- Fire Weather
- 1077 Cases
- Ballot Info
- Four Masted
- Hospitalized Sarah
- Albion Landing
- Urgency Ordinance
- Watering Weed
- Lotta Redwood
- Caspar Mill
- Plane Crash
- Old Bucks
- Sea Tunnel
- Fo Mo
- Cypress Fence
- New Board
- Mendocino Aerial
- Sign Vandalism
- Easter Bunnies
- Food Hub
- Di Maggios
- Ed Notes
- Yesterday's Catch
- SF Book
- Modern Bragg
- Tribalism Trap
- Better Presentation
- Rate Hikes
- Shinagawa Rain
- Wine Bars
- We Believed
- Jail Poetry
- Fascism Begins
- Cross & Flag
- Assange Prosecution
- Many Abdicators
- Fleeing California
- Hunter Story
- Found Object
A PERSISTENT UPPER RIDGE will promote dry weather across the region during the next several days. In addition, warm conditions will be likely over much of interior northwest California into next week, with above normal temperatures even at the coast. The hottest temperatures are expected today and Saturday. Nighttime temperatures will be seasonably cool across inland valleys and the coastal plain.
RED FLAG WARNING & FIRE WEATHER WATCH: High pressure over the Pacific and an inland thermal trough will continue to bring gusty winds, warm temperatures, and low humidity values across the ridges and upper slopes of NW California through today. Fast moving wildfires will be possible as a result. Periods of dry breezy conditions are expected to continue through the middle of next week.
(National Weather Service)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Boonville 98°, Ukiah 97°, Yorkville 95°, Fort Bragg 73°
FOURTEEN NEW COVID CASES in Mendocino County on Thursday, total now up to 1077.
VOTE BY MAIL STATUS
If you haven’t received your Mail Ballot (aka Vote By Mail or Absentee Ballots) yet, please call (707) 234-6819; the Elections office will be glad to issue you a replacement ballot. Ballots were mailed to all active registered voters in Mendocino County on October 5, 2020 for the November 3, 2020 STATEWIDE (PRESIDENTIAL) GENERAL Election, according to Katrina Bartolomie, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. The Elections Office is located in Room 1020 of the County Admin Building located at 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah.
We have received numerous complaints about the State’s new “Where’s My Ballot” site. Please be aware that this site does not work in all of Mendocino County. The Elections Office has a solution for County residents to see if your ballot has been received, this service has been used by our voters for several years. Visit our website at mendocinocounty.org/government/assessor-county-clerk-recorder-elections/elections/vote-by-mail-absentee-status to check and see if we’ve received your voted ballot. Mendocino County Polling Locations are open ONLY on Election Day – Tuesday, November 3, 2020 – Ballot Drop Off Locations are now open and available and listed below:
Mendocino County Ballot Drop Boxes Are Located At:
- City Of Willits (24/7), 111 E Commercial St - Willits
- City Of Fort Bragg (24/7), 416 N Franklin St – Fort Bragg
- City Of Point Arena (24/7), 451 School St – Point Arena
- Mendocino Co Admin Bldg (24/7), 501 Low Gap Rd – Ukiah
- Mendocino Co Fairgrounds, Fairgrounds Office – Boonville, 9 am – 4 am Monday - Friday
The Last Day To Register To Vote In The November 3, 2020 Election is October 19, 2020 to receive a regular ballot in the mail. Please call our office for a Voter Registration card or go to: https://registertovote.ca.gov/ to register to vote online. For questions or additional information please contact the Election / County Clerk’s Office by calling 707 234-6819.
LOCAL POLL WORKER Kathleen McKenna writes:
If you are a registered voter and have not yet received a ballot, call the Elections Office (234-6819) to find out why. Completed ballots can be dropped off at the Fairgrounds office M-F, 9-4. These ballots will be picked up by the County on a regular basis, and they can start the verification process. The ballot envelop must have a signature that matches the one on the registration record. If the ballots are submitted early enough, the Elections department will attempt to contact voters who submit ballots with missing or mis-matching signatures.
I am incredibly moved by the outpouring of love, support and generosity that I’ve been receiving from friends, fans and community all over the world. People I’ve never met, people that have known me for decades and all stages between. It’s interesting how the worst tragedies can illustrate just how much you are loved.
I’ve had 3 surgeries, I’ve got a fractured left ankle, right femur, right rib, sternum and pelvis on both sides. My right kneecap was destroyed and has been removed.
My goal right now is to figure out how to get my pain low enough to learn to get out of bed so I can get to a rehab facility and start making my way home. My second goal is to be walking again by Solstice.
All of you are walking this healing journey with me and I can’t believe all the phone calls, cards, gifts, and flowers that have been offered with the purest love, support and appreciation. I am solidly convinced that I have been on the right path, doing the right things with my life, and am really seen for the person that I am.
I am blown away at how you are all showing up for me. I am receiving your love and it is helping to lift me up out of this dark experience and reminding me that I will get through this with the help and love of all of you.
If any of you want to support the Go Fund Me that has been set up for us, here is the link. https://gf.me/u/y4mfmx
Here are the remains of my first ever brand new car, Mystang Sally. We had some awesome adventures together.
I thank her for somehow protecting Jon and I from death. Even though I was trapped for 40 minutes while the rescuing heroes saved my life, I will always be grateful for her little body for keeping me alive inside during the worst wreck I’ve ever seen.
My biggest gratitude is that the love of my life Jon Tyson also made it out alive. Apparently the universe thinks we’ve got some really important things still to do and gave us the chance to really show up for that.
He’s also pretty beat up and he’s gonna need a lot of love and support. Please send some well wishes and prayers his way as we find our way back to the magical life that we’ve been creating together. Life will never be the same and I’ll never forget being held in the most beautiful web of love and kindness. Thank you!
@ Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS
BoS - Oct 20
Discussion and Possible Adoption of an Urgency Ordinance for Temporary Business Modifications During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Adopt Urgency Ordinance for Temporary Business Modifications during the COVID-19 Pandemic; and authorize Chair to sign same.
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions:
On September 22, 2020, the Board directed Planning and Building Services to prepare an Urgency Ordinance in response to the current Public Health Order and COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions on local businesses. Specifically the direction requested Planning and Building Services to waive zoning requirements and expedite approvals of canopies or other roofed structures to shelter and protect the activities of these businesses during times of inclement weather.
Summary of Request:
Government Code section 25131 provides that ordinances shall become effective thirty (30) days from the date of final passage, except for certain ordinances which become effective immediately. An ordinance for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, which contains a declaration of the facts constituting the urgency, and is passed by a four-fifths vote of the board of supervisors, shall take effect immediately. Government Code section 25131 specifies that an urgency ordinance may be passed immediately upon introduction.
At the direction of the Board of Supervisors, County staff prepared an Ordinance that waives certain zoning requirements for all businesses so that there is greater flexibility in the areas in which businesses can operate to maintain conformance with the current Public Health Order related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the Ordinance focuses on allowance for temporary modifications to ensure businesses can continue operations during times of inclement weather.
The proposed ordinance would allow for the temporary modifications to both indoor and outdoor areas to support the continued operation of local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed ordinance would exempt local businesses who pursue temporary modifications from certain County Zoning Code provisions related to off-street parking standards, lot coverage, corridor preservation setbacks and discretionary review. The ordinance provides that temporary modifications must still comply with yard setbacks for the zoning district in which they are located, with a minor exception for properties with yard setbacks greater than 30 feet, and certain health and safety related requirements including the potential need for a building permit. The ordinance also establishes procedures for businesses who may wish to maintain the temporary modifications after the expiration of the ordinance.
