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LIGHT RAIN WILL DISSIPATE over Humboldt and Del Norte Counties this morning. Clearing skies are then expected tonight which will aid in cold valley temperatures along with patchy frost and fog. Another round of light rain is forecast to occur Thursday afternoon and evening over Del Norte and Humboldt Counties. Thereafter, a more substantial threat for widespread moderate rainfall will exist this weekend into early to middle portions of next week. (NWS)
37 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Tuesday, bringing the total to 1816.
A CALM BEFORE THE STORM
by William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital
The effect of holiday travel and family get-togethers is beginning to be evident around the State, but also here on the Coast as we are seeing an increased number of folks with respiratory symptoms seeking testing for COVID at our clinics and ER. Fortunately, as of this writing, we only have one patient with COVID in our hospital and six in the hospital in Ukiah, but I expect that to change soon. As the hospitals in Southern California experience increasing numbers things may soon come to a point where we are compelled by the State Health Department to accept transfers from those areas to help them avoid being overwhelmed.
According to Judson Howe, Vice-President for the three Mendocino County Adventist Health (AH) hospitals, the ICU capacity of AH in the northern California region is currently at 28%, above Governor Newsom’s cut off of 15% for invoking stay-at-home orders, but that could change quickly. Howe, along with Dr. Bessant Parker, Chief Medical Officer for the three hospitals, has been leading the combined efforts to keep us prepared for what may lay ahead. “We continue to update and revisit our surge plans to make sure we are ready to care for our community. We’ve cared for over 150 COVID patients since this pandemic started and we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way that have allowed us to improve our processes,” Howe wrote in a COVID update sent to the doctors and staff of the three hospitals this week.
As spread of the virus increases, community testing becomes more important than ever. Lucresha Renteria, the CEO of Mendocino Coast Clinic (MCC), has been working hard to re-establish community testing following the abrupt pull out of the Chen-Zuckerberg free testing program by UCSF in October. MCC has been approved to participate directly with the State’s new testing lab, the PerkinElmer Lab in Valencia, as a test provider. “We are now only waiting to receive the test kits to start testing which should be arriving soon,” Renteria said when I spoke with her. Local community members can call 707-964-1251 to get on a waiting list to be tested as soon as those kits arrive.
As more people test positive through community testing, we need more trained personnel to do contact tracing. Lynne Finely of the Mendocino County Health Department reached out to me asking that I use the Miller Report to extend a call for volunteers to be contact tracers. For more information, call 707-467-3200 extension 333. There is a free 7 hour online course to train as a contact tracer. For more information about the course go to www.volunteerNCO.org. You can also use that website to register for the volunteer program.
An important step to help maintain adequate health care services at this time is coming in the form of the Pfizer vaccine. In a conference led by Dr. Andy Coren, Public Health Officer with the hospital leadership of the three hospitals in the County, I learned that of the 375,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine sent to California, our county has been promised 975 doses. About two-thirds of these will be made available to front line health care workers at the hospitals. This will help ensure that our hospital staff are protected as they care for COVID patients. Dr. Coren expects that we may be able to start vaccinating front line hospital staff by the end of next week. Adventist Health Ukiah Valley hospital has offered to provide the deep freeze refrigerator necessary to store the vaccines for the County while they are distributed. Second wave distribution is expected to target nursing home residents. Third wave distribution will be available to non-front-line health care workers. Estimates vary considerably, as to when the vaccine will be available the general public, but it may be as early as the end of February. As time goes by, it is expected that more vaccines will be approved from different manufacturers and that this may accelerate availability.
I want to extend my sincere appreciation to all of my fellow Coast residents for the support that you are showing to each other during these times. I am confident that, despite the challenges, we will get through this together.
LUTHERANS OPEN DOORS FOR COAST’S HOMELESS WINTER SHELTER — Ft. Bragg Council fattens paychecks of shelter workers to attract applicants
The Fort Bragg City Council and a local church came together at Monday night’s special council meeting to forge a plan to try to open a winter shelter for the homeless.
AS OF MONDAY, EIGHT CASES OF COVID-19 have been tied to the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center in Ukiah, all of whom are residents. Mendocino County Public Health is collaborating with Building Bridges on contact tracing efforts, as well as isolating all positives separately and quarantining close contacts at the facility.
