my security guard license from my old job current. You should listen so you're not as surprised as last time when he wins. The Dem campaign tone is as schoolmarmy as when Hillary ran. They're as out of touch with why people are upset and what would make them happy as ever. And Dem activists are alienating their natural allies with really off-putting behavior.
Lockdowns have cost people businesses they built with love & care. Dem-controlled states like NY and CA did not take care of small business owners and no one at the national level advocated for that either. They forced them to shut down, even though they provide the tax base for their communities. Instead corporations like Target were able to remain open with social distancing and head counts etc. What would prevent a local shop that sells clothes or shoes from limiting occupancy and putting tape on the ground at 6' intervals where people line up? Why did they go exclusively for the corporations who famously won't move to an area without a steep tax break, instead of their actual constituents?
Dem policies at the national level, since at least the Clinton era, have favored middle to upper middle class families. Things like the healthcare thing, people being on their parents' insurance until they're 26? That already prioritizes people who are from stable families with parents who have stable, successful careers. The working-class expectation in the US has traditionally been you move out at 18 & shift for yourself, or you join the military, or you stay home and pay rent to your parents. Recent Dem administrations have completely left people like me, who grew up in a chaotic family & were abused, completely behind & in the dust. When I finished school I considered doing Teach from America. They don't provide you with anything. They will help you - get this - apply for a loan so you can get housing and buy your own supplies for your classroom. So there went that dream of an education career, because who the fuck can take out another loan on top of what I borrowed for college? We will never catch up & they don't care. Their policies of extending the “youth” ages for middle class perks are basically an admission that we will never be able to have fulfilling lives with free time or own anything. The Dems used to be the party of Al Smith, a Fulton Fish Market man, who read all the bills to teach himself gov't, helped end child labor, became the first Catholic to run for President and mentored FDR. Now we have AOC, who shoots her mouth off all the time about her hoop earrings and brunch, doesn't have any relevant experience at the state or local level, is clearly in way over her head, and knows less about how US military funding works than I did in high school. THAT's supposed to be our future? Am I supposed to be grateful for THAT mess? Or we've also got the Michelle Obamas of the world, her Ivy League experience wasn't perfect and someone cut in front of her at a posh ice cream shop. That's too bad, but those are actually pretty nice problems to have compared to my three bouts of homelessness thus far after college. Literally no one with half a brain is taking up for us.
I don't think you understand what Dem politicians have done to their constituents at the state level, either. It's very alienating. In California, they passed AB5, which makes it nearly impossible to freelance. Writers from Cali now have the opportunity to 'volunteer' for some platforms that used to pay them. Also affected: comedians, small local theater companies, some medical professionals like nurses & dietitians, interpreters who contracted with hospitals, single moms who do medical billing at home, etc. The party in its wisdom now also want to take this national with the Pro Act. It represents a bizarre, outdated, Soviet-style view of labor, where you must have a union card to jot something down and submit it somewhere for publication, Or Else. I know the LRB is not exactly the audience for media people like Joe Rogan or Ben Shapiro who've left for greener pastures. But many, many, MANY people in media & creative fields are doing the same. The ones who are staying in Cali are struggling with the idea of voting R for the first time ever.
Finally, Dem activists really are losing their minds. I don't know how else to put it. I moved during the lockdown for work. My plan was sublet or rent a room for a month, learn the lay of the land in the new city & find a place of my own. People I met with about apartments wanted to interrogate me to find out how I felt about Bernie. Like you, they 'knew' they were smarter than I am and felt very empowered to talk down to me. They knew way more about COVID than me and pffted at me wearing a mask to meet with them, even though I'd flown recently and work in healthcare which has a high risk of exposure. They are just sooooo much cooler and smarter than me, yo. I don't even smoke weed anymore! Ha! Ha! And then, they were surprised that I actually didn't want to give them $1,000 and have to put up with them for a whole fucking month.