The ordinance provides that it is exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to the following: Public Resources Code Section 21080(b)(4) and CEQA Guidelines Section 15269(c) as an action immediately necessary to mitigate or prevent an emergency because the Ordinance establishes temporary measures to enable physical distancing to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and because the anticipated time to conduct environmental review would pose a grave risk to public health, safety, and welfare, and because the action is immediately necessary to allow businesses to safely reopen to prevent an economic emergency that similarly poses a grave risk to public health, safety, and welfare; CEQA Guidelines Section 15301 (Class 1) as an action authorizing the use or minor alteration of existing facilities in order to accommodate physical distancing for existing entitled uses; CEQA Guidelines Section 15303 (Class 3) as an action authorizing the conversion of existing small structures and the installation of only small, temporary structures to accommodate physical distancing for existing entitled uses; CEQA Guidelines Section 15304 (Class 4) as an action authorizing minor temporary uses of previously disturbed land having negligible or no permanent effects on the environment in order to allow use of lower risk outdoor spaces for existing entitled uses; and CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3) (Common Sense) because it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the action will have a significant effect because allowed modifications to existing legal uses are temporary and minor in scale.
The ordinance must be adopted on at least a 4/5 vote of the Board. As required by Government Code Section 25131, the ordinance contains recitals and findings substantiating the need to adopt this ordinance on an urgency basis.
KIRK VODOPALS, of Navarro:
RE: water trucks and weed. I still find it ludicrous that the County didn’t make water supply their first criteria for pot permit applications. I see many parcels that claim to be legit (or on the path to legal) that have wells that barely produce enough for domestic purposes. You can’t use terms like “farmer” or “agriculture” if your most essential input requires a bi-weekly 50-mile delivery via a diesel spewing water truck.
THE BRITISH TRAMP Harfiete sailed from Noyo Harbor last Wednesday afternoon after taking aboard two million feet of redwood. She will complete her cargo at the Sound and then sail for Australia. (Fort Bragg Advocate, October 8, 1913)
FOUR P-39 PLANES were forced down in two separated sections of Mendocino County last week and one was completely destroyed, one was slightly damaged and the other two suffered no damage at all. The plane that was destroyed fell last Thursday evening. The pilot was forced to bail out of his plane when it ran out of gasoline. He picked a heavily wooded section where there were no signs of habitants, jumped out of the plane and parachuted to safety. The pilot landed on the Fish Rock Road near Yorkville and the plane crashed about a quarter of a mile northeast and was completely destroyed by fire. (Fort Bragg Advocate, October 13, 1943)
A COUPLE OF OLD BUCKS
by Michael Nolan
This year three six-point bucks have been living around us. Two are twins and the third is older with white hair around his mouth and nose and more weight. These are mature animals -- larger than me in both size and weight. When we first saw them up close it was still springtime and their antlers were in velvet. They were docile then and were feeding and moving around in close harmony. We had never seen such large bucks around here before, let alone in a group.
As summer came they scraped off the velvet and revealed big sharp antlers but they still stayed close, just not as close as before. One of the twins roams “out there” so we don't see him every day and we expect the worst until he walks by and reassures us and that he is not venison.
My hunting neighbors said it was nice to see bucks that size so close. We don't keep dogs for hunt deer. This season we've seen only one young doe and her spotted fawn -- she is definitely not interested. So that may be why the bucks are not being aggressive with each other -- no does to impress.
Last evening looking out the kitchen window I could see two bucks just barely outside my garden. The big one was lying down chewing his cud right next to my wheelbarrow. The other was browsing weeds. I walked over. I got about 50 feet from the old buck who had been watching me over his shoulder before he stood up. At 20 feet we just admired each other for a bit and then he walked away. The younger guy who had been watching to see what would develop joined him.
I have encountered the old buck several times since. His social distancing from me is about 30 feet. We sometimes look into each other's eyes. He is a wild animal and isn't looking for a friend. He is wary of me, but unafraid. Me too.
(Michael Nolan lives in Comptche.)
To the Editor:
I would like to support Mo Mulheren for County Supervisor for the Second District. She has been the greatest supporter of the rail trail here in Ukiah. I live very near the trail and I have seen personally its transition from a largely alienated population to a majority of bicyclists and walkers, families and children, joggers and dog walkers (with leashes!). It's not perfect, but it's a huge change and getting more popular. I think Mo has been the most active in bringing attention to the trail, strongly supporting and coordinating trails financing plus her energy in creating walking tours, murals, sculptures and attractive plantings. For her energy and persistence, I support Mo for supervisor.
MENDOCINO COAST IS EXCITED to introduce 13 exceptional leaders in the community as part of its newly established community board. The board will oversee hospital and clinic operations to support the commitment to high-quality, patient-centered care and ensure that the hospital’s programs and innovations address the community’s health and wellness needs.
“We are fortunate to have such a talented group of board members coming from diverse backgrounds. Their connection, experience and knowledge of our community will be invaluable in our path toward improving care and creating a sustainable future for this hospital,” shares Judy Leach, administrator for AHMC.
Under this new structure, the Adventist Health Mendocino Coast community board will be tasked with making strategic decisions that align with the mission and values of the hospital. The newly appointed hospital board will also establish policy, promote performance improvement and provide for organizational management and planning, ensuring the hospital’s financial health and efficient use of resources to serve the community.
Meanwhile, the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board which previously managed the operations of the hospital, will now serve as a facility landlord, managing lease payments from Adventist Health.
“We are blessed to have such high caliber of leaders in our community as part of our board,” says Jason Wells, chairman of the board for the three Adventist Health hospitals in Mendocino County. “It’s so essential that we have great healthcare on the Coast and we have exciting work ahead to make sure this hospital thrives for future generations. The board’s leadership and their extensive knowledge in their fields as well as this community will be vital in this work. I look forward to years of collaboration.”
Members of the new hospital governing board include:
• Dr. Zoe Berna: A family medicine physician, Dr. Berna was born and raised on the Coast. After completing her residency, she worked for Sutter for 12 years. She returned to the North Coast in 2016 and has been caring for our community ever since at our Adventist Health Medical Office (formerly North Coast Family Health Center).
• Nancy Bennett: A long-term resident and small business owner on the Coast. She is the co-owner and operator of Cowlick’s Ice Cream and Subway Sandwiches in Fort Bragg and Willits. Bennett has been a small business owner for more than 20 years.
• Dr. Benjamin “Buzz” Graham: A retired internist who cared for our community for 35 years. Graham established the hospitalist program at MCDH and was also the hospital’s medical director for many years.
• Jessica Grinberg: Grinberg is a long-term resident and business owner on the coast. She owns Align Orthotics and Prosthetics which provides services throughout the county and beyond. She is also on the Mendocino Unified School District Board and the Mendocino Coast District Hospital Board, where she serves as the president.
• Suzanne Hewitt, FNP: A current faculty member at the Mendocino College Nursing program, she brings over 39 years of nursing experience to the board. She also cared for patients as a nurse practitioner, including at the North Coast Family Health Center.