Redwood Community Services CEO Victoria Kelly stated, “Building Bridges is continuing to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our staff and guests. In collaboration with Mendocino County Public Health and Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Street Medicine, we have closed public services in effort to reduce further spread of the virus; while caring for our guests currently complying with the isolation and quarantine orders.”
Building Bridges is continuing to sanitize their facilities regularly, and the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Street Medicine team is providing medical oversight for positive residents.
Dr. Barash shared on behalf of Street Medicine, “Street Medicine, a collaboration between Adventist Health and Redwood Community Services joins Mendocino County Public Health in surveillance, treatment, and containment of the virus among homeless individuals. Those who have active infection have been housed separately while being monitored by Street Medicine.”
Mendocino County Public Health is conducting follow-up testing to ensure containment of this outbreak.
“Individuals experiencing homelessness are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19,” said County Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren. “Building Bridges has been preparing for the possibility of an outbreak for some time due to the risk associated with their work, and have done all they can to slow the spread at their shelter. The staff at Building Bridges are heroes for dedicating themselves to helping such a vulnerable population during these times. No facility anywhere is immune to an outbreak of COVID-19.”
Mendocino County Public Health deeply appreciates local business owners who, having been alerted to one or more COVID-19-positive cases related to their business, have decided to contact Mendocino County Environmental Health at 707-234-6625 for guidance on slowing the spread. A proactive approach not only keeps your employees and customers safe, but it also shows your care and consideration for our community.
Released in collaboration with Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center and Day Center in Ukiah, and Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Street Medicine.
NORTH COAST BLOOD DRIVE COMPETITION
Friendly competition between Fire Departments in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties helps transform lives
Santa Rosa, CA (December 8, 2020) – Vitalant, in coordination with 21 fire departments across Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, is proud to announce the 15th Annual Bucket Brigade Blood Drive Challenge. The Challenge is a friendly competition among participating fire departments to see which department can host the largest blood drive between December and January by enlisting firefighters, friends, family and members of the community to donate lifesaving blood.
Surges in COVID-19 cases, wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters combined with the cancellation of blood drives at schools, businesses and community organizations have brought the blood supply to a critical level on a national level. Donating blood is one of many ways community members can support one another. Per Governor Gavin Newsom, “Blood donation is critically important to ensure our hospitals have the supplies they need to give life-saving care to patients….Our state is at its best when we look out for one another. I encourage every eligible Californian to support their community by becoming a donor.”
Since 2006, fire departments participating in the Bucket Brigade Challenge have recruited more than 11,000 participants. Last year, Sonoma County Fire District won the coveted Bucket Trophy with 100 participants. Participating firefighters recognize the significance of their blood drives. Erich Engle of Sonoma County Fire District is a frequent blood donor and encourages community members to “make time this winter to support their local firefighters and donate blood.”
The Bucket Brigade idea comes from the Great London Fire of 1666 that found community members in “brigades” as they passed buckets of water from the city’s water supply to the blaze that endangered their town and community. Vitalant Senior Director of Donor Recruitment, Andrea Casson, brought these participating fire departments together 15 years ago with the idea of “creating a modern Bucket Brigade that gathers our community in an effort to save lives through blood donations.”
Multiple fire departments are hosting blood drives. As a special thank you, blood donors will receive an annual event T-shirt.
To find a drive near you, please see the complete list below. To make an appointment, visit www.vitalant.org or call 877-258-4825. For your donation, please arrive well-hydrated, well-nourished, with a face mask and photo identification. For eligibility information and to learn more about how we are adjusting to the pandemic, visit www.vitalant.org.
- Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, Tuesday, December 1, 2020 1:30pm – 5:45pm, Community Center: 200 School Street, Ukiah
- Fort Bragg and Mendocino Monday, December 28, 2020 1:00pm – 5:30pm, Volunteer Fire Department Tuesday, December 29, 2020 10:00am – 2:30pm, Town Hall: 363 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg
- Hopland Volunteer Fire Department Wednesday, January 13, 2021 2:00 pm – 6:00pm, Fire Station: 21 Feliz Creek Road, Hopland
HUMCO OLD TIMER, ERNIE BRANSCOMB: "Rural firefighters are the backbone of our communities, they need to be funded. Humboldt county passed Measure Z that saved the county’s rural fire stations. Mendocino does not have a “Measure Z”, so the firefighters still suffer.
