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HIGH PRESSURE will maintain partly sunny and mild conditions before a weakening front approaches overnight into Sunday, with some light rain mainly restricted to Humboldt and Del Norte. High surf and high astronomical tides will be of greater concern on Sunday. (NWS)
45 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Friday, bringing total to 2846. South County (Anderson Valley plus) has reached 100 cases.
A WARNING From The National Weather Service For Mendocino County Coastal Areas:
Large waves will build Friday producing elevated and dangerous surf and there is the potential for even larger surf on Sunday. This large surf Sunday will combine with some of the higher tides of the year, which could result in coastal flooding.
MESSAGE from the Sheriff's Office: Please avoid close contact with the ocean landscape and exercise caution during this large wave event as described.
FROM DA EYSTER:
NEW LAWS FOR 2021 emanating mostly from the California Legislature (AB/SB), but also, in one circumstance, from the voters (Proposition):
* Misdemeanor diversion: AB 3234 authorizes judges to offer misdemeanor diversion to most offenders. If terms are complied with, the criminal action will be dismissed and the record erased. Some domestic violence charges, stalking and registrable sex offenses are not eligible.
* Reduced sex offender registration: SB 384 could reduce those required to register for life by up to 90%. The new three-tier system defines registration requirement terms of 10 years, 20 years or lifetime, depending upon the severity of the offense.
* Banning chokeholds: AB 1196 bans choke holds and carotid holds by law enforcement.
* Restoring felon voting rights: Proposition 17 gives approximately 50,000 felons on probation the right to vote.
* False reports and harassment: AB 1775 makes false 911 calls based on someone's race, gender, religion or other type of discrimination a hate crime.
* Capped probation terms: AB 1950 enacts a maximum one year probation term for misdemeanor offenses and two years for felony offenses, with some exceptions.
* Problem juveniles in school: AB 901 changes punishment of insubordinate, disorderly students from probation programs to community-based programs. Additional changes also strive to remove problematic students from court supervision.
* Phasing out juvenile prisons: Juvenile justice realignment bill SB 823 will replace the remaining juvenile prisons with the Office of Youth and Community Restoration. (Effective July 1)
* Hiding juvenile records: AB 2425 protects the records of juvenile offenders from public inspection.
* Sheriff oversight board established: AB 1185 empowers the establishment of a sheriff oversight board and inspector general in each county with subpoena power to help oversee the sheriff.
* California Racial Justice Act: AB 2524 allows persons charged or convicted of a crime to challenge racial bias that may have occurred in their case in order to pursue a new trial or re-sentencing.
COUNTY VACCINATION CLINICS ADMINISTERING MORE SHOTS IN LESS TIME
On Thursday, January 7th, the County of Mendocino administered 284 vaccines to a variety of frontline workers.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were provided to Public Safety workers including firefighters, police officers, contact tracers and the employees of the county’s Department Operations Center who are at a higher risk of exposure to people infected with Covid-19.
Additionally, Public Health nurses vaccinated employees from the county’s Public Defender’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and Alternate Defenders Office, as well as other essential health care workers who have not yet received the vaccine.
According to Adrienne Thompson, co-director of the county’s Vaccine Clinics, the process for administering the vaccine has been modified and enables more people to get vaccinated in a shorter amount of time.
“We are incorporating suggestions from our Public Health nurses who have extensive experience operating vaccine clinics. We are placing people in rows of six, opening up one vial of vaccine at a time and vaccinating each row,” she explained. Timers are used to let staff know when the post-vaccine recovery period is complete. “Initially, we were vaccinating 15 people at a time, as a single unit. Now we are vaccinating people continuously, which has dramatically sped up the process.”
“We are continuing to ramp up our program so that we will be fully prepared when it becomes time to vaccinate the general public,” says Vaccine Clinic Co-Director Nash Gonzalez. At the county’s first clinic held on December 22nd, 72 individuals were vaccinated in approximately 5 hours. Thursday’s clinic resulted in a four-fold increase in the number of people vaccinated in the same time period. The ramping up has allowed staff to provide training to nurses and volunteers, ensure that all safety procedures are being followed and keep pace with intake and paperwork. Gonzalez notes in order to prepare for mass public vaccinations later this year, the next step will be operating two clinics simultaneously. Both clinics will be located in the Ukiah area, and plans for the rollout of the second clinic are still being finalized.
“Our current allotment of vaccine is gone - and that’s the idea,” Gonzalez notes. According to Bekkie Emery, Department Operations Center Manager, the 284 vaccines administered on Thursday consisted of 100 Moderna and 184 Pfizer vaccines. The 100 Moderna vaccines were received into Public Health on Wednesday, January 6th, which represents a dramatic increase in turnaround time from receipt to administration of the vaccine.
The next shipment of Pfizer vaccine is scheduled to arrive on January 8th, and another shipment of Moderna vaccine is scheduled to arrive next week.
For more information about Mendocino County’s COVID-19 response, available resources and other details, please visit the county's COVID-19 page, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. The county’s Call Center is staffed from 8:30-5:00 PM Monday through Friday at (707) 472-2759.
PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER NOTES STATE HAS INSTITUTED TRAVEL ADVISORY
On January 8th, Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren provided a coronavirus update.
In Mendocino County, daily cases are averaging at 32.29 individuals per 100,000 residents. The total number of cases is 2,751, with over 50 new cases on Monday, January 4th. Of the total cases, 1,463 members of the Latino community are infected with the virus. Thirty-one people have died, 300 are in isolation and 312 individuals are quarantined.
Locally, 15 individuals are hospitalized, with 14 in Medical/Surgical units and one person in intensive care. Three people are hospitalized outside of Mendocino County.
“The ongoing surge pushed Southern California hospitals to the brink, with patients waiting in ambulances for hours for evaluation,” says Dr. Coren. “With no available ICU beds, patients are placed on regular units, and staff-to-patient ratios are impacted.”
A burgeoning shortage of oxygen is another grave indicator of the California’s precarious situation.
“The Army Corps of Engineers are working on this. The National Guard is helping with staffing. It’s not just Covid patients receiving lower levels of care. People with heart problems, strokes, injuries or appendicitis cannot receive care. Elective surgeries are cancelled in crisis conditions,” he continues.