I just, like: you don't get it. None of you get it. There's all this guff about “less educated” and we're not stupid. How long are we expected to hold our noses and vote for people who just use us? Because at least the Republicans follow through on what they promise working-class people, which is mostly stuff like the Pro Life legislation. That's why they have the Catholics & the evangelicals. They're giving them SOMETHING. Something you and I find distasteful, like I'm a woman and I want control of my own reproductive system. But they are at least giving them SOMETHING. Dems pretend to like us, but actually talk down to & disdain us. They gladly take our money, but they get more money from Wall Street, so they feel empowered to go ahead and fuck us over anyway. It's so idiotic that you think the sweetheart deals Beau Biden got are somehow different from the sweetheart deals the Trump kids get. They're the same exact shitty fucking nepotism asshole people. At least the Trumps aren't hypocrites about it. At least they own how fucking tacky they are and advertise it by gilding shit. At least we have fair warning.
Like how much time do you have? How many examples do you want? Can we talk about healthcare maybe? Why don't the Dems try drafting churches for support for publicly-funded healthcare? Why haven't they realized that their charts & graphs & efficiency argument, true as it may be, does not work & has not worked with American voters for ~30 years? Do they not know that Tommy Douglas, originator of the provincial healthcare in Canada they envy, trained as a preacher? Why do they keep banging their head against the wall, doing the same things that don't work over and over again? And why do they do it so smarmily, as if it's for our own good? We're being NICE to them. We're holding our fucking noses and voting for these dirtbags every time. And it's always the same. 80 year old Pelosi in that stupid hair salon with no mask on, but no one can visit their parents in an assisted living facility. “What if we open the door and there's fresh air coming in and I- “
“I just want to know she's okay.”
“Our activities director can help you set up a Zoom call.”
And do you know how hard it was to get a PPP loan? For people like hairdressers, dogwalkers etc? Do you know how many times they got turned down because the program was full up, or they didn't have the exact right documentation? They played by the rules and got fucked while she & Newsom & their friends were fine and didn't have to play by any rules. It's sick that you can't even imagine a reason why working people might be fed up at this point.
(London Review of Books)
TRUMP’S THE FRAUD
Trump had a rally on Feb. 28th, in a packed stadium he said the following..
“This is their new hoax.. we have 15 people in this massive country (infected).. and because we went in early we could've had a lot more.. we're doing great! This virus starts in China, bleeds it's way into various countries around the world, doesn't spread widely at all in the USA because of the early actions of myself & my administration.. the press is in hysteria mode.. but we're doing such a great job.. when you have 15 people & in a couple days it's going to be down to 0...”
At the same time Trump was saying this publicly, he was recorded in interviews with Bob Woodward saying the opposite was true, that he knew it was a deadly disease, but was DOWNPLAYING it so that people “wouldn't panic”...
We now have over 210 THOUSAND DEAD AMERICANS and there's Trump's own words of divisiveness and dark political theatre as proof of his incompetence.
Trump's own words show it was HIM who was wrongly “politicizing” this virus by calling it a “hoax” and blaming the Democrats. Instead of working honestly together as Americans he dishonestly divides using lies, vanity and appeals to greed, the very opposite of the values most claim to have.
Now that Trump, his wife.. and 34 other white house staff have tested positive for Covid-19, I don't see how Trump's fit to lead anyone, anywhere except to an early grave.
Please if you support Trump, for God's sake, how can you continue to ignore or downplay his dangerous divisive lies and childish blame-game, name calling.. as anything desirable.
Trump now's publicly calling to jail: Biden, Obama, Clinton.. O.k, but where's any proof of criminality? NONE! Just Trump hot air blowing a bunch of insane conspiracy theories, as usual.
As an Independent, Non-Partisan, Patriotic American, I cannot support Trump's diseased vision of a divided U.S.A., headed towards a new civil war.
Remember, it was Donald TRUMP who paid a $25 Million fine for FRAUD, just 3 years ago, not BIDEN or Obama or Clinton! If anyone deserves prison it's Trump, as he's the one who is the ACTUAL criminal!
I WAS ASKED this afternoon if I could name one Paul McCartney song “better than John Lennon's 'Imagine.'“ For starters, “Imagine” is really a John and Yoko song and there are a lot of McCartney (Lennon, Harrison and even Ringo) songs “better” than that strained ode. But all of these McCartney songs still hit me where it counts, mainly because most of them rock: Get Back, Maybe I'm Amazed, I'm Looking Through You, We Can Work It Out, Back in the USSR, I Saw Her Standing There, For No One, Penny Lane, Blackbird, Here There & Everywhere. As for “Imagine,” it lacks almost everything that made Lennon's songs great: anger, irony, slyness, yelps, screams and power chords.