I know that people are already taxed to the limit. It is too bad that firefighters have to go through enormous training then go home and bake cookies to sell so they can buy equipment. Tax money is often wasted on things that people don’t need, and in a lot of cases don’t want. Maybe we need to rethink our priorities. I would put firefighters as a number one priority.
Our rural fire stations are the best bargain that the counties have. They are life and property saving institutions, and they are mostly totally volunteer. Just look at what they accomplish, then decide if they need our help.
Also, if you are an able bodied, reasonably intelligent person you should consider joining a volunteer fire department. You will get training, and you will be working with people that will always have your back. After a while you will realize that you are involved in the best gig of your life."
SALT LAKE MAGAZINE EDITOR DIES AFTER SWEPT OUT TO SEA IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY
The executive editor of Salt Lake Magazine died Monday after being swept into the ocean in northern California. Mary Brown Malouf was 66.
Malouf was visiting the area, and had walked with her son to the end of the north jetty wall of Humboldt Bay about 12 p.m. when “a large wave suddenly swept over the wall,” according to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
THE SYMPHONY OF THE REDWOODS
Happy Holidays One and All!
Our latest newsletter is chock full of musical "gifts" for all to enjoy this holiday season! You'll find a brand a new music quiz, the "Inspiration edition", and an inspiring new podcast "From Bizet to Ravel" by Dr. Phillip Lenberg. You can also visit our Symphony store to do some holiday shopping! Available are a 2021 Symphony of the Redwoods calendar and a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle - both featuring Larry Wagner's wonderful photography.
Go to symphonyoftheredwoods.org for all the fun and to order online or call the symphony office at 707-964-0898 to place an order. Items can be picked up at Farmers Insurance in Mendocino, or we will be happy to make local deliveries to your home or other pickup spot of your choosing. Thank you for supporting Symphony of the Redwoods!
Eva von Bahr
JOHNNY SCHMITT WRITES (commenting on the resignation of Planning and Building Director Brent Schultz):
“I do often wish that at least a portion of the energy that is going to this ‘pot’ situation went to addressing the building dept. as it pertains to homes and small business projects. I had the same experience with Brent reaching out to offer his help and assurance that the dept. would work more closely and creatively with homeowners/business but he faded into the background quickly and we are left with a difficult, stubborn and resentful department that only makes you wish you never embarked on any project, much less helping you wade thru the quagmire that is the UBC, ADA and California's insane requirements. even our local architects and professional builders have to fight their way thru this mess, costing everyone time, money and frustration that could be avoided with creative communication, flexibility and humanity… all missing from the current situation. until then ‘affordable’ unique housing and creative business will be only a dream and only for the rich, so sad…”
POINT ARENA LIGHTHOUSE before and after the 1906 earthquake.
FORT BRAGG LIBRARY
Although the library isn't open to the public, the wifi is still available to use in your vehicle outside. Please make sure your friend leaves the curb along the front of the library free for curbside pick-ups. Wifi is called Mendo Public Library and you must accept conditions to use it (simple Accept button on sign in screen). You can also utilize the city's free public wifi. It works within a 4 block radius of City Hall on Franklin St. Not sure if one needs to sign-in or not. It comes up on my device as Ft. Bragg Wifi. There may be others available but these are the ones I am familiar with. Hope this helps.
Peggy McGee, Sr. Library Technician
BIDEN stumbled through an announcement today (Tuesday) that he would get 100 million coronavirus vaccines distributed to Americans within his first 100 days in office, also promising that he will require masks for those 100 days anywhere he can legally order it. “This team will help get at the latest – at the last 100 million COVID-19 vaccine – at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of American people in the first 100 days,” Biden said, quickly clarifying, “100 million shots in the first 100 days.”
IN OTHER NEWS, Melania said she hoped people would be kind over the holidays; pollsters claimed that only 55% of Americans will take the covid vaccine; the growing China hysteria was fanned by reports from dubious sources led by John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, that the Chinese are "gene-editing" some citizens with a view to creating super soldiers; there have been 1400 shootings so far this year in New York City, twice the number at this time last year. The cops blame "bail reform." An elected Texas yobbo filed a brief to overturn the election that he hoped would be heard by the Supreme Court. Trump immediately tweeted the move was "heroic."