Southern California has no available ICU beds. Sonoma County currently has 3.5% of ICU bed availability. Even though Mendocino County has 31% of available beds today, that number represents a mere 5 available beds countywide.
In addition to the State’s Regional Stay-at-Home order, on January 6th, the California Department of Public Health released a new statewide Travel Advisory.
“Californians should avoid non-essential travel of more than 120 miles from home, and avoid travel to or from other states or countries. The state is discouraging non-essential travelers from entering California. Travelers entering California should quarantine for ten days, except those needed for urgent critical healthcare staffing or emergency response needs,” Dr. Coren explains.
The virus has mutated. The new variant is more contagious and may have given rise to Southern California’s surge. “Thus far, it’s not resistant to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.”
The county is addressing an employee outbreak at the Willits Safeway, and another small outbreak at Mayacama Industries. The largest outbreak in the county is at the jail, consisting of 80 inmates and 7 staff.
“This is a rolling infection in a congregate setting, despite aggressive testing and separation of positive patients and close contacts. The Sheriff is making efforts to decrease the inmate population to enable separation to different blocks.”
Dr. Coren stresses the majority of infections arise from close-contact interactions at family get-togethers, multi-household interactions, mingling inside breakrooms and close-up eating and drinking.
“With the holidays complete, we expect numbers to rise in the upcoming weeks.”
The county has requested additional state workers to assist with contact tracing. COVID-19 testing continues seven days per week from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah. Testing is available in Fort Bragg at the Veterans Hall every Tuesday from 9:00-5:00 pm. “Color Tests” are being implemented in several county clinics, and Dr. Coren encourages schools to apply for and administer color tests to staff.
Mendocino County was one of the first in the state to develop and implement a mass vaccination program.
“These were planned to scale up safely, efficiently and with attention to equity considerations required by the California Department of Public Health. We’re now holding mass vaccination clinics 2-3 days weekly,” says Dr. Coren, noting that 284 individuals were vaccinated on January 7th.
“We’re dramatically increasing the number of people we’re vaccinating, but our ability to increase depends on the timing and numbers of vaccines we receive,” he notes. “We are partnering with our community clinics and plan to assist with distribution to their communities.”
Dr. Coren addressed the freezer malfunction at Adventist Health Ukiah.
“We partnered with Adventist Health for vaccine storage while waiting for the county’s freezer to arrive and achieve a stable temperature. On Monday, January 4th, we received notice that the hospital had a freezer problem. With support from Public Health and the City of Ukiah, 830 Moderna vaccines were administered in 2 hours.”
The vaccines were distributed by the hospital.
“Vaccine was provided to the Sheriff’s Department. The Jail’s medical team vaccinated Jail staff, Probation Officers, Public Health and Juvenile Hall staff. Vaccine was taken to the Ukiah Conference Center where it was administered by paramedics. City of Ukiah emergency personnel and other EMS workers assisted with the provision of the vaccine. Three local nursing homes also received doses,” says Dr. Coren.
“This occurred during a Mass Vaccination clinic at the Fairgrounds, yet by working together, we provided large numbers of vaccines in a very short time at a number of locations.”
The county continues its commitment to rigorously follow State guidance on ethical, equitable vaccine distribution. This guidance determines the phases and tiers that outline when people may receive a vaccine. “Some situations may create legitimate reasons to temporarily depart from the tier structure. For that reason, the state recommends the formation of a diverse ad-hoc committee to provide guidance on addressing tier issues,” Dr. Coren explains.
The names of the committee members are confidential to ensure those individuals are not pressured by or subject to undue influence. “They will help us ethically and responsibly address the next vaccine phases and tiers.” The county is also developing a vaccine tracking infographic which will be available on the COVID-19 page of the website, so that numbers of vaccines received and distributed can be viewed by the public.
To assist with reopening schools, the State is offering technical assistance and funding for testing and other needs.
“We understand teachers, bus drivers, maintenance personnel, cafeteria and clerical staff are all necessary and all at risk. We are pushing vaccines out as quickly as possible so we can begin vaccinating school personnel in the very near future.”
Dr. Coren urges the community to consider volunteering to help with COVID-19 mitigation. Many volunteer opportunities are available. Registration may be completed through the North Coast Opportunities website.
“Increase your diligence using masks, continue to social distance, maintain hygiene, avoid all gatherings with anyone outside your household, and now, per state guidance, limit all travel to local, necessary trips,” he concludes.
For more information about Mendocino County’s COVID-19 response, available resources and other information, please visit the county's COVID-19 page, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The county’s Call Center is staffed from 8:30-5:00 PM Monday through Friday at (707) 472-2759.
MENDO MANGLES MORE THAN METAPHORS
by Mark Scaramella
The next Supervisors meeting is not until January 25, three weeks after their first meeting of the year, a clear indication that the county apparatus doesn't feel the same urgency and general anxiety felt by their constituents. They seem to agree with their two Health Officers that because of the few vaccines haphazardly injected into the arms of whoever was nearby after the freezer failure, that they could “see the window at the end of the tunnel,” as Health Officer Andy Coren coined his own version of a cliched metaphor.
Dr. Coren's garbled attempt at optimism represents an abrupt about-face from his doomsday warning at the prior meeting that the expanding virus and post-holiday surges will lead to a “mass casualty” in the coming weeks as health care is overwhelmed by rising cases and patients coming up from counties to our south. Maybe that’s why the Supes don’t think there’s much for them to do these days — they might be dead before their next meeting.
But there's plenty to do, at least one would think. Several ad-hoc committees which were supposed to deal with unresolved issues were put off at the last Board meeting of 2020 and nobody seems interested in revisiting any of them, even though the three carry-over Supervisors acknowledged that they should be re-formed after the new Supervisors were sworn in.
CEO Angelo has proven that she’s a master at using emergencies as a way to avoid doing what the Board has asked her to do. Fortunately for the CEO, she controls the Board’s agenda, the list of Board directives, the kinds of questions the Board is allowed to ask, whether she will answer them, when they can be put off to, if ever, etc. Or, as she did with Supervisor McCowen, simply cease communicating with him.