• Jim Hurst: Hurst served as the Director of Research for the California State Assembly from 1974 to 1978. He was also the co-founder of the Coast Youth Soccer League, the Botanical Gardens Preservation Corporation and the Hospital Foundation. He served on the Mendocino Coast Recreation District Board for three years and the Fort Bragg School District Board for 18.
• Steve Lund: Lund’s professional career has ranged from teacher to principal and superintendent with service in five different school districts over a 37-year period. Although he officially retired in 2008, he has remained active in the community to secure funding for two school bonds, the recreation center and the hospital.
• Mary Kate McKenna: As the executive director for the Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation, she has over 20 years of experience in non-profit administration, finance and operations within private, public and non-profit organizations.
• Tabatha Miller: The City Manager for the City of Fort Bragg since 2018. Prior to moving to Fort Bragg, Miller worked as the Administrative Services Director for Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
• Dr. William Miller: Dr. Miller serves as the Medical Director for the hospital and is also the Chief of Medical Staff. He was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in honor of his contributions to developing hospitalist medicine in California, where he started six hospitalist programs. He has been working as a hospitalist at the hospital and played a significant role in achieving community support for our affiliation with Adventist Health.
• Dr. Robin Serrahn: The Medical Director for the hospital’s Emergency Department for five years, Serrahn previously worked at Saint Anthony Free Medical Clinic in San Francisco for 12 years, and served as medical director there for more than a decade.
• Thomas Wajnert: A financial services pioneer, Wajnert launched his career with U.S. Leasing. He founded AT&T Capital Corporation, where he served for many years as CEO and Chairman. He was also a founding trustee of the Naples Winter Wine Festival (the nation’s largest charity wine auction) and served for several years as a trustee of the Adventist Health St. Helena Foundation.
• Rebecca Walker: She currently serves as the superintendent for the Fort Bragg Unified School District. She has been an educator since 1994 and has taught at College of the Redwoods, Fort Bragg Middle School and Fort Bragg High School. She began her administrative career in 2008 as the FBHS assistant principal and became the principal in 2011.
(Adventist Health Presser)
It is extremely disturbing to learn that some folks think it is OK to take down or vandalize political signs that others might have put up in their own yards. This has happened before, and it is happening again now. Others think it is OK to deface public signage with political slogans.
It doesn’t matter for which candidate, or for whatever office a candidate is running for, if your neighbor wants to put up a sign to show personal support that is your neighbors right as a citizen. If you don’t like it, well, that’s too bad. You do not have the right to vandalize or destroy your neighbor’s, or anyone else’s yard-signs, just because you don’t like the candidate or position your neighbor supports. It all comes down to the basic and essential concept of treating others as you would have them treat you. More simply put, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
C'MON HOME TO EAT 2020 STYLE
The AV Foodshed’s 16th Annual C’mon Home To Eat in October has taken an eventless twist in 2020. With all the challenges of the Coronavirus sheltering in place regulations, plus drought, fires, and smoky skies, the benefits of having local food are indeed coming on home. Whether we are harvesting food from our own gardens, shopping at the local farm stands, the Boonville Farmers’ Market, or for local products at Anderson Valley stores, we are sure of the food’s source, its availability, and its freshness. The Food Hub is also delivering bulk orders to Anderson Valley with a wide variety of in-season produce, flour, and value-added products gathered from Mendocino and Lake County. Our AV Food Bank incorporates local donations of Valley food in its distribution. And now that local restaurants are once again serving food, you can again choose dishes that utilize local produce.
Many sincere thanks to Rachel for the AV Foodshed’s Weekly Update, providing us with a ready connection to local food news and where to find it. Now is a great time to stock up on winter squash, fruit, potatoes, and tomatoes to preserve, chestnuts, olive oil, meat for the freezer, and to make pesto to enjoy all year long.
DISTRICT 2 SUPERVISOR CANDIDATE, Mari Rodin, has circulated an email, which says in part, “Last week I learned I have cancer. I do not know what the future holds. But for the time being - through Election Day - I must focus all of my energy on my treatment and recovery. I do not take this decision lightly. It pains me to step back just when our momentum is reaching its peak.”
AMY CONEY BARRETT on originalism: “That means that I interpret the Constitution as a law… I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. That meaning doesn't change over time and it's not up to me to update it or infuse my policy views into it.”
CONSIDERING that the Constitution was written in the 18th century by a small group of aristocratic deists who legally kept slaves and thought women shouldn't vote, strictly applying their views to the 21st century is pretty tricky, so tricky only a Jesuit-trained lawyer would attempt it. But here comes Amy with a claim that Washington, Jefferson and friends intended that abortion be illegal, corporations be people, the Affordable Care Act be illegal, machine guns are protected by the 2nd Amendment, and on through the Trumpian catechism, which just happens to coincide with Old Marse's world view.
HOW ABOUT MOSES'S recommendations on warfare? “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” Strict constructionism has its limitations, I'd say, but millions of people cling to versions of originalism in their unshakeable, never-to-be-revised everyday views. But everything we know about the Founding Fathers says that they were au courant, the very cutting edge of the Enlightenment who, if they were revived to have a look at the 21st century version of their ideas, they'd scream and demand speedy returns to their crypts.
MARSHALL NEWMAN'S an invaluable resource for Anderson Valley history. When historian Tahja put out a call for recollections of the Anderson Valley libraries of yesteryear, Marshall promptly replied, “Yes, there was an Anderson Valley Library before the one at the Fairgrounds. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was in a pretty cabin in what was then Indian Creek County Park, just south of Philo. I believe the Anderson Valley Unity Club ran it, as it does the one at the Fairgrounds. If I recall correctly, this library was open two afternoons each week. Not a big collection of books, but the “cabin in the woods” aspect made visiting the library and checking out books – for this then pre-teen – an adventure."
WHICH inspired me to think of the Anderson Valley's history as palimpsest which, in capsule form, would begin with the Original People living their thousands of years in an untroubled Eden until the first rumor of Spaniards arrived, maybe one of their 16th century vessels spotted off the coast, a white puff of sail, and then more rumors of pale invaders moving westward from the east, and then roving bands of Spanish soldiers at the turn of the 19th century scouring the Anderson Valley for captive-converts to build the missions at Sonoma and San Rafael. After that the film snapped, and our history spun by so fast it was an almost subliminal rush of violence and destruction, culminating in the November 3rd election when the film went dark.
JUST GOT MY COPY of local guy Bill Kimberlin's "Inside the Star Wars Empire, A Memoir," and started reading and didn't look up for a hundred pages. Knowing nothing about movies other than how to sit and watch them, Kimberlin's memoir skillfully mixes understandable techno-info with truly fascinating anecdotes of his encounters with the genius-titans of the business —he's on a first name basis with George Lucas who, we learn, is a modest, unassuming fellow. And the author relays several unsentimental but touching vignettes from his early years, as a kid orphaned when his parents died prematurely. It's been a while since this kind of prose has grabbed me like this book.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 15, 2020
AUSTIN ANDERSON, Ukiah. “Personate to recorded document,” parole violation.
CESAR GOMEZ-GARCIA, Stockton/Mendocino. DUI with priors.
EDUARDO GONZALES, Seaside/Ukiah. DUI.
PABLO LARRERA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct/intoxicating drug and alcohol.
JESUS MACIAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
VICTOR MARTINEZ, Philo. Witness intimidation.
MARCO OCHOA-SANCHEZ, Stockton/Ukiah. Pot transportation, possession for sale, conspiracy.