— Jeffrey St. Clair
COMMIES! MONSTERS! LAW & ORDER!
by Steve Heilig
“Just pick any political meeting you wish, go to it, and write a short report,” ordered our high school “social studies” teacher, way back in the 1970s. This was in Orange County, California, named “America's nut country” by no less than Fortune magazine in the 1960s for the extreme right-wing flavors that flourished there. So I went to a John Birch Society meeting.
Birchers were relatively big in my coastal community. They were so fringed they had labeled President/General Eisenhower a communist. They saw commies everywhere, or thought they did. I'd never met either a commie or a Bircher, or at least so far as I knew, but I figured some of my friends' dads might be closet Birchers. So I looked them up in the phone book, dialed the number, got a recording saying where and when they met, and on the appointed evening rode my Schwinn 10-speed bike a few miles up the road to find them at their evening meeting. Lo and behold, the address was right next door to my favorite record store, Licorice Pizza (get it?), a funky spot with all the coolest new albums, 8-track tapes, cassettes, posters, concert tickets, and if you were cool enough, maybe a puff of a reefer in the dingy back room after you bought something. I'd spent a fair amount of time there after school, and money too, as albums were at least $2.99 at the time, plus tax.
The office next door looked to be a semi-abandoned room with a bunch of metal folding chairs set out, and about 20 guys - all guys - standing and looking to be saying the pledge of allegiance to a big flag tacked onto the bare wall. I locked my bike to a newspaper rack and stepped just inside the door until they were done. I was nervous. As they started to sit down, one saw me there and stopped short, just saying “Hey!” and pointing at me. They all turned to look at me too. It was silent for a moment and I was suddenly even more nervous.
“Umm, hi,” I said, tentatively. “Is this the John Birch Society?”
“Who are YOU?” one of them barked.
“I'm, uh, Steve, from Corona del Mar High School. I have an assignment to -”
“How did you find us?” interrupted another.
“I, uh, looked you up in the phone book, and - “
“Who sent you?”
“My social studies teacher did, he wants us to –”
“Where do you live?”
It went on like this for quite a while. In their defense, I did have long hair. But I was 16 years old. My dad was a GOP stalwart, arms industry kingpin, pal of Ronald Reagan and John Wayne and head of the local Navy veterans' league. I thought of telling them all this but couldn't really get much out as they kept interrupting me. On and on it went. What were my political beliefs? I didn't really have any yet. Why did I choose to visit them? I couldn't really say, it just seemed interesting. What did I think of Nixon? I didn't think of him, other than that he had bought a place down the coast over a prime surf spot and his goons were trying to keep us out. What about the war in Vietnam? I'd seen it on TV, blood and all, and thought it was scary, probably pointless, but again just said I didn't know. What party were my parents? Republican, of course, although my mom, a sweet humanistic nurse, might have been a closet Democrat for all I knew. And on and on....
Eventually I'd had enough. A couple of them had walked over nearer me, standing and staring. Intentionally or not, it was kind of intimidating. I'd never sat down, still standing by the door, and decided to chicken out and split. So I did, just saying, “Ok, thanks, good night,” backing out the door. It was just getting dark out and the lights were on in Licorice Pizza so I walked in. The beautiful dark-haired clerk was there, and she always made me nervous too but in a different way from the guys next door. “Hi,” she welcomed. Traffic, my favorite band, was playing loudly on the stereo, and it smelled like incense, and maybe pot. I relaxed.
“Hey,” I replied. “So, wow, I was just next door, do you ever see those guys who have meetings there?”
“Ha hah, yep, but why in the heck were you THERE?”
“It was a class assignment, but they were kinda spooked by me, or something....”
She laughed. “Oh yeah, you're really a scary guy. But listen, one time they came in here, with some sort of radar-type thing, demanding to scan the whole place to see if there were secret microphones or cameras or something like that in here, spying on them! I let them do it, but I also put on Black Sabbath really loud while they were here.”
I thought I might be in love.