MATTERS ON HOLD:
The Board was promised a business plan for Measure B.
The CEO promised a December public meeting to discuss the public’s concerns about the Best Western Motel conversion into a homeless shelter.
The Board was promised a response to the Fort Bragg City Council’s request last spring for meaningful mental health services reporting.
The Board was told that a list was being developed on how to spend the $21 million PG&E settlement money.
Supervisor Williams said that he would revisit the Measure V (declaring standing poisoned dead trees to be a nuisance) enforcement order they gave to code enforcment now that there are two new Supervisors on board.
CEO Angelo promised budget updates every two months (she had been asked for monthly, but…), instead we’re still getting incomplete quarterly reports which don’t provide an overall budget picture, nor an indication of how much of the covid response will really be reimburseable by state and federal authorities with all their strings attached.
There was an ad-hoc committee to determine if the cannabis tax revenues have been distributed according to the “advisory measure” (Measure AJ) which was passed by voters back in 2016 when the County said their (now failed) pot permit program should be preferred to the pot industry’s measure (which lost).
In December the Board disbanded the ad hoc committee that was supposed to address how items are put on their own agenda. That ad hoc committee was abandoned in favor of discussing it along with the annual January discussion of the Board’s “Rules of Procedure.” But the placement of agenda items never came up and CEO Angelo remains firmly in control of the Board’s agenda for at least another year.
There are numermous other unaddressed matters as well, but those are a few of the main ones.
On Tuesday, Supervisor Mulheren was promised that the County’s covid dashboard stats would include vaccination status and that a registration system for the public to sign up for vaccination would be up and running in a couple of weeks or so. They even approved the second health officer who’s putting in, the CEO says, 30 hours a week, supposedly to handle all the extra “work” of covid response plus vaccination rollout.
On top of that we have the Sheriff’s latest request for up to ten more deputies to deal with a marijuana-related crime wave in the North County. The Board casually fobbed that one off on Supervisors Haschak and Williams to work on an upgraded presentation — someday way off in the future maybe — of crime stats which might help justify the Sheriff’s straightforward request. But given their track record of ad hoccing ad nauseum, that one won’t go anywhere either — the state's not going to magically hand over more law enforcement money based on a few more dubious charts and graphs.
Obviously, there’s a serious crime problem in the north County and there’s no need for fancier charts and graphs before going to the state to ask for more money when Mendo has over $21 million of unallocated PG&E settlement money. Why not just tell the Sheriff that he can have any of that money he wants as soon as he hires and puts into place the first three deputies he says he needs? At last Tuesday’s discussion the Sheriff said he had trouble recruiting patrol deputies because, for example, the Ukiah Police Department pays more than he does and nobody wants to work in Covelo. The Supes could say to the Sheriff, Bring us the names of three new deputies and where he plans to house them and we’ll cover it. And then track the crime stats as they develop.
But none of this is going to happen because in Mendo nobody tracks what (little) the Board wants done, much less what the public wants done, and nobody is held accountable for anything, nobody imposes deadlines on anything, and the Supervisors are obviously content to let it stay that way.
PS. As far as we can tell, nobody’s going to follow up on the funded and approved mobile crisis van either. When we asked Measure B Project Manager Alyson Bailey last month whether there’d even be an agenda item to discuss it at their January Measure B oversight committee meeting — according to their own six month review schedule — instead of saying there would be an item as the Committee asked for, she wouldn’t even promise to have the item on the agenda, instead shuffling even the agenda question off to mental health and the Sheriff.
PPS. Dr. Coren said Friday afternoon during the on-line covid update that CVS and Walgreen’s pharmacy stores are not doing the nursing homes as previously assumed. Instead those two pharmacy chains have federal contracts and are responsible for vaccinating nursing home residents on their own and he has no idea when or how or who will deliver them or get them. County public health, however, is responsible for vaccinating staff in nursing homes and apparently some of that has been done, but no numbers are forthcoming. HHSA manager Becky Emery said the County has recived 975 Pfizer on the 17th of December (?) and 400 Moderna vaccines “shortly thereafter.” All of them have been injected, mostly to first responders. 100 more Moderna were used in clinics this week. 975 more Pfizer came in this week and are being distributed. 1000 more Moderna first doses and 400 second doses. They don’t know what the state’s projections or deliveries will be but, Emery said, "it is ramping up and will continue to increase.” When asked about school reopenings in 2021, Dr. Coren said he “hoped” they could open in person this year. But it depends on the pace of testing and vaccinations. Supposedly schools are a priority — but there are lots of priorities and not much capacity so far.
UPDATE. THE BLACK BART TRAIL BANDIDO
The date to set the date for Doug Stone's preliminary hearing was Thursday, January 7, 2021, at the Ukiah courthouse.
Courtroom A was crowded as non-custody cases had been combined with custody cases. Judge Faulder was pressed trying to manage the doubled schedule and clear the room as quickly as possible for health's sake. John Runfola, defense attorney, was allowed to attend by telephone from San Francisco. He reported that Mr. Stone is still in treatment and that he, John Runfola, was still working on discovery items. He and the prosecution agreed on March 23, 2021 at 1:30 for Mr. Stone's preliminary appearance hearing.
Previously: The Unlikely Burglar of Black Bart Trail
SENIOR CENTER CRAB FEED
Only two weeks away! Limited presale only. Beer and Wine by the bottle/can for sale.
GOT COVID? CHECK YOUR CHAKRAS
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
A hard shot of COVID19 would be a shock to our system but not in the way medical experts think.
Mendocino County is different, weirder and harder to figure. Assuming locals will respond to a deadly pandemic the same way they respond in Bakersfield, Bloomington or Baltimore is probably wrong.
Mendocino County has so many nutbags, untamed hippies and self-appointed healers there’s no need to worry about overwhelmed emergency rooms. Few of the stricken who reside in Albion, Greenfield, or the backwoods of McNab Ranch will be seeking treatment at a hospital.
It’s not that they march to the beat of a different drummer. Instead, they believe the drummer himself is an agent of global elites scheming to inoculate them and their children and force everybody to eat contrails.