WATCHING THE SUPES today along with — max — 44 other zooming thrill seekers, I asked myself out loud, “These people make $84,000 a year, which works out to about $40 an hour based on an 8-hour work day, five day work week. How many of them would I pay $40 an hour to do anything?” My colleague, The Major, unprompted, shouted, “One, Williams.” I agreed, “But only if he didn't wear a bow tie.”
BUT to be a little less unfair, I can imagine knocking back a few drinks with Carre, forty bucks worth; Haschak? Tough guy to place at that kind of money, but he could probably be trusted to separate out the recyclables for maybe 15 an hour and to keep a rubberstamp inked. Gjerde, with appropriate training, would look good in a doorman's uniform. Forty? With tips, maybe. McCowen earns his forty, but not as supervisor. He spends many hours of his free time at the Sisyphean task of keeping trash away from the Ukiah Valley's battered waterways. Worth 40 an hour? Yes. There are also a few capable department heads, but broadly speaking Mendo is overdue for large-scale re-set we're unlikely to get short of revolution.
REVERSE SEXISM? CEO Angelo, almost in passing, mentioned that Planning and Building boss, Brent Schultz, had resigned and was moving out of state. And that was it for ol' Schultzie. But when Tammy Moss Chandler retired recently, Tammy Moss was wafted out of the building on a virtual tsunami of Whereases, none of them earned.
THE REDWOOD DRIVE-IN, central Boonville, gets all the way into the Christmas spirit.
THE BARN SALE in Boonville, a kind of perpetual garage sale but with generally better stuff, will be closed for the winter. “We'll open again in February to accept donations and in March for a sale. (Please do not leave donations at the barn when we are not open.)”
SENSIBLE REMARK OF THE DAY: “It's not because the public is irresponsible; it's because they are losing trust in public health officials who put out arbitrary restrictions,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease specialist at UC San Francisco. “We are failing in our public health messaging.”
HAIM ESHED was the head of Israel's space security program for nearly 30 years. Retired and now in his late 80s, he is in the news with a description of a “Galactic Federation” operating as partners with the US out of an underground base on Mars. Eshed says that mankind, given its corrupt ways, is not ready to absorb this information. Eshed said his big news — the biggest ever — won't be revealed in any detail until mankind shapes up, which means… When he retired in 2011, Eshed was described in Israeli media as “the father of Israel's satellite program” and lately as a man who “believes that the human race is not alone in the universe, and that it must fit into the harmony of the great plan.”
DEPARTMENT OF UNINTENTIONAL HILARITY: At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor's meeting our five solons discussed replacing retiring Supervisor Carre Brown on a couple of outside organizations that Brown routinely attends to no tangible purpose — the National Association of Counties and California Rural Counties association. For the time being these “associations” meet by zoom, requiring no travel. Otherwise they convene in up-market spas around the state. When asked if he’d consider an appointment to one of them, Dan Gjerde of Fort Bragg, said that he was “too busy” to consider another large responsibility. We await constituent confirmation.
DURING that same discussion, CEO Angelo solemnly noted that replacing Supervisor Brown upon her retirement was a “bittersweet moment,” because, we assume, the CEO will be losing her most reliable yes-vote. “Carre's inkpad is never dry," Angelo might have said if she had a sense of humor and was drunk. It will probably take the CEO a few weeks to get the two incoming Supervisors up to the rubberstamp standard that Supervisor Brown has achieved. The two new Supes will also have to be schooled on the limit to the number minutes of staff time they can use each week in answering Supervisor questions, assuming they have one now and then. Meanwhile, Supervisor Haschak is the lead candidate to keep the Yes stamp inked.
A GRAND TOTAL OF 44 PEOPLE were logged onto the Board meeting while the Supes discussed the difficulties they've been having getting the word out to the public about taking proper covid precautions. The Board and staff droned on and on for over two hours, in something like the same spirit as Governor Newsom's tiresome press conferences, apparently unaware that very few people pay attention to them or their discussions or their overly broad yet overly specific edicts. Supervisor McCowen was successful in getting most of his colleagues (Haschak dissenting) to sign on to a vague order to the local covid enforcers that they should spend more time on “gatherings” and less on businesses that do not seem to be a major source of covid spread. Supervisor McCowen scored another big success when the County’s billboard person agreed that they should include Spanish language versions of the signage content.