So, all these decades later, now we have Trump yelling, in person and on line, about “COMMUNISTS”', “SOCIALISTS!”, “LAW AND ORDER” and even “MONSTERS!”, that last one meaning of course a nonwhite woman who scares him. “Law and Order” was of course a Nixon/Agnew campaign slogan, and I even had a button reading that, with their photos. As somebody noted, the Democrats now may be the Republicans of the 1960s, but the Republicans have become the John Birch Society, dragged by Trump and their own cowardice and dwindling numbers into standard despotic fearmongering, anti-science know-nothingism, barely-if-even-that-concealed racism, and at the top, rank corruption for profit. Same old same old, as always, often cloaked in a veneer of some bastardization of Christianity. As of the last midterm elections, there are no more elected GOP politicos in office there. Cornered rats are the most dangerous kind. It's gonna get really nasty in our fair nation. But like Camus' narrator at the end of his classic and now all-too-relevant novel “The Plague,” I hold on to the conviction that “there are more things to admire in men than to despise.”
And that women might eventually take over anyway.
In any event, I did write up the paper for school, telling only the story of my reception among the Birchers, with a bit of the organization's history. The teacher gave me an “A” and made me read it in front of the rest of the class. Some laughed but some said I was being “unfair,” or something like that. I titled the paper “Paranoia Strikes Deep.” I thought of taking it up to the record store to read it to the raven-haired clerk, but chickened out on that.
And when I told my dad that I had tried to attend a John Birch Society meeting for a class, he laughed out loud and asked “What was the class? Abnormal psychology?”
ELECTION DAY CHEER
Dump Trump! Toss DeVos!
Down with Barr, Mnuchin & Ross!
Just say NO to Pompeo!
Stephen Miller has got to go!
McEnany can take a bow!
Mitch's wife can just say “Ciao”!
Jared, Ivanka, Mike Pence,
do us a favor. Hop the fence!
And last a shout out to Melania!
Go with him, but don't let him on ya!
Let's send the Trump administration
on a permanent vacation!
— Love Moon, Fort Bragg
WHAT’S BEHIND NO-SHOW JOE?
by James Kunstler
Something even stranger and more sinister than the Covid-19 virus is creeping across the USA: Joe Biden’s Flying Dutchman campaign which, like the ghost-ship of legend, plies the vasty electoral seas with a skeleton crew and no hope of ever landing. Late last week, the candidate blew into Yuma, AZ, for a rare, joint appearance with veep pardner Kamala Harris and, guess what, absolutely no civilians (i.e. voters) showed up at the event, though the local TV news had publicized it. Weird, a little bit?
Face it: we’re living in the days of fantastic high-tech information mischief. Virtually all of the traditional news media, plus the powerful new social media, plus the news media of foreign lands, and scores of other embeds in the federal bureaucracy, are behind the story that Ol’ White Joe and his understudy, Ms. Harris, are way ahead in the polls. Do you ask yourself, as I must, whether this is all a gigantic psy-op? And why would it be?
All right, I know that many readers are cross-eyed to the point of nausea over the Barr-Durham investigation, especially the failure to deliver indictments before the election. The complete absence of leaks from that outfit has been crazy-making itself for many. But I take that as a sign of the profound seriousness of the investigation. Durham’s crew is methodically making a case for the worst and largest seditious conspiracy in US history. It requires the most extreme care. They are not going to blow it by allowing any suspicion that it is being used as a campaign ploy on behalf of Mr. Trump.
Sometime after the election and before the 20th of January, a great big hammer is going to come down on the people who organized the RussiaGate op and many of its spinoffs. As the late Tom Petty observed, the waiting is the hardest part, and not only for those in the Counter-resistance who have already connected the felonious dots based on publicly available documents, but also for the targets of the Barr-Durham RussiaGate probe, the Resistance itself — the long log of Obama Admin officials, Clinton campaign minions, and even senators who worked to prevent Donald Trump’s election by foul means and then tried to disable and overthrow him when it didn’t work, in order to cover up their criminal culpability.
You understand that the targets of Barr and Durham are almost all lawyers, Democratic Party-connected lawyers, that is. And so, what they are doing in the shadows of Joe Biden’s ghost campaign is attempting to mount a last-ditch lawyers’ assault on their antagonists, who have regained control of a rogue Justice Department. Thus: Lawfare. If RussiaGate was the most dastardly crime of government against itself ever in US history, then the final result will be the most awful roundup and prosecution of disgraced former officials ever seen in the history of the world’s great nations. Criminal liability may even extend into the news media itself — though they may only be named as unindicted co-conspirators.