JACOB SILVERMAN, San Francisoco/Ukiah. Resisting, evasion.
JAMES P. WHETSTONE, Hopland/Willits. Murder.
NORMAN WHITE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
HYDRA HEADED: SAN FRANCISCO’S UNTOLD HISTORY
by Jonah Raskin
“Tension between the need for urban progress and the ways that progress can crush vulnerable communities is evident all around.”– Brahinsky and Tarr on the city of San Francisco
Alexander Tarr explains in the acknowledges at the back of A People’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area, which he co-authored with Rachel Brahinsky, that “I have often told friends that I undertook this book precisely because I felt no great love for the Bay Area as outsiders imagined it (myself included), but have grown a deep admiration for the people who make the real, lived place.” Those are more or less my own sentiments. I have lived in what’s known as the San Francisco Bay Area ever since November 1975: in Mendocino County, Sonoma County, the city of Oakland and the city of San Francisco. I have written about it and its people in American Scream, an exploration of the Beat Generation writers, Field Days, a narrative about farming and food mostly in and around Sonoma Valley, and Natives, Newcomers, Exiles, Fugitives, a collection of my own essays and reviews about northern California writers, including Gina Berrault, Amy Tan, Gary Snyder, Diane de Prima, Greg Sarris and Alice Walker. I have also edited a collection of Jack London’s writings on war and revolution.
What bothers me most about the region is its hubris. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear someone tell me that northern California is the best place to live and work anywhere in the world, though with wildfires and the pandemic their voices aren’t as loud or as strident as they once were. The local daily paper, The Press Democrat, continually tries to cheer up its readers, instill them with hope (often false) and encourage them to buy, sell, consume and join the chorus of yeah sayers. The San Francisco Chronicle does much the same thing. So I understand Alexander Tarr’s sentiments and I laud him for his honesty.
Tarr teaches at Worcester State University in Massachusetts. He and his co-author, Rachel Brahinsky, who once wrote for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and who teaches at the University of San Francisco, have written an honest book about a region often dishonest about itself, which extends over ten counties, at last count, and that includes Contra Costa, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Santa Cruz and San Francisco, all of them connected by economics, politics and culture, and increasingly challenging to navigate by car, mass transit and on foot.
Brahinsky and Tarr do what few if any other writers have done, though many have made noble attempts. Their book includes an extensive bibliography, a timeline that begins with 13,000 BCE, when First People arrived in the Americas, runs through the Gold Rush in the middle of the nineteenth century, which created in San Francisco the world’s first truly multiethnic city, and ends in 2020, when the Bay Area was home to more than seven million people, many of them demanding justice, equality, jobs, adequate health care, genuine democracy and an end to plutocracy, racism, white chauvinism, sexism, militarism and what might rightly be called “me-first-ism.”
I wouldn’t want to say that Brahinsky and Tarr offer a balanced view of the territory, but they’re fair and accurate and they tell stories that have not often been told, or if they have been told, not in their entirety. This book offers the hidden history of a place. What the authors do exceeding well is to offer a narrative that emphasizes contradictions and that provides them with the opportunity to explore the nature of oppression and exploitation, and at the same to honor resistance and resilience by communities that are often excluded from debate and dialogue, but that have now and have had for decades their own means of communication and expression.
A People’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area offers the big picture. It also zooms in on particular neighborhoods and streets, looks at specific buildings and highlights unsung heroes like Gayla Newcome and famous fellows such as Mario Savio. A book that can be read and enjoyed from the comfort of an easy chair, it can also accompany a walking tour or a journey in a car or by mass transit.
Unlike Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City, which unfortunately didn’t say anything about food in San Francisco, A People’s Guide encourages locals and visitors, tourists and time-travelers of all sorts to “eat your way around the Bay Area.” The authors add, “we aren’t recommending specific eateries.” True enough. Unlike standard guide books there are no lists of places to eat and sleep, though there is mention of Arizmendi Bakery, the worker-owned co-op in Emeryville in the East Bay, which has branches in San Francisco. By all means, head for Arizmendi before, during and after exploring the region.
About halfway through their book, the authors point out that turmoil in San Francisco is relentless. They have the humility to say, “we often wonder how much of the San Francisco we’ve described will be here by the time you read this book.” A People’s Guide was researched, written and produced pre-pandemic. Some information might now be outdated, though the authors make every effort to be up-to-date on the impact of climate change and the wildfires in the area known as “wine country.” Curiously, there is no mention of the Bay Area’s marijuana industry and no mention of marijuana dispensaries which are located all over the region and that attract millions who use cannabis medicinally as well as recreationally. There are other odd omissions. The book mentions the Sonoma Plaza, the site of the Bear Flag Revolt of June 14, 1846, which engineered a coup d’etat against Mexican rule and the transfer of power to the United States. Sadly the book doesn’t mention the mass grave where Indians were buried under the plaza.
Lavishly produced, with beautiful images and crystal clear prose, A People’s Guide is for readers and activists who have taken part in protests and demonstrations for decades, and from Berkeley and Oakland to San Francisco, Sonoma and beyond. It’s probably worth saying that while Brahinsky and Tarr deserve major credit for this book, they had tremendous help from fellow authors, photographers, designers, colleagues in academia and from librarians and researchers. It takes a collective to bake bread, scones and pizza at Arizmendi. It also takes a collective to write and publish a book of this magnitude, beauty and truth.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
All people of good conscience must reject the currently promoted racist dogma of white shame, blame, guilt, and punishment (via reparations). This violates the American and Enlightenment principle that all people are individuals who bear responsibility for their own actions, not those of their ancestors or relatives. There are places on earth where tribal collective guilt and vengeance is practiced. The results are not good. Rwanda and Yugoslavia come to mind.
One sees a common thread in the rhetoric of demagogues like Milosovic or Hitler. Tell your people they are victims, they’ve been cruelly and unjustly treated by those people over there – those others. Oh, but now it’s our turn to get even, to do to them what they did to us. So what if 200 years have passed; feel the pain like it happened today.
It’s a small step from anti-white racism to singling out Jews as the focus of the problem. Many in the black community already preach and believe that Jews were the financiers of slavery, the ship captains, the plantation owners. The extent of those “facts” are disputed. But facts matter less and less in our info age. People believe what satisfies them, what feeds their hate.
In short, I’m saying we must stop the insanity of tribalizing American society. Treat people as individuals. Wasn’t that the original goal of the civil rights movement, which has now evolved into a bizarre agenda of grabbing freebies and cultivating righteous hatred.
Our public safety agencies are getting better at providing information about fires, but some improvements need to be made. One of the biggest problems I had sorting through the most recent evacuation orders was the lack of coordination between the different agencies — city, county and state. They each use their own system of color-coding for their maps. I am among the approximately 8% of males who has a color vision deficiency. Not only did I have to go back and forth between the various fire maps to try to figure things out, but it was difficult for me to even read them. There are many online resources showing how to design web pages for better color accessibility. Also, all online resources should provide the date and time they were last updated; for example, like purpleair.com.
WAKE UP, CLOVERDALE
Cloverdale residents may want to check out their city’s intention to double water and sewer rates for all residential customers. The city’s process for raising rates requires individuals to vote by sending the city an objection to the rate increase. Alternatively, if a parcel owner or renter doesn’t object in writing, their parcel will be counted as a vote for increasing water and sewer rates by more than 100% when combined.