REDWOOD VALLEY: A former San Francisco real estate lawyer and broker is embroiled in a land dispute that has the owners of a historic Northern California cemetery scrambling to find next of kin for more than a dozen people buried there more than a century ago.
Michael Pecherer bought a vineyard on the border of the Redwood Valley Cemetery in Mendocino County in 2014. He sued the cemetery owners in 2017, saying a fence enclosing the cemetery encroaches on his property and that the land likely contains several burials. But cemetery officials say the contested property has always been part of the burial ground, and it’s public land.
“This is not just a cemetery. It’s a pioneer cemetery. It’s the people who built Mendocino County,” said Mark Velasquez, an attorney with Best, Best & Krieger LLP, the firm representing the cemetery and its owners, the Redwood River Cemetery District.
With a rampaging virus upon us, being outdoors is a blessing and a refuge. My wife and I recently hiked at Trione-Annadel State Park, and we were dismayed and disappointed at the number of mountain bikers and walkers without masks.
It is clearly posted that masks are required. What I have to say to those folks is that we don’t appreciate this incredibly stupid and self-indulgent behavior. It not only puts others at risk, it is also possible that parks will again shut down. If it happens, it is their fault.
So think about it. Please take responsibility for the safety of yourself and others and wear a mask. We want our parks to stay open.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 8, 2020
PHILLIP LOPEZ JR., Ukiah. Parole violation.
RAYMOND MARTINEZ, Laytonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MICHAEL MONTANO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JAIME ZAMBRANO, Ukiah. Parole violation.
"Starting this week, water will be joining crude, copper, soybeans, and other commodities traded on US exchanges, which suggests potential water scarcity problems could be nearing.”
SINCE LONG BEFORE the Trumpenstein was let loose upon the ill-faring land, America has been a militantly capitalist nation that tragically prioritizes private and corporate profit over public health while insidiously framing health less as a collective good than as a matter of “personal responsibility.” A real public health care system would work to prevent the transmission of diseases in the broad population rather just treating sickness in individuals. A genuinely humanistic, publicly-oriented health care regime would have had sufficient beds, equipment, and personnel at the ready in reserve at all times to meet and match a pandemic whose likely emergence global and national disease experts had been warning about for many years given humanity’s ever more reckless capitalist-driven expansion into global spaces inhabited by deadly zoonotic viruses.
— Paul Street
SANDERS, GILLIBRAND, WARREN, MERKLEY, MARKEY AND WYDEN Urge Colleagues to Defend Working Class in COVID-19 Relief Proposal
WASHINGTON, December 8 — Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) urged Senate Democrats today to recognize the enormity of the economic and public-health crisis posed by COVID-19 and join them “in demanding that any new COVID-19 relief proposal includes a $1,200 direct payment to adults and $500 to their children,” while rejecting provisions “to give a liability shield to corporations who threaten the health and safety of workers and customers.”
In a letter to their colleagues, the Senators note that COVID-19 is infecting nearly 200,000 Americans and killing 2,000 Americans daily, and argue that a bipartisan proposal under negotiation “does not go anywhere near far enough,” as America experiences “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” Only $348 billion in new money is currently allocated in that proposal, the Senators point out, even though “the Trump Administration and a bipartisan coalition in the House supported over $1.8 trillion in COVID-19 relief that also included another $1,200 direct payment.”
“It would be unacceptable to take a major step backwards from those previous efforts by passing legislation that only included $348 billion in new money,” the Senators wrote to their Democratic colleagues.
The lawmakers further expressed their opposition to “a get-out-of-jail free card to companies that put the lives of their workers and customers at risk” currently under consideration in a bipartisan COVID-19 relief measure, and cited concerns from labor groups that “granting immunity would make the country less safe at the exact moment when the COVID-19 pandemic is entering a new, dangerous phase.”