Thus too, the unanimity in the news media on not reporting the documents lately declassified by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe, and his predecessor Rick Grenell. What had been a slow dribble of documents zealously protected by seditionists still in office — namely CIA chief Gina Haspel and FBI director Christopher Wray — is becoming a torrent of incriminating information as it is finally pried from their hands. The real story is getting out there, into the public realm, by other means despite the attempts to suppress it — and none of it is coming from Barr and Durham. Their work constructing a difficult case goes on independent of those declassified releases. It is driving the Resistance batshit crazy.
Hence, all the noises emanating from Lawfare circles about the monumental legal battle to come over the mail-in vote. So high are the stakes — so many careers possibly broken and celebrated figures sent to trial, maybe even prison — that the Democratic Party’s Lawfare gang will dare to confound the resolution of a presidential election and disrupt a 200-plus year history of orderly government. They will mount scores of lawsuits in every swing state against its slate of electors in an effort to thwart an electoral college vote scheduled for December 14. They won’t care whether they turn the USA into a failed state. They just desperately want to get their friends and colleagues off the hook.
All this is why the Biden-Harris campaign is such a dispirited fiasco. They don’t matter. Their only “policy” is to front for a lawyer network aimed at protecting its members at any cost. Their aim is to hijack what’s left of America’s legal system in order to destroy it. They went public with the scheme in the so-called Transition Integrity Project and the “war game” it ran over the summer. That scenario seemed feasible up to the sudden death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court will change the odds of that scheme greatly against them… and they know it.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
Over four million acres have been burned in these California fires this year. Can you imaging all those fires starting without being set? Of course they’re being set. Maybe a few of them were started by lightning. But most of them were started by man. And the reason is that they are getting even with Mary Nichols and Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown and the CARB Air Resource Board BS where they took away thousands of trucks from people.
God Bless Donald Trump.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 Absolutely wrong about prohibition being a solution to the “drug problem”. We tried it with alcohol, and the only result was more people drinking, corruption of law enforcement as well as the judicial system, and the massive boost it gave to organized crime – a policy blunder that still plagues us today. We’ve also tried it with illegal drugs like marijuana, hallucinogens, opioids, and stimulants with exactly the same results. It simply doesn’t work. The demand is too great and the money to be made supplying that demand is worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Mexico is a prime example of how an entire country can be destabilized by the drug trade. So no, ruthlessly cracking down on “the last mile dealers” has been tried and it’s an abject failure. I’ve even heard dim bulbs who know nothing about the history of prohibition say that we should execute drug dealers. If they knew anything about the subject, they would know that back in Merry Olde England, pickpockets made their best hauls at hangings – when the penalty for picking pockets was hanging.
 Half full or half empty, it’s time for a refill. It’s a new, catchy tune to me. “If lust and hate is the candy, if blood and love tastes so sweet…” “Then we give ’em what they want”. Sinuous, lovely lines that one likes to dwell on. I wonder what’s behind the wall of beautiful bougainvillea. Maybe I could take one as a boutonniere or you could put one in your hair.
 But wasn’t the local weed economy based on not paying taxes on the profit of their product? And wasn’t the high priced black market used to keep the “economy” afloat?
When markets become legal and taxed why blame the police when non permitted businesses cheat?
Compare the penalty when you illegally produce alcohol or hard drugs to illegally growing cannabis? Are any cannabis growers going to prison for three to five years in federal prison like moonshiners? I wonder what the penalty would be for 500 non permitted cannabis plants when in the future the federal government legalizes and taxes cannabis?
Would in the ATF, FDA and Justice Department in the future penalize large scale illegal cannabis production less than the current penalties for large scale moonshiners or bootleggers?
Don’t blame law enforcement when one gets caught cheating when one profited from the fact that it was illegal and knew what one was doing is illegal.
 Christie Olson Day and Andy Wellspring both donated to the gofundme campaign of Sierra Wooten to pay for her to hire an assistant during the time she was so busy trying to ruin the life and future employment of the Fort Bragg City Manager because her ego was hurt by a Fort Bragg City Councilmember. Ms. Wooten has never publicly apologized for her inexcusably despicable actions. It’s disappointing that Councilmember Morsell-Haye added two new advisory commission members who are aligned with a person who would retaliate against a decision not to interview her in such a hateful way.