Mendocino County is where marginal thinkers are the norm and fringe beliefs are woven into the fabric of our laws and culture. A tapestry of Mendocino County would display a mottled jumble of slogans (“No Nukes!” “Peace Now!”) plus day-glo images embroidered in patterns promising a utopian future, with extra rainbows.
This is home to paranoiacs wearing homemade tinfoil helmets to ward off zaps of health-depleting poisonous radiation from cell phone towers. It’s where GMOs are banned by county-wide vote, and where fracking for oil is illegal because drilling might contaminate the soil, cause earthquakes and bring icky Texans to town.
Given all this, is it probable that sickly people from the hollers of Laytonville will line up for beds at Ukiah’s Adventist Hospital? Does anyone think New Agers will spend three weeks in brightly lit rooms breathing into ventilators and eating meals of instant potatoes, canned peas and fried animal flesh on a plastic tray? With plastic spoons and forks?
Not likely. Not if I know the frantic folks who crowd the aisles of the Ukiah Co-op in search of magic potions and exotic foods to bring them more vigor, less fatigue and random acts of kindness. It’s gluten-free this, lactose-free that, and anything with biotenes even if none know a biotene from a guillotine.
They watch their carbs as closely as they watch MSNBC, and believe consuming a bale of kale is a powerful inoculation against the stresses and burdens of 21st century life.
They once read in Mother Earth News that smoking a cigarette is more dangerous than playing Russian Roulette with a loaded .45 and that vaping is a dangerous novelty to be banned first and analyzed later. Trust me, these people won’t be driving 50 miles to the fairgrounds to be tested for diseases. Or 50 feet.
Mendocino County is where alternative lifestyles are hatched and practiced. Confronted with a medical malady, whether real or imagined (a positive COVID test or a gloomy aura/chakra reading) will have them hurrying off to holistic sorcerers offering cures guaranteed to put even the healthiest of them into early graves.
In short, we needn’t fret a plague will bring staggering swarms to our emergency rooms. Many a Mendodo believes nonsense based on superstitions mingled with bits of astrology, karma, reincarnation and teachings of the ancient Aztecs. They exist in numbers sufficient to siphon huge percentages away from hospitals and into the arms of dietary gurus and incense-sniffing wankers wearing Birkenstocks.
Those with defective reasoning powers who feel the chilly winds of illness ruffling their nightmares will do what they’ve always done: consult a dreamy healer offering vague reassurances and the same herbal remedies she recommends for toothaches and cervical cancer.
Do not dismiss these frauds and quacks. They provide valuable services to the rest of us, beginning with lots more ER beds available for patients unburdened by faith in cures through guided meditation or St. John’s Wort.
And frankly, who cares if those with inflamed sacroiliacs, rebellious bowels or COVID19 seek out moonbeams and yoga studios for relief? Let’s encourage the credulous to visualize wellness, adopt a cleansing diet rich in biotenes and continue blazing new trails in holistic remedies. Remember, it frees up a bed for someone’s grandmother.
Tarot card readers, clairvoyants and cannabis practitioners should be enlisted to care for any and all seeking help. Specialists in these and other dubious doctrines will cull the dim-witted at a faster clip than even the Grim Reaper might have imagined. Where’s the harm?
Our health-obsessed neighbors won’t be tricked into inoculations at a clinic. I’ve heard many declare that “doctors only treat symptoms, not the whole body” which means next time you sprain an ankle you should also submit to spinal probings, analysis of your pancreatic functions, a colonoscopy and a psychiatrist.
Excellent thinking. We should all applaud. During a pandemic, where medical resources are stretched, clinics are crowded and inoculations rationed, we ought to salute those who decline entering a hospital, but bravely take an alternate route and get run over by a bus.
(Tom Hine offers healing words and soothing balms through TWK, his nom de plume, a French phrase suggesting a prune-based dessert with a feather stuck in it.)
A group photo dated October 2020 with Ms. Alicia Bales smack center neither social distancing, nor wearing a mask. Ms. Bales, Program Manager for KZYX, spent many an hour on air with the County health professionals providing health updates and information.
CDC found 59% of all coronavirus spread came from asymptomatic patients with 35% from presymptomtic people and 24% from those who never have signs of illness. Assuming patients were most contagious on day four, researchers found 67% of all spread was asymptomatic.
OUR BOARD OF SUPERVISORS has two new members, Mo Mulheren from the 2nd District (Ukiah) and Glenn McGourty of the 1st District (Greater Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley.) The two newbies got off to a properly skeptical start by challenging the sweetheart contract extension of Dr. Doohan. Doohan will function as some kind of long distance assistant to the present public health officer, Dr. Coren. Both of them are wildly overpaid for simply passing along state covid updates and, presumably, preparing plans for Mendo vaccinations on the glorious day the magic potions appear on the Ukiah side of the Green Curtain. (CEO Angelo remarked re the Doohan contract discussion that she would like to see three health officers for the county, and maybe Angelo would like to fund another one out of her overstuffed salary.) Mo stuck to her guns, voting against the Doohan extension while McGourty, perhaps out of a mistaken sense of collegiality seeing how it was a done deal, joined his three colleagues in approving the contract for Doohan, who continues to “work” out of her San Diego home.
WE COULD have the first truly functioning board of supervisors in years. Check that: first ever, assuming the catatonic Gjerde awakens from an eight-year snooze to join McGourty, Mulheren, and Williams for a majority of Supervisors who remember that their first duty is to make local government work for the people it allegedly serves. Haschak might even be emboldened to occasionally do the right thing. (Gjerde seems also to have disappeared from social media, and he long ago stopped returning our calls, which we find annoying as hell since we've supported him for years, long before he became Supervisor, all the way back to when he was menaced, and even attacked, by Dominic Affinito.)
TRUMP'S in office because the Democrats stopped representing working people years ago, a fact you can verify for yourself right here in Mendo by asking to see, or talk to on the phone, or get a non-canned response from your Democratic congressman. Or state reps Wood and McGuire. Name one thing, just one, that Democrats have done for the Northcoast over the last 75 years.