The letter's signatories also registered their agreement “with President-elect Biden that a $1,200 direct payment should be included in this proposal,” as over half of American workers live paycheck to paycheck and one in four are either unemployed or make less than $20,000 a year, while millions more face eviction and hunger.
Read the letter here.
“EVEN IF YOU THINK there are things wrong with men, you owe it to them to help them improve.”
THE COLLAPSE OF MICHELE FLOURNOY’S HOPES for the Top Pentagon Job Shows What Can Happen When Progressives Put Up a Fight
by Norman Solomon
Just a few weeks ago, super hawk Michele Flournoy was being touted as a virtual shoo-in to become Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense. But some progressives insisted on organizing to raise key questions, such as: Should we accept the revolving door that keeps spinning between the Pentagon and the weapons industry? Does an aggressive U.S. military really enhance “national security” and lead to peace?
By challenging Flournoy while posing those questions -- and answering them in the negative -- activism succeeded in changing “Defense Secretary Flournoy” from a fait accompli to a lost fantasy of the military-industrial complex.
She is “a favorite among many in the Democratic foreign-policy establishment,” *Foreign Policy* magazine reported on Monday night, hours after news broke that Biden’s nomination will go to Gen. Lloyd Austin instead of Flournoy. But “in recent weeks the Biden transition team has faced pushback from the left wing of the party. Progressive groups signaled opposition to Flournoy over her role in U.S. military interventions in Libya and the Middle East in prior government positions, as well as her ties to the defense industry once she left government.”
Of course, Gen. Austin is a high-ranking part of the war machine. Yet, as *Foreign Policy* noted: “When Biden pushed to draw down troops from Iraq while vice president, Flournoy, then Pentagon policy chief, and then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen opposed the idea. Austin did not.”
Video of war-crazed Sen. John McCain grilling Austin several years ago shows the general willing to stand firm against zeal to escalate killing in Syria, a clear contrast to positions that Flournoy had staked out.
Flournoy has a long record of arguing for military intervention and escalation, from Syria and Libya to Afghanistan and beyond. She has opposed a ban on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. In recent years, her advocacy has included pushing military envelopes in potentially explosive hotspots like the South China Sea. Flournoy is vehemently in favor of long-term U.S. military encroachment on China.
Historian Andrew Bacevich, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and former Army colonel, warns that “Flournoy’s proposed military buildup will prove unaffordable, unless, of course, federal deficits in the multitrillion-dollar range become routine. But the real problem lies not with the fact that Flournoy’s buildup will cost a lot, but that it is strategically defective.” Bacevich adds: “Strip away the references to deterrence and Flournoy is proposing that the United States goad the People’s Republic into a protracted high-tech arms race.”
With a record like that, you might think that Flournoy would receive very little support from the leaders of organizations like the Ploughshares Fund, the Arms Control Association, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the Council for a Livable World. But, as I wrote more than a week ago, movers and shakers at those well-heeled groups eagerly praised Flournoy to the skies -- publicly urging Biden to give her the Defense Secretary job.
Many said they knew Flournoy well and liked her. Some lauded her interest in restarting nuclear-arms negotiations with Russia (a standard foreign-policy position). Many praised her work in high-ranking Pentagon posts under Presidents Clinton and Obama. Privately, some could be heard saying how great it would be to have “access” to the person running the Pentagon.
More traditional allies of militaristic policymakers chimed in, often vilifying the left as it became clear in late November that progressive pushback was slowing Flournoy’s momentum for the Defense Department’s top job. Notorious war enthusiast Max Boot was a case in point.
Boot was evidently provoked by a *Washington Post* news story that appeared on Nov. 30 under the headline “Liberal Groups Urge Biden Not to Name Flournoy as Secretary of Defense.” The article quoted from a statement issued that day by five progressive organizations -- RootsAction.org (where I’m national director), CodePink, Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America, and World Beyond War. We conveyed that a Flournoy nomination would lead to a fierce grassroots battle over Senate confirmation. (The newspaper quoted me saying: “RootsAction.org has a 1.2 million active list of supporters in the U.S., and we’re geared up for an all-out push for a ‘no’ vote, if it comes to that.”)