Ed note: And now we have one member of the FB City Council frantically stuffing the already over-large name change committee with cancel culture bots. This whole show, kicked off by a deranged young woman, is one for the Only In Mendo books.
 The ammo situation is ridiculous. When just last year I could buy a box of 9 mm hollow point ammo for around $25 more or less, it now costs around $100-$110 a box. I just purchased 200 rounds of Federal 115 gr ammo for around $37 a box. That includes shipping fees. I hated to have to pay that much, but luckily for me I can easily afford it. It’s just the principle of the thing. Go online to major ammo sites and they have none in stock; zero. I have to go to other sites at exorbitant prices.
I have to buy 38 special and 357 mag for my revolver. It’s even harder to find, and the prices are around $50 a box. Last year I paid $22 a box at my gun dealer’s store, and felt I was overpaying. I didn’t mind because they are nice guys and it was convenient to just go there and walk out with ammo.
Anyway, that’s my complaint of the day. I don’t want to harp on this, but it’s a fine example of how our country has gone to shit.
 Let’s go out to eat, 2020 style…
1. Arrive at restaurant, take mask off mirror (or out of glove compartment) where it hangs or lays every day when not in use.
2. Slip it on, trying not to ruin the hairdo.
*MAGICAL ANTI-GERM BARRIER ENGAGE!!!*
3. Proceed into restaurant, opening door with same handle grabbed by 200 people so far today.
4. Hostess who touches her face and mask an average of three times per minute has immediate seating for your woke party of three. Walk past entire restaurant of unmasked people. It’s ok, they’re sitting.
5. Sit down.
*SEATED ANTI-GERM FORCE FIELD ENGAGE!!!*
6. Safely within your anti-germ force field, remove mask. Browse menu while making relaxed inhales of the same recirculated AC air previously inside the lungs of the 200 people that also grabbed the door handle.
7. Waitress, who touches her face and mask an average of three times per minute drops off drinks bare handed, which she touches her face and mask with three times per minute, on average.
8. Grab drink with your bare hand. Sip leisurely, secure in knowing you’re within your anti-germ force field of “seated-ness”.
9. Too many drinks. Need to pee. Don the magical anti-germ barrier mask as you leave your anti-germ force field of “seated-ness”.
10. Walk past 40 unmasked restaurant patrons. Open bathroom with same doorknob grabbed by 100 other people so far today.
11. Return to table past same 40 unmasked restaurant patrons.
12. Remove mask. Once again safe in your anti-germ force field of “seated-ness”. Waitress takes your sweaty drink glass with her bare hand which she touches her face and mask with an average of three times per minute, refills, hands back to you. You accept with your bare hand. Grab some bread and eat it. Same hand. Yum Yum.
13. Meal complete. Mask on. Walk past 40 unmasked patrons. Make full body contact with at least 4 people waiting at the hostess stand as you squeeze your way back to the door – no matter, they’re all also wearing their magical anti-germ barriers.
14. Grab exit handle, which you are now the 220th person of the day to touch. Eating out successful.
15. Breathe a sigh of relief knowing that even after leaving the protection of your home and venturing out into the scary world of the public, you are essentially sterile thanks to your state approved methods of magical germ mitigation, THE MASK! (anon)
 All the Ballyhoo and hoopla about the upcoming election. Who really believes choosing senile Joe/Copmala Harris or the Orange Orangutan/religious nutjob Pence is going to make a difference or change the trajectory or outcome of the impending collapse? With Bernie Sanders out, there went any last chance we may have had to have someone at the helm that would make sure we all had access to food, water, shelter, transportation, and maybe some access to medical care regardless of people’s ability to pay or when the dollars they have are worthless.
Is it me, or do the deep government/Pentagon types seem to be backing brain damaged Biden (like they did that vile pig Clinton in 2016) because they plan to use military intervention/violence to try to save the empire and keep the party going? I am foreseeing a day soon when it will be considered treasonous if you have the audacity to question all this new McCarthyism/demonization of Russia. It is obvious to me that they view them as the greatest obstacle in maintaining hegemony over the world, the middle east in particular.