Of roughly 3,300 service locations in the city, half will need to vote against the increase to prevent the rise in cost. The city appears to be betting that won’t happen because of a lack of information made readily available to residents, a lack of notices to all ratepayers and, most deviously, making the default vote a yes on the increase.
I encourage all ratepayers in Cloverdale to contact the city office or council members for information regarding the intended rate increase of more than 100%.
THE WINE BAR STORY I’ve Waited Seven Months To Write
Turns out wine bars and COVID-19 can coexist after all, in this week’s Drinking with Esther newsletter
WHAT CALIFORNIANS BELIEVED
by Joan Dideon
Once when I was 12 or 13 and had checked the Lynds’ ‘Middletown and Middletown In Transition’ out of the Sacramento Library, I asked my mother to what "class" we belonged.
"It's not a word we use," she said. “It's not the way we think."
On one level I believed this to be a willful misreading of what even a 12-year-old could see to be the situation and on another level I understood it to be true: it was not the way we thought in California. We believed in fresh starts. We believed in good luck. We believed in the miner who scratched together one last stake and struck the Comstock Lode. We believed in the wildcatter who leased arid land at 2.5¢ an acre and brought in Kettleman Hills, 14 million barrels of crude in its first three years. We believed in all the ways that apparently played out possibilities could turn green and golden while we slept. ‘Keep California Green and Golden,’ was the state’s Smokey the Bear fire motto around the time I was reading the Lynds. Put out your campfire, kill the rattlesnakes, and watch the money flow in.
And it did.
Even if it was somebody else's money.
JAIL POETRY AFTER DARK
It's been another long day locked in this bubble. I will tell you crime doesn't pay and I'm so sick of being in trouble.
I finally made it to bed and it's facility lights out.
By far my favorite part of every day because another one’s down and I'm that much closer to being released to the house.
Not to mention I can finally hear myself think because everyone has stopped running their mouth.
Alone with my thoughts is the only freedom I’ve found in this cage. I escape with every word that reaches this page.
Poetry after dark is now in session, writing with my heart is the continuing lesson.
Some nights I chalk up as nonsense that nothing makes sense at all. But once in a great while I write something that makes me feel 10 feet tall.
I write because I am a writer and writers write. But poetry is my fashion and it feeds my soul.
The feeling I get when I find just the right words will never get old.
I practice so many methods and use every trick I figure out. I'm completely self-taught as I create such a mess without a doubt.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have to roll over and strike out a thought or verse that has suddenly hit me. Then later I'll go back and reread it and try and put something together.
But I’d say mostly I write like this here and I mean no better. I start warming up and head in a random direction.
Thinking and working in sections. I end up everywhere and nowhere as I shake my filter. It feels like waking up looking at blood on my hands and not remembering I killed her.
— Ronald Rhea #202000200
1125 third St.
Napa, CA 94559 (Since January 30, 2020.)
PS. I appreciate your paper and ask that you renew my complimentary subscription. Thank you.
by John Arteaga
Sinclair Lewis is credited with the admonition that, “when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”.
Could there be a more perfect embodiment of this prescient warning from so many years ago than Amy Comey Barrett? My God, just a look at the woman’s picture conveys all one needs to know about the rulings that we can expect from a Supreme Court that includes her; a young extremist zealot with a lifetime appointment from which to impose her fervent morals on us all for decades!
I happened to have been brought up as a Roman Catholic, one of 7 children. Somewhere around the age of reason I abandoned it, thinking that the church seemed to be mainly in the business of promoting overpopulation worldwide, to the point of starvation.
As irksome as I have found it over the years to have adherents to this set of beliefs embraced by a number of the illustrious justices of the Supreme Court, empowered to rule over the most intimate aspects of all of our lives, it is especially distressing to read about the extreme offshoot of Catholicism to which Ms. Barrett has committed herself. The People of Praise is apparently a cultlike branch of Catholicism which incidentally provided inspiration for the book and movie,’ A Handmaid’s Tale’. Based on an extreme male chauvinist interpretation of religion, its adherents submit to minders who have total access to their every waking moment. They used to call the women’s minders ‘handmaids’, but they have since changed the term, given the bad press brought by the dystopian book and movie.
Ms. Barrett, it turns out, was able to live in a house owned by the founders of this right wing fundamentalist religious cult while she went to law school, where she was, no doubt, surrounded by like-minded religious conservatives, much like the Federalist Society, the infamous cultivator of extremely right wing justices. I believe that it compiled for Trump his entire list of possible nominees to take the seat of the irreplaceable Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It is almost redundant to add that these folks tend to also adhere to a narrow, inflexible orthodoxy with regard to politics and most importantly, economics. They like to gussy up their limitless defense of the most powerful (no matter how ill-gotten that power may be), under the rubric of ‘strict constructionism’ i.e., dragging us all back to that time when only white men who owned property had voting rights.
On that awful day when the iconic RBG passed on, some in the media began to point out that not long ago Barack Obama had an opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, as was his right in the Constitution. Well of course, it ran up against a Republican stone wall of BS about nine months being too close to the next election and that the people should have their input on this fateful decision. Well, I knew immediately that the Republican Party of today is simply immune to any shame one might reasonably feel about turning one’s view on the subject 180° when their party had the opportunity, even though it’s now only a matter of weeks before the next election. If they have the votes (and they all seem to march in lockstep) it’s a done deal. I searched the news in vain to see if there were some delaying tactic that the Democrats might be able to deploy to save us from this worst Supreme Court justice ever.
Then, like the deus ex machina in a Greek play, Covid19 reached down from the heavens! It was hard not to laugh when I first heard about the Orange Man himself coming down with it; if there were ever a case of someone’s karma coming back to bite their ass, this was it. It is now a matter of record (Woodward’s interviews with him) that Trump knew full well early in the spring just how dangerous and how infectious the virus was yet continually downplayed the importance of the only defense we have against it; masks and social distancing. Apparently, it was out of concern for upsetting the stock market, which enjoyed huge subsidies to prop up values for the small minority who own all the stocks, while ever greater numbers of Americans were barely able to scrape by. And that was before the pandemic, which now threatens to cause many millions of hard working Americans to lose their homes, as so many have had their livelihoods suddenly uprooted by this virus.
After Trump’s performance in the recent ‘debate’, it is harder than ever to understand how he could have any chance of winning a free and fair election. Rudely violating the rules of the debate that he had agreed to, he blabbered over much of Mr. Biden’s time at the mic, and when asked if he would denounce white supremacists, he chose instead to parrot one such cretinous group’s slogan, “stand back and stand by!”. What? To bring their assault rifles out on the streets if he loses the election? His own brown shirt army?
Statements like that, as well as refusing to accept the will of the people, should he lose, seem impeachable on their face. Is it too late to impeach him again? Sheesh!
(John Arteaga is a Ukiah resident.)
FORMER CIA DIRECTOR LEON PANETTA: We Are Prosecuting Assange To Intimidate Others
Leon Panetta, who served as director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 2009 to 2011, and then as the Obama administration’s secretary for defence, has let the cat out of the bag, telling interviewers that the US is seeking to prosecute WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to send a threatening message to whistleblowers and publishers alike.
EXPECTED COUNTERVAILING FORCES TO TRUMPISM ARE FAILING
by Ralph Nader
Let’s give dangerous, dictatorial, corporatist, lawless, unstable, Donald Trump his due. He has shown us just how weak our various countervailing institutions and constitutional standards are in checking the excesses of the most impeachable President in American history.