THE NATIONAL PARTY? Its “leadership” even blocked Bernie's attempt to get Medicare for All into the Democratic Party platform. All the grand talk on lib media about the insult to the people's democracy from Wednesday's yobbo occupation of the Capitol? Apart from maybe twenty representatives, the “people” haven't been represented since Roosevelt, a little by Truman, a tiny bit by Kennedy before he was murdered for trying. So here we are with the obviously unfit Biden, a much bigger crook than Trump, with a neo-lib crew of corporate and big bank errand runners advising him. These people who are going to pick up the pieces from the rolling catastrophes wrought by covid?
MY FRIEND GEORGE DORNER is a good example of an unrepresented, unserved American: “Now that I’m pushing 80, I thought I might exercise some foresight and be ready to get help from IHSS if it becomes necessary. I’m a 100% disabled veteran, so I thought I should easily qualify. I blundered through the paperwork a couple of times before I was told I did qualify, but with a copay. So how much is the co-pay? I asked. $3,000 per month, was the answer. In other words, if I hand over my entire monthly VA income, I can hire an IHSS worker. What a deal!”
IF TRUMP had waddled out Wednesday to address his mistaken mob in a black jumpsuit, and after his usual free-association whining about how he was jobbed out of the election, had yelled, “This is it! Follow me! We're taking over!” it would have accelerated what is shaping up as a hundred-year civil war, but windy wuss that he is…
INTERESTING comment from some Trumpers re Wednesday's lazy coup attempt. ”Let's move on to someone that will actually fight and isn't afraid of scrutiny,” one user commented. “He led us to slaughter,” said another.
MORE OMINOUSLY: “Sleep well tonight patriots. … You are going to love how this movie ends,” wrote “StormIsUponUs,” a QAnon-espousing account with more than 450,000 followers on Parler. “‘Nothing can stop what's coming’ wasn't just a catch-phrase.”
CLOSER TO HOME, I hope the DA is keeping a wary eye on that Trumper across the street, Al Kubanis. If Al goes off in the County Courthouse, the donuts could be in mortal danger.
NOT THAT TRUMPERS seem capable of adjusting their views to fit reality, but their notion that Biden is a “leftist” is just one more of their fantasies. Biden, like Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein and the rest of the dreary Demo establishment, is barely a liberal on his best days. His tax policies are only slightly to the left of Reagan, and nobody making under $400,000 a year would see an income tax increase if the rich were taxed at the wimpy rate of forty percent as Biden says he's for.
TALKING with an old lefty comrade today, he wondered, "What if the Trumpers now go all Baader-Meinhof-Weather Underground on us?" Hmmm. They don't seem to be contemplating full-on insurrection at this time, but if they do they can do a lot of damage because, unlike, say, the Weather Underground, there are millions of them with potentially huge support networks.
JUST IN: Trump, just before he was banned by Twitter, messaged his supporters Friday night, “We will not be SILENCED! Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH. They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely.” The tweets were deleted just minutes later but Trump then issued the same message to the White House press pool. Twitter claimed that Trump's account was removed due to his final two tweets on Friday morning, which it claimed were in breach of its Glorification of Violence policy. The tweets praised those who stormed the Capitol as “American patriots” and announced that Trump would not attend Biden's inauguration. It comes after Facebook banned the president's account “at least” until his term is over on January 20 and after hundreds of Twitter employees wrote a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey calling on him to act.
BOB ABELES: I don’t think that we’ve gotten the whole story about what happened Wednesday at the Capitol. So many circumstances point to a larger and more sinister story. At this point all we do know is that a sea change is coming to the state of national power politics. It is unprecedented that the House speaker has called on the President to resign immediately or face impeachment. I don’t think this is an idle threat and I don’t think it’s the result of rattle. Issuing an ultimatum of this magnitude requires an equal magnitude of proof of wrongdoing, enough that will bring over a full 2/3 of the Senate. A Republican state legislator from West Virginia was among those who breached police lines and broke into the Capitol, live streaming as he went. More disturbingly, one intruder carried a ready supply of zip-tie handcuffs. Some of the intruders seemed to know where the electoral vote box is normally stored and made a beeline for it. Others moved to locate the Vice President and the Senate majority leader. Some of the intruders were armed. You can read it all as well as I can. I’m not certain what is about to happen, but I think we’re in for some rough days ahead.
UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT Construction Update - January 8
Happy new year! 2021 is the year that downtown Ukiah will be completely transformed--what a great way to bounce back from 2020. We’re entering the final phase of the utility portion of the streetscape project. While most of the project area already had undergrounded electric, the area between Seminary Avenue and Mill Street did not. In just a few weeks, that will change!
At this time, we don’t know exactly when or where Ghilotti will re-start on the sidewalk work. That will depend on the weather and the progress of the utility work. We do know, however, that they will not start on Perkins and Standley Streets. We are projecting that those streets will likely be done in March/April, but more details will follow as soon as they’re available.
South Side: Church to Mill Street
Beginning Monday, January 11th, Wahlund Construction will begin the undergrounding of the electric utility between Seminary Avenue and Mill Street. The bulk of this work will be performed on the west side of the street in the sidewalks, with the exception of the section between Seminary and Clay, which will have work on both sides.
Monday: Set up and traffic control (adjusting cones and traffic lanes).
Tuesday-Friday: Sidewalk demolition on the west side will begin on State Street near Seminary Avenue and will work toward the south. During construction, every effort will be made to maintain pedestrian access on at least one side of the street and to expedite the work. When work shifts to the east side in this section, businesses should be prepared to utilize their rear entries if possible.
No disruption to electric service or north-south traffic on State Street is anticipated this week.
Construction hours are from 6am – 5pm; no night work is planned.
As always, feel free to contact me directly if you have questions or concerns. Otherwise, have a great weekend!
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah, w: (707) 467-5793
OVERDOSES HIT LAKE COUNTY ‘LIKE WILDFIRE’ THURSDAY NIGHT; ONE CONFIRMED FATALITY
On Thursday evening, Lake County scanner traffic and social media indicated a rash of overdoses clustered in Lake County. One resident said the overdoses “hit like wildfire” after pills being marketed as Ecstacy/MDMA resulted in at least one confirmed death, two confirmed hospitalizations, and one individual requiring two doses of Narcan to be revived.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 8, 2021
MATTHEW FAUST, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
DELAINA MORGAN, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
JACOB SHIPMAN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE IS AN ANTI-COLONIALIST STRUGGLE
With this month’s burning of the Amazon as a result of the actions of the fascist Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, the first world has gotten a glimpse of the horrors that the world’s poor and indigenous people have long been experiencing at the hands of capitalism and colonialism. Because the Amazon’s existence is crucial for preventing climate apocalypse, the world outside of the region’s indigenous community now feels threatened by the consequences of profit-motivated white supremacy.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #1
There is a reason the media and politicians (besides Sanders) don’t talk about class.