They seem to have it in for Trump because he doesn’t trust them, wanted to release documents related to the JFK coup by LBJ and the deep government, and doesn’t do as he is told like that rat bastard Obama (I actually voted for that sell out in 2008) and all the other clowns and puppets before him. Like Bitchlary Clinton would have, like senile Biden/Copmala Harris will do. I include that witch because Biden is clearly unfit for the job and so she will likely inherit the command.
Tempted to vote Trump like I did in 2016 (to pay that POS Clinton back and her corrupt cauldron of corporate whores and sell outs known as the DNC and/or the demonrat party). I think Biden will win. So the collapse advances in 2021, various resource wars will break out, more civil unrest and rioting, and no progressive measures taken to prevent us from getting skinned alive. Stash or liquidate your assets while you can, the creditor class and the government will steal from you until there is nothing left to steal.
FORT BRAGG PARADE FLOAT
by Fred Gardner
Ruth Bader Ginsburg's connection to the Hallinan saga is indirect and faint, but the AVA is a newspaper, above all, and the Supreme Court is now Action Central as Antonin Scalia's protege ascends; so here's some relevant background.
California voters legalized marijuana for medical use in November, 1996. In December '96 secret meetings were held in Washington, DC, at which Clinton Administration officials assured California law enforcers and private-sector Drug Warriors that they would take action to curtail implementation of the new law. In January '98 the US Department of Justice invoked the rarely used civil provisions of the Controlled Substances Act against six Bay Area dispensaries, including Dennis Peron and the recently renamed San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Club; Jeff Jones and the Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Cooperative; Lynette Shaw and the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (represented by the late Carl Shapiro, a friend of the AVA); and Marvin and Mildred Lehrman and the Ukiah Cannabis Buyer’s Club. This was the Clinton Administration's triangulated and politically tragic response to the passage of Prop 215.
Bill Clinton could have and should have said, “We are very concerned and the Centers for Disease Control and the Public Health Service will be monitoring California very carefully...” And then, when no ominous patterns ensued from widespread marijuana use, the Democrats could have taken credit for allowing the popular reform to take root. It probably would have meant a victory for Al Gore in November 2000 (by which time eight states had passed medical MJ laws).
“The feds used the civil injunction instead of filing criminal charges because they want to avoid a jury trial on the clubs’ right to operate,” was District Attorney Hallinan's analysis back in '98. Dennis Peron asked him to file fraud charges against five DEA agents, identified in court documents, who had falsified doctors’ letters of diagnosis to gain membership in his club. Terence said it wasn't do-able.
US District Court Judge Charles Breyer (my classmate at Harvard, where he aspired to be an actor) ruled that the cannabis clubs were not entitled to a defense on grounds of “medical necessity.” Attorney Robert Raich, representing Jones and the OCBC, got a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal instructing Breyer to modify his injunction to acknowledge that individual patients might have a medical necessity to use marijuana.
Breyer did so, and on July 17, 2000, Hallinan issued a statement for the media magnifying its significance:
"Judge Breyer's ruling is courageous and historically significant. It's a victory for everyone who voted for Prop 215. A major conflict has been removed for law enforcement: medical patients can now use marijuana legally under federal law. The next step is for the executive branch of the federal government to move cannabis from Schedule One —drugs with no medical use and great potential for harm— to Schedule Three, so doctors can recommend it without fear of reprisal."
In 2000 the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to reverse acceptance of the OCBC's claim to a medical necessity defense. The case of the United States vs. the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative and Jeff Jones was argued before the Supremes in March, 2001 by Gerald Uelmen, former dean of the Santa Clara University Law School (and a bit of a celebrity following his role on OJ Simpson's defense team). Stephen Breyer, Charles's older brother, recused himself. The ruling that came down in May was 8-0 against the OCBC, with Clarence Thomas writing the majority opinion. “A medical necessity exception for marijuana is at odds with the terms of the Controlled Substances Act,” he asserted.