After three and a half years of corruption, cronyism, chaos, illegal wars, and destruction of law enforcement protecting people from corporate ravages, Trump a bigoted, racist, serial fabricator, and boastful savage serial predator has not only gotten away with everything but has doubled down on everything. He has intimidated almost everyone with any power or influence into submission or silence.
This unprecedented feat rests on many abdicators:
1. Congress — The most powerful constitutional branch is disgraced by the Republican controlled Senate led by the evil Mitch McConnell, a corporation masquerading as a human, bent on installing an autocratic judiciary entrenching the corporate state and blocking bills that may put the interest of the people above the business lobbies. Legislation ranging from omnicidal denial of climate disruption to living wage to universal health care and scores of other measures passed by the House dies in the Senate. He also goes along with everything Trump does like an opportunistic lap dog. By comparison, in 1974, Nixon was urged to resign by Republican Senators, including Barry Goldwater, over one count of obstruction of justice and one defiance of a Congressional subpoena submitted by the House. Trump renders those violations, including defying dozens of House subpoenas, in spades as a daily burst of continued law-breaking. “Moscow” Mitch and Trump have abandoned the people for the plutocracy.
In the House, Nancy Pelosi chose one impeachable offense (the Ukraine matter) out of a dozen ongoing, daily violations constituting “high crimes and misdemeanors” (See the December 18, 2019, Congressional Record — H 12197). She could have had held public hearings on numerous continuing impeachable offenses containing “kitchen table” issues but rejected this consequential opportunity to make the Senate Republicans defend Trump in hearings that would have filled the news with his misdeeds and crimes. Trump now accurately believes that he has been inoculated by Congress from House investigations into his walking impeachment behavior daily.
The House didn’t even exercise its plenary power to enforce subpoenas without having to resort to the courts and then endure years-long delays. Trump laughs when he is sued having learned how to game and escape scores of lawsuits during his failed bankrupt business career.
Senate complicity and House cowardliness have damaged the constitutional status of this inkblot Congress in unforgiveable ways.
2. The Courts — Increasingly Trumpitized, the federal courts are validating corporate powers and Presidential outlawry with five of nine votes on the Supreme Court. Before Trump, the courts approved extreme presidential powers by inaction, using the medieval English doctrine of “no standing to sue” or saying the case involved “political questions” between the White House and Congress. Other abdications secure dismissal due to “state secrets” in cases brought against the government or on vague assertions of “inherent” presidential powers.
3. The Democratic Party — In duopoly politics, the public has to rely on the incumbent opposing party to check Trump. A thin reed indeed. Well-funded Democratic Congressional campaigns guided by Nancy Pelosi have lost 4 of the last 5 Congressional races to the worst Republican Party in history. Its anti-worker, anti-consumer, and fanatic determination to repeal environmental protections, that are opposed by a hefty majority of the citizenry is shameful. But Republicans are hungry for power and draconian in their unabashed voter repression and gerrymandering. In the last twenty years Republicans have captured a majority of state legislature and Governors, the Senate, and greater occupancy of the White House. As Republican Kevin Phillips wrote years ago, “the Republicans go for the jugular while the Democrats go for the capillaries.” This party is incapable of introspection or revising or renewing its mission.
Most Democrats resent ideas from third party platforms and scapegoat the Greens or any other progressive party that advances new ideas. Election reversing Electoral College, costing the party two presidential elections in 2000 and 2016 induces no opposition. The civic drive called National Popular Vote grows without the Democratic Party’s full backing.
Only Trump’s madcap self-destructive performance gives the Democrats the edge. Without Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party reverts to not having answers to the question: What does the Party stand for?
4. The Military — Trump has cuffed them around, interfering in military discipline, firing their popular Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. But he has given them more money than they asked for and flatters “the troops” at every turn. What’s not to like? Only after Trump’s belligerent misuse of the military to disperse a crowd of peaceful demonstrators did a few military leaders criticize the draft-dodging Bunker Boy Trump.
5. The Intelligence Agencies and the FBI — No President has ever openly berated these agencies, fired officials, and changed their leaders, including the historically untouchable FBI, other than Trump. He also has fattened these budgets as he allowed their traditional missions except when they declined to support his personal vendettas. They swallow their pride and temper their anger.
6. The Mass Media — It used to be that Presidents restrained themselves from attacking the media, apart from a few grumbles. Trump shouts, “fake news,” and “enemy of the people.” His large twitter following is his own media, along with Fox cable news and heal-clicking syndicated radio talk show soliloquists, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Levin, etc.
It’s worth recalling the days when Lyndon Johnson dreaded Time Magazine turning against him on the Vietnam War or Republican Presidents worried about displeasing widely read conservative journalists and columnists. Today’s leading conservative columnists tear into Trump regularly (Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, Bret Stephens, Michael Gerson, George Will, etc.) and Trump doesn’t even shrug. Perhaps this is partly because they largely avoid the conclusions of their own convictions — it is time to demand Trump’s resignation.
7. Labor Unions — Union membership since the 1980s is down to 10% from 35% of the labor force. Organized labor is weakening from automation, the gig economy, and globalization. Its leaders are frightened by the third of their membership voting for Trump. With the headquarters of the AFL-CIO a block from the White House, one would have thought that the House of Labor could have arranged for many demonstrations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The AFL-CIO should be filing lawsuits and mounting legislative efforts to counter this anti-labor champion of Wall Street over Main Street. Instead, Trump largely gets a free ride except for some tough speeches and online criticism from unions. Trump doesn’t lose any sleep over union chiefs who don’t even use Labor Day media to make labor’s case against Trump. Union members who are Trumpsters are not embracing the union message about Trump’s colossal betrayal of his campaign promises — whether its wages, pensions, job security, workplace safety, and labor standards for collective bargaining gutted by his stacked NLRB. Trump ignores unions because he knows they’re scared into inaction toward him. The expectations of a broad and dramatic attack by AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka on Donald Trump and his anti-worker policies never materialized.
8. Organized Lawyers — These “officers of the court” and their bar associations should be first responders to this arrogant usurper of the rule of law and constitutional observances. Trump says, “I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president” and acts daily on that impeachable boast. The American Bar Association (ABA), is asleep. Today’s American Bar Association (ABA) reminded that in 2005–2006, they sent three white papers to the Bush/Cheney regime citing their unconstitutional actions, was asked by me and constitutional lawyer, Bruce Fein, to continue in that tradition. But the ABA continues to do nothing. In the face of daily massive law-breaking, this is a knowing and astonishing abdication! The ABA should look to the lawyers working with the ACLU, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights or the Brennan Center for Justice for examples of what the legal professionals should be doing. Another recent encouraging initiative came from nearly 2000 former U.S. Department of Justice employees, many of these lawyers, who called for Attorney General William Barr to resign.
9. Organized Religion — Historically, split internally between supporting changes for or against justice, the National Council of Churches’ leadership has been fretting about taking on Trump (he violates seven of the Ten Commandments). They fear losing some of their southern congregations that have to cope with the more organized hypocritical evangelical leaders. Many of these evangelical leaders are willing to overlook Trump’s unchristian actions and position because he nominates anti-choice judges, who favor reducing separations of church and state.