“It’s a big club, and you’re not in it”
Most of the MAGAs storming the capitol have more in common with your local poor black neighborhood than with 45. Media and the political parties don’t want to admit it because the entire culture of this country has a caste system baked in, and it is designed to prevent the masses from ever overthrowing the elites. Distract the workers with racism, spectacle, fake politics, and now social media too.
How many of the folks on here are willing to admit that BLM and MAGA are two flavors of the same thing?
There is an increase of populism and anti-elitism in the USA, and although each person is feeling it for a different reason, if we don’t start talking to each other like humans again it’s not going to be pretty
I have been noticing “Save Our Democracy” stickers around town lately, and they raise a few questions to ponder.
Are we saving democracy from the creeping scourge of socialism or the threat of autocracy? Are we saving democracy from the deep state or populist minority rule? Are we saving democracy from elitist control or blue-collar logic? Are we saving democracy from election fraud or voter suppression?
Do all Americans even want to save democracy? Does your opinion on this subject depend on your region, religion, education and family background?
Can we agree to disagree peacefully, respectfully, without hatred and within the bounds of our Constitution? Just asking.
David M. Heaney
STILL THE GREATEST and most enduring cover of any book on American politics…
(Jeffrey St. Clair)
NANCY MACLEOD WRITES:
Yesterday we were taking some recyclable paper and glass to the dump, and we saw a really sad sight: Someone had dumped off a load of chairs, desks and tables, all in tiny size, like for kindergarteners, in perfect condition except for the fact that they had been dumped helter-skelter on the cement floor, so some of the corners on desks were messed up. They threw them in the "metal recycling" area, in a huge pile that made it really hard for someone to safely take any. There must have been 20 or 30 little chairs, metal with plastic backs and seats, the "heavy-duty" kind that you see in schools. We don't have a phone that takes photos, or we certainly would have. But it was very upsetting to see. We were in a small car, with no ability to take any, or we would have rescued at least a few. I'm sure we could have found people who would want them. There was also a perfect little tricycle and teeny bike. Can't the dump make a place right there - there is plenty of room - to let people set things they do not want but that are otherwise service able, so they can be re-used? for free? I know they had an area like that there for awhile, but it was only "open" once a week or less, and the things cost money. It should be informal, no fence around it, and free, and people should be encouraged to set their unwanted yet still serviceable stuff there.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
I think I speak for many who are on the right, alt-right, white or male when I say this doesn’t feel like our country and we are now hated citizens in our own land. I was born into a heavy democrat family, union and all that, and I believed many of the core OLD democrat values: anti-war, pro-environment, pro-worker – of course we have not seen those values espoused for 20 years. Obama paid some small lip service before proceeding to disregard everything and switch hard into identity politics.
Despite the constant rhetoric of ‘racism’/sexism whatever, being white and male you are discriminated against covertly or overtly in this country, and it will only get worse. Many, many civil service exams give points to female, minority, and military, so Sandra Martinez the 1 year army private who left after pregnancy is getting +15 pts on a 100 point test. So when someone tries to tell me how racist or sexist I am by virtue of simply being a white male, it simply doesn’t stack up to the facts.
The scariest thing is the rise of big tech. Watching the alt-right back in the heyday of the movement (early 2010s) was a fascinating and exciting time. But slowly and inevitably youtube, google and others would delist, block and destroy major alt-right players – replacing them with ‘approved’ alternatives who almost always had connections back to big tech or finance. All the real people got wiped out. This culminated in the 2016 Charlottesville witch hunt that generally destroyed the movement (which was prevailing against big tech despite the uphill battle).
Trump won, and acted as a type of relief valve to the anger of the right. As to whether he was successful, that leaves a lot open for debate. But what is not debatable is the fact this election was out-right stolen and bigtech/dems refuse to do any sort of audit to cast legitimacy over it. Joe biden is not a leader, nor is the identity politics ‘multi-race’ harris, they are clear stooges of the deep state.
To be clear, the alt-right (and all those with similar views) have been hunted online for many years, Trump represented a type of control or stress relief. With the blatant steal, and total disregard for the right we now feel like there is nothing left to strive or live for in this country. It has abandoned us and views us as enemies. This will not turn out pretty. Expect a quick slide into 3rd world economies, banana boat republics and the worst parts of cyberpunk dystopias of passports/vaccines and spying.
Also expect a lot of violence, real or otherwise, all of it blamed on the right of course.
PERHAPS many view it as more upsetting to see august members of Congress hiding in fear of a riot than to watch ordinary small-business owners weep as their multi-generational store burns to the ground. Undoubtedly, national reporters who spend much time in the Capitol and who have long-time friendships with Senators and House members are more horrified, far more so, by violent gangs in the Capitol rotunda than on the streets of Portland or Kenosha.
— Glenn Greenwald
WEDNESDAY'S OTHER STORY
On the case of Julian Assange, and fearing empire more than Trump
by Matt Taibbi
Just before the madness at the Capitol broke out Wednesday, news came from London. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who seemed Monday to be the luckiest man alive when a judge denied an American request to extradite him, was now denied bail on the grounds that he might “fail to surrender to court to face” the inevitable U.S. appeal. He goes back to legal purgatory, possibly a worse outcome than extradition, which might be the idea.
We sell politics in American media as a soap opera, and the personalities make for lively copy, but properly following the bouncing ball means watching institutions, not characters. Where are armies, banks, central banks, intelligence services, the press? Whose money is talking on the floor of the House and the Senate? How concentrated is financial and political power? How do public and private institutions coordinate? When they coordinate, what are their collective aims? How transparent are they or aren’t they? How accountable?