But a separate opinion by three liberal Justices —Ginsburg, David Souder and John Paul Stevens— pointed out that the question of whether a medical necessity defense was available to individuals had not been presented. Their opinion stated, “This case does not call upon the court to deprive all such patients of the benefit of the necessity defense to federal prosecution.” Uelmen told the Recorder, a San Francisco daily covering the courts, ”The concurring opinion points out how narrow the ruling is on the merits. It only applies to distribution and manufacturing. I think there are still a lot of issues to be addressed.” The Recorder also reported, “District Attorney Terence Hallinan said the question of personal possession appears to be where some conflict may lie. 'Possession would not be against California law, but it would be against federal law.'“
Robert Raich was not about to accept defeat. To help frame an argument that would sway the court's majority —Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist, Kennedy, and O'Connor— he enlisted a prominent libertarian law professor, Randy Barnett. In October 2002 they sought to enjoin the feds from raiding growers and patients operating legally under California law. The plaintiffs were Raich's wife, Angel, who had been diagnosed with several life-threatening ailments; two anonymous growers who supplied her with marijuana; and Diane Monson, an accountant from Oroville who had grown six plants to treat her disabling back pain. The case was filed as Raich et al v Ashcroft et al. The plaintiffs' key argument was that the federal government had no jurisdiction because the process by which the plants were grown for and consumed by them did not affect interstate commerce significantly.
“We expected Ginsburg and the other liberals to be against us,” Raich recalls, “but we thought we had a good chance swaying the conservatives because in two recent cases, Lopez and Morrison, they had limited Congress's power under the Constitution's 'Commerce Clause.'“
The key precedent was a 1942 case, Wickard v. Filburn, which established that impact on interstate commerce is not a function of individual transactions (such as caregivers growing cannabis for Angel Raich) but of all such transactions in aggregate (all medical users growing their own or having it grown for them within California).
Filburn was an Ohio farmer who grew more wheat than he was allowed to under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which was intended to keep prices up by limiting production. That Act was clearly trying to regulate economic activity. The Court ruled that Congress could regulate consumption of Filburn’s wheat on his own farm because if all farmers acted likewise, Congress’s scheme to regulate the price would be undermined.
Raich-Monson argued that Wickard v. Filburn was a bad analogy because Filburn sold some of the wheat he raised, and much more of it was being consumed by his cows (from which he derived milk, and which he sold occasionally) than by his family. Moreover, the Agricultural Adjustment Act didn’t apply to farmers growing small quantities for family use.
By ruling against Raich and Monson, Barnett argued, the Court would significantly extend federal power under the Commerce Clause —the last thing “conservatives” supposedly want to do. If the court upholds the DOJ's claim of federal power, Barnett warned, “this case will become the most expansive interpretation of the Commerce Clause since the Founding.”
During the oral argument, Justice Ginsburg —who had had surgery for breast cancer and for sure knew people who had used marijuana for nausea and pain— asked if there had been any challenges to marijuana's Schedule I status. Solicitor General Paul Clement replied that the Institute of Medicine had concluded, “Whatever benefits there may be for the individual components in marijuana, smoked marijuana itself really doesn't have any future as medicine,” because the plant contains too many chemical components to evaluate.
Scalia commented, “I understand that there are some communes that grow marijuana for the medical use of all of the members of the commune... You can't prove that they're buying and selling. There are just a whole lot of people there with alleged medical needs.”
The plaintiffs' strategy failed. Rob Raich comments ruefully, “We expected Ginsburg and the other liberals to be against us. The power of the federal government under the Commerce Clause is something they really cared about. But for Scalia and Kennedy, their hatred of marijuana was a stronger salient issue than the centuries-old precedent of a necessity defense—stronger than their own recent precedents limiting Congress's powers under the Commerce Clause.”
“JULIAN ASSANGE faces a terrifying new kind of extraordinary rendition — one conducted not covertly by US security services but in the full glare of publicity and, if the London court approves, with the consent of the British judiciary. If extradition is authorised, a precedent will be set that allows the US to seize and jail any journalist who exposes its crimes. Inevitably, that will have a severe chilling effect on all journalists investigating the world’s only super-power. It will not only be the death of journalism’s already enfeebled role as a watchdog on power but a death blow against our societies’ commitment to the principles of freedom and openness. ...
The war on Assange has not only been a war on journalism. It is also a war on the whistleblowers who have assisted journalists and Wikileaks in arriving at the truth. Hanging on the outcome of Assange’s case is not only his personal fate, but journalism’s very ability to tap into sources close to the centres of power. In abandoning Assange, we abandon any hope of finding out the truth on a whole range of the most pressing issues facing us.”
— Jonathan Cook