When I asked the National Council of Churches — about this immoral savage serial predator, who boasts and lies and has paid hush money to silence his accusers: Isn’t Trump’s immorality racism, and bigotry enough for you, the custodians of the society’s moral standards, troubling? They do not disagree, but they do nothing to oppose Trump. This was the once liberal church that opposed Vietnam and Iraq wars and was on the frontlines during the civil rights movements, now, is frightened into inaction.
10. Organized Women — Knowing that a CNN poll last November reported 61% of women favored the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump as President, where are the activists from MeToo, Time’s Up and many other advocates who supported the eviction of Democratic Congressman John Conyers, Senator Al Franken and New York Governor Elliot Spitzer for doing one percent of what Republican Trump has done? Where are the reporters and editorial writers, who dug deep into super predator Trump, but have declined to make such violent behavior a major campaign issue? Where are the members of Congress, led by Senator Gillibrand, who have gone cold on these serious assault charges by over twenty women?
Trump fears Congressional hearings, more than the several tort lawsuits dragging on indefinitely in the courts. All 89 Democratic women in the House of Representatives declined to respond to my lengthy letter of early February (which I hand-delivered to their offices) requesting a House inquiry. Total silence from Nancy Pelosi on down, including male legislators who are happy to pass such responsibilities on to their female counterparts.
Isn’t it time for organized women to take on Trump in this election year?
11. University World — Once feared by Nixon, the campuses are AWOL, with few exceptions. Speakers at packed rallies and auditoriums that launched civic movements in the past decades are not even invited by today’s celebrity-driven, iPhone obsessed, and identity politics-focused students. Once the incubator of major uprisings — civil rights, women’s liberation, anti-war, nuclear arms control, and safeguarding the environment — today’s faculty and students, with few exceptions, scarcely are interested in how their predecessors galvanized and changed our country for the better.
12. Organized Science — Never has there been a more anti-science President, cutting budgets, even for work on possible pandemics, letting his henchmen in regulatory agencies override or push scientists out of the civil service. Trump forbids the use of the words “climate change” at the EPA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). He plays a quack doctor in his news briefings talking about bleach or dangerous, untested drugs to treat Covid-19.
It is true that scientists mounted a large demonstration by the White House in the spring of 2017, but the follow-up faded away. Trump is a gravely unstable and so ego-consumed that he can hurl empty contradictions of science at man-caused climate disruption, asserts that wind power causes cancer, contradicts scientific knowledge about Covid-19, and the necessity for early alerts and caution. He has played quack nutritionist permitting more junk food in school lunches fueling the child obesity epidemic. From this invincible arrogance and ignorance (giving himself an obscene score of a perfect ten for handling the Covid-19 pandemic) hundreds of thousands of Americans have died, gotten very sick and the rest left starkly defenseless and unprepared for future dangers by the White House.
Scientists and their many institutions, such as the AAAS, have a very strong case to make before the American people that Trump is a national security danger. However, they have kept their dread and outrage largely to themselves. Even when Democrats controlled Congress in 2009–2010. the professional associations of scientists were unable to revive the key Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), that Newt Gingrich defunded. Based on its record, OTA would now be checking junk corporate science, boondoggle weapons systems, climate denials by Trumpian type quackery, and informing policy makers and the public about the problems with the technologies of Silicon Valley, to name just a few areas where political fiction eclipses facts.
13. Big Business — The plutocrats of Wall Street have ways of objecting to maniacal sociopaths in the White House. Big business CEO’s hate unpredictability. They secure their nominees in key positions to steady the raving arms of erratic politicians who threaten instability. But Trump knows their weaknesses, in particular their short-term thinking. To shut them up, Trump gets rid of health, safety, and economic regulations that protect people. He appoints destroyers to key executive branch positions and the courts. He gives the fat cats huge tax escapes beyond their dreams of avarice. And Trump signals that crony capitalism of the corporate welfare state will keep expanding. Add the Federal Reserve juicing the stock markets and the customary opportunistic business leaders moves into partnership with Trump’s corporate state is sealed. None of this excuses some enlightened super-rich, who despise Trumpism, from organizing collective action or funding civic groups to challenge monstrous activities of the White House.
14. More Progressive Allied Countries –By extolling brutal dictators by name, musing out loud that he would like their power, Trump has alienated and directly insulted allied leaders like Justin Trudeau of Canada and Angela Merkel of Germany. He has rebuffed world leaders on climate disruption and pandemic cooperation, taking a nihilistic, mocking position that has lowered our country’s esteem in the world. Trump has declared himself the man of perfection, “a stable genius,” who never makes mistakes, and has nothing to learn from other heads of state on any matter, including the Trump enhanced Covid-19 catastrophes. U.S. allies appear intimidated by the raging bull with his unlawful sanctions and careening trade restrictions.
15. The Fired Influentials — Trump has fired key cabinet and other high officials he once praised and unleashed a torrent of foul-mouthed insults against those he has exiled from his administration. Instead of mounting with their prolific contacts, a “Stop to Trump Movement,” from the conservative right, that could include retired influential military and business executives, most have largely receded into a life of economic comfort and dejection. These fireds include National Security Administrator Jim Mathis, Trump chief of staff General John Kelly, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who have told friends they believe the delusionary ignorant, unstable moronic Trump is a clear danger to our country. Nonetheless, apart from a few op-eds, Trump’s ongoing intimidation and humiliation practices and tweets seem to have daunted them and many others from organizing to defend our democracy. However, after Trump’s gross behavior calling in the military to stop peaceful domestic protests, prominent retired generals have taken Trump to task loudly and clearly.
16. The Civic Community — Leading citizen advocacy groups like the ACLU, NAACP, the Brennan Center for Justice, Public Citizen, Common Cause, People for the American Way, and many other national and local associations have gone after Trump with hammer and tongs. Several lawsuits have blocked or delayed some of Trump’s deregulatory and discriminatory ravages. But they have not stopped Trump’s wrecking crew of corporatists and clenched jaw ideologues from giving our government wholesale and boastfully to the corporate supremacists from Wall Street to Houston. They have been unable to up the ante such as in developing new strategic confrontations, effective provocations, and mass rallies against Trump at every turn. They need the energy of the streets and its non-wonkish vernacular to give Trump his own rhetorical medicine, including roars of “lock him up” at rallies, nicknames that bullies like Trump deal out but can’t take and exposing his harmful betrayals of all the people. Some of Trump’s “anybody but Hillary” voters who after nearly four years of non-stop perfidy and fabrications are ready for “anybody but Trump.”
17. The Streets and New Leadership — The internet and iPhone may have distracted the younger generations into thinking that tweets and virtual realities can quicken the pulse of democratic moments. Good luck. The evidence of history requires reality and interpersonal galvanizing in ways that the worlds of Google and Facebook cannot provide. The accumulation of anti-Trump social media cannot compare with relentless encircling of the White House by relays from 250,000 people committed early to demanding, with the rigor of evidence, rhetoric, artistry and media savvy, that this multiple Moloch must resign.
Amidst the daily provocations of hate, incompetence, corruption, and serial violations of the Constitution and statutes, Trump bludgeons workers, consumers, environment, patients, pensioners and most cruelly children. The invisible so-called “kitchen table” issues of increasing poverty, in attention to climate chaos while the budget busting American Empire is provoking new arms races at the expense of grave domestic necessities must dominate political debate and civic education.