Assange became a celebrity at a time when popular interest in these questions was at its zenith in the United States. Eight years of the Bush administration inspired profound concern about the runaway power of the state, especially a new secret state-within-a-state the Bush administration insisted 9/11 gave them the moral mandate to build.
Our invasion of Iraq had been a spectacular failure — unlike pictures of returning coffins, that couldn’t be completely covered up — and Americans learned about grotesque forms of war profiteering. These included the use of mercenaries to whom the taxpayer unknowingly paid lavish sums, to commit horrific war crimes like the Nissour Square Massacre, also known as “Baghdad’s Bloody Sunday.”
One of Donald Trump’s most indefensible (and bizarrely, least commented-upon) acts was the pardon of the four Blackwater guards who shot and killed those seventeen Iraqi civilians, including women and children. The New York Times story covering the Blackwater pardon spent just four paragraphs on the case, sticking it below apparently more outrageous acts like the pardon of George Papadopoulos.
“Baghdad’s Bloody Sunday” took place in 2007, by which time we were bombing and kidnapping all over the world, disappearing people off streets like the Bogey Man of fairy tales. Detainees were taken to secret prisons where, we later learned, efforts by prisoners to starve themselves out of their misery were thwarted by a diet of raisins, nuts, pasta, and hummus rocketed up the back door through “the widest possible tube.”
Even years later, one Gitmo prisoner would waive his right to appear in court because “rectal damage” made it too painful to sit. We made mistakes in who we selected for this treatment, grabbing people with no connection to anything for torture, as films like Taxi to the Dark Sidedocumented. However, Americans seemed to lose interest in these policies once the Iraq misadventure came to a sort-of end, and a new president was elected.
The rise of Wikileaks introduced an uncontrollable variable into our drift toward authoritarianism. The WMD episode had shown again that our press, the supposed first line of defense against abuses, could not be relied upon. For every expose like Abu Ghraib, there were a hundred stories that either went uncovered or advanced official deceptions.
Wikileaks anticipated a future in which the press would not only be pliant accomplices to power in this way, but where information itself would be tightly controlled by governments using far-reaching and probably extralegal new technological concepts, deploying misleading excuses for clampdowns.
One of the first Wikileaks document dumps involved the Thai government’s blacklist of Internet sites, which was billed as a way to stop child pornography but had in fact been used to remove as many as 1200 sites critical of the Thai royal family, among other things. “The Thai system was used to censor Australia reportage about the imprisoned Australian writer Harry Nicolaides,” Assange noted, in 2009.
Wikileaks also released the Camp Manual for Guantanamo Bay, which among other things revealed that children as young as 15 were being held, along with 900+ other files about a place essentially closed off to even theoretical press review. Another early dump involved the Minton report, about toxic dumping in the Ivory Coast by the firm Trafigura, which in yet another preview of a future of information control had obtained a court order to prevent The Guardian from printing.
In the 2010 Collateral Murder video, an Apache helicopter crew falsely claims to have encountered a firefight and lights up a Baghdad street, killing a dozen people, including two Reuters employees. Somehow even more disturbing than the killing is the dialogue captured between pilots and base. They’re laughing in parts, saying things like, “Just fuckin’ once you get on ‘em, just open ‘em up,” “All right, hahaha, I hit em,” and “Hey, you shoot, I’ll talk.”
For all the talk about the madness of Donald Trump — and I wrote one of those pieces — this was something more dangerous, i.e., institutional insanity. We were factory-producing sociopathic murder, by air, in a process that would become more depersonalized. As early as 2011 we learned the Pentagon was working on a software-based system for identifying and eliminating targets by drone, in an effort to remove the potentially complicating variable of human conscience. The implications of this are the stuff of sci-fi movies: outsourcing feeling, judgment, and responsibility to machines, which incidentally would eventually use similar software to determine how much about these questions could be disclosed to human audiences.
Collateral Murder came out when Americans were also learning about serious corruption at home. After the 2008 financial crash, the Obama administration made historic decisions to reorganize the economy through a series of bailouts and interventions that not only rewarded the worst actors, but super-concentrated power in the hands of newly merged financial institutions. The most significant decisions were made in secret, including at a remarkable post-crash meeting of financial leaders at the Fed whose lurid story would be reinvented as heroic fairy tale in Too Big To Fail.
Wikileaks would go on to release financial secrets as well, including the draft charter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and, far more damaging, eighty pages of transcripts of paid speeches Hillary Clinton to Wall Street banks, where again the most damaging revelations were lingual. Clinton was shown admitting she was “far removed” from ordinary life because of the “economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy,” while speaking to Goldman, Sachs about the importance of developing “a middle class that can buy the products.”
By 2016 Assange had been peeled away from many public supporters. A long campaign of surveillance and multiple scandals dimmed his star, with lowlights including the issuance of a Swedish arrest warrant over an alleged sexual assault. People will argue about whether or not he brought this fate on himself. To me it’s irrelevant: the issue, again, is the institution, not the person. The institutional concept of an unregulated leak site has always been the target in this story, far more than Julian Assange.
Even if one stipulates that every piece of negative news ever written about Assange is true, his story is still primarily about the closing of an informational loophole during a time of ambitious efforts to throw a net of secrecy around the expansion of executive power. It was big news in the Bush years when an American named Jose Padilla was whisked away as an enemy combatant. In the Obama years, the pushed envelope was the first droning without trial of an American, al-Qaeda’s Anwar al-Awlaki. Was he the most sympathetic victim? Maybe not, but the widened principle mattered. And there was the matter of his sixteen-year-old son, whom we also killed. These decisions took place in an increasingly large space exempt from public review of any kind.
When Assange disappeared into the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, there were already discussions about bringing him to the United States to face treason charges. This was a death penalty offense, the Brookings Institution noted, not worrying at the oddness of charging a foreigner with such a crime. Long before 2016, when Assange lost the support of most liberals for good through the release of the Podesta and DNC files, politicians like Joe Biden were calling Assange a “high-tech terrorist,” language that ought to have raised serious questions given the practices revealed in Collateral Murder, and cases like al-Awlaki’s: we kill terrorists, after all.