Reporting on the joint statement, *Common Dreams* aptly summarized it in a headline: “Rejecting MichÃ¨le Flournoy, Progressives Demand Biden Pick Pentagon Chief ’Untethered’ From Military-Industrial Complex.” Such talk and such organizing are anathema to the likes of Boot, who fired back with a *Washington Post* column within hours. While advocating for Flournoy, he invoked an “old Roman adage” -- “Si vis pacem, para bellum” -- “If you want peace, prepare for war.” He neglected to mention that Latin is a dead language and the Roman Empire collapsed.
War preparations that increase the likelihood of war may excite laptop warriors. But the militarism they promote is madness nonetheless.
(Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of many books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
TRUMP SPOKESPEOPLE said, based on nothing, that after Nov. 4th the talk about COVID will stop. Instead, it is almost now all we are talk about as things turn nightmarish while waiting for a vaccine.
Trump spokespeople, based on nothing, said masks were not necessary, and restrictions on gatherings were an affront to our freedom. Instead most of Trump’s non-mask wearing staff and lawyers have COVID, and non-mask wearing states like South Dakota (also hosting motor cycle rallies) have the highest per capita COVID cases in the world.
Trump spokespeople said that they were sending out the lawyers to expose all the vote fraud in the election – with no evidence. Instead, all but one or two cases were thrown out of court, along with stinging criticism, even from Trump appointed judges.
Trump spokespeople, and JHK, based on hearsay, kept saying that there would be a bombshell from Judge Durham before the election. Didn’t happen.
Now we are expected to believe, based on speculation, that the Supreme Court will invalidate the votes of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania citizens based on one theoretical statistical analysis. While I have no doubt that Alito, as partisan a hack as ever to be on the court, might do such a thing, it’s tough to see SCOTUS overthrowing an election without HARD evidence.
It’s instructive to remember that the same people promoting this theory are the same ones who were entirely divorced from reality in the above examples. It’s not a Dem vs Rep thing, but a recognition of reality vs fantasy, no matter how badly one wants the fantasy to be true.
Don't worry, Portland's just fine!
alan haack wrote (mcn chat line):
This guy rides a unicycle while playing bagpipes and shooting out flames!! What's not to like? Portland is better than ever.
That's right, Alan. "In Portland you can just put a bird on something and call it art."
Dream of the '90s
--by Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen.
JASON: C'mon. Do you remember the 90's?
JASON: Y'know. People were talking about getting piercings and getting tribal tattoos. And people were singing about saving the planet; forming bands?
JASON: There's a place where that idea still exists as a reality and I've been there
MELANIE: Where is it?
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
The tattoo ink never runs dry
JASON: Remember when people were content to be unambitious? Sleep to eleven? Just hang out with their friends? You'd have no occupations whatsoever. Maybe you work a couple of hours a week at a coffee shop?
MELANIE: Right. I thought that died out a long time ago
JASON: Not in Portland. Portland is a city where young people go to retire
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
All the hot girls wear glasses (Yeah!)
JASON: Remember the 90's when they'd encourage you to be weird? It was just an amazing time where people would go to see something like the Jim Rose sideshow circus and watch someone hang something from their penis? You could grow up to want to be a clown. People went to clown school!
MELANIE: I gave up clowning years ago
JASON: In Portland, you don't have to
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
Sleep 'til eleven, you'll be in heaven
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
The Dream is alive
MELANIE: So from what I can surmise from what you're positing, it's like Portland's almost an alternative universe. It's like Gore won. The Bush administration never happened
MELANIE: In Portland it's almost like cars don't exist, right? People ride bikes or double-decker bikes. They ride unicycles. They ride the tram. They ride skateboards!
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
My flannel shirt still looks fly
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
JASON: In Portland you can go to a record store and sell your CD's!
Turn that dirty clown frown right upside down
MELANIE: In Portland you can put a bird on something and just call it art!
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
The Dream of the---
MELANIE: Hey! I made it!
JASON: Yeah, you're a little late
JASON: You're also a little San Francisco right now
JASON: Sorry. (proceeds to remove Melanie's various piercings) Much better. Welcome to Portland
MELANIE: Thank you
The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org
ACTION FOR CHANGE STARTS IN CONGRESS
by Ralph Nader
We know their names! We’ve given immense power to Five Hundred and Thirty-Five People to do good or bad. One Hundred Senators and Four Hundred and Thirty-Five Representatives. Unfortunately, some 1500 corporations control most Members of Congress. Think about all the dreams for a better world that could come to be realized if our elected officials worked for the big majority of Americans instead of for Big Business interests.