Yet, until the Minneapolis police officers provoked recent recurring demonstrations everywhere, including in front of the White House, the streets have been far too quiet given the most accelerating disabling of our institutions, democratic standards of justice, and taking our nation into reverse toward a dark age that the Trumpsters are institutionalizing.
Mass movements usually arise from massing in the streets around a series of felt injustices and reforms. These arousals are followed up by less than one percent of the citizenry committed to continual engagement and focus on the officials in legislatures and other decisional forums indentured to the corrupt status quo. It is noteworthy that all non-war justice movements in the U.S. were driven by just that small number of civic activists — one percent or much less — backed by a growing, more aware public opinion. As I wrote in my little book — Breaking Through Power: Its Easier Than We Think — this small number of people did it again and again throughout American history — from the abolitionists to women suffrage to the 19th century farmer, labor populist/progressive drives — often associated with third parties; right down to the civil rights, environmental, and consumer accomplishments of recent decades.
This “other” one percent can jumpstart itself. However injections of funds from a few progressive super-rich, to hire 2000 to 3000 full time, linked organizers spread through 435 congressional districts can sharply shorten the time span needed to take control of Congress and most of its 535 members who have to heed focused voters far more than campaign money.
Such civic energies in the past prodded the institutions noted above out of their inaction, intimidation, and excuse making into the civic arena. Good forces for a just society can be contagious.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
WHY IS JOE BIDEN SO SOFT ON CHINA? And Why Are Facebook And Twitter Killing The Story?
This week, The New York Post broke a story linking Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, to massive public corruption with business partners in Communist China. And now, Twitter and Facebook are trying to kill the story.
Recently, Hunter Biden's laptop surfaced at a computer repair shop in Delaware. Intimate photographs that only Hunter Biden could have taken, and secret emails to Chinese business associates and his father, were all downloaded by the shop's owner.
The Post vetted the story.
While Hunter Biden's Ukrainian business interests have received most of the attention in the past, Hunter’s dealings in China deserve at least as much scrutiny.
So let's take a look.
Upon graduation, Hunter received waivers for his age and past drug-related incidents, and was sworn in as a direct commission officer in the U.S. Navy by his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, at the White House. However, Hunter’s naval career was short-lived when he tested positive for cocaine within a month after being sworn in.
Hunter was administratively discharged in a secret proceeding. The news of Hunter's discharge was reported when an anonymous Navy source tipped off The Wall Street Journal.
Trained as a lawyer at Yale, Hunter then worked as a lobbyist and consultant for a few of his father's friends. Hunter's foray into financial services, Paradigm Global Advisors, was linked to Stanford Financial, a multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme.
Hunter then co-founded a new venture, Rosemont Seneca Partners. Rosemont and Hunter were given extraordinary opportunities in China while his father was vice president. Here are some key facts:
1. Joe Biden met with Hunter’s Chinese partners days before they established a new investment firm.
In December 2013, Hunter landed in Beijing aboard Air Force Two, accompanying his father on an official visit to China. Less than two weeks later, Hunter’s company, Rosemont Seneca, became a partner in a new investment company backed by the state-owned Bank of China.
Christening the new firm Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), the partners set out to raise $1 billion for the new fund.
Representatives of the Biden family have denied any connection between the vice president’s visit and Hunter’s business. However, a BHR representative told The New Yorker that Hunter used the opportunity to introduce his father to Chinese private equity executive Jonathan Li, who became CEO of BHR after the deal’s conclusion.
2. BHR is a multibillion-dollar enterprise.
Exceeding their initial fundraising goal, the partners at BHR raised their target to $1.5 billion for the new fund. The company’s website now brags that it manages “over RMB 15 billion” in assets — the equivalent of about $2.1 billion in today’s dollars.
Under the terms of the deal, BHR, in which Hunter’s firm held an equity stake, would be a lead investor in the fund. Other investors include China Development Bank and China’s social security fund.
3. Hunter and his partners had prominent roles within the company.
Despite his relative lack of private equity experience, Hunter landed a prominent role with the new company. Under the terms of the original deal, Rosemont Seneca, Hunter’s firm, shared a 30% stake in BHR with the Thornton Group, which was run by James Bulger, the son of longtime Massachusetts state Senate President Billy Bulger. Hunter and Bulger joined the board, along with Devon Archer, Hunter’s longtime business partner. Archer would also serve as vice chairman of the fund’s investment committee.
The value of these partnerships to BHR is clear. Its own website boasts: “BHR, with its unique mixed ownership, combines the resources and platforms of China’s largest financial institutions … and the networks and know-how of our U.S.-based investment fund and advisory firm shareholders.”
Hunter Biden claimed to the New Yorker that he and his partners have not seen any money from the BHR deal. But even if true, the potential payouts are significant.
4. BHR represented a unique investment opportunity.
BHR’s relationships weren’t the only unique thing about the company. Rosemont Seneca was getting a piece of something that no other Western firm had: a private equity fund inside the recently established Shanghai Free-Trade Zone, with a focus on international acquisitions. With the backing of the state-owned Bank of China, one of the country’s “big four” financial institutions, BHR had access to the types of deals that most Western firms only dreamed of, including IPOs of state-owned companies.
5. BHR invested in strategically sensitive assets in both China and the United States.
In December 2014, BHR became an “anchor investor” in the IPO of China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN), a state-owned nuclear company involved in the development of nuclear reactors. Not only is CGN a strategically important company in China, it was also facing legal scrutiny in the United States. In 2016, CGN was charged with espionage by the Justice Department for stealing US nuclear secrets.
As a “cross-border” investment fund, Bohai Harvest was interested in making deals outside of China. In 2015, BHR acquired Henniges Automotive, a Michigan-based producer of vibration-dampening equipment, alongside Chinese military contractor Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC). Given the military applications of Henniges’ technology, the deal required federal approval. Like CGN, AVIC was suspected of stealing US technology for its purposes.
Not long after the Henniges deal closed, AVIC debuted its new J-20 fighter — incorporating designs allegedly stolen from the US’ F-35 program.
6. It wasn’t an isolated incident.
In 2015, a state-backed real estate conglomerate acquired a controlling stake in Rosemont Realty, a sister company of Rosemont Seneca where Hunter served as an advisor. As part of the deal, the Chinese promised $3 billion for commercial office property acquisitions in the US — a major windfall for the company.
It wouldn’t be Hunter’s last episode with Chinese capital. In May 2017, he met with Ye Jianming, chairman of Chinese energy company CEFC, to discuss investment opportunities in the US. After the meeting, Ye sent a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter along with a “thank you” card. When, six months later, a CEFC executive was arrested in New York on unrelated bribery charges, his first phone call was to Hunter’s uncle, James Biden. James told the New York Times that “he believed it [the call] had been meant for Hunter” and that “he had passed on his nephew’s contact information.”
Ye, now accused of bribing a Communist Party official, has since been detained in his native China.
All of this adds up to an extremely troubling pattern. Much of the media, as they so often do, have chosen to air the spin, rather than the facts, on this issue. Did the Chinese give favorable treatment to Hunter Biden to curry favor with his vice-president father? The American public deserves to understand what exactly Hunter Biden was doing overseas and the extent of then-Vice President Biden’s involvement.
Isn't censorship wrong? Aren't secrets and lies always wrong?
For more on Twitter's and Facebook's censorship of the breaking New York Post story, see: nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/censored-and-suppressed/
(via John Sakowicz)