Assange isn’t there yet, but he’s on his way, a health wreck. As Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi explained in our interview on Useful Idiots this week, Assange has not been outside since 2012. He seems destined to end up sharing the fate of those Gitmo prisoners in head-bags whose condition was one of the first Wikileaks scoops: kept in a kind of legal nowhere forever, unable even to escape through suicide.
Like the Blackwater pardon, the Assange prosecution was simultaneously one of Trump’s worst and least-commented-upon acts. This was a real act of authoritarianism, not some piddling conspiracy with Giliuanis and Stones, but an act made in full cooperation with the awesome power of the American state. We’ll learn a lot about the Biden administration’s real attitude toward Trump’s “authoritarian” leanings by their handling of the case. It should tell people something that the same Obama White House that prosecuted eight leakers under the Espionage Act hesitated to go there with Assange. They understood the implications.
When interviewed about the case in 2019, former Attorney General Eric Holder was asked if a publisher should be charged criminally. “If you are acting in a pure journalistic sense, no,” he said. “You look at the leaker you don’t look at the journalists.” However, he said, “if you’re acting at the behest of a foreign power, you are in a fundamentally different position.”
The Assange indictment, however, is not about working with a foreign power, but entirely about Collateral Murder-era actions. Seventeen of the eighteen counts are Espionage Act charges that criminalize the obtaining, possessing, and publishing of “national defense information”:
The last count is about the alleged offer to help Manning crack a security hash. Given that each of the Espionage Act counts carries a potential ten-year sentence, this case is about making not just the release, but even the solicitation of material like Collateral Murder punishable by life sentence.
You don’t have to like Julian Assange to grasp the gravity of this. The application of the Espionage Act in this fashion means that reporting going forward will only be legal when not really damaging. This is the outcome Nixon wanted in the Pentagon Papers case (“Goddamn it, somebody’s got to go to jail on that!”). It makes the reporter on the next My Lai or Abu Ghraib a potential criminal or unperson.
In conjunction with the widespread recent crackdowns on other kinds of speech by tech platforms, the continued exile of other transgressors like Snowden, and the rehabilitation of people like former CIA chief John Brennan, who committed perjury about these issues in the congressional chamber whose violated sanctity so infuriated America this week, it’s an enormous power grab — not a temporary one like the Capitol occupation, but a permanent, far-reaching assertion of institutional dominance.
In our discussion with Maurizi this week, she talked about having her phone seized and its contents stolen by yet another American mercenary firm, as part of a sweep apparently done to every visitor to Assange in the embassy years. “They secretly unscrewed my phone,” she said, adding that data and pictures from her sim card were downloaded, her conversations with Assange recorded. “And they knew I was a journalist,” she said.
Even though at least one of the affected journalists visiting the embassy was from the Washington Post, there was almost no reaction here at all. We’ve become inured to these violations. The authoritarian behaviors that freaked people out in the Bush and early Obama years have become as invisible as air to most Americans, who, lucky for many, mostly stopped following that bouncing ball the moment Trump arrived. Now Trump is on his way out, but the lockdown era is just beginning. You’ll forgive me if I’m more scared of that than the other thing.
JOHN MCCOWEN: Good for the FBI! Everyone of these Traitors, masquerading as Patriots, needs to be arrested, charged and tried.
Man In Pelosi Desk Photo, Others Arrested In Capitol Siege, Nick Penzenstadler And Kristine Phillips | USA Today
Police arrested the man depicted in photos lounging behind House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during Wednesday's Capitol seige, authorities said.
Richard Barnett, 60, of Arkansas, is accused of entering and remaining on restricted grounds and is also charged with theft. He was photographed holding mail from Pelosi's desk.
The self-employed contractor, nicknamed "Bigo" bragged on camera Wednesday outside the Capitol about how he was escorted out, but not arrested. Barnett is a Trump supporter and attended a "Stop the Steal" rally in Northwest Arkansas in November.
Derrick Evans, a West Virginia legislator who recorded himself storming the Capitol, was charged with illegally entering the building, authorities announced Friday.
"We are far from done. The rioting and destruction we saw will not be tolerated by the FBI ... We will continue to investigate all allegations of criminal activity," said Steven D'Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington office. "Just because you've left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on the door if we find out that you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol."
Authorities also announced charges for Lonnie Coffman, of Falkville, Alabama on Friday.
Federal prosecutors say Coffman had 11 Molotov cocktail devices "ready to go" when he was arrested during the breach and riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. The homemade explosives contained gasoline and materials amounting to "homemade napalm.”
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said Friday the Justice Department would “spare no resources in holding accountable those responsible” for the murder of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick. No arrests have been made in that specific incident.
ED NOTE: Kinda comic watching the Defund The Police Democrats crawling under their chairs Wednesday, and I'm sure you're among the many who will be delighted that the national security apparatus will now get a blank check from the “liberals,” thanks to the yobbos' occupation of the capitol. And while I have you, Supervisor Emeritus, wasn't that ramshackle building you own at 106 West Standley, Ukiah, leased by the FBI during the Redwood Summer interlude? You stalked me for months claiming that I was “lying” about the role your ramshackle premises at 106 West Standley, Ukiah, played in the exciting events of 1990.
22 DISASTERS, 262 DEAD, $95 BILLION IN DAMAGES: US Saw Record Year For Climate-Driven Catastrophes
The US was battered by a record number of weather and climate-driven disasters in 2020 as extensive wildfires scorched the west, hurricanes in quick succession pummeled the east and extreme heat swept across the heart of the country, a new federal government report has shown. A total of 22 major disasters, defined as each causing at least $1bn in damage, swept the US last year, six more than the previous record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) <https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/>.
LINDSAY GRAHAM REAPING WHAT HE SOWED AT DC AIRPORT:
LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT. The Capitol was ransacked in a siege, instigated by some of the Congress’ own members, that left five dead, including a police officer. The pandemic killed a record number of people in a day. Millions face eviction. The president was caught on tape trying to extort a fellow Republican to manufacture votes. Over the advice of the Pentagon, the president, who associates describe as having “lost it,” has ordered a nuclear aircraft carrier to remain in the Persian Gulf and has B-1B and B-52 bombers to Iran and China and Congress adjourned for the next two weeks? Maybe we’d have been better off if the yahoos had stayed in control of the place…
— Jeffrey St. Clair