Let’s go through a short list of Big Deals:
• Do you want a living wage for all Americans? The superhighway is through Congress.
• Do you want universal, more efficient, free-choice health care with an emphasis on the prevention of disease and injury? The superhighway goes through Congress.
• Do you want a fair tax system that makes the big corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share for a change? Take it through Congress.
• Do you want to stop your tax dollars from being spent on corporate welfare, corporate-powered wasteful budgets in Washington? Congress can do that.
• Do you want to eliminate corporate defrauding of government programs like Medicare and Medicaid? Take it to Capitol Hill.
• Do you want your tax dollars to be used to create good-paying, non-exportable jobs, workers to repair and upgrade the public facilities or infrastructure in every one of your communities?
• Do you want to cut the presently unaudited, bloated military budget, stop the boomeranging Empire overseas, and redirect your tax dollars back home to pay for the necessities of life? That means getting it through Congress.
• Do you want to end all the financial rip-offs such as overcharges and penalties, sky-high credit cards, and payday loan interest rates?
• Do you want to end the near-zero interest rates on your savings, where you are lucky to get ¼ of one percent interest, while the government charges many times that for student loans?
• Do you want to protect your families and your children’s children from climate catastrophes – worsening by the year?
• Do you want to quickly move away from fossil fuels to self-reliant, local, cleaner, renewable solar, wind, and hydro-powered energy, plus huge energy conservation?
• Do you want to stop big companies from directly exploiting and tempting your children with junk food and sugary junk drinks that lead to spiraling obesity and related diseases?
• Do you want Congress to stop the digital age child molesters that undermine parental authority and promote violent and addictive entertainment programs?
• Do you want Members of Congress to give you what they have given themselves in the way of retirement security that is part of workers’ compensation?
• Do you want a pathway to universal basic income long backed by leading conservative and liberal economists?
• Do you want a modern, convenient mass-transit system (that will diminish traffic congestion) like what Japan and western Europe have had for years?
• Do you want across-the-board paid vacations, paid family sick leave, daycare, free or low-cost college tuition? (Many years ago, people like you got these social services through their Parliaments).
• Do you want to take back your control from corporations of what you already own – the public lands, public airwaves, massive public research, and development? (Remember you already own these great public assets and pay for them in direct and indirect ways).
• Do you want clean and fair elections and electoral districts, that stop the buying and renting of politicians? (This is the first step in breaking the Big Money chains on Congress by the corporations).
There are so many more congressional actions that could brighten the horizon. Congress could lead the way on affordable, available housing, repealing anti-union laws, pushing the White House to wage peace (diplomacy) rather than repeatedly threaten or use military force, ratifying arms control, advancing consumer, labor, and environmental protection treaties, pushing the Executive Branch to enforce the civil rights laws and to develop stronger corporate crime laws. The list of what should be done is long and overdue.
The road to a more just society runs through Congress with the Members of Congress working for you, the people.
You may say, what about obstructions of Congress by the Executive Branch and the Judiciary? Congress controls the purse, confirms the judges, has the tax-paying and the war-making authorities – as designed by our founding fathers, who never envisioned Congress abdicating those powers.
In my little paperback book, Breaking Through Power: Its Easier Than We Think, I wrote about the past battles for justice writ large that have been waged in Congress. None of these efforts took more than one percent of the people, actively engaged, connected, and knowledgeable, reflecting majority opinion. How did they win? They had a laser focus on Congress and state legislatures – lawmaker by lawmaker.
Why don’t tens of millions of Americans, who are hurting, deprived, under-insured, underpaid, disrespected, stressed out and obstructed from a better life, form Congress Watchdog Lobbies? Imagine summoning your Senators and Representatives to your organized town-meetings to receive your majority-supported instructions on how to use the power you’ve given them.
Americans care for 70 million pet dogs every day. Spend a fraction of that time taking care of your two Senators and Representative. Maybe people can start using their cell phones to call their Members of Congress while safely walking their dogs. For ideas on how to form your own congressional watchdog group see: Become a Congressional Ratwatcher.